I will eventually get back to part 3, but for now I want to talk about my baby Lachlan. I know some of you will have read this story before, but I have gone over it again and added a few things, so I hope you will read it again.
Lachlan Alan Shaw – Born sleeping 27/09/2011
So my DH & I have a son KJ who is almost 2 and on his 1st birthday we were lucky enough to conceive our angel baby Lachlan.
My pregnancy with KJ was so easy. I felt fantastic and I lost a ton of weight, I glowed and I felt amazing. His birth was also so easy and uneventful, so I had no problems with having another baby, I thought it would be so easy again! How wrong and stupid of me.
From the get go, I was as sick as a dog with my darling Lachlan. I was exhausted, I couldn’t eat, everything made me throw up, I didn’t want to get out of bed and I found it so hard to look after KJ on my own. I was on so many medications, including antibiotics, phenegan, rhinocort and maxillon. I am quite cross with my ob at this, I have since done some research and found out that some of the things I was on were a class c which means they haven’t been tested. It makes me wonder if they may have been responsible for Lachlans death. So I guess in a way I am blaming myself and also my ob. I have also found out that a lot of other ob’s are quite worried about my ob’s reputation for handing out prescriptions and there are a few lawsuits going on too. It makes me wonder.
On Thursday 22/09/2011 I had an ultrasound to see how Lachlan was, I was 28 weeks pregnant and my ob/gyn just wanted to give me a couple of extra scans because I have a thyroid problem, so I was going to have one then and another at 36 weeks, just to be on the safe side.
Everything was perfect. My mum and my 16 yr old sister and 14 yr old brother were there with me as my husband works up in central QLD. We were all so excited and happy, the sonographer and all of us were so happy and joking around, she said it was nice to have done a really “boring” scan, and that everything was perfect. He looked exactly like his gorgeous big brother. The funny thing is, at the end when the sonographer was listening to his cord and brain, my 18 month old son, Kaleb, freaked out a bit and had to come up on the bed with me and be touching me before he would calm down. I wonder if there is anything in that?
Fast forward to Monday 26/09/11 and early in the morning I felt Lachlan kicking, he kind of woke me up, but that was normal so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. I got up at 7am, had a shower and got ready to meet my family for lunch. Lachlan was very quiet but I just thought he must be having a rest, he was a very active baby, but my other son Kaleb used to go nuts for one day and then I wouldn’t hear from him for a couple of days, so I thought nothing of it.
At 2pm that day I had a routine check-up with my ob/gyn. I was so confident that everything was ok that it was the only appointment I went to on my own. My ob & I were chatting about this and that and then he said to hop up on the table so he could have a listen and a feel of Lachlan. He couldn’t find a heartbeat. He turned on his ultrasound machine and I couldn’t look at it, so I was looking at his face. He wouldn’t make a very good poker player, his face is so expressive. I knew then that there was something seriously wrong. I called my mum, she raced up to be with me and dad came and took Kaleb for me. My ob wanted to send us just down the road from his office for a clearer scan, so my mum & I went down there to wait until someone could see us. The sad thing is, they led us into a “crying room” and I cried so hard at the fact that they even needed one! How horrendous!
We had the scan, our beautiful Lachlan was gone, his heartbeat was no more. I cried and clutched my mum, screaming WHY??? Why had this happened to us? Why had this happened to my perfect little boy? There was no visible evidence on the scan, and the ob/sonographer who took this scan remembered me from Thursday and was so heartbroken for us, she couldn’t believe it either.
We went back up to the ob/gyn’s office, I was totally catotonic at this point, I had gone into shock, where he gave me a big hug and was almost in tears himself. He told me what would happen next, I asked lots of questions, I don’t know how I could think of questions, but I did. We had to wait until the next morning for induction so my husband could make it home, I couldn’t even tell him, my heart was breaking so much and I didn’t have the heart to tell my wonderful husband that our baby had died, so my mum had to do it for me. My ob/gyn then gently suggested doing an autopsy so that we could try to find out why this happened, but no answers were guaranteed. I didn’t feel that we would be doing our jobs as parents if we didn’t thoroughly investigate this so I agreed.
