Everything happens for a reason

“Everything happens for a reason”

It is one of those phrases often offered up as reassurance that whatever devastating or stressful circumstance has occurred, is somehow justifiable.  It also happens to be one of the most cruel and senseless sentences offered to someone in situations where lifes injustices just do not make any fathomable sense whatsoever.

I remember hearing these words when we had to terminate our first pregnancy with a D&C surgical procedure.  I was told this when our daughter was born 14 weeks premature. And once even had this sentiment thrown at me when I discussed my daughters survival rates with someone.  “Just remember, everything happens for a reason” As if this is any consolation for our fears and grief.

In a month which honours pregnancy and infant loss I have seen so many posts online where these hollow words have been offered as some form of comfort and solace. Please let it be known, these words do nothing to comfort someone experiencing a loss.  It will stay in our hearts and memories for as long as we live and breathe. It will never make sense.

I knew within days that I was pregnant. I instinctively knew something was different. But I brushed it aside and went on with my life. Until a few weeks later when I knew I had to confirm my suspicions and blood tests confirmed it.  I was beyond terrified and shocked. We didn’t want children. We had never planned a future which included us having to care for a little person.

But we grew excited at the prospect and opened ourselves up to the life we would now be leading. It never occurred to us that something could go wrong. Nobody in our circle of friends ever spoke of miscarriage or infant loss. So at our second ultrasound when there was no heartbeat we were blindsided.  Our baby had stopped growing, but my body had not recognised it’s failure to develop further.

Our elation instantly turned to devastation. The little life we had grown excited for was over, before we had even seen a heartbeat.

The problem with the pregnancy is what is referred to as a Blighted Ovum and is when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall but fails to develop at all, or stops developing in the very early stages.  The body has not recognized the failure of development and the placenta continues to grow whilst all normal pregnancy symptoms are present and HCG counts continuously increase, as would occur in a normal pregnancy.

A blighted ovum accounts for almost 50% of first trimester miscarriages and most women are not even aware that they were pregnant to begin with. While the causes are not completely known, there are studies which suggest this occurs because a woman’s body recognises abnormal chromosomes within the foetus and naturally does not allow the development to continue as the foetus is unlikely to develop into a healthy infant.

The loss we experienced changed our lives as it does for many.  Over time though I have learnt that this loss is not considered real for others. I recall a woman once saying to me ‘Oh, that’s not a loss, that was a fake pregnancy, why make such a big deal about it’. I didn’t respond, but her comment was cold and cruel beyond any reasonable means.  I recall sometime later that someone asked me about my daughter (who was still in NICU after being born 14 weeks premature) and the very same woman turned around and asked me if my baby was a vegetable.

The world is full of these types of people. As a fellow blogger stated this morning ‘Some people are born with compassion and empathy in their soul, I firmly believe it’s not a skill you can be taught.. it is something you either have or you don’t’  And she is 100% correct in this.  Yes, we sometimes struggle to know what to say or how to offer support, but that is very different to being completely incapable of showing compassion and respect for someone else’s very real loss.

I have spoken and offered support to so many woman who have faced premature birth or infant loss over the last two and a half years and I still struggle to find the right words to offer my love and support. For each and every one of them their journey has been a struggle, many were not able to take their beautiful children home and with each loss experienced I was wracked with heartache, injustice and a terrible guilt knowing that I was one of the lucky few who were blessed with a surviving infant.  I wanted to promised each and every one of them that their stories would end as ours had, but life is not fair. Life flings shit at us that makes absolutely no sense. And none of it ‘happens for a reason’.

So spare a thought this month for loved ones who have loved and lost, be it at 6 weeks, 6 months, full term or after birth. Nothing in this world is promised to us. Nothing is guaranteed.  Much of what happens is beyond our control. But what we can control is our compassion and respect for everyone experiencing a loss.

Why women are ‘paranoid’

I stood this morning with my daughter in my arms and watched my husband climb into his car and leave for work.  Nothing out of the ordinary you would think.  But the minor actions of his movements and choices struck a chord with me. Particularly with the current #metoo and #ifmenhadacurfew movements rocketing through social media.

He was calm, secure and confident in his movements and choices. There was no fear or paranoia present in his actions.  He closed the front door and didn’t think twice about leaving the security gate open and unlocked.  He nonchalantly clicked the button on the gate remote whilst walking to his car, blissfully ignorant that he had opened himself up for a possible attack if someone saw an opportunity and noticed his lapse of judgement. He climbed into his car, with his back to the gate. I know that he confidently drove all the way to his office without locking the doors of his vehicle.

