Laticia’s Story

In August last year I sat with two pregnancy tests both scared and excited. It was all I had ever wanted but suddenly I felt so scared. The endless minutes waiting until the test showed 3+ weeks pregnant. I remember ringing my sister and talking about how I would share the news with my partner it wasn’t planned but then wasn’t prevented either. I set off to the doctors shortly after that who confirmed my wonderful news and then off I went home to tell my partner – who was shocked but quickly became as happy and excited as me.

The days ticked by and all the time I worried for our little one was he/she ok in there I couldn’t shake the niggling feeling but then close family advised this was just what a mother was constantly worrying about your little one.
Finally the 12 week scan arrived and although due to sickness and worry I had been scanned previously this was the one I was so excited about we would finally get to see our little one and then the secret could be out! We went into the midwife and she began the scan – there was our little bundle of joy waving back at us finally I breathed a sigh of relief… which was very short lived. The nurse turned to us and advised that she wasn’t happy with the amount of fluid she could see and was sending us up to a senior midwife for a second opinion.

The nerves as we made our way upstairs all of my worrying suddenly coming to a head. I lay on the bed while the second midwife scanned me – she didn’t need to say anything I knew by her face. I can barely remember much of the conversation other than we were to come back in an hour to see a doctor. I broke down as my whole world fell apart – calling my mam and even repeating the same words broke me to the point I don’t ever feel I will be the same again.

We went back to the doctor who advised she would need to perform an amniocentesis test that there was a risk of 1% higher of a miscarriage but that she did feel it was necessary I wasn’t given any time to think about it and was ushered into it very fast and was over very quickly. The doctor offered no information but instead instructed a midwife to talk to us. She told us that because our baby had so much fluid they were suspecting an extra chromosome and that depending on the results we would go from there. We were sent home and asked to wait five days for results.

Five days later, we got a call on the Monday evening from the midwife called and said we have the results and we also have the gender of your baby. I asked what it was and she confirmed a little girl but that she had Down syndrome. She invited us in to see her the following day. When I got off the phone we talked and didn’t feel so bad my partner turned to me and said ok well she may not be 100% healthy but she is ours and we will deal with whatever we have to.

We arrived in the hospital the following day and the midwife was so vague – we had prepared so many questions that she couldn’t/wouldn’t answer – what was our baby’s chances of survival? Out of all couples that have babies diagnosed with hydrops (excess fluid) and Down syndrome how many survive? All these questions we needed answers to for reassurance weren’t answered. In fact we were met with a surprised reaction when we told her we intended to continue with the pregnancy. She explained due to the abnormalities our little girl would not survive. We asked with regards our options and she offered for me to be scanned every week so in essence I would come in every week get scanned and hope our baby would survive. We were given no further information and left heartbroken.

I booked an appointment with the well woman clinic to speak to a counsellor she asked had the midwife spoke to us about all our options including traveling to end the pregnancy. She advised as we had not specifically asked about a termination they would not voluntarily provide these details due to the circumstances in the country. After leaving we arranged another phone call and asked about our options – we were given a phone number and advised Liverpool hospital would not see us until I was 16 weeks pregnant.

I phoned and spoke to the hospital in Liverpool and the kind nurse talked me through the procedure. From the start I knew it wasn’t for me I couldn’t travel and be without the support of my family. I couldn’t travel and have them remove my baby for me to never see her and never have her near me. Perhaps if it had been available in this country I would have considered ending my babies fight that was never going to end well but to travel to a strange place to people I don’t know a place I don’t know I couldn’t do it.

Laticia-LisaThe next night I lay awake so late thinking the decision I had was never really a decision. Travel to a country where I had no support and end our little girl’s life or stay here get weekly scans all the while hoping there will be a miracle but knowing we will have no support until her tiny heart beat stops and this and this may be after 20 weeks where she has nerves and starts experiencing pain. It was the worst and most impossible position to ever be in. That night I lay on my side as I thought of all of this and I rubbed my belly while I spoke to my little girl and I told her “mammy knows you are being so brave and you are fighting so hard for me but it’s ok little one if you need to go just go mammy and daddy will be ok we love you very much”
The next morning I woke and instantly felt different. I phoned the hospital and they arranged an appointment that day for a scan – which confirmed what I already knew our little girl’s heartbeat had stopped. It was only then we start receiving information support and what was to happen.

Two days later I was given tablets to induce labour and waited for our little one to be born. I know anyone reading this knows that this is not easy and I can only describe it as horrific and life changing. I got pains stronger than menstrual pains and suddenly my little girl was here I didn’t see her as this was my choice at first. The whole process and day was horrific and I don’t think I will ever be the same person but to have the support of my partner my mam and all our families was really the only thing that got me through that day. I experienced panic attacks chest pain and anxiety which I am still dealing with all due to this experience.
All I know had this been in another country where I had travelled without the support I had around me I really don’t know that I would have survived. It is unimaginable to think of having to go through what I did and then be expected to sit on a plane or on a boat and travel home. I know for me personally I couldn’t have done it.

A few days later we had a private funeral for our baby girl and got to say goodbye. I held her in my hand so tiny yet so perfect. Our whole family got to see her our perfect beautiful little girl. We had our family there and had a beautiful ceremony the last thing we could do for her. A few days later we got a tiny butterfly urns with her ashes – something that I will cherish forever and also something that never would have been possible had I had to of travelled for any type of procedure. That was our first baby and I am still nowhere near a place where I would be ready to try again but I know if the same situation was to occur again how different this story could be even the amendment was appealed to not only give women choice but to the freedom of information and discussions around these situations.

Laticia-Lisa

Artist: Lisa Hutchinson

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