I met the psychologist on Saturday and she gave me all the signed papers to confirm the induction process.
I went in very angry at her too, but she turned this anger into something nicer. She was spared from my circle of hate!
She listened to me, to my angry words against my hospital care, their hospital policies. She asked me the reasons for our choice.
'Should I answer what you want me to answer, or what I really think? Do you want me to say that we chose this for my mental health to be preserved?' I asked.
'You can answer the truth.' She said.
She listened and she was looking me with love, not pity, not judgement. 'I see this choice is really felt and that you did all the research inside and outside you to hold you in this decision. Now, the only way is through.'
She made me sign, she gave me tissues and promised me she would be there for me any time I needed her, before the induction, during and after. Not 'after' in the medical term of the word, but after meant whenever I needed, days, months, years after my daughter's birth. We got out of the room and a newborn just came out from the delivery room with all those people congratulating to the parents. Oh my heart, the pain. Oh, the hate.
The day before the induction I stopped having fear, I wasn't feeling worse or more sad, I wasn't scared anymore of the physical pain either. I was longing to meet her. Since three days I was feeling her regularly kicking, more and more until the day at the hospital.
On Wednesday 29th November at 8 o'clock I arrived at the hospital with my mum and my hospital bag. I had with me the diary I write just for Ida, my E-reader, her blanket, her hat, her wooden necklace, a change of clothes for me, my new pajama and slippers.
We arrived in the postnatal ward and a cold doctor did my admission. Asked again the same questions. I said hello to the nurses, they didn't answer back. Maybe they thought I was just a visitor, maybe they thought I was just a murderer.
They brought me to my room, at the end of the corridor, room number 3, a green room with a big window and two empty beds. I took the farthest one, close to the window. I was glad I was alone and that the room had an en-suite bathroom.
The midwife made me lay down to take my bloods. I did small talk, she was okay with it, she asked me about Ida, I told her about Ida, about my pain and my love.
I put over my head my birth-plan and looked at the wall in front of me with my hands on my womb, feeling and catching every last kick. I kept thinking 'I love you, i love you...'
My mum arrived, she was talking with the social workers about Ida's burial arrangements. We were the first asking for something like this for a termination. I couldn't believe it. They didn't know how to proceed! We brought papers with the laws that clearly stated we were allowed to ask for a proper burial for our daughter. So many babies ended up in the hospital waste in these years. So many mothers that weren't helped in understanding there was a choice. But we had to pay for it, almost 500 euro for a non permanent burial, without the possibility of putting her name engraved in stone.
My new gynae wasn't there yet, he would've arrive just at 13.30. They were ready to induce me, but there were just pro-life doctors available.
Two pro-life doctors entered the room complaining they didn't want to do it.
One of them asked 'Dear, do you feel like putting it yourself?'.
I just stared at them and said 'I wouldn't like to be here either. I love my daughter and her name is Ida.'
We talked about her, our story and our love.
At 11.30 the first set of prostaglandins was put on my cervix, with everybody astonishment, from one of those two pro-life doctors who never accepted before. She understood.
So my dad understood, crying in front of me after reading my birthplan, prepared to protect us, that we were showing to any nurse, midwife, doctor entering the room. Everybody understood.
After one hour from the first set of induction I felt her last kick. Then just my uterus fighting against this pain and this unbearable robbery.
For the whole time I was whispering how much I loved her. If only I could've choose to die at her place, to die and make her give birth to her healthy and alive.
Jonas stayed with me until evening, making me laugh a little, holding my hand, kissing me. He then became more and more scared, unsettled and when they asked him if he wanted to go home I've seen his heart wishing to go. I then told him to, that I was feeling safe and well and I preferred him to be wherever he felt comfortable to be at that time. He asked me to confirm this many times and then left. I stayed with my mother, I felt good to let go with her to my raw self, to pain and everything that was coming out without worrying for her.
They did the 3 remaining sets of prostaglandins and than there was just waiting.