Completely and blissfully unaware that these tiny actions are not one that any woman is comfortable doing, particularly in South Africa.

We’ve had this discussion about security and vigilance ad nauseam. It’s become somewhat of a game if you will, for me to remind him before we leave our property to ensure that he remembered to lock the doors.  The possibility of becoming a victim of an attack is not one which crosses his mind often, or if at all.  Based on chatter at get togethers with friends, I am not alone in my ‘paranoia’ and neither is he in his mindset of ‘my wife is paranoid’.  Men and women live in different universes in terms of safety.

I have always been vigilant and aware of my surroundings, my vulnerability and of our socioeconomic circumstances of our country resulting in increasingly brutal and aggressive assaults on women in particular.  We are alert when shopping, clutching onto our handbags as though they contain the holy grail.  We observe the movements of any person who happens to be standing in a parking lot nearby us when entering or exiting our vehicles. We don’t dare walk alone in the dark. We don’t dare dream of going for a job after sunset, especially alone. We don’t dare go into a public toilet on the beachfront or remote shopping centres. We don’t dare pull roadside to tend to a flat tyre or rogue toddler who has houdinied their way out of their safety seat. We don’t go for a walk on the beach alone. We send links of our Uber rides to our partners and loved ones. We give them names and addresses of clients we are going to meet, and let them know when we’ve left safely.

None of these things cross my husbands minds.  That they are a daily reality for me and most women is something which is incomprehensible for him.  How one person can live with such fear and uncertainty.

My concerns have always been there.

I have my own #metoo stories which I’ve shared with close friends. A man who stalked me for several years, who knew my every movement, who followed me everywhere, who confronted me at my car one night in a dark parking lot, who followed me to the beach for a solo stroll one evening, who sent me lewd messages, who tracked down my new cellphone number everytime I changed it and who finally was able to drug my drink and take me to a secluded spot on the beachfront and attempted to rape me.  The police officers who found me did nothing. He had not kidnapped me, he had not raped me, harassment via texts and phone calls was not yet against the law. My clothing also indicated that I was looking for attention, so I had only myself to blame for getting into that situation.  I was groped and grabbed more than once in my 20’s while out clubbing.

I was once thrown out of a club for punching a man who stuck his hand under my skirt and grabbed me.  He was not reprimanded, but I was thrown out for defending myself.  I was grabbed and taken behind a curtain at a local Octoberfest and felt up by a trusted friend. Again I was reprimanded because I had been drinking and was clearly looking for trouble for dancing and drinking.  Clearly the onus is on a women to dress like a nun and sit in a corner, the prospect that a man is incapable of keeping his hands to himself is an impossible one if my experiences are anything to go by.

Women live in fear of being assaulted and victimised every day. It has become so much a part of our reality that it is commonplace for us to behave and observe in ways which men simply cannot understand.

One thread on Twitter asked women what they would do if men had a curfew.  The results were astounding and a complete eye opener for many.  Simple tasks and pleasures which men take for granted are luxuries or completely impossible for us.

Through all of this I am also raising a daughter. Someone who falls into the most vulnerable category of sexes.  I want her to be strong, independent and resourceful.  I also want her safe.  I love that she is naturally a social and outgoing person, but her ability to run into anyone’s arms, blindly trusting that she is safe and secure with them, terrifies me. At the tender age of 2.5 years, how do you even begin to explain the threat that people could pose, without destroying her blossoming personality, trust and independence?

How do I begin to explain to her that because of her privilege she is already at a disadvantage and already resented by so many.  How do I teach her how to embrace human nature and love openly, when I eye most people with trepidation, fear and distrust myself?

For now I task myself with the role of tutor, mentor and guardian of her. Ensuring her safety in our home and especially out in public. I encourage her freedom to greet, wave and high five anyone who greets her and respect her decision not to hug or greet someone if she is not comfortable with them. As she grows older we will broach more delicate subject matter surrounding what constitutes appropriate physical and emotional contact and abuse.

These are important lessons to teach our children. They need to know right from wrong. They need to know what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour, towards themselves, and others. Without our guidance how are they to know how to tell the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour?

So, while I watch my daughter take a nap, blissfully unaware of the dangers which she unknowingly faces every day, I take comfort in the knowledge that so far today, her world is perfect and safe. Tomorrow is another day.

I am also grateful for the role model that her father, my brother and a few close family and friends are for her.  Men who can show her what it is to be loved and respected by the opposite sex. How a woman should be treated and expect to be treated, without compromise.

