Baby loss: Termination for medical reasons. Guest blog by an anonymous mum.
When my husband and I started dating we joked that we were going to have enough children to form our own rugby 7’s team. Until meeting him I hadn’t even thought about children, I had my a career path in my mind and my future didn’t consist of children, but when we met it was like everything that I had previously wanted as my goal disappeared and the thought of a future with a crazy busy house full of pets and kids became my new aspiration.
Roll on a fair few years and we found out we were expecting our first child, within 2 years we had had our 2nd child, followed 2 years later by our 3rd child. Unfortunately, after our 3rd child’s birth I had a really bad haemorrhage which resulted in our baby spending the day with my husband whilst I was passed out on a bed being given drips to stop the bleeding and a medical team manually removing clots from my uterus whilst attempting to stop the bleed. I woke up several hours later having lost a lot of blood and felt like I had been in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson. It was after this birth that we were told that I shouldn’t have any more pregnancies as the risk of carrying another baby to full term was too high. I was urged to have the coil fitted, which I did.
Seven months later, I suddenly felt sick, not like normal sick, I knew immediately that I felt morning sickness sick. I did a pregnancy test and there it was a positive result. I immediately felt full of fear and remembered the words I was told following our youngest birth, that my life would be at risk if I carried another baby. The hospital scanned me pretty quickly and confirmed that I was indeed pregnant and that the coil that I had been told would prevent a pregnancy had slipped into my cervix. The sonographer offered my the option to see our baby, and I looked. I saw this most perfect little baby on the screen, moving about, and image I will never forget. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t of looked, but I couldn’t stop myself. I then had to have a meeting with the medical team to discuss what to do. If I had carried the baby too long I would die and leave my husband with 4 young children on his own, or I have a termination to save myself and still be a mother to my 3 beautiful children. The decision was made, and I then had to have a long wait to have my termination (there wasn’t an appointment available until I was 11 weeks pregnant). The wait was agonising, I was torn emotionally, I had in front of me every day my 3 children and knowing that I was denying them their sibling, I had been brought up in a Christian household and felt so much shame in what I had to do, I was conflicted whilst also dealing with all day and night morning sickness. I couldn’t tell anybody, I felt like I had this massive secret that I couldn’t tell, so I was left with only a handful of extremely close friends, my mum and my husband who knew. I didn’t tell any other family members.
The day came, and my husband and I went to the clinic. I felt dirty, I felt shame, I couldn’t stop picturing the baby in my mind, I felt like a murderer. My husband asked to come in with me and said “its our baby, we’re doing this together”. Through the relatively short procedure I couldn’t stop crying. It was horrific and something I’d never wish my worst enemy to ever have to go through. I knew when it was done, and from that moment on the guilt I felt was something that I can still not describe.
It’s now 20 months since I had the termination, I didn’t get offered any counselling, and the emotional pain I have been feeling since has been awful. I had to carry on caring for my children (they were so young that they had no idea what was going on), and I had to carry on with life, pretending everything was fine and hunky dory. This year, thanks to lockdown, I had the time to actually talk through my feelings with my husband, and I’ve been able to regain my focus. I am grateful to be alive, I have 3 wonderful children who I am lucky enough to be a mother to and I have the most caring and understanding husband who didn’t let me experience this heartache on my own. We recently planted a rose bush in our garden in memory of our 4th baby and every day seeing it flower and flourish allows me to remember and be thankful for my life. This is a subject that I feel isn’t spoken about enough but I certain that it must happen to others, and I don’t want anyone else to feel like they can’t speak about their experiences either. The best thing I did was talk. I needed to talk about my feelings and let it out.