‘What shocked my husband most was the realisation that I would have to experience labour and the delivery of a baby that was dead…’
Last year my husband and I made the single most distressing decision of our marriage. With medical support and advice we decided to have a medical termination. We had been for a routine 20 week scan. As I had already been for one at twelve weeks I thought it was just a formality but the sonographer saw a cyst like mass and said we were going to have to see the consultant. Two days later sitting with the consultant and his team it was the worst possible news. The scan had shown that our baby, Adam, had multiple tumours and other complications that could not be treated. In reaching the decision the consultant told us it would be the greatest act of kindness and in shock we agreed. We were ushered past lots of pregnant women in the waiting room to a small office with cups of teas and apologies for the lack of space and time to come to terms with what would happen next. It all happened so quickly after signing papers and being shown the SPRING suite I was given some medication and told to come back two days later.
What shocked my husband most was the realisation that I would have to experience labour and the delivery of a baby that was dead. On the morning I was so scared and frightened, the longest day of my life. But even high on morphine when I saw him, held him and touched him it was obvious he was a very poorly baby. When I got home it felt very strange as though I had got off the walk of life and everything else was carrying on as normal. We both handled grief in very different, and at times, difficult ways. Initially I was in a state of confusion. Had we done the right thing? Would I be judged and lose friends? Thousands of questions went round my head and the guilt, emptiness and longing continued. There were times when I didn’t want to carry on with life. I felt crushed, alone with my fears and there were, and still are many, many tears.
I had a relationship with Adam that no one else had been privileged to have and against all my religious beliefs I had chosen the time he died. I wanted answers as to why this happened to us? Why now? If there were an explanation would I come to terms with the situation differently? I never considered myself a deeply religious person, but when it really mattered I felt at odds with some of the doctrines of my Church. I still have faith and the God I believe in would not have wanted Adam to suffer.
I’m sorry that we were put in the position to have to make such a heart wrenching decision, but I still feel we made the right choice. As we approach Adam’s anniversary I still don’t have the answers, but I know things now that I would never have before, and I take some comfort in believing that this is what Adam came to show me. Throughout the year my family, friends and professionals have been amazingly supportive. To my surprise no one judged me and I didn’t lose friends. It has made me appreciate each day as a gift that’s why we call it the present. Through the greatest loss I discovered that you could grasp the fullness of life with both hands or watch it trickle through your fingers like grains of sand. Each day presents its own challenges and we all have a choice in how we deal with them one step at a time.