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How do you cope following a termination for abnormalities?

(78 Posts)
majormoo Tue 23-Aug-05 13:29:42

Last week I went for my 12 week scan, and we were told the baby, which we later learned was a girl, had severe abnormalities (trisomy 13) and was incompatible with life. I had a termination on friday.

Life has obviously been horrendous since then.The first couple of days were shocking, terrifying and we just kept collapsing into tears. The weekend was very sad and exhausting. The last couple of days have been a bit easier, but it so hard to accept what has happened. I wondered if anyone had any advice on how to accept something like this? Our friends are disappeared off the face of the earth, other than my oldest friend, no one has called me since we told them. We do have great family support though and a lovely 2 year old daughter.

We have been told it is just very bad luck and is very unlikely to recur, but I will be terrified if I ever decide to try again. Physically the hospital said, just wait for 1 period and then, if we want, we can try again. God knows if this will be too soon.

A counsellor from Kings College Hospital will call us in a couple of weeks, as in Brighton, where we live, there is a 2 month waiting list for counselling.

milward Wed 24-Aug-05 13:21:50

Thinking of you majormoo during this difficult time xxx

majormoo Wed 24-Aug-05 13:30:12

well it was only confirming something I had signed when I went in to hospital, but it just hit me when I saw it in writing again.

We have agreed for the hospital to dispose of the baby's remains for us. We did have the choice to have a funeral or something ourselves if we chose, but have decided against it. We went down to the sea over the weekend and threw a rose into the water and had a good cry, so in a way we have had our little ceremony already.

I am also going to go down to church and light a candle for the baby. Our local priest is lovely though not sure what a catholic priest would say about a termination.

We are going to Venice for a couple of nights next week for our wedding anniversary (which I hope will still be OK) and we'll go into a church there as well to light a candle and think of our baby.

The bereavement office will call us in a few weeks before they do anything, as it says on the letter that some people do change their minds when they have had some time to think about everything.

edgetop Thu 25-Aug-05 14:23:38

hi majormoo how are you and dh feeling today? thinking of you both

majormoo Thu 25-Aug-05 22:51:11

Thanks for asking. Emotionally we have been doing OK today. Contacted ARC (the charity someone else mentioned who have changed their name from SATFA) and they have been a great support. Also a friend from my antenatal classes (with DD) suggested meeting tomorrow and a friend called from Oz, so feel like people are there for us after all.

Unfortunately did have lots of sudden bleeding so had to go back to hospital. It has calmed down now and they said it is an infection, which will clear up with antibiotics. BIL was babysitting this evening so we could have a night out together-didn't plan to have it at the Royal Sussex Hospital but at least it was a cheap night out!!!

aloha Thu 25-Aug-05 23:20:45

Majormoo - that's so sad. I have no experience but feel for you. So sorry your unborn daughter was so ill. You have been very brave.
I hope the pain will fade with time.
Blu, anyone would be proud to have your ds as their own.

Littlestarsweeper Thu 25-Aug-05 23:27:16

majormoo. I havent been through such a horrific experience but am tearful. I can only comment on the friends disappearing, as with any loss or great illness most folk simply dont have the words to say how they feel.

They are not sure if you want to talk about it or be as if nothing has happened. I can guarantee they are all deeply worried about how to approach you and your predicament.
Would be easier if you could approach a closer friend and tell them how you feel and what you would of wouldnt like to discuss, this may get the ball rolling. Much love xxx

milward Thu 25-Aug-05 23:27:18

Be kind to yourself majormoo xxx

WestCountryLass Fri 26-Aug-05 22:25:45

Somebody posted SATFAs details earlier in thi thread, they are now called ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) and they do offer a befriending service from parents who have been there:

(((gentle hugs)))

babylily Mon 05-Sep-05 20:33:25

I'm a couple of weeks further down the line than you, majormoo.
I was induced and delivered my little boy on august 11th at 14 wks.