By teaching new generations how to respect one another, knowing right from wrong and letting them know that there is no shame in coming forward in the horrific event that someone has hurt them is vital in ensuring future generations safety and security in their lives and freedom.

Preeclampsia, Eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.

Beyonce recently shared some insight into the pregnancy and delivery of her birth (link ). It highlighted her experience with what she referred to as ‘Toxemia’. Toxemia is an ‘out of practice’ name for preeclampsia. It may also be termed as PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) in certain countries.

Preeclampsia affects 5-10% of pregnancies. Most often it occurs late in the third trimester of pregnancy, but it may develop anytime from 20 weeks gestation and in very rare cases, before 20 weeks.

Most cases of preclampsia will result in the birth of a healthy baby because statistically, most pregnant women who develop it will do so in the last few
weeks of pregnancy (34 weeks-40/41 weeks) which is when a foetus is classified as either ‘moderately premature’, ‘late pre-term’ or full term. Their organs and lungs in particular are almost fully developed and they have received much of their required immunities from their mother.

Hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia account for up to 14% of preterm birth (before 36 weeks gestation).

Preeclampsia accounts for almost 13% of maternal deaths worldwide which translates into a resultant maternal death every 12 minutes in the world.

While these statistics are staggering, many expectant women are not made aware of this potentially life threatening illness. The symptoms themselves may often be mistaken for normal pregnancy related side effects and as a result it can be easy to miss or misdiagnose initially.

Most cases of preeclampsia aren’t initially noticeable because many of them are so easily relatable to normal pregnancy side effects, but a combination of
symptoms or persistant issues should have you seeing your gynae for a checkup.

The most common symptoms are
* headaches;
* blurred vision;
* upper abdominal pain;
* dramatic and sudden weight gain; and
* decreased urine output.

If left undiagnosed, cases of preeclampsia can progress into eclampsia, which can result in seizures or strokes.

But what exactly is Preeclampsia? Essentially it is a combination of increased blood pressure and elevated protein levels in your urine. It may also result in low blood clotting factors, kidney and liver complications. It affects the blood flow to the placenta, often leading to smaller or prematurely born babies as a result of slowed or restricted growth, lower than normal birth weights and increased infant mortality rates. Most commonly, an infant born as a result of preeclampsia or eclampsia is often referred to as an IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) baby because of their smaller size and weight.

Another development of preeclampsia and eclampsia which can occur, as the illness progresses, is HELLP (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count) syndrome. Statistically up to 15% of sufferers of preeclampsia will progress into HELLP syndrome. The global mortality rate for HELLP syndrome is a staggering 25%. Typically symptoms of HELLP syndrome are

* Headaches;
* Nausea, vomiting and indigestion with pain after eating;
* Abdominal or chest tenderness at the base of your rib cage (from liver distention);
* Shoulder pain or pain when breathing deeply (fluid builds up in your lungs which creates difficulty in breathing);
* Bleeding;
* Blurred vision; and
* Edema (swlling) in limbs.

Testing blood pressure and protein levels in your urine are methods to test for HELLP syndrome.

HELLP syndome can also present itself in mothers without the presence of preeclampsia or eclampsia, and in rare occurances may even occur after childbirth.

The only known cures for preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome is child birth and the removal of the placenta. This is not guaranteed to be an instantaneous cure however, many women still experience issues for weeks, months and sometimes years after the birth of their child.

While the exact cause for developing preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome is not yet fully understood, there are certain genetic and environmental factors which likely contribute to the increased of likelihood of developing these or all of these illnesses:

* Your age: teenagers and women over the age of 40 are at greatest risk;
* If you experienced preeclampsia or eclampsia in a previous pregnancy;
* Obesity;
* A history of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy;
* A pregnancy as a result of egg donation or donor sperm insemination;
* Having a mother, sister or close family relative who had preeclampsia;
* Having Diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, certain Kidney diseases, sickl     cell disease; and
* Having a multiple gestation (2 or more foetus simultaneously).

There are still many mysteries surrounding the exact causes and contributing factors towards an otherwise healthy pregnancy developing into preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, including theories of genetic incompatibilities, the body rejecting the placenta, etc.  It cannot be prevented as yet, and the only known cure is delivery.  It can however be monitored and in certain scenarios, proper management can prevent it escalating at a rate which is life threatening to mother and/or child.

Statistically, our story, is a rare occurrence. Yet, I’ve met so many incredible women who have experienced the same journey. Some have their children in their arms, some of their children gained wings, some were too terrified to ever try again and some were courageous enough to risk it all again for the chance to have another child.