At midnight the contractions started, regular, stronger, longer and with a shorter resting time than those of physiological childbirth I witnessed in my midwifery placements. At 5am my waters broke and after a pause, contractions started stronger again. I was so much in pain, dehydrated because they told me not to drink in case of an imminent run to the theater, tired from pain, from diarrhea and fever caused by the induction. My mum always next to me, holding my hand, letting me squeeze it violently, looking me with so much love. We were both asking Ida to come soon, to spare me from more pain. I was trying to control my breathing like I advice women to during birth, but all this wouldn't end in getting me closer to my baby. This wasn't working. I wanted my baby alive with me. I was sinking under those contractions bringing Ida away from me one contraction at the time. They finally decided to bring me to the delivery room. I remember to feel so confused by my bed moving, all the lights of the hospital. One of the students and the psychologist I met on the previous Saturday came to me and gave me words of encouragement. They will be there for me, they will come and stay for as much as I will want them and they will let them. We took the lift with my bed, arrived and waited in the corridor for the room to be ready. The two midwives arrived and introduced. 'Does the baby have a name?' - 'Do you mind if I baptize her when she is born?'. I wasn't believing anymore, but those questions humanized my baby. They took care of me, my baby and my mother, helping us in all our wishes.
At 10.05 Ida arrived, without any further push, without contractions, after a pause from contractions. The midwife was coming to tell me they needed to start the induction again, but Ida came almost saying I had suffered enough.
From here pain turned into joy. I felt so much filled with happiness to finally meet her and everybody in the room was congratulating with me. She was attached to such a short umbilical cord that meant she probably wouldn't survive the next months and her head was already showing the pathologies she was suffering from. Nonetheless, the midwife kept her sweetly close to me when I changed bed and she cut the cord. As I asked Ida was brought to me straightaway, with her light blue knitted blanket, her head was too fragile for her hat. She was beautiful, she had so many eyebrows already and my strong muscly legs, Jonas feet and mouth. My mum was holding her when I needed to have a pause, she was my advocate for my wishes, she was encouraging me to kiss her and touch her. I was hesitating, she looked so fragile. In that moment I realized that she was uniquely her. My first daughter Ida Saoirse. Forever her, never regretted, never regretting this pain that is our love story. She is the baby who taught me how to be her mother with only few months of living inside me. She taught and she will teach me so many things.
They had to bring me to the theater because my placenta wouldn't detach. We had to say goodbye. That was the hardest. I kissed her goodbye and went to have a long sleep, but I was feeling in good hands, my mum present there to protecting me. I love my mum in a different way now because now I know what you would be ready to do for your children. When she told me 'I would like to have all this in my body, to spare you from all this and take it straight in my heart.' I knew she meant it.
They brought me with my bed and my daughter carefully closed in a box, to the mortuary. I had to give her to them. People on the waiting room were looking at me, then at the box, they were whispering.
Perhaps saying 'Look, it's probably a dead baby'.
Another less important dead baby, with a lessofamother there.
I felt so much in pain. I was back into my room. They will let me go home in the afternoon.
I wanted to go home, in my bed, with my Jonas. I couldn't have my child back.
I wasn't blaming Jonas for not having seen Ida or caring for me during labor. We both felt it was better this way. I had my mother and I don't regret her. I'm just sorry he missed out something he regretted few days after. Really realizing Ida wasn't an idea of our first daughter. Ida had a weight, a face, a body, looking like us already. He looked the same day at the pictures my mum took, but he told me he wasn't the same. He said he will regret this forever, he failed his duty as a father and he told me I couldn't make him feel better or change his mind.
I couldn't change what it was, I knew this all too well.
Ida Saoirse Scherer,
our first baby girl, who was born and died at 16+5 weeks on the 30th November 2017.
Resources about Termination for Medical Reasons
Sister-friend Emily writing for her first son Amari Regan (Fragile X Syndrome)
Katrina's blog for her second daughter April Rey (Trisomy 13)