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Stillbirth at 37w, looking for some hopeful stories

(59 Posts)
Bisquick Tue 07-Feb-17 17:12:22

This is my first time starting a thread, so apologies in advance if it should be on a different section of the site.

We lost our baby at 37 weeks just over a week ago. I am so heartbroken, and don't think we can ever replace our beautiful baby boy, but this would have been our first child and I'm aching for a child in a way I am struggling to explain. I wrote about what happened in detail in this thread. It is probably triggering, but essentially had a mostly peaceful happy pregnancy, and then suddenly went into labour at 37 weeks, and they couldn't find a heartbeat.

I don't think there was anything the hospital or we could have done differently, but I still feel so scared and stressed out at the prospect of going back to the NHS. During the night while labouring I was in tremendous pain (clearly I thought I'd be able to handle labour pain, and I couldn't), but was scared to go in because I thought we'd get turned back. As we had the previous night when we went in after the waters broke and I was 1 cm dilated. Looking back, I was in some serious pain then but perhaps because I'm the sort of person who tries hard not to make a scene they didn't realise how much pain I was in? Anyway, I don't think any of this would have helped my perfect little angel; he was in the 6th centile of weight when he finally came out, and we'd had indications that growth might be an issue given my low PAPP-A etc (although we had repeated growth scans and he just cleared the threshold for worry on each IYSWIM).

Sorry for rambling and thank you if you got this far.
If you've had or know someone who's had a similar experience and gone on to have other successful pregnancies I'd love to hear your stories. I'm very keen to try again as soon as I physically can and would love some hopeful advice.

Physically I had a "normal" vaginal delivery without an epidural and have a few 2nd degree tears that are healing fine. I was overweight the last time we got pregnant, so now keen to also bring my weight and BMI to within the healthy range before we try. And want to hear back from the postmortem to see if there is anything else that we could do for next time.

Also, affording private care will be a massive stretch. But I'm also feeling so irrationally emotional about dealing with midwives and feeling like an anonymous blob on the NHS. I've heard you'd get moved onto consultant-care after something like this and that is a very different experience. If anyone can talk about that it would be helpful as well.

And thanks again for reading this far. Even just getting all my fears and thoughts out onto a screen feels slightly cathartic.

moonoverthewater Tue 07-Feb-17 17:20:48

I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. Hopefully there will be people along with some more information that can help x

tribpot Tue 07-Feb-17 17:24:04

I'm so sorry for your loss.

One thing you might try is a doula. I wonder if there are maybe doulas who specialise in women who have been in your particular situation and the inevitable fears it will bring you.

Kittymum03 Tue 07-Feb-17 17:30:09

Hi OP. I'm so sorry flowers
I think your amazing being able to write coherently right now, I can't imagine how I would feel if it were me, I don't have experience of anything in your post apart from the constant led care part which I thought I would share.
I was consultant led care for my 3rd baby after Emergency C.Section then an Ectopic with tube removal. I ended up seing 3 different Consultant's, as the first One went on Maternity leave, the Second one was because my new one was off sick, then there was our Third one.. Please don't let that fill you will worry though, although it wasn't the same person all the way through, they were all lovely and all took the time to talk to us (without just reading the notes and 'knowing' everything. They actually bothered to ask, and let us say what we needed to say, which I thought was lovely and just what I wanted)

Good luck and love sent to you.

Afreshstartplease Tue 07-Feb-17 17:32:46

I have a friend who went through similar. She has just had another baby on nhs at same hospital. She was very well looked after this time and the mws did lots to reassure her. She had extra scans and was able to be induced early or have a cs before due date (her choice)

MrsHathaway Tue 07-Feb-17 17:46:09

I'm so sorry for your devastating loss. It must be very raw. Do give yourself time to be angry and sad and confused and everything else, and don't let anyone ever tell you when that should be finished.

Whereabouts do you live? I had very caring and tailored care from One2One Midwives which was covered by the NHS. I'm not sure how One2One works for a consultant-led pregnancy but I've had one of those too and most of my appointments were with midwives so I would imagine it would be compatible even if you do have additional consultant appointments.

A friend of mine lost a baby daughter in late 2015 unexpectedly without even the earlier difficulties you had. She now has a bouncing baby girl who is just beautiful.

