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Ariana Emilia

Having a baby at 40 years old is a miracle, especially if it has been conceived naturally. We were over the moon, and couldn’t even find the words to describe the excitement. Our son was 17 years old at the time and we are having a baby! We were thrilled! 

However, I found out I was pregnant at nearly 5 months. I had no idea. It was at the beginning of the first lockdown and I thought I had put on weight. We were always concentrating on paying the rent, bills, saving to buy a house and support Denis when he goes to University. I felt a bit nostalgic especially during holidays or special occasions and wanted another baby. I guess we got used to it with time and believed we can’t always have it all. 

Anyway, I booked my first scan to a private clinic in Chelmsford. Due to Covid-19 my husband wasn’t allowed in. When I first heard her heart beating I started crying. I found out we were having a girl. Our next scan was with NHS at Basildon Hospital. I was working in a GP surgery at that time and I remember clearly the day. I was due to do an afternoon shift. That never happened. 

The midwife noticed a shadow on the baby’s heart and in a matter of minutes the room was filled with a consultant and two more nurses. I was examined again. The silence was killing me. I could only hear myself sobbing. The following morning, I attended another scan at Evelina Hospital in London. After the scan, the professor confirmed there was a hole in the heart and advised me to do an amniocentesis test. It’s more common in babies with chromosomal abnormalities, he said. I was devastated. I was determined to prove them wrong; my baby is healthy and I’ve seen online that most of the babies can have surgery soon after they are born. There was hope. 

The results from the amniocentesis test were confirmed by my midwife from Basildon Hospital. My baby girl had full Trisomy 18. They gave us three days to decide what to do next; terminate or carry on with pregnancy. 

We chose to honour my baby and so we started creating memories. We went to the beach in Camber Sands on a Sunday, in London to a lovely Italian restaurant, we took long walks in our favourite countryside park. None of us wanted to know what is going to happen so we took it day by day. I continued to work, so did my husband. It was hard and we were alone. 

Our parents are in Romania so we didn’t have much support. The midwives were very helpful and supported us in whatever decision we took. On top of everything, just when we thought we are going to be fine, I received a call from our agency regarding the property we were renting. The landlord wanted to sell. Heavily pregnant, I start packing. It was hell. 

Trisomy 18 babies don’t move a lot. I often found myself driving to the hospital just to check her heartbeat. In the meantime I joined different support groups and charities. We wanted to give her a chance but at the same time we were prepared to lose her. 

So, we come up with a birth plan. I was induced at 40 weeks and 2 days. Ariana Emilia Derscariu was born at 23:13 on September, 22nd. Stillborn. Her heart stopped during labour. She was perfect in every way imaginable. We named her after my husband’s grandmother. She also lost two children. I was numb. Petrified. I remember our families calling us, I was just telling them how beautiful she is, that she has my husband’s hands and my nose. I was under the medication I guess, shock, sleep deprivation. I wished her to stay with me forever.

That night, Denis met his sister. He couldn’t stop crying and continuously asking me why, mummy?! She was so tiny. We stayed in hospital for three days, I couldn’t leave her. I actually got used to the routine, I was still in denial. It was like a dream and I didn’t want to face the reality.

We left the hospital with a box, Emily’s footprints, discharge documents and leaflets. We decided to organise the funeral. We had no idea where to start or how much it would cost. Luckily enough, we met wonderful people who we are still in touch with. They let us to grieve and organised everything for us. Our friends have been so supportive, even people we didn’t know that well. I couldn’t be more grateful for that. 

Exactly three weeks after Emily was born, we had the funeral. It was October and I remember it rained all week. The day of the funeral was glorious sunshine. Not a single drop of rain. Emily was resting now on a beautiful flower bed. 

It’s been almost 7 months and I still don’t know what to do with myself. A close friend has given me a journal. I’ve been writing since then; my thoughts, my worries. I write to my baby. In the meantime, I have left the surgery position and joined a logistic company. We don’t have the luxury to stay at home. It was for the best, I think. I managed to control my anxiety and it also kept us going in the same time. 

We are on a different level now. I want to do more for Emily. When she was born I posted pictures on Facebook and on my private group, but noticed people are so afraid to talk about her because she had died. Yes, she couldn’t come home but she is part of us, we want to share this with everyone and raise awareness if possible. 

Recently a friend contacted my husband and invited us for a barbecue. Of course, they wanted to feel pity for me, to find out the whole story in detail. We decided to speak up when no one else would; perhaps our lives are supposed to be perfect and the possibility that it might “happen to me” becomes so uncomfortable for many people. 

For the most part, I am so grateful to be Emily’s mum. I am proud she stayed with me for nine months. She only knew love from us. Love is the way going forward. 

Ariana Emilia's mother Monica is currently fundraising for SOFT UK. If you would like to contribute to her fundriaser click here.

Created: 27/04/2021 15:40

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