At the end of November 2020, I found out I was pregnant with our third child. The day after my doctor called me to confirm I was indeed pregnant, the sickness started with a vengeance. I couldn’t eat even though I felt hunger, and the nausea was so strong I felt like I couldn’t take a deep breath.
I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. My weight was the lowest I had ever seen on the scale in 15 years. I was too weak to put socks on my feet. I had to cut my showers short because I felt like I was going to faint while standing.
I was prescribed Diclectin, Metoclopromide, Gravol, and Zofran, but my OB was never available to see me, always so busy or COVID-19 issues. He tried to help me, even reaching out to his colleagues for advice. On one of our calls, he told me “Frankly, I just don’t know what else to do.”
I waited until 11 weeks before I finally went to the hospital for IV fluids. I was kicking myself for not doing that sooner. Although it didn’t take away the sickness, the rehydration really helped.
During this time, my husband took so much time off of work and basically became a single dad. I had to be in bed by 7 PM every night or the nausea would get severe. Then I’d wake up several times a night drenched in pure sweat, having to change and sleep on a towel.
My 3-year-old would come into my bedroom and give me kisses and tell me to “feel better mommy,” and just writing that out makes me cry again. I felt so guilty.
At 16 weeks, we announced the pregnancy. I was feeling better. It was almost like a switch. I started getting my appetite back and wanted to bake and cook again. I remember taking my girls for a winter walk and feeling so good. I couldn’t believe it.
I had said to numerous people how I thought it was weird that I hadn’t felt movement. I have since learned how important a mother’s intuition really is. I still hadn’t seen my OB, and didn’t have my first appointment with my OB until I was 20 weeks along.
On March 18, I got my girls up, went downstairs and felt a gush of blood. I called my husband home, and he took me to the hospital where I learned on my own (due to Covid) that my baby’s heart was no longer beating. I remember seeing him on the ultrasound not moving. I knew it then even before the nurse told me, but I didn’t want to accept it. I remember crying so hard my contact lenses fell out.
The OB explained that because of how far along I was I had two options: 1) come back to labour and delivery tonight to be induced or 2) Be referred to a Toronto hospital to have a D & E (Dilation & Evacuation) where I would be put under, and the baby would be surgically removed from me. The OB told me they were concerned by the time I got a surgery appointment that I might go into labour myself. I called my husband and told him through tears that I was going to be delivering our baby tonight in the hospital. The same hospital I delivered our daughters in.
Induction took longer than expected, but around 6am on Friday March 19, I delivered my stillborn son. It was dark and quiet. Other than my husband and I crying, silence.
That morning, after being told we needed to make arrangements with a funeral home, I spent time with my son. He was so cute. His little nose and mouth, so tiny and precious. He had a little green hat on and was wrapped in a beautiful white knitted blanket. He was perfect but so achingly small. I was too scared to hold him and that is the biggest regret of my life. I never held him. My baby. How could I not hold my baby? The pain I have from that decision will be with me until the day I meet him in heaven and hold him and never let him go.
Benjamin James Williamson was born on March 19, 2021, weighing about 5 ounces. He is forever in my heart and will always be my third child.
We didn’t get any answers as to why his death happened. There looked to be an issue with the placenta, but they couldn’t verify. It was never blamed on the HG or any medication I was taking. Of course, I’ve done research, and still can’t pinpoint what may have happened. I thought having an answer would bring closure, but I have learned it never will.
There is no happy ending in all of this either. There is no silver lining. I faced 16 weeks of hell and at the end of it ended up having to endure the most traumatic, devastating experience of my life. I am sending love to every mother and father who has had to endure the loss of a child. Whether though miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Whether a Hypermesis Gravidarum pregnancy or not, we are all stronger than anybody will ever know, and our babies are shining together among the stars.