I nearly made a whole day without crying yesterday and I can honestly say that sometimes I feel almost 'me' again.
We are going to the hospital organised funeral at the end of this month, and we have given him a name, planted a tree and put a memory box together. (we are basically trying everything that is recommended to help).
I've kept telling myself that the worst is behind me now. Getting pregnant again is all I want to do now, but with the knowledge that I will have to have CVS and its m/c risks at 11 weeks it won't be a particularly happy time.
My mantra at the moment is that this will make me stronger. Our 2 yr old daughter has kept us going too.
here's hoping that we have happier times in the future.

majormoo Mon 05-Sep-05 22:33:31

I've had quite a 'good' day today. First day back at my DD's music group and meeting up with lots of mums and babies. I was really nervous but actually it was OK. I have basically ended up telling everyone what happened which I think made it easier.

I know what you mean about dreading CVS and miscarriage if I am lucky enough to get pregnant again. I was a terrible worrier before this happened to us; I will be unbearable from now on.

Anyway as you say BabyLily, here's to happier times ahead.

Blu Mon 05-Sep-05 22:43:20

M'moo - I had been wondering how you were. I'm glad you were able to tell your group, and that it felt ok to do so.

About the future - what I meant to say at the end of my first post, but didn't quite complete the sentence, was try not to feel that it was anything about 'you' that might be repeated, you weren't responsible in any way - the most horrible accidents of nature are generally random, unless there is anything the hospital have told you that suggests otherwise.

Has the counsellor from King's called you?

hester Mon 05-Sep-05 22:51:42

Hi Majormoo, just to say how terribly sorry I am that you are going through this. I haven't had to go through the same thing myself, though I have friends who had, and I have been offered termination for my current pregnancy (minor abnormality).

Your bereavement is terrible and I'm sad that your friends are backing off - though not surprised, because that is what people do when they don't know how to help. I really feel for you, and hope you find some comfort soon.


majormoo Thu 08-Sep-05 17:53:46

thanks for asking how we're doing.

We've had the results of the CVS and been told it was totally random but despite this it is hard not to worry it will happen again.

The various mums I met through having my DD have been fantastic actually. Some of them have been through bereavement themselves so I think they understand a bit more what we're going though. Have talked to my oldest/closest friends about their inability to pick up the phone, and apparently they were calling each other discussing whether they should speak to me or not! I'm glad I've talked about it with them now but although I have explained I need to talk about it, they just keep changing the subject when I try to bring it up. Oh well-I am not so bothered by that now that I have found other people I can talk to.

No the counsellor from King's did not call and I haven't got the energy to chase it up. I went to see a private counsellor this morning, who seems really nice, so think I will stick with that for now. I do feel a bit let down that there is absolutely no follow up on the NHS either physically or emotionally, but I suppose resources are tight. We were in such shock when it happened, it would be good to have a follow up just to run through everything.

Blu Thu 08-Sep-05 18:00:43

yes, it must be very hard to feel 'abandoned' like that.

What are the things that you want to spill out? that you want your friends to hear?

Maybe there will be the 'right moment' when you DO feel you want to chase King's - maybe not. But I'm glad the private counsellor seems as if you may be able to get a little help - were you and DH able to go together?

Still thinking of you.

dottee Thu 08-Sep-05 18:00:47

Majormoo - have not read the thread through but just to say you will probably never get over it.

I terminated my much wanted little boy in 1990 because he had anencephaly. I've had two children since but I'll never the forget the experience and the sadness.

My best wishes to you and your family. CAT me if you wish.

majormoo Thu 08-Sep-05 18:15:04

I think I just need to talk about it a lot as my way of coming to terms with it- whether that is worrying about the future or feeling sad about the baby we've lost. It is just hard when, for example, I tried to bring it up with one friend who said ' well I hope you are feeling better about all that now' and walked off!!! It's ok really though as I've realised I can't expect everyone to just react how I want them to. We all have different ways of dealing with things. At the moment I have plenty of support, from plenty of people so it is fine.

DH can get free counselling through work, so I think he will use that if he feels the need (though he isn't so sure at the moment.) We will be skint if we both pay for private counselling!! Have a week's holiday in France next week, so hopefully we will have a good break.

bundle Thu 08-Sep-05 18:23:53

majormoo, I missed this because I was away. I have a friend who had Patau's syndrome baby terminated around halfway through her pregnancy and has found it very difficult to come to terms with. I think she wishes she'd had some counselling when it happened, rather than now (years later) so do persist in chasing up anyone who can offer you help. I hope your holiday is the lovely break you deserve, x

inglis Tue 20-Sep-05 15:05:04

Just seen this thread. Just over three years ago I terminated a pregnancy due to multiple structural abnormalities at 12 weeks. We were told the babe had Edwards Syndrome. Previously i had suffered a miscarriage. Like you I had one child. It was horrible - but I think that a part of me was grateful that it had been picked up at an early stage. I had friends who - I felt - had suffered worse - one had given birth to a stillborn child, another had lost her baby at around six months into her pregnancy.

