27th July 2021 we got the most wonderful news that we were expecting our first baby.
Ian came home from work and I told him straight away the good news. He was so incredibly happy, we were both over the moon. We immediately started planning our future with a new baby.
My pregnancy was not easy from early on, week 6 I had a check up scan as I had bleeding which showed a subchorionic hematoma. Baby was measuring well but we couldn’t help but worry, the fear I felt was overwhelming.
7 weeks we had another check up which showed the hematoma had decreased in size which was reassuring.
Week 16 I went to ED with bleeding again, I held my breath waiting for the sound of the heartbeat and the nurses reaction while we waited. It was such a relief to hear a strong heartbeat.
Week 18 we had our morphology scan earlier due to the bleeding, we were told baby is measuring well and everything looked good.
With good results from our scan we felt safe enough to have our gender reveal at 20 weeks and were so happy to find out we were expecting a baby girl.
25th of November was the day our whole world turned upside down, I had a check up with my Obstetrician at 22 weeks and we got the devastating news that my waters had ruptured also known as PPROM – preterm premature rupture of membranes, I was sent to the hospital straight away.
Our hearts broke as we sat there listening to the doctors explain what PPROM was and what this meant for our baby. As I was 22 weeks they told us the chances of our baby surviving was slim and I could go into labour at any time. Tears streamed down my face and Ian held me tight as they told us our baby wasn’t viable at 22 weeks and it was wishful waiting until 24 weeks. I was sent home with antibiotics and strict bed rest.
23 weeks I was transferred from Redlands to Mater Mothers as they thought I was going into early labour. Two shots of steroids to help baby’s lungs and round the clock monitoring in hospital.
I was on bed rest for 4 weeks until 26 weeks when I started getting contractions, the nurses managed to stop my contractions that night and more monitoring in hospital over the next few days.
26 weeks 3 days our baby girl was ready to meet us on Boxing Day morning.
My birth was not how I envisioned and our baby Olivia was taken away straight away, I had no chest to chest with my baby and I didn’t hear her cry for the first time. It felt so unnatural and heartbreaking
We sat there not knowing if she was okay for what seemed like hours, I asked them if she was alright and the room was silent. Due to covid restrictions at the time Ian had to leave me as we left birthing suite. I cried as they wheeled me into the NICU as I met our beautiful daughter for the first time, she held my finger tight and I felt an instant feeling of love straight away, this tiny little baby surrounded by nurses and hooked up to life saving machines. To say we were overwhelmed was an understatement as we tried to navigate this new journey we were on.
The NICU journey was a whole new world to us, which we knew nothing about. We learnt everything we possibly could about the medications and machines that was helping Olivia.
It was such a scary place with all the machines beeping and every day being scared of what we might hear from the doctors. We read books to her every day and we had cuddles with her every chance that we could. Every three hours I was expressing breast milk to give my baby the best fighting chance of survival. Every day we would go up to the NICU and sit in on the doctors and nurses rounds to hear how she was doing.
There was days she was doing so well and we had so much hope that she would okay. Then there was days she wasn’t doing well and needed more assistance. Olivia had x-rays and tests after tests. We are so grateful to the Doctors and Nurses who helped and cared for Olivia 24/7. Olivia spent five weeks fighting in the NICU, until we had a dreaded phone call to come up to the NICU and have a meeting with the doctor. Our hearts sank, we weren’t prepared for the news.
The Doctors told us Olivia wasn’t doing well, her little lungs couldn’t keep up with her body and there was nothing more they could do. I felt like my soul had left my body, I was sitting in that room physically but I wasn’t there. It was an out of body experience and I didn’t want to believe the words coming out of the doctors mouth. How could this be happening? We had plans for our future with Olivia in it ..
Our families came in and we all spent time with Olivia, showing her all the love we have for her.
The last hours with her was beautiful but so so damn hard.
Leaving the hospital without our baby was the worst feeling I have ever felt, being surrounded by other parents with their newborns was overwhelming. That should be us leaving with our baby, this was a pain I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
We all walked out of the hospital in silence not wanting to believe what we just went through.
Our baby was no longer with us earth side, but I find peace knowing she is with me always.
She is at the forefront of my thoughts every second of the day.
I reflect back on the journey so far of navigating life after baby loss and think back to the early days in my grief when I didn’t know how I could get through another day without her, the days I was on auto pilot. I have come to realise that the pain and heartache will never go away.
It is something that will always be with me for the rest of my life. It has/will become integrated into my life. Some days it is light and other days it is heavy.. really damn heavy, that is the uncertainty with grief, you never know what each day will bring.
Our family and friends have been there for us every step of the way, showing us unconditional love and support. Online support from other loss mums has helped immensely and sharing our stories is important.
I don’t share our story for sympathy, I want to break the stigma around baby loss and grief.
I want Olivia to be remembered. I want PPROM to be spoken about and hope that more research is done to seek a better understanding of the causes and prevention of this condition. I share in hope that our story might help someone else find that glimmer of hope in the heartache.
Our darling Olivia, we promise you we will continue being strong just like you and we promise to make you proud. You were and always will be the light and love of my life.
Love Mummy & Daddy
To follow our journey on Instagram – @karinahamlyn_
Karina, Olivia's Mama