On 26th April 1988 I was at home with my [then] husband and 4 year old daughter, I was 37 weeks pregnant and everything was going along fine.
I remember my water broke but there were no contractions, nothing unusual; here as it was the same scenario as my first daughter. No contractions had started however we made our way to hospital as they were keen to monitor me. Back then, and I don’t know if it is the same now, if contractions don’t start after your water has broken they induce so as to reduce the risk of infection. I remember then listening to the heartbeat and there seemed to be some confusion as to whether she was breach. By this stage I had, had an epidural as induced contractions can be very painful. They tried to manipulate her but decided to wait a while to see if she would turn herself, I was told that it was quite possible she would change position a few times before she was born. I remember that even after the epidural there was one small point in my side of pain, again I was told there was nothing to worry about. After that things became a bit of a blur, apparently I started hemorrhaging and I experienced an intense pain in my upper back between my shoulder blades, there was a flurry of activity as I was prepared for emergency surgery, the baby’s heartbeat couldn’t be located and I was bleeding internally.
My next memory is of waking up and being told my beautiful baby girl had not survived and that I had nearly died as well. Apparently my uterus ruptured in labour and severed the main artery that fed the womb, this killed my baby immediately and nearly killed me, I survived but to save me they had to take my womb. Back in the 80’s there were not the services available for those that had stillborn babies, a kind nurse took a polaroid but that deteriorated after a few years, I have a snippet of hair in a locket but that’s all.
I did get to hold her and nothing can erase the memory of that perfect little face, the one I prayed would open eyes, take a breath, anything but remain dead. How could anything so perfect be taken from me so soon, it wasn’t fair. I’m sure I could have spent more time with her if I had asked but I was still recovering from major surgery and shock and couldn’t think straight at the time. I spent a long time blaming myself for her death but one day I released that it wasn’t my fault, there was nothing I could have done.
She is my daughter, she will always be my daughter, I will always remember her as does her dad and older sister. She may not have drawn breath but she lives inside my heart now just as she did inside my womb, she’s always a part of me!
Written by Deborah, Jessica’s Mother.