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Martha [Oct. 3rd, 2014|11:39 pm]
We don't know how long we're here for.    It's so important to remember that, and to cherish every moment that we have in this world.

It's been a long time since I wrote a journal entry.. it's been a long time since I had a free moment when I could put enough words together to make sense.
Three years is a long time to sum up in one short diary entry.

During three years we have loved, we have lost, and we have grown as a family.   Time has continued to tick by.

On 25th January 2013, Martha came into our world.  
We knew from about the mid-way point that she was special.    As a diabetic, any pregnancy carries the risk of developmental problems, and at 14 weeks we became aware of possible issues.   At 16 weeks I had an amniocentisis, and at 19 weeks it was confirmed that Martha had several development issues.   We were offered a termination, but how do you terminate a baby that you have carried for 5 months?  There wasn't a question about whether we wanted to continue with the pregnancy.   We had to continue.

Things became more serious at the 28th week.   Grown scans showed that she was growing too quickly, her heart was enlarged, and she had a neural tube defect that was causing compression of her spinal cord, and also excess fluid on her brain.   We already knew that she had Down's Syndrome.    The news just kept getting worse with each appointment.

Steve and I had done our research and we knew that the odds were stacking against this being a happy outcome, and although we hoped dearly that we were wrong, we knew we wouldn't have Martha forever.   Two days before Christmas, this was pretty much confirmed to us by the specialist.  

We had a quiet family christmas with the children.   We waited until after the big day to explain to the younger ones that the baby that Mommy was carrying was very sick.  We were honest and open, and the older children had already been aware of the sadness surrounding this pregnancy.  Willow cried.  She wanted a sister to mother.  She didn't understand that babies could be sick and it was difficult for her to comprehend.
My older girls were my rocks.   There's a saying about daughter's becoming best friends as they grow.  This is true of my twins.  They are 10 years old, with wisdom and sensitivity way beyond their years.   Anyway, I digress..

We prepared for her arrival very differently from the arrival of any other baby.   It was no longer about the natural birth, or the earth mother experience.  It was about birthing a very special baby in such a way that wouldn't cause her any pain or distress.
I had an epidural and pethidine.

She didn't cry, and she was with us for almost 5 hours before she passed in our arms in the same peaceful way that she came into the world.

Sadness can be consuming.  It can eat you up inside, and it did for a long time.   But it didn't destroy us.  She didn't destroy us.
Neither of us will forget those special hours we spent with her.