Thursday, 26 March 2015

Grief is a difficult emotion to overcome....

Karen shares with Sands her story of her pregnancy and the delivery of her precious little girl.

I found out I was pregnant late September 2014 after I had begun to feel fluttering in my stomach and just feeling "a bit off" in general. The visit to the doctor after a positive pregnancy test confirmed this and both myself and my fiancée were completely in shock, we were excited but at the same time we had just gotten engaged and were planning a year to travel. Eventually the shock wore off and excitement followed and after our first dating scan hearing our baby's heartbeat at 7 weeks, we were in love. I became incredibly protective and wanted nothing more than to become a mother to this little human we had created.

I had a text book pregnancy; I was still going to the gym personal training, eating healthily and take my pre-natal vitamins. Morning sickness was minor but managed to strike without fail at 5.00am and 7.00pm each day. I started to get the tiniest of bumps and was feeling very at ease with life.

I went for my nuchal pre scan blood test on the Monday and my nuchal translucency scan was booked for the Wednesday. I was 12 weeks 6 days. I woke up that morning and I was quite apprehensive going into the scan and was very anxious. Looking back now perhaps I knew something wasn't right but I was also excited to see my baby for the first time. We went into the scan and the sonographer was very positive and outgoing, after a while I noticed the more images she took, the quieter she became. She finally was able to get an image of the nuchal fold, she said it was slighter larger than what she had seen before and would have to talk to the doctor and come back in 5 mins. 5 mins turned into 15 and both myself and partner tried to stay positive but my motherly instinct had kicked in and I was on the verge of tears knowing something was wrong. She returned after what seemed like an eternity to tell us that unfortunately the baby's nuchal fold measured 14.7mm which was the largest she had seen and that she had found a lot of fluid in our baby's heart cavity, brain and stomach. 

She then read us our risks with the combination of my blood test and age for chromosomal abnormalities which were perfectly normal to then reading our risks for the combined scan and blood test which put us as high risk as 1 in 6. At this point I broke down and we were able to leave. I went home feeling the saddest I have felt my whole life. I was able to get into the doctors straight away as we still weren't sure what these results meant, the sonographer was not able to give any more information. 

The doctor confirmed our worst fears that our baby was severely deformed due to an abnormality with hydrops. We were told the chances of the baby surviving in utero were non-existent and that we would need to consider termination. They were surprised the baby had survived for so long. We were completely numb; my world had just come to a halt as I tried to get my head around what I had been told. I was so angry and sad at the same time, why did this happen to us? Surely there was some chance that everything would be alright.

We were then referred to a private obstetrician (even without health insurance we decided that private was worth the money for the care we would receive) who confirmed that what we had been told was true and that in his own personal opinion for mine and my baby’s sake, we should proceed with the termination. We went home and broke the news to our families who live overseas and were visited by close friends who we had told about the pregnancy, while all very supportive it did not help with the grief and sadness we were both feeling. That Wednesday night was the worst of my life, having to come to terms with what should have been the day we could spread the word that we were pregnant with a healthy beautiful baby to knowing that in 2 days time I was going to be ending its life was unbearable. But I did not have a choice; I did not want my baby to suffer anymore.

We went in for the procedure on the Friday afternoon; the nurses were lovely and very respectful. My partner was not able to be with me prior or when I got out of recovery which I was initially not okay about but strangely I was okay once I had woken up from the general anaesthetic. I had a nurse sit with me the whole time to change my dressings and talk to me which was comforting. My partner came and picked me up from the day surgery at 9.30pm and we made our way home. Once I was home I felt completely empty and the tears started to flow, I was so confused and sad all in the instant. I cannot explain the emptiness from feeling so empowered by having this little being inside you to then not have it anymore; it's a feeling I hope to not have to cope with again. I had the following week off work to gather my thoughts and heal physically. 

We chose not to name our baby that we had lost, I was not sure at the time it was the right thing for me. We found out after further genetic testing that our baby was a little girl who had been diagnosed with monosomy x or more commonly turners syndrome. We were told it was a completely random event that could happened to anyone. This helped my healing process a lot as I nor my partner was to blame, we had done everything right.

Grief is a difficult emotion to overcome, it comes as it pleases and does not go away quickly. It has been less than two months since I lost my baby, I still have my moments when I will cry or get angry or avoid people who are pregnant or who have babies. I still have times when I feel sorry for myself and think that I should be nearly 6 months pregnant right now, showing my baby belly and starting to buy for my unborn baby. I know this feeling will pass and I welcome the day that it does. I am stronger every day and realising that life does not stop has pushed me to start moving forward. I know in good faith that I will be a mother again soon and I welcome that emotion any day.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637   

Karen Mackle

My name is Karen and I am a 28 year old living in Brisbane with my partner. I wanted to share my recent experience about the early loss of our first child in the hope that people can know that they are not alone and in their time of need I hope my story will help.          

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