My children’s father (D) and I had been together for 7 years and I had wanted to have my own baby for as long as I could remember. When my little brother announced his partner was pregnant and was due in January 2008, I didn't think it was fair that my little brother should get to have a baby before me! Around 3 months after my niece was born (she arrived on boxing day 2007), D and I decided to try to get pregnant. We didn't exactly try every night or work out when I was ovulating, but we stopped using contraception. I was determined not to stress about whether or not I was pregnant, but I often found myself wondering if this would be the month! 3 months later at the end of June 2008, after noticing that my friends had all had their periods and I hadn't (we were all in sync!) and I had sore breasts, I did a pregnancy test which was positive.
We were both so excited and couldn't wait to tell people. We talked about not telling anyone until I was 12 weeks pregnant, but the very next day I couldn't help telling my best friends, and D his! We were hopeless! I told my parents and D told his, and we also told our siblings. I had a textbook pregnancy! Every night during the first few weeks I would go to bed thinking, "tomorrow will be the day the morning sickness starts", but it never came. I went to see my doctor who recommended a midwife who I went to see almost straight away. My due date was April 5th 2009. We booked my 12 week scan and I couldn't wait for it to come! We got to see the little heartbeat, and the legs and arms moving around. The first time I felt my baby move was at 18 weeks. A friend was straightening my hair and I said, "I think I can feel the baby moving!". I described to her the feeling I had and she said, "OMG that's it! That's what it feels like." After this first time, I would sit in all sorts of weird positions to try to get my baby to move because I loved the feeling. Then came the 20 week scan. I had always wanted the gender of my first baby to be a suprise, but D wanted to know and I decided that I really did as well, however the sonographer wasn't able to see, but my baby was healthy and that's all I really cared about. My pregnancy continued to be a dream. No sickness, no swelling, perfect blood pressure the whole way through. People kept asking me if I had leg cramps or braxton hicks contractions or whatever other usual symptoms they could come up with, and the answer was always no. I did get a few tightenings towards the end but they weren't really uncomfortable. The only real issue I had was iron deficiency so I was put on iron pills.
April 5th came and went. My sister in law rang that day to ask how I was feeling (she was also pregnant again and was due on April 12th). We talked about how for such a long time April 5th had been a special date, but it was here and nothing had happened. On Tuesday 7th April everything was normal. I was feeling heavy, but my baby was moving around a lot and I generally felt fine. That night my baby stuck a foot out the side of my tummy while D and I were eating dinner. We watched and laughed at how you could tell it was a foot.
It was quite unusual for me to get up during the night to go to the toilet even during the last few months of my pregnancy. There was only about a week where I would wake up at 3.20am to go to the toilet. I remember thinking about how strange it was that I woke up at the exact same time every night, and wondered if that would be a time when my baby would wake up to be fed. On that Tuesday night though, I woke up 4 or 5 times to go to the toilet. I don't remember thinking I could feel any pain or anything at the time, but I was tired and half asleep so probably didn't notice if I was in pain. On the Wednesday I was 40 weeks 3 days pregnant. I woke up at around 7am, got up to go to the toilet, and noticed that my stomach and back were sore. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but went into the lounge, mentioned the pain to D and lay down. I found it really hard to get comfortable so after about an hour and a half I got back up. The pain was quite bad by now and was constant, so I got my pillow and tried getting comfortable in a chair. I thought about ringing my midwife but thought it was probably a normal sign of labour and I decided to wait and see what happened. Another hour went by and I still wasn't able to get comfortable. I mentioned the pain to D again and he suggested I ring the midwife.
Initially when I spoke to my midwife she said it was probably the beginning of labour and suggested I take some panadol but I told her I was worried because the pain was constant so she said to meet her at her clinic. When we got to the clinic she started a CTG. She confirmed that I was having contractions and agreed that they did seem to be constant, and she got a heartbeat reading. She told me to push a button when the baby moved and asked me a few questions about my baby's movements that morning. It was then that I realised I hadn't felt any movements all morning, I had been too worried about the pain I was in to notice. The midwife got me to change positions a few times and gave me a drink to try and get baby moving. When this didn't work she took me into another room to do an exam. She explained that she was poking the baby in the head to try and get movement. Again it didn't work. Without showing any concern, she told us to go to the hospital where she would put me back on a monitor.
