'If love could have saved you, you'd have never left'
Breaking the miscarriage taboo
Xavier was born on March 21, 2008, which happened to be Good Friday that year. Not so much for our family.
I didn't have any signs that I would be losing Xavier. The stomach pains I'd questioned were apparently normal and I was told it was too soon for it to be Braxton Hicks.
I was 19 and Xavier was unplanned, but there was no way he was unwanted.
The night it all started I had just settled into bed to watch Shortland Street when all of a sudden I felt a lot of pressure and desperately needed to pee. As soon as I sat down I felt him drop down partially through my cervix.
I screamed but there was no-one to hear me. Luckily I had my cellphone on me and I text my partner at the time to get home as the baby was coming.
After a lot of drama trying to get to the hospital as quick as possible, we thought our baby had died. But when a doctor did a check-up we could see on the scan that Xavier was alive and kicking, but he was on his way out, sac intact. At that point there were no waters leaking or any issues, just my cervix opening.
They wanted to do a speculum examination and advised us that in doing so they could burst the amniotic sac. Thankfully, during their examination nothing went wrong but they confirmed that it was the baby, sac intact, that I had felt "fall through".
They said they may be able to save him if they could try to stitch my cervix up, and if we managed to push the sac back through, but they wouldn't be able to do it that night as the surgeon had gone home.
I had to spend the night in an elevated bed so gravity could assist and pressure could be taken off my cervix.
Off we went to the ward and got settled in with high hopes of this stitch being done in the morning. I didn't even care that I'd need to spend quite a few weeks in hospital on bed rest, as they had told me earlier on, if the stitch could be placed.
The worst part was that I was told that if I felt like the baby was on its way out, it would feel like I would need to pee, then I was to get off the bed and make my way to the toilet and expel into the cardboard bowl insert they'd placed.
I hate that my baby was seen as a waste product. I couldn't have him on the bed.
Contractions continued through the night.
Unfortunately, Xavier was born into that cardboard bowl and we were left alone to just sit there, not knowing whether we could pick him out of the blood and waters.
No-one came in until 25 minutes later, even though we had pressed the bell for help before we headed to the toilet.
The nurse grabbed the bowl and took off with it, not even asking if we'd like to see him.
Although I keep saying "him", we didn't know his sex until they brought him to us after a while, when we asked how long till we could see him.
Because of issues with heavy bleeding I needed to have a dilation and curettage, which happened two days after we had arrived at the hospital.
Our immediate family was quite supportive, along with a couple of friends, but that's pretty much where it ended. The majority of people never acknowledged his existence then, and still don't.
I don't have any nice words for the hospital staff who dealt with us during our time at the hospital. On our departure from the hospital all we got was one pamphlet for a miscarriage support group. No-one really talked to us about what happened or where to from there.
Reading the words spontaneous abortion on hospital paperwork really got to me - that's one of my most hated medical terms to date. My baby died, I didn't spontaneously decide to abort him.
We were told by a nurse that because he was only 17 weeks he didn't need to be buried and that we could have the hospital dispose of him if we wanted.
We buried him at Whenua Tapu.
He had perfectly formed fingers and toes, he had ears, he had a tiny button nose, he had a cute little mouth. He was born, and he breathed in my womb until he was born, so there was no question about whether we would have a funeral for him.
I wish medical staff wouldn't be so cold towards family that go through these experiences. No matter how far down the track we get, we still remember the majority of our experience in detail, and their words and actions are a big part of our memory.
I also wish that people didn't expect you to be over it in the weeks/months/years that follow your loss.
You never get over it.
I wish it wasn't a struggle to get up in the morning and wonder what my purpose in life was but most of all I wish I didn't have to go through a second loss six years down the track.
Recently I thought that my fiance and I were about to be parents again, but unfortunately we lost our daughter, Aria, who was stillborn at 22 weeks and 3 days on May 7, 2014. Like her brother, she was perfect, just born too soon. Now they rest in harmony.
All these years have passed and I still don't go a day without thinking of Xavier and fantasise about all the "what ifs". But now, to add salt to my wounds, I'm left fantasising about all those what ifs for both of the babies I gave birth to.
I decided that this time around I wouldn't be so worried about how other people viewed my need to keep talking about my babies.
For the days I don't feel I can talk about them out loud I post poems, statuses, pictures, on the Facebook page I've recently made in their memory, which helps me tell bits of my story and raises awareness of miscarriage and stillbirth. It's not because I'm attention-seeking, as a few people have said.
Society needs to realise that these losses are very real. No matter what the gestation of the baby being born, they are still our babies, and they still need to be mentioned.
Anyone that goes through these experiences needs all the love and support that can be summoned from friends and family, even a simple message helps, especially on significant dates.
If anyone you know is going through anything like this or ever has to go through it just be sure to remind them that you are there for them, even if it's just to sit beside them while they cry their eyes out.
Thanks for letting me share a part of our story to do our bit to break the silence.
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