This will take you through many emotions from sadness to happiness and back again. For me I feel Stillbirth is a subject that many people do not know how to discuss and by sharing my experience my aim is to help others to be hopeful in the future and realise they can communicate about this by relating our experience with others.
My husband and I had been married two years and recently moved to a new location near my in-laws and close to my workplace. Prior to this we had moved from place to place and not really found our forever home. We had been together from our teens and had both moved out fairly young.
We always talked about having our own family. Adam was very clear on wanting a family and I had always thought about being a mum. I used to think about it often. We decided when married we would try for a baby and I guess we just thought it would just happen. I remember testing all the time spending money after money on different branded tests just in case one brand suited me better than others. I had read that certain tests perform better than others and felt hopeful that this may be why I wasn’t getting the outcome I had wanted for such a long time. 18 months of trying and I started to worry that something was wrong. I booked into the doctors who said they would run further tests and that we can look at options following the results. I remember feeling a failure for myself but also for my husband.
I found that once married I was asked a lot “are you going to have children?” I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole each time but I smiled and kept composed everytime with a “one day” reply. I remember feeling a bit angry at the thought of being asked not that the person asking knew how I felt at the time of what was going on. The pressure was intense.
It was lovely living close to the inlaws whom of which I am very close to. The new flat overlooked a big recreation ground and although the flat was small it was homely and peaceful. Sounds weird but I felt secure for the first time since we had been married. Moving around from place to place certainly added some stress to us. The stress had been lifted.
We registered at the doctor’s next door within a month of living at the flat and had to have a health check appointment following our registration. I felt fortunate to live directly next door to a dentist and doctors. The day I went in for my check up I remembered that I had not tested this month and neither had I seen my period.
I left it a few more days and then I decided to test. The first test I did without my husband. I could tell he thought I was crazy doing all of these tests every month driving myself nuts for the same result. This way I thought of doing it on my own and if it is negative I won’t need to explain or talk small talk about trying again.
My husband was a carer at the time working long shifts at an elderly residential home. This particular day he was working an all day which generally was 8-8. It was the afternoon I had been to the chemist around the corner and purchased three different tests.
The first test was a Clearblue digital test which clearly ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’ snazzy I thought to myself. I did this test first and clear as day it said ‘not pregnant’. I felt absolutely devastated and remember googling ‘period late but test says not pregnant’. One forum several ladies had said to use the First response tests which can test as early as a few days from when your period is due. I had bought a pack of two pink first response tests. I decided to test with one and could see a faint line in the test window. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I photographed it and sent it to my husband.
A part of me was excited by this but also confused by the earlier result of ‘not pregnant’. I decided to use the remaining test for the morning when the highest level of hormone is likely to give a strong reading and I couldn’t believe it, it showed a positive test result.
I remember crying my eyes out at this point. Finally I felt so relieved that we can do this, we can have the family we always wanted and is this really happening to us?
I rang the doctors and booked an appointment in. I remember them asking me on the phone what I required the appointment for and paused. Do I say it, if I say this will something bad happen. ‘ I think I am pregnant’. Ok in that case we will get you booked in to our midwife. I kept thinking over and over would the doctor have been better but just went along to the appointment.
I was nervous but also excited to be seeing the midwife. We filled out lots of paperwork, did a urine sample and were told about having bloods done at the first scan and that this date will be posted. I was asked when my period was due. At this point I explained the first test and the remaining two test results and the midwife said I could always test again in a few weeks but it is very unlikely to get a false positive test. We went through medical history and any concerns. I did explain how I was anxious because it had taken us so long to get here. She reassured me that she would be my midwife and take care of me.
I did a test a week later and the positive line was dark so I knew I was definitely going to become a parent like I had desperately wanted for such a long time.
As the weeks went on I was nervously looking through the post at the bottom of the stairs of the flats waiting for my scan appointment. I started being sick in the morning, my sense of smell was spot on. I remember a work colleague cooking eggs in the microwave which resulted in my head being down the toilet at work. To begin with I was glad of the sickness because I knew the hormones were working and my baby was growing inside of me.
