Surgeon passes scissorWe were told that Amber was on the morning list for theatre.

Meaning she should go in before 1230. By the time I got to go in to see Amber she had already dressed into her gown and had been given medication to dilate her cervix, at 7 am.

Amber had her bed in the very corner of the day surgery ward, which meant as you entered from the waiting room section you had to cross the whole ward to the very left corner. I could feel people watching as you crossed the room if their curtain was open, they were probably wondering why we were in (the same thing I wondered while passing them)

A couple of times Nic and I tag-teamed to spend a little time with Amber. We explained to the nurses that I was Amber’s partner and they were quite friendly and let me come and go and even let both Nic and I in there at the same time.

We went into King Edward Memorial Hospital (a public hospital) as a private patient. Because we went in as a private patients we only had to wait a week for the surgery. It could have been longer if we were public but they also had to do it as soon as possible as we were already at the 13-week mark when we first found out the news.

Amber got a cool little package from the hospital with some free toiletries and a voucher for the cafe. How exciting – we are going into the hospital to have a procedure that would have us leaving without the baby we wanted so bad – but hey… we would have a free toiletry kit and a free drink from the cafe!

The morning went slowly and we had the curtain closed, for the most part, we listened as people came in and out of surgery and were wondering when it would be Amber’s turn. Amber had been fasting since the night before and was getting hungry and thirsty. It was hard to see someone you love beginning to get upset.

If the long wait wasn’t bad enough – then kicked in the medication to open the cervix.

It was becoming painful and we thought, well it’s okay – she will be going off to the theatre soon. But the wait continued and the pain got worse. A few hours after getting the medication it was becoming unbearable and the reality of everything was well and truly kicking in.

It was horrible seeing Amber in so much pain so we buzzed for the nurse to come in. We had to plead with her to give Amber something for the pain. She was also unbelievably thirsty and dehydrated. If anyone who is reading this knows Amber, you would know she suffers from nasty migraines. Dehydration was not helping the migraine situation. The nurse gave in when she saw how Amber was not in a good way and almost delirious with the pain. The pain was in fact ongoing contractions as her cervix opened before surgery. Anyone who has ever been induced will know that once the contractions start, they hit hard and fast and very close together. She let her have a sip of water and said she would get some IV Panadol (paracetamol)… PANADOL??? Seriously? Someone who can have Mersyndol (containing codeine) and other medications and have no effect on her, they are going only to give her Panadol?

Amber looked at me with a horrified look in her eyes. She knew that Panadol was not going to do anything. I asked the nurse if she could have anything stronger but she just looked at me, shook her head and assured me that they didn’t often hand out IV Panadol and she was sure that it would work.

Almost as soon as the IV started to go in, Amber looked at me and said ‘we need to get some of THIS for home!’ I was relieved that something was helping with the pain but we were struggling with the wait, why was it taking so long? We assumed she would be going in around 10 am as the nurse told us that after the medication she would have to wait 3 hours before surgery. That time came and went.

Nic was in and out and would keep checking on the car, I think she even said she had to move it occasionally because of the time limit on the car park bays. Thank god we had her otherwise I hate to imagine the number of parking tickets we would have had.


It was becoming increasingly frustrating watching other people come in and out of their own surgeries and getting their sandwiches and going home.

I was getting hungry and hadn’t eaten anything all day but didn’t want to leave or duck out to get anything, just in case that would be when Amber would be taken off to surgery. I really didn’t want to go anywhere and come back with her already gone. We asked ‘how much longer?’ The nurses said they still weren’t sure but assumed it would be soon.

Some of the days is a little bit hazy and I can’t remember exact times, But I am sure close to 11-1130 we asked again how much longer it would be? We were told that Amber had been moved to the afternoon theatre list as they ran behind schedule in the morning theatre and would have to wait until after 1230 as there were not enough theatres, (we found out later that this was due to her being a private patient. The public patients got priority and as they ran late she had to wait for the afternoon surgeries to start.) It was getting ridiculous! I mean seriously, how long do we have to be waiting for a surgery we don’t even want?

By 130-2 in the afternoon Amber had still not gone in. We were getting more emotional, more annoyed and poor Amber had started to get pain again. It had been at least 6 hours since Amber had the medication to open her cervix, we couldn’t even get excited that it was labour and was going to end in a beautiful little baby.

