Updated: Jun 27
Story by Lisa
On a Thursday morning of 2016, I woke up feeling less movements than usual in my belly. I went to work and discussed with a couple of colleagues whether movements slowed down towards the end of pregnancy to which they said it did which isn't true.
I still couldn’t relax and my instinct was telling me something was wrong. I visited the midwife who performed the Doppler ultrasound during my thirty-fourth week of pregnancy. They said the Doppler was dodgy so they went to get another midwife who told me to visit the hospital for a scan. They said everything was okay, but the look on their faces portrayed otherwise.
I remember the journey to the hospital vividly. Hope came creeping in telling me they must be wrong. On reaching the hospital, they ushered me and my then partner into a scanning room.
The scan was done, but the medical professionals were silent. They performed another scan. Then I heard those words, "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat." At that very moment, I felt like my whole world came to a standstill and my core was ripped out of me.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. Everything I thought I knew: my belief system, thoughts, feelings, relationship with myself which I never really knew I had one, morals, in fact my whole entity – gone.
I decided to give birth to my baby. I was in a daze when I rang my family. My brother and my then partner's mother arrived and we were taken to the bereavement suite.
I was told to take a tablet to induce labour. We were informed that it was a baby boy and all through my labour, I only grieved for my son who was in my womb whose kicks I felt no more.
There are no words to describe giving birth to death. It was July 7, 2016. The pain I felt was indescribable. Only a few hours later, we were told we had a daughter and not a son. We couldn't figure out the baby's sex as she was wrapped and given to me. I named her Gracie; Gracie Rose.
Earlier, I regretted not spending more time with Gracie before giving her to the morgue – I thought it would be harder to give her back the longer I spent with her. I now know I made the best decisions I could at that time. Living on without my child felt unthinkable; it felt impossible to continue functionality in the day-to-day life.
I joined a group of mothers who had experienced similar losses which was an amazing place to be. There were instant connections and unspoken mutual understanding. We built resilience over time. This club taught me to survive because the other moms were living proof that life goes on. That I can recover from this catastrophic blow to my spirit, to my life.
Even after years of my loss as well as after the EMDR therapy I received to help me with the trauma, it still feels unbelievable. I am thirty-six now and I believe breath by breath, I am gradually learning to endure this heart-wrenching loss of my baby. Just because she is not here doesn’t mean I am not her mother – I continue to parent her every day; just not in the way I had hoped or planned.
Gracie's death has severed me in ways I never knew were possible, but there is strength in vulnerability. I believe she is with me in every moment of my life, being my guiding light, giving me a new perspective in life and a new definition of self.
It is courageous to be open to misery and get hurt. Losing her is the most agonising pain I've ever felt, yet it holds the most love I've ever known. I am and will always be a mother to Gracie.