We found out we were pregnant with Daniel in
August 1991.We had only been married a few weeks
but were over the moon because I had only ever
wanted to be a mummy.
We spent all our time from then on popping in
and out of baby shops looking at things we were
going to buy.
I was very, very sick and seemed to be spending
whole days with my head down the toilet and
mentioned it to the doctor who said not to worry
because it was quite normal. Apart from that we
progressed nicely and had no problems, by 14
weeks even the sickness had stopped.
I was really getting into the whole idea of
being pregnant by now and spent large amounts of
time just talking to my stomach, I wanted my
baby to know my voice when it arrived.
I was due to go for my first ultrasound on
December 15th 1991,but my hubby came down with
gastric flu and not wanting to go alone we put
it off until after Christmas when the hospital
opened back up.
We got an appointment through for January 15th
1992 and I remember feeling so very excited, I
was going to see my baby for the first time.
I lay down on the bed and had the freezing cold
jelly smeared all over me and the radiographer
began," there" she said" hats
your baby's heart, it looks fine and is beating
strongly". She then showed us his tiny arms
and legs and went up the back where she became
VERY quiet, I just thought she was paying
attention to her job and was so transfixed on
the screen I just let her get on. It was only
when she moved to the head then turned the
screen away that I began to panic, I got that
hot feeling in my stomach you get when you know
something is wrong. She didn't speak again for
about two minutes and then said I needed to lie
down as she thought my baby's head was down
behind my pelvis. She laid me totally flat, by
which time I was crying and terrified for my
baby. She proceeded to move the scanner around
on my stomach, at times pushing down so hard it
hurt and I thought I would wet myself. She then
said "I think I better get a doctor, stay
there". He came back in with her moments
later and without a word looked at the screen
,then nodded and said "would you please
follow me to my office". We got up and
followed him through a packed ante-natal
department and sit down in his office.
He then told us our baby had a condition called
ANENCEPHALY ((this is where the brain fails to
form correctly and the cranial bones do not
close around the head properly). I then remember
feeling like I was on another planet, outside of
my body watching myself, I was so dizzy I
thought I would fall off my chair. He said I
would have to come into hospital the next day
and be induced and deliver my baby now. I asked
him if I could carry on with my pregnancy as I
felt uncomfortable with just giving my baby up.
He was then very brutal and said" there is
nothing you can do for this baby, it's condition
is incompatible with life and it will die
anyway, plus carrying on with this could be very
dangerous to your health and that of any future
pregnancies". I left there feeling I had no
choice but to come back the next day. It
was the most torturous evening of my life, I
could feel him moving and I couldn't believe
soon he would be gone forever.
We arrived the next morning to find out my
obstetrician was still away and a junior from
his team was filling in. He explained how they
would induce me with a peccary and give me
another every few hours. We were given a whole
host of forms to sign which my husband did as I
couldn't sign a form allowing them to do an
autopsy on my baby and we were told they have to
They checked their diagnosis again and to my
horror Daniels heart had stopped, I feel he knew
what was going to happen and thought I was
giving up on him so he left me. I still feel so
They gave me my first peccary at noon and I
progressed steadily through the night without
any pain relief (I felt I had to be in pain to
make up for what my son was going through).
After 18 hours my water broke and within another
three hours my son was born still.
DANIEL KIERAN CHAM:17th JANUARY 1992 at 9.17am.
They took him out of the room straight away and
I didn't even know he was a little boy for 20
minutes, until the nurse who delivered him came
back. We then asked to see him and were told by
the idiot doctor that he didn't want us to
because of his appearance, I didn't argue much,
I felt I had no fight left, how I wish I had
stood up for what I wanted in my heart. I will
forever miss the chance to have held his teeny
fingers in mine once and to kiss the soft
bunched skin on his cheek. So many regrets.
An hour or so later we asked when we could have
him for a funeral and were told by the same
idiot doctor that as he was only 23.5 weeks and
so wasn't entitled. I felt they may as well just
kill me there and then because I didn't want to
live with how I felt right now. I now know how
wrong the things I was told were and this not
only adds to my grief but also my guilt, I let
him down so bad by being so weak and not being
brave enough to say hang on what about what we
I left the hospital the next day with empty arms
and an even emptier heart.
All I have for my son are the feelings in my
heart and the memory box we made for him
containing cards and messages of sympathy people
sent us and the few pieces of clothing we
brought for him.
When we got the autopsy results they also said
Daniel had most of his spinal column missing (spina
bifida) as well. Nobody ever talked things over
with us until I moved doctors 2 years later and
the fabulous doctor I have now and who has
helped so much looked through my notes and
explained everything to me.
There are so many things I would do differently
given the chance and also so many things I will
never forgive either myself or the hospital for.
But, the most important thing for me to do is
remember that even though we will never know
what Daniel looked like he had a meaningful life
because he taught me how to love in a way I
never thought possible. I have felt so much
sadness since I lost him but also so much love
and I hope to return it all to him when I hold
him in my arms again one day.
I will finally get to hold those teeny fingers
and kiss that soft bunched cheek.
From your sister Jordan
Everybody's looking for that
One thing that makes it all complete,
You find it in the strangest places,
Places you never knew it could be.
SOME FIND IT IN THE FACE OF THEIR CHILDREN,
Some find it in their lovers eyes,
Who can deny the joy it brings,
When you find that special thing,
You're flying without wings.
Some find it sharing every morning,
Some in their solitary lives,
You find it in the works of others,
A simple line can make you laugh or cry.
You find it in the deepest friendships,
The kind you cherish all your life,
And when you know how much that means,
You've found that special thing,
You're flying without wings.
So impossible as they may seem,
You've got to fight for every dream,
'Cause who's to know,
which one you let go,
WOULD HAVE MADE YOU COMPLETE.
Well for me it's waking up beside you,
To watch the sunrise on your face,
TO KNOW THAT I CAN SAY I LOVE YOU,
AT ANY GIVEN TIME OR PLACE,
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT ONLY I KNOW,
THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU MINE,
AND IT'S LIKE FLYING WITHOUT WINGS,
'CAUSE YOU'RE MY SPECIAL THING,
I'M FLYING WITHOUT WINGS.
YOU'RE THE PLACE MY LIFE BEGINS,
AND YOU'LL BE WHERE IT ENDS,
I'M FLYING WITHOUT WINGS,
AND THAT'S THE JOY YOU BRING,
I'M FLYING WITHOUT WINGS...