I’m sharing a really special guest post today. Laura has been a loyal follower of my blog for a while now, following her experience of perinatal mental illness. She has since been through a dreadful ordeal and is now building a new life for herself on the other side. She is truly inspiring and has recently begun blogging about her experience at www.theloveforlaura.wordpress.com.
My name is Laura and I have been following The Butterfly Mother for a long time following the birth of my little boy and the onset of postnatal depression and anxiety. I found both the posts and the live videos that Laura did an invaluable support as it helped me normalise everything that I was going through and not make it feel so harrowing. I also realised by following the blog that there are so many people who suffer in silence at the hands of perinatal mental illness and it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Skip forward a couple of years and my husband and I were delighted to find out that we had a ‘little surprise’ on the way. Initially I was wracked with worry about whether both the pregnancy and the postnatal period would aggravate my anxiety and whether I would be struck down with the dreaded PND again. But as my tummy started to grow and I found out we were having a little girl my fears melted away as I felt each kick… I just knew no matter what, even if I did get ill again I would be ok and I could get through anything with my two beautiful babies and husband by my side.
Christmas arrived and went and we were looking forward to what exciting things 2018 was going to bring us. That was until I was rushed into hospital at the end of January with severe stomach and back pain and sickness. I had suffered for both pregnancies with hyperemesis gravidarum so although I was already poorly I knew something wasn’t right! On the 19th January I was then sent from the maternity hospital to my local adult hospital and rushed into theatre for what ended up being life saving surgery for myself. I had been diagnosed with sepsis as I had a band adhesion from a previous surgery that had wrapped around my small bowel and perforated it resulting in me having over 17ft of my bowel removed and not leaving me with much chance of survival.
Tragically because of what had happened and the severity of the situation our little girl lost her life shortly after. She was delivered by caesarean section at nearly 27 weeks whilst I was still on a ventilator fighting for my life.
I woke up a few days later to the news that I now had a stoma, a TPN feeding line for my nutrition and my baby girl was gone. To say I was in a complete state of shock is an understatement and as you can imagine my anxiety spiked dramatically. My family were given a less than 30% survival rate for myself so the fact that I woke up was nothing short of a miracle, but what I woke up to was completely devastating!
It has been nearly 7 months since this happened and I have recently had another major stomach operation to take away my stoma and to try to piece my life back together again. What is difficult to comprehend though is the fact that I will never hold my baby girl again… all the dreams and hopes we had for her were shattered overnight. She was absolutely beautiful and looked just like her big brother! Who I must mention has been a complete superstar throughout it all as he has had to cope with a great deal of time away from his mummy and losing the little sister that he was so excited for. I know I will never get over the loss of our daughter and she will always be part of us and our family, but I’m hoping that as time goes on the pain doesn’t feel so raw.
As with PND, anxiety, OCD and other mental illnesses I think that baby loss is yet again another taboo subject that isn’t spoken about enough. There are so many people in this world that suffer such devastating circumstances and yet feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to or that they are very much alone. It can also really be mental torture at times, particularly with the sight of newborn babies and expectant mothers everywhere. The fear, the pain and the heartache… I understand it all. My aim is to try to help anyone I can who feels this way. I am still going through it myself but if me talking about it openly and writing in my blog can help even just one person then I know it will have been worthwhile… Particularly for the memory of our beautiful Bella.