Updated: Apr 4
Photo Credit: Nicola Dolden
At eighteen-weeks pregnant, I booked a private scan to see our cheeky little girl. Though we only had two weeks to wait until our next ultrasound at the hospital, I didn't want to wait any longer.
When we arrived at the clinic, I could feel her moving around whilst we sat in the waiting room. I was listening to the chat around me, people waiting to find out if they were having a boy or girl. I smiled to myself because we already knew we were having a girl and that she was okay—I just wanted to see her again.
Our world suddenly fell apart when we were told there was no heart beat. I can't explain that moment because I'd felt her moving in the waiting room, so I was in a sort of denial. It was windy that evening and the walk back to the car must have been a sight. I remember having my arms wrapped around myself as the wind blew into my face and these wailing sounds were escaping from my mouth whilst my husband walked beside me, silent and white as a ghost.
Our gorgeous daughter, Rudy Dolden, was born on January 6, 2020, at 2:25 a.m., weighing a tiny 76 grams. But she was perfect and the care we received was absolutely incredible. We opted out of the post mortem as she was so tiny and we already knew there was a chance we'd have no ashes since she was so small. They sent off my placenta for testing and I had loads of tests.
One of the ladies from my bereavement team came to our house to check in with us, and delivered the results that there was a build up of fluid in the placenta. So Rudy's death was likely caused by hydropic abortion (a build up of fluid that ended the pregnancy).
In April 2020, we discovered we were expecting again but sadly in June we were told at our ultrasound that there was no heartbeat and baby had passed away at ten weeks.
Finally, in November 2020, we discovered we were expecting again and a private ten-week scan confirmed we had a very wriggly, living baby. Pregnancy after loss is draining, but I felt like finally, we might get to meet our rainbow and bring a baby home.
Our twelve-week dating scan came through and it had been booked for Rudy's first birthday. We took it as a good sign and decided to keep the date.
On the January 6, 2021, Rudy's first birthday, we were told our baby was completely covered in fluid and likely had a chromosomal disorder, as the neck measurement was a massive 9mm.
It just felt like, the whole world was against us. That this was some cruel payback for horrible actions in a previous life. How can two people be put through so much in the space of a year? How much were we expected to take?
The next day, we made the trip to UCLH in London to see a consultant, who confirmed that the fluid was drastic and prognosis for the baby was poor. I had a procedure called a CVS where they took a sample from my placenta. We received the results five days later showing that the results were normal and our baby was a little girl. We finally had some hope, that maybe, just maybe everything was going to be ok.
We arrived at UCLH two weeks later to check on the fluid and have an in depth heart scan on our little girl. That's when we were told that all hope was gone, that the fluid was worse, and that baby's kidneys were extremely large. There were also a deformity of the face and hands, and an under-developed brain, part of which was filled with fluid. But the worst was that she has a diaphragmatic hernia containing her liver, which was putting pressure on her heart and lungs. We were advised to terminate.
After weeks of torment, tears, screams, arguments, and changing our minds over and over again, we decided not to terminate and let her pass on her own.
We are now twenty-four weeks pregnant. Our little girl continues to grow and her heart continues to beat and we continue to fall in love with her everyday.
Photo Credit: Nicola Dolden
At every ultrasound, we hear "we are sorry but there's still a heart beat." It is so surreal to hear. After being so desperate for there to be heartbeat and then desperate for there not to be one, it's the worst kind of pain. We have met with a pediatrician, and discussed her palliative care options. We also have had time to get memories, record her heartbeat, get videos of her, and prepare things for her funeral, which we didn't get the chance to do last time.
I can't tell you if it's easier receiving the news unexpectedly or having time to prepare but I know that we don't regret our decision.
We are also not afraid. We know where we are going and who is looking after us and we have comfort in knowing that our bereavement team will continue to be supportive.
Thank you Nicola Dolden / @rememberingrudydolden for sharing your story and photos. Shared with permission.
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