october

October 9- 15th was Baby Loss Awareness week.

It’s been such an emotional one reading many women’s stories of losing their babies either in pregnancy, labour and childbirth or after birth.

Last week, I attended a support group where so many in attendance shared their stories of baby loss, each one, a unique experience.  I’ve not sobbed so hard in a long while.

It brought back memories of when I worked as a midwife and was involved in caring for many women having miscarriages, stillborn babies. It was so hard supporting these women and I felt their pain.

It brought back my pregnancy memories too.

I feel so guilty sharing my story because I did not lose my baby.

With so much pain around me, I feel blessed as I could have been remembering a baby loss too.  All the stories shared this week remind me of how close I was, to losing my baby and have brought the intense emotions back.

 

So what’s my story?

It all started at 21 weeks gestation when I attended my routine mid-pregnancy scan.  I had worked a half-day and got to the appointment in time.  My partner desperately wanted to be at the scan appointment, having missed the first scan at 12 weeks. But he was running late.

I told the receptionist that my partner was running late having worked that morning.  I stressed the fact that we both worked for the NHS in the hope that she may feel inclined to be flexible about running late for the appointment.  However, she stated that there was not much she could do and offered me an appointment the following week.

I called my partner and told him not to rush and get there when he could as the scan would have to be held next week. Although I was quite upset that the receptionist had not tried harder to fit me in that day, I stayed in the department and waited. I still don’t know why. Perhaps, in the hope that she will feel guilty and fit me in, I really don’t know.

I waited, but nothing changed. Then about half an hour after my missed appointment, the receptionist’s phone rang and she had a brief telephone conversation and drops the phone. Then she says to me: “You’re in luck! The 4 o’clock has just cancelled!”

In that very second, I was delighted, thanked her and informed my partner. He arrived ten minutes later and as we had over an hour to wait, we went for lunch in the hospital restaurant.

It’s 4 pm.  My partner and I attend our scan appointment and the sonographer is very pleasant. We converse with her about our roles as midwife (me) and community psychiatric nurse (my partner) and she talks us through the scan. All is well with the scan and she shows us our baby’s body parts on the screen as she scans. She tells us our baby is a boy. We’re both excited.

Then she goes quiet.

We too, go quiet.

We look intently at the screen and you can hear us breathing, pupils dilated.

Then she points out one leg on the screen and she’s looking for the other leg.

My partner says in Yoruba (our language): “Oh Lord, help me,  I’m having a baby with one leg”.

Then he goes to the sonographer, “you best find the other leg!”

She says: I’ve found it. It’s in the cervix! Your baby’s on the way out!

I retort: What do you mean? I’m only 21 weeks!

She immediately elevated my feet and I’m rushed to labour ward and later to theatre.

I know the drill! I’m a midwife. I’d supported many ladies in a similar situation.

Over the next couple of hours I was consulted with by so many obstetricians and anaesthetists, all informing me that my cervix was dilated and that they will have to perform an emergency procedure to put a stitch in the cervix. All the while they keep advising me about the risk of rupturing the membranes whilst they perform the procedure. If this happened, they wont be able to continue and nature would have to take its course.

Fortunately, the procedure went well. But I had to spend the rest of my pregnancy in hospital. Five long months, on bed rest in hospital scared that I may lose my baby.

Most of the time, my feet were elevated, my legs were crossed in the hope that it would keep my baby inside me.

I was scared to cough or sneeze in case I coughed or sneezed the baby out. It felt like a prison sentence.

But I have a baby to show for it. Many others with the same condition lost their babies.

 

Why am I telling my story?

I feel blessed to have a baby. Reading stories of baby loss reminds me how blessed I am. My experience of caring for women who had stillborn babies, each one clearly embedded in my memory makes me feel like I got away.  When I think about what may have happened if I had waited until the following week before having the scan, my heart wells up.

It’s the reason I have made it my purpose to give other women hope.  I now work as a pregnancy mindset expert.

Looking back,  what helped me?

I had to focus on what I wanted as the odds were stacked against me.  As I could not control my circumstances, I had to learn to control how I responded to it.  I had to learn to remain positive even though my experiences were not going to plan.  I had to learn to manage how I interpreted the flashbacks in my mind as it was the experience of those I cared for, not necessarily the outcome I would have.

It was scary.

It was lonely.

It was challenging.

But my mind was fixed!

I would battle to save my baby.

At least I’ll know I tried!

But although alone in the room, I actually was not alone! My baby was with me! I decided to reach out to him, name him and connect with him. That’s how we started our relationship. I implored him to work with me. Before long we became a team. Then it was not so lonely. My baby and I were on a mission – Saving Joshua!

We both made it!

I not just survived pregnancy. I thrived and so did he.  I’m so glad I did! I’m so grateful I Tuned In To My Baby.

Now I enable other women to tune in to their baby too.

In 2012, I penned my first book: Tune In To Your Baby: Because Babies Don’t come with an instruction manual.

bookCover

Having almost lost my baby, I’m on a mission to help other pregnant women who are scared of losing their babies to grow and raise happy babies.  Having journeyed alone in pregnancy, I don’t want you to feel lonely again.

If you have had assisted conception or a previous pregnancy loss, you don’t have to be afraid that you will lose your baby.  You don’t have to journey alone.  I want you to enjoy your precious pregnancy as you grow your precious baby.  I will listen to your fears and anxieties, and walk with you through your soulful pregnancy.  I’ll share with you the tools and strategies to help you remain serene and soulful as you grow a soul within you.

Do contact me:

Ruth Oshikanlu
The Pregnancy Mindset Expert
aka The Serene and Soulful Mama’s Coach
www.tuneintoyourbaby.com
@RuthOshikanlu
020 8291 9988



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