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Our Angel Baby, Shannen.



It has been 6 weeks since I lost my second baby and my parents have just left Sweden yesterday from a months' stay with me to help me through this trying time and also to nurse my body back to health.

I'm writing this to cope with the remaining grief and sorrow left in me and to record the short-lived pregnancy with my dear angel baby, Shannen, growing in my tummy for 15+4 weeks until his heart stopped beating.

I started to first feel some pregnancy symptoms in December last year (2017) but you know how some pregnancy symptoms can be similar to PMS and I was always wrong about it so I decided to buy a pregnancy test kit. A very very faint line appeared a long time after the recommended 3-5 minutes, like I was trying so hard to see the positive line because I feel it's time to have another child and sibling for 4 year old Hansel. It was so faint that we couldn't confirm the pregnancy so I bought another kit to test again a week later.

On the 24th December, Christmas Eve, we were blessed with the best Christmas gift. A hard positive line, no doubts this time.


Shortly after the BFP (big fat positive), my morning sickness got worse each day and all the pregnancy symptoms came at me. I was feeling sick all the time I couldn't eat nor drink without vomiting that I had to go to the hospital for hydration drips. The first time I went in for dehydration was when I first got to see my little baby (but only after begging the doctor for an ultrasound check as I have irregular menses so I could know how far along my baby was - he was 6 weeks and 6 days then). At the hospital, my arms were poked 9 times altogether (in just 2 visits!). Most of the sites they have tried to insert the IV cannula in were bruised and I felt pain everytime I accidentally touch or hit it. It wasn't pleasant, but I was very happy I got to see my baby.


Because of my bad morning sickness, I had to visit the midwife at the clinic frequently to have my bloods taken (more poking!!!). The obstetrician prescribed me with anti-emetics afterwards but it was of little to no help. I also missed school and isolated myself at home because I did not have the energy nor did I feel well enough to be out and about. I would constantly worry about vomiting outside and when I had no choice but to go out (sending and picking Hansel to/from school and waiting for him at his dance school), I had to hold back the nausea and vomiting. Whenever I reach home, I would rush to the toilet to vomit. I felt like I neglected Hansel a lot not ever feeling well enough too.

 It was a horrible and painful first trimester.


On the 13th February (13+1w), we went for the KUB-test to detect any chromosomal defects so we got to see our little baby (who didn't look so little) again. It was so heartwarming to see our little one on the screen cosying in my tummy being so active, sucking his thumb, drinking the fluids, waving his little arms, jerking up and down and having hiccups (just like his older brother, always having hiccups). I was so happy and excited to see our little one growing well in there...


I bought a fetal doppler online so that I can hear his heartbeat whenever I want to. I did it when I had Hansel too. I received it on the 2nd of March (15+4w) and I tried it immediately, picking up a strong 150+ bpm heartbeat.

Then things just went downhill from there...

The very next evening, I tried the fetal doppler again and couldn't pick up anything besides my own heartbeat. I thought maybe he moved to another position where it would be difficult to pick his heartbeat up and left it at that... Didn't think more of it.


I tried again the next day, then the next and then the next again... until I started worrying and cried to Daniel on the 6th. Crying about not being able to find his heartbeat anymore. Crying about the possibility that he was gone. Crying about noticing my belly looked like it has shrunk a little...


I decided to go to the hospital the next day to check to give myself a peace of mind. While having breakfast at home before heading to the hospital, I felt a little flutter in my tummy and it gave me hope that I would be able to see my baby waving to me on the screen when I go to the hospital, just hiding somewhere the doppler can't reach...


Laying on the chair while the doctor does an ultrasound, looking forward to the doctor assuring me that my baby is fine, but the silence in the room was so loud I broke the silence asking the doctor, "Is everything okay?"


She didn't answer but her furrowed brows gave it all away... and finally, she said "I can't find the heartbeat..." while still trying hard to search for a heartbeat with the transvaginal wand.

"I'm sorry... I can't find the heartbeat anymore and he has stopped growing at 15 weeks..."

I did not respond. I didn't know how to. I was hoping she was wrong. Or that I was dreaming. Telling myself it couldn't have happened to me. I needed a second confirmation and the doctor knew that. She called in another doctor to confirm the miscarriage... and I still didn't know how to respond because all these happened too quickly. I couldn't even cry... All I could do was to pray that both the doctors were wrong or a miracle could happen and my baby's heart would start beating again...


