by Natalie Kent
Our heartbreak all started in January I found out I was pregnant 2 days after my daughter's 7th birthday we were elated. But that was short lived on the 7th of January my grandmother was admitted to hospital, in order for her to recover and get home we decided to share our news in the hope she would find the strength to fight.
I was only 5 weeks pregnant but the joy the news brought to our family really lifted everyone's spirits including Grandma. Sadly Grandma passed away soon after. The next few days were exceptionally hard knowing Grandma would never meet our baby and 2 days after she died I started bleeding. I went to the GP who told me to have complete bed rest but I felt too uneasy not to do anything so went to the local hospital who referred me for an internal scan. Those 3 days waiting were agonising but we saw our little baby with a good strong heartbeat and felt huge relief all was OK.
The pregnancy progressed with all the usual symptoms continued. I had my first midwife appointment, all the bloods were normal and we dared to relax and start to look ahead for happier times. A scan date arrived and we were so excited, by then I was 13 weeks and 5 days pregnant my husband was unable to attend due to work I reassured him all would be fine and so I went with my best friend. Both of us were excited to see the grainy image on the screen I paid the 10 pounds to get two photos.
As the sonographer began I noticed she was pressing so hard it actually hurt I looked at the image on the screen and I thought the baby looked smaller than my daughter had on her 12 week scan and I couldn't see the heartbeat. I knew before she uttered the words "I'm sorry but your baby looks around 9 weeks gestation and there is no heartbeat,I will get you a refund for your pictures and then someone will take you to see a midwife". I didn't want a refund I wanted the scan picture it seemed it was a bizarre request but I wanted to show my husband our baby despite the fact our baby had died. She gave me one photo and a full refund.
We were then ushered upstairs I was just numb no tears.
My husband rang just as the midwife was explaining the options I calmly broke the news. I'm a neonatal nurse and I suppose my coping mechanism just took over. I didn't cry I calmly told him there was no heartbeat it looks like baby died around 9 weeks. I didn't want to upset him at work. Then I cried, I'd done the hardest thing or so I thought. I decided to have the medical management and would return to the hospital 4 days later.
I went home collected my daughter from school went to parents evening cooked dinner and once my husband came home we broke the news to our daughter. I didn't want for her to fear upsetting me by asking the questions she needed to so I encouraged her to ask all she wanted and answered honestly then we all had lots of cuddles as she sobbed and our hearts broke again but for her.
Four days later we went to the hospital for medical management after 10 hours of pacing the floor the two lots of pessaries, 4 hours apart hadn't worked there was still no bleeding no pain no sign of anything happening. We'd asked for our babies remains to be sent for histology and then for cremation however, because the treatment hadn't worked I was told to go home and wait. I asked what do I do if it does happen at home? Do I bring the baby in for histology and cremation?
The answer I got made me cry. I wasn't expecting after being shown such care and compassion to hear the words; "just flush the toilet."
I could not imagine being able to that after feeling so comforted by the thought our baby would be respectfully cremated and buried with other babies after a ceremony.
We went home in shock and waited but nothing happened. I hadn't miscarried, I was still carrying our baby, I still had a bump then that sinking feeling came. Our baby was gone but remained like an angel that hadn't grown its wings. A further 8 days went by and we found ourselves back in the scan room I was booked in for a D&C in two weeks time. Those were the longest two weeks. I attended the pre assessment, had the bloods, signed the necessary paperwork and then we went to the hospital the next day for the surgery.
I sat amongst other women all there for the same surgery for different reasons. We could all hear everyone's stories, the curtains provide privacy but are not sound proof. The anaesthetist came I was anxious I'd never had a GA before the words he said next I suppose without thinking were: "This will be the best operation you've ever had!" I smirked tried to shrug it off, but how on earth can he say that he knew I was having my baby removed from my womb it seemed so insensitive.
I asked if I could see my baby after, I wanted closure I wanted to the say hello and goodbye as I hoped I would with the medical management. I was assured by the nurse on the ward and again on route to theatre that I could. I left my husband at the theatre doors and felt anxious and teary, I know he did too. I woke in recovery I woke up crying, I should be 17 weeks pregnant by now.
I was relieved to see my husband we hugged he helped me have a drink and get washed up. The next thing I know the matron came to tell me my baby had already been sent to histology
I just broke down she said no-one was aware! I had asked so many times how could they not be?
Then the surgeon came he'd been asked to speak to me to put me off saying it wouldn't be advisable. I still wanted to, I needed to witness this to be able to process that our baby was gone. They eventually agreed my husband decided he didn't want to and that was fine.
I saw our baby, not how I imagined. I couldn't hold the baby but what I saw was so beautiful, a tiny baby with a peaceful smile ten tiny finger bugs two arms two legs perfectly formed for the gestation no blood or gore. I said my goodbyes. I will cherish it forever and feel that all parents should be given this choice. I had to wait a further three weeks to do a pregnancy test, I have been bleeding on and off and been in pain. I should now be 23 weeks pregnant the time is coming to return to work I will be caring for babies born prematurely at the gestation I should be now.
We had so much to look forward too, my only hope is by breaking the silence so other parents in this awful situation feel empowered enough to ask to see their child. It isn't macabre, it's a perfectly normal need. From the minute we knew our baby existed they were loved, without love there would be no grief.
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