real life

"The midwife took my hand and said, 'I'm so sorry, they've tried everything they can'."

Warning: This post includes details and imagery of stillbirth that may be triggering for some readers.

Just over four months ago, Aimee Green went into labour at home, with her partner Ryan by her side. She gave birth at home, but when her baby arrived, she wasn’t crying. It would become the hardest day of Aimee’s life.

Even to this day I can hardly comprehend the fact that she was with me the whole way, every single minute of every single day but not for the last couple pushes.

What was going on? Why wasn’t she crying?

What are they doing to her, am I okay, am I alive, am I dreaming, when will I wake up?

A thousand questions were going through my brain but I couldn’t even speak. I have no idea how my body didn’t go into shock, I just pulled a towel over my head, sat still and prayed. I’ve never prayed properly before, I don’t even know how to, but I did. I prayed repeatedly for her to breathe.

At that very moment I just wanted to die. I had no idea how Ryan would ever love me again or how I would cope. This was the lowest point I had ever felt in my whole life.

My gut had already told me the answer to my prayers, and Ry’s voice said the rest, but I wasn’t giving up hope just yet. Ryan was beyond incredible. He had to see his wife to be shocked to silence and body battered in between checking on his daughter being resuscitated, communicating with the midwives and trying to understand what the f**k was going on himself.

Above all, he remained so calm and collected, reassured me that everything would be okay, stroked my head and told me how amazing I was.

Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo speak to Bec Sparrow, about what we could possibly say to a mother who’s lost a child. Post continues after audio.

I was completely numb. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything. I just held Ryan’s hand and prayed to the universe to make our girl cry.

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We longed to hear her cry for over 5 minutes, I felt I was on an episode of One Born Every Minute, a f**king scary episode. But at the end of the episode they managed to save her and everyone reminisces on what a close call it was and how it was a terrifying few minutes.

The midwife was incredible, her first time in such a distressing, real life not text book situation and she thrived. She phoned the ambulance within seconds without even being prompted, knew exactly what to say and where for them to arrive. Explained the situation, what the midwives were doing to Luna and within minutes the ambulances had arrived.

Luna was whisked away on a sunny but very frosty Wednesday morning. All I remember thinking was that she had better be warm and wrapped up as she’s just been in water and she will be freezing.

I was injected to help deliver the placenta and then I felt a hand and it was pulled from inside me… just like that. I didn’t care, I didn’t feel a thing, I was completely numb.

Once he knew I was stable, Ry left me to see what was happening. His voice was trembling, yet he still held it together. I remained still with the towel firmly over my face.

I was being stitched like a wounded solider sprawled on the sofa without a care in the world. It was funny because throughout my whole pregnancy my primary worry was regarding tearing, ripping or having stitches. Yet there I was being stitched without a flinch, the absolute least of my worries.

Then my heart was struck by a million volts.

"I kept saying sorry to everyone as I didn’t know what to do to make them feel better." Image supplied.

Ryan’s voice. I had completely forgotten about life. Like the fact we have families. Ryan went upstairs but I could still hear him. He was on the phone to both our parents having to speak words of horror and to urge them to the hospital immediately. After that he just broke down. He held it together so well before being repeatedly sick. A completely broken man.

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For him to hear an upbeat voice the other end of the phone expecting good news, but for them to hear the words of a distraught man through sobbing tears, must have been hell on earth.

He returned to hair stroking and telling me everything’s okay within a few minutes. He explained our parents will meet us at the hospital and persisted to reassure me that everything will be okay.

We ventured into the ambulance, the neighbours were luckily all at work, as I was feeling so ashamed of myself.

Time stood still. I had given birth at 09:19am, nearly 11 hours since my waters had broken, yet the journey to the hospital felt longer than the 11 hours itself. Even at this point we still didn’t know the outcome. Looking back I don’t know if this was the best or worst thing for us.

That journey was hand on heart the most painful thing I have ever experienced. My heart was aching like I have never felt in my life.

We didn’t speak the whole way, actually we hadn’t spoken since I gave birth. I didn’t know what to say to him I just held his hand and we spoke telepathically. I didn’t need to say anything, he knew by the way I was grabbing his hand and staring into his eyes how I felt.

Getting to the hospital I have never felt such shame, embarrassment or guilt in all my life. I couldn’t bring a live baby into the world, what the f**k is wrong with me? How can hundreds and thousands of people do this, yet I can’t?

It’s so sad to think but secretly, half of me was expecting her to be all wrapped up in a midwives arms. I pictured her passing her to me and telling me how lucky I am that it was a close call.

Her eyes filled up and she said, “I’m sorry, they have tried everything they can.” Image supplied.

