Ten years ago, this is what happened to me.
It was my first pregnancy, I had only been married for 3 months. This wasn't a planned pregnancy, but it was a very welcome one. I was so excited, and so was my husband,Joel. I had my fair share of morning sickness, like most of us, but, that is part of the experience.
When I was 10 weeks pregnant, I had a tiny bit of brown spotting. I was 22 and new to all of this, and I didn't know that brown spotting was not the end of the world. I went to the dr, and they ordered an ultrasound. So at 10 weeks, I got to see my baby, and the heartbeat was good. They said that the bleeding was coming from somewhere else, and had nothing to do with the baby. So i thought that maybe my PCOS had something to do with it.
Anyway, I was still so worried, so for the next week and a half, I took it very easy. My hubby fussed over me, and I just tried to stay as relaxed as I could.
Then, at 11.5 weeks, on Australia Day,I was on the phone with DH, and I looked down and saw some blood. This time it was red. And there was a clot. Of course, I panicked. DH raced home, and took me to the closest hospital. I saw a resident, and she told me that my cervix was still shut, and that my pregnancy test still looked good. Also in my favour, is that the bleeding had basically stopped, and I had not at any stage felt any pain whatsoever. So she said, we would just have to wait and see. Then her shift changed, and I saw another doctor, a man who could barely speak the language. He did an internal, and it was so incredibly painful. Up until this point, I had had no pain, but this was almost unbearable. He said to me that if he pushed really hard, he could just get his longest finger into my cervix. So he said it must be open, and the nurse and resident must have been wrong. He said that the blood clot was the baby. And that it was gone now. He said they would do a D&C in the morning. I asked for an ultrasound and he said it was unnecessary. I repeated my request, and he said that as I had already passed the baby, and it was a public holiday, he saw no reason to call someone in for an ultrasound, when the baby was already gone. I was so upset, but I believed him. After all, he was the doctor, so he would know, right?
The next day they did the D&C. They told me there would be minimal pain. When I woke up, I was in agony. The pain was coming in waves, every few minutes. My nausea came back with a vengeance. I could not stop vomiting, and I had diarrhoea.
I commented on the pain to the nurse, and she said I must have had a terribly low pain threshold, and she sent me home with some panadeine. I went home, and was just so sad. But the pain didn't go away. That night I took some Mersyndol and went to bed, so sad for the loss of my baby. But in my dreams, I was still pregnant. I woke up in the middle of the night, and just couldn't shake that feeling.
The next day, I kept putting my hand on my tummy, you know how pregnant women do? I got some funny looks from my family, they just thought I wasn't coping. But I couldn't shake the strongest feeling of protectiveness that I felt, and the feeling that my baby was still with me. I thought I was losing my mind. I sent everyone home, said I wanted to get some sleep. Sent DH to work.
Then, at about 10.30, the pains got worse. Again, in waves. You'd think this would have tipped me off, but it didn't. Then, after half an hour of this, I went into the bathroom, and felt something come out(sorry, TMI). I looked down, and it was my baby. Complete. Not in the sack, just a baby. Like you see in photos of a 12 week fetus. Exactly like that. I was stunned. I just remember sitting there, and crying over and over again"I'm so sorry little one". I called my sister, and she came over with my mother. When I told them on the phone what had happened, they thought I was delusional. But they came over and saw what had happened. They saw my baby. They were so shocked. I went to the hospital, and Joel met me there.
The nurses couldn't believe what had happened. I asked them how it was possible to do a curette, to scrape out a uterus the size of a pear, and miss this baby. Completely miss it. They said they had never heard of this happening. I remember going to the toilets and walking past the nurses station. They didn't see me coming, and there were about 6 or 7 of them, all huddled over my baby, talking about it. I wanted to scream at them that while this was just some freakish event to them, this was still my baby. They were just all talking about how none of them had never seen anything like this before.
The next hours were filled with the hospitals administrators, the head of OBGYN, the chief of staff etc. They were all backpedalling. They all implied that maybe I had had twins, and that they had simply missed one. But I had had an ultrasound less than 2 weeks before, and we had seen the baby. And we had looked for evidence of a second, and there was none. Even I could tell they were trying to cover their backsides, in case I sued them. I even had 3 nurses approach me, seperately,and tell me that if it were them, that is exactly what they would do.
They said they wanted to admit me and do another D&C in the morning. I understood the need for the procedure, but refused to allow them to admit me again. I said I would go home and come back in the morning.
I went home, and the pains started again! At 5.30pm, I again found myself in the bathroom. With the placenta in my hand. So not only had they missed a baby, they had missed the placenta. We were incredulous. What had they done in there?
I had the procedure the next morning. So my miscarriage, took place over the space of 4 days.
I still don't know what happened. I don't know if my baby was alive, and the D&C is what killed it. I think so. I spent many years hating myself for not trusting my instincts. I should have demanded that ultrasound. Because now, I will never know.
So, it is 7 years to the day, that I saw my baby. Held it in my hands. i have since had another child, he is almost 2. But as much as I love him, he doesn't make up for what happened. I can't get past the guilt that I, by not standing up for myself, killed my own child.
If you have gotten this far, you've done well! I'm sorry this was so long, but as you can see, this is not a short story. And I think it is time it was told. For me. For my baby. And for every other woman who isn't sure whether to challenge her doctors about her treatment. I still wish, that I had.
It's been a decade now. Our first little baby would have been about 9 and a half now. Should have been. What would our lives have been like, I wonder? What would this baby have been like? I know that had we had this little one, we would probably not have had Alexander or Sam. The thought takes my breath away, and then I feel guilt in the next moment.
I wanted that baby so desperately. I grieved, an intense, enormous grief, for years. It took me 4 or 5 years to stop being angry. It's 10 years on, and I still have an ache in my heart for our first little child.
So, it's a weekend of reflection. We did our usual Sunday at Suttons yesterday. And it was wonderful. I allowed myself to enjoy it and to enjoy the two children I have here with me.
But for a few moments, I stole away. I went and stood by the ocean, Sam in my arms. I stared out at the waves, and told Samuel about the first baby. And I allowed myself a moment, to think about what might have been, and to once again, say Goodbye.