• Beth Wankiewicz

The Baby Loss Hub - TFMR (Termination for medical reasons) - Pip's mum

“We took all of your pain so you would never feel any”


This is a saying you hear a lot from parents who have had to go through a TFMR (termination for medical reasons). I have never found anything to be more true than those 12 words. I would make the same decision ten times over if it meant you never would feel pain.


On December 15th 2020, I had an inkling that I may be pregnant. We were in Cornwall at the time and I had snuck of to the Co-op to buy a test. My inkling was right, I was pregnant. I was fortunate to have a very easy pregnancy, I had no sickness (so felt very smug) and had really only just felt tired. Our 12-week scan came in February and the sonographer said, “baby is looking very healthy”. With that news we decided to start telling our friends and family our news. Thinking back, I feel I was very naïve, I assumed great we are past 12 weeks, and all will be fine.


Ohh how wrong I was...........


On the day of our 20 week scan I woke feeling excited, but also nervous. Now I look back, I think I knew deep down that something was wrong. My partner was so excited to find out what we were having. The sonographer started at the bottom and worked her way up. Huge excitement as she said, “it’s a boy”, my heart burst, I was so happy I couldn’t believe it, even though I was happy with either. Suddenly as she scanned the brain, she fell silent. I had unfortunately just said how awful it must be to give parents bad news. Never did I think I was going to be one of those parents.


All of a sudden, her colleague comes in, the bed goes back and I am being told they can see a large mass in our baby's brain. My heart broke, the howling started and I started to panic. They wouldn’t tell us anything and just sent us on to the big hospital. After Covid tests

which just added to my anxiety we were scanned by the consultant. After an hour she confirmed that yes our little boy did have a large mass in his brain but we would need

further testing. The following day we had to drive to a large hospital with a foetal medicine

unit. The consultant who greeted me looked aged and exhausted, far beyond his years,

testament to the hard job he has to do day in day out.


He starts scanning, the room is so silent which makes me feel anxious. After 40 minutes he leads us into the next room, he begins by saying that he believes our baby has a large cyst. Here comes the hope. I am thinking OK, this is fine, obviously this is not great but we can do something to help him but he will be fine. Our consultant goes on to suggest an amniocentesis and some MRI's to be done just to check everything.


The following week I am in having my amnio and MRI, feeling very positive and hopeful, I was chatting away to the nurse beforehand telling her how we are having a boy but he’s a bit poorly and will need help. I could feel her pitiful eyes bearing into my soul after the MRI, she looked as if she could cry. I was being scanned every few days just to check how he was doing.


The day came for us to go to the hospital for our results. I was 23+3 weeks at this point so

knew in the back of my mind If it was bad news we wouldn’t have long to decide. I sat on the chair next to my partner, the room was filled with doctors and specialists. I had a feeling

it was bad news.


“your baby is missing part of his brain”


These words will haunt me forever. It was the worst possible news. Our wriggly little boy

was extremely poorly and unviable with life. As well as ACC (absence of the corpus collosum) he had a cyst, enlarged ventricles and fluid on the brain. Our little boy was very poorly. Time was not on our side and we had to make a decision in the next few days.


2 days later we went in to hospital at 23+5weeks for our little boy's heart to be stopped. They call this procedure feticide and for me is the most traumatic part. Pip was so lively I could hardly believe he was so poorly. He fought for life right up until I felt the cold rush go through me to him. He was gone.



I went into hospital a few days later to be induced, I was so terrified and was riddled with

guilt and at this point I hadn’t slept more than 3 hours a night for a month. I was physically

and emotionally exhausted. How do you cope knowing you have to give birth to your dead

baby?


After a day of labouring and actually under the circumstances, I still think it was a beautiful

birth, on the 1st May 2021 at just over 24 weeks we met our little Pip. I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was. I was surprised how big he was, 2 pounds exactly.


I felt a mix of emotion’s and the months after were hard. The guilt consumed me. How and

why did we have to play God?

No one should have to decide who has the right to live?

After support from our bereavement midwife and various other support groups I started to

come to terms and understand why.


It truly is the hardest decision any parent has to make. “we took all of your pain so you will never feel any”. As time goes on I still feel so angry and upset that we had to even be in this position to make such a huge choice. I would make the decision though over and over if it meant you only felt love and warmth.


Over the last few months I have found the following support groups, podcasts and

Instagram pages very helpful. There are a few that specialise mainly in TFMR or TFMHR

(termination for mother's health reasons). There are others that aren’t related to TFMR

that have also helped.


Instagram & Facebook


TFMR Mammas - Emma Belle founded an online community for mothers on both FB and

Instagram, who have experienced TFMR all over the world. A safe space to discuss the

challenging months before and after a TFMR. Support groups, Q&A’s and amazing women

who bravely share their stories.

TFMR psychologist - Erica who herself is a TFMR Mum but also a clinical Psychologist.

The TFMR Doula - Sabrina who herself has experienced TFMR runs support groups and

circles on both FB and Instagram.


Podcasts

Time to talk TFMR

The worst girl gang ever – Bex and Laura

Rainbow baby – Taylor Bates


Books

Empty cradle, broken heart – Deborah Davis

Our heart breaking choices - Christie Brooks


Charities

ARC- Antenatal results and choices

Petals

Sands

SUFC – This is a great one for the dads' but also an amazing way to meet other angel

mummy's on the side-lines. My Partner goes to training once a week and plays in the league

matches every Sunday. The couples we have met have become our second family.

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