Charlotte for us is our one and only after our journey. I developed HELLP syndrome in the middle of my emergency caesarean. I had a dialysis machine on standby, waiting to be connected up to me to save my life. My daughter weighed 3 weeks behind in her weight and faced insurmountable odds of surviving and being a healthy active child one day. My husband faced the risk of losing his wife and child, or being faced with the prospect of raising a medically complex child on his own.

Would I do this all again? No. The risks for me are far too great. I do not believe my body could handle it all again. I do not want my daughter to grow up without her mother if I can help it at all. I do not want to run the risk of placing another child through the pain and trauma of a premature birth.

The survivors guilt is one which is immense. I don’t for a second regret fighting to save Charlotte. But I have tremendous amounts of guilt for doing so. It’s hard to explain, and believe me, I’ve tried, on numerous occasions. When we were faced with the recommendation to terminate her and ‘move on and try again in a few months’ I was beyond devastated, for many reasons. The decision to keep fighting for her may have appeared to many people to be a brave one, for others I know it was seen as a selfish choice. And here’s the thing, I can see and sympathise with both sides of the coin.

Charlotte is healthy, for all our issues with feeding aside, she is a perfect stereotypical happy and healthy toddler who has met all her milestones. In many aspects she appears to be well ahead of some of her peers. But not all stories end as ours has. Many children do not survive, or they live with lifelong complications resulting from severe premature birth, from lung issues, hypertension, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, heart conditions as adults, minor or severe brain damage and metabolic issues. Charlottes story could have led in so many different directions. I have deep admiration for any parent who has a medically complex child, the road is not paved smoothly, particularly when your childs’ medical complexities are possibly not physically visible to the outside world.

Deciding to fight for her, to give her a fighting chance could have resulted in creating lifelong problems for her. I have days where I feel immense pride in making the right decision to fight for her. There are also days where I remember the look on her face, how tiny and helpless she was, lying in her artificial womb incubator, connected up to dozens of life saving equipment and wondering if I haved saved her, for her, or for my own selfish desires. How much of her pain and suffering was justifiable through my actions and decisions?

It’s a complex thought process, and a dangerous one I think. One which could drive a mother to the brink of insanity. I don’t believe though that there is one simple answer, there is no clear cut right or wrong decision. It’s an impossible decision to make, yet we are faced with having to make it. And either way you look at it, and regardless of the outcome, you will always replay that decision over and over in your mind.

Through all of this though, brave mamma’s across the world face these odds head on, taking any number of risks to fall pregnant and carry their children as far to full term as what is humanly possible.

 

It takes a village

The role of parent is not an easy one.  We are tasked with so much responsibility.  At the end of each evening I find myself questioning my abilities. I run the entire day through my head.  How I could have done things better.  That my daughter deserves someone far more capable than I.  How I’ll cope with the following days challenges.  Am I allowing her enough freedom, or not enough?  Am I giving her the right skill sets to become independent?  Am I too hard on her? Am I too lenient on her?

We are the caregivers for a future generation. It’s not a role to be taken lightly.  It rests in our hands to raise these little people the right way.  Ensuring that we have given them the right set of skills, in order for them to have the best possible outcome to start a life on their own one day.  We need to ensure that we raise healthy, compassionate, confident, happy and well-developed people.  But raising a child takes more than a parent or two or three doesn’t it?!  It takes a village really.  Family, friends, caregivers, mentors, teachers, tutors, neighbours and even strangers.  We all play a pivotal role in creating successful future generations of functional adults.  As a society in entirety, we are responsible for ensuring that future generations are looked after.

We have shared much of our daughters’ and our story to create awareness for others.  One such story occurred this past week. Charlotte grew very ill, very quickly.  One listen to her lungs by her paediatrician and we were immediately admitted to the isolation ward in paediatrics.  She had contracted pneumonia in both lungs.  Very bad for a former micro preemie with a history of chronic lung disease.  Further tests also confirmed that she had contract ‘RSV’, which was likely the outlying cause of her contracting pneumonia as a secondary infection.  With confirmation of her diagnosis I opted to re-share a prior post I had made in sharing awareness and preventative measures surrounding ‘RSV’.

So many wonderful and amazing members of our village offered love, support and encouragement. Many more shared the post to create further awareness, which in itself is amazing support and love.  And as I wondered through the comments made on various shared posts I noticed a handful of interesting comments.

