My baby, my wonder child. The baby who made me whole again. The baby I worked so hard to have. Here is your story at last, my wonderful youngest son.

When I lost James, I felt as if the universe had divided down the centre, leaving me and my grief on one side, and the rest of the “normal” world on the other. I felt like part of myself was missing, and I believe that part still is, in a small way, but during the months following a stillbirth, that missing part sums up just about everything you are and everything you do. It’s a very sad situation, as you are almost completely alone in your grief. Nobody knows what to say and there is no way of comforting you. Only one thing remained on my mind during this whole awful period, and that was to fill my womb again. It felt empty and ached for another baby. I had been given the go ahead by my Dr Lew, and I saw no reason to wait any longer.

In late February 1997 I fell pregnant with 6.  It had been He who used to be’s birthday, so I am exactly sure of the dates. I knew straight away that I was pregnant. I even told He who used to be the following morning, that I had just fallen pregnant with our new son! He said, “surely we’d be getting a girl this time?”

But I knew…. I just always knew. I would play around with the idea of having a girl every now and again, but it was as if my mind would just say, “stop that nonsense, you know it’s a boy!” It’s the weirdest thing to have to explain, as it is simply a thought in my head that is adamant about things, then these things come to pass. It’s awfully handy when picking out nursery and clothing colours!

I was ecstatically happy with being pregnant, but  I was concerned also, and when at 10 weeks I started to spot blood, I thought I would lose my baby again. I had been so careful, not done anything really strenuous, however 5 was a big toddler and I did have to lift him into the car and bath sometimes when Daddy wasn’t there. The spotting was minimal and Dr Lew gave me the all clear after a few nights in hospital.

I returned home vowing not to lift 5 at all, and enlisted the help of friends and family for lifting washing baskets etc. My friends were great, and even though they all had families of their own, they were there for me. I am a very lucky woman to have the friends I have. My sister in law J was again the backbone of my life. She did so much for us and our boys, I will truly never forget all the love and support she gave us all.

It was impossible not to lift and carry on with life as normal, He who used to be and I were living between our flat in town, and our new property out of town, so there was constant packing and movement between the two properties. The “farm” had no water supply other than a small rain water tank that was very old, and I couldn’t bath the children or do washing. Life was fairly basic out there, so mostly the kids and I stayed in town. We would pack up for a few days at a time and head out, but during the pregnancy I mostly decided it would be better to stay put in town.

Things progressed normally for weeks on end and I began to feel secure in the pregnancy. However as we approached the 20 week mark I began to feel crampy and sore. I told Dr Lew who examined me and couldn’t find a reason for the discomfort. He told me to continue taking it easy at home. With a five year old and a two year old this was not so easy, but the flat was small and easy to maintain, and the boys were able to do a lot for themselves. We split their bunk beds so I wouldn’t have to reach up to make them. We left things like cleaning showers and such for a much later date.

He who used to be’s older four children had moved interstate with their mother, causing a lot of grief for us at the time. We missed them terribly, and as they had moved so far away, we wouldn’t be able to see them regularly at all. I can remember one visit we had from them, just a few months after they moved away. The kids had all grown so much! The eldest boy was all of a sudden a young man, and the girls fast approaching teenage years. It was beautiful to get all the kids together again, and they played for hours with the younger boys. Helping their Dad make a sandpit in the small backyard of the unit for the little ones. We didn’t see the older kids again for almost 6 months!

Late in the afternoon one day in mid July ’97 I told He who used to be that I felt exhausted, and asked could he take the boys out to the farm for the night, I would meet him there the next day. I wanted to spend a night in town by myself, and rest. The boys were very demanding, and I was 20 weeks pregnant and feeling exhausted! He packed them up in the afternoon, and after promising I would be out with a yummy lunch for them the next day, off he went for the night. We often did this, sometimes He who used to be would go to the farm to do some work and leave us in town, sometimes we would all stay out there, and sometimes we would all stay in town. It was a very flexible way to live, and our boys loved it. So did we. We felt that we had the best of both worlds!

This night I decided to do some folding and catch up with laundry. I had done everything, had a last cup of tea and decided to head to the shower before bed. I hadn’t really done much, just folded a basket of washing and put it away. For some reason I had done everything I could think of in the flat. The dishes were all done, the beds were all made and everything was tidy and clean. Thank goodness for I wasn’t to return to the flat again for months after that night.

Call it instinct? Nature called for me to get everything organized for my baby. And I did!

As I headed into the bathroom I stopped and stared at the boys empty beds. Such a feeling of sadness and loneliness overcame me. I felt so melancholy looking at the striped “Bananas in Pyjamas” doona covers that 3 had begged me to buy for him and his brother’s beds just a few weeks earlier. Their room was so tidy, unnatural looking. It was an eery feeling. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be tucking my children into their own beds at home for a long time.

