Archive for the ‘Reader Stories’ Category

April 9th, 2011 or Kate’s Story
September 3, 2011

It’s time to write about Saturday the 9th of April. In all the words, I’ve never really talked about that day. I can’t say it was the worst day of my life, but only because I think the next day was even harder.

It was a sublime day. One of those clear, bright days when you just feel connected to everything- you are happy, your heart is open, your mind is free. And I had you. I felt like the Universe was smiling upon me. This is not a rose-coloured retrospect. This is truly how I felt at the time. I just feel like I get it sometimes, and this was one of those days. Only the night before we had gone out to dinner and I had brought along the baby name book (a constant companion). It was the first time that your Daddy was interested in talking about names and having him connecting to the idea of our future with you made me feel like everything was coming together.

I don’t know now how I could have felt so safe. I had begun spotting at 6 weeks and started to panic. Apart from being a nurse, I was well read and knew the risks and the awful statistics. The statistics people still insist on telling me when they hear I lost you. I had started in on the pregnancy books as soon as we started trying for a baby. But the doctor sent me for an urgent scan and your heart was beating! A beautiful, strong 111 beats per minute. And you were nestled in safely to your sac, measuring a divine 5mm long. I think I might remember your numbers forever. Now, my reading had also told me that having seen your heart beating above the magical 100 beats per minute my chance of miscarriage had plummeted- to below 10% at the most pessimistic, and about 3% as per the optimists. I had also read and been told by friends and doctors that many women bleed all through pregnancy without anything being wrong, and that as long as it wasn’t clots or fresh blood and I didn’t have pain we should be okay. So I left that ultrasound cubby on cloud nine with orders to rest and floated off to your buy your first and only onesie in celebration of we two together.

Jake and I were home together that Saturday. I don’t remember what we were doing. Pottering around the house and garden I think, as I like to do. Just being home and happy in each other’s company. My all-day morning sickness had evaporated a week earlier, worrying me a little, but not too much as I know everyone’s different and thought that maybe since it had started so soon I had done my time and earned myself an early graduation. So I was feeling wonderful in every way and wanted to be out in the world and under the sun. I hadn’t done any exercise since I’d known I was pregnant. Every time I even thought about it I seemed to start spotting, as I was that day, but since I’m not an exercise enthusiast I worried that I was putting it off for my sake, not yours, and that my pregnancy would suffer for my poor fitness. I’m always suspicious of my own motives when circumstance seems to be leading me in the direction I want to go. So I told myself off for being overly concerned and lazy and talked Jake into a walk around the lake with me. I didn’t tell him I was bleeding. I wish I had.

We walked and talked about people and work and life and you. I couldn’t talk about life without talking about you. I was considering the big pregnancy reveal in only a week or two, just so I could talk freely about how much I loved you and how excited I was. We didn’t walk too hard or fast; even keeping up with your Daddy’s long legs (which I hoped you’d have) I always had enough breath for conversation. Just as I’d read I should. I noticed nothing during our walk and returned home happy that I’d done it.

It was only when I undressed for the shower that I saw I was bleeding. Clots. And fresh blood. Fuck. Don’t panic. Still no pain. I showered, speed-washed my hair and gathered everything I might need for an overnight in hospital. Only once I was done did I tell Jake. Only then did I cry.

He took me to the Royal Brisbane. Not our closest hospital, but I was already booked there antenatally and waiting to try to get into the birth centre there. I went through triage sober and dry-eyed and was seated next to a woman who looked about 7 months pregnant. She was alone. I wanted to ask her if she was okay, if she needed anything, but I didn’t know if she’d want me to and I didn’t know if I had anything to give her. The male nurse who took my history insisted on being chirpy. When I told him my morning sickness had stopped a week ago he said, “Wow, isn’t that great”. I looked at him like he had three heads, but it wasn’t until I mentioned that I thought perhaps it might not be such a great thing considering my presentation that he realized he’d said something stupid. I suppose we all say stupid things, but I hope I don’t say things that ignorant to my terrified patients. (He’s coughing up blood? Awesome. Better out than in.)

We were settled into a bed to wait for the doctor. Bizarrely enough, I immersed myself in minesweeper on my phone. I can play through it fast enough that there’s no room for any other thought. The doctor came by, tall, dark and unshaven, and told me right off the bat that, chances were, I was miscarrying. I crumpled over, holding my belly and wailing softly. He started to talk over my crying about curettes and natural miscarriage before he even mentioned an ultrasound. Part of me was still holding out hope. I was fantasizing about near misses and drug therapies and six months of enforced bed rest before an eventual caesarean. Anything to keep you. The doctor said I’d need an Anti-D injection regardless as I’m a negative blood group, and the bleeding could have exposed me to a positive blood group. I had to drink till I was bursting for the ultrasound and lie back and try not to “get upset”.  I lay back upset at myself and them that they hadn’t hydrated me for the ultrasound and then worried about getting the urine sample which had been sitting, ignored, on the bench beside me for more than an hour. I didn’t tell the doctor I was bleeding before our walk. I didn’t want him to think I was stupid, even though he said that level of exercise wouldn’t be responsible for this, and I was worried that Jake would blame me. I’d hurt his baby too.

I hadn’t brought my previous scan. I felt so dumb. I knew better than that. The sonographer who came to see me explained that without any earlier pictures, she likely wouldn’t be able to tell me what was definitely happening, just what she saw now. So as I sat there with my ever-expanding bladder, I prayed. Not to god, but to you Peanut. Please be okay. Please be there. Please have a heart beat. Please be the right size. Please don’t leave me.

The sonographer was wonderful. She is my best memory of that night. They’re not usually my favourite people but she was the only one that night to give me genuine compassion. It bothers me that I can’t remember her face. She spoke with me throughout the scan as to a colleague, and it was only accessing that part of my brain that let me keep it together. After verifying that you were there and she could see you she warned me that she wouldn’t tell me anything till it was done. Finally she stopped, and as soon as her eyes were on me, I knew.

