The Day I Became a Mother
Tear jerker warning - this post doesn’t have a happy ending I’m afraid but I’ll try and keep it as light as I can.
On 29th August 2018, I had gone into labour a week before I was due to have a planned caesarean section due to my baby being breech. I woke up around 6am having stomach pains, TMI warning, but I thought I might just need the loo as I had been constipated for a few days… (I am sure anyone who has been pregnant will agree, it is such a wonderful time filled with dignity and many beautiful moments). Anyway, the pains got closer and closer together and it dawned on us that I had gone into labour. PANIC! EXCITEMENT! WTF!
I was slightly scared because I was due to have a scheduled C section and now I was going to have what would be classed as an emergency section, but we remained calm and I even got in the bath quickly whilst hubby pulled himself together a hospital bag and let his employer know he wouldn’t be going into work.
“Grab that stripey onesie you got him scrud” (I don’t know where this nickname my husband and I call each other came from but we have referred to each other as scrud for the last 17 years and nicknamed the baby the scrudling throughout the pregnancy!). “And don’t forget the rainbow blanket, that will look cute for the photos!” I had shouted as I was straightening my hair (why anyone of a sane mind would think that having straight hair was a priority as they go to give birth is still a mystery to me but there we are, a little insight into how vain a woman I actually am).
However, we didn’t need the rainbow blanket as we never got to take those newborn photographs of a proud mommy and daddy showing off their bundle of joy.
I arrived at the hospital at around 9am and was taken for a quick check by a midwife who was using a Doppler to monitor Billy’s heartbeat. She seemed to be struggling but I wasn’t worried as my community midwife had difficulty a couple of weeks before but he had been moving and kicking around lots and a scan the following week showed a loud and healthy heartbeat, so I just assumed it was faint because he was in a breech position. She took us to another room for a scan, when we entered this room there were two sonographers and a doctor already in the room. Again, I didn’t think anything of this, I have never given birth before and just assumed this was normal. So I lay down, my darling supportive husband holding my hand (beating himself up that he had forgotten my medical notes- if only that had been our biggest problem that day) waiting for them to confirm that yes, baby was still breech and we will get him out shortly via a C section as planned. Wrong.
I can honestly say that throughout the whole scan I didn’t think anything was wrong and nothing could ever have prepared me for the seven words that will haunt me for the rest of my life, and that I still have daily flashbacks to…. “I’m so sorry Hannah, there’s no heartbeat” the sonographer whispered, the sorrow written all over her face. From that moment our world just fell apart and a piece of me died that day too. I know I will never fully recover from hearing those words and I have changed forever. My heart broke hearing that my sons had stopped beating and it will never fully be mended.
Screaming, like I was having an out of body experience, I collapsed into my husbands arms, “No, you’re wrong, there has to be, I had a scan five days ago he was fine!” “Are you sure”, “Please check again”. I don’t even remember seeing the room empty but suddenly it was just me and my husband sat sobbing in each others arms realising that our beautiful baby had died. Snatched away at the final stage, the cruellest blow and so so unfair. 38 weeks pregnant, how could he have died now?
The reality then that you have to deliver a stillborn baby, your dead child, starts to set in and the shock of this was like nothing else. The midwife returned and gave us a hug and explained that I would need to give birth naturally and I was progressing through labour well. I said to her “but he’s breech, I need a C section.” But obviously C sections are usually scheduled to deliver the baby healthily and as the consultant looking after me that day insensitively put it; “it’s major abdominal surgery that we only do to deliver the baby safely and that’s not an issue now.” Delicately put, thanks. My baby is dead so of course you can be as rough with him as you like now.
To cut a long story short I had the C section, you do have a choice in these situations, it is your body and your decision. I fully understood all of the risks of elective and unnecessary surgery, the risks to future pregnancies and that it would mean I will probably have to have a C section if I am blessed with another pregnancy. But I also knew what I could take psychologically and the thought of going through a long labour, delivering my baby into a silent and sombre room, and watching my dead son be delivered at the end of it was too much for me to cope with. The added complications of him being breech and the toll that would have on me to deliver naturally were also factors in my decision; “don’t worry I will use ventouse and forceps to pull him out as it will be more difficult but we can do it” said Mrs sensitive, my dedicated consultant for the day.
But I had made up my mind. I was always having a C section, I had known Billy was in a breech positon for around 9 weeks so I had mentally prepared myself for this kind of delivery. If he had not passed away, I would be having a C section and I just couldn’t begin to get my head around a natural delivery to deliver my stillborn baby. I was in shock, stunned by the news that our baby had died and just wanted the delivery with over as quickly as possible.
So I opted for the C section which was the right decision for me personally. Billy was stillborn on 29th August weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce at 14.25.
Over the last 10 weeks, not a day has gone by that I don’t cry for him, miss him or feel angry that his life was snatched away from him at the final stage. We still don’t know why Billy died and are awaiting the results from the post-mortem. What we do know is that we love him so much and wish so desperately that he was here with us now.
Thanks for reading.
Love Hannah x