It is days like today that you realise that very rarely you are ever truly alone. Suffering in silence can sometimes feel like the only way to survive, and yet so many others are suffering the same pain day in and day out. Baby and Infant Loss Awareness Day highlights how many people grieve for their angels that were too good for the earth.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share my story, to let it float into the universe with all the other stories of similar loss. I have suffered two early miscarriages with my husband Gary, and they have been traumatic and extremely sad, but we have learnt to deal with them and we now have a beautiful baby girl and another one on the way. We feel so blessed.
Sadly, six years ago I also lost a set of twins at 20 weeks, well I was just over 20 weeks when I went for my dating scan. At my 12 week scan they’d told me they were measuring small, but this is not uncommon with twins. My mum and sister came with me to the scan. After the initial shock of being told I was pregnant with not 1 but 2 babies I made the difficult decision to choose to bring them up solo. I knew it was going to be tough but the father had said he would support me financially, but that was as far as his involvement would go. I didn’t judge him, I just knew I would look after these babies the best I could with the support of my family and friends.
2 days before my dating scan I didn’t feel the babies move as they usually did in the morning, this followed a week of sickness, nothing too unusual and I thought it would be ok as I was going for my scan on the Tuesday. The morning of my scan my bump had changed, it was very soft and I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. As I lay on the bed the sonographer quickly moved around and turned the screen towards herself. My mum and sister were so excited to see the 2 babies, the sonographer turned to me and said “I’m sorry”, I weakly replied “Is it both of them?”
“Yes” she said, and told us that she would need to go and get the consultant. My mum and sister were completely unaware of what was going on and I had to explain that my babies had died. My sister had brought her 3 month old son, my nephew with her. They were shocked, I broke down. They shuffled us into a room adjacent, I got a glimpse of all the excited mummies to be in the waiting room. I was numb. We sat in the room and waited for what seemed like an eternity. In my head I thought they’d perform some operation to get the babies out and fully expected to be kept in hospital.
They explained I needed to give birth and they would bring me in on Saturday for this to happen. I didn’t understand, they expected me to walk around for 4 days with dead babies inside of me? No they needed to come out then and there. They were gentle and kind and told me this was the only way it could happen. I couldn’t look at my sister or my nephew. I was angry. Led through the waiting room I wanted to scream.
My mum took me to the GP to get something to help me sleep/calm me down, I’m not sure now, she did all the talking. I sat in the waiting room, thinking why my body had done this, what had I done wrong, why didn’t I deserve this, maybe I hadn’t eaten enough fruit and veg. I dared anyone to mention my bump, so I could be angry with them instead of myself.
I hid until Friday night, when I had to go into the Maternity department, yep that’s right the maternity department to be given a tablet to help get me started, I came and went, head hung and then was told to come back at 8am on the Saturday morning for another tablet. My mum came with me, we were shown to my room, we sat, we read, we laughed, we cried, we wrote, we mourned. Contractions started around 5pm and they were manageable, I took paracetamol, by 7.30pm I was in established labour, the midwife told me I didn’t need to be a hero and offered me a shot of something stronger, which I later regretted as it made me so sick. I delivered my first baby at 8pm and the second one came about 7 minutes later. I was scared that I wouldn’t want to see them, scared of how they’d look and feel. Something took over and I became a mother that evening and I held my babies, dead or alive they were my babies and I was so proud of them. They offered to take them away, clean them up, take some photos and foot prints and then they could bring them back if I wanted. I agreed. Then I was violently sick.
They brought them back in a small basket, they were 2 beautiful girls, with amazing long fingers, features were all there and they were just perfect. I held them and kissed them and hugged them. My family came, and held them and touched them. They were proud. I named the girls, the first and much larger “Angie” after my mum Angela, because she had been my rock, and held my hand every step of the way without asking any questions or judging me and my smaller daughter “Talullah”. I have their book with their photos and handprints and all their tiny little details.
They left my babies with me all night, I managed a couple of hours sleep, but I wanted to spend as much time as was possible with them, I could catch up on the sleep, I knew they had to leave me in the morning. That was probably the hardest part of it all, saying goodbye then. I hid away for a couple of weeks, didn’t eat much, didn’t talk much and slept an awful lot, thanks to all the medication. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome was the diagnosis and I let my babies physical bodies go to a university for research. Now I’ve been blessed with 2 girls, I can only dream that they have in some way come back to me. I think about them everyday and often wonder whether it was for the best, looking back. Whatever, the pain was horrendous and I feel for anyone who has suffered the same or similar pain, luckily we are not alone. We never are.
Sending love to all the parents of baby angels. x x