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!