Karina’s Story

My pregnancy began like any other.
We were trying to fall pregnant so when my period was late and I showed a few symptoms we took a test. First was negative (too early to detect), the second showed a very faint second line and the third was definitely positive. We took a self-portrait of the 3 of us and the positive stick, beaming from cheek to cheek, my little girl holding the stick up to the camera.
The next 14 weeks were up and down, in that morning sickness way. I didn’t feel like this at all with my daughter. It was horrible. I wasn’t vomiting but felt damn awful and could barely move and perform daily tasks. I was working 2 days a week and was finding it extremely difficult, needed to get up that 330 hours though for paid maternity leave!
I had a close girlfriend fall pregnant right after me. We would be going on this journey together although from the other side of the country. We wished we were closer to see each other, and compare our bumps when they started growing.
We opted out of booking the 12 week scan, didn’t want the tests for any abnormalities and this meant we wouldn’t have any scans until the 20 week one would be due. This didn’t bother me in any way other than wanting to see our baby and we found it difficult to think of the long wait.
At what I though was 14 weeks I had a large bleed. I was putting my daughter down for the night and felt some fluid. It felt watery and was quick, like I had just wet myself. I thought I had. I got up to put her in her cot and had a large gush come out. I still thought I’d wet myself and didn’t think for a few seconds what it may actually be. I rushed to the bathroom, that journey down the hallway was a blur, like I was in a bubble hearing the blood rush through me and my heartbeat loud as anything in my ears. I checked and my worst fears were realised, blood everywhere. I was in disbelief, shock- the usual I guess. I got my thoughts together and quickly rang my husband at work. He rushed home. The 20 minutes it took him to get home I jumped right on the internet, searched “bleeding 14 weeks pregnant”. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but then again, what is the right thing to do? Funnily enough I’m glad I did. All results that came back were reassuring “I bled throughout my pregnancy and was fine” “I had a big bleed at 13 weeks and my daughter was born 27 weeks later”. It reassured me.
We went to the hospital. We were there for hours. They checked me and sent me home to come back on the Monday for a scan. They don’t perform scans between Friday night and Monday morning, only in emergencies. This was Saturday night.
We didn’t feel comfortable leaving it at that. We asked if we could at least listen for a heart beat. We were told “OK, if we wanted to” by the doctor. What a thing to say, of course we wanted to. We waited a few minutes and the nurse appeared. She said we could go home. We said we were waiting to hear the heart beat to which she replied we couldn’t, it was too early in the pregnancy to hear a heart beat and we were told to just go home and come back for the scheduled scan on Monday. Defeated, fatigued and over it we didn’t have it in us to fight and left.
At 3.30am we drove home. I cried the whole way. I said to my husband that I couldn’t handle not knowing if the baby was alive or dead inside me and couldn’t fathom waiting until Monday to find out. I spoke to my baby, “please be ok, please be ok”.
Sunday morning. Mothers day. I woke and thought it was all a bad dream. I rolled over and touched my tummy. I remembered. I instantly felt light pain. It was like wind pain. I tried to get in a few different positions to see if it was that, nothing. I laid there, and suddenly got frightened. The longer I lay there the more I knew today would be a bad day.
I got up and went to the bathroom. On the way I heard my husband whisper to my daughter “quick, Mum’s up! sit here and hold the presents…. yeah like that, and say what I told you, remember?”. I smiled sadly.
The bleeding was still there, not much but some. I passed a large clot and got scared, even wondered if it was the baby.
I put on a smile and went into the lounge room. “Happy mum….happy mum….” (day, whispers my husband) “DAY!” I sat on the couch and opened my gifts. Some books and an Oxfam certificate, along side all the breakfasts I’d fed my daughter in the last 2 1/2 years, I’d also fed some under privileged kids breakfast too.
My husband asked how I was, I said OK, but not really too well. I said I thought we’d end up at the hospital that day at some stage, I could sense it, so we may as well go sooner rather than later. Sitting on the couch while he got ready to go I started having small cramps that would come then stop, wait 30 seconds then same again. Contractions.
In the next 15 mins I got much worse. Had to sit down, felt weak and light headed and struggled to walk. The car ride to the hospital was awful. After 5 minutes I went downhill fast. I started to black out, twice my husband said I passed out and I felt like I was 100 degrees. I had sweat dripping from me. I could feel blood coming out of me, even felt large clots passing. We drove up to the ER and my husband ran in, 2 nurses returned with a wheel chair and rushed me into the ER. I was in a gown and had a drip within 5 minutes. A doctor came in. He asked questions. Blood loss, pain etc. He did an examination. He said I was going up for a scan but due to the amount of blood loss he wasnt hopeful for a positive outcome. I waited. Stared at the ceiling. Looked at my husband and daughter. Thought many thoughts. I can’t remember if I was crying yet.
