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The pain doesn’t ever go away and people that say time is a great healer 
have obviously never been through it. I remember sitting there and staring at the tablets and crying so hard but at the same time so quietly that no one could hear me; I just wanted it to stop.
When I found out I was pregnant with Emily, we had only been together a short time and I thought it was too early to be thinking of having a baby, but we just knew we loved her already. At the twelve-week scan everything was great; she was growing as she should, and I just couldn’t believe that the little smudge on the screen was our baby.
Excitement grew as the weeks went on and before long it was my twenty-week scan. Around twenty-two weeks we went for our scan and that’s when we were told that we needed to come back to have some things looked at as she wasn’t the size that they had hoped for. So, a week or so later I went to have another scan. Even at this point you don’t think the worst; you’re scared but you don’t think anything life-changing is about to happen.
I lay there waiting for the sonographer to tell me that they were wrong the first time and everything was perfectly fine; that she was perfectly fine, but I could tell by the look that she gave me that it was anything but that. I remember walking home taking one step then the next feeling numb; not really believing that this was happening. The next few days felt like weeks. We were offered a scan at a specialised centre where a foetal specialist would take a look and tell us her findings. She took us into a quiet clinical room where they take you when it's bad news. She was kind, but how can you like the person telling you that your child is not growing like she should and some of her organs are not working. I looked straight through her whilst I tried to remember to breathe. We were told that she could have a chromosomal abnormality. I remember buying a book and sitting on the train to my partner's family home deciding which one we could potentially deal with and which ones we would find more difficult; reading about the potential outcomes and if she would even survive to full term. All the while holding my stomach and screaming inside, 'I’ll protect you, just keep fighting.’
A few days later I attended an amniocentesis and we were told that we would get the results in a couple of days.  They called us at work and told us to come in straight away. My mum met us there and we went into an identical, cold clinical room where we were told that she had Edwards' Syndrome and she would no doubt not make it full term. Our world crashed around us.
How do you decide? How do you decide what to do? Is she in pain? Is it fair to carry on? I am her mum, how can I let her go? I am supposed to protect her, but was protecting her letting her potentially be in pain or letting go of her pain?
Up until today, and probably for the rest of my life, it will have been the hardest decision to ever make, but rightly or wrongly we decided to let her go. Having to give birth knowing you won’t be going home with your baby is one of the most heart wrenching feelings I think you can ever feel. Watching other mums leave the hospital with their babies and all I had was an empty feeling in my heart and stomach and a feeling of guilt, I don’t think ever really leaves you.
The weeks after were a blur; laying her to rest and moving her things from her room was too much to bear and I think I have learnt to block those memories as they are too hurtful. I felt like for months I couldn’t breathe; I had a giant pain crushing my chest. I saw no happiness in anything and no reason to carry on, but your family and friends pull you through. I look back now and am happy that I had months of being Emily’s mum; I appreciate every kick and every minute I had with her. She is not something to be ashamed of or hidden away, she is part of my life that should be recognised and celebrated.
I realise now how important it is to listen to the mother's wishes, how important the empathy of the midwives is and how much difference the aftercare makes to mothers and fathers in this position, whether you choose to continue the pregnancy or let your child go. Afterwards I felt lonely, isolated and guilty and it has taken me many years to realise that there are so many others too ashamed to speak about their choice. 

Created: 22/01/2019 14:15

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