Before she could say anything, I doubled over and screamed, high and loud, till my lungs were empty and my stomach muscles cramping. I kept howling, with Jake trying to hold onto me and me burying my face in my pillow, biting, and my fists tearing at the blankets. Some part of my mind which stayed distant and remote could hear her say “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat and the baby is only measuring at 3mm”, and was thankful for the warm hand squeezing my shoulder before she left us alone, telling us to take all the time we needed. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. I don’t know what Jake was doing because there was no room in my consciousness for him. I was full with horror, and the inability to understand how everything that was going to be, now wasn’t. I don’t know how long I stayed like that, but it was only when Jake said he was going to ask the doctors to sedate me that I started to come back into myself. I cried and he held me. I still don’t know if he cried that night. I think he was probably too scared about me to be able to cry then.

I sobbed on my bed as they wheeled me back out of radiology. I remember the sick, sad, scared faces of a Saturday night E.R. watching my procession. Back at the bedside, the nurse saw me crying. “Do you have pain? No? You’re just upset? Okay then”. And on he walked. Leaving my curtains wide open and me exposed. Eventually, Jake got up to close them. The doctor came to confirm for me, very unnecessarily, that my baby was dead, probably had been for some time, and to tell me that if I was sure I didn’t want a D&C my miscarriage would probably progress naturally at home over the next few days. He understood I wanted to go home, but I needed to have my Anti-D injection. And he left us. For a long time.

At some stage I ran out of tears. I was so hurt and so lost; I just kept lapsing off into vacant staring. No thought that I can remember. Absent except for the pain.  I asked Jake to call my mother and tell her what happened. I needed for her to know, but I couldn’t tell her. I barely even noticed his absence. I was absent myself. I came to briefly and texted two friends, the biggest supporters of my pregnancy, and simply said, “my baby’s gone”.

I decided I needed to leave, as soon as possible. Jake buzzed for a nurse and we sat and waited. It was nearly half an hour before someone came, and Jake explained all I was waiting on was my Anti-D. More waiting as it was chased up with the doctor. I understand hospitals and waiting. I just don’t want to be left waiting endlessly with no information about why I’m waiting. When the doctor showed up and admitted the injection hadn’t been ordered yet from the blood bank, despite him telling me I needed it about 4 hours earlier, I told him we were leaving and I’d see my GP Monday. He grudgingly gave in and we were discharged. It was a sad and silent journey home.

I called my mother, waking her, to tell her I was okay for now and that we were home. I think I slept.

I spent the next day in bed. I texted my closest friend to come and that I needed her. She crawled into bed with me to hold me and stroke my hair. For hours she stayed and listened to me cry and didn’t call out my dead-eyed staring. She was exactly what I needed. Jake kept himself busy doing other things. I didn’t see him much that day. I didn’t eat but I had an incredible thirst. This continued for the next few days. I lay in bed, crying or sleeping with no interest in the world. Pneumonia set in.

It was that Sunday night that I started to really bleed. I lay in a hot bath and sent a message to all those friends who knew I was pregnant. I started to write. The rest of it, you’ve already read.

It took me a long time to write this. It’s not an easy night to re-live. For the most part it has been written while I sit in your garden surrounded by colour, birdsong, spring sunshine and sweet scents. In the meantime, I’ve been through the whole gamut of emotion around miscarriage and trying to conceive our next baby. Hope one day and devastation the next. Today I feel neither hope nor dismay, just an acceptance of my life and of Peanut’s and the end of our time together.

Written over July and August, 2011 

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Lisa’s Story
August 26, 2011

First of all I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. Although my heart aches and at times I am forced to stop and take a breath, using my voice to make sure that other women know that they are not alone makes it very empowering.
It is a little graphic in parts so please don’t read if you will find it offensive.
“They say that time in heaven is compared to ‘the blink of an eye’ for us on this earth. I think of all those angels running ahead of us through beautiful fields of wildflowers and butterflies; so happy and completely caught up in what they are doing that when they stop and look behind, we’ll already be there waiting for them.”

I’m going to start my story by going back a little bit.
I had my son who is now 11 in October 1999. Everything was wrong at the time – I was 18, in a very abusive relationship with a man who didn’t want a child, I was unhealthy mentally and physically, didn’t have any stable income or career or even any idea about my future. But fate intervened for me and what at the time seemed like a scary and impossible task ended up being a life saver. I had a trouble-free pregnancy and an easy labour and after 4 hours with no intervention or drugs welcomed my son into the world – all 9 pounds of him. Holding him in my arms I swore that I would spend every moment of my life making sure that he was not only provided for, but that he knew he was loved and cared for. I looked at him and said aloud that this was the moment that everything changed for us.

I took to parenting naturally and gathered the strength to leave my son’s father, promising him a better future. When he was almost 2 I began a distance education course and gained enough qualifications to begin my career. There were some challenges along the way with my son having to endure surgeries to correct a kidney issue that he was born with and the removal of a benign thyroid tumour from my thyroid in 2004, but generally we lived a very happy and carefree life. My son was always a delight and very easy to deal with. We were a great team and being a mother was the very first thing in my life that I was good at. He became my pride and joy, and still to this day i get stopped in the street after my son has used his manners or considered someone in some way, and am told what a wonderful child he is and a wonderful mother I am.

I never actually considered that I would meet anyone – for me, my life was focussed on bringing up my son. I had wonderful family support around me and was very happy. But I suppose as he got older and more independent I began to wonder what my own future held – as he was becoming more and more his own person I was realising that I had to also consider my future. So, be it fate or whatever, one day I decided to contact someone through Facebook who lived in my local area. Not something that I would ever normally consider doing, but I literally typed in my suburb and up came the man who would become my future husband. I was fortunate because he worked all over Australia and not many women were interested in that lifestyle, but for me it was perfect – still independent, but a chance to get out there and maybe have some fun, go for dinner and a movie.

