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Holly Morris

A Little Angel – Holly Lauren Morris
4th November 2008 – 5th November 2008

Holly Lauren’s Story – written by her mum & dad

It took five long years, fertility treatment and 3 miscarriages before Holly Lauren was conceived.

After loosing our third angel, we decided to give it another try. We were having regular scans to see if the fertility drugs were working, but yet again the sonographer told us the treatment wasn’t working. This was it; we will never have our baby. I will never feel our baby move and grow inside me and have the experience of giving birth and holding them in our arms.

I decided it was time to change my job. I was going to settle there for a year and then consider looking into adoption, we have so much love to give and we deeply wanted a family. Three weeks into my new job I was late, I normally have irregular periods, but I thought I wonder if I could be? I’ve always wasted money on pregnancy tests before, so what the heck let’s get one. I left early for work the following day to buy a pregnancy test from the supermarket and took the test at work. Well, there it was, or should I say there they were, two pink lines I was pregnant!! I couldn’t concentrate all day. I phoned Scott straight away and he didn’t believe me, we were over the moon, but very scared due to three previous miscarriages. We’d booked a holiday and bought a second car a couple of days before, so they would have to be cancelled, but were not going to be too hasty because of our previous miscarriages, we’ll wait.

Here we go again……

One Thursday afternoon five weeks into the pregnancy I started to bleed, passed clots and I had stomach cramps, this felt exactly like a previous miscarriage. We contacted the surgery for them to make an appointment in the early pregnancy unit, but because it was Easter Bank holiday we had to wait until the following Tuesday, I could not believe this, there were plenty of scan machines there why couldn’t anyone just scan us, it was a very long weekend. Finally Tuesday came and we were so nervous that they would not be able to see anything, but there was our baby, but too early to see a heart beat. I had a placenta bleed and we had to wait a further two weeks before we had another scan, so I rested until then.

At seven weeks we had another scan to see if we could see a heart beat, and there was our baby’s heart beating away, so off to the doctor’s to start clexane (injections) to prevent the blood from clotting. I started to relax because I now felt more secure after seeing the scan and I was having daily injections along with 75mg of asprin, I was happy.

Another day, another bleed! I had to have another scan because the placenta bleed hadn’t stopped, so I was very upset and frightened that we were going to go through it all again and would never get through this, but our baby was a little fighter and the heart was still beating strong, just needed to rest until the bleeding stopped and have regular scans. Phew!! Every week seemed like a month, we finally passed eight weeks, we have never gotten this far before, but I won’t relax until we have our twelve week scan.

It was finally here, our twelve week scan, it went perfect. My sister came with my husband and I. I had seen both of her children’s scans, so this was special for her she has waited for so long to see her younger sister to become a mum. Holly was very lazy in most scans, she would always be sleeping, but I didn’t mind so much as long as she was ok that’s all that mattered We were waiting for the sonographer to give us bad news, because it is what we were used to where our babies were concerned, but nothing, she said the baby was perfect and nothing was wrong, I have never felt so happy in my entire life, everything was going to be ok, or so we thought…

The day after the scan I started to bleed very heavily, and that feeling of dread, sadness and emptiness came over us. I had already had a small bump and could not believe that this could happen now, not after getting this far. I was admitted to hospital where they gave me an internal examination and the consultant told me that I was most likely miscarrying, and again they could not scan me until the morning. This was one of the longest nights of my life. We finally had a scan at 11 o’clock the following morning, and there was our baby again, still fighting strong same as the day before, didn’t know how much more I could take. The doctor came around to see us and she told us that I had a bleed in the womb and needed to rest, so I eventually was allowed home later that evening and put my feet up until the bleeding stopped. It was hard not being able to do day to day chores, but I was willing to do anything to keep our baby healthy. My family are the most amazing people anyone could ever wish to have in their lives, and I owe a lot them.

Four weeks passed, and I was still bleeding and having regular scans, it finally started to calm down, but I was still scared that something would go wrong. Then all of a sudden the bleeding stopped.

