In February this year we found out we were expecting our second child. Naturally we were both very excited with this news. Weeks went on, everything was going well. My belly was growing and I could feel my baby moving constantly. We bought second car seats for both of our cars. We bought a single bed in preparation for moving our daughter out of her cot and set up a new room for her.
I had my 20 week scan booked in for the 25th of May – a date I will never forget. My husband couldn’t get the day off but I wasn’t worried. In my mind it was just a scan and he had been present at the dating scan so I didn’t feel like it was important that he attend. My sister wanted to come and expressed how important this scan was but I brushed it off saying it was fine and I was happy to go alone which I mostly was. I was only worried about them not being able to tell me the baby’s gender as I really wanted to know. During the scan the technician said we were having a girl but she was worried about a few things and needed her supervisor to come in. She brought him in and they scanned my belly again discussing medical terms – being a nurse I picked up that they were mentioning parts of the brain. They told me that it didn’t look good and they were getting a doctor and a social worker to come and talk to me to discuss my options. I was in shock. How could something be wrong with my baby? She had been moving and I was feeling well so I couldn’t comprehend how this had happened.
I then had to make the difficult phone call to my husband and mum. I broke down when my husband answered and could hardly get the words out. That afternoon I asked my husband if we could name her Emily – this name was never even on my list of girl’s names but it just felt right.
Since that day I have put on a brave face for my daughter. She definitely makes this whole situation much more bearable and I know I couldn’t do this without her or my husband. I am glad that she is too young to understand what is happening. When she is older we will tell her about her little sister.
Since that day I have also had to work for financial reasons. If I didn’t have to I would have stopped in a heartbeat. These last 3 months at work have not been easy. I have pretended that I am fine. But being pregnant is not something that you can hide. The patients that I have looked after see my belly and automatically congratulate and ask when am I due? I tried to hide my belly by sucking in when I walked into their rooms or by trying to control the conversation so they didn’t have time to mention it. As soon as I saw anyone look at my tummy I went into instant panic mode as I knew what question was coming next. I told most patients the truth - that the baby was not going to live just so they would drop the conversation. The look of pity on their faces made it hard for me to keep myself together but I did until my second last shift at work. I was in a patient’s room and a visitor had her new born baby with her. The baby cried and I smiled thinking what a beautiful baby. When I left the room I instantly burst into tears. I tried to keep my emotions under control but I couldn’t.
Every day that gets closer to the C-section date gets harder and harder. Finishing work yesterday hit me pretty hard. I guess I never wanted it to end even though it’s been difficult as I am scared of what is to come. I don’t know how you go through something like this and come out okay on the other side. I know this will be the hardest thing that I have ever gone through in my life. I realise I am not the only person to lose a baby and that people do recover from this but I do not understand how. It’s so unfair. I wouldn’t wish this heartache on anyone. I am however glad that we are aware of the likely outcome. It doesn’t make it easier but we have had longer to deal with the shock of the news than people who have unexpected stillbirths.
I have had a lot of people ask me why I didn’t terminate my pregnancy like the doctors suggested. It wasn’t even an option in my mind. I couldn’t end her life when I can feel her moving. She will pass when she is ready. And I’m praying like mad for a miracle in the meantime.
What I am really struggling with is how do you say goodbye to your baby. I don’t think I will be able to let her go when I finally get to hold her in my arms. I am also worried about how my daughter will react to me after this is over. Am I going to be a good mum to her when I feel so broken? Will she pull away from me because she can sense something is different? I really hope I can still be the happy mum that she is used to seeing. I know she will be key in helping heal my heart.
One day I hope to be whole again. I am terrified that future pregnancies won’t go to plan now but I hope that we can give our daughter a little brother or sister.
If anyone has experienced something like this I am wondering what helped you get through it?
Written by Renee Robertson.