My Late Miscarriage/Stillbirth

A story most women who have experienced keep underwraps. And one that still affects me everyday. I guess only those who have gone through it would understand the enormous impact this experience can have on your being.
The statistics show and most women are told that after 12 weeks gestation the likelihood of losing your baby is down to 1-3%. So after 12 weeks we tend to feel 'safe' and that's when a lot of couples decide to announce their pregnancy. Although in my case as soon as I got those two lines on the pregnancy test that indicated we were pregnant I was ecstatic and went around telling everyone (and I don't regret it one bit.. what's wonderful news if you can't share it?).
When Liam was 2 years old we wanted another baby so bad and we especially wanted to have a healthy child with no problems. And so the moment we found out we were expecting I immediately had our whole life plan mapped out. This baby was already a part of our family. I would rub my tummy with excitement even though I didn't have a bump yet. We had names picked out. I was imagining all the awesome things I would be doing with my two children.
At 12 weeks I started bleeding. I was panicked. I was shaking, in tears, scared out of my mind. This wasn't meant to happen, especially once we were in the 'safe period'! The doctor did an ultrasound and everything was fine. Baby had a beautiful strong heart beat. I just had to take it easy. That was a bit difficult seeing as though I still had to lift my son who couldn't walk.
At 16 weeks I had another ultrasound. It was then they discovered a subchorionic hematoma. Once again I was told to take it easy. This time I did. I would lay down most of the day, every now and then I would check my baby's heartbeat on a Fetal Heart Doppler machine I bought on eBay. I would talk to him (I didn't know the sex at the time) everyday. As my belly grew, I beamed, I glowed. I had nothing but hope for his safe arrival.
Then at 19 weeks I was having a shower and a huge gush of blood came out. More than before. I was scared but because we were scheduled for our 'big' ultrasound the next day and I had been bleeding for 7 weeks, so it wasn't really a new thing, I figured we would see what was going on at the u/s.
I remember the day of the ultrasound so clearly. We went to the Feto-Maternal Unit at the hospital. I was strangely excited... I guess I still had a massive amount of hope. I was going to see my bubba on the big screen. I was going to find out whether to buy blue or pink. I was going to see what his nose looked like and whether he waved. I was laying down on the bed in anticipation, the sonographer started, but made no comments, he seemed to be making 'hmmm' sounds under his breath. I picked up on this and I started to worry a little. The sonographer then turned to me.. "I don't know how to say this, but your baby has no fluid around it. This isn't a good environment for a growing baby. You will have to discuss options with your obstetrician". I was floored. What? What? What the flying f***???? What the f*** was he saying? He led my husband and I to the 'counselling room'. There were boxes of tissues everywhere. Oh f***! this is where they take the parents whose babies are most likely not going to live or have severe abnormalities or in some cases are already dead. In our case our baby was alive and his heart was going strong.. but his environment was deadly. I felt suffocated and sick. I couldn't breathe. I never thought of this as a scenario. Who the hell does? Nobody. This is never how it's meant to be. At my obstetrician's office we were given the information on how babies need amniotic fluid to develop, and that without it their lungs will not develop and their body becomes deformed from the extremely cramped space. My doctor said we could 'help' things along, but that could be dangerous for my uterus. I said "No way could I end my baby's life. I will leave it up to God". He agreed and said that we will keep a close eye on me and the baby. When I got home I went straight onto the internet and 'googled' any similar stories. There was a web site that held my hope. There were women sharing their stories of carrying their babies on little fluid and giving birth. I figured if I could be on complete bed rest and drink lots and lots of water, I could make it to at least 24 weeks. They can do so much for micropreemies these days. I bargained in my head that a micropreemie was fine by me. I just wanted my baby, healthy, alive and safe.
For 10 days I held onto this hope as I trawled the internet and read through numerous accounts. But as I read on I also found the facts on infection of the uterus due to the amniotic membrane being broken and it didn't bode well for me. If I did contract a uterine infection it could in effect kill me. I now had to think of my husband and my son Liam. They needed me, so I had to let go of that hope....And the day I consciously 'let go' I started to have contractions. My body was listening to my mind. That was such a difficult mindset to have. To consciously be 'ok' with 'letting go'.
We got to the hospital at around 11pm. I was in my nighty and my belly was now a lovely round bump. A man at the door of the hospital looked at me while I winced in pain with each contraction and said "Maternity is that way", pointing us in the right direction.. he thought I was about to give birth to a healthy, screaming baby. And oh I so wished I was.
Walking through labour and delivery I could hear the sounds of women in the throes of pain. I was taken to a delivery room as far from the other rooms as the nurses could find... we didn't want to hear the sounds of a newborn baby... unless it was ours and that was not going to happen that night.
I remember making a cup of tea with my husband in the communal kitchen. I remember saying "I don't want this to be a horrible experience. Let's make the best of it if we can". And I think we did. We had a television in the room, it was stuck on mute, so we did the 'over dub', making an old black and white movie into a silly comedy. I guess we did anything to distract me, to stop me from screaming "wake me up from this frigging nightmare!!".
I didn't think a labour at 20 weeks would be as painful as a full term labour.. but it was. I ended up having pethidine. I was a little off my dial, but I needed to be. I was in agony, both physically and mentally. This wasn't a normal experience.
At 5am I felt the urge to push. The memory of this moment is still with me strongly now. I am in tears just reliving this. I was sucking on the 'gas and air'. My head was spinning. I had never felt such horrendous agony.
"One more push, I can see your baby" said one of the nurses. "It's a boy!" As she handed my tiny baby to me, all wrapped up in a blanket. I cuddled him on my chest. I saw his pulse in his chest. His heart was still beating. My baby was alive but he couldn't breathe. All I could muster up were the words "I'm so sorry bubba. I love you. I'm so sorry", over and over again, as I kissed his fragile skin, his perfect little face. I held him for an hour, watching his heart beat become slower and slower until it stopped. My husband and I took photos. I was never going to forget Dylan Dirk. He was my 2nd son. He was loved from the moment he was formed in my womb.
The nurses were lovely, they put him in a beautiful knitted outfit and took some photos of him as well. They then put the photos and the outfit in a little keepsake package for me to keep.
We were lucky that my gorgeous auntie was visiting from the United Kingdom and she organised Dylan's burial. He was buried in the same grave as my mum. My mum now has a grandchild with her. That gives me comfort.
And what gives me the most comfort is that without the sacrifice of Dylan's life we would not be graced with the presence of my two amazing children Jack (whose middle name is Dylan) and Evangeline. I know that if things had turned out differently with Dylan they wouldn't be here.
But not a day goes by I don't think of my angel baby. He has made a lasting impression on me.. he has made me who I am today.
I hope my sharing this has helped others. Whether it be knowing they're not alone. Or whether it may help in understanding the experience. I just want it to be something we can talk about. It doesn't need to be a taboo topic.