As corny as it sounds it was love at first sight, although over the months as I fell hard for him it was challenging to be apart when he was working away – it was also so refreshing to be doing something for me after living through my son for so many years. I was so lucky because my husband took to parenting from the start and although I have seen him grow over the years and become wiser when it comes to looking after my son, from the very start he took a very active role and he took it seriously. The other thing that my husband and I shared was a love for family. We both spent a lot of time with our families and also expressed a desire to start our own family sometime in the future. We were both very sure that we wanted a child together someday.

The weekend that my husband proposed to me was incredibly romantic. He took me away for the weekend to this really corny African themed cottage and we wined and dined and visited the hot springs and I felt like I was in heaven. He took me to the end of the pier just when the sun was going down and next to the water that was gently rocking against the pier he presented me with the most beautiful diamond ring and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I had known in my heart for a long time that this was what I wanted and didn’t hesitate in accepting. When we got home our friends threw us this gorgeous little engagement dinner where the kids had created signs that said things like “congratulations”.

The first thing we planned was our backyard engagement party. We were very sure that we wanted all of our family, friends and their kids together for a BBQ. We hired a jumping castle and enjoyed celebrating with our loved ones. This is also around the time that we started to talk more and more about when we would start planning for that much wanted baby together. One night when we were lying there talking about it, we decided that the timing was right and that it would take a little while anyway so we threw out the pill packet and that was it…. my journey had begun.

We had planned a holiday to QLD in September 2009 – this was my sons first proper family holiday and it was amazing. We went to all the theme parks, stayed in a kid friendly hotel and enjoyed doing all the tourist things in the balmy, warm weather. On the second last day of our holiday it occurred to me that my period was due and I was feeling a bit squeamish so off we went to the supermarket to get a 3 pack pregnancy test. We had agreed that we would wait until the morning to do the first test but at 2am I couldn’t sleep from the anticipation so off I went to do the test. Under the moon light in our room was where I saw that faint line and woke my husband up with the exciting news – he didn’t quite believe it and said wait until the morning when i should do another test. Of course it was the same result the next day. We were so excited and also naive – my only experience had been with my son who I hadn’t planned for and I really didn’t know that things weren’t always so easy. We told my son straight away who actually cried what he called “tears of happiness” for us and his future baby brother or sister. We rang our parents and were so excited. We talked baby names and our future and went home with full hearts and so much anticipation for our future.

From the start it was a difficult pregnancy. I was very over weight and I felt tired and exhausted most of the time and I was suffering from chronic morning sickness 24/7. I was in a very stressful management job and I wasn’t coping. My husband was working away most of the time and when I did manage to get to work I would sit in an office away from everyone feeling miserable and trying to do my job. From the start something niggled at me about things not being right – I joined an online baby forum and started to read about miscarriages. I actually spent many days googling missed miscarriage even though I didn’t have any reason to suspect one. Early on in the pregnancy I was getting a lot of cramps and I presented to Emergency at my local hospital where I was scanned and told that it was too early to see anything except a yolk sac. I was measuring smaller than I should have been but was told not to worry because my strong never relenting symptoms were a sign that everything was ok.

When I visited my GP in the coming weeks and expressed my concern he was very dismissive. Going in to our nuchal scan with my husband I was very excited – he had never seen a baby on an ultrasound and I had read that this would make it so real for him. It was all new to me because I had never received any support from my son’s father so I was excited to be sharing this journey. I have small memories from the scan….. the fact that I was finding it so hard to hold my bladder, the smiling and laughing with the receptionists on the way in and the look of worry on the guys face when he was asking me if this was our first scan and then eventually after an internal ultrasound confirming that he could not find a heartbeat and that things did not look “promising”. I decided that I wanted to go to a major women’s hospital because I knew that I had suffered from a missed miscarriage or, as the doctor wrote on his report, “missed abortion”.

I remember charging out to the car with my films of my dead little baby and feeling such a sense of sadness. My husband went to the reception to pay for the ultrasound and found out that we wouldn’t have to pay for this one. I rang our family and told them and we headed to the hospital. I went to reception and couldn’t talk through my crying and gave them the letter from the scan. We sat and waited to be seen by a doctor. As it was Saturday there wasn’t much they could do – they didn’t have their early pregnancy assessment clinic open until Monday and there was no one there to do another ultrasound so we were sent home in limbo and told to return on the Monday. We went home and I told my son who cried with me – he couldn’t understand why this had happened. We tried to keep things as normal as possible for his sake and he perked up quickly – kids are so resilient and as long as we are ok – he was ok too. We did take him to my Mum’s house on Sunday and spent some time together.

I remember going to the big market in the city and eating terrible food which I couldn’t eat when pregnant from the stalls. Every time I go back to that market I can feel how I felt on that day. I was so upset to be carrying around my dead baby inside me and just wanted Monday to come so that we could find out what was going to happen. On the Monday we went to the early assessment clinic where we were given a brochure on miscarriage and told to wait. All I remember from this visit is that my husband wasn’t allowed to come in with me initially, and I was so upset and felt that it was hard enough on him anyway and now being separated was just making it harder. I also remember having to carry the films with me and feeling like I wanted to get rid of them. We went for another ultrasound where the original diagnosis was confirmed. The baby had stopped growing and died at around 10w 6d. I was booked in for a D and C the next day and told to fast and come to theatre early in the morning and that I would be on an
emergency list. That night I was sick with nerves but also looking forward to the nightmare being over.

