Posted by: Louise | April 18, 2010


I can’t help it. I’m counting down. In a matter of days, 23 to be exact, Laura will have been here and gone one year. And, in the middle of my utter disbelief that time can go so quickly and feel so endless, I am reliving those last days.

I wish I could say I was remembering blissful ignorance of what was to come. I was. We never expected Laura wouldn’t stay. But I wasn’t waddling around buying babygros and preparing my hospital bag. This time last year I was busily trying to complete the final assignments of an MA that Laura had begun in the middle of. I was spending a disproporionate amount of time buried in books, having conversations over my shoulder to the kids. From my desk we sneaked looks at Susan Boyle’s dramatic rise to fame on Youtube. The giraffe princess monitored my every minute, so eager was she to see the back of Mum’s homework.

We knew Laura had a hole in her heart by now, but they were going to assess it’s severity when she was born. I had been scheduled for an amniocentesis on 11th May so the hospital could have a clear diagnosis on our daughter’s condition in preparation for her arrival. Ha! The amnio. From our 12 week scan, just before Christmas, our consultant had encouraged us to have it. They had seen fluid in Laura’s nuchal fold and wanted to confirm their suspicion of down’s syndrome. I was afraid of the risks. Laura would still be our daughter regardless of any diagnosis and what if we lost her because of the procedure. Both K and I were more worried about the other complications that can come with downs syndrome and a scan could pick them up.

So at the 16 week scan we declined the amnio. At the 20 week scan we declined. And joy of joys, at that scan the consultant wrote on my chart “No physical complications evident.” Six weeks of almost normal pregancy followed. Our baby was growing well, kicking and dancing, introducing herself to her family. All good.

But we had a thorough consultant. Laura was lying breach and he wanted to see if he could get a clearer view of her heart. And so, at 26 weeks, we went back in. I lay on the table, listened to the consultant persuading our baby to move, listened to Laura’s strong rhythmic heartbeat, listened the consultant mutter and sigh under his breath, listened as he explained he was going to get someone else to look, and listened as the hole in Laura’s heart was revealed and we and our tears and a sea of medical words were sucked deep down into it.

And so this time last year, I had a plan. My thesis was deferred. I would finish my assignments. I would have the amnio, holding my breath and praying it didn’t send me into early labour, and then I would put my feet up for six weeks and read the trashiest magazines I could lay my hands on. And we would wait.

But we were still caught in the radar of chance……..


  1. Hi Louise- was also counting down. Can’t help but wonder what she would have been like as a one year old. Often think of you. X

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