Bisquick Tue 07-Feb-17 19:59:47

Thank you all.

tribpot we did have a doula for this birth as well actually, and she was very kind and supportive. We will probably ask her to be our doula again hopefully if it all works out - just feel very comfortable with her. But it is an idea to consider other doulas who might have specific experience supporting families that have been through a loss.

MrsHathaway thank you for sharing. I live in London so not sure what private midwifery services are available. I know this isn't a very rational thought but right now I feel like I want to just keep insisting on being seen by doctors. From what I gathered that is anyway the policy at my trust for such situations (ie to be consultant led throughout).

I keep telling myself to take a deep breath, give myself time to heal, wait for the PM results, and then take it from there. But sitting at home twiddling my thumbs right now it's hard not to keep thinking about the future and trying to make plans as a way to feel in control.

There is something honestly grotesque about trying to recover from a delivery without a baby. I feel sad even putting on bio oil or looking after myself in any way (although I have my DH and DM here to watch over me to ensure I do).

MrsHathaway Tue 07-Feb-17 20:22:19

When I had a consultant led pregnancy (DC1) I had cons appts at iirc 16, 20, 28 and 32 w, as well as the routine mw appts that everyone has for urine dip, fundal height, blood pressure, doppler etc. Objectively it doesn't matter who does those but I'd be surprised if a Trust would fund a consultant to do that every time. The One2One model is for your named mw to visit you at home for all those appointments. It means she becomes very familiar with you and your body and your baby and things like your discomfort compared to you rather than to the average.

I think having a single person caring for you would be a very good idea so if you have a trusted doula then that might be your first port of call but a fully qualified midwife might be better at spotting potential problems sooner.

juniorcakeoff Tue 07-Feb-17 20:31:27

Bisquick my heart goes out to you.If it helps I went back to same hospital, was pregnant before PM feedback came back. As it was same hospital they 'knew' me, didn't have to constantly repeat my story. Had scans every 4 weeks - all on NHS. All my doc appointments were with named consultant, he did all my scans, all midwife appointments with same specialist midwife. This was all set up by bereavement midwife. Hoping they have similar at your hosp.

PS It sounds like you had poor growth followed by some sort of placenta problem, is that right? If so make sure they are doing tests for Hughes syndrome.

Bisquick Wed 08-Feb-17 04:33:36

Yes that's what I meant MrsHathaway - a consultant for all the main appts, and midwife for the rest.
I think what primarily scares me is feeling lost in the system. During our previous pregnancy they'd missed some blood tests and I kept feeling like every time we met someone they had to read our file from scratch and barely knew anything about us. Feels scary to have to encounter that again.

But we do have a bereavement midwife and hopefully after the PM she will be able to tell us how we'll manage care next time if it works out.

junior - we kept having growth scans and all appeared normal and even at 36 weeks they said cord and placenta were all functioning normally. Still have no idea what actually happened. But I will look into Hughes syndrome as well.

Hoping you subsequently had a successful pregnancy? How did you manage the anxiety if you don't mind me asking? I feel like I'd be paranoid throughout.

juniorcakeoff Wed 08-Feb-17 09:22:56

Hi I have subsequently had successful pregnancies, the one after loss was of course the worse. In hindsight I got pregnant too soon and at the start was convinced most days that the baby would die, found it difficult to carry out day to day activities. However I had weekly counselling (again on NHS) which really helped, as well as midwife giving me open access, so any concerns at all I rang her directly and she would book me in for monitoring/scan no problem at all. Once you know that your anxieties will be treated seriously, you become less anxious overall.

In addition the first 4 scans gave me awful 'flashbacks' to the scan after the baby had died, I had to take earphones and ipod in so I couldn't hear them talking! Local SANDS group might be able to offer more support/advice.

Bisquick Wed 08-Feb-17 10:00:31

That is so lovely to hear junior.

Until this happened to us we (like so many others) had no idea how common it is. so hearing positive stories like yours is giving me some glimmers of hope.

Melworldwide Thu 09-Feb-17 13:14:53

I just want to send out a huge hug Bisquick - I am so so saddened by your story, and can't imagine what you are going through. I really hope you have the support you need. Sending love. xx

savagehk Thu 09-Feb-17 13:31:07

So sorry for your loss x

I can only imagine if you did go on the NHS again you'd be perfectly entitled to either an elective c-section or not to be turned away by the hospital if you decided to deliver vaginally no matter how dilated you were.

