Tag Archive: miscarriage

Shaun and I had been married for a couple of months and decided to start trying for a family. Imagine our excitement as we found out I was pregnant. At about 8 weeks things didn’t seem to be quite right so found a gynae and went for a check-up. I had terrible pain and was bleeding a little. After some scanning and much to our surprise the doc couldn’t find any indication of a pregnancy in my uterus. It was confirmed that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (where baby is growing inside the fallopian tube and not the uterus) and was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery. We didn’t have too much time to process all this as I was whisked off to theater and when I woke up was told that all was fine and there was no permanent damage. Yes, we were relived that my tube and uterus were intact but what about our little baby we would never get to meet. What was probably the worst for me was the comment people made like “oh well. You can try again” and “it wasn’t really a baby anyway”…to us it was!

A couple months later we fell pregnant again and I was terrified… I didn’t ever fully enjoy my pregnancy and it was filled with complications. I eventually had to have an emergency caesar at 35 weeks. God blessed us with a wonderful little boy. As I was already heading for my mid-thirties we decided that we didn’t want too much of a gap between the children so fell pregnant again when Merrick was about. 9 months old and things seemed to be progressing well.

Then disaster struck. I started bleeding again at about 6 weeks. We were on holiday in Plett and drove straight back to CT to see my gynae. She couldn’t find a heartbeat but said that it was perhaps too early. Blood tests, bed rest and a 2 week wait. We went back..a perfect little sac was seen on the inside but no baby… It was called a blighted ovum. In other words something had gone wrong during fertilisation and the foetus had not developed properly. Not some people don’t even consider this to be a baby. But we did..as we believe its our child the moment conception takes place. Another procedure to remove the remains of our pregnancy. And more comments of “it wasn’t a real baby”. “You’re so lucky cause you already have a baby” , “your age gap would have been so small” and lots of other insensitive things like that. Guess people thought they were being helpful but all I really wanted to hear was “I’m sorry for your loss”.

Often I think situations like this are more difficult for the husband as the loss is not physical but emotional and we know how most men are not so good at dealing with their “emotional side”. We were blessed with a gorgeous little man and had the courage to try again a couple of months later. We are now the proud parents of 3 beautiful children here on earth and two little souls up in heaven. I guess people may think that it was “just a miscarriage” – but not to us. We know God has reasons for these things happening but that doesn’t mean that we are always able to look at the big picture and see things the way God wants us to. Yes I get upset when I think about them, yes I get angry when I think about the thinks people say and yes I am thankful that God gave us more children.

This may not make a whole lot of sense but perhaps someone who reads it can relate..its okay to be angry, its okay to be sad but mostly its ok to talk about it.

Love Heidi xx

[Heidi and Shaun Hudson-Bennett]

My second daughter, Zoe, was stillborn at 37 weeks on 24th March 2007 in London, UK – we had no warning, one day she was well, with a strong heartbeat, head down, ready to come into the world, and two days later, she was dead. It turns out that Nicole has a blood condition that pre-disposes her toward clotting, and the best guess is that there must have been sudden clotting in the placenta/umbilical chord which starved Zoe of oxygen. We didn’t know this until after Zoe was born but because our first daughter, Janel, had been premature, Nicole had been under closer observation than a normal pregnancy, including specialised prenatal care, so there was nothing more that could have been done under the circumstances. Nevertheless, you plague yourself with “what if” questions – what if I’d taken Nicole the emergency room the night before when she first commented that Zoe wasn’t moving regularly, what if Nicole had noticed earlier that something seemed to be wrong?

The church community we belonged to were amazing and really rallied round, providing us with meals, doing laundry, taking Janel out so we could be alone. We were put in touch with a charity called SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) who invited us to a meeting of parents who had lost their children. It was just incredible to meet with other parents who had walked a similar path to us and who could tell us that there was some light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long and dark it might prove to be. When we returned to South Africa, we looked to find a similar support group, but saw that none existed. As a result we started Born Sleeping and have had the privilege of supporting, and being supported by, many couples both in Cape Town, where we live, but also around the country via email and Facebook.

