My husband and I were so excited – our first child was due on February 5th, 2013. I’d had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, if you ignore the intense morning sickness that had me basically bed-ridden for 3 months! There was no indication of any problems, everything was going well.
On Monday January 28, Julie, our midwife, came over for my scheduled checkup. I was just under 39 weeks pregnant, so Hubby and I knew that our baby could be arriving at any moment, and we were getting pretty keen to meet our child! Both us and Julie had been on holidays since we’d last seen each other, so after discussing our holidays, Julie went through the normal routine of measuring blood-pressure, asking questions, etc. It was all normal. But then she tried to listen to our baby’s heartbeat. After trying for a while, she couldn’t find one. Sometimes a baby can be in an awkward position that makes it difficult to hear their heart. She suggested we hop in the car and head to the hospital to get an ultrasound. So that’s what we did. We were very concerned though, as the heartbeat had never been difficult to find. It was then that I realised I hadn’t felt any movements that day, although it was still morning and I usually felt the most movements in the afternoon and evening. That drive to the hospital was the longest and most uncertain 20 minutes of my life.
After arriving at the hospital’s birth centre, Julie showed us into a room, and said she’d be back with the ultrasound machine soon. She brought it in, accompanied by the doctor, who then started the scan. Normally unltrasounds had been exciting – we’d had five of them throughout the pregnancy, so we knew what to expect. But there was nothing exciting about this scan. After a few minutes, Hubby and I heard the hardest words we’ve ever had to hear – “I’m really sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.”
Since they were using the portable scanner, which doesn’t have colour imaging or audio, they organised for us to go downstairs to get another scan. But that was basically just a formality – we already knew that our precious child had died. After the second scan, we went back to our room and were given some time alone to decide what to do. We decided we needed a bit of time to process things and therefore decided that I would be induced the following day.Read more
On Tuesday, they started the induction process. Our pastor brought us dinner, and I remember him praying that my body would act as though it had gone into labour by itself, rather than needing a lot of medical interventions. God answered that prayer, and I laboured during the night, with the support of my wonderful husband and midwife.
At 9am, Wednesday January 30, I gave birth to our precious daughter Ariella Jade. Both labour and birth went smoothly, for which we were grateful. The hospital allowed us to make all the decisions, including how long we wanted to stay. My parents came to meet their new granddaughter that afternoon, and our pastor came later that day too. On Thursday my uncle came to meet Ariella and see us, and Thursday night we came home. Leaving my darling Ariella was the hardest thing I had ever had to do.
My sister arrived from overseas the next Monday, my mother-in-law came from interstate on Wednesday, and on Thursday we farewelled our baby girl with a small service.
There is no explanation for Ariella’s death, just like there isn’t for approximately half of all stillbirths. Nor did we have any warning that things were about to go horribly wrong. But we do know that God is still good; He gave us 39 weeks with our precious girl. Ariella Jade will always be our precious firstborn, she will always be a part of our family.