I am a very happy (and grateful) mother to a beautiful 10 year old bright, bubbly and vivacious daughter. It has been a long time since I lost my two precious babies, but there is honestly not a day that goes by where I don’t wonder what could have been.
I married my wonderful husband 24 years ago at the tender age of 22. Michael was 19 years older than me, so given that I had “older” parents (mum was 36 and dad was 39), when I was born, I was keen to start a family not long after we wed. Time went by and nothing was happening, so at around 25, I went off to the doctor with Michael to have some tests done to see if they could pinpoint the problem. Nothing could be found, so we decided we would be patient and that when we were meant to fall pregnant, it would happen.
At 29, I discovered that my prayers had been answered. After 6 years of trying, I was finally pregnant and to say I was the happiest person in the world would be an understatement. I wanted to shout it from the rooftop but I remember my mum saying that you should wait until 12 weeks before telling anyone “just in case”. I think when I was about 10 weeks or so I decided I couldn’t hold in my news any longer. Everyone knew how desperate we were to have a baby and they were all overjoyed. It turned out that one of my best friends was pregnant too and we were both due on the same day. She went on to have a little girl (our God Daughter), who is now 16 1/2.
I was booked in for my 12 week scan and the day couldn’t come quickly enough. I couldn’t wait to see this little miracle on the ultrasound screen. A few days before the scan, I started bleeding. I had no pain but was concerned. We went to the hospital and waited for ages before being taken into a room where a doctor asked me to do a urine sample. Unbelievably, at that very moment I felt something, it was my tiny little 11 week old fetus. It was perfectly formed but tiny. It had landed in the sample cup. I got to see my baby but not in the way I had dreamed. Even as I write this, the pain is just as raw as it was all those years ago. I remember going home and feeling empty. What had I done to deserve this? Why me? Why my baby? Why are their horrible people out there that have children that don’t want them and don’t care for them when I have so much love to give?
We were told to wait a while before trying again and later on in the year, to my elation, we found out we were pregnant again. Things were going along well and my hormone levels kept rising so I was hopeful that all was ok. Excitedly we headed off for our 12 week scan and blood test and NT, and we saw our baby on the screen. I was so relieved, excited, so in love. We left feeling elated, so I thought nothing would be wrong and when we headed back to get our test results, we were told that I had a high risk (1 in 82) of carrying a Down Syndrome child.
I was not as devastated as some expected me to be. If that was what God had planned for us, then that is what would be. This baby was “our” baby and there was no way I would ever give it up. We were told to see a specialist at RPA to have an amnio at 18 weeks gestation to determine whether our baby did in fact have Down Syndrome. I remember saying to Michael that the test was useless as I would never ever terminate. We waited 6 weeks to have the test, and the only reason I agreed to go ahead was so that we could be prepared for what was to come. As it turned out, the decision had been taken away from us.
When the Obstetrician came in to do an ultrasound, we looked at the screen and there was our baby. Tiny little movements, no wriggly worm like I expected. She looked at me and I just knew something was wrong. “Kimberley, I am so sorry but your baby is dying.” This was on a Friday afternoon, a bit of a blur but I was booked in for a D&C on the Monday. She told me our baby was the size of a 13 week old fetus and was “starving” – not thriving. I headed to the hospital on the Sunday night, dreading 11 o’clock the next day (the time of the D&C) and them taking my baby from me. What if they were wrong? What if our baby was ok and I had the D&C? I was heartbroken and remember praying all night with my hand on my belly to let me deliver this baby.
I started cramping early that morning and was given pethadine for the pain. At 10.30am, I delivered our precious tiny little baby (half an hour before I was due to have the D&C). To add insult to injury, our fetus was “lost” by the pathology company, so to this day we do not know whether we had a little boy or little girl. Not that it would have changed anything, but I wanted to name our baby so that people knew that he or she had existed. I really would have loved to have had some support back then. Some people were so insensitive about our loss and would offer “flippant” advice. Oh well, not meant to be etc..
So to sum it up, my journey is ongoing. I know that time heals and I am grateful for my beautiful daughter, but a part of us will never be the same. Our babies were real, they were wanted so desperately, they were and are loved and they always will be our babies. xx