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Losing Andrew

by Jennifer McLeod

Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001

I have been very touched by reading the stories on this page, and gained a lot from them. I am now ready to share my own story, in the hope that it will help somebody else deal with the tragic loss of a baby.

I found out I was pregnant in November 1999. My husband and I were thrilled, and waited the requisite 3 months before letting anybody know. I had terrible morning sickness, but otherwise, was progressing normally, and was eagerly anticipating a new baby around mid July of 2000.
Valentines day I work up and felt slightly nauseated, but went to work anyway. I figured that since I was in 2nd trimester, nearly halfway through that very little could possible go wrong. After work, I still felt like something "wasn't right". I called my husband and told him that I was going to the after hours clinic just to ease my mind. At the clinic, they reassured me that the heaviness I was feeling was normal, and that it was just first time pregnancy jitters. Relieved I went home, ate dinner and planned to retire for the evening, but when I went to the bathroom, I quickly dilated, and my bag of waters began to bulge.
We called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital, where my water broke that evening. The worst part of the experience was a very callous and unfeeling doctor on call who stated matter of factly that I would lose this baby, and next time they would be able to do something for me. I did not want to think about next time - I was in shock and still could not quite grasp that I was losing this baby. They expected I would go into active labour within 48 hours, and when I didn't they took an ultrasound. It revealed a perfectly healthy baby, but with no amniotic fluid. For two weeks I lay in hospital hoping for some sort of miracle. It finally got to the point where I became so infected, and the antibiotics they had been giving me were of no effect, the infection was spreading to the baby, and was beginning to threaten my life as well.
Sadly we were forced to induce labour, and our son Andrew was born February 27, 2000. His heart stopped beating just a few minutes after delivery - he was perfectly formed, except for his lungs. We were able to hold him, and name him, and the hospital took pictures, footprints, and gave us many mementos to remember him by. The doctor who delivered him said nothing, but the nurses were fantastic. They had a grief counsellor in the delivery room, and she insured that our son was baptized and that she was available over the next few months to help me cope with this loss.
The next few months were so difficult. I struggled to understand why this had happened. The clinical name is incompetent cervix. I immediately turned to finding out more about this condition, and found this wonderful web-site by accident. I read the first person stories, and wept for all those who like me had lost the most precious of gifts - that of a new baby.
It has been just over a year now, and I often think of our little boy, and wonder what our lives would have been like if this hadn't happened. Luckily for me I have a wonderfully supportive husband who in his own time of grieving made sure that my needs were looked after. I thank God for him everyday, because I would not have been able to cope were it not for his strength and love.
We are thrilled to be expecting again. This time I had a cervical cerclage put in to prevent early dilation, and had it removed at 37 weeks. I am currently going on 39 weeks, and looking forward to a healthy baby sometime next week. We don't know if this one is a boy or a girl, just that it kicks an awful lot, and I'm not complaining one single bit! I know our little Andrew is safe in heaven, & I'll see him again someday.
To all those women who have lost children -- it seems like the world has caved in, but the sun does shine again. There is hope.
Blessings to all
Jennifer - Andrew's mum.

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