However I started to be sick on and off all day to the point I couldn’t eat or drink anything at all. I checked in at the doctor’s and was admitted to hospital for severe dehydration. I remember being hooked to a drip for two days. I was exhausted. I did become depressed at this point because I wanted to eat and drink but my body just wouldn’t allow me to.
I felt better after the hospital trip but unfortunately the sickness just continued. I ate little and often and drank as much as I could in between being sick.
I was diagnosed with hyperemesis something I had never heard of. When you are sick and pregnant it’s classed as ‘morning sickness’s right?’
Not a lot of people understood my suffering and being sick. Women get pregnant all the time and manage your just a hypochondriac. I felt a little isolated but kept remembering this little one will be here soon and the sickness will stop.
My urine tests showed ketones consistently until now I wasn’t sure what this meant and several tests showed protein but nothing was explained. I just ate more and drank more as much as I could and hoped to be ok.
The letter had arrived and we had our first scan. I was so excited. On the day I remember drinking so much water I was bursting for a wee when they called us in. I stared at that screen and gripped my husband’s hand so tightly. And there our baby was. I cried my eyes out. This is happening, I said to myself. This is actually happening to us.
We got several photos and everything showed up fine, following this I had blood taken and had to wait for the results in the post. I was a little anxious but I had this beautiful scan photo to keep me feeling positive.
We decided to only tell our close friends and family and work. Our families were over the moon knowing the struggles we had had getting to this point.
I asked my husband if we would find out the sex of our baby and he agreed we should. I remember being adamant I was carrying a boy. I had a big craving for sour chewits. So much so that the last packet had fallen to the back of the cupboard and I cried thinking my husband had eaten them! Oh the hormones, how they play tricks on you.
The sickness continued, I had to take some time off work several times when it was so bad all I could do was sleep and rest.
We got our test results back and everything was fine. To be honest I had stopped worrying about that so much with being sick I just kept concentrating on getting better.
It was the day of the 20 week scan I was set on us having a boy and my husband said a girl. We teased each other about it. We agreed not to buy anything until after this day so today was the day. Again my bladder was bursting and I was anxious. We stared at the screen to see our beautiful baby had grown! We were asked if we wanted to know the sex. ‘its a girl’. I couldn’t believe it. My husband had told you so look on his face and he was so right!
We went for breakfast and purchased some beautiful outfits for our bundle of joy. I hadn’t thought of girls’ names being so convinced I was having a boy so we decided to start thinking.
Of course I got home and started ordering clothes and all the bits you need. All pink and girly. The parcels were coming in every day and before long we were fully equipped to have triplets. Everyone kept saying don’t get too much babies grow fast etc but when you have waiting as long as this you want to give them the world so I carried on.
I continued having midwife appointments however I was told my measurements were showing small. I started to worry. My mum kept saying she carried small things with me and we were ok. We were however , premature babies. I was told that if I show up small in the next appointment I would be referred for a growth scan to see what was happening. I was so worried until that next appointment. My baby was moving like mad at this point so I was reassured by this. I did show up small again so I had to go for a scan. The wait for this scan took ages. It wasn’t like the ones before because I had a doctor explain the results to me. We were lucky they said our baby showed up fine and that everything looked ok. They also checked my urine and confirmed this was ok.
That was it. I started cleaning everything and getting everything ready. I was so excited. My baby was due on December 6th and we were only a week or so away now everything had to be perfect.
Throughout my pregnancy I was learning to drive. A silly time to learn I know but I remember waking to and from work exhausted pregnant and kept thinking I need to get a license behind me for our family. Thinking back now it was added stress but I continued with it. I bought a Nissan Micra and my dad used to sit beside me when I drove as a learner to get more experience behind me. We went to mersea and I remember parking up because I needed the loo. I had twinges and didn’t feel too good but I was told that a few twinges are normal. It’s called Braxton Hicks. We carried on with our day and when I went home I felt washed out.
