My name is Rebecca and I’ve been blogging on and off for a number of years, which, truth be told, were more like platforms to document the daily events in my life. I had no idea how, or where, to begin when it came to monetising a blog, or if even such a thing was possible. Ultimately, while I started with good intentions, my blogs didn’t go very far.
Graduating from University
I studied journalism and creative writing at university and spent 18 months living in America (Valdosta, GA) as an exchange student, which was amazing, before coming back home to finally graduate. After that, I didn’t know what to do with my degree, so I decided to do an MA in environmental journalism. Following several placements and countless applications to various publications later, I landed a freelance journalist position with an online blockchain publication that catapulted my life and writing into the world of cryptocurrency.
Stepping into Crypto
Before 2017, I didn’t know the first thing about cryptocurrency or blockchain. Over the next few years, I was immersed in this new (for me) and exciting world. I attended conferences, went on my first crypto cruise (and first cruise, in general), met some interesting people, and enjoyed discovering the potential it all had.During this time, in 2019, I had my first child, a baby girl. My journalism career focusing on crypto continued over the years, but I felt I was in need of something new and different. Around 2020, an acquaintance I knew in the crypto space reached out to see if I would be interested in writing for her PR company. I hadn’t previously thought about a career in PR, but as it was something new, I decided to give it a go.
It was around this time that I was pregnant with my second child who we found out at my 11-week scan had an exomphalos. For those that don’t know, this is an abdominal wall defect which hasn’t developed fully in the womb and some of the baby’s organs are growing outside of the stomach. For our little girl, the scans showed that her bowel was growing outside. This meant countless scans and talks with various doctors about the steps we’d take following the birth. During all this, though, doctors appeared confident in solving the issue as it was a small exomphalos. I continued working and doing my normal day-to-day activities and exercises. While we had this hurdle to face, I felt things would work out.It was an absolute shock when my waters broke at 26 weeks after I had risen from the sofa and walked a few steps. What followed was a visit to my local hospital before being transferred to another hospital an hour away that dealt with births earlier than 28 weeks. I was monitored overnight and beside myself with having to leave my two-year-old as she had no warning about where I was going. To boost the baby’s lungs, I was given one injection in the bum (not a pleasant feeling) and left to see what would happen.The following morning I was checked on, given another bum injection, and went to have a shower. When the nurse came back, I explained that my lower back was hurting and she checked my cervix. Whether I wanted it or not, baby had decided she was coming. Suddenly in a room full of 15 strangers, I was prepped for an emergency C-section I didn’t plan on having. Half an hour later, my little girl was born on the 27th July, 2021, and taken away to be checked at 9:30 am. I didn’t get to see her until 4 pm with my partner where we were told the exomphalos was easily dealt with and had been pushed back in. Our feeling of relief was short-lived as the doctor added “…but she has a diaphragmatic hernia.” Looking at the doctor in confusion, he explained this is a birth defect where the diaphragm has a hole in it. This means organs that usually stay below the diaphragm can move up into the baby’s chest, which was the case with our baby girl.
A consultation with the doctor indicated that things would proceed in our favour and my partner left feeling happy to go look after our firstborn. I then went back to my room and proceeded to express a bit of milk for when our baby could start taking some. I then went down to check on her and spoke to a new nurse following a shift change. After feeling confident from the talk with the doctor, the nurse’s words of “baby is very poorly” knocked the wind from me. Not until then had anyone said she was poorly, only that after a few months she would be fine. Trying not to cry, I stayed with my baby for a short while in the NICU and went to a new room where other NICU mums were. I then had a shower and was just getting out when there was knocking at the door. After opening it, a nurse said I was needed in the NICU as they were attempting to resuscitate my baby. The next few moments were a blur of following the nurse into the lift. As soon as I got to the unit, I ran to where she was and found her surrounded by eight nurses and a doctor. The machines were beeping, numbers flashing, and there was my little one with tubes all around her and there was nothing I could do.After a few minutes, the doctor took me to one side and said they had been trying to bring her back for 20 minutes, but she felt there was nothing else they could do. I rang my partner, told him what was happening, and we made the decision to turn off her life support. On the 28th July, 2021, fourteen hours after giving birth I had to say goodbye to her. Suddenly, the room was screened off and for the first time since her birth, I held her in my arms and couldn’t get over how small she was. An hour later, after midnight, my partner and my daughter arrived at the hospital where we could all say goodbye to her together.
Living with a Baby Loss
You never think you’ll lose a baby. You never think you’ll be that family that looks like a family of three, but is actually a family of four after a loss. My first birth went to 40+1 weeks and was as normal as I thought pregnancy would go. So for my second birth to go completely the other way was an absolute shock. I found I was constantly questioning everything I did and could have done differently. It’s taken me a while and counselling to realise that there wasn’t anything I could have done that would have stopped what happened. And even though it’s been over a year since we lost our daughter, it’s still hard knowing that another baby should be here, but isn’t.