Kat never knows how to answer the question of how many children she has. She has been pregnant nine times.
“If I count how many children I feed and clothe, my number remains a tiny two,” she says. “But each and every one of those nine pregnancies was a child that I am a mum to.”
One thing Kat has learnt from everything she’s been through is that the care given by the hospital means a huge amount to a grieving parent.
“Not just the mother, but the father as well,” she adds. “Small things can make all the difference.”
Kat lost her first baby, Darren, soon after the 18-week scan showed he had severe organ abnormalities. Her second pregnancy, sadly, ended in a missed miscarriage. Kat and her husband Shane debated whether it was all worth it, before deciding to try again. This time, they lost their daughter Zahra at 35 weeks, due to placental abruption.
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“She never got to take a breath,” Kat remembers. “The doctors got her out and they worked hard at trying to get her to breathe, but it was too late.”
Kat spent time with Zahra, dressing her and bathing her and holding her. A counsellor spoke to her and Shane, telling them about support networks and encouraging them to talk about how they were feeling. But Kat had to spend the rest of her hospital stay surrounded by reminders of what she’d lost.
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“I spent five days in recovery after my c-section in a maternity ward. All around me there were pregnant ladies and babies. I could hear them crying. I even heard one lady labouring, as the ward was so full that she was in the room beside me. I heard her baby’s first cries as I bawled my eyes out.