Today however I am going to post about something completely different – something incredibly personal and important in my life – I understand if the post is a little long and you don’t make it all the way to the end. I am sorry if in parts it is a little sad, but today’s post is for me – a story I have never sat down to write until now – somehow the timing just fits for me at this point in my life – not sure if that means something? If you have time have a read or maybe come back later – induldge me a little while I share my story.
I guess none of us know what life will deal us – we never know when we will have one of those magically years where everything falls into place and we definitely do not know when life will throw us tragedy.
It was at this time that I also met a wonderful lady named Deb – she was a social worker from the hospital – I could not understand why the Doctors and midwives thought it was important to talk to her – I did not really understand what a social worker did – what could she possibly do to help. I distinctively remember her saying in that first meeting “I guess you are feeling like you need to distance yourself from this little person” – she was right – while I did not want this pregnancy to end for fear of the outcome I also wanted it to be over and be able to move on to a new pregnancy – one without complications – one without fear – one like my friends have – with a happy ending.
She took one look at me and put me in the car and took me straight to the hospital. She told me that it was the cord that I could see and I needed to prepare for the worst. All I could think of was no this can’t be happening now – Emilio is in Melbourne. Ann settled me into a bed, phoned the Doctor to let him know the situation and they decided that it would be best if I slept the night and we waited until the morning to give Emilio time to return and we would induce labour.
I phoned mum to let her know where I was and then spoke with Emilio again who was feeling helpless. By this stage it was around 11pm – Ann had told me to try and get some sleep and she would be back first thing in the morning. The room was quite, I had been given a heat pack to use on my back and then suddenly it hit me – excruciating pain – uncontrollable pain – I was in labour.
I buzzed the little bell on my bed like a crazy woman – something is wrong the pain is so bad I can’t stand it – I still don’t think I realised what was going on – I still thought I had time. Thank heavens Ann was still outside my room – she grabbed my arm and whispered “you are in labour and you are going to give birth now”. I never expected it to happen so fast. As I sit and write this I still can’t believe it happened so fast – only an hour before I was at home about to go to bed and now late on Tuesday evening I am here about to give birth to our baby without my husband to hold my hand.
At 11.10 pm our little angel arrived – the silence in the room was deafening – this is not the way it is meant to be – Ann and one other midwife – everyone was silent. Ann looked at me as we both had tears streaming down our face and I asked – is it a boy or a girl? We had never found out during the pregnancy but I always new it would be a girl – I remember vividly the moment Ann said “It’s a girl” – I sobbed. I was surprised then to hear the other midwife ask the question “Would you like to hold her”. To this day I am still a little surprised by this question but at the same time I have also learnt that everyone is different in their time of grief – all I could think of was “Of course, she is my child, I want her in my arms now”. Before I gave birth to her I wondered if I would be scared to see her but at that moment there was nothing else that mattered – she was beautiful and she had been through an ordeal.
It is hard to describe the feeling in that room in the moments after – such sadness but such bittersweet joy that I was finally able to meet my little girl. It was about 10 minutes after she was born that Emilio phoned once more. Ann had to let him know what had happened – I cannot imagine the helplessness he must have felt being so far away from us and not being able to get back.
My mum arrived soon after, not realising also that our little baby was here already – it was such a sad time in our family as my poor mum had left dad at home very sick so for her to arrive to such sad news must have been so difficult.
I am sure that it was about this time that things went a little hazy for me – I remember my Doctor arriving and that there was an attempt to remove my placenta followed by which a fast decision was made that I needed to get to surgery as my placenta was not wanting to detach – ironic really after all it had put us through.
The next few hours are rather blurry for me as I am sure I went into survival mode until Emilio arrived back. I know that Ann was there, my mum was there, my Doctor visited and another very kind doctor who I had met on a previous visit dropped in to say hello and offer his words of support.
It was around mid morning that Emilio finally arrived and everyone just let the three of us be together. I had not named her as we had not made a final decision on what her name should be prior to her arrival – I needed Emilio to be with me for this important decision. We decided to call her Laura – it seemed perfect for her. It was not the name we had planned for our first born but it was perfect for her – delicate and pretty – just like she was.
Our lovely social worker Deb arrived soon after and thankfully she was armed with a camera – not something I had even considered as I left home the night before. The photos that Deb took are amongst my most prized possessions and I will forever be grateful to her for capturing this time for us.
She captured our wonderful priest giving her a blessing. Photos of her tiny feet and hands. Photos of us as a family.
We spent the day at the hospital with her – scared to leave for fear of what would happen next – who would look after her after we went home. Would we be able to see her again.
I remember that moment – the moment we left the hospital – by ourselves – without our little girl. Disbelief. Lost. Empty.
But so proud to have a beautiful little girl.
Laura gave so much to our family – she helped me to understand the meaning of unconditional love – she has taught me that things don’t always go to plan, she taught me that you can get through the tough times, she taught that hope is a wonderful thing and she gave a gift to our family that nobody else could – the gift of reconnection.
Of course Laura’s story does not end here however today, on her 8th birthday I needed to write about her arrival, so I will finish up – grateful to have her in my life and proud of who she is to Emilio, myself and her three sisters.
Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl – we love you so so much and you are always by our side.
If you are still here I thank you for taking the time to read today’s post – raising the awareness of stillbirth is something I am so very passionate about as statistic are still frighteningly high. If you would like more information about this please visit the Stillbirth Foundation Australia’s website here.