Monday, 11 February 2008

~ Charlotte's Story~ Angel In Heaven

I wanted to share this tonight ...

Charlotte's Story ~ sleeping in God's Nursery (as I wrote it in early 2005)

I was 37 when I fell pregnant for the 1st time. Over Easter 2004 I realised my period was 2 wks late - after 12 years of no contraception we conceived a miracle naturally.

My (.) (.) were also so sensitive. I was way away in outback country NSW -'Giralambone' when I thought I just might be pregnant [or going to die] . I didn't tell anyone. We were 1hr from nearest chemist anyway and i would have had to ask someone to drive me in or come with me.

I could hardly wait to get home to go buy a Home Pregnancy Test (HPT). I did my first HPT. I was overjoyed when it showed two pink lines a- Big Fat Positive . I wasn't used to doing HPT so I thought I'd done it wrong. I did it again 5 minutes later - two pink lines -positive! What was I thinking? I was blown away, so excited, nervous and scared it meant something bad. I couldn't even tell my Dh in case it was wrong.

I had a blood test and it confirmed it.Then I told DH. He was over the moon. I had a dating scan and saw my baby's heartbeat on the screen. I was over 7 weeks. It was one of life's most precious moments to behold, I was so worried there would be no baby there. I was always scared something would go wrong.

I had some early blood pressure problems but it wasn't apparently pregnancy related. So I had kidney/adrenal ultrasounds to check I didn't have a tumour, at same time I also had a breast lump so it was off for more ultrasounds. But all was fine after a few weeks of worry waiting for follow-up with Dr's. I was put on blood pressure medication though as a precaution.

I had a bit of midday/afternoon sickness but was relatively well. At home my BP was fine but higher at Dr's. Later my BP was too low and so OB dropped dose, then stopped them altogether and @22 weeks. Later, He said this had nothing to do with losing my baby.

At 12 weeks after the Nuchal translucency & MFP blood tests my risk at 'anything' was like 1:3000.The Dr had talked us out of CVS when we went to have it.

At 19wk morphology scan we found out we were having a little girl and she was perfect. We were so happy. I still have this on video but I cannot watch it yet ~ to see her so alive sucking her thumb and waving to us would be heartbreaking.

At 26.5 wks I found out she had passed away in the womb at my routine Obstetric visit when he couldn't find her heartbeat. He still didn't tell me he thought she had died but I knew it already. (Strangely, I had felt same way going to 22 week appointment and it was all okay.)

The ultrasound confirmed it. I couldn't believe it had happened because I was 6 months pregnant almost 27weeks. The scan confirmed my worst fears and our precious baby girl whom I so dearly wanted had died in my womb. My world fell apart seeing her lifeless body on the screen.

I'd suspected she wasn't moving much but kidded myself because I read babies in womb slept 90% -95% of time. I felt so well I just had no idea babies could just die in the womb. I knew about miscarriages and premature labour. It was my first pregnancy. Even as I went to OB. That morning I prayed I was wrong about her lack of movement. Though I know there was nothing I could have done even if had noticed the moment she stopped moving

We went back to OB and he explained what happened next, giving birth naturally. I was sent home that night and was to be induced the next morning. It was worst night ever.I went into Hospital on 31st August to be induced.

After 5 lots of v. gel my daughter was born 19hrs later on
1st September 2004 @4.20am.
29cms long

Tiny ... She was due 1st December 2004. It was the most heart wrenching experience of my life. My precious firstborn, Charlotte was born still. To hold and meet my long awaited baby, lying so lifeless and still but oh so beautiful and just perfect is indescribable. Having to say hello goodbye in same breath was just not fair. We were so devastated.

Going through labour was a nightmare but I finally got to see and hold my darling, Charlotte and it was worth it even though she never took a breath, her heart beats on inside mine because she had lived. I regret the time we had with her was brief. I held her for such a short time. At the time I was so exhausted, we had not slept Monday much night for crying and hardly at all Tuesday. Plus, I had just been given Pethidine and no one told me - I could have had her with her for as long as I wanted. I would have been 27wks that day.

We were heartbroken .The staff were wonderful but they didn't advise me much. I would have taken more photos and cuddled her longer. She was so, precious.

My local hospital only has about 4 babies die per year (thank goodness) and Charlotte was the first in long time. (Sadly, another fullterm baby was born on 1st September and passed away on 2ndSeptember from a tumour ?).The social worker/home midwife said the staff were so upset losing 2 babies in 24hrs.

I had left hospital 8 hrs after her birth - I didn't want to be in maternity ward.

They did blood tests (11), checked placenta and there was no reason found for her passing away. The OB said in happens 1 out of a 100 and 45-50% are unexplained. He talked us out of an autopsy. Sids & Kids are now doing research focusing on potential causes and prevention of stillbirths. Statistics are so cruel.

Each year in Australia approximately 58,000 couples experience reproductive loss:
About 55,000 experience early pregnancy loss, 1,750 babies are stillborn
and about 900 babies die in the first twenty-eight days after birth
My one consolation is that I had Charlotte at all - that I know I can get pregnant and that she is my precious daughter forever. We waited over 12 yrs for her. We are fortunate to have an adopted son 12yrs - we adopted him because we thought 11 yrs ago we couldn't have our own. He was 13 months when we adopted him - so not a little baby but our greatest blessing and love ever. When I feel sorry for myself - I have to stop and thank God for him. Some people never get this chance.
One day we hope to be blessed with another precious gift of a baby, God willing.

Postscript ~ in October/November 2005 we commenced a second round of IVF and conceived our twins S & J .They were our last two embryos.

They were born July 1st 2006 one month early (Due date was August 1st but I was booked for c/s 14th July being twins). There birth date is/was one year to the day we started our first IVF cycle. Coincidence by the Grace of God. The birth of these precious little boys affirmed the miracle of life.

Today they bring us more joy than we could have ever imagined - It is not possible to put into words how much they mean to us after losing Charlotte. I struggle to imagine what if's ... if she didn't die and what if they were all together or would they be here at all...???

So many songs gave me comfort in my grief ... I will list them another day.
but the Dance ...plays over and over

Tonight I learned it was1990 song ! The year we married.

My husband is a great Garth Brooks fan .He (my husband) is my hero. Happy 18th Anniversary My Darling rock, my everything, my all.

if Charlotte was alive today ... I’ll tell her that no matter how many times I thought I was in love, no matter how many times I wanted the boy(man) of the moment to love me back, I’m so thankful none of them panned out. Not one of them could ever come close to comparing to her father.

Grief : it's something I am trying to absorb into my life as I feel it has changed me as a person. My whole life in fact. My whole circle of friends. A new online community and some became real life friends as dear as any I have known for years.

How do you cope?

One day at a time.

Find a good psychologist or counsellor, talk about him/her with your spouse/partner and anyone who'll listen, allow yourselves to cry and cry and cry for however long it takes, get to understand the stages of grief (one step forward, two steps backward), give each other the space and time you both need to grieve as individuals.

Journal your feelings, write your child a letter, create an album for her, plant a tree,join an online community spend time with people who have walked the same paths ...the best advice someone gave me was to cry whenever I felt like crying. Don't stop yourself from doing this. Many rivers I cried in my early days ...

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