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Interview 16

Age at interview: 37
Brief Outline: Her 4th pregnancy' experienced sickness during first trimester and felt unwell. Blood test at 16 weeks detected Down's syndrome. Amniocentesis confirmed Down's. Pregnancy ended by induction at 19 weeks. Following the termination she had a stillbirth. (In 2005 she had another baby.)
Background: Pregnancy ended in 2002. No of children at interview' 4 + [2- 1 TOP, 1 stillbirth]. Ages of other children 20, 18, 15 + baby. Occupations' mother & housewife, Father- retail industry. Marital status' married. Ethnic background' White British.

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She felt unwell and was very sick - her instincts told her 'this is not right' (her baby had Down...

She felt unwell and was very sick - her instincts told her 'this is not right' (her baby had Down...

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I just, from the very beginning of the pregnancy, thought I wasn't the way I should have been. I didn't feel a normal pregnancy was evolving, and I didn't feel right, and the sickness was horrendous. I was, I would have been, preferred I'd been taken to hospital and looked after I think, I was so poorly. And everyone could see I was poorly. And that just, instinct takes over and it was so different from the first 3, although yes my age was different, I just had an instinct that this is not right.  

Baby was moving - the baby was active - but I think it was just Mother Nature, who was just telling me. I bled early on, and I think if I'd, instead of taking to bed and resting, if I'd just carried on as normal I probably would have had a spontaneous abortion. I think that was my body saying 'This isn't going to work.' But I took to my bed for days, and did everything I was told to do, and rested and the pregnancy progressed.  

So again that's hindsight. It might not have happened, it might have happened. But by the time we got to the blood test I just knew there wasn't going to be a baby at the end of it. Although you say to yourself, 'It's going to work,' that's just outward face, inside you know there's something not working right.
 
 

She attributes her painful labour to her body and mind not being ready to lose the baby.

She attributes her painful labour to her body and mind not being ready to lose the baby.

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So there's a tremendous amount of guilt, and yes there's upset and there's, you're worrying about your children back home, but you just know you have to do it - and as quickly as possible. And I think I was actually asking the midwife, 'Can I not have the next set of tablets now?' But you have to wait, I think its three hours, in between each set. 

So that was the Wednesday we started that and thankfully labour, didn't, it was a while in starting but it didn't last excessively long. So we were fortunate in that respect, we didn't have hours and hours and hours of thinking what was going on. But it was the worst pain ever, and I've had three labours and the youngest child was over 9 pounds and I thought that was hard work. But giving birth to a baby that was only 19 weeks - he was small - but that was, there's no pain that you could describe as bad as that, and that's with all intervention, that's with morphine, with gas and air, with painkillers. 

So its, possibly it's an emotional response to what's happening, because you know that you're losing a baby that you don't want to lose, and your body's not ready for it. Your body's still trying to hold on, but the drugs are making you go through labour. 
 
 

Describes how she instinctively wanted to hold and touch her baby and explains how she and her...

Describes how she instinctively wanted to hold and touch her baby and explains how she and her...

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Yes, he was perfect, but I wanted to check him. I had to take his clothes off - there are special gowns made for little babies which were donated to the ward on the mainland, and there's someone knits shawls for them. The midwives have little teddy bears that they put into the Moses crib - they have a proper crib - proper bedding, and he was even wearing a nappy, but I had to check everything, I did poke around. 

My husband got to hold him and I was even saying to my husband, 'Hold him properly, don't let his head drop,' which is totally irrational because there's nothing going to damage him now, but I think that's just again Mother Nature taking over, you still have a baby, you're still allowed to hold your baby and you must look after him. 

So we were actually allowed to have him overnight and through to lunchtime the next day, which was very good of them to let us have him that length of time. 

We had a chaplain come to visit, we had a blessing. The midwives popping in every hour or so, and make sure I'm okay, how am I doing, see if my husband's okay. And we just, we held him, we just spent the whole time holding him and looking after him, and they took photographs - they took his foot prints, hand prints, measured him. 

We have a little booklet with all his details, and that's something that I think I needed. Some mothers don't, they just prefer the baby to be taken away and they don't name their baby, but I had a name. I wanted to know who he was, because he was. As soon as you're pregnant you have a baby, it's not a fetus, you're actually carrying a child. So regardless of the fact that he wasn't going to be alive, he's still my son. 
 
 

Says that she had never lost anyone really close to her before and that this was the first...

Says that she had never lost anyone really close to her before and that this was the first...

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So he was taken to the chapel. We didn't get to see him again until the funeral, and then he was just in his coffin. My husband took the coffin from the car to the graveside. Pouring day of rain, absolutely awful, but my husband's cousins were there, so there was only the 4 of us, plus the chaplain and the undertaker, and probably the gravedigger I think actually. And that was it. It was just a very small ceremony, and there's nothing - I think that was probably my first funeral ever. 

So again that was, for me, a huge step to being an adult I suppose. Up to that point I'd been young and na've, and yes I'm a Mum, yes I've been married, but I'd never gone through seeing someone die that I'd loved, and being there to be at a funeral. I've had relatives die but when I was living away, never got home for the funeral. And it was just 'this has to be done' and within that, we then flew home that very day, and I had to deal with everybody at home. 

So there's nothing that can make you deal with it any easier, you just have to come home and hug and talk to the children that were here and explain to them why this had happened, because they were just looking forward to a baby brother. He was just going to be the next addition to the family, and they'd ask if they could take him out for a walks when he was born, just silly things. 

 

She realised she needed counselling after about 3 months when she was spending hours sitting by...

She realised she needed counselling after about 3 months when she was spending hours sitting by...

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So the guilt's always there, and the emotions of losing the boys I deal with better than the guilt. I can just put that down to the fact that they weren't supposed to be here, there's a reason they're not here anymore. Whether there's a God or not, if there is God, he chose to have the boys with him. And at some point we'll be together. And certainly in the last, the 3 months after the second baby died, I prayed to be with them, to such a point my husband drastically worried about me, I would sit in the graveyard for hours, and if I died at the graveyard I would have been happy. But that was just the need to be with the boys - so that's when I realised I needed to go into therapy and discuss it with somebody. 

Hmm. And that's helped?

Most definitely yeah. Independent therapy -it wasn't anything to do with NHS or my doctor - it was an independent therapist in [island]. He's just someone who's moved up quite recently and I just picked him out of the newspaper. He had an advert in the newspaper, and I phoned him up and said, 'Can I come and speak to you?' At that point it was more to do with my husband and I having problems, but we were having problems because we hadn't dealt with the boys' death. 

We hadn't, I thought our marriage was in turmoil, but it was actually the fact that we'd both lost the boys, and not spoken about it, not dealt with it, just filed it away as if its you've just bought a new car, get rid of the old one. So 6 months later I think we're on an even keel again and ready for the next step. 

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