Born Survivor...

I'd lost my baby, now I faced another battle for life...

Published by: Jo Cusak & Jai Breitnauer
Published on: 14th July 2011

Legs kicking, head thrown back mid-giggle, my boyfriend’s son Joshua, six, was having a great time on the park swings.
I wasn’t, though.
Joshua lived with us for half the week and I loved our evenings after school, kicking a ball around or playing in the park.
But now I had something more pressing on my mind.
Even though I was on the pill, I’d just discovered that I was pregnant. How was I going to tell my boyfriend?
I had no idea how my fella David Todd, 27, would react. We’d been together two years, and I was only 19. We’d never made plans for kids of our own…
But as I pushed Joshua on the swing, I knew I couldn’t hide it from David any longer.
That night, I broke the news to him. ‘That’s great!’ he grinned.
‘Y-you’re not angry, upset?’ I asked him.
‘No,’ he chuckled. ‘It’s a little sister for Joshua.’
‘Or brother!’ I laughed.
It felt like a weight had been lifted from me. Over the next few weeks, I found myself extra chirpy at work as a carer, while David, a chef, kept whipping me up lovely, fancy dinners.
Playing with Joshua was extra special, too – I’d always loved him, and now I could imagine him messing around with my little one as well!
Then, two months into my pregnancy, I woke up one day feeling woozy.
‘Maybe it’s morning sickness?’ David suggested. But when I went to the loo, there was some blood in my knickers.
‘D-David,’ I stammered. ‘Get me to hospital.’
There, I was given a scan and the doctor came to see us.
‘I’m so sorry,’ he told us. ‘But you’ve had a miscarriage.’
My pregnancy might have been unplanned, but that didn’t mean I wanted this baby any less. I’d grown used to the thought of being a mum, now my dream had been cruelly snatched away.
Back home, David fussed over me, tried cheering me up.
‘Early miscarriages are common,’ he soothed. ‘You did nothing wrong, we’ll try again when you’re better.’
I nodded, tried getting on with life, but even tiny things upset me.
‘Time for tea,’ I told Joshua a week later, lifting him off the swings in the park and loading him into my old Renault Clio. But turning the key, I heard a familiar choking noise as it failed to start – and I burst into tears.
‘That damned car,’ I ranted, when David came to get us. ‘I’ve had enough, I’m getting a loan and buying a new one!’
Normally, he’d have talked me round, but he knew how upset I was about the baby. ‘Treat yourself,’ he smiled.
That weekend, I went out and bought a blue VW Beetle. ‘It’s even got a bumper sticker on it that says Powered by fairy dust!’ I told my sister Sophie excitedly on the phone.
Next morning, I was up early and ready for work in double time. Normally, I dreaded days where I had a lot of driving to do – because then I was alone with my thoughts about the baby I’d never hold. But today I just couldn’t wait.
The new car was really helping keep my mind off things. I even took the long route to my first appointment. Later that day, driving across the River Lune bridge, window down and Beyoncé on the radio, I felt happy for the first time in weeks.
Suddenly, I noticed the car in front of me brake. ‘No!’ I gasped, stamping at my brake pedal. It was too late.
The squeal of tyres did nothing to drown out my screams as my car slammed into the one in front and flipped into the air. I gripped the wheel – as if I could steer myself out of this.
A sickening crunch deafened me as the car clipped the bridge’s stone wall and I plummeted towards the water. I’m going to die. Everything went black.
The sound of rushing water filled my ears. Blinking my eyes open, everything was upside down and water was pouring through my open window.
‘Help!’ I choked, dirty water gushing on to my face.
I held my breath, desperately fumbling with the seat belt. Yes! I managed to unclip myself, and pushed hard at the driver’s door. Please open, please…Amazingly, it did!
‘Give me your hand,’ called a voice. A man was standing waist- deep in the river, reaching out for me. With a heave, he hauled me out of the car and then helped me to the riverbank.
‘My girlfriend’s dialled 999,’ he said, sitting me down. ‘You’re bleeding. Do you feel okay?’
Touching my head, I felt warm blood pumping from a large gash. But apart from that, nothing hurt, nothing seemed broken. I was lucky to be alive.
That’s when the tears started. Sobbing and shaking, I clutched my hero’s shoulders as his girlfriend stroked my hair.
‘Anyone you want me to call?’ she asked.
‘David…’ I sobbed, giving her the number. ‘My boyfriend.’
Just then there was a wail of ambulance and fire engine sirens.
‘Anyone still in the car?’ yelled a firefighter rushing towards us.
I shook my head. ‘Just me.’
He looked me up and down, then at the mangled wreck of my Beetle in the river. The roof was completely crushed and the radiator had fallen out of the engine on impact. The car was a total write-off. Eyes wide, he whistled through his teeth.
‘You walked away from that?’ he gasped. ‘We thought we were here to cut someone free – or worse.’
My car had sailed over the side of the bridge, landing upside down in the river, but I’d walked away with a few cuts. It was a miracle.
The paramedics cleaned up my cuts and loaded me into the ambulance. David met me at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
‘Babe! What happened?’ he gasped, worried.
‘I-I hit a car…’ I croaked.
‘As long as you’re fine,’ he said. Just then, the doctor arrived.
‘We need to check you for internal injuries,’ he said, laying me back and feeling my stomach. Frowning, he turned to me and David.
‘Are you trying for a baby?’ he asked.
‘No,’ David answered the doctor sadly. ‘We had a miscarriage two months ago.’
‘And there’s no chance you could be pregnant now?’
Clutching my fella’s hand, I felt panic rising. If I was unexpectedly pregnant, then the crash… Oh God, I couldn’t lose another baby, couldn’t cope with that.
‘We need to do a scan,’ the doctor said.
I held my breath as a nurse ran the wand over my belly, then she smiled at me.
‘You’re six weeks pregnant, and everything’s fine,’ she said.
‘I-I had no idea,’ I gulped.
‘That’s brilliant,’ David smiled. ‘Not only is it a miracle you survived, but you’re making me a daddy, too!’
And I can’t wait to be a mum! Our baby’s due in December, and every day my bump grows, I’m reminded how lucky we were to have walked away from that accident. It was a miracle – and it seems I’m carrying one, too!
Kelly Fairbairn, 19, Lancaster, Lancashire