Our Story, how we came to find out about you Henry!

Tim and I have been together for four years this year, We met a little later in life both having come from long-term relationships before that didn’t work out… In that four years I have moved to the shoal haven to be with Tim starting work in an office an hour from here. We have bought a house been on overseas trips eloped to Hawaii and then there of course was our surprise Henry!!

Something I guess meeting at a bit of a later age, but not old 😉 Tim and I discussed was that life was short, we have brought so much to each others lives and we talked openly about what we wanted in life fairly quickly, well I can’t say too quickly as I did spend six months of us spending time together telling Tim we were only friends, he was so patient and agreed “Best friends” he used to reply with his cheeky grin later adding “best friends plus more”…. It wasn’t until I got half way across the world on a trip I booked to Italy that I admitted to him we were more than friends and that I loved him! Poor bugger the words he had been waiting to hear and I could only finally say them when I was 16,319km away across the other side of the world. I think that was the longest two weeks of his life waiting for me to get back to we could finally start a life together properly.

We talked about how we both wanted to be married and have a family, one thing I had shared with Tim is that there could be concerns around starting a family, as I had tried for over six years to start a family with my ex husband, we sought tests, I had surgeries, looked in to a number of things but it never happened. So I said to Tim I wasn’t sure I could have a baby, he respected me sharing and we went along with life.

We were never careful about it and after 3 years and speaking a little with the Dr to look at some things I had finally come to the conclusion we weren’t going to have a baby, and I had started to become ok with that, we had a great life, we had explored and travelled together, we live in a beautiful part of the world, on Tim’s days off we enjoyed the beach paddle boarding Tim takes amazing photographs of the ocean and waves. Life was good.

Although in my job I was restless, I just wanted something else…. we talked about different things and finally decided we would take six months off work to travel Australia, perhaps even longer, we would rent the house out, buy a caravan, fit it out to take our beautiful fur babies Missy (Doberman 14 years of age) and Snikkers (chocolate Labrador 10 going on 11 soon) and we would go. We might pick up some work here and there along the way. The more we talked about it the more I was set to make it happen, I worked out a budget started looking at caravans and was set. You see I am a planner, I like to be able to plan for whats happening it is what I do best.

I had spoken to my manager at work about time off work without pay, she said she would have to speak with our bigger bosses at work.

It was amongst all this planning and control I had of planning that you Henry surprised us.

I remember feeling not quite right for about a week, I knew that time of the month was coming and I always got bad cramping etc with that, I had, had some spotting so was sure that it was arriving anytime soon.

I remember the afternoon we found out about you Henry I remember it so very clearly. It was the 29th August 2017, I had been working from home that day, I had an appointment to go to in the afternoon, after my appointment I ventured got one of my favourite coffee shops to get a coffee and I decided to buy your dad a sweet treat. While I was there I ventured in to the IGA to get a few items and I don’t know what it was something in my head decided I should just buy a test. I felt a bit crazy as I thought no surely not, but then I had the urge so I did.

I got home I gave your dad his chocolate tart, I drank my coffee and I went to the bathroom, Your dad was in the garage working on some things for our garden. I took the test, it didn’t take long for those two lines to show up so clearly, there was no questioning it like I had in the past when taking tests it was a positive.

My thoughts began racing “What, how but how could this be?” we were planning our trip around Australia, ‘I can’t be pregnant’ this wasn’t going to happen for us. I was in shock!! I then thought ‘How am I going to tell your dad’ this moment I had waited for so long in my life and given up on it happening, I can’t just tell him, this is supposed to be special. I had previously thought up in my mind how I would do this in a special way a thousand times, and now I didn’t know what to do.

IMG_5294

I raced to the bedroom, finding an old box, I wrapped the test up in it and wrapped the box, I then got a card and wrote a heartfelt quick message in the card, I set up the phone on the bench to record and called him inside.

First thing he notices is the bloody phone! of course, I was hoping he wouldn’t see it, he waved at it and smiled and looked nervous, I looked nervously back at me, I went to the bedroom, getting the wrapped box and said to him “I got you something an early birthday present”

“You shouldn’t have darling” he replied as I sat it on the table in front of him, he read the card as I waited and waited what felt like forever as I giggled nervously in the background. then began opening the gift “It’s not sunglasses I said as he opened the box (as it was an old sunglasses box, he finally pulled out the test smiled but then looked at me and said “Is that correct darl” “apparently” I answered and he came to hug me I just stated to cry and cry “I wasn’t expecting that” I said to him and kept crying your dad laughed at me and hugged me as I cried.