The next day, which was a Tuesday, I turned up at the hospital. The cruellest thing about it all was that I was still suffering from incredibly bad morning sickness and because I had been fasting since the night before I was feeling very, very sick. I remember when the lady weighed me I was very upset because her scales were different from mine at home and hers were saying I weighed less than what I did and I was so concerned that they weren’t going to give me enough anaesthetic. The other issue was that my husband was not allowed to come with me into pre-theatre so if I wanted to be with him I had to sit out on the hard chairs in the waiting room but i had the choice of going into a bed and waiting. After a little while I was too sick and uncomfortable so decided to go inside and said goodbye. I got changed into a gown and continued to wait. I waited for hours and I got sicker and sicker and more and more nervous and upset. They kept telling me that there were emergency caesars coming in and that was why I was having to wait and while I knew that a live baby was more important than removing my dead one, I still just wanted it all to be over.

At some stage an expectant father was sat next to me and I sat there and thought of the new life that he was about to meet, and while I was so excited for his miracle I was also heartbroken and grieving for my loss. As I sat and cried nurses and doctors would pass me and no one said anything until a male nurse stopped and took my hand and he asked if I was ok and he let me cry to him about  how unfair it was and about how I just didn’t understand why it was happening to me. Eventually it was my turn and the last thing I remember before I went to sleep was that I had a splitting headache, so much so that I wanted to scream for them to stop. When I woke up I was groggy and I was in a lot of pain. They told me it was all over and I cried and cried for what I had lost. I still don’t know how much of my pain was physical as opposed to mental anguish.

Before the surgery I was told that it was a simple procedure and that I would wake up, have something to eat and then go home so I was very surprised when I started to bleed profusely in recovery and was told that I wouldn’t be going anywhere. A doctor came and manually dilated my cervix and while I cried out in pain they tried to stop the bleeding. Eventually it did stop enough for them to take me to a room where I was admitted for the night. I won’t go into too many details but it was a very traumatic day where they would call the doctor over and over again and try to stop the bleeding – which did happen eventually. My husband was my rock for this whole time. He stayed by my side and showed me that I could rely on him no matter what. He put himself second and didn’t once leave or not handle what was very confronting during that day. I also remember that his mobile phone got lost but that’s a whole other story.

The next day we went home and I began the slow road to recovery. The first week I suffered terrible panic attacks – I thought that something was wrong with me physically and I was very fortunate that my neighbour was a nurse and was so caring and every time I would go into a spin she would come and check on me and reassure me that I was ok. My GP wasn’t so reassuring and actually prescribed me Valium and said to pop one when I felt like I couldn’t handle it anymore. Luckily my husband was the one who would tell me that he understood if I needed to but that I could get through it and didn’t need the drugs. I only took one of them before deciding to face reality.

It was very difficult returning to work where most knew of my pregnancy. I had never thought that anything would go wrong so I wasn’t shy in telling people. My tummy had grown quickly and I didn’t hide it or deny it. It was also a difficult time because my job was being made redundant but it was a very slow process and the work environment was incredibly toxic. In the end before I received my pay out they actually moved me to another office because the one I was in was deemed to be too much of a risk considering the state of my health.
So life went on.. we grieved but things did get back to somewhat normal. My husband was working away again and I was going into the other office and work was bearable. I was waiting for a generous redundancy payout. We started planning for our January wedding and moved our focus onto that. We were told to wait a cycle and then we could try again.

We had a wonderful wedding and celebrated it with much hope for our future.

The next time I fell pregnant was 2 weeks after Valentine’s Day. I was so hopeful, and everyone including the doctors had told me that the miscarriage had just been bad luck. It happens, they had said. This pregnancy wasn’t so hard on me as the first one- I had less sickness, was in a low stress job knowing that I would receive my payout shortly and I truly believed that it wouldn’t happen again. I did everything right – didn’t over do it, ate the right things. I was incredibly overweight though – more so than even the first pregnancy and it bothered me immensely. I had been below my healthy weight range when I had my son many years before. The first sign that my body was struggling was when I was only just pregnant and went to a health check at work. My blood pressure was high and I was advised to go and see a GP as soon as possible. By now I had changed doctors and went to her with my concerns. She told me I had nothing to worry about and sent me home to do some BP monitoring. It was borderline and even though the hospital wanted me followed up by a clinic she assured me that she had spoken to an obstetrician who had told her I didn’t need any medication. I waited until 8 weeks when I had a scan and saw that precious heartbeat. My husband couldn’t be with me because he was away, but I remember ringing him and both of us crying with relief that everything was ok. At this stage the baby was measuring a few days behind but I was told not to worry and that it would all be fine. Around this time I also told my son I was pregnant because he was jumping all over me and I was over sensitive and just thought it best if he knew. He was so happy for us and we assured him that everything would be ok this time.

We had planned our honeymoon for May and had decided to take a cruise around the South Pacific Islands. I had to provide them with a medical certificate saying I was fit to travel and we organised our nuchal scan for a week before.

At the appointment for the nuchal scan I became sick with worry. Just before going in I just started crying hysterically and I just knew that it wasn’t going to be ok. We had been telling ourselves that it was all going to be ok for months and for some reason in my heart I just had this sudden feeling of dread. When they did the scan and told us that there was no heartbeat I was really annoyed and actually said aloud “I knew it”. We could actually see the lifeless baby on the screen and although I was supposed to be over 13 weeks the baby was measuring 11. It was all very ground-hog day and our biggest concern became do we go on our honeymoon or cancel it. We were due to leave the following Wednesday. So off to the same major women’s hospital we go with our ultrasound films in our hands and, although devastated, more aware of what was going to happen. We were actually able to report straight to the early pregnancy assessment clinic where I was to be re-scanned as per hospital procedure to confirm the diagnosis.

