Olive was born with a lot of complications. She was born with level 4 brain bleeds (the worst kind) on either side of her brain. She was born with a nasty infection, which sadly she probably got from me (I had been on numerous antibiotics since the catheter debacle) and she was born at twenty-two weeks and six days gestation. Parts of her body hadn’t had time to mature properly. To top it all off she was a triplet. A singleton baby born at her gestation might fare better, but she had to share the entire pregnancy. Upon hearing this news the stark reality was that her outlook was simply becoming bleaker and bleaker.
And yes I had started to go into labour with triplet C. My infection markers were steadily rising and they had really kicked up the antibiotics. When I gave birth to Olive they actually had to leave her placenta in me, as pulling it out could possibly pull B, and C’s with it. So my already infectious body coupled with a placenta no longer being used didn’t make for exactly a clean steady ride. My drug chart started to look like a bible.
On day two the hospital organised a charity called heartfelt to visit us. Heartfelt is a WONDERFUL organisation with professional photographers who donate their time and come and take photos of preemie and stillborn babies. I am forever grateful for them, as without their generosity we would not have any photos of Olive. I was raised to a normal sitting position (kind of) for the shoot. But as I was currently in labour it was a brief shoot.
The labour had really kicked up a notch and we had been moved into the big birthing suite. Two NICU resuscitation stations stood blinking at us. Minutes felt like hours while we played the waiting game with the labour and Olive. Neither of us had slept since going into labour with Olive. Every time I started to doze off I would hear footsteps and my heart froze over certain those footsteps were for us. Certain they were coming to tell me that my baby girl had passed.
That evening the footsteps were for us, they were for Olive. The main nurse who had been looking after Olive came in. She was crying. She thought it was time to let Olive go. The Doctor was pushing the envelope trying and trying but it looked bleak. I just collapsed onto the nurse heartbroken, sobbing. No no no no no no. Please no.
But still we waited for that Doctor still we hoped that something had worked. Still I waited for a miracle. The doctor came in at 8:30 that morning. It was day 3 and Olive still wasn’t responding to the treatment. He could keep her alive if we wanted but her tiny fragile lungs could burst on the machine that was breathing for her. The thought of my tiny daughter dying all alone on a machine broke me, I had barely been able to spend time with her due to the labour, I hadn’t been able to hold her to comfort her. She must feel so confused suddenly out in the big world, taken from the safe haven of my belly with her two brothers. She must feel so frightened in that stark medical incubator with strange voices around her, no voice from her mummy reassuring her. She must feel such pain being so fragile you couldn’t touch her without her feeling pain and they had to take bloods, do transfusions, put lines in. There was no way my beautiful first born would become an angel in that environment she deserved to at last be in my arms, singing softly to her, with her father, feeling the love that we have for her. I asked them to please bring her to me. It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make but it was time to say goodbye and for tiny Olive Louise to have peace.
Talking to Olive during the heartfelt shoot. Olives tiny hand.