At the hospital, my midwife asked her student to do the CTG while she went to get my notes. The student struggled to find the baby's heartbeat but I put that down to inexperience, I refused to believe there might be something wrong. The student went to get my midwife and she also couldn't find a heartbeat. Now I was starting to wonder what was going on. She called the OB to come immediately saying, "I think it might be a concealed abruption", and started getting me ready for an emergency c-section. What the hell is a concealed abruption I wondered! The OB arrived and started to do a scan. Now that we could see my baby, it was obvious that there was no heartbeat. I looked at D and we both burst into tears. The OB said that it appeared there had been a concealed abruption. My midwife asked if there was a heartbeat and when the OB shook his head, she stopped getting me ready for a c-section, took my hand and sat with me on the bed.
"I'm sorry," she said, "your baby has died". I didn't know what to do. I kept looking at D who was crying so much that he wouldn't look at me. I asked my midwife if it was my fault, if I had done something wrong. "No" she said. She explained what a concealed placental abruption was and that nobody knows what causes them most of the time. She explained how it caused my baby's death and went on to tell me I would have to give birth. "I can't" I said. How could they expect me to deliver my dead baby? She explained all the reasons why I had to give birth, and all the reasons why I couldn't have a c-section. She also told us that the baby had probably died during the night because there had been no movement all morning, and that the heartbeat her monitor was showing wouldn't have been the baby's. She then left us to make phone calls.
Just after we arrived at the hopsital I had been given pethedine so everything that happened after this point is a bit of a blur. My midwife's notes are quite detailed and D and my mum (who was also there during the birth) have filled me in on a lot of what happened. But long story short, my waters were broken at 5.20pm and I was in established labour at 6pm. At 1.30am on Thursday 9th April I felt my baby come out. "Is it a boy or girl" I asked. "It's a boy" my mum replied. I had a son! He didn't cry. He didn't open his eyes. He didn't move. But he was mine. 1 minute after he was born I started to bleed. The blood that had caused my baby's death came out of me so fast that nobody had time to react. My midwife did manage to get my son out of the way just in time. He was then put in the hospital crib all by himself, while they sorted me out. I remember feeling the blood coming out and seeing my midwife literally scooping up my blood with her arms so she could measure it, but at the time I didn't really know what was happening. I just wanted to hold my son. We named him Dreyton Tangiwaka Lockyer. Dreyton is a name I had seen on TV and fell in love with, Tangiwaka (which means music box) is the name D's Koro chose, and Lockyer is the last name of D's favourite league star!!
I spent the next two days in the hospital. I lost just over 2 litres of blood, and because of my iron problems they wanted to keep an eye on me. They were the hardest days of my life. Lying in a bed next to my dead son listening to everyone elses' babys cry, and watching mine be still and silent. On easter monday we had a lovely service for Dreyton. The funeral home offers two rooms, one seats 50, the other seats 150. We chose the smaller room as we weren't sure how many people would be there and we thought it would be hard to see a tiny little coffin in a huge big room. 140 people turned up to say goodbye to Drey. I didn't know D and I even knew that many people. The placenta was sent off for a post mortem which came back saying there was nothing wrong. My son died for no reason at all! On April 24th, 2 weeks and 1 day after Dreyton was born, my little brother's second daughter was born. She cried, and she opened her eyes, and she moved.
Now, 13 years later, I have 2 daughters who talk about their big brother often, I have studied and am now a registered midwife, and as each day and month and year has passed it has become easier and easier to get out of bed each day. The pain of loosing my baby will never leave, but I can smile, laugh, live my life and talk about him without crying. Every year on his birthday my girls and I will have cake and sing to him. Even though D and I are no longer together, he will send me a text every year with the same number of blue hearts as Dreyton’s age that year.
