Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 9 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Catherine Taylor)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

My name is Catherine Taylor and I'm a mum. It seems funny to say that when I've never changed a nappy or had to get up in the middle of the night to that all familiar cry, but six months ago I did become a mother for the first time. My baby is a little girl and her name is Mersayd.

We discovered our precious angel had CDH at six months in utero. To say my husband and I were shocked at this diagnosis is an understatement. To be told that your baby has an abnormality is just not something you expect to hear! That happens to other people not us!! My first reaction was guilt – “what have I done?” but we were reassured that it was “just one of those things..”. With this diagnoses I was immediately referred to a specialist in Tauranga and then an Obstetrician in Hamilton. The next few months were a blur of more scans and check-ups. We were told that our baby had a 50/50 chance of survival but I was determined to be positive and I did not want Mersayd to feel any bad vibes. I think back now to that time and wonder if I may have been a bit naive but I truly and honestly did not expect Mersayd to die. I bought everything. The nursery was complete. The drawers were full. The crib was ready.

The obstetrician gave us the option of induction or c-section at 38 weeks but Craig and I decided that the less stress on Mersayd the better, so we chose the c-section.

The big day arrived and I was scared. After a sleepless night we arrived at the hospital but were told due to unexpected complications with another newborn, Mersayd's arrival was to be postponed. I felt so relieved.

Craig and I wondered, with this turn of events, what to do next! We decided to have a bit of fun, so the three of us had a trip to the Hamilton Zoo. We had a great day. I have always believed things happen for a reason and I truly believe we were given that extra day to spend with Mersayd. It is a special day I will never forget and I hope we can visit the zoo again on Mersayd's anniversary.

The next morning I was feeling allot more relaxed as I lay on the operating table (maybe it was the drugs!). There were so many doctors and nurses in theatre - some to assist me but most waiting for the big arrival of Mersayd. As soon as she was born I remember her sailing past me and onto the OHIO table. She was immediately intubated and whisked away to the NICU accompanied by her Dad.

I was stitched up and taken back to the recovery room. Craig joined me with Polaroid’s of Mersayd. He informed me things weren't good. I refused to believe it.

A couple of hours passed. The Paediatrician came to see me with the bad news. The hernia was far worse than predicted. Mersayd's lungs were tiny nodules and one had ruptured.

Numb with shock I was pumped full of morphine and wheeled up to see my wee fighter for the first time. I know all parents think their babies are beautiful but mine truly was. Except for all the lines and tubes attached to her; Mersayd looked like any other healthy, bonny bundle. She looked peaceful. It was hard to believe she had only moments to live. One of the nurses asked me if I would like to hold Mersayd and I said yes. She was placed gently in my arms. I have never been one for babies but I felt so confident holding her. It felt right.

I didn't cry when Mersayd died. I feel guilty about that but I think I must have been in shock. The reality of the situation didn't really hit me till a few days later.

If someone had told me a year ago I would be planning my baby's funeral I wouldn't have believed it. But here we were sorting out readings and music to be played. We chose 'The Power of Love' by Celine Dion, 'Angel Song' (my favourite) by Sarah MacLaughlan and 'Whenever God Shines His Light' by Van Morrison. We decided to not only have a service to say farewell but to also celebrate a life that although short; touched so many. We also let everyone there release a pink or silver balloon at the cemetery as a final goodbye. It was such a terribly sad day.

So now six months on not a day goes by when I don't think about Mersayd. I wonder does she know how much we all love her and how truly wanted she was? I feel envious when I see other mothers with their babies. I hope they know how lucky they are.

To lose a child, especially one that has not had a chance to experience life is hard. There is no one to tell you why this has happened or when the grief will pass. I have since joined SANDS and that has helped. I have found talking about Mersayd is the best therapy. Craig and I have also had lots of support from our family and close friends. Even strangers have shown genuine concern and great kindness.

But still, I wake up every morning missing my baby and wondering 'what if?' and 'why us?'. But still, tears come to my eyes at the mention of her name. But still, most of all, I can't forget I am a Mother.

Written by Mersayd's mom, Catherine Taylor (New Zealand)

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