When I was being scanned the lady called my husband over and flipped the screen and said “look at this” and she proceeded to show us the babies heartbeat – we were so confused. She responded that places that don’t specialise in obstetrics can make mistakes, and that the baby was measuring smaller than dates but that there was a heartbeat. We were so excited and hopeful, the midwife was calling it a miracle and when we asked about our honeymoon she said to go and enjoy ourselves and to come back and get another nuchal scan when we came back from our holidays. So off we went. When I got home from the hospital I called my doctor to tell her the good news. She was very quiet during this conversation and said that she would call me back. She rang the first place that we had been to and discussed the different diagnosis with them. They were standing by their original diagnosis 100 per cent and said that there were other reasons why this baby was not alive and that there was no placental blood flow etc. My doctor rang me back and said that I need to go back to the first place to be re-scanned because they want to know if they had misdiagnosed me.

At first I was very adamant that I didn’t want to go – I wanted to hold onto this bit of hope and I was emotionally exhausted. She got very stern with me and told me that if this baby was dead and I went on our cruise I might not get the medical attention that I need and that I could bleed to death….. so I gave in and off I went. I asked my husband to stay at home with my son because I didn’t want his routine to be interrupted. When I got there they re-scanned me with two doctors in the room including the senior one and showed me the screen and just about tried to sell me on the fact that this baby was dead. I was so confused and upset by now and just didn’t know what to do. I called the Women’s hospital where the midwife said “oh, you’re our miracle case, why did you go and get another scan?”, and then said she had to rush off home. I called my GP and we agreed that we would make an appointment at another scan place the following week – a high-tech specialist scanning clinic. In the meantime she also rang the Women’s hospital who then proceeded to call me. They insisted that I come to casualty so that they could do another scan and have a proper diagnosis. It turned out that the lady in the clinic had detected my own pulse or something that she had mistaken for the heartbeat – so it was confirmed that the baby was not alive and it was recommended that I be booked in to have another D and C. I was exhausted mentally and physically and went home to begin our grieving.

That night we wrote a very long letter to the Chief of the Hospital explaining our misdiagnosis and how the midwife and doctors had handled it and requested that they do testing on the foetus because I wanted to know if there was anything that had caused it.
The next day we headed into the hospital where I was admitted through a ward which meant I didn’t have to spend all that time in theatre and my husband could be with me. Straight away we gave our letter to a patient advocate and we told our story. As I was being wheeled into theatre I was told that the hospital had agreed to do testing even though it isn’t what they would normally do after only 2 miscarriages. I woke up bleeding heavily again and was taken to a ward. The midwife from the clinic visited me at one stage and I was almost hysterical in my grief and really didn’t want to speak to her about what had happened the day before. That night I was discharged and, broken-hearted, my husband and I went home to grieve. We decided to still go on our honeymoon and a couple of days later left on our 10 day cruise. We really did leave the world behind during our holiday and although my heart ached I did enjoy the escape from reality.

There were tears and nights where we lay together silently while the boat rocked and asked each other why. Returning home was hard but I also had new resolve, I was going to make changes to my life. We both agreed that we should put our baby plans on hold. I wanted to lose weight before we tried again because it bothered me being so heavy while carrying a baby. I also finally got my redundancy package and started a new much more relaxed non-management job. I walked out of the office at 4.30pm and was able to go home to my family and leave work behind. We also decided to buy our first home together and purchased land and started to build.

After a couple of months we went to the hospital for the testing on the baby and found out that it was a little girl but there were no chromosomal issues. It was almost Christmas by now and there was a part of us that wanted to just believe that we were unlucky but there was also a part of me deep down that thought maybe that wasn’t the case. I actually started to do my own research and read a few books and discovered that women who had experienced a couple of miscarriages at around the same time as me did have blood clotting disorders. So in January we decided to visit the recurrent miscarriage clinic at this same hospital. We were referred here because after the misdiagnosis we were apologised to and offered an appointment at the clinic. Usually they will only see you after 3 losses but for us they made an exception. We were told that they probably wouldn’t find anything wrong with us and that the majority of couples left without answers but that they also offered a weekly appointment service through their clinic when we were pregnant again which might assist with some of the anxiety related to pregnancy after miscarriage. They took about 10 vials of blood and sent us on our way with a follow-up appointment in 6 weeks time.

Life moved on, I continued to lose weight (have now lost 40kgs all up and am in my healthy weight range), the house started to get built (it is now 1 week off finished) and I started to build my career in my new job.

When we went for our results we were told that I was born with Factor V Leiden, which is a blood clotting disorder. I have inherited it from one of my parents and while they can’t prove it, it does cause miscarriages because blood clots form in the placenta and the baby doesn’t get enough nourishment and eventually dies. I met with a haematologist and have been told that I will have daily Clexane needles (blood thinner) and have already started baby aspirin while we try to conceive.

I am sure that I have left bits out of this story and probably even blocked some bits from my memory. I am such a different person today than I was two years ago when I started this journey. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, I have made some amazing friends who have been through similar painful journeys and I have drifted away from many friends who I had before because I don’t have that much common with them.

I hold my son close and although I knew how blessed I was – now I really know. I am proud of the changes that I have made in my life and my husband has proved to me over and over that he is the man for me. He has stood by me and showed that he is always going to be there. We are still so hopeful of holding that much wanted baby in our arms and I am sure that when it happens we won’t be complaining about lack of sleep or tantrums or the challenges that parenting brings – we will know what a miracle life is. I have always believed that everything in life happens for a reason and while my beliefs have been challenged throughout this time, I stand by it, and although I don’t really understand it at the moment, I really hope that one day I will.

Thank you so much for reading my story.

Karina’s Story
July 14, 2011

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
Cold
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
Soft
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.

