This Mother’s Day, GP Anita Raja feels particularly fortunate to be celebrating together with her seven-year-old son Nirvan and child boy Rumi.
In August, Rumi was born after seven years of heartache and miscarriages.
Having lost three infants, the pregnancy was particularly agonising for Anita, who labored on the NHS frontline till 4 days earlier than her due date, uncertain whether or not she was placing her unborn child at risk every time she walked into the surgical procedure.
With husband Nadir, a gastroenterologist, reassigned to work in intensive care through the pandemic, placing him nose to nose with Covid sufferers every day, the danger of publicity didn’t finish when Anita got here house.
“Looking back, I don’t know how I did it,” says Anita, 35. “I lost lots of sleep over it and was very anxious. I didn’t enjoy a single day of the pregnancy because I felt so vulnerable.”
Despite the danger, she felt obliged to maintain turning up for work.
“I had to do it for the NHS,” she says. “It’s not like other jobs – you can’t just walk away from your patients.”
Anita was particularly nervous because the impression of Covid-19 on unborn infants was unknown so the couple developed an elaborate routine to maintain all of them protected.
“There was lots of news about NHS workers who were pregnant and lost their lives. It felt like World War Three,” she says.
“When he came home from work my husband would go into the basement, take off his clothes, take a shower and keep his washing separate from ours. We were very aware of the risks of catching Covid.
“The car steering wheel and gear stick needed to be wiped down after every use and we’d wear gloves when we were going shopping to prevent us catching it.”
Anita had all the time recognized it is perhaps tough for her to conceive, after having a fibroid faraway from her uterus aged 15 and being identified with endometriosis at 17.
Shortly after she acquired married in 2010, she had her first miscarriage.
“It was a missed miscarriage, so it was very early on and I never knew I was pregnant until it was over,” says Anita.
Two years later she fell pregnant and in October 2013, Nirvan was born.
“I named him Nirvan because nirvana is a state of liberation and eternal bliss.”
But though Anita liked being a mum, she craved one other child.
“I didn’t want my son to be an only child – I wanted him to have a friend, and someone to have after we’re gone, a family to leave behind,” she says.
Anita and Nadir, who reside in Birmingham, tried for 2 years to have one other child, however couldn’t conceive.
Then, in 2015, they had been thrilled to find that Anita was pregnant. Sadly, at 11 weeks she miscarried. “I was devastated,” she says. “Although it wasn’t my fault, I felt a lot of guilt.
“When you have a child and you want them to have a sibling, it’s difficult.
“It’s so hard when they start asking for a baby brother or sister and you can’t give them one.”
It was one other two years earlier than Anita turned pregnant once more.
At 21 weeks, she had a scan to search out out the child’s gender however as an alternative obtained the information there was no heartbeat.
“While the sonographer was doing the ultrasound, she asked whether I’d had my 12 week scan,” she recollects. “I just knew it was going to be bad news.”
“It’s a memory that will never leave me – it was so traumatic that I simply can’t get it out of my head.”
Anita was devastated.
“My world fell apart. My first thought was: ‘How am I going to tell my son?’
“He was waiting for a baby brother or sister, and now the baby wasn’t going to come.”
Because she was 21 weeks pregnant, Anita needed to give beginning to the child. “I was beside myself. I can’t tell you the pain I was in,” she says.
After that crushing loss, Anita turned depressed.
“I was very unwell but I knew I had to pull myself together for my husband and son,” she says.
“But the pain is always there somewhere. It’s like a stitch in your heart.”
For two years, Anita underwent investigations to see what had prompted her losses, however nothing was discovered.
“If you don’t know the cause, then you never get closure,” she says. “As a clinician myself, it was very frustrating not to be able to find any medical reason for the miscarriage.”
But out of the blue, in December 2019, Anita came upon she was anticipating Rumi.
During the pregnancy, she was supported by a nurse from Tommy’s pregnancy charity.
“The charity put me in touch with a nurse called Oonagh and she has the spirit of an angel. She was there for me the whole way,” says Anita.
At six weeks pregnant, she had an early scan and was thrilled that the sonographer discovered a heartbeat.
The pregnancy was nerve-wracking however Oonagh was readily available to answer questions and guide appointments. “If Oonagh and Tommy’s hadn’t been there for me, I would probably have become depressed again. But they provided the support I needed for a happy pregnancy,” she says.
Despite the stress of the pandemic, Anita gave beginning to Rumi final August.
“I can’t believe that I got so lucky to have my son,” she says.
“When I touch his hair, and his toes and his fingers, I still can’t believe that he’s mine.”
- Tommy’s is a nationwide charity that funds pioneering medical analysis to find the causes of child loss and helps ladies at each stage of their pregnancy journeys. For info and assist go to tommys.org