Once we pulled ourselves together your dad went back out to the garage to work more on his project I remained shocked, contacting a close friend to tell them of my shock they were so happy for me, I still somehow could not process it.

When he returned inside, I kept asking him “Are you ok?” even though I was the one who somehow wasn’t. I still remember his reply to this day it forever makes me laugh.

“No I’m ok, I went out there had a think about it and I am going to get my teeth fixed, I am going to get my feet fixed and we will be ok”

In my thoughts I just laughed so in all of ten minutes he decided as long as he got his teeth fixed and feet fixed all would be good.

I cried, I cried for a few days from shock, I think in my head I questioned was your dad ok with this because of what we had been planning and now that wouldn’t happen and I just still couldn’t believe it had happened, the worst part was that I had to go away the next day for a work meeting and couldn’t be home with him. On the Friday morning when I was home I had a PT session to go to, I had to tell my PT who is also a good friend as I didn’t want to do anything I shouldn’t, so I went in and I cried again telling her I was pregnant, she laughed and congratulated me I was still in shock.

That weekend I had booked a yoga retreat weeks before which was probably the best timing that had been booked as there I was able to gather my thoughts, realise what a blessing this was and get myself together.

I arrived home on the Sunday afternoon which happened to be fathers day, your dad still at work and I decided that I was going to cook him the most amazing dinner and when he got home I would say to him we are going to start again… I cooked all afternoon preparing him a lasagne using grass-fed wagyu beef mince and creating the most delicious sauce and I cooked myself a separate gluten-free one.

Your nanny and poppy dropped by as soon as your dad was home, so I didn’t get the chance straight away to say what I wanted to, we chatted to them while I heated our dinner and then we asked them if they would like some. They declined as they had eaten so we started to eat ours, only problem was I took one bite of mine and instantly felt like I wanted to vomit. I ate my broccoli instead and sat there quietly waiting and hoping your nanny and poppy would leave soon as I was pretty sure I needed to run to the bathroom, I didn’t touch any more of my lasagne I had spent all afternoon cooking.

Finally they went I told your dad I felt sick, then said to him I wanted to start again from the other day “Honey we are having a baby” I said to him, He pretended to act surprised and laughed and hugged me. We were going to be ok.

Only from that day the sickness started to increase, I found myself vomiting early in the mornings, I started to read up some information, ‘try ginger’ try pregnancy vitamins’, vitamin b….. I tried all of these things but as a couple of weeks went on the sickness increased more, I couldn’t even keep down water. I remember going on a work trip to Mildura, I wondered how I would make it through the flight, I only just managed and between visits for work I was living off potato chips as I could eat them.

While I was away in Mildura, my manager messaged ‘I have spoken to the bosses about your leave for your trip it is approved’ I cried again and messaged your dad..

The sickness increased so much, I spent one day just vomiting and vomiting, another day I had vomited 20 times before 11am, I couldn’t keep anything down not even an ice block, I tried acupuncture it didn’t work. I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum an extreme form of morning sickness which may or may not last the whole pregnancy. The Dr wrote me scripts for Zofran and I had to be on that medication daily to manage it. I remember I was not sleeping, I would wake at 3am and vomit then need to eat, I eventually was able to eat apples at that time take my Tablet and maybe fall back asleep for an hour, then I would be up eating corn flakes with almond milk.

For a while I survived on potato chips and coke things I would never normally eat, I liked to look after myself and cooked really healthily, even down to treats I cooked and baked they were refined sugar-free, gluten-free and usually dairy free. I had to have the gluten-free due to my coeliac.

The sickness continued throughout my whole pregnancy, so much so I had to tell my manager early on, she was really good and organised my visits in a way that I could manage them and leave if I needed too.

I remember travelling to Broken Hill for work and joking with her that the people in the room next door would think I was a party animal as I wasn’t showing yet and was up vomiting each morning early, they probably thought I was a drunk.

While in Broken Hill for work I walked past a shop one day. I bought a little linen koala toy “Look what I bought for Leila” I messaged your dad. I was convinced you were a girl and your dad and I agreed you would be Leila. a few short weeks later we found out your were a boy (sorry Henry)….

IMG_5293

Every appointment with you even though my blood pressure was low, they always commented how healthy you were, they said how strong your heartbeat was and that you seemed to be a good size.

