The stress in deciding between giving our baby a chance or ending their life
Being a mother.. something I'd dreamt about what felt like my entire life. I am absolutely baby obsessed and couldn't wait until it was my time.
I stopped my pill in August, under the impression that, having been on it since I was 14 (I'm now 30), it would take a while to get out of my system. We were "careful" after that, wanting to wait a couple of months to try to time it with the school holidays - a September baby would be great for work! Still, October came and there was that beautiful *2-3 weeks* writing on the pregnancy test.
At 10 weeks, I had a massive bleed and ended up in A&E. I was absolutely dreading the worst but after a 4 hour wait, a scan and a checkup the following day, the baby was moving away with a perfect little heartbeat. There was no *reason* for the bleed and they sent me on my way.
Things were plain sailing from there, the only thing affecting me was the lack of sleep. Until 17 weeks. Another bleed. Panic again! We rang the Midwife again and were told we could go to A&E. We decided last time as there wasn't anything they did last time, we waited it out and the bleeding was gone as quick as it happened so the panic was over. I could feel little kicks and much better.
At 18+2, our lives changed forever. Working from home, I was sat on the sofa and felt what I thought was another bleed. I rushed upstairs to discover a different substance in my pad. I knew then something really wasn't right. The midwife couldn't work out what it was but ordered me into the labour suite to get checked out. My fiancé rushed back from work and we headed straight to the hospital. We were met by a lovely midwife and taken into a delivery room. From there, after investigations of my pad, I had test after test and swab after swab. The midwife looked disappointed after she realised the swab she'd been so hopeful to see a "negative" on was looking more and more "positive". My waters. They had broken. And that was it, the start of the most horrific few months of our lives.
A few hours later after more results and scans, we had around 3 consultants come in at different points in the evening to tell us that there was nothing more we could do and our baby would need to be brought into the world too early. My infection markers were up and they were worried I would develop sepsis. We decided that we wanted it "over and done with" as soon as possible and discussed with the midwife to get us started on the medication. With that, a further consultant came in around midnight and explained she wanted us to wait, my infection wasn't that bad and we could wait a few days to get our heads around things.
We stayed overnight and were sent home the following day. I couldn't let my baby go now, knowing that there was some tiny glimmer of hope that our baby could survive. My waters could regenerate and they would be ok.
We spent the next 3 weeks in and out of hospital, blood tests, scans, antibiotics... It was relentless. Only after 3 weeks would we know if our baby would have any chance of surviving.
The day of our 20 week scan I was absolutely terrified. The other scans I hadn't been, but this felt more like a big deal. With 0 fluid, they struggled so much to get any measurements at all. Any they did get, baby was off the lower end of the percentile range for size at 20 weeks. They hadn't grown at all. And now they weren't moving... I went home and balled my eyes out. The realisation of saying goodbye to my baby was finally setting in.
2 days later, we had our final consultant appointment. He scanned us and showed no change. This was it.. We had to say goodbye to our baby. We'd take the medication, sign the forms and come back 2 days later to have an induction. Our baby girl was brought into the world on 14.02.2021 at a tiny 8oz and only 23cm long. We decided we wouldn't meet her, we'd had enough upset and didn't want our lasting memory to be that of something traumatising. We have her foot and hand prints displayed in our lounge. My placenta didn't come naturally and was removed in surgery - only to have further surgery on multiple occasions to get leftover pieces!
We had to wait a few weeks to actually find out we'd had a daughter due to her small size. We love her very much. We couldn't name her - no name was good enough for the princess we would never meet.
I announced our loss over Facebook. Our baby girl, born sleeping. That's what people saw.. what they didn't see was all of this:
* The phone call to the triage number knowing something isn't quite right
* The phone call to the fiancé to tell him we needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible
* The panicked drive, fearing the worst
* The concerned faces of the consultants telling us that our baby won't survive
* The stress in deciding between giving our baby a chance or ending their life
* The sleepless night in hospital before being discharged
* The bedrest in the hope that if I stay lying down long enough, our baby's fluid would regenerate
* The endless trips to and from the hospital for tests
* The bruises up my arms and on my hands from the multiple blood tests to make sure I wouldn't develop sepsis
* The boxes and boxes of antibiotics to fight the infections
* The multiple scans of our baby to check they're growing and their levels of fluid - to be met with continued disappointment knowing nothing had changed
* The final decision to bring our baby into the world too early because there was nothing more anyone could do
* The taking of tablets to prepare my body for a labour I shouldn't be having
* The shopping for maternity pads for the bleeding I'll experience in the baby aisle full of expectant mums and their beautiful bundles
* The walk into the "Bereavement Room" with our bags, having been there a few weeks before
* The 6 hour induced labour of back to back horrendous contractions and pushing our sleeping baby into the world
* The continuous checks to try and get the retained placenta out - a common occurrence in Premature/Stillbirth labours
* The emergency surgery early the following morning to remove the placenta
* The blood loss.... Oh the blood loss
* The paperwork we had to read and sign, the funeral arrangements, the post mortem agreements
* The decisions on whether we see and hold our baby. The photos, the imprints and hand/footprints for our memory box
* The walk out of the maternity ward with said memory box and without our baby
* The phone calls from multiple hospital staff about how we are getting on
* The panic of seeing anyone we know because you have to enter into a conversation and I don't want to break down in tears
* The decisions about poems and music at our baby's funeral
* The phone call to tell us we had created the most perfect little Princess
* The packing away of maternity clothes I no longer need to wear into the furniture in the nursery we no longer need
* The bruises over my stomach from the anti clotting injections
* More boxes of antibiotics
* The internal scan to check they removed all the placenta - they hadn't
* The Pre-op appointment, COVID swabs and isolation in advance of surgery...
* The wait for weeks until we find out whether there was anything different with our baby or placenta that caused all this heartbreak
* The disappointing conversation to say that they still haven't got the placenta in its full - more procedures - and that I have a heart shaped uterus
* Applying to the council to remove the sharps bin 6 weeks after giving birth as you cant take it anywhere else
* The leaking breasts that continue to produce milk due to the retained placenta
* The phone call to the crematorium to arrange the spreading of your baby's ashes as they didn't have your contact details
* The constant reminders on Facebook of all the "baby" things we should be doing right now
* The anxiety about heading back into work after all this time
* The sip of wine that shouldn't be enjoyed - I should still be pregnant...
Thank you so much to this TFMR Mama for sharing her story xxx