In this blog, Michaela reflects on her journey into motherhood and describes the unrivalled love she feels; which she now uses to help others.
Two lines on the pregnancy stick
On Monday 21st January 2019 I was overjoyed as I found out that I had been blessed with a child. Staring down at two lines on the pregnancy stick, I cradled my still flat stomach in disbelief. I waited all day for my husband to get home from work so that I could surprise him with the most beautiful news.
A few weeks had gone by and we were basking in the anticipation of impending parenthood. We sat and dreamed on about what our little one would look like, what their name would be, and how we would paint the nursery. It’s completely true that when you find out you have already planned a lifetime!
Around this time, I suffered some complications and found myself in a clinical room with a sonographer looking at my baby in black and white on the screen. Thankfully, our little life was just that and as we looked on in astonishment, the dreams began to further unfold. That wasn’t the end of the pregnancy complications; I spent weeks with bleeding and pain. I had many scans in that time and each one showed that our little baby was healthy, until he was not.
‘Something was wrong’
Later down the line we found ourselves in a familiar scanning room, lights lowered, gel brushed across my stomach and we stared at the screen in expectation. We started to laugh and giggle at his little hands waving around and then silence filled the room. I looked across at the sonographer and her whole demeanour had changed, we knew instantly that something was wrong.
We implored and begged to be given any kind of information and finally she let the words slip out of her mouth ‘There is a problem with your baby’s brain’. What followed were long minutes sat frozen on hard plastic waiting room chairs. We watched families walk past with the all too recognisable black balloons filled with pink and blue confetti and heard the mumbles of heartbeats under the door.
Somehow, we made it back to the car and my husband drove through a sea of tears to our friends’ house. We were met with cups of tea, hugs, listening ears, and prayers and I truly think that saved us. After we’d made our way home, we sat and waited to be called by the hospital. The next day, we met with a consultant and our gravest fears were confirmed, our baby most likely had a life-limiting condition.
Waiting for the call
We waited for four agonizing days to receive a phone call that we lived on tenterhooks for, yet never wanted to come. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I timidly answered the call. I was met with words that have been buried deep into the depths of my being ‘I am so sorry, but your baby is incompatible with life’. In the matter of a week we had gone from thinking about colours for the nursery to facing a future childless in the natural. More shocking news came as we were told that there was also danger to me carrying our baby.
I stumbled through the front door of my house and into my husband’s arms as I tried to explain all of the information I had to interpret on my own. In summary, our baby was going to die, and I may too. In essence, that day we had to decide to save my own life and no mother wants to put themselves before their child.
‘We felt love that we never knew to be possible’
Just two days later, our son was born, and we stared into his tiny eyes and admired his features. That day was most certainly the worst day of my life as I laboured for hours to hold my stillborn child in my arms, but it was also the best day ever. It was the day we truly became parents and the day that we felt love that we never knew to be possible.
The days following have been anything short of easy, but they have been filled with so much overwhelming love for the son I loved, lost, and carry with me every day. I have learned so much about what it looks like to have hope and joy in every season and how it is oh so possible.
As we look to the future, we know that we are better equipped to help other parents who will walk through this unthinkable pain and instead of thinking ‘Why us?’ we think ‘What can we do?’ and we strive forward to make the tiny steps to help bereaved parents and families.
You can connect with Michaela through her Instagram account here.