September 23rd 2006. I took hold of my father’s arm and we began to walk down the aisle. I remember the smiling faces. I remember Sam’s face. I remembering holding white lilies and orchids over our secret. They covered him – our little baby. As I took Sam’s hand in marriage I envisioned what would be our beautiful life together. We had our gorgeous Scarlett who was 8 months old and we had this new life growing inside of me. We were already such a beautiful family. Life was perfect.
We took off on our honeymoon and that is where everything began to fall apart. I was taken to hospital by ambulance. Something was wrong with our precious baby. We were told that our little one was measuring weeks behind in growth and that they thought I would miscarry. And so our little secret was told. We called our family back at home and gave them the news. It was not the baby announcement I had planned on and it was not the honeymoon we had hoped for.
We returned from our honeymoon and had a few appointments with my obstetrician. Our baby had begun to grow again and things were looking okay. My pregnancy continued peacefully with only the usual morning sickness up until the 17th of January 2007 when I went for a routine ultrasound to check the health of our baby. It was the day that our world fell apart. I was getting Scarlett into the car to go to the hospital when I was stung on my hand 3 times by a black wasp. This wasp was horrid looking, not overly big but strong enough to cause me a great deal of pain. I knew this was a sign that something was not right and I recalled only weeks before when I had bought Scarlett and the new baby a Christmas angel each. I broke the new baby’s angel. It cracked at the neck. I knew it was a sign when that happened. Kind of like a warning to prepare myself for something big.
We arrived at the hospital and only had to wait a little while. A lady called my name and we all went into a small dim room where she placed cold jelly over my growing belly. There was our baby. Moving, breathing. We got to hear his heartbeat. Oh what a beautiful sound that was. I noticed the lady was looking at our little one’s head for a long time. Sam asked quietly if everything was okay. She replied that she just wanted to check a few more things. I knew something was wrong. Why would she not just answer, yes. After a few long minutes the lady said she had to check something and she would be back in a few moments. A couple of minutes went by and then 10 minutes passed. 10 minutes is an excruciatingly long time when you are waiting in this situation. I said to Sam if she walks back in with another doctor something is very wrong. And in she came. . . with another doctor. My heart sunk. I was crushed.
The doctor sat down and put her arm around me. I felt all this heat rush to my face. In a gentle voice she spoke. “We are very concerned about the size of your babies head, Carly” She went on to explain that our baby had a condition called Hydrocephalus and that she believed it was too serious to be compatible with life. The doctor wouldn’t tell us anymore, only that my obstetrician would call me the next day. I asked her what the sex of our baby was (We had previously decided not to find out the sex). I knew in my heart that at this time I needed to connect with this baby as much as I possibly could. The lady who conducted the ultrasound said “You’re having a little boy”. We were escorted back out to the waiting room. They waved our ultrasound fee. We were rushed out. I was trying to comprehend the information we had just been given. I held it together until we got to the car and I cried all the way home. Sam was silent. He drove home with one hand and held my hand with his other.
I called my Mum. I told her we were having a little boy but he was very sick and I didn’t know what was going on. My parents drove straight over to our house. Sam’s Mum and Dad were down south about 2 hours away but hey came too. We all just sat around in shock. The unknown ahead of us was excruciating. I went to bed cradling my belly, praying for a miracle.
Please be okay little boy.
I love you.
We love you.
We need you.
We want you.
The next morning I remember calling my obstetrician. I asked her what Hydrocephalus was and she said that it was “water on the brain”. Susan said that this didn’t necessarily mean that our little boy was going to die. There was a chance that he would only have to be born by c-section and would have to have a big operation when he was born. He could hopefully live a relatively normal life if the condition was minor. It was a glimmer of hope and I latched onto it with everything that I had. Susan said to me that she had organized an appointment for me to see a fetal medicine specialist to see how severe the hydrocephalus was. Our parents came over to look after Scarlett for us while we went for the appointment that would devastate our lives.
We waited in this tiny little waiting room for 45 minutes. Then a voice from down the hall called my name. Sam and I rushed in and I met two doctors. The lady diagnosing our little guy was named Jan and she was lovely, warm and kind. The doctors were very quiet throughout the ultrasound. They barely even spoke a word to each other. They could see what we could not. I remember staring at the screen wondering if this as the last time that I would ever see him alive. Before I knew it the ultrasound was over and they wiped my belly with a towel. Jan asked us both to step into another room. As she opened the door for me, I looked into the room and I knew this was the room that they tell people the very bad news, as the room was filled with big comfy couches rather than your average table and chairs. Jan sat us down and said “This is very, very serious. Your little boy has one of the most severe cases of hydrocephalus that I have seen.” My heart sunk. I asked how bad it was and she went on to tell us that there was a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being minor and 7 being severe) our little guy was on around 15. She told us she thought it would only be a matter of days or a max of a couple of weeks before his heart would stop. There was a part in his spine that was completely missing and it had caused a lot of fluid to flow into his skull where the brain should be. He did not have a stomach as there was not enough brain matter to tell him to swallow. He was measuring weeks behind and he had stopped growing.
As these words were spilling from her mouth, they flooded my ears with the piercing sound of disbelief. It was the worst case scenario. We didn’t cry. We were in shock. Jan advised us that we could interrupt the pregnancy or just let nature take it’s course. She wanted to do an amniocentesis to find out the cause but I was not interested in further pain at that time. We decided to go home and spend some quality time with our family. We were given a DVD of the ultrasound and some photos. I dropped them as I was leaving. I remember everybody in the waiting room staring at me as I tried to hold my tears in. I got out as quickly as I could while Sam paid the bill.