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I was 15 and a half weeks pregnant and at work when suddenly something just didn’t feel right. I rang my obstetrician and he suggested I come in for a scan after work.
At that scan I discovered that my son, Archer, had passed away.
It had been a textbook pregnancy. I had bad morning sickness but my 12 week scan revealed that everything was perfect. Our ‘harmony test’ showed that we were expecting a perfectly healthy little boy.
My late miscarriage was so unexpected because you assume if you make it to 12 weeks you’re guaranteed an easy ride.
I went to the scan on my own so it was just me when they told me. I couldn’t stop shaking, I couldn’t believe it. I had planned a life with this baby, my son.
I called my husband to tell him, and he came immediately. Another scan proved that he had only passed away that day, so although there is no way I could really have known, my maternal instinct told me that something was wrong with my baby.
They induced my labour that evening and the following morning I went to hospital having full-on contractions. Having been through labour twice before, I knew that the pain of the experience is offset by the fact that afterwards you hold your beautiful child.
I knew this time it would be different and that scared me.
Although I was giving birth to a tiny baby so the delivery was not as painful as a full-term baby, the labour process is just the same. The contractions, waiting to dilate, the pain, but it was compounded by the fact that my heart was breaking. There would be no happy ending.
Telling my other children was so hard. They were so excited for a new baby brother to be coming, and although they were too young to understand too much about it, they understood that baby would not be coming home with mummy after she went away to hospital.
The night Archer was born I had to go to the post-natal ward with no baby, I had no time to bond with my son and my children couldn’t see him, my parents couldn’t meet him, as he couldn’t be left for long before going to the morgue.
If my hospital had had a ‘Cuddle Cot’ with an inbuilt cooling system, we could have spent the night together to allow me to process and grieve with my child in the room.
When I went home I vowed to raise money to buy my hospital a Cuddle Cot so if anyone ever went through the same experience as we did, they would be able to have time to spend with their child. I joined with Pregnancy Loss Australia (now Bears of Hope) and raised $6000 to buy the cot.
Channelling my energy into that project made me feel like something good was coming out of this, and I wanted to do something good for Northpark Private Hospital in Victoria because they were beyond kind to me.
They held my empty hands as I cried, and they actually cared about me.
At first I didn’t know if I wanted to have another baby. We had complications and I couldn’t deliver my placenta so I needed surgery, and I just thought I couldn’t go through this all again, but six weeks later we decided that we did want to add to our family.
We didn’t fall pregnant immediately, so after trying for six months we made an appointment for IVF. Just as we were about to begin our first cycle of IVF we fell pregnant naturally.
I saw the positive pregnancy result and I was terrified. I didn’t know how I should feel but all I knew was I was so very scared. My obstetrician was amazing throughout everything and he just said we would have weekly scans to track the baby and to also help me feel less afraid.
It felt like I was gauging the pregnancy in hurdles. Hurdle one was the 10 week testing.
Hurdle two was reaching 12 weeks.
Getting to the same gestation point as when Archer passed away was the next big hurdle. I couldn’t help but wonder if we made it past 15 weeks and four days were we guaranteed a healthy baby?
I’m now 18 weeks pregnant but I won’t be able to relax with this pregnancy until I hold my daughter.
All my pregnancies have had anterior placenta so I don’t even get to feel movement until much later so I bought a Doppler and every evening after dinner I go upstairs and listen to her heart beating strong inside me.
People have suggested that I’m perpetuating the fear by listening, but this is my journey and it gives me relief to just hear her heart every day.
Shit stuff happens to good people, so I’m happy that something good happened out of this situation, but my fundraising days are done for a while. I’m looking forward to just being a mum and enjoying every single second of my children for the next few years.