I grew up a lot faster than a lot of other kids.
My mum had a shotgun wedding at 16 and did not finish high school. She was very smart and a hard worker but struggled to give us the life she wanted as a single mum. She worked nights so she could spend time with us during the day when we were little.
At 3 I used to get up and feed my brothers and I whilst my mum slept, as she was tired from her night shift. At 7 I was making lunches for everyone and by 11 I was working and looking after my brothers from 4pm most nights. At 13 or 14 I was also cooking dinner for the boys and I.
The one thing I always knew was that I wanted to be a mum, and I knew I wanted 4 kids. I also knew that I needed to go to Uni and get a degree to support myself and my family…. when my husband left me….. as a teen in Golden Beach I had very few friends who had 2 parents at home and most mums worked much harder than I thought they should.
So I got good grades and went off to Uni to study to be a Business/Systems Analyst and design computer applications. I finished Uni in 1993 and was waiting for my graduation ceremony in April 1994.
I would have to say that 1994 is the year that changed my life in so many ways.
At easter 1994 I had to come home and tell my mum that I was pregnant and that she was going to be a Nana at 40.
I was really nervous and was not looking forward to telling her, but I figured I finished High School and went to University and had earned my Bachelors degree, she couldn’t be too mad….right? Boy was I wrong. She was furious and thought I was throwing my life and my education away. Despite my being 21 she was insistent that I have an abortion.
To appease her I agreed to go to counselling to consider terminating. I sat in that office and listened to the lovely lady discuss with me my concerns and that of my family. The one thing I always remember from that meeting was her saying.. “just remember, that no decision is a decision.”
For a few more weeks I weighed my options until one day I replayed that statement in my head. I really wanted kids and there is rarely a perfect time to decide to start a family, so I told my mother that I was going to keep my baby. She was mad at me for a while, but eventually got over it.
For 6 months I saved and bought almost everything I needed to set up my own place and for the baby. I went to all my doctors visits and took my vitamins and did everything I was told to. I didn’t drink, have never smoked, got lots of rest etc. The one undeniable thing was that I was carrying a large baby. Everyone wanted to know when I was due even at 5 months along, so when I had to have an extra ultrasound at 32 weeks to measure the baby again I figured they would tell me I had to have a c-section. I remember the tech saying “no the baby measures right, he’s just big for your size”, again I am thinking c-section and yet it was never discussed. I would see a different doctor at every hospital visit and it just never came up again.
My due date came and went and I was huge, the doctors finally agreed to induce at 42 weeks.
I was so nervous about being induced but I didn’t have to worry, my waters broke before I was due to go to the hospital. For almost 16 hrs I had irregular contractions that were between 1.5 and 6 mins apart. I was in so much pain that I cannot remember a lot of that day. After 3 hrs they agreed to give me happy gas and after 9 hrs I finally got an epidural. The Dr was so annoyed at being called out that he didn’t wait to see if it was in correctly. Sure enough he didn’t listen to me about my scoliosis and all the epidural went down my left leg and only a little down my right. Shortly after the epidural the fetal monitor started going crazy and the midwives were moving me around trying to get a better heart rate. They seemed to visit me more after that to check the fetal monitor. At some point after this I remember there being a request to cut my fingernails which were quite long. My mother started to freak out and wanted to know why they needed to do a c-section, yet the midwives denied it. A while later I remember having ice rubbed on my stomach and being tested for sensitivity to cold, again something to check for to do a c-section without the anaesthesiologist.
Eventually the doctor came to the hospital to do the delivery. It was weird I felt like I was in a TV show, there was a white glow at the end of the room with the doctors and nurses talking and huddled and at that point I was just glad this was going to be over. I was put on oxygen as my hands and feet were blue and for the next 10-15 minutes they worked to get my son out. After the first 2 tries with the suction cap, the doctor told me he may have to break my tail bone to get the baby out… that was a little scary but still it was time.
He was born and they took him away and worked on him for 20 minutes but they couldn’t revive him. The birth canal was too small for him and caused cord compression so severe it cut his neck. He had been in minor fetal distress for hours and he just didn’t have enough oxygen reserves make it once the cord compressed.
I got to take pictures and hold my son in the hospital and then again at the funeral home. It was hard to see him after the autopsy but I knew it was necessary for my piece of mind.
I did not know the true reason for why he died until many years later, when I had medical experts review my charts as part of a legal action I pursued against the doctors and the hospital.
Walking out of the hospital without a baby in a capsule was the hardest walk of my life.