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

Sandra’s Story
July 10, 2011

The day my Husband (S) and I decided that we were going to start trying for a baby, we were on a beach in Mooloolaba, QLD. It was Feb 2011 and we were up there for the weekend for my cousin’s wedding. We had talked about having a baby earlier, but we were torn with doing so because we ourselves were getting married in May.  I was having my dress made from scratch, so I was concerned that if I fell pregnant I wouldn’t be able to get into my dress, he smiled at me with his gorgeous, cheeky smile, and just said ‘I don’t care about your dress, I’ll marry you in your pj’s’.  Needless to say, I can’t resist that cheeky smile of his, and as of that moment, we were trying to conceive.
It honestly never crossed our minds that we’d fall pregnant right away.  I’d been to see my GP at the start of Jan, just to make sure everything was ok for after the wedding, he warned me that the chances of us falling first go were very, very slim, and that was fine with us, we weren’t in any rush.  My cycle length has always varied in one way or another, so I’ve never been the girl to have 28 day cycles. I remember testing when I thought my period should be due, and the test was negative.  I thought nothing of it, and only started to worry a week and a half later when it still hadn’t shown up.  We decided to wait until the next morning to test.
I peed on the stick at 6:30 am, not expecting 2 lines to show up. I couldn’t believe it. S likes his sleep, so at first he was grumpy that I was trying to wake him up so early in the morning to look at something, but as soon as his eyes focused a little, he couldn’t stop smiling. I still couldn’t believe it.
Over the next 2 weeks I peed on a stick every day, and the line got darker and darker.  When I dropped all my sticks on my Dr’s desk, he just laughed and said he hadn’t seen that may pregnancy tests since his wife was trying to fall pregnant. He didn’t get me to do bloods, because he could see the dark lines, so he just gave me a referral for a dating scan.  I didn’t want anyone at my work to know, so I called my old boss, who is the manager at a different radiology company, and she got me in at her work. The only thing was we had to wait 2 weeks.
Going by the first day of my last period, by the time we had the scan I should have been just under 7 weeks. I work in Radiology, on the admin side of it, so I knew not to get too excited, sometimes too much knowledge is a curse.
I knew that something wasn’t quiet right when we went for a dating scan, The lady doing my scan used to be a Dr in her home country, and she kept asking me when my last period was, and if I had ever been diagnosed with PSO then frowning when I said I hadn’t. I was measuring 2 and a bit weeks behind my calculated dates, and Berry was measuring at 5w6d. I knew not to expect a heartbeat, but secretly I’d hoped that Berry would have had one.
She went on to explain that sometimes people can be this far off their dates and we shouldn’t worry.  We were then told to be re-scanned in 2 weeks. Those were the longest 2 weeks of my life. I think I knew deep down that something wasn’t right, but I was hopeful. I’d asked for a blood test and, my bloods were increasing, but sadly, my GP didn’t pick up that the bloods weren’t increasing enough for that stage of pregnancy. He just compared them to the standard increase guidelines and was happy with that.
We went in again for our second scan on the day S was due to have his buck’s night. Berry measured 5w5d but my  gestational sac had increased to 7w1. The sonographer said there was still hope and we should come back in another 2 weeks, but we knew, Berry wasn’t viable. S didn’t want to leave me, but he couldn’t cancel the buck’s, seeing as only his brother and best mate knew, along with both our dads, so he had to pretend to be happy the entire time.
My old boss had always treated me like I was her second child, and she pushed and pushed for us to be put in for an earlier scan, because it was coming up to the Easter long weekend, and she didn’t want me to hurt anymore than I already did. I had pregnancy symptoms, painful boobs, constant headaches, was nauseous and had insane cravings for salty food, but never any morning sickness, which I always thought was odd, not lucky.

She got me in for my scan earlier, with a different sonographer, and he confirmed right away what we all already knew, and by that point I was measuring 5w5d still with an 8 week sac. I was told to wait for my films and report and to go to hospital immediately and see what course of action they wanted to take.

Sadly I was stuffed around by the hospital maternity emergency department too. I was seen by the triage nurse quite quickly, then told not to eat just in case they wanted to do a D&C that day.  We waited 5 hours, and being hungry, and emotional, and just over everything I went up to the desk only to be asked what I was doing there.  I was pretty pissed off. They’d forgotten about me!! as I repeated why I was there through gritted teeth, she remembered me, and got the Dr to take me through right away.
Once in the Dr’s little room, she left S and I there for an hour and a half, to ring EVERYONE she could to confirm what we already knew, looked me in the eye, and told me it was a missed miscarriage.  I could have slapped her. We knew this, and she just left us there all that time, not even once coming back to explain that she was checking info.
So at the very end of a very long and stressful day, we were booked in for the emergency D&C on the spot, and were told to be back on Saturday the 23rd at 6 am.
The 23rd was horrible.  We were told we’d be going home by 2 pm.  I didn’t go into surgery waiting area until 1pm. The Dr we’d seen on the Thursday had forgotten to write that I needed medication to dilate my cervix, and we had to wait 4 hours for that to work.  Then, when I was wheeled into the Surgery waiting bay, they asked S to leave, and I was left alone, in tears, for an hour.  One of the anaesthetists walked past me and asked the nurse ‘what’s wrong with that one, why is she here’ I wanted to yell at him that I’d lost my baby and how dare he talk about me as if I wasn’t in the room but I didn’t have the energy.  He continued to tell the nurse he was busy with women with ‘live babies’ and didn’t have time to prep me for surgery. Thank goodness I ended up getting a wonderful anaesthetist.
The guy who was doing my D&C was a fertility specialist, and whilst I respect his advice and his attempts to comfort me though the tears, it hurt me that he kept saying I was still young enough to fall pregnant again without any worries and these things are very common. They may be very common, but that still doesn’t make it any easier when it’s your first pregnancy, and you so very, very much wanted it.
S and I arrived at the hospital at 5:50am, and didn’t leave until 9pm, thanks to a nurse who wouldn’t give myself and the other lady who’d just had a D&C any food just in case we threw it back up, apparently she didn’t want to clean it up. She was a treat. Thankfully another wonderful nurse told her we hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours and things changed pretty quick after that. Especially because we weren’t able to leave until we’d eaten and not thrown up.
I don’t think anything can ever prepare you for the loss of your baby, no matter how many weeks into a pregnancy you were.  The very second that second line shows up on the test, you’re invested more in that little soul than you ever imagined you could be, you love your little creation more and more every day, and you fall in love with the way your husband falls in love with your belly, and the way he talks to it every day and tells your newest love to ‘be good for mummy today’ and ‘our footy team won today’……
My family and S keep telling me still to this day that Berry was just really shy, and wasn’t ready to meet us yet, and that we’d get 2 lines again when Berry was ready to meet us. Still doesn’t make it hurt any less.
My husband and I named Berry, based on what gender we both thought I was carrying, and we both have a charm that we wear everyday in memory of Berry, it helps a tiny bit to know that even thought I’m not carrying Berry anymore, we carry a memory of Berry every day.
I’d like to thank you Kate, for writing about your Peanut, and for letting me tell you about Berry.
I really hope our little angels are together, watching out for us.  I think when you lose a baby, you feel so lost because it’s not really a talked about thing, and you feel like no one knows how you feel.  I’m glad I came across your journal, I don’t feel so alone now, especially because we had only told immediate family, and very, very close friends.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Thankyou to Sandra for telling me about your Berry. You’ve helped me too, and probably many other women as well.
Be well xxx

