Our story starts way back in February 2012 when I came up high risk on my 12 weeks scan & bloods. This was our 3rd pregnancy – 1st gave us our wonderful daughter Jessica in 2009 and we lost our 2nd pregnancy at just 9 weeks in 2010. We had come up 1 in 20 for downs and we agreed to have an amnio as this had a lower risk than a CVS. Just before he performed the amnio the consultant scanned me and said words I will never forget “There’s a wee problem with babys chest” He went on to perform the amnio and afterwards explained about CDH. Our world came crashing down around us and we left to go home and try and make sense of the news. We were advised that we had a 50% chance of survival and we decided that providing the chromosonal tests returned normal we would carry on as we were advised that if the baby could get through the 1st challenges of her life she would have a good chance of a normal life. All the tests took weeks to come back and I was faced with not knowing which direc
tion our journey would take. In the meantime we knew that she was a little girl and she had been kicking me since 13 weeks. Finally all the tests they did came back normal and we knew at that point we were just dealing with the CDH or so we thought at this stage. My work were great giving me the extra time off for the additional appointments. In the midst of all this Billy as offered a new job – in Plymouth – some considerable distance from our home in Cheshire. It was a really fabulous opportunity for him and his future career so we decided (bravely) for me to remain in Cheshire – have our baby girl up in the north west and he would take time off when she arrived but commute between a flat in plymouth to our family home. The rest of the pregnancy was smooth apart from her measuring a little small at times. At 33 weeks I finished for mat leave leaving me 7 weeks to get some rest – enjoy some time with Jessie before the crazy time started and I travelled down to Plymouth for
a week to see husband and help him move into a batchelor flat. I finished work friday and on the sunday went into early labour. It was a bit like a film – I didn’t really realise I was in labour until I could no longer sit down and was bent over puffing like a steam train. It was a stormy night and the road conditions were horrendous. Finally we reached Derriford hospital and we were madly trying to explain our situation – thankfully I had brought all my notes and the midwife alerted the neonatal team. The baby was breeched, she had CDH, and somehow and somewhere my waters had gone although where is still a mystery. It all became a blur of lights, a lot of people rushing around and I ended up in theatre for a crash section and Annabelle was born weighing 4lb at 1.07am on 2nd July 2012 and was rushed off to NICU. We were told after 2 hours that it was not looking good and I was wheeled in to see her in NICU. During the night they managed to stablise her and spent the next 1
5 days getting her in a good condition to transfer to St Michaels in Bristol for surgery. After her surgery at St Michaels we dared to believe we would take our gorgeous girl home but she started having seizures and after a few more weeks it became apparant that Annabelle had more than just CDH to contend with. Her brain just had not developed and she had a brain migration disorder. We had a week to come to terms with her condition. Our angel slipped away on 18th August 2012 – her actual due date – at 2.24am in the arms of her Mummy and Daddy. She smiled at her Daddy and slipped away.
Her funeral was beautiful – my parents organised it and the theme was love – so many friends and family travelled long distances to be with us.
We are now starting our new life in Plymouth unfortunatly without Annabelle but no regrets of giving her a chance. She will be part of our lives forever and we miss her so very much. My father found this quote and it really matches how we feel “We cannot judge a biography by its length, or by the number of pages in it; wemust judge by the richness of the contents. Sometimes the “unfinisheds” are amongst the most beautiful of symphonies” (Victor Emil Frankl) ♥