At 17 weeks mum had to race me to the hospital. The shooting pains in my uterus were so severe I could barely walk. They placed me in the birth suite and left me there for what seemed like hours. Eventually the pains stopped and they sent me home.
Life went back to normal for a while, until one night when I was 23 weeks pregnant, I started to have contractions. “I’m contracting” I said to my husband. “How do you know?” he asked. “I just know it’s happening - we need to get to the hospital”…
When we finally arrive at the hospital, the midwives answer my deepest fear. "Yes, you are contracting…How many weeks are you?" My weak voice answers. “23.” "Ohh" they say whilst exchanging looks. “Can you give me a needle or something to stop the contractions?” the words rush out of my mouth... Once again they exchange sad looks. "No Darling…There is nothing we can do" “What do you mean ‘nothing you can do’?” I pleaded, “You must be able to do something!" They just stared back at me with this sad look...
Once again I was left in the birth suite. A couple of hours later the contractions just stopped. This went on for 2 days – and those 2 days were living hell – the contractions would start - then stop. I never thought I would give birth to my beautiful baby boy; I could feel him kick and move around and knew he was so healthy. Thoughts like “Why is this happening……” “Why me…….” “What did I do to deserve this?” kept on whirling though my mind.
On my third day in the hospital the contractions got worse - and they were now every 2 minutes. A midwife came to me and told me that they were taking me to the birth suite again. "Why" I ask. “Oh… We just need to check everything out…"
Still, after all this time I believed I would get through this. He would be born full term with no complications. But I could not have been more wrong. They wheeled me to the birth suite with my husband by my side. We walked past a bunch of nurses - their conversation hushed as we walked past and they all turned to look at me with eyes full of pity. “Does someone know something I don't?” I asked myself.
When I arrived at the birth suite, I was greeted by my acupuncturist who had come to give me a session – yet another person with sad eyes. “Stop looking at me with these sad eyes,” I thought to myself. “I will get through this - I will show you all.....”
She finished her session and left, when the doctor arrived. "I'm just going to do an internal” she said as she nervously pulled on her gloves. Afterwards she looked at me sadly and said, “You’re 1 centimetre dilated - you will probably give birth tonight"
“No, no, no, no, no, no!” I cry. I turn to look at my husband and tears are streaming down his face. My mind is screaming, “What have we done to deserve this?”
A beautiful midwife walks into the room. She hugs me and places my hands in hers before saying,
You know… when he is born he will die.
My husband lets out this horrible sound. I turn to look at him. His face is torn - he looks as if someone just pulled out his heart. I turn back to her, crying and begging, "Won't you try to keep him? Can't we fly somewhere? I don't care how much it costs – he’s our baby - he is our baby!
I can barely breathe..... The room is spinning …. I feel as if outside the room looking in - this can't be me...
“Will he cry?” I ask. “Will he be alive when he is born?” “He may cry - it depends,” she says. It feels as though hours go by. The midwife then says, “Who do you want me to ring?” “My family,” I hear myself say.
They arrive - all of them. The night turned into day and they were still all there - every single one of them. After 16 hours of labour, I gave birth to my first baby, with my husband, brother, my sister, my mum, my dad, my mother-in-law and my sister- in-law, all by my side, all crying, all in shock. Wasn't this meant to be a happy time?
They handed him to me wrapped in a blanket. He was all warm. He was big. He looked like his Dad.
His eyes were closed and I thought he had passed. I turned him over. I wanted to see every part of him. I didn't know how long it would be until they took him away so I wanted to imprint every part of him into my brain - my baby boy, my first born.
He then gasped and moved. He took his very first and very last breath.
Till this day I regret that moment.
Why didn't I just cuddle him, hold him, skin to skin, close to my heart and sing a lullaby?
Leaving that hospital was the worst day of my life, I was leaving half of me there, he was my baby and I should have been taking him home not organising his funeral.
He was christened Titan Vallely. He would be 7 now. The day he died a part of me did too, but another part of me was born.. I was able to write - not the best writer by any means - but he did give me this gift and I thank him for that.
I am blessed I now have two beautiful children: Maya, his little sister was conceived a year later on his birthday – that exact day I believe he sent her to me…it was actually what got me through the pregnancy with her.. Her little brother, Tex, was born exactly 2.5 years after her. They are the joys of my life and make me who I am today - I love them more than anything in this world.
My husband whom I have been with since I was 16 was my rock through this, I don’t think I would have coped if it wasn’t for him. I love him dearly and he is the light at the end of my tunnel.
Thank you for reading Titan's story – it’s his journey that I feel honoured to have shared, I am so lucky he chose me to be his Mum…
I am not alone; there are thousands of families that have gone through the tragic loss of a baby. If you are one, comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Here is a website I would recommend for anyone suffering from miscarriage, still birth neonatal and infant death: www.sands.org.au