Written by Sarah Pridham, for Still Aware
When I decided to start writing a blog I was overloaded with all these different topics I wanted to talk about, things I wanted to share about my journey of loss and grief. But, I decided that for the first blog I really needed to tell my story – or at least some of it, so people can get a bit of background information first. I’m not an author or an experienced writer – but I will do my best.
So my story of loss… It’s hard to know how much to write without it becoming like a book…
The start of a new year (2017) brought a new chapter in our life, a positive pregnancy test, our first child – that day our lives became so much more. Instead of living for ourselves we were going to be living for a child. I soon knew what kind of mother I wanted to be – a good role model, I wanted to be there to support our child through the good things and be there for them through the bad times, to give them the life that they deserved, but most of all I wanted my child to be proud to call me mum.
My pregnancy was much like most others. The days past – so did the scans, blood tests etc and all looked OK. The only concern was a low lying placenta, detected at 20 weeks (but it was explained that it can be very common and normally fixes itself as pregnancy progresses). Of course I also had the normal bad pains and sore feet! There were many enjoyable moments as well – like finding out we were having a baby boy (the one thing my husband and I agreed on straight away was finding out what we were going to have), feeling him kick for the first time and of course starting the shopping and decorating of the nursery and my baby shower (well I actually had 2 because of living in the country – one down here and one in Adelaide) and of course I had many sleepless nights, many trips to the toilet and never being able to get comfortable – but despite all these things the time still passed quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to go on maternity leave and my days were spent relaxing, sleeping, eating, reading and cleaning everything top to bottom and finishing the nursery… I took great pride in creating the nursery as i wanted it to be a special place just four our baby boy, a place he could grow into and love being in and I was so proud of what the end result was. Anyway, finally my hospital bag was packed and it the boot of my car all ready to go. Skip on a little bit…
Finally I was at 38 weeks. This is where our soon to be nightmare began. I was asleep one night in bed, got up to go to the toilet and was bleeding so went for a quick check up at the hospital where I was checked and bubs was checked and then sent home as it was all from losing my mucus plug. Not long after finally getting back into bed (by this time it was early hours of the morning) I woke to what I thought was my waters breaking, but soon realised it was pretty much all blood – so back to the hospital for another scan, tests and monitoring soon to be told it was bleeding from early labour but that we would not be going home, that we would be having our baby boy that day. I think this was the moment that everything became so real – shortly after I was induced and in labour, going between laying on the hospital bed to bouncing on the big blue ball. I was about 3-4 hours into natural labour, when I decided to stand up.. This was the point that I looked down and there was blood everywhere. To be honest everything happened so quickly after this, the emergency button was pressed – it went from having one midwife in the room to having her plus the obstetrician and about 2-3 other people, an oxygen make getting put on me and being told I was going into having an emergency caesarean. Then everything was black, I was asleep.
I don’t remember waking up, apparently as soon as I did I turned to my husband and asked “where’s my baby” to which he had to tell me he didn’t make it. I don’t remember this news sinking in, however I was told that it did. I was in hospital for another 3 days before we went home – the hospital stay is a whole different story for another time.
We were then informed that we lost our son due to undiagnosed Vasa Previa (we had never even heard of this before) as it is quite rare and when it is diagnosed the outcome normally has 96% success rate of the baby still living. For those that don’t know what it is, and it is hard to explain – it is a condition where feral blood vessels (or in our case one main vessel) cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus. These vessels are then at risk of rupture when the supporting membranes rupture due to being unsupported by the umbilical cord or placental tissue.
So basically, as I was dilating it put pressure on the vessel which attached itself to near the opening of the uterus and therefore caused the vessel to rupture and for me to loose most of our sons blood supply through me – yes, this was a lot to take in when I was still trying to come to terms with the loss of my baby boy.
So…here we were in hospital trying to face our loss, trying to face how much our life had just changed, starting to plan a funeral and trying to work through recovering from the emergency caesarean.
I guess this is a summary of what happened because I feel it’s important for people reading my future blogs to have some background knowledge about our loss and what caused it. If I explained everything it wouldn’t be a blog it would probably be a 500 page novel, so I hope the shortened version still makes sense.
I used to look at 60 seconds as taking so long to pass… Now I cannot believe how quickly things can change in 60 seconds – how 60 seconds can change the course of your life. I guess this is just a small portion of the start of my story, the start of a terrible, long journey of pain, loss and despair. The first 27 years of my life ended the day we lost our son, Jasper, and the next chapter of my life started.
It still amazes me how 60 seconds can literally turn your world upside down…how it can completely change the future that was planned from the moment the positive pregnancy test was read.