Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tiny Heartbeats

And as quickly as it was given, it was taken away.

Life is so fragile.
During our day to day existence, this is mostly overlooked.
Sadly, the only time I think that we truly appreciate the fragility of life is the day we witness its end.

Friday 15th January 2010 was one of those days.

Both Karen and I approached the hospital with excitement.
Gone was the trepidation, felt before the 12 week scan.
Gone was the worry and the fear of the unknown, replaced by joy at the thought of seeing our baby again.

If I'm being honest, I could see it in her eyes.
As I watched the sonographer, I felt that it was taking just too long for her to show us the screen.
When she asked Karen if she had felt the baby, my heart sank.
When she said the news wasn't good, that's when it broke in two.

That tiny black, beating blob that had caused such elation at our 1st scan, was gone.
Our little baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I can't begin to describe how we felt.
We just wanted to go home but were ushered into a small room, in order to wait for a midwife and a doctor to discuss next steps with us.
A mental whirlwind ensued.
From unreserved happiness to talking about the burial of our unborn child in under 60 minutes.
How can anyone cope with that?

Then the questions started.
Why us?
Why not others?
Why not those who have children, only to go on to neglect them, or worse? (Peter Connelly springs to mind)
Why did this not happen to them?
I know these are all natural questions, but they are ultimately pointless.

Questions such as "Why us?" are based on the assumption that what has happened has been decided upon beforehand, akin to the question "Why have we been chosen?"
Maybe the religious would argue that this is a decision made by their respective deity, but for the atheists of the world, this is a non-starter.

Neither Karen and I, nor our unborn child were chosen.
We just experienced of the laws of nature, Natural Selection, survival of the fittest if you prefer.
This is evident all around us, it just hurts more when witnessed in humans by humans.
I have a chili plant in the garden. I've watered in, fed it, covered it when its cold, put it in the sun when its shining and yet it has died. Other plants flourish, when I have paid them no attention at all.
Why? Because there was just "something" not quite right, and the same goes for our baby.
Therefore, I feel no need to ask myself why.

The following 24 hours were a blur of emotion.
Breaking the news to family and friends was horrific but the positives of support and compassion were much needed.
Saturday saw a constant stream of our closest family and friends, each causing tears but allowing diversionary conversation which was welcomed, given what Sunday was about to entail.

9am Sunday saw Karen's admission to Jessops Maternity Unit.
As our baby was 19 weeks old, Karen would have to be induced into delivery.
As you can imagine (or know, if you've had children), labour is a painful and often traumatic experience, but one that is offset against the end result; the joy that is a new addition to your family.
It broke my heart to see Karen go through this process, effectively for nothing.
Complications meant that at 4am, Karen went to theatre.
I attempted to get some sleep.
Karen was discharged at 3pm on Monday and we were finally allowed to go home.
Positives? The hospital food was alright.

Now the healing process begins.
We have had tremendous support from our family, friends and colleagues for which we are extremely grateful.

I have questioned whether I should commit this to words, but I think that its in keeping with what I set out to do.
Burt or Edie was a way for me to document our journey into parenthood.
This glitch is, of course, just a part of that journey.

I know we'll be alright, it will just take a while.

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