My first son saved my life. I was young, 19 when I found out I was pregnant and getting out of a domestic violent relationship. I had lost myself and my worth to life. I’ll never forget going to the doctor asking for antidepressants and instead leaving finding out I was pregnant. I was so worried because I hadn’t been eating and had been abusing alcohol to try and cope. I ended up getting my life together and gave birth to a beautiful healthy boy despite what I put my body through early in the pregnancy unknowingly.
It was a traumatic labour. I was induced due to pre eclampsia and didn’t know how to advocate for myself. My placenta got stuck and after giving birth and I haemorrhaged, I was rushed to surgery for 4 and a half hours. I lost 2 litres of blood and ended up needing 2 blood transfusions. The whole thing was very overwhelming for me at 20 years of age to go through alone.
I found a new partner when my son was 3 months old who is now my husband and we decided after a few years to have another baby. It took me around 2 years to fall pregnant, but low and behold the 2 pink lines came up and again I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Thankfully that labour was much kinder. Whilst pregnancy and my body don’t get along (I suffered gestational hypertension with my second) we wanted 1 more baby. Hubby and I both decided we wanted the age gap between our second son and our 3rd baby to be smaller than our first two as their gap was 4 years apart.
And so my story starts the 19th of January 2018, I just had a feeling, one of those gut instincts, when you know you know but I took a test to confirm it. Immediately as the test processed there was the control line and the positive line, plain as day for us to see. We already had our 2 beautiful boys at home, and we were in the middle of buying a house and planning a wedding, everything was so full on but we knew this is what we wanted. We looked at each other in shock but we knew we would get through it.
As a few days pass it sinks in, I’m getting excited, it’s an amazing feeling to know that you are growing a little human. Then Tuesday night 23rd of January, it’s late.. kids are in bed and we’re unwinding on the lounge, I go to the toilet and notice spotting, I automatically panic and start googling. This isn’t something I’d had with either of my other pregnancies but I felt slightly reassured to read that it is quite common to have spotting in early pregnancy, I go to bed and by morning it’s cleared up, I’m in no pain and I tell myself everything is okay.
By midday I noticed the spotting coming back, this time it caused more alarm. I made a doctor’s appointment and got bloods done, they could book an ultrasound but I’d only be around 5 – 6 weeks, there wouldn’t be anything to see, the doctor sent me home but told me if the bleeding got worse or I started to get pain to go to the hospital. I managed to make it home, then the bleeding started, it got worse and worse. I drove straight to the hospital. Told them I think I’m having a miscarriage. I sat in the waiting room for hours, it felt like an eternity. They had a TV screen with a slideshow about the hospital and how they categorise people
“Priority 1 – life threatening”. I sat there thinking “I’m sitting in this waiting room and my baby is dying, how is that not life threatening” (I understand that that’s not how it works but I’m a wreck) all these people around me and no one knows I’m sitting here trying to stay calm while my baby is dying. I just had a feeling, one of those gut instincts, when you know you know but I tried to talk to ‘it’ (seems so wrong to call it ‘it’) I told the embryo to hold on, we’ve got this, I’m getting help. I asked it for one more chance to be it’s mum, I told it we would be okay.
Finally once I got through they did more bloods, my levels of the pregnancy hormone aren’t strong enough for where I should be at this stage of the pregnancy and considering I’m pretty much having a normal period by now the doctor said it’s most likely a miscarriage.
As days passed there was still bleeding and some cramping. I’d never lost a baby before so I didn’t know what to expect. I remember one night I was in so much pain, my husband wanted to drive me to the hospital but it was late and the boys were in bed so I didn’t want to make a fuss. I jumped in the shower for some pain relief and went to bed. It had been around a week, week and a half when I received a call from my doctor asking where my blood test was. I told them it’s fine I was told by the hospital it’s a miscarriage so I didn’t bother getting more bloods however my doctor insisted. I got more bloods that day and the very next day I received a phone call from my doctor telling me to get to hospital immediately. My HCG level was dropping but not quickly enough so they were worried it would be an ectopic pregnancy.
I sat in hospital for a week whilst getting blood tests, they performed an ultrasound but couldn’t find an ectopic pregnancy but the blood tests were showing my HCG level wasn’t dropping. The cruel reality is there isn’t a special ward for losses, only the birthing ward. I sat listening to new babies crying, families congratulating new mothers whilst being away from my own children for a week not knowing whether there was a baby or not inside of me. Knowing I had lost something so important to me either way. By the end of the week the doctors decided to perform surgery and see what they could find, they told me I’d go for surgery in the early afternoon. It turned out I didn’t go for surgery until 2am the next morning. Getting wheeled down to the theatre room was horrible, the hospital was silent, dark and cold. I tried to keep calm but it was the most horrible feeling and as soon as they placed me on the operating table I fell apart. Thankfully the doctors were so supportive, they gave me something to help me relax and I remember the female nurse holding and rubbing my hand telling me it would all be okay as I went under. I woke up groggy to learn that I did indeed have an ectopic pregnancy; the baby had started to form at the very top of my right fallopian tube, the tube had started to rupture and there was some internal bleeding. They ended up removing my right tube. Now that week of pain and discomfort made sense, however it felt like I started to grieve the loss all over again. Not only the loss of the baby but the loss of my tube. I felt selfish, I begged that baby in the hospital waiting room to let me be it’s mum then I felt like I killed it having surgery to get it removed. I felt like I was grieving the loss of our baby again and the loss of my womanhood. Losing the tube made me so anxious that I wouldn’t fall pregnant again, that the 1 thing my body is built to do it could no longer achieve.