One comment noted that the poster couldn’t see what the big deal was. It is after all just a common cold, one which all children will have at some point.  She’s not wrong with that statement, but it is a fairly naive and narrow-minded one if I’m honest. Another which struck me hard in the feels was one which stated that as Charlottes’ mother, it was my sole responsibility to ensure that she is protected from germs.  Yes, thank you for pointing out that I failed my daughter.  Let me add however, that while it is indeed my responsibility to protect Charlotte, it is equally your responsibility to prevent the spread of your and your little ones germs.

The comments got me thinking though.  Had the objective of my original post not been clear?  So I went back and read through it a few more times to see what I had missed.  What I noted at the end of the exercise was that I was encouraging nothing more than basic hygiene etiquette from general functional and rational members of society, whom I presume to be capable of logical thought.

A lot of the original post focused on prevention. How to best prevent the spread of this horrible virus. Simple, basic tasks such as:

  • Washing your hands regularly, especially after being in contact with known germs, viruses and bacteria.
  • To cough or sneeze into the small of your elbow or into a tissue to prevent airborne particles.
  • To wipe down surfaces you may touch in public spaces, that others will be in contact with.
  • To teach your children to cough with a hand in front of their mouth.
  • To keep sick children at home as far as possible. Yes, we all know it’s difficult and sometimes impossible. But again, revert back to basic hygiene 101, clean surfaces they come in contact with.
  • By wiping your hands before you pick up a dozen different bags of pasta to see which one floats your boat for dinner.
  • By confining your sick child to a baby wrap, sling or even a trolley instead of allowing them to run amock down all the aisles.
  • By wiping down your trolley when leaving the store.
  • By not taking your sick child to school, childrens parties, play areas and parks or to the local Spur play area on a Friday evening.

None of these are overly complicated and impossible to achieve, and all are  respectful and mindful of the basic hygienic rights of all members of our villages.

So yes, as you so wisely pointed out, as much as it is my responsibility to protect my daughter, it is equally my responsibility to ensure that if she or I are ill, that I prevent the spread of those germs to you. And we expect the same respect, courtesy and effort in return. It is also my responsibility to nurture my daughters development in its entirety, this includes so much more than just her health. It includes her social development with society, her friends, class mates, adults and strangers.  I have to find the right balance between her health and well being to ensure that all aspects of her development are nurtured.  In order for me and for any other parent to fulfil this task successfully we need to work together to ensure that we are offering all of our children, safe environments in which to develop.

So while my daughter remains highly contagious for the next few weeks you will likely see very little of me out and about. But, if you do happen to see a crazy lady with a pile of sanitizing wipes in the store, frantically wiping down her hands, trolley, milk bottles, blocks of cheese and bags of pasta, wave your own sanitizing wipe in my direction and say hi!

You are the people who I want in our village!

If you would like to read up more on RSV please do click on the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/RaisingCharlottePE/photos/a.1688358448096619.1073741827.1688213771444420/2010252569240537/?type=3&theater

Much love from the hand sanitizer queen to all of you!!!

 

 

She is not viable

She’s not viable….

When Charlotte is soundly and snuggly asleep in bed between Johan and I, we often marvel at the wonder that is our daughter. She is perfect. She is beautiful.  She is mesmerising in every aspect of her being.  I cannot imagine a world in which she does not exist. I cannot fathom a life that does not include her larger than life personality.

 

And yet, this was a cold, hard reality with which we were hit with when I was 23 weeks pregnant.

I remember every aspect of that moment.  The feel of the sheets against my skin as I lay in a bed not mine, in a room with two complete strangers whom I’d listened to all day, hidden behind their cubicle curtains, talking to loved ones, talking about their beautiful new babies.  The heat of of a room where the aircon wasn’t working, the warm sun baking through the curtains, the sound of construction work outside my window, the dull background noise of nursing staff tending to their new mommies and new little people in the nursery down the corridor.  The telephone ringing at the reception desk.  The excited chatter of family come to visit loved one and celebrate the miracle of new little lives born that day. The smell of sanitizer hanging in the air. Newborns crying in the nursery as they receive their first bath.

A week before we were swaddled in ignorant pregnancy bliss. A week before, my husband and I had seen Charlotte at our 22 week ultrasound. It’s the all critical ultrasound, organs are checked, limbs, fingers, toes, brain matter, heart function, blood flow, artery and vein formations and supply, weight is checked, head circumference, the results of our Down Syndrome risks. As I lay there and we watched our perfect little girl on the monitor we allowed ourselves to finally breathe, she was well, she was healthy. She was perfect.  Our doctor was thrilled with her progress and development.

