Mamma to Spencer Ty
October 19, 2011
Perth, Western Australia
My husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first in March 2011. We have been together for 16 years (since the early days of high school), so it was about time and we were elated. It was a very long, complicated pregnancy (Downs Syndrome scare, some baby kidney and heart problems – all of which turned out to be fine), but at 29 weeks they told us we could finally relax and start to enjoy the pregnancy. We did and went out and got everything we needed for our little boy, and oh how exciting it all was!
Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long. I started to swell up like a balloon not long after the 29 week mark, and then had a blood pressure scare. The OB assured me everything was fine and told me to come back in two weeks. We didn’t make it that far. At 31 weeks and two days we went to L&D because I hadn’t felt our baby boy move all day (very unusual for him). They discovered that I had severe preeclampsia and the baby had a terminal heart rate (too steady, none of the normal variability). Twenty minutes later we watched little Spencer’s heart beat for the last time. I will never forget the words the OB said, nor the ultrasound screen. Both will haunt me for life. I was told I’d have to be induced in the morning and that the labor could take days, all immediately after being told that my baby was dead. There cannot be much worse than being told you will have to birth a dead baby, other than actually doing it. I think I said, “I don’t want to!” about 100 times over. It was an awful night and I think I just became numb for the next week. Baby Spencer was born sleeping at 7:50 pm on October 19, 2011. He was absolutely perfect in every way, except for the not breathing part. I was told he died due to a silent, concealed, retro-placental abruption (meaning I had no pain or bleeding because the placenta became detached at the back of the uterus).
I didn’t know it at the time but I was in very serious trouble as well. They were worried that my liver might rupture and that my blood pressure was so high I might go into a coma. On top of that, I had renal failure during the delivery and I lost a lot of blood. I had a long, awful hospital stay in the MATERNITY WARD! All I heard were babies crying and happy people all day and night. It was awful! My poor husband was worried sick and is just thankful he still has me. I, on the other hand, am still devastated by the loss of my little Spencer. Just to rub salt in the wound, I bled for 5 weeks after the birth. I finally was sick of it and went to my normal doctor who discovered via ultrasound that I had some retained products of conception still attached to my uterus. I had to go in for a D&C to get that taken care of on November 28th, in the same hospital with the same OB. I now despise ultrasound machines with all of my being (no offense to your husband and his job) and will never be able to go to my OB again (mainly due to very bad memories).
Well, that is my sad story. I am now trying to piece together my new world. My hopes and dreams for little Spencer are lost and I am not sure what to do now. Day to day life is starting to get easier but I still have days where I refuse to leave the house. Little Spencer was supposed to be our ultimate Christmas gift this year as his due date was the 18th of December. I cannot even begin to imagine celebrating Christmas this year and am planning to spend the day at home in my pajamas. I know this will get better with time and I admire all those who are down the path a bit further. Someday I would like to try for another child, but right now I am downright terrified of it all. If anyone out there has any advice on how to get through a pregnancy after this kind of loss (or just how to get through the loss), I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading. I hope every woman who has experienced some kind of baby loss finds peace and hope again.
You can reach Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.