Sarah writes about having a miscarriage at 17 weeks and talking to her 7 year old son about it.
The feeling of sadness was overwhelming, but having to tell our son that his much wished for little brother or sister had died was truly the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Today marks the first anniversary of losing our baby, and somehow I thought the feelings wouldn’t be as strong one year on. Mostly I think of our 7 year old son and the bravery, courage and sensitivity he has shown over the last 12 months. Waiting 7 years for a sibling, he was so excited when we told him, we handed him a package with the 12 week scan and a “big brother” t-shirt and his face was just beaming – a face I’ll never forget. He hugged me tightly and looked at my tummy, trying to understand where the baby was hiding.
We’d waited the long 12 weeks before telling most people, we wanted Frankie to be part of the excitement and news sharing, and knew it was safest to wait until the all clear at the 12 week scan, after which we held a party to announce our news – which no one was expecting. I guess they thought with it being 7 years since our first child we probably weren’t going to have any more. We couldn’t have been more excited….
On 6th June 2017, I woke up and took Frankie to school as usual and headed down to the office to start work. All day I felt a bit strange like something wasn’t quite right, but I didn’t know what. I thought maybe I was apprehensive as I had the midwife booked for the next day, but anyhow I carried on my day as normal. When I got home I burst into tears and told my hubbie I thought something was wrong with the baby, but I had no idea why I was having those thoughts. As the evening progressed I had some pinkish discharge, I tried to call the hospital, but no answer so took myself to bed to rest and thought I’d chat it through with the midwife the next day.
At around 9.30pm I woke to discover fluid in the bed and ran to the toilet to find my worst fear, blood and watery fluid, I knew then that something was desperately wrong, but I was too scared to admit it. We tried the hospital again, but got cut off so phoned 111 who called an ambulance. Over an hour we waited, trying to stay positive, not moving and praying our 17 week old baby would be ok. After being examined at the hospital I was told the cervix was closed and the bleeding was stopping, I should have felt relieved, but I just knew that wasn’t right and I requested to stay in the hospital until someone was available to scan me and we were moved to the emergency ward.
We’d only been there a short time, when I felt the urge to go to the toilet. Leaving my husband dozing in the bed I headed down the ward. As I sat down I gave birth to our tiny, yet perfectly formed 17 week old baby. The shock, sadness and disbelief hit me, I had no idea what to do so I pulled the emergency cord, but no one came. I opened the door to call to my husband but I couldn’t find my voice, and so I hit the button on the wall which sounded an alarm waking the whole ward at 5am.
I remember the first nurse who came in, just held me as I sobbed and wailed, meanwhile nurse after nurse arrived to help. Then my husband came in and I had to tell him our baby had gone and we just held each other in the toilet crying.
Once in a room, the doctor came and scanned my tummy, part of me still hoped the baby was there and it had all been a bad dream, but no, just the placenta, which wasn’t budging and so I was prepped for theatre and whisked off before I had time to even start to process what had just happened. When I woke up I was met by more kind nurses who found my husband and brought him into recovery, and a few hours later we were sent home.
The feeling of sadness was overwhelming, but having to tell our son that his much wished for little brother or sister had died was truly the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He sobbed and hugged me tightly, neither of us knowing what to say. He’s been so amazing over the last 12 months, losing not only his sibling, but also his dog. He really is the strongest little boy I know, and makes me so proud every day.
I have regrets during the process, I wished I had asked for a post-mortem, I wish I had asked for baby hand and footprints and I wish I had looked to see whether our angel was a boy or a girl… everything happened so quickly and you just don’t think about these things or even know they are a possibility at the time…
And now it is time to focus on the present, I am 35 weeks pregnant and very lucky to have fallen pregnant so quickly, I know, however nothing will ever replace our baby angel, a part of our family that has made us the strong family unit we are today. It’s been a long anxious pregnancy so far and I guess until I hold our baby in my arms, part of me won’t quite believe we will get to keep this one.