I called Daniel to come to the hospital right away. I needed a third confirmation and I wanted him to be there with me to see if the doctors were wrong. I needed him to look at the screen for me while I lay in the chair. I needed him...


I told my parents about it while waiting for the 3rd doctor to check me again. The both of them comforted me in different ways. My mother was praying for me that my baby's heart will start beating again and telling me that the baby will be ok. While my dad just said everything happens for a reason and that I am still young to try again. 


Daniel was already with me... We sat together in the waiting room to wait for the doctor and I couldn't help but start crying on his shoulder. The wait felt like an eternity...


The doctor was there. I sat in the ultrasound chair again anxiously waiting for a different result. Daniel was standing beside me... She checked me again and the results were still the same, but this time, it felt like reality finally struck me in the face because she turned the screen to show Daniel and I our baby, lifeless and still... She even pointed to us where our baby's heart was supposed to be and I couldn't see the flashing blue/orange heartbeat right there. She also pointed out that there was little to no amniotic fluid left...


At that point, Daniel has already started tearing but me? I don't know why... I haven't started crying maybe because I am still shocked and in disbelief that my baby who has been growing in me for almost 4 months just went like that... I just saw him less than a month ago sucking his thumb and having hiccups!  It was when I went into the toilet to put my pants back on that everything just came crashing down on me and I started crying.


Then, I broke down completely when the doctor asked me if I can take the abortion pill on Friday, the 9th of March and I had to ask if I can take it another day because the 9th is Daniel's birthday....




The abortion was set to be on Tuesday, 13th March at 8am with the first 2 pills (mifepristone) taken on Sunday. Until Sunday came, I was praying everyday that a miracle will happen and our baby will come back to life... And even before taking the pills, we asked for a fourth confirmation by a doctor before I was willing to take them. But I was left crushed once again.


Everything just got worse as days passed until I gave birth to Shannen...


We were supposed to go back to the hospital on Tuesday 8 in the morning to take more pills and then give birth to the baby. 

But on Monday evening, I started feeling intense contractions (cramps) and the intervals between them got closer and closer. The pain started to get unbearable and I was screaming in pain whenever the contractions came. I have also already started bleeding a lot.


I couldn't bear with the pain any longer so I asked Daniel to call for an ambulance to bring me to the hospital. Instead, they sent paramedics up to check on me first and they came to the conclusion that it was normal for me to experience that after taking the mifepristone. I asked if I have to bear with this pain till the next morning then and they said yes I can only bear with it and be uncomfortable during the night. They also advised to take ibuprofen as I have only taken paracetamol. So I thought maybe the ibuprofen would help and they left.


I took the ibuprofen but not only did it not get better, it got worse. The contractions were so close I was feeling pain constantly that radiates to my back. It felt like my back was breaking and I knew it was labour pains as I had given birth before I know how it feels like. I was screaming the house down. Daniel did not help by checking online and told me other people said they experienced pain too so it was normal. But I just know it wasn't. I was in extreme pain whenever the contractions came. So when the contractions came again, I couldn't help but scream "THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!!!" and finally Daniel called the ambulance again. I would ask Daniel to drive me there if we could but we don't have a license nor car so we could only count on the ambulance.


By this time, the contractions were already coming every 1-2 mins. When we reached the hospital at about 11.30pm, we were left in a room. Only a nurse came and all she did was saying it is normal. "It's normal" seems like the only thing all the healthcare staff could say. Only I knew myself that it wasn't. Not at all. Not if I was supposed to experience this only after I take the medicines I was supposed to on Tuesday morning to induce birth.


I was still screaming every 1-2 mins, grabbing the screen curtain tightly everytime the pain came. It really felt like my back was breaking. I was definitely in labour. But nobody came in to check on me even after more than an hour of screaming.


At about 1am, a doctor eventually came. He did a transvaginal ultrasound to check what was wrong. But while he was doing it, I was in so much pain and couldn't keep still as I had to arch my back to relieve a little of my pain, still screaming in pain... Finally!!! This doctor said the pain is not normal at all. Although he did say that, he still couldn't tell that I was in labour, so he asked the nurse to give me a morphine shot to help ease the pain and only when I feel better he will come back to check. 


