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My tribute to Angus Gabriel: “the most beautiful angel I had ever seen”

red balloonOur forum member Ally shared this brave and beautiful story after losing her son in 2013.

It is her story of love, loss and her baby Angus Gabriel. Sending our love to Ally and to all families who are remembering their babies. xx

“I’m 25 years old, I never thought I would have such a a big life journey when I got pregnant.

At 17 weeks I found out my baby had Trisomy 18 or ‘Edwards Syndrome’. He was given almost no hope but we decided we couldn’t NOT give him the best chance we could so we continued the pregnancy.

All was fine till I was 29+4.

On Wednesday, April 3, I woke up and realised I hadn’t felt Angus move in about 12 hours. I decided to go to work and gave myself until noon to feel him.

He never moved.

I couldn’t leave work due to it being so busy and I was telling myself that I was being silly it was all in my head, my baby boy was fine. When I got home I told my husband I hadn’t felt bubba move all day he told me I was overreacting and baby was fine, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was up.

We had dinner and I showered I had a feeling that maybe I was going to end up staying in hospital. I toyed with the idea of bringing his clothes and blanket but at the last moment changed my mind. Once we got to the ER the midwife on triage seemed uninterested, lots of pregnant women come in thinking their baby isn’t moving and so she basically told us we were overreacting but they would take a look at him anyway.

We started with the doppler to do fetal monitoring but she could not get his heartbeat, she told me this was most likely due to my anterior placenta. A young doctor came in with the portable ultrasound and had a look, she told us “she wasn’t sure what she was looking at” and said she needed to go get the resident doctor.

That’s when I knew he was gone, I could pick up a heartbeat on an ultrasound with no help so I just knew. Sure enough the resident doctor came in and had a quick look.

Angus had passed away.

She told us we could wait 48 hours but after that I was at risk of being poisoned. She told us that she would have a doctor from the perinatal unit call us in the morning to sort out a time to come back to the hospital, she also said if I got home and wanted to come back to the hospital that was OK too.

I cried … a lot. I was scared of being induced, scared what my premmie baby might look like, terrified at the pain I would have to endure and the idea I would never seem my baby boy breathe.

The next day – Thursday, April 4 – my mum and dad both came to help my husband and I get ready. I got the call that a bed would be ready for me at 6pm. My dad took us to dinner as we did not know how long this was going to take.

We got to the hospital at 6.30pm. I was taken to a birthing suite and they let me have as many visitors as I liked, no doctors came till 10.30pm. They said that they would start the induction on half a tablet and that baby wouldn’t come for 24-36 hours so it was “safe” for Mum and Dad to leave my husband and I there.

They put in a cannula and told me that if I couldn’t sleep they would give me something to help. Two hours later I still could not sleep so they brought me painkillers and sleeping tablets, I had 4 hours’ sleep overnight and in the morning they moved us to a new room down the back of the birthing unit so I wouldn’t have to hear the newborns crying.

On Friday, April 5, I had many visitors. I only had cramping, well what I thought was cramping but was actually early contractions. By the time I went to bed they were three minutes apart but not very painful at all. Again the midwives sent everyone home with the promise Angus wouldn’t come until the next day.

At 7am on Saturday, April 6, I woke to a deep pain and felt the ‘pop’ of my waters breaking, I jumped up and ran to the bathroom but it was too late for my trackpants! I asked my husband to call the midwife and she came and reassured me it was all good and that once I stopped losing water to put on a fresh pair of undies and a pad and then continue to wait.

I got up and did as suggested, my husband said he needed the bathroom and I said that was fine because I didn’t need it … about 15 seconds later another gush of fluid came out! I went running for the bathroom! Another pair of undies ruined! At that point I gave up and switched to a rolled-up towel and went back to bed!

That day we tried to keep the number of visitors to a minimum. The contractions got to a place where I had to hold my breath to cope. My husband and my mum and dad took turns rubbing my back etc until late morning when I had a new midwife who told me off for holding my breath! She told me i was much better off breathing through the contractions, it was hard to breath through when my automatic response was to clench everything! The doctors came and did an internal exam, it hurt so badly and I was sad when they announced I was only 2cm dialated!

