It is with a very heavy heart that I have to update this post with the birth announcement of our baby boy.
Our gorgeous little man was born sleeping, and way too soon, at 14 weeks. Leon and I were absolutely shocked by how perfect this tiny little being was. At just 14 weeks we could count his fingers and toes, and see his face…he was just utterly perfect. We are so devastated and I miss him so very much.
I feel empty. And I miss my baby. He should be with me.
Back to where I left off a few days ago…I was anxiously waiting by the phone for CVS results. I wanted them, I didn’t want them…I didn’t really know but I wanted to get out of the hell hole that I had found myself in. Late on Friday afternoon the phone rang. I just knew. I bolted upstairs to a private spot away from the kids, took a deep breath and answered.
The poor midwife was lovely, I really felt sorry for her- it must be awful delivering such terrible news over the phone. She very kindly and sympathetically told me that they had in fact found a chromosomal problem with our beautiful baby boy. He had Trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edwards Syndrome. T-18 is a very severe chromosomal defect which is considered to be “not compatible with life” by doctors. By far the most of the babies with this syndrome will die in utero before they are full term, and the few that are born will either die during the birth or a few hours, maybe even days after. Those that do live for a while do so with huge problems – they often have cleft palates, heart problems, lung problems, brain damage etc. The list is endless.
Then we had the whole week-end to wait, wait, research, chat, cry, wait and wait some more. Our appointment at the hospital was on Monday morning. We discussed the issues over and over and always came to the same conclusion. We did not want our baby boy to suffer unnecessarily. We were going to let him go.
Even though termination of pregnancy is usually not allowed on the Isle of Man our very kind doctor told us that in exceptional circumstances, such as ours, they would make an allowance and do the termination. My husband and I had had many discussions over the previous two week and we had also done our research. We immediately concurred that termination was the way to go, and heartbroken as we were we headed to Gynae Ward where I was given the first tablet that was going to end our tiny baby’s life.
I had to go home after that and just tried to keep myself as busy as possible. We spent the next two days putting arrangements in place for our 2 older children to be cared for while I went into hospital, and on the morning of Wednesday, 27 February 2013 I was booked into the hospital where the termination was to take place. It was terrifying and devastating. It was so hard to take in that we were here to voluntarily end our baby’s life.
At 10.10 the first tablets were placed against my cervix to start dilation. The cramping started immediately after the first tablets were in although it was mild at first. The midwives kept telling me to call for pain relief if required as there was no point in being in physical pain, so at 11am I called for some pain relief as I was feeling some discomfort. By 1pm the pain had escalated immensely and I got another tablet to help with pain. They assured me that morphine was also available should I need it but in a way the physical pain was a welcome distraction from the emotional anguish. That said I found it very scary not knowning WHAT to expect.
At 13.10 the doctor came back and placed more tablets in my cervix. She didn’t say anything about my progress which I found rather disheartening and despite multiple wee trips I hadn’t started any bleeding or anything yet. I felt like this could take an extremely long time! Immediately after the finished placing the tablets I was wracked by extreme pains/contractions – they were short and sharp and right on top of each other one after another. I kept wishing I could ask for some morphine then but honestly they were so relentless that I wasn’t able to ask anyone for anything. Apart from the contractions my back was aching and I could feel my hips moving apart.
Suddenly in the middle of a contraction I just felt an almighty hot gush. As a few more contractions wracked my body the gushes kept coming. I burst into hysterical sobs and remember telling my dh “it’s just all coming out, it won’t stop”. He ran off to ask for help and almost as suddenly as it started, just 15 minutes after the terrible and intense contractions began they eased off. By the time the midwife arrived I was no longer in pain but I couldn’t stop crying. She checked my pad and it was full but said it was just blood and water. She also mentioned that the pessaries had come out again so I thought that might be why the pains had stopped so suddenly and panicked thinking I’d have to go through all that again.
My husband and I sat in quiet shock for about half an hour or so. Everything was beginning to seem far too real. Eventually I got up to have a wee. When we arrived the midwife had explained that she was leaving a pot in the toilet as often things happen while you’re ‘going’. Thank goodness it was there because as I sat down my little baby boy fell right out. I looked down between my legs and could see the placenta was half out, and just below I could see my gorgeous baby boy’s feet, crossed at the ankles. I immediately began sobbing again. I was only 14 weeks pregnant and totally unprepared for how perfect and fully formed those beautiful feet were going to be. Again I asked my husband to run out and call a midwife. She rushed in and asked me to cough a few times which expelled the rest of the placenta. She helped me back into bed and took the pot away while my husband and I just sobbed and sobbed.
We had asked to see the baby and so about an hour later they returned. They had detached our baby boy from his cord and cleaned him up as best they could. They placed him in a tiny little basket with the teeniest blanket covering him. My husband and I spent about 20 minutes checking out every detail at him, heartbroken and amazed at how perfect he was. You could count his fingers and toes, you could see bones and shoulders and knees and..and…and….! What a miracle.
What an absolutely devastating, heartbreaking miracle.
It’s a few days after his birth now, and we are all floundering a bit. We have moments when we KNOW we are going to be okay, but then there are other times when we just miss him and feel so robbed of the life that we were meant to have with him.
I don’t for a single second regret the termination. I believe with every fibre of my being that I did what was best for my son. I didn’t want a life of pain for him, and I feel that by releasing him into Jesus arms we were the best parents we could be to him.
But that doesn’t stop me from wishing that things could have been different. Wishing that he could have been healthy. Wishing that he could have lived.
Rest in peace, beautiful baby Joseph. Mommy and Daddy love and miss you so much.