My story begins when I was 18 years old and in love, at least I believed I was at the time. I was pregnant within weeks and soon after I was devastated with the news that the “fetal pole” had no heartbeat at the 6 week ultrasound. I was told to come back in a week to try to find the heartbeat again as it may have been too early on to find it; But I knew. I had symptoms that things weren’t right and sure enough the next ultrasound tech told me that there wasn’t even a “fetal pole” anymore and I would miscarry soon. My doctor gave me two options, wait for it to happen or get a D&C. I waited. I waited, while my stomach grew just as if there was still a baby, but I knew there wasn’t. I later found out that this was most likely a Blighted Ovum. I waited until I was 11 weeks and 6 days pregnant. It was new years eve. It happened. I felt contractions, and then there was a gush. I was in pain the entire night. Retrospectively I have come to learn I had a haemhorrage during the miscarriage.
2 years went by, 2 years of grieving, and trying for a new baby. I tried everything and felt so lost. Eventually I got my BFP! I remember the excitement and fear. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 11 weeks and 6 days pregnant, which happened to be my 21st birthday. I knew he was a boy and I dreamt of a little red head with big honey hazel eyes and freckles. When I was 6 weeks pregnant his father physically abused me for the first time. At 36 weeks I developed severe preeclampsia and was admitted to hospital until my son was born at 37 weeks. I was in the ICU to recover from the almost c-section (using the vacuum/ventouse ended up being faster than a c-section prep) on Magnesium Sulphate, oxygen and every monitor you could imagine. My little boy was perfect. He did have some troubles feeding but he just wanted to sleep all the time. He was in the special care nursery for a few days and eventually we both went home together.
As time went on I started to notice a few things that made me worry about my son. He was behind with all of his milestones, he cried a lot, he didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat but he was my little red head with honey hazel eyes and freckles. By the time he was 15 months old I knew he had Autism. I had my undergraduate degree in Science Psychology. We started speech, occupational therapy and child psychology for assessment. His father physically abused me, much worse at this time, while my son was only metres away from me crying. Still I continued to stick with his father because I needed some support, money to raise my son and I couldn’t ask anyone else. I was certain I didn’t want more children because Tyler needed my support and I was told by my doctors that another pregnancy would be extremely dangerous for me due to the severity of my preeclampsia.
We moved house and I got an ear infection so I started taking antibiotics. I didn’t know at the time that antibiotics can effect the pill. I was pregnant again. This time I dreamt of a little girl with strawberry blonde curls and big green eyes. I became a single mum. I needed to be strong but I was very ill. From 6 weeks pregnant I developed pregnancy induced hypertension (they don’t diagnose preeclampsia before 20 weeks at my hospital at least). I was put on baby aspirin to thin my blood. I started taking blood pressure medication at 8 weeks. By 16 weeks my kidneys were struggling, my liver enzymes were extremely elevated, I was spilling protein into my urine which indicates preeclampsia. My dose of medications were constantly being increased just to keep it under control. I was admitted to hospital too many times to count. My daughter was measuring small for her gestational age, her head and her stomach were just under average but her arms and legs were very small. This meant she was IUGR, her growth was restricted. All of the nutrients were being used to develop her brain and organs, so this meant her arms and legs were small. I had ultrasounds, blood tests and urine tests every week to make sure she was okay and that I would be okay. I got increasingly worse. All the while I was going through the diagnosis process with my son, trying to help him and be a good mum. I developed a hernia in my stomach from lifting my son. I developed severe oedema, migraines and vision problems. At 33 weeks I was rushed into the ICU. I wasn’t going to make it if she wasn’t born that day. There were no available surgeons, my local hospital’s helicopter pad wasn’t operational and I was stuck. 8 hours went by in a critical condition, and finally a surgeon made it from another hospital to do my c-section under a general anaesthetic. The operation took less that 15 minutes and my daughter was resuscitated at birth. She was imediately taked to the NICU and I was taken into the ICU. I didn’t see her the day she was born. I had trouble breathing, as did she, I had a haemhorrage and neither of us were stable enough to be moved. The next day they agreed to wheel me over to the NICU to see her before she was flown to the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital via the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service, my heroes. I was then flown to RBWH the next day when the first flight was available. I had just had my c-section but I elected to be in a sitting seat because I was determined to see her. I got up in the plane on my own despite feeling like my insides were going fall out. Nothing could stop me from seeing her. A month went by, after many scares and complications we were both finally able to come home to my little boy who had been staying with family.
We went through a lot together. It was hard, I never expected to be a single mum of two, and I never expected to experience post traumatic stress from the birth of my children. I struggled for a long time.
Fast foward 3 years and everything has changed. My son started prep at the local special school this year. He is non-verbal, level 3 Autism with an intellectual impairment but he is the happiest boy you’ll ever meet. My daughter is now healthy. She started kindergarten this year and she is doing amazingly. She is bright, goofy, social and just the most intelligent little girl with strawberry blonde curls and bright green eyes. I am happy. I am studying again. I didn’t expect this, but I thank the universe or God, or whoever, that I have both of my children here with me today. I am better for going through the hard times.
Posted anonymously, 15th February 2018