I can't write about my son's birth without writing about the lead up to it- many of you know his story, many of you shared in the devastation that we went through, the pain, the shock, the fear- so I apologize if this is just a rehash of it all. I need you to all know however just how much your support helped me through it- I found so many amazing people on this forum, most of you that I didn't know who still cried with me and prayed for me and my baby. For this I will forever be indepted.
This is Oliver's story- warning, it will be long and I will post it in parts- it is still not finished but I want to start posting before I lose it.
ETA to add: Ok, it is really, really, really long- sorry. Perhaps more like novella? Grab a cuppa if you really want to read it
I fell pregnant in April- unplanned, story of all my children really. Although this one I blame square on my husband! I wasn't shocked- I knew from the moment it happened that a pregnancy would result- but I was scared, overwhelmed, anxious. All of the usual emotions, I guess. This would be number 4 for us- my previous pregnancies and births were complicated. Number 3 was a complete placenta praevia resulting in IUGR- the placenta packed it in at about 30 weeks and she was delivered tiny but strong at 36 weeks gestation- but we came very close to losing her and my ob had spelled it out in no uncertain terms that I was not to fall pregnant again. Heck, it was NEVER something I ever wanted to go through again.
I kept the pregnancy a secret from almost everybody as I struggled to process and find peace with it. However, like pregnancy number 3 I started bleeding early- bright red blood that signified that all was not well and each time I saw it I waited for what seemed inevitable, a miscarriage to result. The bleeding was constant, sometimes heavy enough to require a pad. I felt stuck in limbo- waiting for this baby to die. At about 8 weeks I decided to get an ultrasound to see what the hell was going on. It showed a strong heart beat and no clear reason for the bleeding- pregnancy number 3 all over again. I was so relieved that there was a heart beat but terrified- I was certain this was going to be another praevia, another IUGR- what if this time the baby didn't survive??
I persevered until 12 weeks, still in denial that this pregnancy would result in a baby. I refused to go to the Dr, I refused to call my obstetrician. I hadn't organised the 12 weeks scan, I hadn't booked into the hospital. I finally rang the Early pregnancy clinic at the local hospital who had organised my 8 weeks scan and asked for a referral for the 12 weeks one- not that I cared about down syndrome or abnormalities, I just wanted further proof that this baby was still alive as the bleeding, although infrequent, had no completely subsided.
So my husband, my youngest daughter and I all went to the scan- yes, the baby was alive and he / she was PERFECT. Heart beat was strong and the 3D shots showed that all the little limbs were forming perfectly. I left with a sense of relief although something still made me want to hold back from telling people. All along I had told myself that I would tell family and friends after we reached this "safe" point- (well, relatively safe as far as my pregnancies were concerned,) but I couldn’t shake the unwavering fear that this was not going to go to plan.
Fast forward to the 18 weeks scan- the day when our lives turned upside down. Again, my youngest dd, my husband and I attended the scan together. Originally the scan had been booked for the following week but my dh had been scheduled to go to Perth so I rang, pleaded my case and managed to get the scan moved forward a week so that he could attend. I was anxious- really anxious. I had been incredibly sick the previous week with some mystery bug- low temps, stomach pain, diarrhea. (Sorry for the tmi.) I was so worried that I had presented at our local ED just to check bubs was ok and after a 5 hour wait a portable ultrasound had been performed showing a happy healthy bub- much to my relief. It was odd though that only 5 days later I was literally sick with nerves about this next scan. I guess sometimes you know when something is not right- a mothers instinct, as the sonographer later said.
I was lying on the table, mildly shaking with nerves when the scan was begun- there was our baby kicking around, sucking his little thumb, waving his hands in front of his little face. I began to relax, pointing out the little limbs to our dd. The sonographer was looking at his brain and I asked if everything was ok as she seemed too quiet- she answered yes, as far as she could see- but she also asked, "why? Are you worried about something?", and the way she said it put me a tad uneasy. I replied that the beauty and downfall of the Internet these days is that you are aware of all the things that could be wrong. At that point I felt a little kick and I told her so- she looked...... hesitant is the only way that I can describe it and asked, "did you?" while not looking at me at all. Looking back on all of this I really should have picked up a lot sooner that there was something very wrong but at the same time, looking at an obviously happy, moving baby it seemed so unlikely . While she was scanning quietly I asked to know the sex- to be honest, (and this seemed unbelievable so many months down the track,) I was really worried that it was a boy. Our DS1 has autism and I knew the risks of having another boy in particular with autism was quite high. However, as she went to answer I said, "hang on, firstly- is the baby healthy? Is everything else ok?" She hesitated. Finally she replied, "to be honest, I don't know. I can't get a good look at this baby's heart." She was angling the probe all different ways to try and see what she was obviously deeming to be unusual. I lay frozen, finally sensing that there was something that she wasn't telling me- waiting and hoping that she would tell us that all was fine. Eventually she said, "Can you see how the heart is kind of... fluttering? It's not really... beating?" Ok. At that moment, my world stopped. She saw my face and my reaction and quickly apologised for scaring me. She said, "I am so sorry I just thought you should know what is going on." She then told me to get up and go for a walk in the hope that when I returned bub may be laying at a better angle and she could get a better look at his heart. Somehow I managed to get up, walk out of the room, past the front desk without looking at anybody- to the toilet. I went to the loo in slow motion, somehow without really breathing, came back and climbed slowly back onto the bed. I had my eyes closed- I couldn't look at this little person again- my eyes stayed that way through most of the scans to come. I remember trying to breathe- trying to stay calm- I recall asking my dh to ring pre-school to see if they could take DD. I member telling him not to leave me- he was scheduled to go to work straight after the scan and actually had somebody waiting to pick him up as they had his car. I tried hard not to panic but I felt like the world had stopped.
Eventually the sonographer said, "I am so sorry I am going to have to go and get the dr to have a look at these and see what he wants to do." She tried to explain to me that bub heart rate was far too high- but I couldn't hear it. I didn't want to see where she was pointing, I just didn't want to know.
My dh took our DD to pre-school while I was sat in a little room with nothing to do but wait. That half hour or so is blurry to be honest, I remember somebody bringing me a drink and me trying to take it. The sonographer came back with a sealed manilla envelope and said, "The dr can't find anything intrinsically....wrong, with the heart- but it is going very, very fast. He has rung Gosford Hospital and they are waiting for you, they will know more than we do about what to do next."