Rachael's motherhood story - I was told my baby would die
It was my second pregnancy, unexpected and not planned. My son was only 8 months old when we found out and we had already planned our upcoming wedding, which we then postponed and cancelled to make way for the new baby. We quickly jetted off to Fiji for a family holiday as we knew it wouldn’t be just us 3 for very long. When we came home I was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby girl (we had found out at the 12 week scan and were so delighted).
We flew in on the Friday and on Saturday I woke up as my waters broke. I was also heavily bleeding. So distressed I called my mum to come and take care of my son as my partner and I headed to the hospital in the city. I had called up my local hospital as that’s where I was planning to have her and they suggested to go straight to into the city as they could scan me there on a weekend and they had no facility on weekends to do anything like that.
We got there and I was seen pretty must straight away. The nurse was lovely and compassionate and we did a test to see if I was positive for amniotic fluid which I was. Because I was still heavily bleeding, they called someone at home to come in and get my baby scanned. We expected the worst, we definitely all thought I was having a miscarriage.
Before we were scanned we met the obstetrician (OB). He explained that it didn’t look good but he wouldn’t make a call until I had been scanned. Within an hour the radiologist came in and had me in the room. As soon as we saw my little baby on the screen we could see her moving, my heart skipped a beat and I thought ‘’OMG, she’s ok!’’
We listened to the heart and it was beating normally, her fluid was checked which was also okay. From what she said everything seemed normal. She could see a large haemorrhage as well which was obviously what was causing the bleed. We left the room feeling great and optimistic. The nurse came to see us and also was so happy for us, but she informed us that the OB would come and chat to us once he's read the report.
We sat there for a while and felt at ease. I called my parents to say everything seemed fine so they could also stop worrying. Then, we got the news. The OB came in all serious and I asked, ‘it's all good isn’t it?” His response was ‘’unfortunately, no." My thoughts were ‘’What do you mean? The scan is fine? What’s wrong with me baby?’’ He said although everything looks normal it appears it isn’t and I will miscarry anytime over the next day and his suggestion was to abort then and there.
We were both so confused and had no idea what he was on about. Why would he be telling me to abort my baby? My baby that has a heartbeat? My baby that is moving around? My baby that seemed fine? We asked these questions and he said that my waters had broke and therefore eventually my body will get rid of her, I was at extreme risk for infection and his advice was to abort to eliminate any of this happening.
We said we were sorry but there was no way we will be aborting our baby with her heart beating strong, if we are going to miscarry we will wait for her to be ready. He got angry at us, he acted like he couldn’t believe we would go against his recommendation. He said to us ‘’well fine, you can go home and you will miscarry within the next 24-48 hours.’’ My response was ‘’but what if I don’t?’’ he said ‘’but you will." So again I said ‘’but what if I don’t, what if a miracle happens and I don’t?’’ he said ‘’then you will probably have a still born at a later stage’’ and I asked ‘’but what if that doesn’t happen either?’’, he sighed and said ‘’if by some chance, which is next to none she goes full term, she will have severe growth deformities and disabilities’’.
That was it, those were my three outcomes - all negative. He said he would send me home with a note stating all this. And he did. The letter saying that by my choice to go home without aborting I would eventually not have this baby girl. I felt defeated, I felt shattered, we both did, we both looked at each other and held each other and cried. I went home and laid in bed for two days straight, I did not move, I did not see anyone. I didn’t want to move thinking that I would make her die.
Then Monday came, I hadn’t miscarried. I had some slight hope…. I called the hospital (as the Doctor had told me to call on Monday if I hadn’t miscarried). They didn’t want to know about me, they said I wasn’t zoned to them so to call my local hospital. I was also told ‘’you are 15 weeks, there is nothing we can do anyway." I cried and cried and then called my local hospital.
The nurse on the phone was so lovely and told me to come in straight away to see one of the OBs. When I got there I explained what happened, he ordered me another scan and blood tests every two days for a couple weeks, to keep checking for infection. The scan was fine again and bloods were fine. The OB that took me under her wing, she was my angel. If I didn’t have her, I don’t think I would have survived that time. She was so positive and wanted to believe miracles happen.
My little miss had a 2% chance of survival and we held onto that, we held on so strong and celebrated each milestone my baby achieved. We had scans every fortnight for the whole pregnancy, I listened to her heatbeat nearly daily. I wasn’t allowed to lift anything the whole pregnancy, including my son. I wasn’t allowed to have sex, go for a walk and I wasn’t allowed to do any activities. And I didn’t for most of the time but some days I went crazy and wanted to be alone with my son and enjoy him instead of having help and having people around.
I wanted to give her life and I always thought that if she survived, she would be one strong willed little girl. And that she is. She was born early at 35 weeks, she stopped moving and my OB wanted to get her out. My daughter was 2.38 kg and had a full head of hair. She was beautiful, she was perfect. We named her Lillian Rose. Little miss Lilly has thrived since birth, no one ever even knew she was a prem, she hit targets before my son did, but those words from the first Doctor never left me. Anytime she got a cold, anytime she slept too long, anytime she wouldn’t sleep, I thought ‘’maybe she is going to leave me now.’
I suffered with severe anxiety and panic attacks after the birth. It has taken me 4 years with a lot of counselling, to get to a place where I finally feel at peace with that time. I feel strong enough to tell my story and get it out there so woman that are in a similar situations listen to their gut and get second and third opinions.
To that doctor - how dare you take that special time away from me. You made that pregnancy horrific for me. Your words gave me panic attacks and anxiety everyday, but you pushed me to be that strong woman I am and go against you. I went my gut and fought for my baby. I often wonder how many people he has told this same thing to and how many women didn’t fight him. It pains me to think…
I want to thank every special person that was around me during that time especially my husband and son Joshy and to the amazing staff at my local hospital. My angel Doctor, you are an absolute gem. To my baby girl Lilly, you are one strong little miss, determined and brave. You make me laugh everyday and life without you would be one not worth living. I love you.
I'm 36 and have lived in Melbourne my whole life. Up until I had kids I would have described myself as extremely selfish and self-absorbed (LOL). But then my whole life changed, I live for my kids and do whatever is possible to give them a great upbringing and try and be present as much as I can.
I work in a family chemical manufacturing business which is amazing for me as I can be with me kids, do school drop off and pick up and even bring kids to work If I need. I still love to have fun, dance and workout and definitely need that ME time to be the best mum I can.
Motherhood in 5 words: There is absolutely nothing comparable!
Fav family friendly place: Werribee Zoo
Coffee order: Large almond cap
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