Amber was not coping with the pain and the horrible migraine was returning. We asked the nurse if she could have any more pain relief. They were hesitant as it is quite expensive and they weren’t sure when she would be going in. After more tears and pleading they gave in and hooked up some more of that wonderful Panadol, although this time it only gave her about thirty minutes of relief before the pain hit again.

It got to around 3 pm and I was on auto-pilot. I was so hungry I couldn’t think anymore. Finally, Dr Dickinson came. She rushed in and before we could ask what was happening she apologised for having to wait so long. She was furious that someone who was a private patient and awaiting surgery that we did not even want had to wait all day. She said that she was so upset and annoyed that we had to wait that she was going to write a letter to the hospital explaining that it was unacceptable. This coming from one of the top specialists in Western Australia was somewhat comforting.

We both felt relieved that at least the doctor was on our side and something would get done about us having to wait so long.

We knew that nothing could change our day but maybe it would at least mean that another couple wouldn’t have to go through the same thing.

I can’t be sure exactly of the time, but we were still waiting and Amber had decided that she didn’t want me with her when they took her to the theatre. We decided I would go and have some lunch and hopefully, by the time I got back, she would either be back already or at least in surgery.

Nic was great and took me to Subway in Subiaco for lunch. I was so hungry that I almost didn’t even feel hungry anymore – or maybe I just felt sick knowing what Amber was about to go through.

We sat on the grass and just chatted about who knows what exactly and ate our lunch. I was nice to be out of the hospital since we had been there since 7 in the morning. We sat out in the sun for a little while and then decided we should head back to the hospital.

By the time we got back to the hospital, Amber had already gone in. Nic and I sat in a random hallway entirely separated from the Day Surgery Ward. I didn’t even want to sit in the waiting room. Nic and I played Mario Cart on her DS while waiting for Amber to come out.

Around 5 pm I got the call to say Amber had come out and I would be able to come back up to be with her. Nic and I made our way back up and went straight through to her bed.

We all just wanted to go home. We had a rough, long day and Amber wanted to go home to process everything that had just happened. We had to wait a while for the doctor to come back to let us know how everything had gone.

Dr Dickinson let us know that she had to do the D & C by also using ultrasound. She did this because of Amber’s double uterus and wanted to make sure everything was done correctly. She said it was wise to have further surgery relating to the double uterus and referred Amber to another doctor – Dr Tamara Walters.

By the time Amber and I talked to the doctor about further surgery and what not we really just wanted to leave. The nurses had said as it was now getting later that it was recommended that she stay the night in a hospital ward. Amber flat-out said no. There was no way she was going to stay the night and there was no way I wanted to leave her at the hospital by herself.

Amber filled out paperwork and we sat in the recovery lounge. While we were sitting at the lounges the nurses came out and gave us some little things. They gave us some information about pregnancy loss, a little angel charm and a teddy and also asked us if we were wanting to get the baby’s ashes put in their rose garden. We decided yes that’s what we wanted – it at least meant we had somewhere to go to remember the baby.


They also let us know that they had a memorial service each month and read out the names of all the ‘born too soon’ babies.

We were sad to realise that the next one happened to be only a few days after we were due to fly back home.

Just after 7 pm (12 hours after arriving), we were finally able to leave. Amber had to eat a sandwich but she wasn’t interested as it was stale! We finally walked out feeling sick and emotionally drained. We even realised that we couldn’t use the cafe voucher as the cafe was closed! Damn was the whole world against us?

Nic drove home and we ended up having to stop for the subway so poor Amber could have something a little more substantial to eat, especially since all she had in 12 hours was a few stale sandwiches and a few sips of water.

We ended up talking to Amber’s dad sometime that night, he was up in Paraburdoo working and wanted to check on how Amber was going. He told that in the afternoon he suddenly got upset and overwhelmed and burst into tears. We realised that this happened at 430 – the same time that Amber actually went into surgery (over 9 hours since the medication to open her cervix)

We stayed up for a little while once we got back home to Mandurah. It was almost as if nothing had happened. Amber was feeling sore and we ended up finally going to bed and finally put an end to the longest day of our lives.