If I could give 13 years ago me some advice, it’d be to not let people’s awkward comments get to me. I remember one person saying “Just try again” just a couple of days after Dreyton was born, and how hurtful that was to me. I didn’t want to try again. I wanted Dreyton. But people just don’t know how to react or respond to you when the worst possible thing we can imagine has happened to us. They don’t mean to be insensitive, they just don’t know what to say or do. Be kind to yourself, talk, and be in your feelings. Let people know what you need from them and say your baby’s name out loud!
Sunrise-Born 9th July 2016, perfect 8pd baby boy looking a splitting imagine of his dad.
Sunset- 19th May 2017, the day our lives changed forever, the day I wouldn't wish upon anyone, the day we now remember of the time we had with our son and his memories.
10months, for such a short time of our son's life he really had the best of both worlds he had farm life & towny life, he had more opportunities then most kids and spoilt as ever, Our son had the biggest cheekiest smile, a real tutu getting into everything and anything, he was just shy of walking all on his own, but as for the crawling he had that marstered, there's so much more I could go on of our son and for the short time he was with us I could really go on and on about him, but back to the day where our time with him became our memories with him....
My partner, Son and myself were in a car accident to where we lost our son instantly right there and then, myself and partner have being flown to hospital by helicopter having to leave our son there at the site with the first responders is where the first of many feelings kicked in, feeling of regret wishing we couldov stayed with him there. The scene of the accident still so raw to this day I can still see it all when they pulled our son out of the car still in his carseat and told me he was gone. It was a day you wouldn't wish upon your worse enemy, the days to follow of feeling numb, useless, empty, feeling like your breathing but your body and emotions arnt functioning, days, months and now years the grieving is still so raw like it all just happened yesterday. These emotions are something else you can't really describe unless you have been there losing a child a baby so young, so helpless. As time has gone by I have found in others that have experienced child loss some comfort knowing where not alone so please reach out and know your emotions any time of day or night are valid and will come in waves for you. 5yrs on and it's okay I have only just started to mention our son's name, talk about him and his memories it's taken time but where getting there.
From this day and my own experience, if I can give any help or advice to some how ease the pain and grief your feeling, it would be to "let them in", your family, friends, I'm stubborn and I didn't want any pitty party, I don't do well with emotions and expressing how I feel (guess this says different, I can ramble along) but I had my mains there from the day we lost our son to now the journey of it all I have my day ones that never gave up on us, always checking in and even though I didn't reply to them most days cause really last thing you want to do, I look back now thinking I should have let them in a long time ago to help grieve through the heartache of losing our son.
There's stages you will go through of grief so many stages 5years on and I'm still finding myself wanting scream and yell and that's ok, let it out trust me you feel better after you do, even put a sad song on and cry it helps. To now my biggest advice, don't be afraid to talk about your loss, to say your baby's name out loud to when someone asks how many kids you have don't forget to include them when you say and when they say where are they, you stand proud but you also don't have to share your story of what happened, 5yrs on I'm only just getting to this point, to where I can say his name myself or tell people we actually have 3 kids cause the look I get when I say we lost our son goes back to that I don't want a pity party please but for me I feel relief in mentioning our story now cause yes this tragic accident happened to us but with our family and friends "we let in" really has helped us on this journey.
5yrs later I finally feel like I can enjoy sharing and talking about our son and his memories, time does somewhat help So please take it slow and ride through your emotions with your family and friends it does help, or reach out I'm always here with a listening ear. I have found child loss groups really helpful knowing there's others out there that understand us. So for now our son Te Mana-Mauri 5years on this journey of loving you, missing you, grieving for you mama and dad love you and will forever share your name and memories, other parents out there your not alone in this journey.
