My Stillbirth Story
I am a firm believer in the phrase "everything happens for a reason". Even if it sucks and makes no sense at the time.
I recently watched a video by Shawn Johnson and Andrew East which you can view here . Essentially you watch them go through the stages of finding out they are pregnant and so happy/terrified to a few days later finding out they lost their baby. Something like 20-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage unfortunately. About 1% a year end in stillbirth as well. It is an absolutely heart wrenching experience but one that many have their own story about and I wanted to share mine. If you are squeemish I am going to go into some detail here so best not to read on.
2016 was a very tough year for my whole family. My grandmother passed away, and my brother was in a terrible accident which landed him in the hospital for months. He is luckily still alive and doing amazing. It was a pretty stressful time and all of these things happened over the course of 2 weeks. My stillbirth was event number 3.
It started out pretty great I had a 7 month old son named Jake. He is awesome and crazy and still doesn't sleep he is now 2 1/2. While he was 7 months I started to feel these familiar pains in my uterus and just had this feeling I was pregnant again. I took multiple tests and low and behold Jake was going to be a big brother. Like most people who discover they're pregnant their emotions mix between happy and terrified. Such an amazing thing to grow a human in your body and feel your baby develop and grow and bruise your ribs from the inside. To see little hands and feet move across your belly. To watch them dancing around in an ultrasound. It is a really amazing experience and one I am so lucky to have had twice.
Over the winter I had some friends at the cottage I was 5 months pregnant (20 weeks) and my friends built this amazing adorable little snowman family outside for me to announce to the world we were expecting our second.
The universe had different plans for my little snowman. A few weeks later at 22 weeks we lost our baby.
It actually took place 1 day before we were going to have our ultrasound to find out the sex.
March 15th 2016 I woke up around 6am with a terrible pain in my stomach. They felt very similar to contractions. I stood up out of bed and my baby started coming out. With my husband gone to work and my little man sleeping in the room next door I panicked and didn't know what to do. I pushed the baby back inside and kept my legs squeezed together while I called my husband freaking out to come home and bring me to the hospital. At this point waiting at the front door with Jake sleeping in my arms waiting for my husband it started to hit me that there was no way this baby was going to make it. My husband rushed to the door grabbed our son and helped me into the car. I looked down and my pants were completely soaked in blood. My husband called my parents on the way to the hospital as he was looking for someone to help with Jake so he could be with me. My parents were in Toronto with my brother taking care of him after his accident but rushed up north to help me even though I insisted they didn't have to. They are crazy and amazing. I remember the drive to the hospital and I remember just staring blankly at the road and feeling completely numb. I could see and hear but had no reaction.
We pulled up to emergency and my husband ran inside to grab a nurse who came out with a wheelchair. As soon as she saw me and the blood all over me and the car she rushed me right in through the doors and instantly I had about 10 people working on me. I was rushed to the maternity department where I was then fully in labour. I had contractions and had to push to give birth. They told me since I was 22 weeks the baby was likely not going to make it and I was having an early stillbirth. I gave birth they told me the baby was not alive and there was nothing they could do they then asked me if I wanted to see the baby and I just couldn't so they took it away. They said that the baby had likely been dead for a week or so and I was lucky to not have gone septic. My body finally triggered labour in order to get rid of it. Now they don't know the cause of stillbirths or miscarriages they usually just say the body has a way of knowing if the baby will be ok or if something isn't developing properly they will get rid of it. They try to assure you it isn't your fault or anything you did and not to blame yourself but you can't help but wonder.
I had an absolutely amazing nurse by my side the whole time. She helped clean me up and got me some underwear and a change of pants to go home in. After about 3 hours in the hospital I was sent home baby free and with a very empty feeling inside. It takes a while for the uterus to go down so I still had my bump to remind me of everything but the bump was now empty.
This was definitely the hardest thing I ever had to recover from and I feel for anyone who has to go through this. Whether they were pregnant for a day or for months it is just awful!
I have amazing family and friends who kept checking in on me. I have an absolutely amazing husband who was there for me to cry to, to laugh with, and to cheer me up in the night when I would jump up awake for months with night terrors saying the baby was coming out.
I also had my amazing son Jake. He is the biggest light in the world. He is always so happy and full of smiles and laughter and he needed me. March 29th was his 1st birthday. 14 days after my event. My family got together and threw him a big party and it was so amazing of everybody to do this.
I am so lucky to have one amazing child and the experience although awful will not stop me from wanting another and hoping for the best. I know I will be paranoid and nervous next time who wouldn't be. However I also want to enjoy and appreciate it all even more as it is such an amazing gift to be able to grow a little baby and hopefully bring that baby into this world to forever change everything and make the world a better brighter place.
All my love goes out to all the mama's out there. Everyone who has gone through loss. Everyone who has gone through joy. And everyone struggling to have a child.
It sucks sometimes and there is no magic cure to feel better. I just try and get through and enjoy every day with those I have in my life. If my story helps one person not feel alone then I have done my job.