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Speaking up for pregnancy loss: one woman’s story

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This will be the third year without my little bundle of joy but the first year I can finally put my head up, be strong and talk about my pregnancy loss.

This is my story. A story I would like to share in the hope of connecting with women who have gone through the same or a similar experience, who are afraid to open up and share their own experiences.

My message: don’t be ashamed or afraid. We, as women, should come together to speak more about pregnancy loss such as miscarriages, infant deaths, and stillbirths to raise awareness and let our voices be heard. Please remember that help and support are available. You are not alone.

In 2017, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. My husband and I were over the moon, and so was my three-year-old son, knowing he was going to be a big brother.

All went well in the very early stages. I was healthy and had all the normal pregnancy symptoms. It wasn’t until I reached eight weeks that I started to not feel right.

I started spotting so went to see my GP, who sent me to have ultrasounds and blood tests. The ultrasound came back saying my cervix had dilated. I was sent home. I felt that no one cared to take time to investigate the matter and find out whether something could be done to prevent it from happening. I felt vulnerable asking for help.

Weeks passed and the bleeding got heavier. I felt very tired. I was taking a lot of time off work as I was in and out of Emergency and visiting the GP often.  But every time I got stood down and turned away from the GP, the message: go home and rest. The hospital staff told me to take Panadol and put my feet up. My husband and I were getting fed up that no one wanted to help and investigate the matter further. What was happening? Could I get answers from anyone?

On the day I reached 14 weeks gestation I stayed home with my three-year-old son. It was around lunchtime when I went to the bathroom and saw the first large blood clot. It was the size of my hand. I called my husband and mother saying something was wrong and I did not feel well. I didn’t think of calling the ambulance. I then passed out in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor.

When I came to, I could hear voices. The voices were of the ambulance and fire brigade. I thought I was going to die. Where is my son? I asked, Is he ok?  Where is my husband? Is he ok? I was told that I lost a lot of blood. I felt my body was going out of control.

The fire brigade presented my son with a Hero Bear. I was told that he called my mother for help and that he opened the front door to the fire brigade and ambulance so they could help his mummy.

For a three-year-old boy to do all that, I’m so proud of him. I was also told that he took the initiative to get me a glass of water as I passed out and placed the glass of water next to my head.

In the ambulance, I passed in and out of consciousness. All I could hear was “this lady needs to get to hospital fast…she has lost a litre of blood”. The ambulance crew were keeping me warm, asking questions and reassuring me that everything will be fine.

As we arrived at the hospital I was placed in emergency and the doctors and nurses told me that the ultrasound confirmed that the baby had no heartbeat and that it was time to push the baby out. I could not stop crying. The pain in my heart was debilitating.

It happened all so quickly. I was given my baby to hold. My husband and I looked at each other in pain and heartache, kissing a smiling angel who was resting in peace.

After some time, I was placed in the maternity ward with all the other mothers. I could hear crying and screaming babies around me, but the nurses were very supportive. They were apologetic about how I had to deliver my baby in Emergency in an open area and placed into a room amongst women who have just given birth.

Being distraught, depressed and heartbroken; my family and I needed some type of closure. To make us feel a little better we ordered a symbolic candle and a picture book with photos. Every year on 17 July we light the candle, pray and remember our beautiful little angel in heaven who is being protected by our other family members who have passed.

I would like to thank my family, friends, the ambulance crew, fire brigade and nurses who cared, supported and counselled me through the toughest moments of my life. I am so grateful to be alive with my loved ones and know that my baby is watching over us.

To my baby, Mummy and Daddy fought hard to keep you alive. Your big brother talks about what he would have liked to do with you. We miss you so much. You will remain in our hearts forever.

To all the women going through pregnancy loss, remember to look after yourself. It is okay to grieve.

There are people out there who care and will support you through your toughest times. Let those people into your life and speak up. By speaking up, you are not only helping yourself but other women going through similar experiences.

I would also like to acknowledge Bears of Hope who were by my side supporting me through my worst days at the hospital.

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