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Feeling Charlize

After having 3 miscarriages and a stillborn baby, I was only diagnosed with my daughter Charlize, born at 28 weeks on the 27th of June 2008.

I miscarried my 1st pregnancy. Charlize was my 2nd born without a breath. From the day I fell pregnant, I had a fairly normal pregnancy.

At 19 weeks, I went for the morphology scan to check her size at our local scanning centre. They told us that the baby looked small for her age and recommended we get a higher-level scan done to be sure everything was ok.

From that day forward, our world started to fall apart.

My doctor referred me SUFW to see a foetal management specialist. We were told that our baby was small for its gestational age and was behind two weeks in growth.

The next few weeks were a burden. Physically and mentally we were drained, worried, anxious and scared. There really isn’t a feeling that could explain the pain I went through before our baby was even born!

 I had many blood tests done, including an amniocentesis to rule out any abnormalities and they all came back normal. I was about 21 weeks pregnant.

After going back to see our specialist, the scans still showed little growth so the specialist decided to wait a week to see if there was an improvement in growth.

At our next scan there was still no improvement. He was very concerned about the health of our baby and suggested waiting another 3 weeks hoping to see a dramatic change.

After 3 weeks, (25th week) the news wasn’t so great. Our baby still hadn’t grown much and the specialist advised us that the placenta was not functioning properly and our baby wasn’t receiving enough nutrients or oxygen. He called it placenta inefficiency. He said that the baby weighed 297 grams and at that age a baby should be at least 500 grams for a baby to survive. The anatomic fluid was also very low so our baby couldn’t move around as much as it should.

We sat down together in a little room making us feel comfortable, ready for his next recommendation. We were advised to either terminate the pregnancy or just let nature take its course.

We were devastated! After one loss already, I wasn’t prepared for another.

Our specialist advised us that if our baby grew to about 600 grams by week 30 there might have been a chance of early delivery by C Section. So we waited again but there was nothing we could do to help.

Our next scan on the 20th June 2008 (27th week) wasn’t promising at all. While the baby looked normal, there was no fluid in the sac and the baby now only weighed 320 grams. There was no sign of growth in the next 3 weeks of 300 grams. Our specialist told us that there was no chance the baby would survive. He said that the baby was too small to be delivered and in a couple of weeks the heart would just stop beating. He offered to see me every week to check the baby’s progress.

Although we had prior warning, we were hoping for some sort of miracle and the pain and agony knowing the baby would not survive was unbearable.

The night before our next appointment with our doctor (24th of June) I used a Doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat. It was 152 beats per minute. The next morning, I checked the heartbeat again. There was nothing. I was a little worried, and suspected that today may be the day we have been waiting for.

At our appointment with our doctor he couldn’t see a heartbeat on the scan. At that moment I knew my baby had died. “It looks like the baby has already passed love” were his words. I was not shocked and in fact I was quite calm.  He then checked my cervix.

Our baby was a girl. My husband and I broke down. It hit us hard knowing our baby was not going to come home with us.

We went to hospital straight after our appointment to keep an eye on my blood pressure and to start being induced the next morning.

After a concoction of medication and being induced for the next 24 hours, I started to labour. I was in extreme pain.

The midwife checked my cervix and I was dilated about 3cm at that point. My husband stayed up with me until about 3am giving me gas then went to sleep while I was resting. I couldn’t move and had to stay in one position all night with pain in my lower back.

At around 7.30am on Friday 27th June 2008 I was taken back to my room and our doctor came in at about 8am. He checked my cervix again. I was in a lot of pain at that point. He asked me to push a few times and our baby was born at 8.08am. The placenta came out a few minutes later and the pain in my back was completely gone.

There was no other sound in the room. My husband was in shock and a midwife was weeping as she watched Charlize being born. My little baby girl was lying in front of me lifelessly. I sat up to see her and all I could feel at that moment was sorrow.

After Charlize was bathed, the midwife brought her back to us. I held her in my arms and kissed her forehead. She was so little.

A priest came in to bless Charlize and after holding her again for the last time before the funeral, she was taken away. The tears were flowing and at that moment I realised she would not with us again. I was a mess!

The Midwife took prints of Charlize’s feet and hands and they also gave us a teddy bear, Blanket, Beanie and booties.

We left the hospital without our little baby the same afternoon.

The days that followed were filled with tears. I cried uncontrollably every time I thought about my little Charlize knowing that I would never be able to hold her, kiss her or feed her like I should have.

Charlize was taken to have an autopsy.

We organised the funeral the next day through Precious Angel Baby Funerals and my husband chose a beautiful song the night before called With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman.

It was the day of her funeral on the 3rd July 2008. I was sick in my stomach and so anxious to hold my lbaby in my arms for the last time and say goodbye.

My husband and I and a few family members held her for as long as we could.

We put a little dress over her which then covered her with our pink bear blanket. I was heartbroken.     

We left the chapel to where Charlize was buried. Another song You’ll be in my heart by Phil Collins was played while we each placed a pink rose on her coffin. I was very emotional again. Then, in a matter of moments she was gone.

The love that we have experienced will stay with us forever. We will never forget our little girl and although the time we had together was so short, the imprint Charlize made in our lives will last a lifetime. She will always be our special little angel and will always be in our hearts.


Melissa Desveaux