What to do………….. What to write………… How to not sound, morbid, miserable or unreal……. So here goes; read on for a true dedication to our children Louis (4th September – 5th September 2005) and Corey Harris (5th September – 7th September 2005), forever missed and forever loved. That was all this blog was meant to be a dedication to our first born children but whilst I was writing this I was pregnant with our 6th child (3 here with us 3 in the playground in the sky) but sadly, cruelly and tragically Elliot was born sleeping on 6th December 2012 at 17.13pm weighing 8lb 3oz at 38wks + 2 days, so here I continue writing in my own words, an insight to motherhood, and the bittersweet journey it can take…
Rob and I were an ordinary couple, with an ordinary life but this was all going to change, our ordinary life was about to change extraordinarily and the turn of events were about to change everything in an unimaginable way.
April 2005 and I’m thinking I’m late, I’m never late, I’m like clockwork! Instictively I knew then I was pregnant. So I went through the motions and drove my anxious ass to the chemist to buy a ‘clearblue’, anxious and secretly excited, anxious because I knew at some point I would have to tell Rob that we were going to have a baby, and at 25 we were in the beginnings of our relationship having been together about 18 months. I loved him more than anything, we jelled in everyway but had never discussed having children. We hadn’t been practising ‘safe sex’ either, after years and years of being on the pill I had taken a break and was relying on…. well relying on nothing, sometimes something, but generally ‘nothing’… so it was to no surprise this had happened! I peed on the stick and almost instantly two lines appeared…. there confirmed with a blue line was the beginning of our pregnancy and we were overjoyed!
We promised we would not tell people until the 12 week scan but we couldn’t help ourselves and gradually bit by bit we began telling people our news, the weeks dragged waiting for the scan and finally the day arrived and we were waiting in the hospital waiting room for our name to be called, im tip tapping my feet anxiously and Rob is nervous humming…. an annoying trait that continues to happen throughout our lives at any point when stress and anxiety is at its peak Rob will break out in a hum, hum hum humming along to random tunes, this trait now makes me smile every time!
Laying on the couch with my belly exposed, holding tightly to Robs hand, waiting to hear the words ‘and theres the heartbeat’ seriously seemed like a lifetime and then it happened ‘theres a heartbeat … oh and theres the other one’… I looked at Rob mouth open wide and hes looking at the sonograpgher, how I would imagine him looking if ‘Westham’ ever won the Cup… ‘Yes your expecting twins, all is well and your due 17th December’…
The mixed feelings you feel when they say the words ‘twins’ is overwhelming, initially we’re just elated, thrilled and exited beyond all imagining, then when your feet land back on the ground the anxiety and the panic of two babies coming into our life sets in, this was the new reality of our lives … twins! The excitement never faded, nor did the fear that came with it but it was all so exciting, I couldn’t believe I was one of those lucky people to be blessed with the joy of twins!
The pregnancy was generally unproblematic, attending my midwife appointments as I should, eating what I should, cutting out all boozy beverages, I didnt smoke so all was good!!! Beginning of August and I was admitted to hospital with ‘leaking waters’, scans revealed the babies were fine, but with bed rest and taking things easy the amniotic fluid was replenishing.
1st September 2005 I was experiencing pains that were similar to period pains and mild back ache. I really didnt think anything of it, my body was aching all over most of the time, part of the course with two sets of limbs beating you up from the inside out! The pains continued all that day and into the night, by 2am on 2nd September the pain was taking my breath away, paralysing me everytime a wave pain shot through my pregnant body. I knew my babies were intent on making an early entrance, excitement was taken over by terror.
By 4.30am I was admitted to labour ward, examined by a very nice African lady whose dialect was a little hard to make sense of but one thing I sure didnt fail to understand was that I was 2-3cms dilated and having contractions, the guilt was at the forefront of my emotions, if only I had acted sooner, realised sooner what was happening, wasn’t so stupidly fearful of calling the Labour ward in case I was being neurotic and wasting peoples’ time. As the nurses rushed around me putting drips into my arms with this ‘magical potion’ which was going to help slow or stop the contractions and then another nurse preparing the steriods in needles that looked like they were big enough for a horse, the only thoughts I was having was ‘when your born please be ok, please please please be ok’ with everything crossed and for the first time in my entire life I found myself praying!
I was having little to no sleep the labour ward is a very noisy place, screaming women, groaning labouring women, nurses running up and down the ward, bleepers beeping, machines humming, and babies crying, and a baby crying is a wonderful noise to hear; the onset of a new life beginning, but I just lay there and wondered if ‘when my babies are born will they cry?’ The drugs had seemed to be taking effect and the contractions had pretty much stopped so I was moved to the maternity ward where I was kindly given a room all to myself which is lovely; but the thought of being alone with just my thoughts was not appealing to me at this time, so I began to settle myself into this room, amusing myself with writing my diary and reading trashy magazines. Rob was a great support but he is a man of very few words at times of extreme stress, the odd hum, but few words, I loved the fact he was here with me and I knew that he knew I was terrified, as was he but also we both knew that in reality there is no amount of small talk that is going to change what is going to happen.. and happen it did!
