Posted by: irishdad | July 25, 2009

things fall apart

Littleone was our second child and my wife’s pregnancy with her had been perfectly normal. The baby kicked like a mule from early on and we were just days away from finally meeting her.

Due to a last minute ALL OUT PANIC just before the birth of our first child Littleboy, Littleone was scheduled to be born by ceasarian on Tuesday the 9th of December. (Incidentally both my father and father-in-laws birthday)

However, sometime on the night of the 4th of December our little girl stopped moving.

Here’s an email I sent to my friends late on the night of her funeral to tell them what had happened.

Gentlemen,

As you may be aware I (by which I mean Irishmam and I) buried my daughter Littleone today.

While this may be a morbid mail I wanted you to know that we didn’t lose a baby, we lost a perfectly formed little baby girl called Littleone to whom I wanted to give a little bit of honour…a day in the sun if you will.

You may have wondered what went wrong.

In short, we don’t know. Irishmam had a scan with our doctor last Wednesday the 3rd of December, during which all indicators of progress were perfecly fine. This was the last scan before Littleone was due to be born by cesarian section on Tuesday of this week, the 9th. Sadly, sometime between last Wednesday evening and the Thursday morning it appears that Littleone simply stopped living, we suspect a pre-birth equivalent of a cot death.

Irishmam told me on Thursday morning that she felt no movement from the baby, but I / we just thought maybe she was having a quiet day or was not moving as she was getting so close to being born that she was cramped up in Irishmam’s tummy. So off I went to work and Irishmam went about her day. But the lack of movement persisted and Irishmam went in to the hospital just, as we thought, for peace of mind that all was well.

Sadly and shockingly all was not well. After just moments in the hospital while the nurses searched for a heartbeat that they could not find the doctor said with a sigh to Irishmam: ‘I’m very sorry.’ And that was it. End of baby.

Meanwhile, I was in work, aware that Irishmam was on her way in to the hospital to get the baby checked out. As soon as I heard my phone ring in my pocket I got a sinking feeling as normally Irishmam would text me to say that all was well. We had a brief conversastion where nothing was said but I knew something was wrong so I ran out of work to get a taxi. Once in the taxi I rang Irishmam again and she told me our baby girl was gone. I told the taxi man to hurry the fuck up and get us to the hospital. The traffic was painfully slow but he did his best.

The rest is just continued trauma. The doctors re-iterated the finality of the situation and said he would contact our consultant in the morning. As the baby was dead they allowed us to go home as there was nothign that could be done and no reason to stay in the hospital.

After a sleepless night (which I can only imagine is something like ones last night on death row) our doctor rang us at around 7 am (he had been on a couple of days off and was now back on call) he told us he’d like to deliver the baby later that day. This was a great relief to us as it was a scary prospect to think that Irishmam might have to carry the baby over the weekend knowing she was dead.

SO, we drove to the hospital filled with disbelief and dread, to have our little angel delivered by cesarian section. THe staff took control of both of us once we arrived and were absolutely brilliant. THey made a deeply traumatic situation as bearable as possible, and we got through the day without drama or sedation and got to spend as much time as we wanted with little Littleone.

Littleone turned out to be a georgeos little girl, perfect in every way. She has a thick head of hair lifted straight from me (although she has hair on the top of her head :)) and an adorable little face. Fingers, toes, the works. heartbreaking.

It felt like the whole hospital knew what had happened as all the staff dropped by to say hello to Littleone and offer their support to Irishmam and I. Let me say again they were brilliant and provided great comfort. As have our families, who are devastated but have been great support even though they have lost a granddaughter/ niece etc.

A couple of day of recuperation for Irishmam (who is thankfully feeling well physically), along with several trials for both of us such as sending the baby off for autopsy and dressing her and putting her in a little white coffin passed, getting us to today, where we had a small family prayer service and then placed her casket into the earth here in Lucan.

So there we are. Why have I written this mail? I’m not sure. I guess just to let you know what happened and to emphasis the point that Littleone is a little girl who Irishmam and I (and family etc) love and will miss for ever more. She was’nt just a baby who died but a little girl called Littleone who in another life I would have been toasting tonight with joy rather than sadness. We knew from early on that she was a girl and were excited at the prospect of introducing the first baby girl to our families and doing all those things that mammies and daddies do with their girls…pink clothes, ponies, all that stuff!!!

I’m telling you this because you are my friends and because you did’nt get to meet or see that little girl who I am so so proud of, so I wanted to personalise the matter, as much for myself as for you. I hope you don’t think this self indulgent. Irishmam and I are very aware of how lucky we are to have Littleboy and will treasure him all the more. I know that everybody on this mail has a source of pain in their lives and that we all endure trials in life that test our ability to keep things together, but this is my trial and it is fresh in my mind so I’m telling you about it.

I have attached some pictures of Littleone and I so you can see how she looks.

Thanks for all your support over recent days, i hope to see you over christmas.

Irishdad

.

On the day we found out she was gone my wife had told me she was going to the hospital as a precaution (because the baby hadn’t been moving) and I thought that that made sense – confirm that all is well and get some peace of mind. I went about my work and then a couple of hours later felt the familiar buzz in my pocket to tell me a text message had arrived. Great, that’ll be her telling me everything is ok I thought – flooded with relief from tension I had barely known was there – but she was only texting to say she was on her way to the hospital. This was at about 3 pm.

Then, as I mention in my mail, my phone rang. I could see it was Irishmam and I just knew it was going to be bad news. I didn’t even ask as I could hear in her voice that things had fallen apart. I walked out of the office, went to get some cash for a taxi and jumped into the car.

(A couple of months later I went through all the texts and emails we had exchanged that day and in hindsight it looked so obvious that alarm bells should have been ringing for us first thing that morning. I think though that Littleone was gone when we woke up, so really we just had a few hours of borrowed time.)

I rang my wife back from the taxi and she just said in a broken voice that ‘our little girl is gone’. We had some kind of stunned conversation. It was short. What could we say?

I’ll never forget the taxi ride. I felt like I’d been shot in the gut and for a couple of seconds worried that I was going to have a heart attack – such shortness of breath and pains in my arms. The taxi man could hear that something tragic was taking place but he just kept driving. An eternity later when I got out of the cab at the hospital he looked me in the eye and wished me luck.

As it was the same hospital where Littleboy was born (Mount Carmel in Dublin) I walked in the door and up the stairs knowing where I had to go, and where faith was taking me…

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Responses

  1. IrishDad

    Thank you for sharing this story. It is so pertinent and so tragic. My heart goes out to you, it really does.

    Well done for honouring your daughter by sending that email. I think it must help too with the loneliness that follows in that on some level you have opened up your grief to others. I hope you find the blog helpful too. I will be following it going forward as it sounds like we are in a similar place. And both blogging (www.livingintherainbow.com is mine)

    My equivolent to your email was a poem I wrote for the funeral.

    http://livingintherainbow.com/2009/07/05/stillbirth-poem/

    God bless


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