The doctor came in wanting to do another examination. I could feel the blood coming out rapidly. I knew. I think I knew already, at what time I don’t know, the previous night or that morning, but I knew today would be a sad day.
He finished the examination and gently told us our baby just came out. He said he was sorry. I broke down. My husband cried. They left us alone.
I was kept in for monitoring, to monitor blood loss and see that everything had come out. We had to decide what to do with the “remains” as they called them. Keep them or have the hospital dispose of them thoughtfully. Thoughtfully, sounds like a nice word but how can you do that thoughtfully. My husband didn’t want to keep anything, I thought differently. One would think it’s hard to make such immediate decisions in these circumstances but I knew my baby would be coming home with us.
A nurse said to me that we should be out celebrating mother’s day, not in here. I told her this was the last place I expected to be today. How cruel to lose a child on mother’s day and that now I had this to remember every mothers day. She said at least it falls on a different day each year to that I said, great, then I have 2 days to remember this, mother’s day and the 8th.
We were discharged. I felt the worst walking out. Out those doors that I was wheeled into in a panic 8 hours earlier. I sat in the car. Cried. Broke down. So that was it, all done, off you go home now. It felt too painful, too much. I was overwhelmed beyond belief.
That night I put my daughter to sleep. My husband offered to do it but I wanted to. I needed to. I held her, looked at her face, crying. A little childs face. I won’t see this baby’s face. Hold and put it to sleep. The pain was unbearable. My heart had never felt like this before. So this is what loss feels like.
That night was silent. We ate pizza and ice cream. I had many thoughts in my head, I started what would be a poem I would write in a few days.
My husband took the week off work. He asked if it would be ok to go back after 2 days, I lost it and asked if he thought it was appropriate to go back. Shouldn’t he be here with me? I couldn’t bear the though of going back to work ever at that moment, how could he want to go back, didn’t he feel like the world had stopped like I had?
The following day I felt surprisingly good, well, not good, but I got out of bed. Showered. Took to cleaning the house like a crazy woman. Obviously not doing too well.
We made the decision to keep occupied. Not to forget about it but we thought it was better than sitting in the lounge staring at the walls, crying. Thought I’d cry less if I was out. On days when we were doing thing I felt pangs of guilt. Should I be doing this? Shouldn’t I be at home in my PJs, still in bed, refusing food and crying all my tears away. Who knows how we should deal with it. It doesn’t change anything.
My GP was concerned that I was still bleeding after 10 days so she sent me for an ultra sound. I wasn’t doing too well that day. I was alone. The guy called my name out and I thought, great a man. I really didn’t want a man for some reason. I wanted to walk out and not have it. Instead I went in, laid there, let him do an internal ultrasound holding back tears. I was over it. Over being touched, over people being inside me. I was a mess that day, cried all the way back to the car.
I didn’t end up having to have a D&C, the bleeding was coming from a clot that was still there that would come out naturally. Thank god I didn’t have to have one, more invasiveness I couldn’t handle. I bled for 2 weeks.
The road thereafter was rocky. Bumpy. All over the place. I had horrible days, and ok days. Had a big fight with my husband and stormed out of the house and sat in the car crying uncontrollably. He came out and hugged me.
Having my daughter there was comforting. It didn’t change what happened but she kept me, well, busy and occupied. Even made me smile because she’s a 2 1/2 year old and well, they just do no matter what. I thought how lucky i was to have her. If we couldn’t have any more children at least we had her, right? It didn’t ease the pain of the thought of never being pregnant again, that feeling of growing a little person in you, giving birth, the overwhelming feeling of holding and seeing your baby for the first time. I wanted that again. But tried to bring myself back down to earth. There are people out there who have this happen to them with their first pregnancy, and although it seemed impossible, that must hurt even more surely? My daughter learned what “sad” and “crying” was in this time. I would be crying, she’d come over and stand by me. “Mumma?”. I’d say “It’s ok, Mummy’s just sad”. She saw me sad and crying a lot. She took to just coming over and putting her hand on me.
I had good and bad moments with friends. Found out that some friends had experienced similar. Some upset me with their actions. Some upset me with their words. It’s human nature. Imagine if everyone said and did the perfect thing? Wouldn’t that be great, would make it a hell of a lot easier but….. not going to happen. I’ve had one or two friendships strengthen, one or two weaken.