It was around 18 weeks when I felt flutters in my stomach it was weird, but the most magical and amazing feeling I have ever experienced. I started to get around more, the bleeding had totally stopped and things were really looking up. I just wanted the anomaly scan out of the way so we can start really enjoying the rest of the pregnancy and start preparing for our little baby.

We had the anomaly scan at 19 + 3 weeks, I didn’t have a good feeling the day before; everything was going too smoothly, nothing ever runs smoothly for us. My mum came to the scan with us on this occasion, my dad attended one of the previous regular scans, it was the first time he had ever seen one and he was speechless. We were very excited and nervous at the same time, we both decided that we did not want to find out the sex of our baby, we would wait until the birth. We went into the room and there was silence and a few tears from my mum. Our baby was sleeping, again! So I had to go to the café to have a warm sugary drink to try and wake the baby so the sonographer could see more clearly. We went back after 10 mins, and it didn’t work, our baby was still sleeping, laid back like its daddy. So, out we went again to have anther drink, and hooray it worked this time. I was praying the entire time, and then finally she completed the scan. I had a good feeling about this, everything was going to be ok, or so I thought. She turned to us and she said “I’m afraid I have detected a problem with the baby, its stomach and bowels are in its chest” I burst into tears and was inconsolable. They could not explain anything at that hospital because they were not experienced enough, so the following day we were transferred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where we were to meet a wonderful consultant in the fetal medicine unit on a monthly basis.

The next day……

That dreaded next day came when we had to go to Cardiff for them confirm what the sonographer had detected in our scan. We took my sister with us for extra support because our heads were in bits I didn’t know what to expect. We waited for over an hour in the waiting room, seemed a lot longer at the time. We were called into a tiny room where they took blood and my blood pressure, and then we had our scan where they confirmed the detected abnormality found the previous day. I felt that I was looking in on someone else. We were taken into a private room where they explained our baby’s condition it was CDH “Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia”, I have never heard of the condition and couldn’t take it all in, the only thing I could here the consultant say is 50% , amnio and whether we would continue the pregnancy, none of the these were an option, but we would have to consider an amnio at one point because our baby also had a two vessel cord which could lead to further chromosomal abnormalities, I was too scared to make that decision due to the high risk of a miscarriage. I am so glad that my sister came with us because Scott usually takes it all in, but he couldn’t that day. We came home feeling numb. Kelly (my sister) searched the web as soon as she arrived at my parent’s house to try to have more of an understanding of our baby’s condition; she contacted me with a positive attitude. She had read a story where a young girl who had gone on to live a normal life and had run triathlons, so things started to look up a little, but we still had the additional worry of the two vessel cord. I spent the entire weekend in tears and didn’t know what was right, if there were further problems our baby would not survive past birth, so we had to think what was right for our baby.
After the stressful weekend we finally made the decision to have the amnio, and we were booked in on Tuesday to have it. The needle wasn’t painful, it was the discomfort after and the there was still a risk of a miscarriage up to three weeks after.

Two days later my husband received a phone call, it was on my birthday and we had fantastic news, there were no chromosomal abnormalities, I was so relieved. I wouldn’t go out I would stay at home because I could not hide the fact I was pregnant and I couldn’t be normal and pretend that all was ok. Two weeks later the hospital called to say that all of the other results came back clear too, and I asked what the sex of our baby was, it was a baby girl. I am so glad now knowing the sex of our baby because we named her and we got used to calling her Holly Lauren long before she was born.

We were monitored monthly to see that she was growing properly, and she did that too she was a bonnie baby, so each scan was a blessing and it was lovely to see her throughout. One day the sonographer asked if we would like to see our baby in 4D, we were delighted that was so special, breath taking. Most of the appointments from there on in were generally happy until it came the time when we had to see the surgeon and paediatricians that was very upsetting because now the reality of it all kicked in. There was a little baby in NICU called Millie at the time of one of our appointments, and the paediatrician consultant took us there to see baby Millie and her Mum, a big thanks to her mum for allowing this because Millie had had a tough time, but she had her operation that week and was doing very well, so this gave us more hope and even more determined to give Holly the best chance she could possibly get.

