It's not there, it's gone.
9.36am on the 1st May 2013. Those five words cut through me and have never left me. I looked at Greg and felt my world crashing down around us. Before the sonographer walked out her next words were, I'll have your doctor call you.
A few days before my 12 week scan I had a bleed, it was quite heavy and the next morning I couldn't get out of bed. I felt like I had had the life zapped out of me. I didn't realise that I had had a miscarriage because I never passed my baby. I remember after my sonogram I sat in the car whilst my husband did a medical so he could fly out for work. Phone calls were happening to organise a d&c and by 5pm I was in theatre. It was the last surgery for the day so I had to stay the night and was put into the maternity ward.
6 weeks later I find out it was a boy. I never passed him. I had an infection in my placenta, which started as a haematoma at 8 weeks, but the infection was too much for my body to handle. I was told I could try again now that my HCG levels were at 0. So we did and I fell pregnant straight away, for me falling pregnant was the easy part, staying pregnant is what i struggle with.
Round 2 and I remember the morning of my 12 week scan. I was petrified, I didn't want to hear those 5 words again. I remember laying on the bed and the sonographer making these weird noises, he kept moving his head from left to right and looking at me then looking back at the screen, he looked at me and said. 'Look I'm really sorry, but your foetus is quite abnormal and you've had a silent miscarriage. Here have a look at the screen. See how it's floating around in there and it just doesn't look right. I can see quite significant abnormalities, it's possibly a partial molar pregnancy, we'll have to get some testing done.'
I broke down in my car at the hospital. I had to work out how to get a hold of Greg. How to work out what the hell I was going to do. Why the fuck was I going through all of this again. What had I done wrong.
I got married in early 2013, it was my final year of uni and it was meant to be the best year of my life, the honeymoon stage. Greg and I had been together for 8 years already and we knew we wanted a family straight away. Instead, I felt like my life was on a roller coaster and I had no idea what was happening. I fell pregnant so easily but I just couldn't stay pregnant. All our friends were falling pregnant and having babies. I remember one time I found out a friend was pregnant and I just threw my phone, it tipped me over the edge. I couldn't be happy for others anymore, it was silently killing me inside. I would work long hours to forget about life, Greg was working away 4 weeks at a time and when he was home it was only for 6 days. Falling pregnant felt like becoming a chore, I wasn't excited about it anymore, I wasn't sure if I wanted to try again and I couldn't be happy, no matter how hard I tried, it was hard to deal with. I feel like this was the change in my life, it had changed me as a person.
After months of testing to make sure the second miscarriage didn't turn into cancerous cells. I fell pregnant again at Christmas in 2013. The 12wk mark came around pretty quick this time, and finally we got the news we wanted, everything looked normal and our baby was growing perfectly.
At 25 weeks I lost my plug, I phoned my OBGYN suites and was told I could come in for a chat. All seemed fine and I was told that it would grow back.... My cousin had just recently had her twins pre-term and I was on the phone with my Aunty a lot, asking questions, I felt like I needed to ask as many questions as I could. I just had this feeling come over me that I wasn't going to go full term and I wanted to know what to expect.
Saturday 21st June, Greg had just flown back to work the previous weekend. My Dad and Step mum came down and had dinner and stayed the night with me. The next morning I felt off. I felt really heavy in my pelvis and my braxton hicks were strong, then they would go away. That Sunday afternoon, I went up to ED about 2pm, Something just wasn't right. They sent me over to the private hospital where I was hooked up to the ecg monitors for 2 hours, the braxton hicks to me looked consistent but nothing major. When the OB on duty came to see me, he quickly looked at me, read the chart and said, you're free to go. He never checked my cervix, he never asked me any questions. So when I spoke to the midwife on my way out, I remember her saying to me, are you happy with that ? I remember replying, well he is the doctor so I guess I have to be ? She said go home have some panadol, dinner and get some rest. So I did just that.
3am rolled on around, I woke up with the worst leg cramps. They would come and go, so I got up and had a magnesium tablet and went to lay back down. 5mins later they came on again, but stronger, I was tossing and turning, by 3.10am I got up and went to the loo, I was bleeding. I freaked, I felt weird, I felt pressure and my legs were in pain. I rang 000, I needed an ambulance and I needed it fast. I phoned Greg and I was scared, the contractions at this stage started to come on quick. I never did an antenatal class, fuck I'd just done the glucose test, I had no idea how to breathe through a contraction. I had no idea on what to do in labour. So I was just talking and screaming on the phone in pain and when the paramedics came into my room, one tripped down the stair and almost landed on top of me, they eventually got me into the back of the ambo, and started hooking me up with drips. The paramedic sitting next to me started to time my contractions, they were 2mins apart. But there wasn't any pain in my stomach, it was all in my legs, I remember him telling the driver to call it in and have a labour room ready. It didn't register with me that I was going to have my baby that morning. It just felt like a bad dream with no way of stopping it.