I remember being in awe at our 12 week scan at the little body growing inside me, we could clearly see your head, your spine, your arms and legs and fingers and toes. Although I was so sick the whole way through which made it hard at first, it didn’t take us long to begin to get excited, discussing at night-time how we would take you to the beach, in the water, on picnics in the sun and just how we wanted to show you the outdoors, your dad talked about how he’d love to have you in the garage beside him while he listened to the radio, a pod cast or worked on his car.

IMG_5295

We joked with people about how scary it was and that we wouldn’t know what to do, but we were both so excited for you and looking forward to you in our lives.

It was once I began to feel and see your movements I just absolutely had a strong connection with you, I would watch my stomach move daily, it wasn’t long until I would play music to you and watch you react to the sound, I remember the first time I did that I just smiled and messaged your dad who was on a night shift to tell him all about it.

I also read to you “There’s a sea in my bedroom” one of your dads favourite childhood books as I wanted you to hear it before you even arrived.

Never doubt how loved you are our beautiful boy Henry.

Anytime you would move and I would call your dad to come feel your movements, he’d place his hands on my stomach and you would stop. We joked it was his calming influence and that once you were here he would be the one who would calm us all down in those tough moments.

The baby shower held for you was amazing, A beautiful friend organised it, theming it ‘Aloha Baby’ as I had chosen a palm print cot quilt and kind of theme for your room, and your dad and I loved Hawaii that’s where we had eloped to, too get married.

You received well we received some amazing gifts for you, I remember the week after I excitedly washed all the clothes and hung them out smiling a real reminder it wasn’t long until you’d be in our arms.

On Tuesday the 24th of April I had a small amount of bleeding after dinner, I phoned the hospital who suggested I come in, we went in I was strapped to the ctg and not even five minutes of being there my waters broke and I mean they were gushing out, we had joked you would arrive on Anzac Day as it was the only day your dad wanted to have out, now it was looking like that was a real possibility.

The Dr saw me later and they decided to keep me in the hospital, the next day the Dr came by starting me on antibiotics incase risk of infection. The decision was made to induce me on the Thursday morning had I not had you by then.

I spent the day walking and walking as when I walked I got contractions, the beautiful and caring midwives at the hospital checked my temperature, blood pressure and your heartbeat throughout the day. All seemed good and strong, they checked your position (Head engaged).

That night I started to get contractions five minutes apart, your dad and I timed them 12 times, we pressed the buzzer, unfortunately the midwife who entered the room this time was not as nice and I had never met her before. She ripped back the curtain “whats happening with this baby” she said “I am getting contractions five minutes apart” I told her “They are quite strong we have been timing them on Tim’s phone” She threw Tim’s phone back towards him “You don’t need to do that” she replied and then said to Tim “You need to go home” and turned to me and said “You need to get some sleep I am getting you a sleeping tablet, we will deal with this in the morning I am not having you up and down all night” she left the room

I cried I said to your dad “I don’t want you to go” He gently tried to reassure me and said it would be good for me to sleep, he left she bought back in the tablets which I took I was only asleep an hour and up and down in pain afterwards, she didn’t come back to check on me that night.

The next morning a midwife came in, one I had met before who was lovely, “You were just waiting for me weren’t you” she smiled, “lets take you across to induce you”

We walked to a labour room, she strapped the ctg to me, no sound, she tried to move it, a nurse tried nothing, “sometimes when the baby moves towards the back we can not hear them as well”

She tried again, I started to feel nervous messaging your dad, they called the Dr in to do an ultrasound “I am sorry there’s no heartbeat” I was shocked I cried, your dad finally arrived in the room and they told him, we were left shocked, we will give you a moment they said, they all left the room we were devastated ‘how could this be you had a heartbeat the day before’ the shock set in, I was going to deliver you my baby but you had passed away, you weren’t coming home with us, you were no longer alive. 39 weeks pregnant and I carried you all that time you were healthy, why what happened…. we had no answers.

We called your poppy, so we could tell your nanny and poppy, I said as your poppy answered the phone, “We got some bad news, the baby has no heartbeat” I then began to wail and sob so loudly, your dad took the phone, your nanny and poppy came straight away.

They organised and put me on the drip to put me in to labour, It was all a process, I lay on the bed shocked, I didn’t know how to feel your dad and I cried with one another. I lay there waiting for it all to start properly.

“I can’t get in the bath” I said to your dad “I can’t do it” as I had planned to have a water birth with you. “that’s ok” he replied. I lay on the bed, once the contractions became more regular they were painful, they were full on, I remember thinking I was going to take and go through this pain for you, for my baby, for my baby who couldn’t come home with us, I was going to take it all on for you.

