pregnancy

"It's too late now darling." I delivered our baby boy, knowing we would never take him home.

This article deals with stillbirth and may be triggering for some readers.

My partner and I found out we were pregnant a blip after meeting. I remember the moment I told him, and his immediate response that he would “support whatever I wanted to do”.

Within a week, we made the biggest commitment of each of our lives – to bring our baby into the world together. It wasn’t a decision made lightly, we acknowledged the gravitas, but were firm on the notion that this was a life that needed to be lived.

I vividly remember the moment James said to me, “I really want this if you really want this”.

I fell into mum mode, watching everything I consumed (goodbye social smoking and red wine), tracking every exciting moment in a baby diary, a few morning voms and all-day queasiness, baby scans, checkups with our GP who felt like an extension of us (man, I miss that guy), researching overpriced prams, weekend visits to Baby Bunting much to James’ dismay, and telling our friends and family, even early on in the piece. 

I just want to take a moment to say, that last part is the part of my pregnancy story I would never change, because without the support of family and my closest friends, I don’t know I would have survived what was to come. I’m a big advocate for telling the 12 week ‘rule’ to get effed because I was a mum the day I found out we would be having a baby.

As a side note, I also acknowledge this identity can come for women even before then.

Nothing comes close to the complete euphoria I felt the day we found out we’d be having a baby boy. We were having a baby boy! I still can’t explain that emotion – I’m certain I was levitating above ground. It was a natural high that deserves to be bottled.

Bec and James
Bec and James. Image: Supplied.

But what happened next is the beginning of the reason I’m writing this.

I was getting a scan with my mum (James had been with me for all the other appointments, but was interstate on this day). Mum took a million pictures and cry-squealed when she heard my boy’s heartbeat for the first time - routine grandma reaction.

But then something was wrong. I watched as the sonographer’s face grew increasingly concerned and her (internal and external) ultrasound prods became more violent.

The next moment, the doctor was in the room telling me that my baby boy "hadn’t developed right". He explained the details between wails (mine, not his). We were taken to The Room. If you know, you know. The grieving room. The limbo room. The room of utter confusion and devastation. The room where your mum strokes your hair for hours while you cry in her lap.

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The weeks that followed involved a lot more prodding by countless foetal medical specialists, during which time my belly grew exponentially. Very cruel in hindsight. I spent these days living in an existence that felt like it was just me and my baby boy (plus James who never left my side).

I’d rub my bump and tell Baby K that he was already very loved and that we couldn’t wait to meet him. I will forever cherish these beautiful and hopeful days I got to spend with my son.

But the final results were conclusive and we made the tough decision ("we made the tough decision" does not do it any justice. It was the hardest thing I hope I ever have to do) to terminate for medical reasons.

I hadn’t gone to a single antenatal class, but here I was being told that I’d be delivering my baby.

They gave me a pill to induce labour, and the next morning we arrived at hospital. I was shown to my room with the butterfly on the door because I would be delivering stillborn. The cramping started by 11am and by 3pm I didn’t know if I needed to vomit or if my insides were about to fall out the other end. I ended up throwing up on myself multiple times, probably out of confusion.

By midnight I was in hell. At one point I turned to James and begged him to make it stop, that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I remember the heartache on his face and his eyes reflecting my pain, along with his own - “It’s too late now darling”.

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Mum was also in the room watching her 31-year-old daughter suffer with her own motherhood. They say the pain is all worth it and soon forgotten, and that’s possibly the case when you have the joy of a baby on the other side. But I wasn’t getting that, so compound the physical with the emotional for an idea of the associated trauma.

At some point between midnight and dawn, I started to deliver my boy. I felt every part of him and I think that will stick with me for life. James held my hands. Time stood still. I was wailing (always wailing) and watching single tears run down James’ cheek while we just sat there, devastated. Never have I felt so empty, for want of a better word. It was raw, intense and heartbreaking for us both.

Our baby had arrived many months before he should have entered the world.

It was 12 months ago today this Thursday past that our baby was born. He may have only been physically part of our life for a short while but he will remain with us for the rest of our days. Baby K is my son, my firstborn, he’s my darling boy. I am his mama.

It’s taken me a while to get to this realisation, but I think he would have been proud of his mum and the strength I have because of him.

Our baby was and will always be very loved.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

Rebecca is the co-founder of Strong Womens Club, which shares stories and support for women going through infertility or pregancy loss. For more, follow Strong Womens Club on Instagram.

This post originally appeared on Instagram and has been republished here with full permission.

Feature image: Supplied.

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