by Elana Wolf
A true account of a tragic event in my life.
I went to have my scan last week; I was excited because they can give you photographs of the baby now and with little Lucas’s daddy away I would be able to show him the photo’s when he got home. It was the usual, up on the couch, gel on the tummy, run the thingy over the bump and hey presto there was little Lucas on the screen.
The nurse looked at the screen for a long time, and then said she would like the consultant to take a look. The consultant came and looked and made some notes, she asked me to get dressed and then asked me to wait in an office as she needed to discuss the results of the scan with me.
I waited for what seemed to be a long time, surrounded by posters telling me of the dangers of smoking or drinking while pregnant and showing pictures of the stages of pregnancy. I was getting worried, but there couldn’t be anything wrong, I had just seen little Lucas on the screen, his heart was beating and he was moving so what could be wrong?
The consultant told me that little Lucas was very ill, that there was a blockage and his bladder was filling up with fluid and this could have affected his kidneys. She had booked me into the Embryology clinic for the next day in the hope that they may be able to save his life.
How do you deal with news like that? I listened to everything she said, and what I needed to do next, when she asked me if there was anyone to take me home I lied and said yes, for some reason I didn’t want her to think I was alone. I drove straight to Mum, where else would I go for comfort? I tried to be strong but I just cried and cried. Later I called little Lucas’s daddy and told him what was happening. He was devastated because he couldn’t get away to be with me.
I went to the Embryology clinic the next day (a friend took me, bless her for that) they explained that they were going to put a needle through my stomach and into little Lucas’s bladder and drain the fluid out, they hoped that this would remove the blockage, but they warned me that little Lucas’s kidneys could already be damaged and they wouldn’t have the results of that for several days. Can you imagine? My baby boy had not even been born but they were going stick a sharp needle into him, it was awful, but it was the only way to save his life. They explained that if this did not remove the blockage they would try putting a stent in that would bypass the bladder.
It took them 13 attempts to get the needle into little Lucas’s bladder as he was moving around so much. I counted every single needle mark later, at the time I just tried to get through it, it was very painful but eventually they succeeded and they filled my womb up with saline to replace the amniotic fluid they had drained out of little Lucas’s bladder. They sent me home, a midwife would check with me every day. I was very hopeful as little Lucas was more active than he had been and hoped that was a good sign.
On the third day, I became very ill with a very high temperature, I went to the hospital where they scanned me again, little Lucas’s bladder was filling up with fluid again, the blockage hadn’t moved and I had a womb infection, always a risk with that kind of procedure, they put me on antibiotics. The tests from the clinic had come back and it was bad news. Little Lucas’s kidneys had be compromised, the damage was irreversible and he was not going to survive. I was given the choice of going home and awaiting events or staying in hospital and having labour induced. I couldn’t bear the thought of being on my own and giving birth to a stillborn baby so I chose to stay in the hospital.
About an hour later I started to get pains I had gone into spontaneous labour and things were going to happen fast. I called little Lucas’s daddy and he was finally on his way home but it was doubtful he would get there before his son was born. The nurses were fantastic; they stayed with me and helped me through the most awful time of my life. Lucas was stillborn and when he came they let me hold him for a long time before they took him away to be cleaned up and his statistics recorded. They brought him back wrapped in a pretty blue blanket and in a little Moses basket, he looked so tiny but he was perfectly formed, he was 26 weeks old. His daddy arrived then and the nurses left us alone with our son. I can’t describe what it was like for us to be holding our dead baby that we already loved with all our hearts.
Later the chaplain came he was very kind and suggested we had a naming ceremony, a way of commemorating our son’s very short life, we also had an entry made in the book of remembrance in the Chapel. We then had to make the hardest choice of our lives, did we want a funereal or would we consider donating our son’s body to science.
To have a funereal for a baby who no one except us had known seemed too difficult to cope with; I don’t think I could have born to see such a tiny coffin going into the flames or the ground. So we chose to donate his body to science in the hope that what they learned from him would help other mums and babies with this problem. A lot of people will disagree with our choice perhaps even think we didn’t care about little Lucas but we know we made the right choice in the end.
So Dad I am writing to say that we know little Lucas is safe with you now and we know you will take good care of him for us. Tell him his mummy and daddy will miss him every day and they will never forget him.
Until we all meet again
Your loving Daughter xxxxx