The next 20mins felt like a lifetime, we got to the hospital at 4.05am. I was wheeled through emergency, up a lift and into L&D. I remember a nurse telling me to suck on the gas and me telling her to shove it, that I didn't want it, she kept saying listen for the whistle, I wasn't having any if it. The OBGYN arrived and it was the same one who had sent me home 11 hours ago telling me to rest and that I'd be fine. Well here I was, bleeding heavily, contractions 2mins apart, alone and petrified. He checked me and I was 8.5cm and there was no time to get me on a plane to Perth then an ambulance KEMH to deliver. He did an internal check because I was bleeding heavily by this stage and I don't remember the correct terminology for it, possibly a uterine block ? it put me through the roof. I peed on him it hurt so much, looking back now I think it is hell funny, because he didn't have a chance to put a surgical jacket on and they thought it was my waters breaking.
Time was ticking now, the pain was intense, I was alone and I was having my baby. I remember them telling me to push, push like I was doing a poo. He got the scissors out and performed an episiotomy, they were blunt, I swear he told the nurse to get some sharp ones. He then got the forceps out and I pushed again, my waters still had not broken and I could see the midwives and nurses going around for a look because, my baby was crowning in the caul. I pushed once more, the last push, as she came through the bag broke and the water went everywhere. They quickly cut the cord and my placenta literally fell out. The OBGYN lifted it and said, 'check this thing out', obviously it didn't look like it was meant to. I laid back and watched the paediatricians take my baby away. I laid there whilst I was being cleaned up, I laid there with my arm over my face trying to work out what had just happened. My baby girl was born at 5.31am on the 23rd June. The midwife's came back in to give me the news that she was breathing on her own and doing so well and they gave me the biggest hug, because those two are the ones who were with me, it was their hands I was squeezing when the pain became unbearable. I was given my phone and I called Greg who was getting on a plane to come home to let him know we had a little girl and she was alive and breathing on her own, my mum called me about 2mins after I spoke with Greg. My body was going into shock and I couldn't stop shaking. My adrenaline was kicking in. Mum was asking me what was happening and I clearly remember saying, 'I am currently getting my fanny stitched back up'. I asked how many stitches I was getting and she said, 1 continuous stitch.
It was 6am when I walked into the SCN (special care nursery) and met my baby girl. My best friend was with me by this stage, which I will be forever grateful for. There she was breathing on her own, the tiniest little thing you had ever seen. RFD arrived a couple of hours later and took Isabelle up to Perth, I gave her one last look before she left and realised that her name bands weren't on her. So they fixed that, by 12pm Greg had arrived and I was discharged from hospital. We wen't home and I just threw a bag of clothes together and we drove to Perth to KEMH.
8 hours after giving birth, we arrived in Perth to be with Isabelle. We sat in ED for 3 hours, because triage said they didn't know where she was and they had to find her. Imagine being told that a hospital had no idea of where your baby was, you've just given birth, you're uncomfortable and in pain, standing for long periods and sitting in a hard cold seat felt like days, they kept saying that she was somewhere, but they just didn't know where. During this time I was taken in to be checked over, I had a breast pump machine shoved on me to bring on the colostrum, by the end of it my nipples where swollen & bruised, I later found out that putting the machine up to the highest number wasn't they way you do it.
I was finally admitted to the hospital for recovery and taken to the maternity ward. We were then taken down to NICU, where for the first time Greg got to meet his little girl, who was hooked up to monitors and a CPAP machine. It took him a good minute or 2 before he stood next to her. The shock of it all had hit him, like it did to me that morning. I remember we sat there for hours just watching her, asking questions, would she make it, what were her chances of survival, what was going to happen, how did any of this happen and how are we going to get through this. Isabelle was 2 days old before I was allowed to hold her, she was 3 days old when Greg got to hold his little girl for the first time.
Isabelle was 1200g, 39cm long, born at 28+4. My milk came in strong and I was breastfeeding her by 33 weeks gestation. I had expressed enough milk that I was asked by the hospital if I could take 20 litres home, during our time there. We spent 8 weeks in hospital in Perth, which is 2 hours away from home. I lived in the Woman's wards next to the hospital and Greg continued with FIFO. We brought our little girl home on the 15th August 2014. She was healthy, she had no medical implications and we were ready to be a little family.
Part 2 of my birth story will be up next week. I will explain why I had Isabelle so early and how I went on to have another 28+4 weeker, Penelope.