This is my Alice story….
We were like any couple expecting their first baby, nervous, excited, clueless. My pregnancy was uneventful, although I was huge! I started to measure weeks ahead and by full term I was 4 weeks ahead in growth. It was our due week and I noticed that bub wasn’t moving as much so I went to the hospital for monitoring. To be honest I felt a bit silly and like I was overreacting which was reaffirmed when I got to the maternity unit and they sent me to be checked out by a student nurse. Movements were still minimal. A midwife came eventually and gave me two cups of ice. After eating them both bub finally started moving so they sent me home. I was told that they can slow down towards the end of pregnancy as they are running out of room. I still felt anxious but put my trust in the experts. I had an ob. appointment two days later. Bub was still slow and he put it down to the baby being so big and there not being a lot of room. He did a quick scan and said its just a big baby. When we questioned why and if I would have any troubles with delivery we were just told to wait and see what happens. He booked my induction date for the following week if I didn’t go into labour. We had our antenatal class that evening and bub was moving like crazy so we took that as a good sign. The next day was non eventful but bub had slowed again. I was trying not to be anxious and trust my ob who had reassured me the previous day. I woke the next morning and had lost my mucous plug. I rang the hospital and they said to come in once hubby was up that there was no rush because it might take days for labour to start.
We went to the hospital at about 10am. They asked for a urine sample and then put me on for monitoring. They had trouble finding a heartbeat but had mine. We weren’t told anything yet and not to worry that we would go over for a scan soon. The midwife called the ob on call and he came in. I still didn’t have alarm bells ringing I think I had already shut down. We were sent for a scan. I remember the midwives standing out the front of the desk as I was wheeled out looking quite grim but I was trying to be cheerful and positive and said I’m sure it will all be fine and we will be back soon.
The lovely sonographer started the scan but had the screen turned away. He held my a hand and said I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat. I broke into a thousand pieces and just cried and cried. Saying over and over again ‘no it’s a mistake, no it’s a mistake’. He had to continue the scan to get bubs size which was estimated to be nearly 11lb!
We were taken back to maternity and met with the ob who gave us our options of being induced or having a csection. Brendan rang our parents but I have no memory of this. We decided to go home and think about what to do.
On the way home we decided on a csection because of bubs size and we wanted it to be done quickly. My parents arrived and came to the hospital with us. I started to have contractions but had gone into shock so I didn’t realise at the time.
We went in for a csection under general anaesthetic so Brendan couldn’t come in. My body was shaking so much that they had to hold me down. I completely broke down when Brendan had to leave. I couldn’t breath. My lovely midwife held my hand and talked to me and patted my head enough for me to relax and breath in the anaesthetic.
My darling girl was born and taken straight over to my room to be with her dad. Both of our parents were there with him.
It took me a while to come to from the surgery. I was so confused. I could hear them talking about her but didn’t really understand.
Once I woke up enough I was able to hold her. She was so perfect! I couldn’t believe something could be so beautiful and amazing. She was so peaceful and just looked like she was sleeping and we were waiting for her to wake up. She had so much hair and it was so dark. She had really chubby cheeks and such long feet! I think she would’ve looked like her dad but I see a lot of similarities between Alice and Evie now which is lovely.
The next few days were a blur of saying the heartbreaking goodbye to our perfect baby girl and working out how we could continue on our own.
It was and still is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. It’s still hard everyday. Alice has given me Henry and Evie and for that I’m so grateful.
We found out that my placenta wasn’t functioning well and it was likely I had gestational diabetes. I have had these things in my other two pregnancies but the GD has been managed very closely and I have had early deliveries before the placenta starts to deteriorate.
I had a number of red flags in hindsight- change in movement, acceleration in babies growth, I was eating like a horse but became very thin. These were signs of the GD and issues with the placenta.
It is so hard to be a parent of a child that has passed. Your fierce and total love for them is still there but you can’t give it to them. I can’t smooch her a thousand times a day like I do to Henry and Evie! So I talk to her, talk about her and make sure that she is a part of our lives each and every day xxxxx
Written by Alice’s Mother, Carla Taylor.