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Our Little Angel

by Louise Imray
In loving Memory of Our Darling Son Ryan Derek Imray

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 

I came across this site while surfing and reading other stories has been a great comfort to me. I would now like to tell you my story.

I found out I was pregnant on 27th September 1998. It was a real shock as I'd only been off the pill for just over a month and you never expect it to happen on the first try. My husband and I were absolutely delighted. The morning sickness started when I was about 6 weeks and it was awful. I couldn't keep anything down so the doctor signed me off work and he prescribed me anti-sickness tablets. I had my first ultrasound at 11 1/2 weeks and it was the most exiting and emotional moment of my life. It was amazing seeing this tiny 'peanut' bouncing about on the screen and thinking that this was our baby. We walked around in a daze for the next few weeks talking constantly about this little person who would soon be taking over our lives.

As the weeks passed the excitement calmed and we returned to our normal routine, but all the time I was counting everyday down until we would see our baby again. I got my bloods done at 16 weeks which was nerve wracking but thankfully they came back fine. It was just after this that I felt the first kick. I cried with joy. That night Derek sat with his hand on my stomach for hours just waiting to feel something.

We got to 20 weeks and it was time for our second ultrasound. The midwife started scanning and here was this perfectly formed little person (not so little anymore though) with a hand sticking up. Derek told everyone the baby was waving at us. The midwife did all the checks and said everything was fine. She said the baby was a good size, measuring 21 1/2 weeks. We were again in a daze for the next couple of weeks till the boredom of everyday life returned. I just couldn't wait to see our little angel. If I had only known the heartache that awaited.

As I approached 26 weeks people had started remarking how big I was getting. My friends kept saying "You're going to have a big baby". On the 27th April 1999 I left work feeling tired. Little did I know my world was about to fall apart. When I got home I lay down for a rest as I had started getting some pain in my lower abdomen. I didn't really think anything of it at first but by the time Derek got home from work I was in a lot of pain and I was really scared. Derek called the doctor and he said we should go straight to the hospital. When we got there the doctor had called them so they were expecting me. They took us into a monitoring room and I was immediately put on a trace. We heard our angels heartbeat and I sank into the bed with relief. It was really emotional for Derek too because this was the first time he'd heard the baby's heartbeat. After about 20 minutes the doctor came in and said that the trace was fine but they wanted to keep me in over night just for observation. I was moved up to one of wards and Derek went home.

The following day I was sent for another ultrasound. It was then that my world fell apart. As the scan progressed I was too busy babbling about how clear you could see everything to notice that the midwife had gone very quiet. Suddenly she turned to me and said "I don't know how to tell you this but I'm not happy with something I've seen". I just went numb at this point. I can just remember sitting there and the tears rolling down my face. She said she would have to get a consultant to rescan me to confirm what she'd seen. I remember lying there while this awful women scanned me and spoke about my baby as 'THE FETUS'. Afterwards I was taken to this quiet room where she explained the problem. She said that the baby's head was enlarged, measuring the size of a full term baby. There was fluid filled cysts in the baby's head which had either covered or replaced 1/3 of the brain tissue. She said the baby would have severe brain damage. She told me that the baby's head was very large and that they didn't know if it would keep growing. If it did this would become dangerous for me. She said it would be better if we terminated the pregnancy although if we wanted to continue it was our decision. I was devastated. What hurt more was the cold manner in which she sat there and told me this. She said I should go home and discuss it with Derek and go back and see her the next day to tell her what we wanted to do.

I was taken back to the ward in a daze. It felt like I was in a nightmare and any minute I would wake up. But I didn't. I phoned Derek to come and pick me up but I didn't tell him over the phone. When he arrived I couldn't say anything for crying. When I finally managed to tell him he sat there in a daze. He kept saying "they've probably made a mistake".

We sat at home in the dark that night. Eventually Derek asked what I wanted to do. Although it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do we decided to terminate and I know now that we did the right thing.

When we went to hospital the following day and told them what we had decided there was more bad news to come. The consultant said it would be better for the baby if they gave it an injection to put it to sleep first. At this point I think my brain shut down and I just went onto auto-pilot. We were taken to the scanning room where they killed my baby. I still can't talk about this in detail as it still hurts too much. I was given a tablet to induce labour. We were then told to go home and come back the next morning.

I can still remember how strange it was that we went home and methodically packed this bag with everything I would need. Nightie, dressing gown, maternity pads and of course an outfit for our dead baby. As we entered the quiet of the special ward, for problem pregnancies, the following day, I felt almost calm knowing that we wouldn't leave there again until it was over. I was given another 3 tablets to further induce labour and then it was just a case of waiting. On May 2nd 1999 after a 16 hour labour, our beautiful son, Ryan Derek, was born. He weighed 2lbs 12oz. Quite a size for only being 27 weeks. We later found that the cysts on his head had burst during labour and we were told he would have died instantly. I realise now that putting him to sleep was the kindest thing we did. I know my angel didn't suffer. We had 8 precious hours with him. We took pictures and the nurses took hand and footprints for us. They also did a beautiful birth certificate for him. When it was time to leave the hospital I gave our son a kiss told him how much I loved him and that I would see him again someday.

Instead of leaving the hospital with a beautiful baby boy we left with a bag of clothes and some pictures. To this day I will never understand the cruelty of it all. Its now almost 8 months and the pain is still as fresh. I know with time it will ease but my family will never be complete without my angel Ryan. I hope my story gives comfort to others as their stories have for me.

Louise Imray
Email: lxi@hsru.abdn.ac.uk 

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