Friday, 7 January 2011

The Day our World Fell Apart

I remember telling a friend who was also pregnant and due about a month earlier than me that I had to go back for another scan.  We joked that I just needed to have a can of coke to wake the baby up and make sure he or she behaved for the Sonographer.  If only it had been so simple...

The date of the re-scan came around and we went along, fearing nothing, just expecting a routine scan and for the Sonographer to tell us that she'd now got a clear view of the heart and that everything was fine.  She didn't.  She spent what seemed like ages looking around again but didn't give us any feedback. I sensed a problem.  She left the room and came back with another Sonographer.  They discussed what they were seeing on the screen and agreed that something wasn't right.  We were asked to return to the hospital that afternoon for a scan with a consultant.  The fear set in at that point.  What was wrong?  What were they going to find?  We returned to the hospital that afternoon and the Consultant re-scanned me.  She was quite a serious Doctor and didn't put us at ease but then, there was nothing to put us at ease about.  Our nightmare had begun.  After what seemed like an eternity of racing hearts and sweaty palms, she moved round the bed to tell us the news.  Our baby had got problems with it's heart, a cleft lip and a problem with it's hand.  She explained that all of these things are associated with Downs Syndrome.  At that point, I broke down.  I cannot put into words the utter devestation I felt, our world fell apart.  Everybody wants a perfect baby.  The irony is, I now wish it had been Downs Syndrome - Benjamin would still have been with us if it was.

They took us to a room where a specialist Midwife talked us through things.  She was lovely, she gave us a big box of tissues and comforted us as much as she could.  Lee and I just held each other and sobbed.  We couldn't believe this was happening to us.  We were just speechless.  We asked ourselves the same question that probably every parent asks themselves in these situations - why us? what have we done to deserve this?  She told us we would have to go to Liverpool Women's Hospital for a further Scan.  They had heart specialists there and they needed to take a closer look to be more accurate about what the problems were.

When friends called to ask how the scan had gone, I tried to speak but couldn't.  I only managed about two words before I broke down.  Lee had to take over and only managed to do it through sobs himself.  I remember coming home from the hospital and standing in the hall with my Mum, Dad and Lee and us all just sobbing as we hugged each other.  Then Phoebe came running in from the lounge and we had to wipe away the tears and be as normal as we could for her.  We had told Phoebe about the baby in Mummy's tummy but after that day, we didn't talk about it again - at least not as an exiciting event that was about to happen.  At nearly 2, she didn't need to know and was far too young to understand anyway.

The hospital got us in pretty quickly but the wait was torture.  I couldn't think of anything else in the days leading up to the appointment.  Maybe they'd got it wrong - you hear stories that Doctors make mistakes - I clung onto the hope that they had but I knew in my heart.... there was no mistake.

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