Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

This Time Last Year

A year ago tomorrow, on the 6th June, our nightmare was beginning.  We didn't know it yet; it still hadn't occurred to us our daughter would die, but the 6th marks the day it all started to go wrong for us and Anabelle.  

It was a Sunday and we were due to go to a 1st birthday party. Anabelle had been quiet, I wasn't sure I'd really felt her move much since Friday and I was starting to get a bit concerned. I didn't feel at all sure of myself; I'd been feeling what I thought was Braxton Hicks and had put the quietness down to the running out of room. Not being pregnant before I relied on the baby books for the information and 31 weeks meant running out of room for lots of movement and expecting to feel Braxton Hicks. But we were beginning to feel anxious we phoned the hospital for reassurance and asked to go in to be checked over.

We assumed we'd be up there an hour; the baby books say babies start moving around again as soon as the Dr's try to monitor them on a trace. So we let people know we'd be late for the party but expected to get there a bit later.  Only we never arrived and missed the party completely.

I was put on a trace and yes, Anabelle did the moving thing the baby books said she'd do, but almost immediately the trace identified the "Braxton Hicks" were actually more like early contractions/tightenings and worse that Belle's heart rate was dipping with each one and dipping spontaneously in between.

Never in a million years did we expect to go up to the hospital for monitoring to be told I was threatening premature labour and that Anabelle would be delivered by c-section if they couldn't stabilise her heart rate and stop the tightenings.

Everyone was springing into action. I was put on a permanent trace and a Doctor was checking my cervix was still closed and ordering drugs to stop the tightenings and steroid injections to help Anabelle's lungs and breathing if the other drugs didn't work, ordering catheters and other 'prepping me for theatre bits' incase the other drugs didn't work.

It was incredibly frightening and we were terrified our beautiful girl was going to be born too early, worried for her development and how it could affect her future if she was born 9 weeks early.  A neo-natal doctor was called down to delivery to talk us through what would happen to Anabelle if I was taken into theatre sometime that day or over the coming days.

Thankfully (I think? I'm tortured by the what ifs of the whole situation) the drugs worked and the tightenings started to settle down and space further out, Anabelle's heart rate stopped dipping. The fear of theatre was now on hold and after 8 hours on delivery thinking our daughter was going to born we were transferred to maternity ward for a nights rest; more monitoring and treatment, two days on maternity ward before being allowed home. Scanned and discharged they were confident Anabelle was absolutely ok.

We went home and rushed about preparing things for Anabelle, fully expecting that a 40 week delivery seemed unlikely now.  Every extra week was going to be a bonus. Little did we know we only had one week left with our daughter alive at all.    We made a cast of my bump, we had those precious bump photographs taken, Anabelle's room was painted, I washed all of her clothes ready for her, Jon started building her furniture.

I cannot help but think how things could've been different. We're promised the threatened premature labour is in no way related to her death seven days later, that it was just a horrible co-incidence in timing. Would she be here if she'd been born on the 6th June? Would she have been safer in a special baby care unit than she evidently was inside me?

How will we ever know... I have to trust that the hospital did what was best for us with the information they had at the time; they had no reason to think Belle would die and neither did we.

What decision do we make if we find ourselves in the threatened premature labour again? We thought we'd done our best by Anabelle but she died. I know, at 31 weeks she would've had a good chance of being strong and surviving. I know she equally could've died in a SBCU but would the doctors had more chance of saving her there? If Bow tries an early escape what do we do?  I'm not sure I could cope with even a sniff of history repeating itself in that way (or any way); even if I'm told the premature labour wasn't related to her death, I cannot help but think now it was a warning sign. Something was wrong, she wasn't happy, she was trying to let us know and maybe we made the wrong decision for her.

I don't trust myself in this pregnancy, not at all. I'm not sure I can make the right decision for my baby, or notice the things I'm supposed to be noticing. I'm doubting myself all of the time. There is such a long way to go.

Last year on the 6th our pregnancy was rocked with the unexpected. The start of our list of painful "this time last years" is marked with tomorrow being a special day - this year on the 6th June we're being introduced to Bow as a little boy or girl. By tomorrow evening I hope to be able to tell you all if we're having a blue or pink baby and introduce Anabelle's little brother or sister by name.


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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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