“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy” I said a I looked down at the paperwork for the funeral and a scrap of paper I had written notes on. I was 28 married to the man on my dreams had a beautiful son and was now preparing to put my second born into a grave.
In 2012 my husband and I had a blissful life. We had a gorgeous son who was almost one and a half and were expecting our second child. I remember worrying about if I was ready for two children and how life was going to change in the near future. I was due on the 20th March 2013 and was just 20 weeks when things took a strange turn and our lived were turned into a rollercoaster of emotional battles, fear and disbelief.
When we had our first son it was fairly strait forward until the end. I had some bleeding in the first 12 weeks and we were worried. Thankfully things settled down and at 37 weeks my waters broke. I was taken to hospital and induced as my labour didn’t progress as much as they would have liked. Sixteen hours later one of the midwives checked to see how far along I was and realised that he was breach and I went in for an emergency C-section. He was so stuck that they had to pull and tug quite hard to him out and when he emerged he was floppy with an apgar of one. He came right quite quickly but this little bit of information is relevant later on. I had thought this would be the worst experience I would have had. I was wrong.
On one Thursday morning I woke up and felt a bit strange, I had this horrible feeling something was wrong but had no real evidence of it. My husband, son and myself had a cold and I had thought that this was probably the cause. I then had a small discharge, no blood just a bit more than I would have expected. I called my obstetrician and advised them of what had happened, they said because there was no red fresh blood it was probably nothing and that I should not worry. Their thoughts were for me to monitor it just in case something changed. I was to call if anything did change. I followed the instructions and through the day nothing changed but I had this uneasy feeling so I called back and let them know I was still not feeling right.
I was told to call the office to see another doctor as they were away from the office for the day. So at three pm I called and the said to come down and see them. When I arrived I waited and waited. I basically waited for three hours. In this time my mind was racing, thoughts of I must be silly, there’s nothing wrong and they probably think I’m overreacting. It was a long time to wait and do nothing.
I walked into the room with this uneasy feeling, and explained the situation. The doctor just looked at me and said that there was probably nothing wrong but we’ll check anyway just in case and to put your mind at ease. I remember seeing an expression of disbelief, I though great, now they think I’m silly.
I sat in the chair and waited as the doctor checked me over. They paused. Looked at me as said I’m just going to take a closer look. With that the doctor took a closer look and looked shock. They turned to me and said your membranes are bulging. I was sitting there thinking how’s that possible? I haven’t had contractions, I haven’t been in pain, no symptoms other than a strange discharge and a gut feeling something was wrong.
With that I was advised I could have my baby at any time and had to go straight to hospital. My husband was at home with our son and I had taken myself to the doctor’s rooms. I sat there for a minute numb, I stood up and shaking I walked to the car where I called my husband to tell him what was going on. I then with the words “you could have this baby at any time” still resounding in my head drove to the hospital. It was the slowest I have ever driven, I was terrified I would start going into labour or crash the car because I was shaking and in shock.
The plan was that they would attempt a stich and maybe it would be ok. With an 80-90% failure rate due to the bulging membranes or I could just do nothing and probably have my baby that night. I chose the stich option as that was what I was advised to do. The stitch failed as my membranes broke due to them bulging so they aborted the stitch. I was told I would probably go into labour that night and my baby would not survive. I was in shock, numb and was in a state of disbelief. I didn’t go into labour that night, thankfully as I don’t think I would have coped with the added stress that day.
I sat in hospital for two and a half weeks, we made it to 22 and a half weeks before we lost him. I was advised to terminate my pregnancy and they seemed to think I was crazy for not doing so. I had decided not to terminate, not because I thought everything was necessarily going to be ok. I had heard of waters breaking and baby’s making it to 24 or more weeks when they were viable. But I also thought if I was to terminate I would never forgive myself. I would walk around thinking what if he had survived, what if I killed my baby. I think everyone is different, and terminating was not for me. I just sat there and waited. Please understand that I was aware that I could get an infection, I was also aware that the baby would not survive. If I had developed an infection I would have terminated as I knew the baby would not survive the infection. I just couldn’t bring myself to terminate when everything was fine other than my waters breaking.
The doctors though there must be problems with my baby, genetically abnormal and that this is why it happened. After the two and a half weeks I went into labour and had my second beautiful boy only to have to say good bye to him. My heart sunk, I looked down at my precious little boy and in that moment I broke into pieces. My hopes and dreams were crushed and at the same time I had a relief in knowing that I didn’t have to make the decision to let him go.
An examination report found that there were no issues with our baby, he was healthy and had no abnormalities. Then I was advised I had cervical incompetence. My cervix just couldn’t support the weight of the baby and opened without warning or pain. Not only was this a horrible feeling of my body failed but it was something I was going to have to deal with if I wanted another baby.
There was no explanation for it, I had never had an infection, or had surgery on it and the only event that could have caused or lead up to this was the birth of my first son. They think I may have been damaged during the C-section as he was stuck. Or it could be completely unrelated as I could have a genetic predisposition as my grandmother lost a number of pregnancies of unexplained reasons.
It has taken me two years to write this, and I now have a third son who’s a few months old. I took the time to reflect on what I wanted in life, changed my career path and really thought about what mattered in life. I sometimes find myself wondering what would have happened if I saw the doctor at 10am instead of 6pm, if I had insisted to come in. would I have made it to 24 or more weeks if I just sat on bed rest and didn’t have a stitch put in. I then stop and say I did the best I could have done. I know I did everything I could have done and there’s nothing I should be regretting as the situation was out of my control.
I have come a long way and I now feel ok with what happened, or rather I feel that I have dealt with my emotions surrounding the situation and I can now freely talk about him. I no longer bursting into tears and run away when someone asks how many kids I have, or feel uncomfortable when talking about my children.
I wanted to share my story so that other mums who go through something similar know there’s a light at the other end of the tunnel. It’s a long dark tunnel with no lights and no signs but you can climb out of it. My world stoped for a while, but I know now that I would never have had my new little man if I had my last baby. He’s brought an absolute joy to my life and I know now that life is the most precious gift we are given.
I will write sometime about my third baby as that was an emotional journey of its own if anyone’s interested.
Posted anonymously, 21st January 2015