Our Henry 💙
Sunday 22nd Nov
Friday 24th November 2017 I attended my anomaly scan at 20 weeks, the sonographer immediately asked if I had been losing amniotic fluid or had recently suffered an infection to which I replied ‘no’. She continued to scan not saying anything. There was no relay of her findings for what felt like hours. Then she stated that she needed to get a colleague. Alarm bells started to ring in my head.
The senior sonographer came into the room with her colleague. They both stared at the screen while she started to scan my baby again and then the senior sonographer said “I see”. That’s all that was said for a long time. I finally asked “Can you tell me your concerns?”
I was told that baby has low amniotic fluid around him, fluid in his tummy and lungs called hydrops. Also they can’t see all the organs because the fluid is too low.
They tell me there are no consultants on duty as it was a Friday evening. So I would be called on Monday morning.
Sadly my husband hadn’t come to my appointment with me as we had already had a private gender scan a few weeks before. We knew we were having a boy and naively thought that everything was ok as the 12 week scan had been fine. My mum had accompanied me instead. I felt numb and didn’t really know how to tell him that something wasn’t right. I had to collect my eldest from his childminder so just went onto autopilot until he went to bed. Then the enormity of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks.
After an extremely long weekend Monday morning came and I received a call at 8:50am informing me that I had been referred to Fetal Medicine at St Thomas’ in London.
Later that day, they called to make two appointments for Wednesday that week.
After hours of scans and discussions still with no prognosis, it was decided that baby was safe inside me and that we should come back next week to see if my fluid level would go down further. It was heart breaking to know that my baby was so poorly yet there was nothing I could do.
The following week the scan revealed that my amniotic fluid had decreased further and there was even more fluid in baby’s lungs and tummy. This meant that the kidneys could still not be seen.
My consultant mentioned that my case had been put forward to a panel of 5 other doctors. The verdict was that baby was not viable outside of my womb. That the lack of fluid around him was squashing his organs and deforming his limbs. Therefore, the latest news that my amniotic fluid was even lower than last week was a real cause for concern.
We were told that if I continued with the pregnancy baby would pass away at some stage as he would be squashed in my womb due to no fluid surrounding him. His lungs and tummy would fill completely with fluid inevitably drowning him. I couldn’t bear to think of him suffering. As I looked down at my bump I knew what decision I would have to make. In this moment I detached myself from my baby as I knew I would have to say goodbye.
We were shown to the quiet room once again. The details about a Medical Termination were explained to us; which involved coming back to St Thomas’ for a potassium injection to stop baby’s heart and then an induction 2 days later at my local hospital to give birth.
I had to wait a whole week - it was the longest week of my life!
My baby’s heart stopped at 14.10pm on Wednesday 13th December 2017. It was a bleak winters day.
Henry Ryan Whatley was born at 04:09am on Monday 18th December 2017. He weighed a tiny 1lb 3ozs and measured 28cm long. His teeny hands had not formed properly and his legs were very deformed. Henry’s tummy was so round. It was clear to see just how poorly he truly was. As we still didn’t know what had caused him to be this way we were sure that we wanted a full post-mortem. I needed answers.
We finally laid Henry to rest on Wednesday 7th February 2018.
For me it was a bittersweet day as we were saying goodbye to our little boy yet the reason he was gone too soon was still unexplained.
Waiting for an appointment to see the consultant, where the results of the post-mortem would be revealed was draining. The day arrived; Tuesday 15th May we found out that Henry had Bilateral Renal Agenesis known as Potters Syndrome. He had no kidneys. At last a reason as to why he had to die. I felt as though I could breathe again - I hadn’t realised that the last 7 months I’d been holding my breath. It had been such a surreal journey that I had the missing piece to complete the puzzle. Life had carried on despite this cruel encounter for over 7 months and now I was faced with the what now scenario. A new loft conversion had been created to give us more space but the reality of having a nursery with no baby was devastating.
I truly believe that I did not start the grieving process until August 2018 a whole 10 months after first laying on that bed finding out there were some abnormalities with my baby boy.
It’s been a tough few years but with my family and friends by my side I am feeling stronger than ever.
As I approach Henry’s 3rd heavenly birthday I want this years’ celebrations to be extra special after the shitshow that has been 2020.
Running and fitness classes have been my saviour during my recovery. So I decided to take part in the My Marathon My Way challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone. If there are any of you willing to help by donating to the SANDS charity that would be awesome or perhaps some of you would like to support me by being a running buddy at some point in the next 6 weeks - that would make my day!
💙Henry Ryan Whatley💙
⭐️Shine Bright Little One⭐️