My pregnancy with our son Alfie came as a bit of surprise. A planned surprise, but having endometriosis and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome we expected it to take longer than a month. When we found out, I was only 1-2 weeks pregnant. The first 6 weeks flew by in a breeze with minimal symptoms other than hunger and exhaustion. The weekend before our first ultrasound I got really sick. Extreme stomach cramping, vomiting, diarrhea. We called an ambulance and they said "don't stop the birth" despite repeatedly saying I'm not bleeding. We went for the emergency clinic who sent us for an urgent ultrasound the next day, there were concerns I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
Thankfully our baby was healthy, there was a good strong heartbeat and we had what I was told was a bad stomach bug. Unfortunately I never got better and multiple doctors appointments and family advice brushed it off as "just morning sickness".
October 31st 2019, mine and my husband's favourite day of the year, we planned our 13 week ultrasound because nothing screams scary like commitment. Our sonographer was running an hour late, I was sick and kept having to go to the bathroom to nearly vomit, when we finally got in the sonographer was wonderful, cheerful and patient as I kept needing to get up and be sick. The scan was going well, if not for our sassy little man refusing to be in the right position to measure everything. They noticed the nuchal translucency in the back of his neck was thicker than average. We were told there was an increased risk of down syndrome but we wouldn't know more till we got all my blood test results back. 3 hours later I was admitted to hospital with hyperemesis. Not exactly the happy pregnancy announcement we were hoping to make.
A few days later my midwife called, we had a 1/35 chance of our baby having down syndrome and we were referred to maternal foetal medicine at Auckland Hospital. A few weeks later we made the trip to Auckland. Our fetal specialist was the loveliest woman and doctor you could ever ask for. She answered all our questions, was patient, explained the risks of an amniocentesis and asked us if we still wanted to continue. We chose to continue with the amniocentesis, during the ultrasound they noticed that there was a problem with our son's heart but he was too small for them to see clearly. It was also this scan they confirmed he was, in fact, a boy which I was beyond excited for.
We stopped at krispy kreme on the way home, which became a part of our Auckland Hospital trips and attempted to keep the happy secret we were having a boy while also processing that there was potentially a problem with his heart.
3 days later my midwife called, confirming again he was a boy and also confirming our sweet man didn't have down syndrome. My husband and I cried pure happiness. We thought we were out of the woods, that we just had to handle a heart condition. That's manageable.
2 weeks later our midwife called again out of the blue. She had the rest of our amniocentesis results. There was a duplication on chromosome 17. Our midwife had never heard of it, she said it was associated with physcial abnormalities, mental delays and learning disabilities. We would find out more at our next Auckland appointment.
We both broke down, we didn't know how to process this or what to do. All we could do is wait.
The following week our appointment got cancelled because there was nobody available to see us, we had to wait another week. This made our next appointment for December 16th 2019, my birthday. As you can imagine we were thrilled by this news.
December 16th comes, we go for our appointment, my doctor bless her heart says happy birthday as she leads us to an ultrasound room. I lay down on the table, the ultrasound began and we knew something was wrong. The doctor was silent, it was clear for everyone to see. One side of Alfies head was larger than the other. I asked what was happening, I asked what was wrong, I was met with silence. We were all trying to process what we were seeing.
When the ultrasound finished she led us to a big meeting room and went to get the doctors. I broke down. There was something wrong with my baby.
The room was then filled with doctors. Our fetal specialist, a geneticist, a pediatric cardiologist, a pediatric cardiology nurse, and my hospital appointed midwife. One by one, they all said their peace. First the pediatric cardiologist. One of the tubes in Alfies heart was too small and he had a hole in his heart. Alfie needed to be born at Auckland Hospital, he needed his first surgery at 2-5 days old to have a shunt put in his heart, his second surgery at 6-12 months old to have the hole in his heart closed, and then surgery every 2-3 years to have the small tube replaced because they used synthetic materials and it wouldn't grow with him. He would be born blue, he would be put straight into NICU at Starship Hospital. We needed to move to the Ronald McDonald House at Starship Hospital at 35 weeks, sooner if my growth scans were concerning and we would be there upwards of 9 months.