After a couple of scans we decided to buy a few items for Holly. It was very difficult not being able to buy everything that I wanted for her, so I made a “Coming home” folder with pictures & websites of the items I wanted, so once holly would have been well enough to come home my family would have been able to get everything prepared for us. I bought three baby grow suits, two front opening vests, bibs, dummies, nappies, her first teddy, socks, booties, hats, a towel and a blanket. All this items fitted into a tiny little case for her. I was so pleased that I made the folder and bought her clothing, it felt like that was my nesting time.

At 32weeks they wanted me to have a MRI scan to see if they could see how well Holly’s lungs were developing, but our cheeky little girl wouldn’t keep still, and looking back I’m glad they couldn’t see anything because I don’t think the results would have been good, so at least we were able to enjoy the pregnancy for the remaining seven weeks without that additional worry.

Towards the end Holly loved to move, she made up for it, she was so lazy in the second trimester she would sleep more than play. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I only wish Scott could have experienced her movements too.

At our very last scan of 36 weeks, we were given our induction date of 27th October at noon, this was so surreal, I couldn’t believe how quick that last 3 months had gone, and we were going to meet our little baby, we have waited so long for this moment, but totally terrifying, because all we could think of now is when she is born, she would be stabilised, on her way to having her operation and bringing her home.

Monday – Induction Day…..

I phoned the hospital to confirm the induction was still going ahead, but there wasn’t a bed available for Holly in NICU, I was so disheartened after building myself up to this day. They told me to go in anyway because I had Polyhydramnios (A large amount of fluid) and this could cause premature labour. Nothing happened that day, we just had to wait. As the week went on there was still no joy, and finally Friday came and there were two beds available, this was it, this was they day we would meet our cherub. Doctors were rushing around, I thought they were getting everything ready for Holly, but another mum came in with twins and went into labour at 29 weeks, and ended up taking the two beds up in NICU, so there were no beds available again for Holly. I was so upset, but also realising she was safer where she was, inside me. The hospital phoned around alternative hospital to see if there were any beds available for us, but we just had to wait. Saturday morning came and we were sent home. The doctor scanned me and everything was fine, but we were to go back the following day just to be monitored, and call again Monday morning.

Monday morning came and I made the phone call, but I had to wait an hour for their reply, so I decided to get ready just in case. I was in the shower and they said there was one bed available and to get there straight away. I was very nervous now because I had time to think this through the week I was in hospital, and hearing other mums in labour I was more frightened. They broke my waters at 4pm; this was it she was coming. We were transferred into a large room where there was a bed for Holly and room for everyone to work on her when she arrived. I didn’t think labour was too bad until after 4 hours and I was only 3 cm dilated, so I had an epidural. The staff was absolutely amazing, our midwife stayed by my bedside the entire night, because we needed close monitoring. After the epidural started to work, it was a very calm, but when it was time for Holly to arrive after an hour and 30 min of pushing she wasn’t coming out, we were rushed into theatre where the assisted on a natural birth.

Here she was, our little baby girl “Holly Lauren”, 7lb 8os, 34cm long with jet black hair. They delivered her onto my stomach, which I wasn’t expecting, that was so amazing, but I wanted them to take her to make sure she had everything she needed. They injected her to paralyse her and the only thing I can remember is her dad crying and he couldn’t stop looking at her, I couldn’t see her properly, but he said she was beautiful. It took them 5 minuets to get Holly onto the ventilator, which seemed a lot longer; all we could do was pray. Finally they managed to do what they needed to and took her straight to NICU, it was so hard that she had to be taken from us so soon, I wanted to see and hold her, but I had to go back to recovery and because of the spinal block I couldn’t walk.. I managed to convince the midwife that I was ok and could I go and see her in a wheel chair, and they accepted. When we arrived at NICU I didn’t even notice the tubes and machines, all I could see was my wonderful, beautiful amazing baby girl, and could not believe she was here and we created something so wonderful.