We were a few days away from the due date and I remember standing from laying on the sofa and feeling water trickling. I called my husband and then called the NHS who told me to put a pad on and see if I lose more.
Was this it, was our baby coming?
I didn’t feel much more after that and carried on with my day. Later I lost more and didn’t feel great so my dad and husband took me to hospital. We were told they were busy that evening. I explained what had happened and had to have an internal ‘was this the norm?’
I didn’t know what to expect. I was so scared. I saw some blood but the nurse reassured me this was fine. She said I wasn’t in labour and sent me home. I never asked about symptoms following this. I just went home. I remember having a tummy ache but didn’t think anything of it.
The day before our babies due date my husband and I put up curtains and cleaned our bedroom ready. I remember laughing with him and saying how exciting we will be parents soon. I went a bit giddy and felt a bit weird so we had an early night. I woke early and couldn’t feel regular movements so I had a drink from the bottle in the fridge and ate something but nothing. My husband had to go to work so off he went. I said I would call him soon.
Nothing was happening so I rang the doctors who said they couldn’t see me. I was next door. I screamed down the phone and they told me to go round.
My doctor was trying to get the heartbeat and said it’s difficult if the baby has moved at this late stage in the pregnancy so she called the hospital. I called my husband and we went straight up there. My dad came too.
Back to the room where we had the growth scan a doctor and nurse called us in. They scanned and scanned and silence. Just tell me I am saying in my head tell me. But I didn’t want them to tell me. They called someone else in and then said. ‘i am sorry’. I have never felt so sick, empty, angry, upset, devastated in all my life. I couldn’t breath. I felt suffocated. I asked to get some air but they didn’t want me to so I went and got some air. By this point a curtain had cornered the door so no one could see us. This has actually happened. I wanted to run and scream so loudly but I held it in. My husband and father looked devastated too. I remember sitting in silence for ages.
I went back and was told what was going to happen. It was a fog I wasn’t actually there. I was thinking why, why us and why so close to her due date.
I was told I had to give birth naturally within 24 hours because of infection and that this could harm me. We were sent to a room which became our place to stay for a few days. I felt like I was in a bad dream. I remember getting up to the room and calling me employer asking him to keep my job open. It was weird and rational but all I could think of is I can’t sit at home in silence I will need to stay busy or I won’t get through this. I couldn’t eat or talk too much I didn’t know what was happening I hadn’t had time to absorb this. I was so scared. Scared of seeing my baby for the first time knowing she isn’t going to cry or breath. Scared of giving birth for the first time. Nurses came in and out doing checks on me and I had to have medicines to start labour. I didn’t want to do it. I was so scared and I didn’t want to part with my baby. At Least inside of me she was with me. I knew deep down I couldn’t keep her and the thought of that broke me completely.
It was the day of our baby’s due date and the contractions were coming. I remember screaming up and down the side of the bed and practically climbing the walls. My husband looked distraught and helpless not knowing what to do. A midwife asked me what I wanted so I said a bath and she ran one but by this point I couldn’t move. It was time. I was being sick alot my body wasn’t ready for this. I remember asking my dad to come in the room and hold my hand. Not something a father should have to see. His youngest in pain but also knowing what the outcome was. I am very grateful to this day of him being there with me every step of the way.
Eventually our baby Amelia-Jayne was born on her due date 6-Dec-12. I was so scared to look at my baby and hold my baby and hearing nothing but silence really was heartbreaking. Even though I had taken in what the doctors said I still hoped they were wrong and we would hear a cry.
Later I held Amelia and I couldn’t believe my eyes. ‘she’s perfect’. To look at her you wouldn’t believe this happened with good weight, wow lots of hair, her nails were even long and healthy. I was so broken. She looks perfect so why isn’t she breathing.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked like her grandma. She had my hair and nails but her grandma’s double. A little angel. I kept thinking back to when she would move in my belly it felt fast like a hamster on a hamsters wheel.
