Life is filled with happy times, life is full of moments of love, happiness and joy. Kindness, love and fulfilment but it’s also full of times of absolute uncertainty. Stressful times, sad times and these stressful moments can lead you to despair and depression. Significant life events can happen, you deal with them move on. Sometimes the build-up comes at full force and leaves you feeling hopeless. It’s how you cope with the good and the bad, some people do not ever go through such times, and are content and happy. But a lot of us, feel, have or deal with times of uncertainty and ultimately despair.
I have had times of joy and times of darkness, anxiety and stress happen to myself in a short period of time. When significant life events happen continuously in a short period of time, it’s bound to have a profound effect on your wellbeing. On your thirst for life, and ultimately your happiness.
The day I lost my son, I lost me. I lost a part of me, everything changed. My thought process, how I saw myself, how I dealt with my own emotions.
Losing Dexter, my son whom I already loved, I nurtured him, cared for him whilst he grew inside of me. I spoke to him, felt him move he was and still is part of me. When you lose someone its funny the things that set off certain emotions and feelings, I would crave orange drinks and now when I drink orange I think about him. When dance music comes on he always kicked me, and I always think of him when I hear certain songs, its gives you a sense of longing for him, it fills me with great sadness.
The strangest thing throughout my pregnancy is that I always felt something would go wrong at his labour, I was petrified of giving birth. Having my first son the labour was long and painful and the aftermath of mixed emotions of being a new mum where no easy feat, but it was manageable and I was happy I had a new baby a partner, life was good. During my second pregnancy I would often speak to the midwives about my concerns, I didn't feel well, I felt he was too big but my concerns fell on deaf ears, I was reassured constantly that it was fine, my second baby and not to worry. I expressed concerns for a growth scan countless times, this was denied. Now I know that if I had a growth scan, the resulting hardship I faced could have been avoided had I been listened to as an individual. I felt so compelled that something bad was going to happen that once I was alone at home and cried for hours. I thought how will I cope if my son dies, but he soon reassured me with his kicks that he was there, growing, thriving and it was a waiting game to take him home. To be happy with us, to be part of our family.
At 34, 36 and 38 weeks pregnant at my antenatal checks I expressed my growing concerns that my son was too big, I was struggling with my large bump, in pain all the time. Feeling light headed and unwell. I felt so tired, extreme fatigue. But I wasn't listened to.
The day it all began I remember distinctly. I was with my toddler and so exhausted, I napped with him for hours, I remember trying to make him just lay with me on the bed. Playing with him in bed as I was so exhausted. All day I did nothing. I couldn't even muster up the energy to make my bed that day. I was 38 weeks + 1 day so I though this chronic exhaustion is the pregnancy, and that I should rest as much as my two year old would allow that day. At half past six I got up to go to the toilet and suddenly I felt a gush of warm, really heavy fluid and immediately though my waters had broke - as with my first they were artificially broken so I was none the wiser. But as I looked down it was bright red blood gushing out, so much of it like a tap. I stood in the shower as my then 2 year old was curious and trying to touch the blood. I called the hospital to say this is happening I am coming in, an ambulance was subsequently called. I immediately knew my baby was in danger - his movements stopped, I was bleeding heavily and terrified. I remember saying to the midwife on the phone I need an emergency c section and she said to me, ‘don't get ahead of yourself’ and I remember thinking that’s very strange, I am bleeding profusely here. The bleeding stopped and I made my way outside to get to the ambulance and get my son to a place of safety so I could get to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital all the midwives and doctors didn't seem concerned. A swift check of his heartbeat using the ultrasound and that was it. I couldn't feel the baby and I had just had a massive bleed. I couldn't understand it. I kept saying that I needed a c section but no one listened. I was told I was to be induced to have a natural birth. My plan all along was to have a water birth, I wanted a natural birth. But I knew something was wrong and knew I needed a c section. I asked so many times for a section that midwife actually said to me flippantly ‘why would you want to be cut open?’ Obviously I wanted one to get my son here safely. But I felt a compulsion to listen to them, they were the professionals after all. I was placed on CTG monitoring, but it kept coming off and misplaced. I was then inducted with a propess. Nothing happened. I was then sent to the antenatal ward overnight. Not monitored, no one checking me for hours. I laid there terrified.