I can understand how you'd like to get pregnant again asap, but please check the risks and discuss with midwives/consultants what they recommend as a minimum timescale - as far as your body is concerned you've just had a baby so it will take some time for everything to return to 'normal'.

ThePopAndCry Fri 10-Feb-17 21:13:41

Bisquick - So sorry for your loss flowers. I was active on here a couple of years ago after I lost my dd at 20 weeks (a missed miscarriage) after 3 earlier losses. It was, without a doubt, the grimmest period of my life but the support I found on here was invaluable. I can only imagine a smidge of what you're going through or feeling at the moment; I do hope you have a lot of support and kindness around you.

I totally get your urge to be pregnant again but do give yourself time. Next time, you will get looked after very well but it will, inevitably, be more difficult than if you hadn't had your experience of loss. Make sure you're ready and feeing strong enough to deal with that.

Also, time will give you and your consultant a chance to find out, maybe, what happened and what can be done next time. I am interested in the fact that you had a low Papp-A level. I had this in my pregnancy with dd. The hospital said it wasn't an issue but I can't help feeling that it was. I did a huge amount of research and got tested in 3 different hospitals for various things. In my subsequent (successful) pregnancy with ds2, I also had low Papp-a but had been taking low dose aspirin prior to getting pregnant and then was on daily progesterone and tinzaparin (for suspected APS) from 4 weeks. I don't know/will never know if this actually helped but it made me feel I was doing everything I possibly could.

Take care. x

Bisquick Sat 11-Feb-17 18:15:42

Thank you all. It's actually really helpful to be able to just talk here.

Most of our lovely friends are young and yet to have children (early 30s or late 20s) and so while they mean well they don't seem to know how to respond to our loss. We've been pushing ourselves to go out and meet a few people now and everyone tries to just talk about other things and pretend like all is normal. And I know they mean well, but it feels hard that no one acknowledges our son.

My boss came over yesterday and was the first person to ask what we'd named him. It just drove home how much I yearn for him to be acknowledged in some way I suppose. But I also know this is a private sorrow for my DH and me to deal with so don't want to thrust it on others.

I know what you mean about not hurrying things along. I want to first wait for the PM and consultant appointment to see if there is anything we can learn from this tragedy to protect any of his future brothers or sisters (in a way I feel like that is his way of protecting them too).

And I need to heal physically which will take a few weeks at least. And finally I was overweight before getting pregnant last time and I'd like to bring my weight down a fair bit before trying again. Definitely something to bring up with the consultant but all the NHS websites and other online materials keep talking about maternal obesity as a risk factor for stillbirths and I'd like to do whatever I can to lower the risk.

ThePop its lovely to hear about your successful pregnancy despite low Papp-a. I was taking baby aspirin from 20 weeks but perhaps that was a bit late? Also to PP who asked - I haven't had any info from hospital yet so don't know if there were any placental problems. On scans (at 28/32/36 weeks) placenta was said to be working fine. And baby was on 10th centile. Just that when he came out eventually he was on 6th centile for 37 weeks which I am assuming is very small.

Sigh.

MrsHathaway Sat 11-Feb-17 19:05:42

6th centile is small, yes, but statistically not that far away from the norm - in any case it's a description not a sentence.

My boss came over yesterday and was the first person to ask what we'd named him.

I am so glad you have sensitive people around you. Were you in a position to take any photos? You have as much right to display photos of your son as I do mine. Do tell us his name if you'd like to.

It's normal to plan at least six to nine months to recover physically from a term pregnancy ("nine months on, nine months off") and maternity laws recognise that. I understand why things feel very urgent but I think you're still less than a fortnight in and that's really very, very early.

Very best wishes.

FacelikeaBagofHammers Sat 11-Feb-17 19:08:31

Just wanted to say I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy.

verybookish Sat 11-Feb-17 19:18:05

I just wanted to say that I am so sorry for what happened to your little boy. Something similar happened to friends of ours. It was a really hard time for them. They fell pregnant after about 9 months and although the pregnancy was a bit stressful they had wonderful care and a good birth and now have a beautiful daughter.