I feared for my next pregnancy - and, of course, could only really relax once we had passed the 12 week mark. That pregnancy was fine.

However my last pregnancy was beset with problems again - an increased nuchal fold and an increased risk of Edwards. The only difference this time was there were no abnormalities to be seen - the babe looked perfect. And he is perfect - three months old and very bonny, despite having a horrible cold at present.

In my experience pregnancy hasn't always been that easy. But I have my beautiful family now - as you will. Keep in touch and big hugXXX

sansouci Tue 20-Sep-05 15:10:05

majormoo, just read your post but not entire thread. i totally support your decision but can all too easily understand how devastated you must be. i had an amnio with each pg, being over 35, and i often wondered what i would "do" if i had had to terminate. so sorry for your loss.

majormoo Tue 20-Sep-05 22:46:16

well got through first day back at work. Not too bad, though I know my boss was annoyed I took a week and a half off as sick leave after the termination. Luckily had already booked nearly three weeks off before this happened so did get a month's break. She's also asked me to cancel a hospital appointment as it falls next Thursday when I should be at work (I only work Tues-Thurs.)I think this is a bit unfair so am determined to still go.

Am going to see Therapist at Kings anyway in October. Bit nervous about it, but hopefully it will help.

sansouci Wed 21-Sep-05 10:07:22

Does your boss know what happened? If not, you could tell her that you've "lost" a pregnancy. Which you have. And you need time to grieve. If she does know, she's a frightful insensitive cow -- shame on her!

WestCountryLass Wed 21-Sep-05 15:38:31

it is shocking to realise that their are some people in this world who are completely unsympathetic to baby loss. When I lost my first my boss was like that so you have my sympathies

Did you get in touch with ARC? Even if you haven't contacted them yet you can always get in touch with them and they will be a tower of strength, they offer a befriending service so you can speak with someone who has 'been there'.

majormoo Wed 21-Sep-05 18:24:44

Yes my boss does know the whole story. She doesn't mean to be insensitive- she can't help it! Plus I am trying to be my usual self at work so I suppose she thinks I am over it now. Other people at work have been really supportive, and they all know what she is like anyway.

I have contacted ARC who have been great. I haven't called their local contact yet. By odd coincidence my friend's sister, who lives nearby, went through exactly the same experience a few years ago, (scan at King's, termination at Brighton, Trisomy 13) so I spoke to her which helped. She's just had a healthy little girl. I've been feeling really negative today that I will never have another child, so when I think of how other people have managed to have kids after this it helps a little.

Also, while I was at work today and DH was working from home, a woman rang who I only vaguely know from the NCT (I used to help out with the local branch) who said she had heard what had happened. She wanted to call as it happened to her 6 years ago so she wanted to offer support. She spoke to DH for about 20 mins which he really appreciated. It is nice to know people you don't know are there for you (including mumsnet!)

bundle Wed 21-Sep-05 18:35:55

majormoo, i'm glad you're getting some more support. i had a high risk of edwards during my last pg and would definitely have opted for a termination if it had been so. sending you lots of positive vibes and best wishes, xx

amyxxx Thu 22-Sep-05 11:10:45

i don't have any personal experience here, but when i was pregnant with my son a friend of mine was also pregnant. we were the same gestation maybe a week difference. anyway everything was fine untill it came up to our 20 week scans. i had mine and everything was fine, my friend then had hers and they discovered that her baby was completly brain damaged. if she went through with the pregnancy the child would have no life. by the time she made her mind up to have a termination she was 27 weeks.
she then returned to work several weeks later, but as soon as she saw me she couldn't cope with everyone asking when my baby is due etc
i then went on my maternity leave but we didn't speak too much . i told her when i had given birth but it was hard for her as she should have had a little boy as well.
we then lost contact for a while, a year later i hear she has had another baby boy. she said that was the only way she could deal with it.
i think anyone who has to go through this is very brave.
good luck!!!!

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