The next morning the consultant came and said “no, she needs to be in Labour ward and monitored continuously”. I started having mild on/off contractions, but I felt pain all over. At 2 o’clock I was taken back to the labour ward, where again I asked for a section, instead a registrar decided he would break my waters. He did that after a lot of pain, he tried and felt he couldn't so gave up, but within 5 minutes my waters had broken. So he had managed to break them. But there was thick meconium and blood. I questioned this explicitly and repeatedly, I asked for a c section, even the midwife caring for me, in her own words ‘I don't know why, if we were in Romania we would of done this already’. She was from Romania. I knew I needed a section. Few hours passed, my consultant decided I needed syntocin IV drip to speed things along. Now I said to my partner to go home and sort himself out its going to be a long night, don't be long and come back, my mum was with me. But within 10 minutes of him leaving I felt a massive gush and I was bleeding, so much blood everywhere. The midwife came and pulled the alarm. A sea of professionals arrived all speaking to each other no one spoke to me. My mum was frantic and left, she contacted my partner who made his way back. I was rushed to theatre, they placed a tight mask on my face and held it down. The doctors and midwives were all shouting at each other. They forgot that I was there. So scared. Alone. I laid there with this air being forced into my face at such force. I truly believed this was my last moments. I thought of my son fondly, I thought about his beautiful face, his smile. The moment he was born. I thought about my partner, how will he cope with 2 boys without me, will the kids be ok. I thought what will he name him? What will he tell my son when he calls for his mummy? How will they remember me, will my partner find happiness again? This is the end. I was so scared, alone generally shaking.
I am alone, bleeding with people grabbing, inserting and doing things to me. Then it went black.
When I was woken up, I felt scared but I couldn't believe I was there, I thought I had died. I remember thinking wait, where is my son. I called for him and they took me to room with flowers in it. I immediately knew this wasn't good.
Now I was on copious narcotics at this point I had lost a lot of blood and had just had a c section without spinal. The pain was serious. But I wanted to see my son, I didn't even get to think or recuperate properly when we were asked ‘what do you want to do’ he's very unwell, we should let him go was echoed around the room, I felt that now in retrospect I didn't have the mental capacity to make that decision, we were put under duress to make a prompt decision. But really I should of been given time to sleep and think clearly about what was actually happening. We decided to pull his tube and give him a dignified death. Now I thought he died immediately. I have subsequently learnt he didn't, he died after an hour - in that hour he wasn't with me. This burdens my thought process heavily. I find it incredibly hard to deal with this. I still can't. It negligent, wrong and should never have happened.
Our son passed, I wanted to spend time with him, I didn't want him to be taken, my partner didn't feel the same and didn't want him there with us, but I kept him with me for 2 days. I couldn't bear the thought of him leaving me. When he did - I felt broken.
After his loss, the investigations, the funeral and the flurry of people visiting was a blur. I was not there. I just wanted time to pass to have another baby, fill the void. Because the grief was unbearable. I felt so alone in my grief, my partner just got on with it. I didn't. I found everything hard.
I did go on to fall pregnant just under 4 months later, now this was joyful to know but the next 9 months was hellish, I suffered with extreme anxiety. During my daughter’s pregnancy I was unwell again, but at a different hospital and being more persistent and making sure my concerns were listened to resulting in a live birth of my daughter. Very stressful, scary and generally not a nice time. My mental health suffered. I felt alone.
So now after having my daughter, she's wonderful, beautiful and a gift. Hopefully one day I will feel happy again, not depressed and scared of the future, not insecure. But it takes time, time won't heal the pain it makes it easier to deal with. I am working towards hopefully being happy again. Losing a child, you lose yourself. But you must be strong, try to pull yourself through - but it’s easier said than done, I constantly have moments of despair. But ultimately I've learnt that in life, all anyone wants is love. Be it a partner, parent or friends. All you need in life is love, support, kindness and someone there for you, to hold your hand, to hold you when you’re sad. If you have that, you have everything you'll ever need.