On Tuesday 27th of September I checked in the Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane. Even the reception staff knew who we were, they were all so lovely and compassionate. We were ushered into a private room for about 1/2 hour in the main labour ward, but we were never able to see others in labour. Then we were ushered into a special care room set away from the main areas and were given a butterfly on our door, to signal to other staff that this was a special case. We never saw any strangers, just the nurse who was looking after us. If a stranger had to come in, they were introduced to us and we were told why they were there and they were all so lovely. My husband arrived at 10am and by then the tablet had already been inserted to induce our little boy, so it was a big waiting game,.
We met some lovely ladies from pastoral services who prayed with us and for us and told us that they would do a blessing for Lachlan when he was born if that was what we wished. I said yes. They gently explained that if Lachlan was born later that night, they would be in first thing in the morning to see him and bless him. Then we met bereavement services, who sat and talked with us for hours, gave us some extremely helpful booklets written by someone who had been through a stillbirth and was just generally so understanding and compassionate. At all times, my husband, my mother & I were treated with the utmost compassion, dignity and respect. We were never left alone if the nurse could feel we didn’t want to be. She was so wonderful, and the staff cried with us, which just made us feel that we weren’t just a number, they actually cared about us and our little boy. My ob/gyn came in a couple of times, he was so caring and yet so professional, making sure that I was ok and in perfect health and he did a great job.
Finally, at 10.41pm, after a rushed arrival from my ob/gyn who was desperate not to miss it, my little son Lachlan arrived into this world. He was born sleeping. He was so perfect, at 3lbs and 40cms long. They cleaned him up for me, dressed him and wrapped him in the quilt that his grandmother had made for him. I also had his teddy with me, he has one and I have one. We got to hold our little boy for as long as we wanted, the staff took our camera and took photos of us holding him, of his hands and feet and with his teddy and quilt. They made a memory book for us. Before Lachlan was born, we made the decision to say goodbye to our son and then leave him in peace. So this is what we did. But were always offered a chance to see him and I was told I could stay in the hospital for a few days if needed so we could have him with us. We said goodbye to our little angel, my mother and my husband held him too and told him how much they love him and kissed him. Then I had one last hold and said goodbye to my perfect little man. He looked just like his brother, only he was a little sleeping doll. So peaceful.
My husbands parents came up the next morning to see us, and bereavement services were there with us, we were offered counselling and cried with them and then I told the lady to find my husbands parents and help them too, all services are extended to all family members as well. They found them chasing KJ down the hall and my husbands mother opted to go and see Lachlan, I am so happy she did this, she was able to tell him that they love him and to say goodbye too, I was adamant that they shouldn’t miss out on this.
My husband & I are so grateful that our experience was made a bit more bearable by the hospital staff and our ob/gyn. I have read quite a few horror stories about horrible staff and hospitals and I have to say that we were so blessed by our wonderful experience. We have no regrets about any decisions made and have memories of Lachlan that we can look at anytime. We got casts of his little hands and feet that will be framed too. I thought it would be really difficult to look at photos and his things, but I find it calming and reassuring. My little boy is at peace, and he just looked like he was sleeping.
We laid our son to rest on the 5th of October 2011, in a beautiful ceremony at the Albany Creek Memorial Gardens. It was the day after my 28th birthday. The midwives who helped us with Lachlans birth were at the funeral as well, we were so grateful to them for coming.
A week later, we went to pick up his ashes and Lachlan finally came home with us, where he belongs.
