1st August 2019 7.06am our first and only child Meabh was born, 20 weeks & 3 days old, she was 25cm and only 330grams.
It was not going to be the memorable moment that we had been planning for and rehearsing over and over in our minds, getting excited about every day and preparing for 2 to become 3, but something unimaginable.
On the 24th July 2019 my waters broke expectantly to a condition call Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes
Shortly after being admitted with PPROM I was given the black and white of what my husband and I were about to face.
Our consultant painted a very bleak picture, and arguably rightly so, so as not to give us false hope. “”If” (and this was a massive if) your baby was to get to 25weeks she may be born with multiple deformities, she may have various neurological issues, she may get to 25 weeks and not survive the birth or she could be perfectly healthy and possibly go to full term, we need to wait and see what happens over the next 72 hours as the most likely outcome is that you will go into labor”.
All options were on the table and due to the fact that a PPROM is a relatively rare condition, with so many variables, our doctors could not advise of what the outcome would be. 72 hours came and went and we were full of hope as I was out of the danger zone, I was discharged and sent on my merry way to take it easy with regular check ups. However our candle of hope was soon to be snuffed out.
Soon after I was discharged I was readmitted as my condition had worsened, I had contacted Sepsis which rapidly got worse. It wasn’t long before the decision was made by my Consultants to induce labor, as my life was now at risk.
Everything was happening so quickly, I watched my life being ripped away, sucked down the drain of life never to be seen again. I was terrified of what was to come, about what I was to face and how I would cope; It was a cross I did not want to bare, I prayed that god would intervene, provide us with a miracle so we could go back to normal. I was terrified. I did not know how much of this burden I could take, was this going to push me way past breaking point? Would my husband still love me and want me as his wife when it was all over. The blanket of fear and isolation was suffocating.
As Sepsis soon took a hold I was then whisked to the delivery suite, “this will not be like usual deliveries, the baby may not be fully formed, she may not be alive and she may not survive the birth, we know how difficult this is, you have to be strong and prepare yourselves for what is about to happen, we know it is very difficult but we will support you each step of the way, ” said the consultants.
I was asked to take a tablet so as to force labor, this I just could not comprehend? It was too much, I could feel my mind breaking, I had no strength left to make this decision. I was being asked to sacrifice my baby that had been a part of me for 20weeks+ so as to save my own life, if I didn’t take the tablet I was going to die and the baby was going to die anyway leaving my husband to loose us both, so I took it, going against everything I stood for as a human being .
This is something that I will regret for the rest of my life, I don’t like to think about it too much as the guilt can be overwhelming sometimes.
I remember when the nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her? At first I had said no because I was so scared of what to expect. In the end the midwife wrapped her in a cloth and handed her to me anyway, something I will be so thankful for. Soon fell a blanket of peace and silence.
The miracle of life was in my arms, that small moment in time to call our own through all the chaos. Despite what we had been prepared for, our baby looked like every other baby only that little bit smaller. She was perfect she looked just like my husband all her features were the same as his, I couldn’t get over how she looked so like him, she was precious, so beautiful. She was ours.
The reality soon kicked in that as soon as she was born and in my arms she would soon be taken away again as we watched her struggle to breathe and gasp for air. She was only 20weeks and 3days and her little body just couldn’t cope, trying with all her might to hang onto life.
The precious life my husband and I had created was slowly dying before our eyes and we could do nothing to stop it. I have never felt so helpless, so useless and so inadequate as a woman as I did then. I had let my baby down, I couldn’t save her, I had failed her. The pain of that still grips me. I recall an overwhelming sense of shame that sat with me for some time, how much of a disappointment I was to my husband, if only he had picked another how happy he would be right now? His purpose as a man and as a father would be fulfilled but instead I forced this horror into his life. My mantra soon became “its all my fault” and to this day it still echoes in my mind. Unless you have gone through baby loss you will never understand that in some way you will always feel that it is your fault, despite what everyone says. My sweet brave an wonderful Meabh She lived for a whole 10 minutes. She was my treasure, my purpose and my everything.
People often say to me…“sorry for your loss…” this, really frustrates me, because I didn’t loose my baby, she was robbed from me.
Life stole her, snatched her away, just like that and with it smashed my sense of purpose as a human leaving me with a hole that cannot be filled and a longing that no one can ever understand.
It has been almost a year since Meabh died. The tears have become less and the sorrow is fading. Life is better and I feel myself again just in a very different way. PPROM has changed me forever. It is hard not to allow the vine of bitterness and anger creep into your soul when you loose something so precious. The most basic of life decisions becomes so difficult and retreating from life seems so appealing, to be known as the “woman who lost a baby” is the title that no one ever wants to have. Nobody wants to endure the condescending one liners and patronizing looks from others when you become the statistic of baby loss, transcending from being the blushing mother to be, to the grief stricken woman who has lost her baby overnight can only be described as horrific. But… like any traumatic life event you have to pull yourself up, dust yourself down, take a long hard look at yourself and say “I am going to deal with this!! I don’t know how but I will. I refuse to become a cliché of life and I will find a way through”
Life has robbed me, which I will never be able to forgive, but in a bizarre twist of fate life handed me a different type of gift; through the loss of Meabh I have realized the man I married is unique and precious and I am so lucky to have him by my side. My family are one in a million and are the reason why I have such resilience and determination. The compassion of strangers has been an overwhelming and their kind words and gestures have made quite a profound impact.
So almost a year on we are about to embark on another IVF journey where we hope will lead us to our rainbow ending, to embark on this path is daunting and somewhat a little frightening but the outcome far outweighs the risks. You simply cant put a price on not having regrets, creating life is so precious, so delicate and so unique, so trying again to start a family is worth every bump along the way and every hill we need to climb.
To be blessed to be able to share the most beautiful of human acts with the person you love is a precious gift and one we hope this time we will get to open.
more on PPROM, visit Little Heartbeats full website here, www.little-heartbeats.org.uk