“There will always be a hole in our lives, but fundraising for Brian House has given us a great sense of achievement and helped us to manage the pain of losing a child.”
Antonia and her husband Liam were ecstatic to find out they were expecting a second bundle of joy. Everything was perfect; they were planning ahead for their new arrival when things took an unexpected turn…
“We went to our 12 weeks scan and were excited to see our little angel, but there was a problem. Our baby had a large Cystic Hygroma (fluid at the back of the neck). This was absolutely devastating for us – our baby might have a life threatening chromosomal disorder. We had more tests which confirmed that we had a 1 in 5 chance of our baby being affected.
We decided to have the Amniocentesis test (extracting some of the amniotic fluid from around the baby). This confirmed that our baby was a beautiful girl, but had Turner’s Syndrome, which affects one of the sex chromosomes but which, with medication, can be managed.
It was a moment of relief – our daughter could lead a normal life with a few limitations. We immediately went out and brought her first pink, frilly dress. The weeks went by and we were looking at prams, cots, more clothes – the list was endless, but at our 18 week scan we were again delivered a devastating blow. The Cystic Hygroma was growing at a rapid rate. Our baby was showing signs of fluid on the lungs and had signs of heart failure.
We tried to carry on in the hope that she would reach 24 weeks, so she could be born early, but the consultants couldn’t give us a definite answer as to whether she would survive or not.
At 23 weeks they noticed that the amniotic fluid around our baby had decreased at an alarming rate and oxygen was also becoming restricted. She was falling asleep. On 5th May 2014 at 21:22pm, our precious daughter was born with her angel wings.
We had arranged that Millie would receive care from Brian House; we would take her there to spend a few precious days together, as I couldn’t bear the thought of her being alone in a mortuary. The staff set up their special Butterfly Suite for Millie and we had access to it 24/7. There were separate living quarters so we could come out when we needed to. It gave members of our family a chance to meet Millie and say their goodbyes. When we weren’t able to be with her the staff were always checking so she was never alone.
Those few days were so special. We cannot thank everyone at Brian House enough for their tender care for Millie and for allowing us to have this time with her.
The normalities of life slowly crept back; going to work, doing the weekly food shop, tidying the house… but no matter how hard I tried, I still felt there was more for me to do.
I noticed a job advert for a Fundraising Assistant at Trinity Hospice and Brian House. This was it! I could do something positive and help a cause that was so close to our hearts. I was interviewed – but was devastated when I didn’t get the job.
2015 brought more genetic tests for us, as we just couldn’t put our family through this pain again. As if it was fate, on the same day we had the all clear from the genetic tests, I had a phone call from Linzi, Head of Fundraising, offering me a job as a Fundraising Administrator. I snapped it up!
There will always be a hole in our lives, but fundraising for Trinity and Brian House has given us a great sense of achievement and helped us to manage the pain of losing a child. Although 2014 ended with sadness, the following year was life changing. I jumped out of a plane, was splatted with powder paint, ran reindeer dashes, experienced the Lytham Festival and all whilst raising money for a cause so close to our hearts. To top it all, we found out we were expecting another baby! Hugo was born healthy and happy in 2016!
We know other families will experience loss like ours, but if we can ensure that Brian House is here, then we ensure they also have those precious memories that we treasure.