We are in a subdued state of blur. Almost unfeeling. Somewhat settled. Somewhat unnerved. Somewhat lost again. Derailed. Back at the beginning. Also, at some small sense of peace.
We had Leo’s post mortem results appointment this morning. All of last week we’ve both been in a quiet state of denial, not wanting to actively engage with it approaching. We’ve learnt that worrying about things is just a wasted energy, it doesn’t help. So we put it in a far away box and just walked the motions until this morning.
Last night the quiet murmurs of nerves started but again, we just tried to put it at bay and ignore it. This morning they slowly got more violent. I tried to ignore the memories that the last time I felt the murmurs of nerves, and drove the very familiar drive to the hospital, was when we went back to begin induction, and when we drove there to discover that he had died.
Our appointment was at 9am. We were called at about 9:20am. We’d waited eleven weeks, so what’s another twenty minutes – but I was trying very hard to not get irritated by this delay. Waiting, all the sounds in the room just echoed. The nattering in the corner, the videos people were playing on their phones, the flicking of the magazines… The door opening. Every time the door opened my stomach dropped. Just trying to hold it all in, waiting.
Our consultant talked us through the results. There was no detection of anything being wrong with me or with Leo. I didn’t expect there to be, but it felt like I’d passed the worst kind of test possible. For eleven weeks I’ve questioned the bite of pate at Christmas, the one runny egg, the sip of champagne, the bit of mozerella, the slightly raw steak.
The report only detected a significant result in the size of Leo’s placenta. It was significantly smaller in weight compared to Leo’s weight. She explained that if both he and the placenta was small, then this would indicate IUGR but this wasn’t the case. She also explained that many babies have small placentas and survive without issues. There was no way of detecting a low weight placenta from scans, there’s no known reason for it, or how it’s linked to Leo’s death.
We are still left with unanswered questions that can never be answered. If they reviewed the abnormalities on his Tuesday scan, on the Friday, what would it have shown? Deep down I think I know it’s linked, but there’s no evidence to show that it is. He showed no decline in placenta function or blood clots to suggest an issue with the blood flow.
The procedures they followed on the Tuesday scan are in accordance to hospital policy. The classifying of IVF pregnancies as high risk is a local policy, championed by our consultant despite, I gather, some resistance. We wouldn’t have even had the 36 week scan had we not been classified as high risk. He would have just died, with no prior clue to anything happening – even if this wasn’t linked.
One of the biggest upsets from the report, is finding out that the post mortem took place on Wednesday 20th January, the day after we left the hospital. From what we can remember, we were under impression that it could take up to a week, and we’d be informed when he’d be released for the funeral home. So we waited, patiently. I phoned the hospital on the following Tuesday, to get an update, the 26th. I was, somewhat casually told, that he was ready. It seems he had been ready for six days. Six whole days. One hundred and forty four hours. Alone. In a mortuary. Left. Naked. Luckily, the funeral home showed a different side and collected him the next day. A week later than he could have been bought into their care. If only.
When I found out he was ready back in January, it broke me. I felt like I had abandoned him. Forgotten him. And now I know, he’d been left there for six whole days. And no one had contacted us. How long would they have left it? Did we misunderstand what was going to happen? I’m sorry we left you Leo, we didn’t know. We so desperately wanted to bring you to the funeral home.
We have our bereavement midwife appointment next week and have some more questions and feedback. Our consultant wants us to seek a second opinion from another doctor at the hospital, who is a specialist in Fetal Medicine. And we are seeking advice from a stillbirth specialist. I’m comforted to know that as part of the Every Baby Counts initiative, our trust is introducing routine growth scans at 36 weeks. It wouldn’t have saved Leo, as we had this anyway, but hopefully it’ll save some other precious babies.
I’m sure more questions and tears will come. Right now I feel as though we are fine but are walking around with a haze infront of us. It’s odd. Reminiscint of how it all was back then. But less vulnerable. This is the last unknown of Leo. We are the other side of it. It marks a milestone, an end, a beginning, a middle.
We love you Leo. We have another piece of your story now. Thank you for helping us get some answers. Thank you for being perfect. You would have always been perfect, no matter what. You are more than just ‘normal’ like your report says. You are extraordinary. Thank you for letting us love you. We really do love you. We miss you so much.