Alfie had fluid around the right side of his brain and missing connective fibers in his cerebellum. He was going to be moderately to severely disabled. They didn't know how much this would affect his recovery with his heart or what treatment would be needed.
Alfie's chromosomal abnormality was rare. There were less than 20 recorded cases worldwide. They didn't know how this would affect his recovery from his surgeries. But he was going to be moderately to severely disabled. Of the few recorded cases there was an 8 year old who could talk, someone in their 30s who lived in a assisted living facility.
The medical team were very honest with us. Alfie may not survive birth, he may not survive surgery, we may be advised to not continue treatment if its causing him more harm than good. We were told our options.
Continue with the pregnancy.
Termination for medical reasons.
At this point I was 20 - 21 weeks pregnant. We went to Dennys for dinner, we got krispy kreme and we went home defeated and in shock.
The next day we patiently told our families the news, the prognosis and our options. We were met with nothing but kindness, love and support.
We emailed the medical team back and forth for weeks, looking for alternate treatments, hope of any kind, something that would save our baby boy. But eventually we were told that it wouldn't get better from here, only worse.
We made our decision and decided we wouldn't tell anyone till after Christmas.
December 31st 2019 we told both of our families our decision. We decided not to continue with the pregnancy. Our son didn't deserve to be in pain or suffer. Our son deserved better. We told our midwife. We emailed the Auckland medical team.
January 6th 2020 we went to Auckland and Alfies heart was stopped.
January 9th 2020, after 27 hours of labor, our baby boy came into the world. Silent but perfect. He looked just like his dad, he had his dads ears too. Angel Casts came and took casts of his hands and feet. A volunteer photographer from Heartfelt came and took photos of us as a family. We took our baby boy home that afternoon, had a tangi for him and got him privately cremated on January 11th 2020.
We were terrified of telling anyone we made this decision. We thought if anyone knew we wouldn't get help or support. We thought options like Angel Casts and Heartfelt wouldn't be available to us because we made this decision. We didn't lose our baby like other families. We were mistaken. We have become more open about our decision, our sons diagnosis and prognosis.
There was no happy outcome for us, no right decision for us or our son. But we made the decision we did because our son deserved more than was being offered to him.
When I was 26, I found out I was pregnant with my 1st baby, this was something my partner and I had both been waiting for we had brought our home and made sure we were financially stable we had done everything we thought was right. I remember being so excited we finally made it passed the 12-week mark that all parents are nervous about and yay we made it!
Unfortunately, 6weeks later my nightmare started.
I got home from work and was laying on the couch exhausted from my day and I got up to walk to the bathroom , and just out of the blue my waters broke all over the lounge floor, absolute fear and sadness just filled my thoughts and I couldn't believe it no way this is way too early !! (PROM)
My partner wasn't quite sure what was going on I told him take me to ED right now I knew this wasn't good.
Once we were there I was taken in straight away and a scan confirmed that there were no longer waters in my womb with baby which as we all know is vital for a baby's lung development at that stage.
I was admitted into hospital That night, and after a week of tests and counseling I decided to give birth to my baby as the risks and complications that come with holding onto the pregnancy were to much for myself and my baby
I was extremely upset but I knew we were doing what was right for everyone involved it was the hardest decision we have ever had to make so far in life .
The day I had her my sister-in-law told me of this amazing lady named Jen who created memories for family's I was afraid that my baby would be too small but she captured the most amazing little hands a feet I have ever laid my eyes on. She was so perfect. I remember her tiny little fingernails and toenails her cute button nose and tiny little ears!!! My little baby girl! Ella-Rose
Today I am 31and I have an amazing 4-year-old son, since having him I have had 1 miscarriage and 2 ectopic pregnancy i am currently at home recovering from surgery from my 5th pregnancy I had to have my right tube removed but I was able to keep my ovary.
Life is so unexpected! My only advice to people is don't give up, don't wait too long, you never know what obstacles life will throw at you .
Thanks Angel Casts team xxx we really appreciate what you do to help out family's like mine xxxx
Love to all and just remember you're not alone x