I’ve had many thoughts. I’ve learnt a lot about thoughts, you can’t control what goes through your head. Right things, wrong things, all sorts of things. Some examples. “The age gap would have been perfect, now they would be too far apart! Hang on, should just be grateful if I can carry another baby to full term let alone worrying about an age gap.” “What if this baby was a boy, we would have had the perfect combination of a boy and girl, then the next one we have may be a girl then we will have 2 girls……..”. The mind is uncontrollable.
My husband said a few upsetting things. I just don’t think they totally understand or can comprehend what has happened and what is going on. I was crying, he hugged me. He said “Well, remember the baby was making you feel really sick.” I pulled away. “Yeah, the morning sickness. Thank god that’s gone, hey! Funny that, it’s because our baby isn’t inside me anymore, it’s dead.” “I didn’t mean it like that”, he said. “Well how did you mean it then?? You don’t think I’d have given anything, ANYTHING to have this not happen?? I’d have been sick 10 fold worse and been bed ridden for the rest of the pregnancy to not have this happen”. Another one. I was staring into space, thinking. I said “Our girl was going to be so cute with her little brother or sister, I had visions of it”. He replied “She still will be, with the next one”. I said, “Sometimes I regret saying things to you”, and he said “What do you mean?”. I replied “You just don’t get it. You don’t say the right thing back. We are allowed to mourn this loss you know. Why can’t you just say, yes I know, she would have been. We don’t have to get over it and move on 2 seconds after it’s happened.” “Sorry, you’re right”, he said.
We got test results back that they carried out as I was thought to be 14 weeks so fell into the “late miscarriage” category. Not as common. It turned out I was closer to 12 weeks. Somewhat good news as it meant I was in the more common stage for miscarriage. There was no cause found, no abnormalities. A small clot in the placenta which may well have been the cause but not for sure. A clot is usually caused by a blow to the stomach. The doctor asked if I could remember having a significant hit to the tummy. No, not that I could remember but saying that, it could have been when my daughter was playing with me and hit my tummy a few times, not too hard but a knock. Enough for me to say to her to be careful and to say sorry to baby and kiss it better. Was that it? Was it when the household was sick with the flu for 6 weeks, one after the other? My mum suggested this. Not something you really need someone suggesting to you or consuming their time with because “well, it’s all I can think of??” she said. Like I need that. Was it that I was sick and not eating much? That I was forcing myself to go to work even though I was so weak and tired? What was it? Everyone asks themselves this and though we are told time and time again there’s nothing we could have done, it’s impossible to not question your every move while you were carrying your precious baby. When I was told there was no cause found from the tests, I reacted. What do you mean no cause? If there was nothing wrong then why did it happen? If the baby was fine, healthy, developing well, then WHY? The tests were best to come back with no cause because a bad result may affect future pregnancies  but I couldn’t help my reaction. It didn’t make sense and didn’t seem fair. The results also told us the sex. A little girl. I named her Lulu.
We’re buying a plant. We have to collect her ashes from the funeral home. We decided to do a small burial ourselves, nothing big, just us 3. I’ve decided on a bonsai. A Banyan Fig. Its quite symbolic really. A tiny tree, never to grow big. The trunk is made up of several “bulb” shapes, intertwined like people hugging. It will be perfect.

I lost a piece of me that day, a piece of my heart that she took with her. It will be with her forever. I know that this pain will ease, become more bearable, it already is. But I can’t help but think that I will have to deal with this memory forever and wonder what the baby that never became would have been. Looked like. Smelled like. Felt like. I just hope she’s OK, wherever you are, Lulu.

Ice Cream

As I sit here staring into my ice cream I feel numb
Everything feels cold right now
It’s gone grey outside, inside too
My tears though, they are warm
We lost you today
I feel empty, I am empty
You were there a day ago, now you’re gone
No longer safe and warm in my womb
I don’t like to think about where you are now, but I know its cold
I brush my hand across my belly
It’s different
There’s an emptiness I cant escape
No baby for Christmas
I’d been playing it out in my head already and there, in my head, it will now stay
Sarah was going to be so cute. Big Sister
The days will pass and time move on
It will become warm again
You’ll always have been there
As I sit here, staring into my ice cream that daddy bought for me , I think
I think about how much you’d have loved ice cream.


Thankyou so much Karina for telling us about Lulu. Kate xxx

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