As mentioned in my poem on a previous blog, there are some parents who have had to deal with the loss of their baby during the pandemic. One of my customers has had to endure this tragedy and she wanted the story of her son, Krae shared. I do have to state this is a trigger warning for anyone that needs it as the following passage is about a stillborn and also contains some graphic details.
Baby Krae Daniel Whiteford Docherty
Born sleeping on the 30th of August at 5.47pm weighing 145 grams.
On Monday 24th of August I had a private gender scan although I had already had a sneak peek test done and knew he was a boy. It was more for my mother-in-law and partner at the time to see him as he lost his dad (and her husband) two weeks before it and buried him 6 days before the scan, the baby was named Krae as its old Norse for Craig after his dad. It ended up being me and Viki that went in as I was only allowed one person due to the restrictions, Dan waited in the car.
I lay down and as soon as she put the monitor on me, I saw a big black circle in the middle of Krae’s belly. She started asking loads of questions and I knew instantly that something wasn’t right. I was just over 17 weeks at that point, she took the scanner away and told me to phone Dr Thompson as soon as I left the room. I needed a scan asap as he had a distended bladder. So Viki grabbed me and whipped me out that room quicker than I had time to process what had happened. I was told Dr Thompson could see me the next day.
I have many mental health problems, so as soon as I left, I started googling and researching everything I could. From the research I found out what was considered an extreme case and it broke my heart as Krae’s was 3x the size of that. My mind did not stop that day and neither did the tears. Dan my partner just kept saying stop thinking the worst it will be fine.
The next day I waited in the waiting room all alone as partners were not allowed at any scans. There were 4 other heavily pregnant woman waiting also. I sat in silence for 25 mins whilst people came and left all smiling and excited. After 25 mins I was took to the end room to sit alone and I knew there and then it wasn’t good news. My gut told me something was not right. When Dr Thompson scanned me, he stopped and said I am so sorry Amie. This Doctor has birthed my other two boys and I trust him more than any Doctor I’ve ever seen. He knows me and more importantly knows how my mental health and brain works. He started scanning again and said “Amie in my 20+ years of my job I’ve never ever seen a bladder this big on a 40 week old, never mind Krae’s size.” He told me he was calling his pal in the QEUH to see me as she was a specialist. I knew then I was going to lose him but part of me prayed deep down I was wrong.
On Thursday I was finally sent to see the specialist. Once again, I was made to sit alone in the waiting room with tears rolling down my face with 8 other pregnant woman and 1 new born baby in the waiting room. They took me into the scanning room and after 10 mins. she called in a team of 4 other people and every single one of them look shocked. After 20 mins, 3 different positions, 2 different types of scanners and an internal I was taken into another part of the hospital and my adopted mum told to come in to sit with me. They told me how sorry they were but even they had not seen something so severe before. His bladder had distended into his stomach and chest cavity and he wasn’t making enough amniotic fluid. His lungs had no room to grow and his kidneys were starting to swell with urine they were that full. There was nothing they could do. If Krae even made it to birth he would instantly need a double lung and kidney transplant, be on a breathing machine for life and would 100% have many other problems to add with it. But the chances of him even making it to 36 weeks when I would have been induced (2 other boys born at 36) was nearly non-existent. I left there whilst having to walk past the same pregnant woman breaking my heart. Knowing I could not see my baby in anymore pain I knew I had no other choice.
Dr Thompson phoned me and asked me to come in the next day to see him. They took me straight through to the same waiting room I sat in days before alone but this time with my Mum. He explained about what I had to do but told me I could wait as long as needed. I told him I wanted to be scanned one last time to make sure nothing had changed, which he completely agreed to. As I knew nothing had changed and I was given a tablet to stop his wee heartbeat. I was then booked in for Sunday the 30th of August to give birth to my beautiful little angel. I had to plead to have both my partner and mum with me at the birth, but Dr Thompson was on my side and told the team he wasn’t taking no for an answer.
So, I went home and packed my maternity bag, minus my baby’s stuff. I ordered a little outfit for him and a blanket for him like I did with the boys. I went in with the heaviest heart and gut-wrenching feeling. I was given the first 4 pills at 11am and an antibiotic to get me started. It broke me, I was in the exact same room a year earlier giving birth to my 1-year-old Ivar and it was all so surreal. I could hear other woman giving birth and wee babies crying for milk or cuddles. Even that day every radio station was talking about Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry’s new baby. About 4pm my mum erupted as I had just been left and not seen to or even checked. So I was given gas and air as I was starting to get intense contractions. Finally it was time to get started and 47 mins later at 5.47pm (same room and same time as Ivar the year previously) my baby was born, Daniel had to leave minutes before he was born as he didn’t want to see him until he was dressed as he just watched his dad die a horrible death just over 2 weeks prior, which I completely understood.
(The next statement is extremely graphic and upsetting so readers discretion is advised)
It was horrific he was that full of urine that with the pressure of birth his stomach burst open. His intestines were on my legs I tried to catch him and his kidneys where in my hands along with other body parts. I tried my best to put them all back into his tummy before Daniel came back in. The midwife took him from me and cleaned him up and put a wee stitch in his tummy so Daniel wouldn’t need to see him like that and she dressed him in his little Spanish outfit. I hobbled with blood dripping down my legs to the shower to clean myself up with my Mum’s help.
I spent some time cuddling him and telling him how much I loved him, letting him know how much his brothers would have loved him, how I did not want to let go but I couldn’t let him suffer any longer. I had to fill in paperwork for stillborn babies, sign for an autopsy and arrange a funeral director in between it all. I was given a small purple box with a teeny teddy, a candle and a card with his handprints in. Some photographs were taken, and I will cherish them forever.
After 4 hours of giving birth, I was walked down the corridor past the wards of beautiful newborn babies with my box of trinkets clutching my bump breaking my heart. I have never felt so empty and alone in all my life.
The next day Dr Thompson phoned me to tell me how proud he was of me and that as soon as he has the autopsy results, he would get me in to see him. It took them 12 weeks to give me Krae’s results. He had over 28 medical problems and life limiting conditions. The pain I feel every single day is a hard one to carry, he was perfect to me. It felt like a lifetime waiting on those results. Now I have them it’s just brought me more questions.
Every morning when I open my eyes, I relive the birth minute by minute until I hear one of my two boys then it’s like I snap out of it. All day I hear the heart rate monitor beeping on and off, I struggle using scissors as I cut his cord, I can’t look at babies or baby stuff. All my friends on social media are either just having new beautiful babies or announcing the pregnancy, I’m so happy for them I truly am, but it kills me piece by piece. I’ve been told times a healer, but every day gets harder.
Since his funeral I’ve shut myself away, I can’t reply to messages, don’t want to see anyone or ruin anyone’s day. I have been given some gifts for him from kind people. My worst fear right now is this time next month everyone will forget he even existed but I don’t want anyone to think he wasn’t a real person because he was he had fingers nails and feet prints the lot!
If you’ve made it this far I’m sorry it’s been so long but think you for even just reading about my little living angel.
This horrible experience would have been slightly better had the COVID-19 restrictions not been in place. I would not have had to go alone to most of the appointments and forget things I was being told. I could have had a hug from my partner and mum at the same time when I went to the Tuesday scan with Dr Thompson. I was afraid and alone, at a time when I was already so vulnerable.
I’ll never get over this whole nightmare, I often wonder if I’ll ever be able to look at a baby and not completely breakdown or blame myself. My boys keep me going but when they are sleeping It all comes crashing back down. Now that I have his ashes back it’s just getting worse, not better. The day I wake and not relive this nightmare is the day I know it is all going to be ok.