I remember being asked so many questions and feeling completely overwhelmed with decision making at a time that my head was a must of fog. On reflection now I would have made different choices being more clear headed but time unfortunately isn’t on your side you have to make choices.
‘ would you like the Chaplin to come’
‘ have you eaten’
‘how is your husband doing’
‘do you want visitors’
‘shall we stop your milk’
‘ would you like footprints and handprints’
‘ do you have clothes here for Amelia’s
‘are you looking to have a post mortem’
‘would you like to make contact with Sands’
The team that looked after us and Amelia were so good and patient with us. The above questions had to be asked, we just weren’t ready for them and they got it. The lady who stayed with me during the labour I grew fond of. I asked if she would stay on to deliver Amelia. I felt like I could trust her and felt comfortable around her. I will always be grateful to her.
We saw Amelia a lot when we were at the hospital and when we were discharged we went back several times. I kept going back because I didn’t want to be apart from her. I wanted to tell her how I felt and that I love her I also felt guilty, did I eat enough and did I look after myself. Suffering with hyperemesis really didn’t help my pregnancy.
I remember walking in the door to some of Amelia’s things and just screaming.
We had to go back to be asked about the postmortem. This appointment was horrendous feeling the pressure. We didn’t know what to do. What happened is this the only way we will know? We had several questions.
A day or so later we were also asked about the funeral. I never even thought about this. I couldn’t cope with that. I wanted to bury myself away and be left alone. How can we bury our daughter? No no way we can’t !
I finally realized that if I couldn’t be Amelia’s mum and watch her grow up. I had to give her the best day I could with the funeral. I started planning and got focused on this. I was going well over the top with things like flowers ect but I was focused on this. I felt like I could do something.
I went to the chapel of rest and said my goodbyes once the funeral arrangements were made. All I can remember was my baby so tiny in a huge room. I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart cut and stabbed over and over walking out of there. I will never forget that day. How can she be all alone?
My husband and I slept in the day for three days and woke in the night crying at night. We just shut away.
I remember registering Amelia’s passing. This moment was supposed to be registering my baby’s name and celebrating her birth. I couldn’t talk, I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything. It felt all too final.
The funeral came and I remember walking there with Adam, my husband. I felt numb almost like I was blocking out feelings to not show my pain because I didn’t want anyone to know how much pain I was feeling. I actually felt like I couldn’t go on. We got there and we saw friends and family. My baby was there in this tiny white box. Originally me and my husband were going to hold her but my legs wouldn’t let me. I struggled to stand up and instead of grieving all I could think about was standing strong and not showing my emotion. As our words were being read out I stood thinking back to the day I was told I was carrying my girl. I remember thinking take me back and let’s do this all over again.
My doctor visited towards the end to pass her condolences, such a beautiful thing to do. Now retired I will never forget her.
After the funeral was when I felt most lost. I didn’t have a focus. I had all of these baby things around me which couldn’t be used. I couldn’t visit my baby anymore. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
It was three weeks into starting work that I went to the doctors and broke down. I had regular visits with the doctor immediately after Amelia’s birth but I was being strong and holding it together best I could but going back to work I felt like everyone knew what had happened and I couldn’t escape. When I went to see the doctor I remember them calming me down as I couldn’t breathe. I just kept crying and saying I couldn’t do it anymore. I was in there for sometime and eventually was prescribed medicine to help me think clearer. In the past I always refused medication. True believer talking through problems is the best way but I wanted to at this stage do anything to take this pain away.
I took the pills for three weeks and felt much clearer so I stopped them. I felt like I could cope and I put all my energy into my work.
Losing Amelia gave me a strength I never thought I had in me. She made me a strong person who stands up for what I believe in. Not being listened to leading up to Amelia’s birth date made me speak up if I felt something wasn’t right. I would never have changed.
I now have a little boy aged 5 Archie born 13-08-2014 who has also brought so much light into my life. He gives me strength and gives me fire in my belly. I feel very fortunate to have my memories with Amelia. Our little boy knows all about his sister. He knows she is watching down on us.