Gingerbreadmam Sat 11-Feb-17 19:29:06

bisquick i lost my son in 2015 at 27 weeks. its the worst pain i have ever experienced. im so very sorry for your loss.

have you heard of sands? i attend a sands group and the support there is amazing. i wish i had joined when it first happened.

there was no cause for my sons death, also my first baby. he did have a rare disability but doesnt usually cause death.

i didnt want to try again straight away. everyones different but i knew id have struggled. we decided to try after christmas but came off my pill end of october to let things get back to normal and am 9+1 today.

the care i have had so far from the nhs is amazing. my mw has said they will basically do anything to get me through this. i will have regular scans and as someone said up thread deliver 2 weeks before edd.

i would highly recommend going back to nhs. even if you went private its likely you would see people from the nhs just pay for the privilege.

thoughts are with you.

Bisquick Sat 11-Feb-17 19:49:04

Yes MrsHathaway we did get to spend time with him and got to take some pictures and cuddle him, all of which was so treasured, and even more valuable days later when it's all we have of him.

And thanks to everyone sharing their NHS experiences - I would much rather like to stay with the NHS - we did get very good care from the doctor's on the day.

I see that everyone is advising us to take a bit of time before we try again - will wait for our consultant appointment and then see how I feel in 6-8 weeks time before making a decision. As you say MrsH right now it feels urgent, but I also want to get to a healthy place and let my body heal, and give us some time to process our emotions too.

Gingerbreadmam Sat 11-Feb-17 19:56:47

someone in my sands group conceived very quickly after she lost her first. she said it healed her. everyone really is different. i wouldnt have coped.

Bisquick Sun 12-Feb-17 20:32:32

Just venting on here because I feel like it helps. I've had a very wobbly day today, with several bouts of weeping. We've seen a number of different groups of friends in the last few days and I've been feeling v hurt that none of them acknowledge what we've been through. I understand where they are coming from - it's hard to know what to say and they probably feel like its best to just pretend like everything is ack to normal. And they really do mean well. But it hurts nonetheless.

One of my dear friends was due a week before me and has a lovely baby now. I'm genuinely happy for them. But going to see the baby today was hard. I kept it together all evening but couldn't stop weeping on the way home, and I feel petty for feeling jealous. Jealous of her lovely child, the champagne and celebrations, how she seems to have lost all the post baby weight just from breastfeeding while I still look like a beached whale and all I want is to lose weight so I can try again. V ugly side of myself that I'll only confess to online and to my DH. I know how badly my friends wanted kids and I'm happy for them. It's just hard to reconcile my personal sorrow with feeling happy for them iyswim.

HyacinthsBucket Sun 12-Feb-17 20:42:55

My 2nd baby was stillborn at 26 weeks - he just stopped moving, and the post mortem showed nothing abnormal. He was very long, but normal weight for gestation. I don't need to tell you the pain - it was like a punch in the stomach with every breath and no one understood. It sounds awful because it was well intentioned but I actually got sent get well soon cards. Over the years I've thought long and hard over it, and know deep down that there was something wrong with him and it was natures way, albeit cruel. I went on to have 2 very normal but stressful pregnancies and the care I got from the NHS was outstanding. They put a SANDS sticker on the front of my notes to indicate a baby loss, and I was given lots of scans, appointments and reassurance. It wasn't easy, there were times I was utterly terrified and convinced that the baby had died too but we got there. What I thought was lovely was that after our next baby had been born afterwards, so many midwives came in to say congratulations and well done - it was so touching, and made me realise that stillbirths really do touch them. DHs best friends wife gave birth a few weeks after our baby was stillborn and i just couldn't be around them. It's pretty normal to feel like it. Don't bottle how your feeling up, it's good to talk about it and your baby will always be part of your family. I have a photo of my son on my bedside table, he's my first sight in the morning and last sight at night. That comforts me hugely. Don't lose hope.

Gingerbreadmam Mon 13-Feb-17 07:45:02

bisquick you do sound like you're puttinf a lot of pressure on yourself to do normal things. Seeing friends, meeting a newborn. are you feeling upto this?

maybe your friends think they are taking your lead? sorry you shouldnt have to worry about that but i guess im saying dont do things you feel like you should or have to. you have been through the worst thing ever. if you want life to stop for a while. if you want time to take it all in. that's fine too.

i was like you, i was out with my nieces a couple of days after i gave birth, no1 would have had any idea the pain i was going through. i always talked about lucas though. he's my baby. he will always be my baby.

are you having a funeral service and have you thought about who you are inviting? that might make it more real for other people.

i'm sorry yesterday was a particularly tough day. it's all part of the ride. i remember being at my dms a few days after lucas was born. i cried pretty much non stop. anything would set me off. it did me good though.

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