Sunday 4th Septmber I am still in my little room, Rob has had to go home the ‘bulldog’ matron reinforced the visiting hours regimentally, “hell hath no fury like a matron disobeyed”
2am, confirmed I was 3-4cms dialated and contracting every 15 minutes my twins are on their way and no amount medicine is going to stop this happening now, I called Rob back to the hospital and I was moved back to delivery suite where I was offered Pethadine to help me with the pain, it made me so violently sick and made me very disorientated and I began hallucinating imagining the pictures moving on the walls and seeing people morph in to two, which was most disturbing, as if the whole experience of labour isnt harrowing enough without the hallucinagenic side effects from the pethadine sending me into a ‘bizarre wonderland’. Im talking nonsence, Rob is looking at me in the most ‘confused’ way its un-nerving me, and just when I think the pain cant get any worse, it does and I am so scared, the midwife broke my waters and told me to push, I didnt want to do it, but I was encouraged to do this for my baby. 11.30pm on 4th September weighing 1lb 12oz Louis Harris was born, he was instantly wrapped in a plastic bag and taken straight to an incubator where he was recusitated and intubated.
Doctors, lots of them crowded around my bed discussing and muttering ‘options’ whilst Rob held my hand so tightly, I lay there waiting to hear what the plan for my other baby was… initially they suggested that they would attempt to leave twin 2 in utero for his life was safer inside of me than outside at this gestation, but this pregnancy had ideas of its own and the heartbeat on the machine that I was constantly strapped to suddenly started to change, my babies heartbeat was decelarating rapidly, the sound of the heartbeat sounded like the slowest beat on a tiny drum, I thought my baby was going to die there and then with me watching and listening to this portable scanning machine holding on to my husbands hand … here I was again, praying!
Corey was delivered by a method called ‘breech extraction’ at 1.55am on 5th September 2005 weighing 1lb 7oz he was also taken immediately away and without even a look or a touch, I saw a mere glimpse of his pink lifeless body as they wheeled him quickly passed me to take him to the NICU which was where he was placed next to his brother and there they began their fight for life..
I felt battered a bruised from head to my toe it had been a long couple of days with no sleep and lots of pain emotionally and physically, I had a retained placenta with ruptured membranes and there were complications with the removal of this after the birth of Louis and Corey. I was taken to a recovery room and I was totally and utterly exhausted, Rob went home, to shower, to rest, to eat; just to escape from this nightmare for a while to gain some perspective and strength and he was due to come back at a more reasonable hour but Louis health deteriorated rapidly and I was quickly calling him back to be with us. Upon his return we were taken to the NICU immediatley where doctors came to us and told us Louis life hanged in the balance, he was very weak and needed medical intervention but the stress of any proceedure was proving too much, his blood pressure was dangerously low and after many long and painful conversations with the doctors the decision was made that we would take our first born baby boy Louis off of the ventilator and let him grow his wings with dignity.
As the doctors and nurses came and unhooked all this machinery from him so we could hold him in our arms until the time came and bit by bit I saw this tiny little boy, so precious, so perfect, just born too soon unravel before my eyes. The pain and discomfort this little baby boy was feeling was visable to see and it broke my heart. Rob and I held him tight, stroked his head and told him how much we loved him and how we had been blessed to of been given a chance to of known him. 14.50pm on 5th September Louis Harris died in our arms. The pain was worse than anything I had experienced in the days before, a distinctive, gut wrenching, stomach twisting pain that no amount of pain relief would ever dull… sheer agony is the only description for how I felt, my eyes cried, my heart ached and I wondered ‘what did I do wrong, what did he do wrong to possibly deserve this’. I looked into Robs eyes and I felt his pain and I knew I couldnt take it away but I was engulfed with feelings of guilt about how I could of allowed this to happen to my family, I guessed at that moment that was probably exactly how he was feeling.
7th September 2005 and I was awoken at 2am by a nurse, she, like the nurse before her was mimicking the same panic sticken voice when they were telling me about Louis change in health, I knew then Corey wanted to be with is brother; Twins seem to share a sense of emotional connection with each other and many report a feeling of discomfort when the other is in trouble. The paranormal phenomenon of twin telepathy is intriguing and I felt then Corey not only wanted, but needed to be with his brother. Rob and I walked back down what can only be described as the ‘Green Mile’ because in that moment the distance walked felt like an epic journey to where another piece of my heart was about to be executed.
Corey was dying when we got there and there was no hope, I desperately wanted to hold him in my arms as I did his brother and let him pass with the comfort of what a mothers embrace can bring, but he passed away wired up to a machine, all the monitors showing 0% and the what was once a steady bleep bleeping to let us know Corey was alive was now a continuous noise to confirm his passing. I wanted to run out of the hospital and scream WHY ME? WHY US? WHAT DID WE DO? I wanted to run away from this pain, but I know there is no running from this, this is US now, this is what WE are, WE are the bereaved, THE grief stricken, THE parents of angels and the pain of missing them is something we will have to learn to live with.
So after the ‘matter of fact’ paperwork had been completed, I was handed a brown envelope instead of my babies to take home, this envelope contained their tiny hand and footprints imprinted in gold ink and their hospital tags.
I was discharged and we went home, still parents, but empty armed parents, with hearts aching and bodies yearning for what should of been, but was not ever meant to be….