My husband and I have two children.
My date for my 12 week scan came through. I was just over 12 weeks. We received the devastating news that our baby had a few problems. That led to the doctors to give high odds for trisomy 18. I was told I could abort my baby now with a D&C or I could have further testing, but if I wanted to then abort my baby, I would need to give birth. I chose further testing. Unfortunately these came back telling us our beautiful baby girl had trisomy 18 and because of other problems had a less than 10% chance of surviving the first year. We were told she was incompatible with life.
We went to the hospital to see a nurse who could give us the medical abortion facts and book us in. I can only describe her as someone who has no people skills and is a paperwork nurse for a reason. She had this annoying smile with her eyes closed and would smile all the time. It took everything in me not to tell her to get lost when I wanted to go away for a few days with my baby inside my tummy and have a few days before booking in. She told me this was unusual and most people want to have the abortion straight away. I told her everyone does what’s right for them and I’m doing what’s right for me. She said she could book me in at the weekend on the gynaecology ward. I couldn’t think of anything worse than having my abortion at a weekend when I consider this family time and imagining families having wonderful times and me saying goodbye to my baby. So she booked me in to a maternity unit during the week. I was given a tablet then told to come back.
I was taken to the ward, shown a room near the door so I didn't have to view or hear any babies. I was given more tablets, I think, and a strong suppository and then left. Tummy ache was painful yet not labour painful yet. As time went on it got worse, however, and although the leaflet said only paracetomol would be needed, I requested gas and air. I think the devastation I was feeling made the pain worse far worse than a joyous birth. I then gave birth to my beautiful baby. She was taken away and bought back to us in a basket. We cuddled her and took photos and spent some precious time with her. I feel guilt every day with my decision. Even though I saved my younger children the grief of losing a sister, they would have met, and I saved my beautiful Freya any pain she would have undoubtedly had due to her further complications. This weekend it will be three years since we lost her and the guilt eats me up so much. I feel I haven’t moved on in three years.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It’s very sad to lose a wanted baby under these painful circumstances and it does sound as if you are a bit stuck in the guilt, grief and loss. Anniversary times are especially poignant, bringing it all back, aren’t they?
You felt you made the best decision at the time, saving your children the pain of a sibling’s death and also saving your unborn daughter some physical pain, bearing the pain of it yourselves instead. We are designed to heal from natural processes of loss and death, which are hard to bear but which do pass through us. The difficulty with loss and death where our decisions have been involved is that it makes them harder to bear. I wonder if this is where your guilt stems from, made worse by natural loss and grief.
It sounds as if you would benefit from some baby loss/abortion support from your nearest centre, which would take you on a journey of recovery by facing and finding better ways of relating to the emotions you feel. Just get in touch as soon as you can – we’ll be thinking of you.