I have since had my 6 week checkup with my ob/gyn and I was really hoping to get some answers from him. It was so disappointing because up until this point he had been fantastic, but when we got to the appointment he was so unprepared. He told us he hadn’t received all the results yet and that he had looked over the ones he had received and had nothing to tell us. I feel that he handled the appointment really badly and I was amazed that he had the gall to charge us for that appointment when he didn’t even bother chasing up the results so they would be ready for us. I feel like he really let us down at the end and I am not sure I can really forgive him. I also think, as I mentioned before, that he betrayed my trust in him by prescribing me things that I probably shouldn’t have taken. I trusted him implicitly, perhaps this was my downfall. Never again will I trust a doctor, this whole experience has shattered my trust completely. I kinda feel sorry for the next ob I choose, I am going to be one tough cookie to deal with!
I had made an appointment to see my counsellor at the hospital later that day. I’m so glad I did. DH & I arrived at the appointment and we told T (counsellor) that we had seen our ob and he didn’t have all of the results. She was most taken aback as she had personally ensured they were all sent to him. She ended up getting hold of the results herself and we sat down and went through them together. T is such a lovely and caring person, this was not her job to do, but she could see we were really upset and desperately seeking some answers. She scanned through the results herself, and then phoned the head pathologist who had done Lachlans autopsy to make sure she understood all the terminology so she didn’t make a mistake when giving us the results. She told us that his size was perfect, he was a lovely size, 3lbs and 40cms long. He would have been a big boy, my little darling. He had a perfect heart, lungs, and all other internal organs that made my little baby. He had lovely eyes, a cute little nose and perfect hands and feet. Then we got to the cord and placenta. It was discovered that there were a few too many red blood cells in the placenta and not enough white ones. While T made it clear that there was no definite answer, she said that this indicated a transferring issue. Finally the end of the autopsy arrived, the official cause of death for my dear little boy was a lack of oxygen. T said that although they aren’t 100% sure, it looks like Lachlan had a transferring issue with his placenta and cord. We will never know why, but I am so upset with my ob for not going through all of this with us. That was HIS job, not T’s, and we don’t pay T $80 per consultation! Needless to say, I will be finding another ob next time. Such a shame, I really liked my old one, he was a lovely guy, but now I know what I know I can never go back to him.
I have so many emotions, its hard to make sense of them. I mainly feel like I have left my body and this has happened to someone else, but then something will happen, or someone will say something that sends me crashing to earth and I just shatter. Everyone keeps telling us how strong we are, but I don’t feel strong. I feel so helpless and like my world is ending. I would love nothing more than to hide under the covers but I have to get up every day and look after our son KJ with my husband and try to be a normal parent for his sake, but some days its really hard.
Its not just the loss of a child we are dealing with, I personally feel that I have lost my innocence completely. Never again will pregnancy be something to enjoy for me, it will be a clinical process full of tests, scans and utter fear and terror. Until I hold a baby in my arms, I will be turning blue from holding my breath so much. I don’t think that people really understand the full implications of losing a child. The grief never goes away, NEVER. There is not a day that goes by that my whole being doesn’t yearn for my little boy. I think of him every single day and wish he was here, alive and well. You just learn to live around the big hole in your soul, and learn to live with that missing piece of your heart. Every single belief I ever had has been shattered. I can never look at things the same again, I can never see God the same way again, I am questioning all of my beliefs and all of the things I thought I already had the answers to. I look in the mirror, and I don’t know who the hell that person is anymore. Its really hard to live with somedays. That little sparkle I used to have in my eye has gone. I feel like I have dead eyes, always sad, always grieving.
My friends need to realise that I will never go back to “normal”. That person doesn’t exist anymore. The old me is gone, in her place stands a new me, a person who is uncertain of who she is and her future. I am learning to live with the new me and our new “normal”. Its a hard adjustment for everyone really.
I share our story in the hope that it will help another mummy or daddy know that they are not alone and unfortunately this is something that a lot of other parents experience, and it breaks my heart to think that there might be someone else out there feeling the way we do. I would never wish this upon anyone.
“You were only here for a moment, but you will hold our hearts forever. We will always love you Lachlan, our little angel baby.”