Last year we decided to TTC #2 when DD turned 14 months and were fortunate to get UTD first try! Needless to say we were thrilled and my pregnancy seemed to progress in an easy, textbook fashion. At our nuchal scan the technician told us there seemed to be a tiny lump by the baby's heart and the doc who came in to have a look basically said it was a 'wait and see' situation as the heart was so tiny at 12 weeks gestation it could be something, it could be nothing, but nothing could be determined for a few more weeks. My results also ended up being a little inconclusive, so we opted to book in for an amnio. Well we left feeling a little concerned but not overly (if that makes sense).
When I went back for the amnio, the 'lump' was quite insignificant and my results came back all good and normal. From here my pregnancy kept progressing quite 'normally' until our 20 week morph scan when our world just fell apart.
The scan showed what appeared to be a large tumor, growing on and compressing the left side of the heart and causing irregular and low heart rate and it was taking up most of the chest cavity. There was also fluid around the heart and in the abdomen. My OB immediately referred us to Fetal Medicine Dept at RHW for more in depth scanning and opinions. Nothing quite prepares you for a doctor saying "i'm sorry, this is very rare, very serious and your baby isn't going to get better"...we knew our options were wait and see or end the pregnancy...this was Tuesday. I think at this stage, the worst thing was we felt so out of control, like we'd stepped onto a nightmare ride at a theme park and it was just going faster and faster...we couldn't get off. By Friday of the same week we'd seen a cardiologist and a pediatric surgeon and had made the decision to wait 2 weeks for another scan as this would be enough time to show whether things were getting better, worse, or staying the same.
The next scan showed no change. All I could think was "this is good right?! No change! That means it's not getting worse and baby is growing normally despite this THING in her chest"! We again decided to give it 2 more weeks. The next scan confirmed our biggest fears. While the growth wasn't getting any bigger, the hydrops was more severe and her heart just wasn't coping. Our lovely doctor Lisa, very gently told us that baby was now struggling and it was really just a matter of time. If I hadn't seen for myself and been told there was something so terribly wrong with my baby, I would never have known otherwise. She was the most active little baby, which just didn't make sense to anyone.
DP and I had already decided what we would do if it turned out for the worse...I just couldn't bear the thought of waiting for her to die inside me. But how the hell do you cope with making that decision to actively end your child's life? It was completely overwhelming, terrifying and soul destroying, I just felt so helpless and scared...truly heartbroken.
I went in to be induced Saturday November 28 and after 4 harrowing days our darling Matilda Rose was born Tuesday December 1, 2009 at 23 weeks 4 days (as it turned out, she died the day I went in to be induced)...she was beautiful.
I have never shown anyone our photos.
I will never forget the last time I felt her move (so frantically) and then 'nothing'...I just knew she had died and couldn't bring myself to tell DP, what I knew in my heart of hearts, for quite a few hours.
I will never forget the look on her face that first moment I gazed down at her in my arms.
I will never forget seeing DP break down completely...the one and only time I've ever seen him cry.
I will never forget sitting in the car, her tiny coffin between us, on the way to the crematorium.
But probably the hardest thing...living with the guilt of ending the pregnancy even though we knew beyond all doubt she wasn't going to live.
It's been 8 months now and we have been TTC this whole time. I've had 2 more losses, an early M/C and an ectopic and my OB really can't believe our bad luck. In all honesty, those two losses have seemed easy to deal with and I've felt more disappointed and frustrated rather than sad.
As you can see from my signature, I have written that she was stillborn because she was actually born sleeping, but I don't really feel like it's quite right. The details are really important to me and I feel like I owe it to her to make sure people understand what happened.
Thanks for reading (if you made it this far). It reads a little factual and impersonal but there's just so much emotion and heartache tied up in this, I'm not sure how to write it any other way.