In Her Shoes Profile picture
May 20, 2018 41 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A story about the 8th amendment and miscarriage:

“I've been trying to write this since this page was set up. Today marks the 8th anniversary of when the 8th amendment put my life in danger so it seems apt to share my story now...
8 years ago I was pregnant with twins. All was going well and my 16 week scan showed two healthy babies. Less than 2 weeks later I had some pains and heavy discharge.
I went to the hospital where I was checked out and had a scan. All seemed ok with the babies and I was prescribed antibiotics for a uti. The following morning I felt very sick and started to bleed so I went into the maternity emergency room again.
There I was examined and told I was losing the babies. I was told to go get a cup of coffee while they arranged a bed for me!
I was alone, left to wander around the hospital trying to understand what was happening After a while I got a bed on a ward and as I entered the room my waters broke.
The midwife gave me a bed pan saying to use that when I went to the toilet as I would pass the babies any minute now. I was put on antibiotics to prevent getting an infection in my womb from my cervix being open.
My partner finally got in to the hospital and we both broke down and waited for the inevitable to happen.
The next day the babies were still holding on so I was sent down to the antenatal clinic for a scan. Both babies still had heartbeats though both had no fluid in their sacs.
We were told again that they should pass soon that there was no hope for them but we just had to let nature take its course.
I remember one doctor said in another country we could give you a pill for this.
This went on for 6 more days, every day being sent down for a scan. Every day waiting with all the expectant mothers and big baby bumps. Trying to hide my tears in case I upset another pregnant woman.
Myself and my partner were reading about break through advances in America, where doctors were attempting to "patch" up ruptured membranes in the womb. Yet nothing like that was being mentioned or offered to us.
In fact bar looking after me nothing was being done to help my babies. I was told there was no point taking my iron and folic acid supplements. Basically there was no hope for my babies as far as medicine in Ireland was concerned yet I had to remain pregnant.
Eventually after 6 days, my baby girls cord prolapsed and slowly she died in my womb. The scan the following morning showed her heart had stopped. Later that evening she started to slip away and I was taken to the labour ward to deliver her.
We got to see her and hold her while we waited for her placenta to deliver. Her cord had broken during delivery. As my baby boy still had a heartbeat the doctors couldn't do anything to help the placenta along.
After a few hours they sent me back to the ward....her placenta still inside me. All antibiotics were stopped now as they could mask septicaemia so again we just had to wait while the midwives checked me regularly for signs of infection.
This went on for 7 days.

7 days of scans. 7 days of a heartbeat. 7 days of internal exams and twice daily blood tests. 7 days of waiting.
By now I could really see the doctors frustration, waiting, knowing I was going to get sick very fast. But there was was nothing they could do until my life was actually "at risk "
So after a week of waiting I finally got sick. Very sick. This wasn't negligence on the hospitals behalf, they absolutely knew I was going to get sick. You can't leave a rotting placenta inside a woman.
When you give birth full term to a living baby there is a degree of urgency to deliver the placenta and make sure it has all delivered as it can cause complications.
Leaving a placenta for 7 days was going to lead to an infection. The doctors knew this but their hands were tied due to the 8th amendment, because my 19 week old foetus had a heartbeat.
He had a heartbeat but no chance of survival where as the chances of me getting sick were almost definite.
On that Sunday evening I was feeling fine, waiting for my supper. I got up to use the toilet and when I came out I started vomiting and shaking uncontrollably.
Luckily my partner was there and called for help. That's how fast sepsis hits. That's why thousands die a year from it.
So finally my life was at risk, the doctors could take action. I was brought down to the labour ward and induced and put on multiple iv antibiotics immediately.
My kidneys began to shut down. My lungs filled with fluid. I was in so much pain, struggling to breathe while trying to labour my baby who I knew wouldn't survive the labour.
We asked what would happen if he was born alive and we were told nothing would happen, that they wouldn't intervene as he was only 20 weeks.
So we were thankful that he didn't survive the labour as to watch him slowly die would have been unbearable.
After the labour, my condition deteriorated rapidly.
We barely got to see our little boy as I was rushed immediately to the high dependency unit where a team of doctors fought to keep me alive.
Then once stabilised i was sent to itu where i spent a week. I needed vasopressors to raise my blood pressure, Iv fluids, Iv antibiotics and a blood transfusion. I spent another two weeks in hospital after that.
5 weeks in total, being away from my daughter who was 8 at the time. I loved my babies of course but I loved my living, breathing child at home a thousand times more. It broke my heart to be away from her.
All this for a baby, a foetus that the system would do nothing for once he was out of my womb but my LIFE was worth risking when he was in it.
If I had died it would have been one hundred percent due to the 8th amendment. But would people know that or would they be told it was due to infection caused by miscarriage??
I get so upset when I think about Savita. I know that so easily could have been me....compared to her I was lucky.
People dismiss what happened to her and deny the 8ths part in her death. Septic shock is a very real killer...with something like a 60 % death rate.
It's insane and cruel that women need to get so sick before doctors can intervene. It's madness that I consider myself lucky to have survived a miscarriage.
And my poor babies. Was it humane to leave them slowly die in my womb, without fluid? My little girl slowly being deprived of oxygen over 24 hours until her heart stopped. My boy lying against my womb wall drying out for weeks and alongside a rotting placenta for 7 days??
And what about my older girl to be without her mother for 5 weeks? Not knowing or understanding why I couldn't come home.....why being pregnant was making me so sick.
All I could think about as I lay there realising that I might actually die was my daughter. About if I did die how she would think we had all been lying to her. That she would think we must have known I was sick. How could she believe that a miscarriage killed her mother?
Thankfully it didn't come to that....I was lucky”…


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More from @InHerIrishShoes

Jun 26, 2018
One month ago we stood and waited anxiously for the results of the referendum.
We rejoiced together, the weight lifting, this freedom and feeling of finally being heard - of finally gaining something for ourselves :: our autonomy.
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July will begin a larger highlight on the plight our sisters face in the North.

Just across the border, the very women that have risked their lives to smuggle pills to us in the South are being prosecuted - this carries a life sentence...
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“In 2013 I was absolutely thrilled to discover I was pregnant. I already had a child and desperately wanted to expand our little family...
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Read 37 tweets
Jun 12, 2018
We repealed the 8th
Every Day at least 9 women are still traveling.
Every Day a minimum of 3 women are taking unregulated, illegal pills.
The work is not done.
The work is not close to being done.
The *right* legislation matters
Women and girls will still slip between the cracks. The grey areas unthought of...
We will not stop fighting for FREE SAFE LEGAL
Read 6 tweets

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