My husband and I got married on a sunny afternoon in April 2014 overlooking Manly beach. After our wedding we knew we wanted to start a family shortly after. We were both so excited to share our lives together and both really wanted to become parents. Our journey to conceive took over 2 years. On the 5th of January 2017 we found out that I was pregnant. To say that we were over the moon was an understatement. We couldn’t believe we had fallen pregnant naturally. Nine months of pregnancy flew by. I was blessed with no morning sickness and I felt great the whole way through. I took maternity leave from 36 weeks so I could get prepared and rest before our little one arrived. We did the calm birth course and I met with my Doula to write out our birth plan. I was going to give birth in a hospital but I wanted it to be as natural as possible.
I was 38 weeks and 6 days along when something didn’t feel right. My little boy has stopped moving and I couldn’t feel his usual hard kicks. I went to the Mater hospital to get checked out as my intuition told me something wasn’t right. After 30 minutes and an ultrasound later we were told our precious little boy had no heartbeat. This was our worst nightmare, it was like our whole world just came crashing down around us in one moment. I couldn’t stop wailing in despair. I curled up into the fetal position as my husband tried to comfort me. We were both in disbelief after hearing our healthy baby boy’s heartbeat on the Wednesday we found out that Saturday he was gone.
26 hours later I gave birth to our perfect sleeping angel Hamish Joseph Matthews. He was beautiful in every way and weighed in at 2.96kg and was 50.5cms long. The only thing that was missing from the birthing suite was the cries of our little one. It was eerily silent. Hamish was put straight on my chest after he came out. We had skin to skin time and he was still really warm. It was one of my proudest moments becoming a mother. I looked down at Hamish with so much love and joy. Unfortunately, he got wrapped in the cord and it cut of his blood supply. He was wrapped in it a few times around his body and neck. He was a healthy baby otherwise. Cute button nose, plump little lips like mine, fair hair just like his Dad. We then spent the following three days at the Mater saying goodbye. We got to give Hamish his first bath and have my family and friends come and visit. We got to take many family photographs and create memories with our son.
There is nothing that prepares you for such devastation. The Mater midwives, my obstetrician, my lovely social worker Deb, my Doula Jenna, family and friends both throughout the labour and the days after were so amazing.
We wouldn’t have made it through without them all. Having the right people to support you when you are going through a hard time makes all the difference. They can’t take your pain away but they can make life easier. They can help pick you up when you are feeling really down.
Around six weeks after Hamish was born I decided it would be good to talk to someone one on one about how I was feeling as I navigated motherhood without my child. After seeing my GP for a referral, I called up the Gidget house with so much anxiety as I haven’t ever been to talk to a psychologist one on one before. I made an appointment with the lovely Christine Barnes. She listened to me and helped me work through my grief. She let me know it was ok to feel whatever was coming up each day, whether that be anger, sadness or frustration. It felt good to know I was heading in the right direction. I felt ok that I was crying each day as I know each tear I shed is helping me heal.
I am still getting used to my new normal. I still need to give myself time to grieve and work through all my feelings. There is no right or wrong when it comes to dealing with loss. Whether that is through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. I do believe we all need to talk about this more as when this happened to me I felt so isolated and alone. Our society almost finds it too painful to talk about this. I want other mothers who have been through this to talk through their grief. Whether it is with a trusted friend or psychologist. It is important to get help as it is difficult when we are working through loss. If I can give one piece of advice it is please don’t be afraid to speak up. There are wonderful support groups online, in person and on the phone, also organisations like Gidget house who are here to help.
If you want to know more about Hamish and my journey as an angel Mum I am writing a daily blog at www.iamstillhere2017.wordpress.com I also have a list of pregnancy and infant loss support resources on my blog.
Thank you Jodie for sharing your story.