by Gemma Kybert, Founder of OWF
6 months that will be etched into my heart and memory forever. It feels so surreal to have cradled the most beautiful little boy in my arms. Oscar Jensen Stephen Kybert born 4th November 2014.
At 18 weeks pregnant I went to hospital with severe bleeding. They carried out some tests and found that I had a polyp. Cervical polyps are small, elongated tumors that grow on the cervix. Cervical polyps are usually benign (not cancerous). I was very concerned when the doctors explained this to me as in February 2014 I had had surgery on my cervix. I was informed that I may not be able to have children. I had always dreamed of having children. This was my one wish. I explained to the staff not only was I bleeding but I thought that I had wet myself twice. I was sent home and told to keep an eye.
I went in for my 20 week scan and sat waiting nervously. I was so excited to be getting to see my baby on the sonogram. The sonographer began scanning me and her face dropped. I asked what was wrong. She explained that she couldn't see my baby and needed to get a second opinion. She left the room. The doctor came in and scanned me. I could see that my mum, granddad and friend Kirsten were in tears... I tried to be brave. I was so scared. The doctor explained that I had no amniotic fluid around my baby. I had an AFI of 0.5cm in the deepest pool. I was taken immediately up to the ward and examined. The doctor apologised and said "I'm sorry"... Those words still ring in my head. He began explaining but I didn't hear a word he said... I was so scared I just wanted my baby boy to be ok. My waters had broken and my cervix had begun contracting. I was only 5 months pregnant.
I was kept in hospital for 3 weeks and everyday asked by the doctors if I wanted to terminate my pregnancy. I was adamant that I was continuing with keeping my baby growing and safe for as long as I physically could. I listened to the risks, to the statistics and to possibilities that could occur..... But this was my baby and I wanted to give him/her the best chance that I could. I was on strict bed rest and only moved to go to the toilet. I was monitored closely and laid as still as I could for three weeks, took antibiotics to ensure that I didn't develop an infection and followed the doctor's advice.
I was re scanned and my fluids had risen to 2.4cm. I was allowed home on antibiotics and continued bed rest. I did exactly that until I was allowed to the hospital every week to be scanned for fluid level checks and growth checks on my baby. Each visit showed that Oscar was growing and that despite having very limited fluids was doing well. I had steroid injections to try and help mature his lungs. The aim was to get to 24 weeks and then the doctors would deliver me by C-Section. My fluids had risen to 3.1cm - I was so happy. My little baby was fighting, giving it everything he had.
I went to my scan at 25.2 weeks and was feeling really positive... The lady started scanning me and said that baby was very unclear. She went and fetched a doctor to give a second opinion. I was devastated when the doctor informed me that my fluids had dropped again to 1cm. I saw the consultant who consoled me and let me hear my babies heart beat. I felt so assured hearing it and my heart melted. It was so so strong and prominent. I was advised to come back later in the day for another appointment. I saw another consultant who explained that it was not a good sign that my fluids had dropped again. They put me on a heart monitor and measured the rhythm of my babies heart beat (ECG). This was steady and they happily sent me home to rest.
Within 4 days I began to feel very uncomfortable, I felt unwell and experienced more bleeding and changes. The hospital said to rest and take paracetamol. I was feeling movement so they weren't concerned. I was petrified. Headache and tummy ache set in and within a few hours of calling and asking advice at the hospital I knew I was in labour.
4 weeks have passed since saying good night to my precious baby boy. It feels much longer ago that I held my little man in my arms, he had been born still. For the first time being able to meet him, look at him and cradle him was the most amazing but devastating experience I have ever had. To see his perfect little face, his tiny fingers and nails, little button nose... My darling boy. The baby I had spent 6 months waiting to meet, preparing to care for and nurture for the rest of my life, was here in my arms..... not breathing but here. I desperately loved him, begged for him to breathe, begged for him to open his eyes. I held him for just 10 hours after I gave birth before he was taken away... I did not cry hysterically at first when they told me that they couldn't find a heartbeat, I lay there in shock. I was completely numb. I didn't believe them. During the 8 hours I was in labour after being told that the doctors couldn't find my babies heart beat I focussed completely on delivering without any pain relief. There was nothing I could do to help my baby breathe again or start his heart beating so I had to do this.
I was so focussed on doing the last thing for him that I possibly could as a mother. With my mum, my brother and my sister with me they helped me breathe through the pain. The pain not only of labour but through the pain of knowing that I wouldn't have a breathing baby at the end of delivery. After a very traumatic experience I gave birth to a beautiful little boy. I was adamant throughout my pregnancy that I was having a baby girl..... What a beautiful surprise Oscar was. For a few moments after I gave birth I was elated, I had given birth, my beautiful baby was here!! Then the reality set in that he wasn't breathing. My beautiful baby boy wasn't breathing. His little chest wasn't going up and down like it was supposed to.
At that moment I just lay there in complete shock, my world had just fallen apart in front of me. There was nothing that I could do. My baby was still born, but he was still mine. He was so beautiful. I laid still in pain, heartbroken. Looking out over Brighton and the lights that lit up the City. There wasn't a single star out in the sky. I lay just gazing into nothingness, sobbing, hoping I would wake from this awful nightmare.
In the days following I was adamant that I had to learn about what had happened to my son. When he was born, it seemed like an eternity before the midwife came to tell me what had happened with my baby boy. But when she finally came in she couldn't tell. She said that my waters breaking at 18 weeks were a factor that had contributed to little Oscar not being born alive. I refused to have a post mortem but asked for my placenta to investigated. I couldn't understand how my Oscar had fought so hard from 18-26 weeks and now wasn't here.
Meeting him was so hard. A mother prepares herself for meeting the baby she has been carrying for months, thinking of happy tears, cuddles and kisses. A beautiful moment. Meeting Oscar was so surreal. He was beautiful and fully formed. This was not what I had pictured. I truly believed that Oscar could have pulled through, and always looked for the positive in what the doctors were saying. I even envisaged being a mother to a severely disabled, brain damaged child, because all I wanted was my baby.
Little Oscar was dressed in the knitted jumper that the hospital dressed him in, wrapped and swaddled in a blanket and knitted cot. He had a little knitted hat on. He looked so peaceful. Just like he was asleep. I cradled him, sobbing and hoping he would wake up. These next 10 hours were so precious. I went into shock. The baby I had carried for 6 months, who I had morning sickness with, who I had felt wriggle around and kick inside me, was now gone.
This isn’t meant to happen, I kept thinking.... a mother shouldn’t have to say goodbye to her baby. But I had had too.