As I unveiled my face in the room we were allocated, I was greeted with the broken and distraught faces of our families. I felt absolutely f**king mortified, it was my fault.

I kept saying sorry to everyone as I didn’t know what to do to make them feel better. They would come over and drown me in hugs and kisses but all I could say was I’m so sorry.

It was my fault, why did I have a home birth, why didn’t I listen to them all and have a hospital birth, why was she a happy baby for 11 hours of labour but not the last few minutes? What had I done? How was I going to apologise to Ryan? What if he falls out of love with me? I can’t lose him aswell? My family hate me…

Then the midwife entered the room, Emma, the most amazing lady I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She perched on the left side of the hospital bed with Ryan at my head and held our hands. The second she held our hands our fate was revealed. She need not say those dreaded words. Her eyes filled up and she said, “I’m sorry, they have tried everything they can.”

She didn’t need to say anymore and if she did I wouldn’t have heard her anyway. I felt as though I had been hit by a train, my stomach had been kicked, twisted and stamped on. I just sobbed. I sobbed my heart out with such might I couldn’t breathe. My heart shattered into a billion pieces, and I sobbed inconsolably for what felt like a lifetime.

I just laid on my left side as I had for 9 months, held my ‘no longer’ bump and sobbed until my body couldn’t sob anymore.

What was worse was to hear Ryan. His cry was unimaginable yet I can hear it when I picture that moment.

Our families were beyond distraught and all I thought was I am so f**king hated, hated by everyone and now I’m going to lose Ryan. How could he forgive me. It’s crazy what your mind does to you in times like these.

I honestly thought it would all have been a horrific nightmare and I would wake up at home in our comfy bed. I thought I would be covered in hot sweat, feel the movements of my bump, cuddle Ry and rock myself back to sleep. I now had to face this harsh painful reality.

Then came the most amazing moment of my whole life. I never knew I would be able to see her.

"I couldn’t believe and still can’t believe that I created such a beautiful human right to the last fingernail of pure perfection." Image supplied.

It was as if I had completely forgotten all about her. It was time to meet my little love I had so longed to meet for nearly 10 months. I literally forgot about her completely, the fact she was in the hospital with me and patiently waiting to see her mum and dad in the adjacent room.

Then I panicked, I didn’t know what to do or say, I didn’t know how she would look or be dressed, we had no clothes or blankets, and I didn’t want to see her bare in case she was harmed. But then there she was.

Swaddled to perfection with a little pink hat, waiting to see her mum and dad. Our beautiful little Luney bear.

She instantly made us smile, time stood still, I forgot where I was, who I was, what had happened and it was just the three of us how it was always meant to be.

She just looked as though she was sleeping. My sleeping beauty.

I’m so f**king stupid though, I genuinely convinced myself that if I believed hard enough her eyes would open or she would breathe. Like I said, it’s funny how your mind plays tricks on you.

"In that moment I felt mesmerised by everything." Image supplied.

I felt so happy, the happiest I’d ever been, even as I type those words, a huge wave of warmth and love still floods my heart through streaming eyes.

As I held my girl, Ryan started to cry, hard. But I felt strong, I was holding our beautiful daughter who I had carried for what felt like years.

I couldn’t believe and still can’t believe that I created such a beautiful human right to the last fingernail of pure perfection.

I felt so strong and able to conquer the world. I felt unstoppable. I couldn’t believe how she had transformed my whole mood.

Then the tables turned. Ryan held his daughter yapping away as I crumbled. Seeing them together broke me in two. Daddy’s little girl in his big strong arms a beautiful sight for me to see. I felt sad, sad to the bone, so sad I didn’t know how I would ever make him happy again. They looked amazing together. Ryan smiling at her through sad eyes, I will never lose that memory of them.

Then the midwife began to unswaddle her to her nappy, she was so long I couldn’t believe how she had fitted inside my tummy. She’s amazing I kept saying, she’s just amazing. As if I ever doubted myself that she would be anything but.

As she was unravelled, we could not believe our eyes. On her chest lay her perfect hands either side of a little blemish in the shape of a heart.

I just cried so much, I genuinely believe to this day she had left all of her love to us.

In that moment I felt mesmerised by everything, life, it’s purposes, death, destiny, fate, our souls, just everything.

It was like she knew I needed an answer, but there it was. Mum, dad, take all my love, we will meet again but for now its just not meant to be.

This post originally appeared on Luna's Love and Life after Stillbirth and has been republished here with full permission. 

To support Luna's Fund, click here.

If you or a loved one has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn, support is available via SANDS Australia. Call them anytime on 1300 072 637.

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