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.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rock, Frocks and Hard Knocks

Day count - 99.

And so it passed, the last Christmas with just the two of us.
Lazy days, lay-ins and late nights were all savoured whilst we had the chance.
In an attempt to see this year of change out with a bang, I "made" Joe stay up to 6am on New Years Eve.
I did this thinking that it would be the last time I would ever be able to indulge in such behaviour, but then I remembered that Joe has kids!
Same again next year then!

Little Burt or Edie received a fair selection of Christmas gifts, which was greatly appreciated.
Sadly, he didn't get the iPhone or BluRay Player he had been asking for, so we'll have to see what Santa brings for him next year.
I think he will be getting Virgin HD for his -6months birthday present, which I'm sure he'll appreciate.

On the subject of aural stimulus, I purchased most of these this week.
None of your baa baa black sheep rubbish for my child.
He's gonna love music as much as I do, so weaning him gently onto Nirvana and Green Day is the obvious way forward.
Karen wasn't as impressed as I was, but I think that's down to jealousy.
She's just gutted that I can get in from birth, where as she's got to wait a fair while longer before the little 'un can be introduced to knitting needles.

Speaking of clothes (these links are seamless!!), maternity clothing has arrived!!
The "uncomfortable in between phase" was managed with undone jeans and long shirts and jumpers (and pinnies at work apparently), but this wasn't to last.
The need for "a couple of pairs of trousers for work" was used to maximum effect, prompting a shopping trip to Meadowhall (the only place she knows I wont attend to monitor spending) and a return home with 7 bags.
So far, only the "savings" have been disclosed, though the impending bank statement will reveal the full horror.

Of course, this is all bravado.
She looks lovely in the new clothes and is really starting to suit pregnancy.
It has been strange seeing her change in figure but it makes me swell with pride when I look at her.
Shame I have to ruin it by saying things like "you've put a bit of weight on your face"!
She knows I don't mean it (well, I do, cos she has a bit, but I don't mean to offend!)

Speaking of faces.
Christmas Eve was marred a little by the worry of harming our unborn child.
I have noticed myself becoming more and more protective as the weeks roll on.

An aside.
So far, I have (a) threatened to speak to the headmaster of Karen's school over making her park miles away from the classroom when she has to carry more than I could in school bags and equipment.
(b) nearly kicked a man to death because he wouldn't move his car further up the street (he was sat in it, just waiting for his wife), so that I could park outside our house, meaning that "my pregnant wife" has to walk 100 yards further.
What the effing hell is all that about? I think it must be primeval!

The bad weather over the festive period has meant that her every move, outside the safety of the home, has been monitored and accompanied.

I leave her alone for one second!

"I'm just going to deliver next doors Christmas Cards"
The next thing I see is Karen pop up from below next doors fence.
Wet and bloodied.
We had to check the wet patches to see which parts of the body had made contact with the hard concrete path, hoping to see only dryness in the belly region.
We were in luck.
Karen had thankfully broken the fall with her face.
No harm to our unborn child but a bust nose and chin for the wife!
How lucky!

We get to see Burt or Edie again on Friday, which I'm really looking forward to.
Part of me wants to know the sex, as it would stop all the disagreement over names (more about that next time) but I know that I will prefer the surprise.
20 weeks, meaning half way.
Jesus, it's all going so fast.

As you can see, he's coming on just fine!