The day was Friday. It was the sixth of may. I was 11 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Izzy and I started the day off meeting with a lovely lady by the name of Anna. Anna is a doula who provides a range of care and support throughout pregnancy, birth and that precious time afterward. (I will be blogging more about our decision to have Anna join our birth team soon! And you can read more about Anna here: https://annasiebert.com.au/) As soon as Anna arrived at our home I knew that she was the right person to join our birth team. We spent the next couple of hours discussing all things pregnancy, birth and those moments after. When Anna left, I was feeling empowered and excited about my pregnancy and upcoming birth.
Isabella wanted to get out of the house, and she amazed me once again with her growing vocabulary and asked to go to the library. Well who could say no to such a gorgeous and reasonable request? We took the trike and went for a walk along the creek to get some fresh air on our way down. We spent an hour or so there and then came home for a sleep.
I took that time to rest, and read. Read all about empowering births, natural births, inspiring births. I wanted to soak up all of the positive energy that I could along my way. When Isabella woke up, I decided we needed to spend some more time outside, after a day with a lot of time spent inside, and the sun shining away. So we met a friend at the park and I stood chattering away about my day, and my meeting with Anna and how excited I was to birth this baby in six months, while our children played at the park.
I started to cramp.
I kept talking to my friend, thinking in the back of my head, ‘another delightful symptom of pregnancy, it will pass’.
But it didn’t.
The cramping continued while we were at the park. My friend left for school pick up, but Isabella and I stayed and played a little longer. She was having so much fun and I saw no reason to rush her home to play inside when she was enjoying the beautiful sunshine.
When we got home I was still cramping. But it was nothing too serious. Mild enough to tolerate and carry on with my day. But then I went to the toilet. At first I didn’t notice anything, but as I turned to flush I saw it. Blood. Just a little bit. But blood. I felt my heart start to race. Bleeding in pregnancy is not good right? I managed to calm down. There are plenty of cases where women experience this right through their pregnancy and go on to have a perfectly healthy baby. I have got to be one of those women for sure, right?
I suddenly felt really ill. Whether because I was suddenly really anxious that something was going on, or whether it was part of the process, I felt it nonetheless.
My husband got home from work perhaps an hour after this had happened. But I didn’t say anything. He was going off to a work function in the city, and needed to leave less than an hour after getting home. If I told him, one of two things would happen. He would stay home with me and we would worry together, or he would go, because he had made a commitment to be there, and we would worry separately. He would be distracted and not enjoy himself. I decided I wanted to be alone. I didn’t say anthing. Until he got home.
The next morning things got worse. I woke up to find the bleeding had increased, and I was starting to feel faint and light headed. So I made an appointment to see a doctor. I still didn’t feel like there was anything seriously wrong, however I wanted to get a blood test done so that I could be reassured sooner rather than later. Being a Saturday, it was not my usual doctor who I saw. And he seemed concerned. He gave me a referral for an ultrasound and the form for my bloods. I called Benson’s Radiology while I waited for a blood test. The receptionist asked me what was written on the form and when I told her she put me on hold. When she came back she offered to try and get me in today, but said that she needed to wait until she could speak directly to a radiographer who was currently busy.
But I made an appointment for Monday.
Because everything was fine.
The next day was Mother’s Day. We had a big breakfast with my Mum and her husband, and his Mum, and my Nanna, and my husbands Mum and Dad. While I was sitting down, I felt okay. But whenever I stood up I felt really light on my feet and needed to sit back down. But I made it through breakfast. And then I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home.
Our daughter watched television for the first time! We put on a movie and cuddled on the couch together, though she was only interested for about fifteen minutes before she wanted to engage in more imaginative play again. I was proud. But exhausted. And just watched from the couch.
I will not forget Monday.
My Mother in law came to pick up Isabella not long after Simon left for work. And when she realised that I was going to the ultrasound alone she said that she would come. But I didn’t want Isabella to be there. So I went alone.
It was completely different to any other experience of an ultrasound. When I went into the room the screens had been turned, so that I was unable to see the images. The radiographer was not very chatty, but they often aren’t. She had the typical poker face. But she was taking a lot of images. That beep from the machine was constant. She was silent.
I still couldn’t comprehend that there was anything seriously wrong.
I was sure there was just a minor complication causing the symptoms that would be resolved.
And then she said ‘I can’t find a heart beat and the fetus measures at only 8 weeks and four days, I am sorry that it is not good news, I’ll just give you a minute’. She handed me a box of tissues and left the room.
I stared at the ceiling.
I was in disbelief.
Eventually she came back, and told me I could leave, straight out without checking in with reception. How considerate.
So I left and I stood outside in the rain.
My mother in law pulled in to the carpark just as I had called my husband. I got in the car and just cried. Cried and cried. Days of anxiety and angst that I had been ignoring. Crying a pain that I couldn’t even begin to understand yet.
My baby was gone.
I would never meet them.
They would never walk this earth.
My baby was gone.