#misCOURAGE, 27/06/2017, by Amy.
I can't ignore this day, as though it were another passing day. This day a year ago was one that I will never be able to forget. The day I lost my baby. So many things went wrong with the pregnancy and this was the final heartbreak.
It was actually our second pregnancy. The first pregnancy ended in September 2015. There was no heartbeat at week 8. We were devastated and I was left with emotional anxiety, aware that I did nothing wrong and that ‘it happens’, didn’t diminish the pain or sorrow. Afterwards all I could think about was getting pregnant again. We fortunately did during January 2016. Whilst eagerly waiting to be seen for the ultrasound, I eagerly waited to see a heartbeat. We did but this time we saw TWO! We were shocked and didn’t expect it at all.
It was a beautiful miracle that took me a long time to digest into my thoughts. From then on it was a long and hard journey.
Being considered as a high risk pregnancy, with identical twins, sharing the same sac, I was monitored carefully and regularly by doctors. We were informed of the risks of this type of pregnancy but we wanted to believe that everything will be OK. It’s not like you don’t see identical twins around. So I thought that if it worked out for others then it could work out for us too. Unfortunately it wasn’t. There was one complication after another. Firstly, I suffered terrible nausea. I didn’t just feel sick but to the point where I couldn’t even think about food, I couldn’t open the fridge door because of the smell of food and worse of all I couldn’t eat! The hormones were so strong and I couldn’t fight it. I lost weight and evidently was very weak and tired. I was a physical mess. Emotionally and mentally, my anxiety from the previous pregnancy followed me, possibly because I didn’t treat it at the time which I should have. This eventually led me into a very depressive state. By the time I reached the 12th week I certainly didn’t jump for joy or feel like telling people. It definitely didn’t feel right. A close friend said it’s like I knew.
On top of it all my husband and I were not seeing eye to eye. It was hard on him too. Seeing me like that and feeling helpless. Neither of us knew how to handle the situation very well and were not supporting each other. I was at the lowest point that I have ever been. During week 12 I saw blood, it was like a period. I went to the clinic for checks several times where the doctors and nurses confirmed that everything was fine, they couldn’t see a reason for the bleeding.
At week 14/15 we had a systems scan. There was difficulty seeing the kidneys on one of the babies. The doctor warned us that this was a sign of the risks they were talking about. Week 16 confirmed TTTS (Twin to Twin Transitional Syndrome). We lost one baby, she had no heartbeat. Statistically 20% of this type of pregnancy has this potential risk. We were of course upset and heartbroken but knew we had to move on with the pregnancy since we still had one baby surviving. I was closely monitored at the hospital by professors in this field and felt like I was in good hands. I just wanted her to make it. I had a shortened cervix which isn’t good and was told to rest at home. I rested, I took it easy and did everything I was told to do. I was feeling good. My husband and I went away for a weekend. I was 23 weeks pregnant.
During week 24 of the pregnancy it was very hot outside. I was home resting and staying cool. I didn’t feel so good and felt some pressure at the lower stomach. I decided to drive to the clinic where I was tested. I did a urine test and was monitored for contractions and had an ultrasound. They said I was ok, looks like gas and I was to go home and rest. I was slightly relieved but still unsure and unconvinced. I went home and still had pain. During the night I couldn’t sleep from the pain. I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t really know what contractions felt like and thought maybe it was Braxton hicks. I was really worried so thought to go to the hospital. As I stood up a big gush of water released and from that moment on I knew it wasn’t good. I tried to stay calm and called for an ambulance and my husband, who unfortunately was away for work that night but made his way to meet met at the hospital. Luckily I was on the phone to my friend Sara who lives in America which was helpful since it was the middle of the night here meaning the evening there. She told me what I needed to do.
I wasn’t scared being in the ambulance, I think because I knew I was in good hands and also because I knew this wasn’t going to be the worse of it. When I arrived at the hospital my friend Jess was there and eventually my husband arrived. The baby was OK and had a heartbeat but there was a rupture in the amniotic sac and all of the water had left my womb leaving the baby with no water. They then said that I was in labour and that she was legs first. I was suddenly in a room full of doctors throwing options at us considering our situation. We were in shock, and things felt like they had to move very fast and we didn’t know what to do. 1. The chances of her surviving a natural birth were low, being legs first. 2. Having a C-section was dangerous for me. 3. If she did survive natural birth, her chances of survival were very low. We were given the statistics of a baby born at 24 weeks and what the chances of health and survival were and it didn’t sound positive. It was a horrific and traumatic decision but we terminated the pregnancy and then I had a silent birth. It was traumatising and painful like nothing before. I had an epidural but it didn’t seem to help. My husband and mother in law were with me. My friends and sister were out in the hall. My mum was on an aeroplane on her way to us. I was beside myself.
I eventually did it. I had no idea what I was doing. I hadn’t had my prenatal classes yet. I was glad it was over. I didn’t want to look at the baby. I knew I couldn’t handle any more torture. I didn’t want to see a baby that I wasn’t going to keep. I was then taken into surgery to have the placenta removed and the first baby that we lost at week 16. They asked if I wanted to have them buried together and I said yes. We didn’t officially bury them ourselves but the hospital have a place where they bury babies of still born. I just knew that we had been through enough.
I was also in a state shock. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
It was finally all over and my mum arrived. I had to stay in hospital for a couple of nights since I was bleeding quite heavily. Then it was time to leave. My husband grabbed the bags and we started to leave the hospital. We passed others leaving the hospital also. The difference being that they had a carrier with a newborn baby inside of it. I had just given birth and was leaving, with nothing. It didn’t make sense. It felt so cruel. The journey home was strange too, as though we had left something behind. We did.
Obviously we all wanted to know what went wrong. I still don’t know for sure but it could have been from infection causing the amniotic sac to rupture. It could have also been due to the shortened cervix and carrying two babies. It could have been several things. All I know now is that for whatever reason that pregnancy was a nightmare from start to finish and perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. The trauma lingers into future pregnancies and what will be, of course.
I have been quite private about my story. It’s traumatic and heartbreaking. It took me a few months before I could talk about it without crying. Talking helps and although it was a very personal trauma I feel open to talk about it. Talking is a way of healing. A healing heart was much needed.
The grief of losing a baby/babies I’m sure will forever haunt me. We spent time getting our lives back on track, our relationship and I also did some testing, before trying to get pregnant again. I did the best I could to pick myself up and move on, without pushing my emotions aside.
I tell my story not to gain sympathy or share sadness. I’m very fortunate to have very supportive family and friends and a wonderful social worker specialising in such cases. A terrible thing happened to us. I couldn’t understand it. We were unlucky and it was a high risk pregnancy. It was simply put by several doctors and their opinions. Somehow the simplicity wasn’t comforting. Gladly there’s nothing wrong and again, it happens. As we know life throws many situations at us and we just have to deal with them in the best way we can.
I share my story to extend the knowledge that sometimes pregnancy isn’t easy, isn’t smooth and can be unsuccessful. Not to scare the naive or innocent and not to punish the successful but to share my sorrow to those who have maybe been through something similar or something completely different and suffered a loss and are grieving. That they are not alone and I share my pain and heartbreak with them. We can hope and pray for better times and successful pregnancies. One day to hold a healthy and happy baby.
A rainbow baby.
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