Birth Story: ‘Pregnancy after loss is extremely hard’

Posted in Birth Stories.

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

For Jade, falling pregnant for a third time felt both exciting and nerve-wracking. Her first birth in 2020 ended in an emergency c-section after a long labour, and one year later she sadly lost a baby at 13 weeks.

With two painful experiences playing on her mind, Jade hoped this next pregnancy and birth would be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

“Reece and I have been together for nine years, we met when we were 18. We had our first daughter Oaklee in 2020 and then fell pregnant in 2021 when Oaklee was only 11 months old with our second daughter Ayla. Unfortunately, we lost Ayla to a very rare medical condition.

The survival rate outside the womb is 0%

My pregnancy was straightforward and like any other pregnancy until we found out at our 12-week scan she had a condition called Limb Body Wall Complex, a condition that affects 0.3 in 100,000. The survival rate outside the womb is 0%. I birthed Ayla at the Canberra hospital at 13 weeks gestation. The hospital was incredible and made a terrible situation that little bit easier with all their support and care, nothing was too hard. She was so beautiful but so incredibly sick.”

Two months after losing Ayla, Jade discovered she was pregnant again with their rainbow baby, Harlan.

“My pregnancy with Harlan was very similar to all my pregnancies, I had morning sickness up until 12 weeks with all three – the only difference with Harlan was I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) which was excruciating, towards the end, I couldn’t lift my legs apart and walking was hard.

‘I worried we would lose him, too’

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

Pregnancy after loss is extremely hard, I didn’t really enjoy any of my pregnancy because I was so stressed about losing another baby. I used to say things like ‘if this baby comes home’ as I worried we would lose him too. I overanalysed every scan and every symptom thinking something was wrong. The fact that he was born alive and healthy and is here with us today still doesn’t seem real to me.

We wanted to wait until birth to find out the gender but I just couldn’t wait and found out through the NIPT at 12 weeks that he was a boy. We were so surprised as we really expected after two girls we probably would end up with another girl.”

At first, Jade planned to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). But as time went on, she worried the birth could end up the same way as it did with her first.

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

“My first pregnancy with Oaklee was also a very straightforward one, there were no issues or concerns ever picked up. I went into labour at 40+2 and laboured for 18 hours – it wasn’t until I was pushing for three hours that someone picked up something wasn’t right. Oaklee was face up with her neck completely tilted back and stuck. It was very defeating to go through such a long hard labour to then have it end in an emergency c-section. Thankfully, Oaklee was fine and was born a big healthy 9-pound baby.

I started to feel more and more anxious about something happening to Harlan and then around 35 weeks they told me he was still head up and most likely wouldn’t move from that position until birth. Since Oaklee was stuck in that position at birth, I just didn’t want to risk it.

‘A relaxing, easy experience’

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

At 40 weeks and one-day gestation, Jade opted to have an elective caesarean.

“He was showing no signs at all of coming on his own and wasn’t engaged. He was very comfy in there. We went in on 01/12/2022, we got all gowned up and ready and we sat and waited a few hours. We were then called in and after three attempts at the spinal it finally worked and after that, everything moved very quickly.

“We originally wanted to play ‘Feels Like Home’ by Edwina Hayes when he was born, but once we were in the moment we chose not to play any music. We did delayed cord clamping and my husband cut his cord. I did skin-to-skin for a little bit then I told them I wanted my husband to hold him, which most people don’t seem to do.

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

Our little boy was here. He was perfect. The whole thing was such a relaxing, easy experience and exactly what I wanted given my fears around losing him.”

Not only did Harlan’s birth go perfectly according to plan, but so did Jade’s recovery from the caesarean – both physically and emotionally.

“My recovery was also super easy and I was off all pain medications after three days and moving around completely normally by day five. With my emergency c-section, it was very rushed and panicked with the unknown of how Oaklee was going to be once she was born – would she need breathing support, would she become distressed, would her heart rate drop? It was all very stressful. My recovery with her was also very hard and it took me weeks to feel normal again.

Birth Story Jade & Harlan

My postpartum experience with Harlan has been really great. Obviously having a two-year-old and newborn is very chaotic at times, but I have found the adjustment of 1-2 way easier than 0-1.

Harlan had a very bad tongue tie which made our early feeding journey very hard, he also had bad colic and reflux so the first six weeks were extremely hard, but thankfully he has outgrown that now and he is a very happy sweet little baby who has settled into our family perfectly.”

Heart with bandaid

Support Services

If you have experienced infant loss please know there are plenty of support services available to you and your partner including …

  • SANDS Miscarriage, stillbirth & newborn death support – 1300 308 307
  • Pregnancy, Birth & Baby – 1800 882 436
  • Bears of Hope – 1300 114 673

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