It was a weird scenario because we had just moved to a new country. I had a miscarriage before we moved and part of the catalyst for moving was that we weren’t having a kid - so we thought let’s go do something different. By the time we moved, I found out I was four-and-a-half months pregnant. We did the usual 20 week scan and found out there could be one of a few things wrong - all of which were incompatible with life. The best case scenario was that the baby would live for a week to a month, but the likelihood was that somewhere between 20 and 40 weeks, I would lose the baby.
Knowing that, I couldn't remain pregnant and wait for that to happen. Mentally, I didn't feel like I could wait for the eventuality of it, so we decided to terminate the pregnancy. I had to figure out how to find an OB and find out how to un-have a child in a new country. It was pretty daunting. We didn't know there would be a wait time. We went for genetic counselling and had a lot of different appointments because they have a duty of care to make sure your diagnosis is as accurate as possible. It's actually not that easy to get an accurate diagnosis from an ultrasound. They thought our son might have dwarfism but he had a type of brittle bone disease that you can’t live with. There are 5 different types and his was the most extreme. It’s called osteogenesis imperfecta type 2. You can live with versions of it, but not the version he had. Terminating the pregnancy came with a lot of issues. We didn't have healthcare insurance because we hadn't been in the country long enough and if you say the word termination on private insurance - even if it’s for medical grounds - they don't necessarily want to cover it.
I had to physically give birth because at that time I was almost 25 weeks. I didn't think I wanted to meet my son. The thought of meeting a baby you are told is going to be dead is the scariest thought. But he was a complete anomaly and he was born alive. It was a
1 in 100,000 chance of him being born alive. The nurse literally gasped and said, ‘he’s alive!’ And I was like, oh my God, now what do we do? No one told me what was going to happen. Our plan was to collect ourselves and decide if we wanted to meet him because neither of us could decide. I just thought of a dead person. That's a scary thing to face because it’s a baby. But when I met him, it was everything you imagine it to be as a new mom. The euphoric moment. It was very intense. We got to hold him for the time he was alive. He was in the room with us and it was beautiful in those moments and you can almost forget. He looked like a really tiny baby. They wrapped him in a blanket so that his arms, which were clearly crippled, were covered and you could kind of forget you’re in this situation. He passed after about 5 hours.
Then you get kicked out of the hospital and you go home and you’re like, fuck. Your milk is coming in and you obviously still feel and look pregnant. And that was just the worst. I kept running into random people I had met while pregnant and they would ask if I had found out the baby’s gender. That is pretty awful and isolating. I felt like all I wanted to do was tell people my reality and my story, but no one really wanted to hear that. I ended up bottling everything up because it's not a good introduction to making friends. I think I minimized it a lot.