I was devastated when my little boy was stillborn. But where was my man when I needed him most?
By Cassie Mower, 24, from Chatham, Kent
Quickly running my straighteners through my hair, I slicked on a coat of mascara and grabbed my house keys.
Mum was looking after my kids, Keje-Lea, now six, and Kaleb, now three, and I couldn’t wait for a rare night out in the local with the girls.
A busy single mum, I didn’t get much chance to let my hair down and, jumping into the taxi with my friend Shannon, I couldn’t wait for a few hours off.
But I’d only been in the pub for a few minutes when I stopped dead in my tracks…
“Who is that?” I giggled to Shannon, my eyes fixed on the handsome stranger at the bar. With dark hair and a cheeky smile, he was just my type.
Turned out, I wasn’t the only one staring. A few drinks later, my mystery man had developed enough Dutch courage to approach me.
“I’m Shane,” he grinned. “Can I buy you a drink?”
I discovered Shane was two years older than me. He worked as a carpenter and lived nearby, but I’d never bumped into him before.
We spent the rest of the night flirting and when we had a cheeky snog at closing time, I thought actual sparks would fly!
“Can I have your number?” Shane asked. “I’d like to see you again.”
I was worried that my baggage might put him off, but I needn’t have bothered. He was brilliant with the kids and treated them like his own. Within weeks, we were joined at the hip.
“I’d love to be a dad,” he confessed, as he cuddled Kaleb on a day out at the park.
We hadn’t been together long, but Shane was a natural and I ached to have a baby with him. I took a deep breath…
“I’d like to be a mum again,” I said. “Maybe we could start trying?”
“You’ve made my day,” he beamed, kissing me.
We stopped using protection and a few weeks later, I noticed my period was late. I did a test and I squealed with delight when a double blue line appeared.
“It’s positive!” I cried, as Shane scooped me into a massive hug.
But our joy was short lived. A few weeks later, I started bleeding and visited my doctor.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “You’ve had a miscarriage.”
Tears filled my eyes, but I knew I had to be strong. Clinging to Shane’s hand, I vowed we’d keep trying.
But over the next few months, I lost another two babies in quick succession.
“You need to give your body time to recover,” the doctor said. “You’re getting pregnant again too quickly.”
I was heartbroken, but I knew I had to make sure I had the best possible chance of conceiving.
We stopped trying for a few months but in May 2012, I started to feel sick and I noticed my period was late again.
I was thrilled when I did a pregnancy test and it was positive but I wanted to surprise Shane.
“There’s a present for you in the drawer,” I told him when I came home from work.
“This is the best news ever!” he cried, as he found the test. “I have a good feeling this time.”
When I had my 12 week scan, everything seemed to be going well. But, three weeks later, I started to
get really bad stomach pains.
I soldiered on for a few days but eventually, I begged Shane to take me to hospital. I’d already had two kids and I had a horrible feeling that I knew what was happening…
“I think I’m in labour,” I croaked. My worst fears were soon confirmed when my waters broke.
Just half an hour later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He took two tiny little breaths before the life faded from him.
I sobbed as I held his little body. We decided to name him Theo and the doctors let us keep the blanket they’d wrapped him in.
They told me I’d lost Theo because my placenta had ruptured and I was wheeled off for surgery.
When we got back home two days later, my grief hit me like a ton of bricks and Keje-Lea and Kaleb were the only thing that got me out of bed.
Shane couldn’t cope either and started drinking heavily. Soon, he was staying out for hours after work.
“Please come early tonight,” I sobbed to him, one morning. “I need you.”
“I’m working late,” he replied. “There’s nothing I can do.”
I willed myself not to get angry at him. After all, he’d wanted a baby so much…
We’ll get through this together, I told myself.
But something between us had changed. And on the rare occasions, Shane cosied up to me in bed I was too heartbroken to think about sex.
A few weeks later, I got a visit from my friend Paige.
“You might want to sit down, Cassie,” she said. “I think Shane might be cheating on you.”
I felt panic rising in my throat. We were mourning our baby boy. Surely Shane couldn’t be that cruel…
“I think he’s been seeing a girl called Becky,” Paige went on. “I’ve looked on her Facebook. He’s in every single one of her profile pictures.”
I felt sick but I knew I needed answers. Switching on my laptop, I logged onto Facebook and typed Becky’s name into the search engine.
I recognised her immediately. She’d been a few years below me at school, but we’d never been friends. Sure enough, there were lots of cosy snaps of her and Shane from the last few weeks. On nights out, snuggling up at home…
All while I was sat at home alone, crying for Theo.
“I can’t believe this,” I croaked as Paige put her arm around me. Then I scrolled down to read some of Becky’s status updates…
“Can’t wait to see Shane tonight!” one read.
It was there in black and white. Shane hadn’t been working late. Just when I needed him most, my once loving, sweet man had been playing away.
Trying to keep my cool, I waited for him to come home from work. When I finally heard his key turning in the door around 10pm, I felt a knot of dread forming in my stomach.
“I think we need to talk,” I said, coldly.
“What about?” he replied, blankly.
“About Becky,” I snapped back. “And why you’re in all of her Facebook photos. Is that where you’ve been tonight?”
“Give me a break, Cassie,” he said. “She’s just a friend.”
We had a blazing row and Shane stormed off to his mum’s. The next day, I logged on to Facebook and typed out a message to Becky…
This is Cassie, Shane’s girlfriend, I wrote, tears streaming down my face. Have you been sleeping with my boyfriend?
A few minutes later, a reply popped up in my inbox…
I don’t know what you’re talking about, it said. Shane is my boyfriend.
It was all the proof I needed, yet Shane shamelessly tried to deny it.
“She’s lying,” he insisted. “It’s you I love.”
I was having none of it and, later that day, Shane moved out for good.
“You’re a dirty cheat,” I said, slamming the door.
I tried to tell Becky that Shane was playing us both for fools but soon afterwards, I heard he’d moved in with her.
In just a few months, my life had been turned upside down.
But slowly, I managed to pick up the pieces and I even found the strength to invite Shane to Theo’s grave to release some balloons on what would have been his first birthday.
“There’s something you should know,” he said, sheepishly. “Becky’s five months pregnant.”
Shane had betrayed me in the most awful way while we’d mourned the baby we’d wanted so badly. Now, he was finally going to be a dad – but with Becky, not me. It was almost too much to bear.
Despite everything, I’m glad I caught him out. I’m now happily single and concentrating on my kids. I’d much rather be alone than with that rat.
I’ve heard Becky and Shane are still together and that she gave birth to a baby girl a few months ago. But I wouldn’t swap places with her for the world.
If she can’t see he’s a liar and a cheat, then more fool her.
Becky said: “I don’t really want to talk about it. I went to school with Cassie but I didn’t know she was with Shane. I was in the dark as well. Shane and I are happy and we’ve just had our first baby.”
Shane refused to comment.