It took me a year to feel comfortable to really try again. We were getting married in October 2019 and I always wanted all my children to be at our wedding. It was January and I said to hubby we have this month of trying, if it doesn’t happen this month then we’re not trying until after. All my dreams came true when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! How lucky am I for things to perfectly align after the heartache of the ectopic pregnancy. 7 days later, almost exactly a year apart from the ectopic pregnancy I went to the toilet and there was spotting. I immediately went into panic mode and it resurfaced all these feelings I thought I’d dealt with. I went to the doctor and had it confirmed, I was losing this baby too. My heart broke, how? How could my body betray me so? How could it be so perfect yet so wrong all at the same time?
I remember sitting outside for a family dinner with my husband, my 2 boys and I. I didn’t feel too well and told my husband I needed to go inside, I stood up and a big gush of blood poured out all down my legs and onto the pavement and I just burst into tears. My eldest son was mortified. I quickly went to the bathroom and jumped into the shower. When I got out my son had all these questions and I had to try and hold it together whilst I explained that mummy had a baby in her belly but she didn’t anymore. My sons eyes welled up, he kept asking why the baby died and there was no answer I could give him. I didn’t know, we’ll never know.
People try and comfort you, ‘oh you’re young you can try again’ ‘lucky you already have kids’ none of which helps, yes I can try again, yes I already am blessed with children but what about these babies? Who were they meant to be? I’ll never know, I never felt their kicks, heard their heartbeats but oh how my heart beat for them.
My husband and I after that said whatever happens happens and years went on with no pregnancy. I felt like maybe my boys were all that was meant to be. By now the age gap between my youngest son and their possible sibling was bigger than my first 2 which I never wanted. Then one day I had that urge to take a test, and there on the digital screen was a big fat yes. Of course I was happy but the anxiety took over and I burst into tears. I showed my husband immediately who was shocked but happy then he looked at me and I was crying. He asked if I was happy and I said of course but I was PETRIFIED. He cried and held me, telling me it would all be okay.
I was so anxious for that first ultrasound. My palms were sweaty, my legs felt like jelly and I just didn’t want to look. What a relief when they said they saw the baby in the right spot and with a heartbeat! Thankfully everything looked happy and healthy however that didn’t calm my nerves.
I waited until 13 weeks to tell the boys. My eldest looked worried when I told him and the first thing he said was “what happens if this baby dies like the last ones?” It hit home how much my losses had effected him too. We sat and talked about what happened and what he remembers then I explained that us talking about them let’s them live on in our hearts.
The entire pregnancy I worried, I felt anxious every appointment and geared myself up for the worst case scenario.
During the pregnancy there was a day when I didn’t feel the baby kick, my husband got home from work and I was freaking out telling him I thought the baby was dead, he kept reassuring me everything was okay but my paranoia was taking over. I only told my close friends I was pregnant and they kept saying do you hope it’s a girl? I wanted a girl with my first 2 (however love my boys unconditionally) but for this pregnancy how could I be so selfish to think of that! “Healthy and alive is all I’m asking for this time around” I’d answer and they wouldn’t know how to respond after that.
During my losses I rememever emotionally not knowing how to feel, I knew I was pregnant for 5 – 7 days, can I really mourn over it? I felt stupid to but I also couldn’t help it. I had just processed the fact we were going to have another baby and just like that it’s gone. Not once but twice. Do I tell people? Is it ‘worth’ it, I didn’t want all the sympathy but I felt like my embryo’s deserve people to know. My embryo’s are worth it.
I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry you weren’t meant for this world but I’m so grateful to be blessed with your siblings. I just hope you 2 are keeping each other company wherever you are knowing that you’ll never be forgotten and you will ALWAYS be loved.
Finally on the 10th of June 2022 I was induced for the 3rd time due to another pregnancy with gestational hypertension. I gave birth to the most little girl all by myself! The doctors didn’t check on me once they started the induction and I ended up birthing her on my own. I feel so empowered after everything my body had been through to know my body was able to do that. That I was the first person to hold my baby, to see her, and I was the first embrace she had. I have such an incredible bond with my perfect rainbow baby girl.
My age gaps are huge now with my eldest 10 and middle 6 but our family finally feels complete. The boys are smitten with their baby sister and I feel so blessed to have my beautiful happy healthy girl after all this time.
Thank you for reading.
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