Did having a Post Mortem help me with my grief, help me deal with the loss of my 3rd child, absolutely not, is the answer? The results of Elliot’s Post Mortem will torment me until the day I die. I guess in hindsight when I actioned the go ahead for this Post Mortem I think I was looking for definite proof that his life was not worthy, like he was terminally ill or something, that maybe his stillbirth was in some cruel twisted path of fate saving me from more pain in latter years.
All we now know is that Elliot’s results in black and white describe it as follows:
Unexplained intrauterine death of patients baby 3 months ago. Post Mortem suggest high feto-placetal ratio.
This was basically explained to me that the placenta size was small and it was not big enough to keep Elliot alive once he got bigger and began to draw more from it, which in turn meant his health / life was compromised. You all probably read this and think what my husband thinks “It’s an answer, it’s not a chromosome defect, and it’s something rather than an abyss of nothingness and un-answered questions”.
Sadly for me this result is like receiving a life sentence of imprisonment within my own mindful thoughts. A life sentence of self blame. Rob has found comfort from the result but as I write this I wish I never had them.
Elliot was confirmed dead on the Wednesday 5th December although he was born on the 6th. On the Monday prior to the nightmare unfurling I had a midwife appointment and I now believe that the motherly instinct I had on that day, that intuitive feeling that something was wrong was now absolutely and 100% correct.
The midwife completed all her normal checks, urine, blood pressure, then proceeded to palpate my belly to determine Elliot’s position to help with listening in to Elliot’s heartbeat with the Sonicaid Heart Doppler. I was always anxious at this point, this anxiety I carried with me throughout every one of my pregnancies since loosing the twins, and it was no different this time. I don’t think I have actually ever been able to sit back, relax and actually enjoy being pregnant like other mothers. With tragedy striking me upon my first pregnancy with a double neonatal death this did set presidency for all other pregnancies. Most mothers sit anxious, quietly keeping their news a secret from all until the 12 week dating scan believing this to be the safe point from then on but I remained fearful because of the loss I endured at 25weeks. For me there was no safe point, pregnancy meant 9 months of anxiety, becoming a nervous wreck and worrying about every peculiarity.
Elliot was always hard to trace he had a tendency to be lying in the transverse position making it hard to detect his heartbeat.
I reflect back and on one occasion I remember leaving the clinic in floods of tears after I had laid on the examination bed for over 35 minutes while the midwife manipulated my tummy from one position to another trying to move Elliot into a better position, she was perspiring with nervous anticipation trying to keep me calm, nervously over talking random oddities and useless information to try and ease the tense atmosphere, finally detecting his heartbeat tears rolled down my cheek in elation as I heard the familiar horse trotting sound that all expectant mothers well up at hearing, that sound I was waiting on tenterhooks to hear.
It was not my regular Scottish midwife with her caring nature at this Monday afternoon appointment and I was disappointed to see her stand in, mostly because of the heavy feeling I held in my heart. Some people you know are always meant for midwifery and other caring professions it’s just what they do so easily, and others you think ‘Jesus you’d get more bedside manner from a bulldog’ and wonder why they entered the vocation in the first place. This lady was tall, lanky with teeth like tombstones, and the compassion of Hitler.
To my surprise ‘Hitler’ detected Elliot’s heartbeat immediately but I still had that sinking feeling and I spoke out and said “that doesn’t sound like normal to me, does it to you?” she dismissed me and said all was fine not even attempting to listen in for longer to rest my worry and doubt. In hindsight I should have made her, I should have said listen again, or said send me for a scan but I didn’t. I accepted what she said with no further argument from me. I accepted her word as correct when my gut was telling me something different. If I had listened to my inner self and persisted with my train of thought, there’s a possibility that they may have picked up signs of distress and delivered Elliot there and then albeit 2 weeks early. If that had happened HE WOULD BE HERE NOW, the thought I could have saved his life will haunt me for eternity.
I know and understand ‘hindsight’, understanding of a situation only after it has happened or developed. But I am a person that rules my head even my life to a certain degree by following my gut instinct, I believe people are intuitive and they should follow that feeling and believe it to be true even with out conscious reasoning, and on that day, I didn’t and until I die the consequence of that was my baby boys death. I will never actually know if me acting on instinct would have changed the outcome, but the fact I never tried leaves me with a feeling I wish I didn’t have and a agonizing unanswered question of “If I did act, could things be different?”…
So from one mother to another – if for any reason no matter how small, you have a gut feeling that lies heavy within… follow that intuitive maternal instinct and act on it, it may change your life, and it may not, I often refer to quotes I have read in my blogs and this one I read today… “One thing you have to realize from now on is that it doesn’t matter if this is a dream or not. Survival depends on what you do, not what you think.”