Our Daughter Harry

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Told by: Roberta

My miscarriage story: If I went right to the very start of my story I’d begin where I have a bad ob/gyn history. I had massive fibroids which needed removed by surgery and before the operation I had injections to try to shrink them to a manageable size or I could die.

These injection brought on the menopause at the age of 28 but surgery was a sucess. Two years later on my thirtieth birthday my periods returned which my doctor says shouldn’t have happened but I’d still never conceive. I also met my now husband that week and for what seemed to be a life of misery I was on the up. I got married when I was 32. Five months later after numerous tests and stress I became pregnant.  The hospital told me I wouldn’t make it to 12 weeks because I was to heavily scarred. They were wrong.

When I was 16 weeks I had a respiratory infection but hospital scanned me and there was my little bean bouncing away! The following week I felt my baby move for the first time, it felt like the baby was stretching! I got my strength back and at 19+ 2 went back to work. The next day while having lunch with my colleagues my back was aching but I thought I’d just overdid things so I went home and took some pain relief. That night after putting away shopping I went to the loo and my life changed, there was so much blood and a large clot, I just dropped to the floor and sobbed.

At the emergency obstetric unit the doc confirmed our fears, our bean had lost it’s life and with that I lost mine. The miracle I had fought for and that they told me I’d never conceive I’d lost.

The hospital had no beds for a week so I had to call everyday to explain I’d had a missed miscarriage to be told I couldn’t come in. Nature took over on day 4 and my water broke. After 11 hours I didn’t even realize I was in full labour and when the midwife asked if she could take a look I just felt this strange rush; she put her hand on my knee and said “it’s over, don’t look down!” I didn’t.

After the doctors doing their part and getting me more medication I was asked if I wanted to see my baby; I said yes. This was a massive deal for me, I have a fear of anything dead but I had to see my child. The midwife, Fiona, brought me a little basket the size of my shoe and inside was my tiny baby. Fiona asked if I wanted a picture but I couldn’t, decomposition had already begun. She then told me it was a boy, my son, we named him Harry. She said he was 15+1gestation, but how could that be right, I felt him moving after that time? I asked if I could hold him but I wasn’t allowed because his skin was to thin so I just touched his little blanket and broke my heart into my husbands arms. I asked for a post mortem, I needed to know what happened to the boy I was told I was never to have.

We went home but it was empty, I was empty. My arms should have had my baby in them but instead I had a box with hand and foot prints a blanket and a teddy. A few weeks later I had his name tattooed on my arm and we bought a plaque at the cemetery and had it inscribed Baby Harry Swain born sleeping 4.5.12 Always loved never forgotten. It arrived a week before we received the pm results.

Harry had Edwards syndrome, a genetic condition where the 18th chromosome triples rather than doubles but worse of all, Harry was female. Details of how this mistake was made are too graphic but I understood how it was made. I suffered after that numerous panic attacks, I started drinking just to get some sleep and had thoughts of self harm, I was broken. I didn’t want to part with Harry’s ashes but my husband couldn’t cope with keeping them so we agreed to scatter the ashes in the garden of remembrance on the day our plaque was erected. We had a few family members with us and I remember feeling a release of some of the anger I had, not only towards the loss but the anger, anxiety and hatred I had for myself so rather than a day of mourning, I went to the local shops and bought food and drinks for my family and we had a lovely afternoon of laughter and chatting. It was also the day before my husbands birthday so we partied on into the wee hours. I still was very low at times and still had the odd drink for Dutch courage to get through the day.

But that soon stopped, when I realised I was binging not only on alcohol but pizza and fast food, I was pregnant again, eight months after my baby lost her life on the day I let her go she gave me the ultimate gift. Life. I was terrified, could I face this happening again? That was 10 months ago and now that life Harry gave me is truly a miracle. Her little brother Aaron is 8 weeks old and my purpose for living, and may I say an absolute nightmare with sleeping and feeding patterns, but I’d have it no other way! While Aaron is all I could have asked for my heart still yearns for his sister. It always will. We will never forget her x


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