"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

afteriris response on good birth

EDITED TO ADD: **oops. I didn't mean to publish this as a post at all, only to save it somewhere before I posted it as a comment at Jess' blog, After Iris, in response to her brilliant discussion on what a "good birth" means for dead baby mamas. But since I stuffed up, I may as well leave it here, and extend the conversation. Is there such thing as a "good" birth when your baby dies? **

I was all geared up to (hopefully) have a birthing centre birth, and almost had a pre-emptively smug sense that I would be one of those women able to birth easily, along with a huge dose of anxiety just in case I wasn't. And when the accident happened, when the ambulance crew arrived and I realised that the car wasn't going to explode (I'd seen petrol leaking from the car that hit us and was worried because I was trapped in the car), I thought, it will all be okay. And I naively thought - I hope they don't give me a C-section. As if that was the worse that could happen. Ha.

I couldn't even let myself think that haloumi had died. She was right there, she'd been hiccoughing all morning.

Once we were at the hospital and it was clear that she'd died and that I had internal bleeding, I thought they would do a caesar right away, so I was very surprised when they told me they would try to induce me. So there I was, labouring with a broken knee and liver and spleen lacerations (and, thankfully, with lots of morphine). Except that it wasn't in fact labour, but couvelaire uterus, so that my contractions were six minutes each.

And as crappy as that was, it was the "best bit" of the whole affair. The sense of emergency was over, I'd been released from the horribly uncomfortable spinal board and neck brace, and I could try and move my body of my own volition, albeit with drips and bandages and monitors all over me. My mum and sister were there and had brought in my birthing CD, so the whole emergency room was subjected to hippy affirmations about breathing. And I thought, this is something important I can do for my child. This may be all the mothering I get to do for her. I also had a beautiful midwife who really did abide with me, in the way that yours should have Jess - she was there, she was with us, she did not look away for a second.

And when I had to get sent off for a caesar anyway (because of the internal bleeding) she helped us pick a receiving blanket for Z from the baby things my mum had made. And when I woke from the anaesthetic, the first thing I saw was her coming towards me to show me a photo of my daughter.

I'm still sad that I had a caesar, because it meant I had less time with her, and I didn't get to do something I was really looking forward to. But I'm not going to beat myself up about it, and I'm certainly going to be much less judgmental about others who have caesarians - because who knows what their reasons were (and why is it any of my business anyway)?

So, yes, I think conversations about a 'good birth' (ie a well-supported one, not any particular exit route) are really important for babylost mothers. Women are so vulnerable in birth and doubly vulnerable when they are grieving their child at the same time. In a way it makes good birth support even more important. Thanks for making me think about it.


  1. 'Women are so vulnerable in birth and doubly vulnerable when they are grieving their child at the same time.'

    You've summed it all up there.

    I'm glad that you had a beautiful midwife to help you and that you had a chance to prepare for your beautiful daughter to arrive. The image of you playing your birthing CD has me in tears. I'm sorry that so much of the birth of your little girl wasn't as you would have wished it to be but the act of putting on that CD, that preparation, that mothering of your daughter, that is true love.

  2. Thanks Catherine. Oh, I just hope she knew it, whereever she was by then. xxxxh

  3. I agree with Catherine, we are so vulnerable in all aspects. I'm sorry for the loss of your little girl, the grief that comes with it cannot be contained by words...I know this.

    You know, I thought a c-section was the worse that could happen to me, I thought I had it all worked out.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.