After lunch the same lovely midwife came and talked to me, she said I needed to prepare myself, that Angus would only be the length of my hand, weigh about 500g and because he had passed four days earlier he might be a bit scary, she said she would make a judgement call when he was born on if i could have him naked or if she would wrap him first. I cried more, convinced I’d be freaked out and he would be gross.

My contractions would range from a minute apart to three minutes and if it had been three minutes I knew it would be really bad and sting when it came on but I was still almost silent during contractions I didn’t feel like yelling would help.

At tea time they told me that my contractions were not regular enough and that I was clearly not in enough pain to indicate that I was progressing…. they said they would stop the pills and opt to start the IV hardcore induction drugs the next morning and that I would be given an epidural before they started.

They said they would give me a pethidine shot and I would be able to sleep. The contractions kept going and I started to need to move and cry when they came on, I could hear newborns crying and then I would cry. I was so scared of the serious induction that I cried for more than an hour – I just wanted to have my baby right now!

Again they told everyone to go home. My mum left but Dad waited for me to have the pethidine and fall asleep.

I lay down and I felt totally doped up and managed to lie still even through the horrible contractions till my dad left. After about 20 minutes I could be quiet or still, the pain would wake me every time a contraction came on. I hopped up and went to the toilet, I then hobbled over to grab my phoneI had so much pain in my lower torso i didn’t know if it was Angus coming or if i was going to be sick.

My phone said 11.36pm and I had another hard contraction. I felt the pressure but I thought it was gas so I sat on the toilet then I had a bunch of pain come upon me and I felt Angus pop through my cervix. I screamed for my husband who rolled out of bed. I told him I needed a midwife NOW!! Angus was coming but HE GOT DRESSED FIRST before hitting the emergency and staff assistance buttons!! Eight people were suddenly standing at the toilet door – gloves on! Like they had been waiting outside the door the whole time.

Christine, a lovely midwife I’d had the past few nights, and a doctor got a towel and helped sling it between my legs to catch Angus if he came and rushed me to the bed. I’ve never had so many people looking at my lady parts at once before!

Sure enough my Angus was ready to come and they told me to push, it took 3 or 4 contractions to get him out, they didn’t want to pull him out as they didn’t want to hurt his fragile little body.

My husband said when he came out he had a smile on his little face.

The midwives cut the cord and wrapped him quickly before handing him to me. He was the most beautiful angel I had ever seen and in that moment I was so happy and grateful to be his mummy.

Born 11.50 pm April 6, 2013, weighing a massive 940g and 33cm long, Angus Gabriel Coucill was in my arms.

However my placenta was not playing ball, it started to come out but when the midwives pulled on it and attempted to pull it out it just fell apart. They tried to manually scoop parts out, got me upright to work on gravity but it was stuck, a doctor came to check and told me that I would need a manual placenta removal … yup that’s A HAND IN YOUR UTERUS.

Luckily it was to be done under a general anaesthetic. I handed our baby to my husband, he was so tiny and precious in his arms, at this point he called my dad who said he was on his way, lucky too because my husband looked freaked out as I was wheeled away to theatre.

When I was finally upstairs in the ward I got my Angus back, I held him all night and we watched the sunrise together.

I’d give my life to have him back.”

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A very special thanks to mum Ally for sharing her birth story and her precious memories of Angus Gabriel with the Bub Hub. Wishing you all the best.

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6 comments so far -

  1. Oh Ally, even knowing the story of Angus I am still in tears after reading this. You truly are the most amazing mummy in the world.

  2. Thank you for telling us about your beautiful Angus. You’ve helped lots of people by telling your and his story. He sounds very special and I’m sure he will never be forgotten.

  3. This story literally had me in tears. It was so very touching! As a mother, I can understand your mom’s pains. Thanks for sharing, it takes a brave women to have re-visited the story!

  4. *hugs* I’m so glad that you have chosen to share your beautiful story with everyone this way. You should be proud of the strong and amazing person you are. I hope you can feel a sense of pride in yours & Angus’s birth story in amongst the turmoil that must be there. If not now, then one day.

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