Dana’s Story
June 20, 2011

It has been my privilege to be able to share our story (mine and Peanut’s) with other women in the hopes of giving them some of what I felt, and still feel, I needed: compassion, empathy and an example of the universality of the craziness and grief accompanying the loss of a baby. And maybe the struggle to understand some of the uglier realities.
Dana was kind enough to return the favour and share her story with me. And even kinder to let me share her story with you. So here is Dana’s story.

 

Dear Kate,

Firstly I just want to sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. Sitting here facing the prospect of putting my thoughts into words however, is quite a daunting thing. I am not quite sure where to start! How do I put into words thoughts and feelings that have been hiding away in my head and my heart for so long? It’s just something that no one ever talks about. And after it happens, no one ever asks you about it. I am not sure why miscarriage is such a taboo subject – it is a very common occurrence and a devastation that unfortunately, many women suffer. Perhaps if women weren’t made to feel like grieving for what might have been was the wrong thing to do – then healing from it wouldn’t be as hard? Surely silence is not the way to heal a broken heart?

Kate – my circumstance is very different to yours. I don’t feel that my pain even compares to yours. You lost your first and very much longed for child. To finally be given such a gift and then to have it cruelly snatched away… I truly couldn’t even imagine the pain you are feeling. I lost my second child. When I was dealt the devastating blow – I still got to come home to my daughter. I don’t pretend to be feeling what you are feeling, or to know exactly what you are going through. But I still suffered a loss, it still broke my heart, and I still think about my second child every day. Who were you? What did you look like? What did your laugh sound like? Where are you now? So many questions…

Having children was supposed to be a challenge for us. My husband, who had been married previous to me, was told by Specialists that the likelihood he would father any children was slim to none. After having difficulties in his first marriage to start a family and going through all the time and expense of fertility testing and treatments, it took a toll on his relationship and it sadly did not come through to the other side. After we met and things started to get serious, he explained to me that having children might not be an option for us. I didn’t care – I wasn’t marrying him for his sperm count. After a year or so we decided that we would try and start our family. Knowing that we would have to try for a while before we would be able to move onto other methods – I came off of my birth control, and really didn’t give things another thought. 5 weeks later I went to the Doctor (husband in tow) complaining of severe stomach cramps which were crippling me every night. She asked if I was pregnant – we did a test – and there right before us – two little purple lines. My husband and I jumped up and hugged and cried and danced our way around the Doctor’s office. Turns out we COULD get pregnant. 6 months later we (prematurely) welcomed a precious little girl.

When my daughter was just over 12 months old, we decided we would try for a little sister or brother for her. Again, I went off my birth control, and just as easily as I fell pregnant the first time, I was expecting again. We were absolutely overjoyed! I must add that not everyone was overjoyed, my husband’s sister was due to be married in Queensland mid October, and our due date was 31st October, 2010. His parents and sister were NOT impressed that I would be so close to giving birth at the wedding. It was disappointing and hurtful to see such a response when you tell people about your amazing news. At about 7 weeks we had a scan (can’t remember why now – I think to confirm the pregnancy) and we got to see a little heartbeat. It’s the most amazing sight and sound… seeing a little life inside you. It was an ordinary Monday about a week later when everything went wrong. I went to the toilet and discovered I was spotting. My heart sank straight away – I knew something was wrong. Yelling out to my husband, he rushed in to find me upset and he told me that it would all be fine, and we made an appointment to see the Doctor straight away.

The Doctor was very matter of fact. Bleeding was probably the start of a loss (which he added was very common in early pregnancy) and he started going through with me the D&C procedure. I was a bit shocked as at that point we didn’t actually know what was going on yet… maybe it was just a bit of implantation spotting? An ultrasound after the Doctor’s appointment however, confirmed our worst fears. There was no heartbeat. What happened after that is a bit of a blur now. I remember the sonographer leaving the room to give my husband and I some time together, in which we both cried and held one another. I just kept apologising to him – I felt like it was my fault that we had lost the baby and I had done something to cause it to happen. I went through everything I had done in the past 8 weeks and wondered what I had done to cause our baby to die. My husband of course told me it was no one’s fault – but I couldn’t accept that at the time. I was heartbroken.

In only 8 weeks of pregnancy – our excitement had caused us to make all sorts of plans. We had chosen baby names already, talked about moving our daughter from the Nursery to her own room, and made plans for our new family of four. Having our first pregnancy end so well, it never occurred to us that this might happen. Everything – our plans and hopes and dreams – came shattering down around us. After a few minutes the sonographer came back and asked if we were ready to leave as they had other scans to do. We were causing their schedule to fall behind. Having to walk out into the full waiting room was awful, as everyone stared at our red and teary eyes.

