15 October marked International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
When I looked it up, it is defined as being a day where “parents and families across Australia will honour their babies who passed away from miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death”.
I wrestled all day with whether to write something about this. On the one hand, I do not need some special day in the calendar to remember something I live with every day. And if I do need a special day, do I need to share it publicly?
But I decided to share my story because I feel that any sort of talk about pregnancy loss is so taboo, that when it happens, women are left feeling less alone. Maybe if I start talking about it, others will feel empowered to do the same?
But for me, there is another issue.
Because on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, my own experience does not quite fit in to that neat little box.
In 2012 I was pregnant, and then I was not.
You see, in March of that year, we found out we were expecting our first child. But in late April, we found out that there was something wrong, and that I would most likely have to terminate. I was informed I would have to wait six weeks for the baby to develop a little more before we could know for sure. From 12 weeks until 18 weeks I walked around with a fake smile and a heavy heart as people congratulated us on our big exciting news, all the while knowing this was not going to end well.
At 18 and a half weeks, I went for further testing and was given the news that the baby had Trisomy 13, a condition that is “not compatible with life”. These four words have haunted me for over six years.
Not compatible with life.
My “choice” was to terminate immediately or carry the baby until full term for him to either die in the womb or live a few short hours before dying. In my own mind, I already knew I was not going to bring a baby into this world only for him to suffer and die.
And there was not a single professional that recommended the second “option”. To them, there was no choice. We had to terminate.
And so, on Sunday June 3, 19 weeks into my pregnancy, we drove to Waverley Private Hospital and I was taken to a room where I was induced into labour.
I remember being asked where I would like to go, as my chosen hospital for the “real” delivery, Cabrini, was Catholic and was not an option “for this sort of thing”.