I took her first teddy up to her and two guardian angels and stuck them at the bottom of her cot. We could not get over how big she looked, and so perfect, you would never had said she had an illness when you looked at her she was perfect. We couldn’t stay long because there wasn’t enough room, and I wanted them to concentrate on Holly and not for us to be in the way, they never indicated that we were, they were amazing. They took a photo of her for us to keep in our room, which was special.

My mum and dad came to the hospital, but we did not get much time to spend with them and they didn’t get to see Holly at that time because the consultant came to see us to give the news we were dreading. Holly is a very sick girl and it’s not looking too good. I couldn’t take any of this in, all I could remember is feeling angry towards him at the time because I wanted him to be positive like we were, but they have to tell us the good and the bad. He told us that they have done everything that they could at this time, Holly was on the most extensive breathing machine and the only other options was ECMO, but he had spoken to Great Ormond Street, and they rejected Holly because they said there would be nothing else that they could do for her, but Leicester hospital however were willing to try, but trying to weigh it all up, it wasn’t an option, Holly would not have even survived the journey. I wanted to see her before I made the decision, and as so as we saw her we knew it would have been wrong to put her through that. The reverend was in the unit at the time so we had Holly baptised. We went back down to our room to get some rest, but I could not keep away, but the midwife insisted because we hadn’t slept for two nights.

After our rest we went back up to see Holly Lauren and her stats were not looking good at all, I remember looking at all the premature babies who were all around 1-2lbs there were 6 of them in there and Holly was very large compared to the other little ones, but she was weak. Her oxygen levels were very low a between 40 and 60, they should be between 98-100 like all the other babies. We washed her, sang and talked to her and stroked her head and hands, that was lovely because it felt like we could do something for her. We left her around 10’oclock, we wanted to get more rest so that we had some energy to begin our long journey the following day with our little princess in NICU.

12.50am Holly’s final Journey….

The midwife woke us to say that Holly had deteriorated, we rushed up to NICU and we could see straight away her oxygen levels were very low, they had gone down to 10. They told us that no oxygen was getting to Holly’s brain, and due to the pressure in the chest the heart wasn’t functioning properly. We had to make that dreaded phone all to our family for them to come and say good bye to our baby girl, and yet they hadn’t even said hello. We waited for them to arrive and had to make the most difficult decision of our lives and turn off her ventilator. I was devastated that my sister did not arrive at first, because she wouldn’t believe what was happening, and thought that everything was going to be ok, but she finally came and I am so glad for her and for me, she held my baby girl, her Niece, and gave her cuddles and kisses and said goodbye.

There was a room called the “Tear Drop Suite”, it’s a bedroom decorated so that it feels more like home. We held her, kissed her, sang to her, and told her how much we loved her. We were able to bathe and dress her and we also had wonderful photos of her, then she fell asleep in our arms. We cannot thank the staff enough, they were out of this world and made everything so special for us, and without them we would not have the precious memories and keep sakes that we have today. They are all Angels in our eyes.

We talk about Holly every day, her photo’s are up in all our homes, she will always be a part of lives and will never be forgotten. Holly was very lucky to be a part of such a loving and supportive family, even though it was only for a short while. She had so many people who knew and loved her in the hospital too, she gave us so much.

Holly survived for one day and I am writing this14 weeks after Holly has passed, and times are very difficult. There are times where I can look at her pictures and smile and can’t believe that her daddy and I created something so beautiful and remembering the wonderful times of her growing inside me, but there are other time where I just cry for her and need to hold her in my arms again. We have Holly at home with us, which I find very comforting. She has a beautiful casket with twinkle twinkle little star on it, that is the song I sang to her, and the same song that was on the musical toy her grandparents bought for her. We have a photo and a candle buy her casket where we lit a candle on Christmas Eve and will also light one on her birthday, we will also release a balloon on her birthday and attend the memorial service every year that the hospital held close to Christmas.

We will never see our baby girl’s eyes or hear her cries, but she will be forever in our hearts.

With love and a special thanks to those who have been there for us all xx

Laura & Scott Morris (A proud Mum & Dad to a very special girl)