24 hours later it all changed. I was admitted the day after our scan. After tests and a night of observation I was diagnosed with early onset pre-eclampsia.  I’d read briefly about in in my pregnancy book. I knew that the only method to stop it from progressing was delivery. But I never in a million years thought that we would be that one in a million pregnancy that would result in a delivery that would see a child born into this world at the very start of the third trimester.

A week of staying in hospital and feeling reasonably healthy went by, while my blood pressure refused to stabilise I still felt well enough to believe that this was all somehow a huge misunderstanding, that soon we’d we sent home to enjoy our last few months of pregnancy bliss. And so I lay in wait that fateful day, with baited breath.  For my doctor to arrive and tell me what our game plan was to prevent my illness from progressing. What we’d be doing to keep Charlotte inside, growing and healthy. To tell me that all would be OK, as it was just a week previously.

When I heard my doctors voice in the corridor, the light laughter shared with the nursing staff at reception, I allowed myself to believe that all as going to be OK. Nobody is capable of sharing light-hearted laughter mere moments before delivering bad news surely? My halo of hope shattered the moment that my doctor walked into my room and towards my bed. I could see it in the walk, the eyes and in the way I was greeted. It was over.

The world went quieter and quieter as our one sided conversation progressed and my diagnosis was being explained. I didn’t contribute much, I sat and listened, trying to comprehend what was happening, until those words brutal were uttered.

‘She is not viable’

I was given a breakdown of her viability from a legal and medical point of view. I was given statistics on survival rates. The probability that in the certain event that she were to be born soon that she would likely suffer from lifelong debilitating complications. In my doctors’ eyes, I no longer had a viable pregnancy, or a child worth saving.  Our baby that was doing so well a week ago was suddenly no longer worthy of this world or my doctors’ time. She wasn’t viable.

I was advised that the best course of action would be termination, in the best interest of my own health.  She wasn’t a cause for concern any longer.  With a final look down towards me of pity I was told that my doctor would be away for a while on a business trip for two weeks and that it was doubtful that I would still be pregnant on return, I was wished the best of luck on my decision and for the weeks ahead and I was left to digest what I was just told and to make an impossible decision with my husband, my childs father.

Behind a curtain on the opposite side of the room was a new mom who wept with me. We hadn’t even laid eyes on each other and yet I was receiving far more compassion from this woman than I’d received from my own doctor.  She made me promise not to give up. She made me swear that I would continue fighting and looking for help.  She selflessly gave me the hope that I needed, in spite of her own birthing trauma and firstborn lying in the NICU.

I remember feeling so very alone, in a room full of patients and nursing staff. I remember feeling the feint movements of my daughter inside my stomach, alive and fighting, nobody fighting for her any longer.  She wasn’t viable?  She wasn’t worthy?  She wasn’t a living being worthy of having time spent on her any longer?

I remember the fear.  A thousand variations of crippling fear.  What if I was being selfish to fight and she died in pain?  What if I fought and she was born with severe compilations and lifelong issues.  What if I fought and I died, leaving her without a mother, leaving my husband with a child who required constant care because of my own selfishness. What if I agreed to termination?  Would I be able to live with the guilt of ending my perfect daughters’ life to save my own?  ‘What if’, a thousand of them. That voice behind the curtain encouraged me not to give in, to hold out hope until my husband was able to get there and until we were able to get a second opinion.

‘She is not viable’  I’ll never forget those words for as long as I live and breath on this earth.

And yet here she is.  Strong, beautiful, breath-taking in her determination and presence.

We were given hope the following morning.  She was viable to someone. Someone believed in my determination. Someone believed that she was worthy of fighting for. Someone knew that she deserved to be given a chance to be a part of this beautiful world.  Someone believed that she would be ok, healthy and happy. For that belief I’ll never be able to repay or express my gratitude enough.

As I lay beside her, watching her take in those tiny gentle breaths while she dreams of conquering the world I remember that we are guaranteed nothing in this world.  Nobody is going to fight for us if we don’t fight for it ourselves as well.

I know that we did right, that we fought bravely and selflessly for her.  I know that while I came dangerously close to losing my own life, that it was worth the risk, to have her a part of this world. Every day she shines fresh, beautiful light into this world. Every day is a blessing and an honour to know that someone else believed in her, in us. That she was worthy.

She was viable.

She was worthy.

She is perfection.

She is our world. She is viable. She is worthy and she is pure perfection!