The beautiful midwife said to me “you don’t have to be hard on yourself take what pain relief you need to get through this, you are already dealing with the mental exhaustion” also I was dealing physically with having had labour start on and off the past few days and little sleep. It was then I tried the morphine, this didn’t do too much for me.

Then realising how hard this was I said to your dad “I want to try the bath, I want this to be as peaceful as possible for our baby and he loved the water” you did I went swimming so much in the ocean while pregnant with you and you always reacted you loved it. So I tried the bath, after spending some time in here and moaning through each contraction, The midwife came in and suggested I think about an epidural. I said I would think about it.

Finally half an hour later I called her back in and said I would need one, I was so physically and emotionally exhausted I could take no more I needed rest. They called the anaesthetist down, another midwife came in the room (I think there was a shift changeover) she bent down to me straight away in that bath hugged me and looked me in the eye “This is not your fault, please remember this and don’t think anything you did caused this to happen” I am so thankful for those words, as since that day I have questioned absolutely everything even myself.

I got out of the bath changed to a gown, they came and did the epidural it was then I was able to get some rest, I lay on my side the midwife got me a warm blanket. Your dad was able to get a little rest on the couch.

The wonderful caring midwife with me monitored the contractions feeling my belly, It wasn’t until 8pm that night that your little foot appeared and I was fully dilated ready to give birth to you, the Dr came in the room, I held your dads hand, the midwife felt my stomach telling me when to push as each contraction arrived, I looked at your dad I looked at the midwives and I was determined, I pushed and pushed, it only took 23 minutes and your little body was out, they lifted you to my chest and then placed the blanket over us both I wailed “Why why why” and cried and cried your dad cried too as he looked at your little face he commented how very perfect you are. I agreed, we could see all of your dark dark hair, your cute nose it is so damn cute we laughed as you have your dads ears and we smiled at how big and long you were with your dads pudgy belly.

They all left the room giving us some time with you. I don’t even know how long we looked at you and I held you on my chest for, we just looked at you smiled, kept saying how beautiful you were and we cried. We looked at our list of names we had created, eliminating all but two straight away “Henry” your dad said to me he looks like a Henry, I agreed straight away and we named you Henry.

Later they cleaned you up, and me a little too, and wrapped you in some blankets, Your nanny and poppy came, we all took turns holding you, crying and took so many photos. You are just perfect.

Your nanny and poppy left, I showered and lay back down holding you, the midwives came in and weighed you, took your hand and footprints and recorded your information. 7 pound 15 ounces you weighed, such a healthy weight, 52cm long and you had your dads blue eyes.

Sometime in the early hours we tried to sleep. I kept waking looking at you in the cot beside me and I would cry, your dad would cry.

In the early hours I got up and just held you so tight hugging you, we told you a thousand times how much we loved you. I kissed your nose, I touched your cheeks. Your dad did too.

Your nanny and poppy returned they cuddled and talked to you too, the Dr came in and talked to us along with a social worker those parts are all such a blur. Later at 10am a photographer arrived, through heartfelt they offer free photography services to families in this situation, the photographer took photos, she took photos of all of us together, photos of your hands, feet, of you. I can’t wait to get these photos, they’ll forever be cherished.

The midwife who had been with us the whole time during your labour was back on shift, she came in and said we could bath you, we carefully chose an outfit for you from our hospital bag, the photographer stuck around and took photographs, we ever so gently bathed you, washing your hair and smiling at one another about all of your beautiful dark hair, your dad put on your nappy I felt so proud watching him as it was something he joked he could never do I dressed you and we preciously wrapped you up placing your beanie your nanny knitted you back on your head.

Every one else eventually left the room, we lay on the bed with you between us falling asleep. Later that day when it came time to go I cried and I cried I didn’t want to leave you, but I also needed to get out of the hospital out of that place, we kissed you and kissed you again and lay you in the cot, we got to the car and I sobbed once again especially looking at the baby seat in the back of the car we were supposed to be placing you in that seat.

We arrived home I broke down, how would I go inside, how would I look at your things, how could we do this. Your dad and I spent the rest of the afternoon hiding on the lounge.

The days after have been so very hard, I visited you again at the hospital and we both did again at the funeral home, we organised and held your memorial service which I will post more about later.

I never ever thought this would happen, it never entered my mind. I still can’t believe we are at home without you baby boy, each new day I keep telling myself ‘do it for Henry’ and I will for you!

Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s