Monday, December 8, 2014
It was our 20 week scan and all our friends, family and work colleagues were excited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. The sonographer placed the probe on to my belly. He said nothing, for what seemed like forever – panic set in straight away. Then the words, ‘I’m so sorry but your baby has died’.
I started crying hysterically as the sonographer checked again but nothing, no heartbeat, no movement. It felt like our hearts were being ripped out.
I kept asking ‘Why?’ but they didn’t have an answer. Then they explained I’d need to give birth because a natural delivery would be better for me physically and emotionally.
I glanced at my phone, so many missed calls from people expecting happy news. I called my Mum, the worst call I’ve had to make in my life. I asked her to pick the boys up from school, let everyone know what had happened and ask them not to call. I couldn’t speak to anyone.
My whole body was shaking. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, remove me from this pain.
They told me to take a tablet, go home and wait for contractions then come back on Wednesday to be admitted. I asked for pain killers, I didn’t want to feel.
They spoke to me, gave me leaflets, but nothing was sinking in. Then I started to feel sick, I had a dead baby in my belly. I didn’t know how to feel, it was horrendous.
This was Brad’s first baby, how could I have done this to him?
We walked to the car in silence, at home we crumbled together on the sofa. Then, a sudden urge to remove all things ‘baby’ from the buggy to clothes. Brad put it all in the loft. I felt like a crazy woman.
Irrationally, I was secretly hoping I’d feel a kick then worrying about the tablet. What if they’d made a mistake?
Mum brought the boys home and I had to tell them their baby brother or sister had died. We cried and I told them everything would be okay. If only I believed that myself.
Later, in bed, Brad and I sobbed together. We could say nothing to comfort each other, but we were together.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Today was a complete blur. I popped into Mothercare to return something, picked up a memory box and broke down.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The hospital didn’t have a bed so I have to wait for a call to let me know when I can go and give birth to my dead baby. I call again to say I can’t wait and they tell me to come in.
When we arrived I froze, doubled over in pain, emotional pain. I couldn’t do this, how could anyone?
Hours passed and nothing happened then at 8.19pm I went to the toilet, felt a horrible pressure and blood gushed out of me. I knew my baby was on the floor and I screamed. Brad came rushing in, then midwives and they carried me to the bed, shaking and screaming uncontrollably.
They asked if I wanted to see my baby and I did. She was so amazing. I opened the white cloth to see her tiny body. Skin not formed, she’s red and almost see through with one eye open, the other closed and all her tiny fingers and toes. I see her arms, her ribs, everything, the cord that connected her to me, that should have kept her alive. Brad couldn’t hold her but looked adoringly, holding me as I held our baby. Such an oddly perfect moment. We stayed there a while, there was no rush, not anymore.
The midwife came and I kissed our baby goodbye. Then they check for the placenta, the cord snapped and it hasn’t come out. They continued checking through the night but nothing.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
We signed consent forms for a full post mortem on our beautiful baby. We needed answers for our own sanity. The doctor says if my placenta doesn’t come out they’ll need to take me to theatre to remove it. She explains that, if it’s attached to my previous c-section scars, they’ll have to remove everything. As if I hadn’t been through enough, I’m now being told I might not be able to have any more children.
When the doctor returns I plead with him to spare me going to theatre and he manages to clasp the placenta and remove it. Such a relief.
I was free to leave but we asked to see our baby again, then go home with just a memory box. It’s the oddest feeling to have given birth then leave without our baby.
The following days rolled into one long, miserable day of sobbing and heartache. I stayed in bed, not wanting to see or talk to anyone. I posted on a forum for other women going through this, so many of them.
We went back to hospital twice to visit our baby before she was sent for her post mortem. In a tiny casket, she still looked so perfect. I wanted to hold her and kiss her but she was too delicate now. I touched her soft skin. We called her Baby H, not feeling like we could name her. Looking back, maybe we should have.
Christmas, New Year and my birthday came and went. I put a brave smile on but I wanted to run away and hide. I just wanted everyone to go away. My head wanted to explode. I felt guilty I’d caused my family such pain.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Brad and I went to Greenacres Woodland Burial Forest in Epping. I gently cradled the tiny box to our chosen plot but when it was time to place her there I froze. How could I have thought I’d be brave enough to let go of my baby? A staff member took her and placed her gently in the ground. We stayed, staring at the mound of earth that now represented our beautiful baby.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
We were finally back at hospital for post mortem results. I froze at the end of the corridor that led to where everything had ended. The final page of the results read, ‘no known cause’. It’s what we’d dreaded, there was no reason for our pain.
I went back to work in March to tears and cuddles from friends. My sister and friend had babies and, though happy for them, it was like a stab to my heart. I suffered horrendous flashbacks, I think I always will, my own screams still ringing in my ears.
In March we discovered we were expecting again.
The emotions were crazy, guilt, dread, happiness, worry. Lots of tears and extra scans and appointments. Baby H’s brother will be with us soon but our rainbow baby doesn’t replace our angel. Some people think everything is okay for us now but it’s not. It never will be.
My world had crashed. My baby could not have died. I was still pregnant, they must be wrong. Nobody is available to help me. What will I tell my Mum? What have I done wrong?
To us, she was perfect and the love we felt for her stronger than I had ever understood possible. In spite of our grief, we would never change our experience of knowing and loving Aisling.
Tommy’s researchers are finding out if total plasma exchange (TPE) is beneficial for women with severe liver disease.
We want to identify which women and babies are at risk of complications associated with hypertension. To do this, we are using MRI scans to detect abnormalities.
Tommy’s researchers have developed a way to deliver drugs directly to inflammation in the placenta.
Our researchers are looking at better ways to manage pregnancies affected by eFGR.