A competent obstetrician would know that morphine would not help labour pains. Only an epidural could. Even laughing gas is used to distract you from the pain and doesn't relieve pain. And no, he didn't find out anything despite hurting me with the transvaginal wand.


Thank God the nurse got my vein in one poke this time. I didn't need more pain at that point of time. After she gave me the morphine shot, we were left alone in the room again. As expected, I was still in agony. I was crying, screaming, crawling on the floor and using a movable stool to support me to help me cope with the back-breaking pain whenever the contractions came. I also almost fainted from the morphine + pain + loss of blood. 


Then I had to go to the toilet. When I took off my pants, I was bleeding a lot so I had to change the pads used to soak the blood up. While changing, the contractions came again and more blood was gushing out (sorry TMI). I quickly went out with my pants half-down and I yelled for Daniel to call the nurse as I was bleeding so much... Just as he was running out of the room, another contraction came and I could feel and see a big sac (which I thought was my baby's head) coming halfway out. I cried and screamed even louder "THE BABY IS COMING OUT!!!"


The nurse took her own sweet time to come and before she came, the sac fell down together with the placenta into one side of my pants and slid right to the bottom followed by a lot of blood. It was a nightmare. I was crying and screaming to the nurse that the baby is there, pointing to the bottom of my pants but all she could say was "take it easy, sit down, sit in the chair" even though I kept repeating that the baby is in my pants. She probably thought I was exaggerating just like she didn't think much when I said I was in extreme pain.


I went to sit on the chair with blood still flowing out. And she asked me to take my pants off. I'm not sure if she didn't understand my simple English or she just ignored the fact I told her my baby was in my pants. Only when I pointed to her the lump at the bottom of my pants again, she seemed to finally get her head on straight. She put on gloves and took the baby out of my pants and placed him (still in his amniotic sac) on an underpad.


Daniel helped clean me up and the nurse went to take clean pants for me to change into. Everything was so horrible. The whole experience just felt a million times worse than giving birth to Hansel. To add salt to my wound, after me going through a difficult first trimester and right when it was only beginning to get better, all these had to happen to me. It still saddens me so much that we did not have a baby to carry home after all that and the bout of painful labour without any pain relief. I was only thankful Hansel slept through the whole commotion and didn't witness all that happened to his mommy.


I was transferred to the ward and there I requested for the baby to be with us for the night. Looking at his formed tiny little nose, mouth, ears, fingers and toes, it was a really emotional and difficult time for both Daniel and I. We took photos and videos with him to remember him and how he looked. To us, he was very human and very much still our darling baby. Every moment spent with our second child, our angel baby, was precious and we treasure every second until he was taken away by the nurse in the morning. He slept with Daniel, Hansel and I as a family for a few hours. 

He is a part of our family and will always be.



Since I gave birth, no doctor came to see me until 10.30am the next day and even when he came, there were no physical checks, just talking... No IV fluids was given to me throughout to replenish all the blood I have lost. Even in the morning, the nurse wanted to take some bloods and after taking my blood, she wanted to take my IV cannula out but I asked if it can be taken out only when I am discharged from the hospital as it might still be needed and I don't want to be poked again especially since I only have 1 good vein. Then she agreed with me. Luckily I insisted on keeping the IV cannula on me because shortly after the blood test, the nurse came to tell me that my blood levels are low so I need an infusion of iron. 


All these make me doubt the competence of all the healthcare workers here. From the ambulance paramedics to the nurses and the doctors. If I haven't worked as a nurse myself, I would have been traumatized by the whole incident with pain and the blood everywhere in the room. Daniel said he was traumatized by it. If it was a patient who obeyed everything the nurse said and took off the cannula, he/she would have to be poked again. I was also given the wrong dosage of medicine I had to tell the nurse and she just said sorry and took the extra pills out of the medicine cup. Because I'm a nurse myself, I checked it. What about other patients who would just take whatever the nurses give them...

-

It has been a difficult pregnancy from the start till the end but no matter what, I am thankful to have found out I was pregnant with this darling little bubs on Christmas Eve and had the honour of carrying him in me for 4 months even though he was taken away from us too soon. I hope he will be happy wherever he is now and know that he will forever be in our hearts. 

Someday, we will be with each other again... 
Mommy, daddy and big brother Hansel love you, Shannen.





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