I stepped into the shower and as I began to wash I noticed a bit of blood in the bottom of the shower. I was alarmed and quickly decided to get out and lay down. It was as I stepped out and began drying myself that the flood began. It was terrifying. Buckets of blood seemed to be pouring out of me all at once. I knew that I was hemorrhaging and had just minutes to get to the hospital before I bled out. I had become an expert on survival strategies during my my pregnancy with James. (Ironically, I never bled at all the night James was born.) I shoved a big fluffy bath towel between my legs, threw on a night gown and shoes and bolted for the car. It didn’t even occur to me to call an ambulance as I was three streets away from the hospital, and knew I could get there in just over a minute. Waiting for an ambulance could cost me my baby’s life and I wasn’t going to chance that.

I had some car trouble with my Ford station wagon earlier that month and had to push or roll start it a couple of times. I thought it was the battery but as it had started first time for over a week I thought the problem had fixed itself? HA. Picture a panic stricken woman, who hadn’t even phoned the hospital to warn them of her arrival, gushing blood everywhere jumping into a car only to have it not start!!

Aaaargh! It was just over a minute since the bleeding had started, I threw the gear stick into second, opened the door and gently pushed the car out of the car port onto the slope of the flat’s communal driveway. It steepened quite quickly, I jumped into the driver’s seat, pushed my foot into the clutch and released it and THANK GOD ALMIGHTY the engine came to life. I drove like a maniac for the minute and a half to the hospital, parked my car neatly and then bolted for maternity, completely by-passing emergency, as I knew where to go to give my baby his best chance. The looks on the faces of the maternity staff as I came screaming down the hall!! “STOP RUNNING!” the mid-wives yelled to me, as they could see the blood flying from me. I had no idea what I was doing, panic had completely taken over, but strangely as I entered the care of these wonderful people, I became calm. I had another clear as a bell thought in my head that told me everything was going to be fine. Just lay down and let them take care of you.

Do I think it is God talking to me in my head? Kind of, especially when I remember the dream I had of letting James go the night before I had him. The dream I had as he was dying clearly showed me that James was going upwards, out of my body, and I was fighting to pull him back  down to me. The way I see it is that “God won”. James is with Him now. Maybe it is my own subconscious talking to me. The “voice” or ‘thought” in my head has always known exactly what is happening and what is going to happen next. (That I’m having a baby, that it is a male child etc). Something you would expect your subconsciousness to know, yes? I won’t know for sure until I meet my maker. But in my life I choose to believe, and therefore it is more logical for me to understand that “God” was talking to me, or allowing me to “think” for myself, these life changing and sometimes life-saving thoughts. I’m not saying, “God talks to me”, I’m simply stating that I “listen” to these specific thoughts I have at special times in my life. And that these “thoughts”  have an uncanny ability to be 100% right. The guidance is good, so I’m going to trust it. There is no clearer way for me to explain my faith.

It was scarey, but I knew things would be okay, I was filled with a feeling of calm once I arrived at Maternity. I knew I was in good, and most importantly, caring hands. These ladies are exceptionally good at their work, and as I had birthed a few times in their unit before, I was well known to them, and the risks associated with my new pregnancy taken into consideration from the start. None of these girls expected me to keep my baby that night, they told me later they were sure I was going to lose 6, the amount of blood I was losing was a very bad indication. I lay as still as I could that night. I kept saying, “I cannot lose another baby”. “I won’t lose him, I can’t!” I knew it would cripple me if I had to go home once again without a baby in my arms.

I was able to sleep for a few hours early in the morning, and when I awoke the bleeding had all but stopped. The nurses and midwives were astonished at how lucky I had been. I was scheduled for an ultrasound later that day that showed a good strong heartbeat, but because of the bleeding not a lot else could be seen. In the next few days while resting in hospital it was decided that I was a high risk case and should consider moving to Canberra Hospital in order to give my infant a chance should he be born prematurely.

Our local hospital, although fantastic, did not have the necessary skills or equipment to care for an extremely preemie baby. Dr Lew directed me to a top Specialist who I was to see when I arrived in Canberra. He didn’t think it was necessary at that point to put me in Hospital in Canberra, and thought it best if myself and the children could find somewhere to stay in Canberra, so we could be close to the N.I.C.U. (Newborn Intensive Care Unit), if my baby was born early.

Luckily Magoo was living in Canberra at the time, and she was delighted to have us come and stay. We were unsure how long we would have to leave our home for, but being with Grandma and Grandpa was so much better than me having to leave my boys at home with their dad and go to Canberra Hospital by myself. We moved into Magoo’s house to await the Specialist appointment. He who used to be brought us up to Canberra in the family wagon, stayed the weekend, but had to return for work on Monday, so he drove the 3 hours home, Sunday night.

I had an appointment with the Specialist at Canberra Ante-natal clinic, the following Tuesday. I was just under 21 weeks.