The issue of my faith in relation to this experience is a difficult, complicated, and ongoing one – in the weeks after Zoe’s death, we felt God’s love and comfort expressed to us by his people and we truly felt that, somehow, it was all going to be alright. As a bloke, I was in full strong-man support mode for Nicole, we had a 18-month old daughter to take care of, I had a job to go back to after a couple of weeks, we were preparing to move home to South Africa, etc and although I had the opportunity for some counselling, I don’t think I was able to fully engage with the enormity of my grief and its impact on my faith. When we moved back to Cape Town, we struggled to find a worship community where we felt comfortable – going to church itself was not a happy experience, when you have deep questions about the goodness of a deity who would allow a child to be created only to take her back before we could know her, it is not easy to be surrounded by people singing His praises. The best advice we were given in this time was permission to miss church, to stop feeling duty bound to attend if it was damaging our relationship with God. In spite of this respite, for many months, I would go through phases of truly hating people who had an open, easy faith, because they had what I no longer could claim to be my own.

Truth be told, my relationship with God had been on a downward trend for some time before Zoe died, but the questions that her death raised for me became stumbling blocks which I couldn’t overcome and although we settled in a church and joined cell groups and I even began to lead worship again, my personal spiritual life was essentially dead. Matters came to a head one Sunday morning when God, through one of his children, lovingly confronted me and said that I could not continue like this, struggling on my own and hoping that things would improve, that I needed to seek help. And so I re-entered counselling, and have made progress – Zoe’s death has become the scalpel God used to cut through layers of tradition and habit to uncover fundamental flaws in the way I view God and how I relate to him. There is much work to be done still, but I have hope again that at some point in the future I will be restored as God promises, I will be able to say with Spurgeon “Oh Blessed Hurricane that drives me onto the Rock of Ages” and mean it.

Next month it will be 5 years since Zoe died, and although we have been blessed with a son in that time, I still think of her often and am surprised by how close to the surface the grief remains. In writing this, I have been reading through some of the messages we wrote and received at the time, and the tears have flowed freely again. You never “get over” a loss such as this, but you learn to live with the pain. You never ever quite work out how to properly answer the question “How many children do you have?” but you stop feeling guilty when you say 2 instead of 3. There is life after stillbirth, but it is never the same as before.

Graeme [Graeme Broster and Nicole Masureik]

Born Sleeping Website – http://bornsleeping.wordpress.com/
Born Sleeping Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Born-Sleeping/150344014978601

this series of blog posts has been on my heart and mind for well over a year and i am excited to finally be at the point of getting started on it.

there are a number of incredibly important, life-transforming, heart-breaking life events that happen to huge numbers of people that no-one, or very few people, ever seem to talk publically about – and so for the most part there are hundreds or thousands of people living quietly and alone with their pain or confusion, struggling along as if they are the only ones that have gone through that thing and as if help or advice or at the very least understanding is not freely available.

my hope with ‘Taboo Topics’ is to be able to deal with one of those topics at a time by finding people who have experienced the very thing in question and are brave enough to share their stories and hopefully also offer some insight and advice as to how they managed to get up again, dust themselves off and keep going…

and the first one that i am wanting to look at is a hectic topic – that of losing a child and i am specifically wanting to look at miscarriage or stillbirth so a baby that has died before it has been given birth to, or very soon after, before the parents concerned really get a decent chance to build relationship. i heard a while back that this is a lot more frequent than most people would expect and i know that i have hardly ever heard about it and so there must be a lot of people silently suffering alone [or alone as a couple] with something that is either too painful or shameful to speak about.

i really hope this blog series will be a light at the end of that dark tunnel for a lot of you. by simply writing my intentions as a facebook status i was inundated with responses from a number of very brave people who want to share their stories and so i am wanting to create a space for them to do so. if you know of someone who you think will benefit from hearing the stories that follow, please feel free to cut and paste/tweet/share/link/email, whatever it takes to let them know that these stories are here.

you are not alone. there is a light. and there are many people who have walked this road and are walking it and will offer you support where you are on it.

click here to read an amazing series by Christa Black on losing her daughter titled ‘How I know God didn’t kill my baby girl.’

click here to read the story of Graeme and Nicole

click here to read the story of Heidi and Shaun

click here to read the story of Sandi and Mike

Jennifer (and Allyn) Harris Dault has shared a whole series of blog posts with us as she walks through this difficult time.

click here to read the story of Debbie and Bruce [infertility and losing a child]

click here to read the mother’s side of the first story we shared as we hear from Nicole, Graeme’s wife

click here to read the story of Grant and Mauri

click here to read the story of Sandra and Shane

five more stories and links to resources including those of David and Sarah Seabrook, Cath, Margaret Ann and Adam Schaaf, Rory and Debbi Windell and Adrian and Benita Wright

and finally a rather more hardcore, in your face, pull-no-punches, commentary specifically for those who have not gone through it, from someone who is still living through the pain

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