It seems as though the best place to start is to get all of the terrible, awful stuff that happened last year out on the table, so you know what you're getting into. It gives you some perspective as to where I'm coming from. Don't get me wrong, my life is definitely not crap. I have a wonderful husband, lets call him G, and he's my soul mate and my strength. Not to mention the love of my life :). We have a little boy, Xavier, who is known by many nicknames, including 'X', 'Xav', 'Xavi' and 'Trouble'. He took a bit of work to get, 2 years of TTC and 6 months of the fertility drug, Clomid, before we fell pregnant with him. Xavier is now 5, and about the start school. We have a great extended family, G's parents and my dad and his partner all live nearby, along with a couple of our siblings. Everyone else lives near enough that we see them often and we have an array of nieces and nephews (even a grand niece!) who Xav loves playing with. We have great friends and workmates, who are a big support to us and lots of fun to hang out with!
So, 2011. So many terrible things happened. But most of it begins with our journey to try to conceive our second child. I have an 11 page document on my computer which outlines things in detail, but I'll save that for another time. Here's the abridged version...
1st January, 2011: I found out I was pregnant after 3 previous miscarriages at around 5 weeks in 2009 and 2010. We had been trying to conceive for about 2 years at this point, and we had just begun injectable fertility meds.
19th January, 2011: I was hospitalised with severe abdominal pain, and was found to have a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which would claim my life if not removed. My left fallopian tube was damaged beyond repair. I couldn't believe I could be that unlucky after 3 m/c to lose another baby.
February 2011: I still feel 'pregnant', so I head back to the doctors and get my HCG checked. Hope momentarily spiked when it is shown to still be rising. Ultrasound reveals a 'blighted ovum' (a sack with no baby) and I have a D&C. I had had a Hetrotopic Pregnancy; twins with one in uterus and one ectopic. There is a 1:30,000 chance of this occurrence.
March 2011: I struggle with depression after my most recent loss. We struggle to decide whether to continue TTC.
April 2011: We begin TTC #2 again. We approach with extreme caution!
May 2011: BFP! Baby number 2 is due 20th January, 2012. Scan reveals baby is in the right place and growing well! We are very excited, although cautious...
June/July 2011: We have scans regularly to check things are going well and manage to get to 12 weeks! We haven't managed this since Xavier. Relief is what I feel. Home free, I thought.
August 2011: I have severe abdominal pain and get hospitalised for a day, although no cause can be found for it. Another added worry
September 2011: We find out our baby is a girl! For Xavier's 5th Birthday we head to the Gold Coast for a family holiday. I get the pain again, with a bit of bleeding. When we get back to Melbourne, I head to the OB, but still no cause can be found.
October 2011: I paint the nursery. White on three walls and a pale pink and dusty pink striped wall. We buy the last few things we need, although most things we still have. My sister and I halve the baby clothes (she's pregnant too, 2 weeks behind me. She's having a boy), and I start organising nappies and things. All quiet on the pregnancy front...the calm before the storm.
6th November, 2011: We attend my newest Goddaughters Christening. Whilst there I get the pain worse than I've ever had it, and Glen takes me to Mercy Hospital for Women. The pain settles down, but an anomaly is picked up with our baby's heart. She is diagnosed with a Foetal Heart Block, and I stay in hospital for 5 days for monitoring and steroids in case she needs to be delivered. I'm 29-30 weeks pregnant.
9th December, 2011: 34 weeks. Our biggest milestone, because the baby can be delivered now as soon as her condition begins to deteriorate. And it looks like it's happening sooner rather than later. The decision is made to deliver her at 36 weeks. She is now monitored every second day instead of once a week.
12th December, 2011: The decision is almost made to deliver her due to a decreased heart rate. But CTG seems to indicate an improvement, so home we go.
15th December, 2011: The worst day of our lives. The baby looks bad on the scan and it seems as though her heart may have other problems. The decision is made to deliver her via c-section, but we need to wait for the cardiologist so he can fit her pacemaker immediately. We've gone from 90% good outcome to unknown...
2.12pm: Our daughter is born. She doesn't cry and we don't see her. 10 medical staff try to revive her. They can't. Our world crashes down. I blame myself for not coming to the hospital sooner, for not knowing she wasn't doing as well as she had been. G cries and holds our silent, peaceful child. She is beautiful and we name her Poppy. Her middle name is Kate, after my Mum. We marvel at her perfection and are shattered at the knowledge we will never see her smile or hear her laugh or look into her eyes. We grieve and our families and friends grieve with us for the precious baby they had watched grow in me, but will never meet.
16th December: Gavin Blue from Heartfelt, an organisation which takes beautiful photographs of children and babies who are critically ill or stillborn, spends an hour with us whilst we dress Poppy and hold and cuddle her. These are some of our most precious moments. Mary from Pastoral Care does a blessing for Poppy and we get a lovely box which holds everything we will ever have of Poppy's. Her blanket and first outfit, her teddy, her handprints and footprints, a lock of her hair. Later we will add her hospital bracelet, and her birth certificate. All in one little box.
19th December, 2011: I am due to leave the hospital and leave Poppy. She is to be taken to The Women's for her post mortem today, and I wait until she leaves before I do, so I don't feel like I am abandoning her. Mary makes sure she gets safely to her 'ride'. I leave in tears and the tears will never stop, it seems. If my eyes are crying, then my heart is.
23rd December, 2011: Poppy's funeral. Almost 200 people attend. Amazing that one short life, one little girl who no one met, could cause such an impact. I did Poppy's obituary, outlining her short life and everything I knew about her and what she meant to us. G sang 'Blackbird' by the Beatles, and my sister read a letter to Poppy. We played 'Smile' (Chaplin) and 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' (Hawaiian version). We planted a tree for Poppy, a beautiful Crepe Myrtle, and released 100 pink balloons.
31st December, 2011: The last day of 2011. My only wish is that we had been able to bring a healthy baby girl home. My new years resolution? To make 2012 a better year, if I can. And to start a blog, in memory of Poppy and as a record of our lives without her.
So with hope for the future, I began 2012. Let see what is in store for us now...