Going back to see the Doctor, he told me that he would prefer to wait and see if my body would pass the baby ‘naturally’ before we talked about a D&C again. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. Part of me wanted to get everything over with – it was as though I felt that if the baby was gone – my pain would be gone also. But another part of me strangely thought that maybe the bleeding might stop, and that the ultrasound was wrong and my baby was still in there, little heart beating wildly. So I went home wishing the latter to be true. They had just made a mistake – the bleeding was just a normal part of pregnancy – our baby is still in there! No amount of wishing however, was going to change what nature had put into place. I started to bleed. I started to bleed heavily. I was having contractions and pains that I had never known. I started to become obsessed with my bleeding – checking every 20 minutes to see if I had passed our baby. I was sad. So incredibly sad. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I stayed in bed. It was painful – both physically and emotionally.

My husband was amazing during this time – looking after both me and our daughter. He became the strong one while I crumpled into a mess. I did pass our baby a few days later. Into the toilet. It was awful – I didn’t mean for it to happen there. Reading your story Kate, and seeing that you collected your Peanut and made a grave for your baby tears at my heart. I should have done the same. I didn’t. I didn’t get my baby out of the toilet. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I wasn’t.  But I should have. I should have honoured our baby like you did with your Peanut. I feel like a terrible mother for allowing my baby to go down the toilet. I struggle with this. What mother lets her baby go down the toilet? I won’t ever forgive myself for that. Ever.

I bled for about a week. For that week I stayed in bed. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I was severely depressed. I had no idea how much losing our baby was affecting me. I was feeling all sorts of thing: pain, heartbreak, grief, guilt, anger…

Losing our baby was the starting point for some other terrible things that happened too. Well – it was sort of the catalyst for it I suppose. I can remember not ever wanting to answer the phone. Not many knew of the pregnancy in the first place but I just really didn’t want to talk to anyone. I remember it was a Friday night. The phone was ringing and my husband couldn’t get to the phone for some reason. I should have let it go, I should have let it ring. I answered it – and on the other end was my husband’s sister. I can remember I said ‘hello’, and then on the end she says to me – “Gee you sound a bit flat – is everything okay? Oh and I heard about what happened, sorry about that.” Now I know I was very sensitive and touchy at the time – but knowing she knew what had happened, telling me I sounded flat and asking me why seemed a bit strange. Of course I sounded flat! Of course I was not okay! I didn’t say anything at the time (looking back now I should have… I should of told her that of course I wasn’t okay I had just lost a baby). I gave the phone to my husband and later told him what she had said – to which he later told her that perhaps that was a bit of an insensitive thing to say.

Looking back on it now I suppose it wasn’t all that of a big deal, and maybe I shouldn’t have been so sensitive and let it go. But if I knew she had lost a baby, and asked her why she was sounding ‘flat’ I am sure she might be offended too. I guess I felt it was as though she was saying I shouldn’t have been feeling that way.  You lost a baby, sure… but why are you acting that way? Anyway – it opened the floodgates to his sister telling my husband how awful I am, how much the family didn’t like me, how selfish it was of me to get pregnant in the first place knowing she was getting married… all sorts of horrible things, and then his parents sided with her. It was a terrible time – I was emotionally distraught from the loss as it was let alone dealing with all of that. In the end my husband cut all contact with them. But it was hard. Our marriage nearly ended over it. So now not only had we lost our baby, we had also lost his family, and were on the verge of losing each other. Life at that point was very miserable.

It took a long time to get through it. To get me out of bed, for the tears to stop. My husband and I were both healing too – and we talked about our baby and why it happened. After a long while, we both accepted what had happened – and in order to accept our loss we decided to think of it this way: Our Baby was not growing properly. Our Baby was not going to grow with the best chance of life, and was likely to develop many health issues. Perhaps we would have lost our Baby at 25 weeks, or perhaps at birth? Perhaps it was nature’s way of being kind to our Baby, and to us. If we were to lose our Baby, losing him/her so early on was probably the best way to go (if there is indeed a best way to go). It was nature’s way. Our Baby was too good for this earth at this time, and is now in heaven watching over us.

I don’t know if any of the above is right – but that’s how we both learned to heal over what had happened. We decided to accept that we had no control, and losing our baby whilst as devastating as it was, was the right thing to happen for us at the time. Accepting that it happened still didn’t dull the pain. It still doesn’t. I think of our baby all the time. I still think of what might have been. How old our baby would be now. When baby’s due date rolled around, that was a hard day. I was the only one in the world who remembered it though. I think I always will be the only one in the world who will remember what would have been on that day.

A few months after we lost our second baby. We decided we would try again. The Doctor would have told us it was too soon. Again, we fell. This time pregnancy was a scary time. Every time I went to the toilet, I was frightened I would see blood. I was terrified that we would lose another baby. It was a hard pregnancy in those first 12 weeks. I was a wreck. Anxious, stressed… you name it. All those things you’re probably not supposed to be feeling when you are pregnant. But this time, nature decided we would carry a baby to term. Our son was born in January and is just over 4 months old now.

So you see Kate, my story is very different to yours. I have been blessed with two beautiful children, with our second angel baby in between. But I am no more of a mother than what you are, and your loss I believe is greater than mine. But you need to know that when you are ready – you too will be blessed with full term pregnancies and beautiful children of your own. It won’t make Peanut any less special, and it won’t make your pain disappear completely – but I promise there will come a day when your heart won’t be shattered daily.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Dana xx

 

I want to say that I don’t believe my loss is greater than any other woman who has lost a child. This journey has showed me that everyone feels their loss differently. A previous child might give you a reason to get out of bed, but doesn’t erase the loss of a baby. And I have been told by a few women that they have lost their babies while on the toilet. It happens, and we shouldn’t blame ourselves for listening to our bodies. it doesn’t make us bad mothers.

Thankyou Dana.