When we went for our scan at 16 weeks our world completely fell apart…’
When my wife Michelle told me that she was pregnant I was so happy as it would be a little brother or sister for our first daughter Megan. When we went for our first scan at 12 weeks, the sonographer said she had difficulty at that point in measuring the limbs as the baby had folded its arms and legs. We did not really think anything of it and carried on as normal, however when we went for our scan at 16 weeks our world completely fell apart.
We had taken Megan in with us to see her little brother or sister. The sonographer took a long time doing the measurements and then she said that she needed to get someone else in, as she needed a second opinion, we knew then something was wrong. The staff were wonderful and took Megan off to do some colouring whilst the Senior Sonographer came in and had a look. We were advised at that point that the baby had a very severe form of dwarfism and that the prospects of survival were slim, but that we would have to come back the following Monday for the consultant to confirm and to advise how best to proceed.
That weekend was one of the worst in our lives dreading what was to come, but needing to be there for Megan. We chose to tell her straight away that there was something wrong with the baby as she is clever and would have picked up on something being wrong.
When we saw the Consultant on Monday he confirmed the views of the Sonographers. We later found that Katie had Thanatophoric Dysplasia a lethal form of dwarfism, which meant that if we had carried her to term she would have died soon after birth from respiratory failure. We met Gena from SPRING who went through what was going to happen and Michelle was given the first tablet to take and the arrangements were made to come back on the Wednesday. All I can remember of that time until Wednesday was a feeling of numbness and at times not knowing what to do or say to Michelle, except just being there with her and for her. It was really all I could do.
The staff were wonderful when we went back in and were really supportive, Gena especially. Katie Michelle Knight was born at 8.33pm on Wednesday 28th April 2010. She was so beautiful, but so tiny and fragile. We had her hand and footprints done and photographs taken with us. We stayed with her till the next day cuddling and holding her as much as possible until we finally had to say goodbye. We made sure she had a teddy to go with her and both gave her a kiss goodbye.
Now it is a year on and Michelle is expecting again and so far everything is going to plan. Going to the SPRING open support meetings and seeing Cindy for counselling has helped tremendously. The pain and hurt are still there, but you learn to live with it and it becomes part of you and will never go away. The hardest part about being a dad is that you cannot take any of the physical pain and anguish away, but the most important thing is that you are there for your partner and that both of you talk about how you are feeling and not bottle it away as it will just fester. I did not go to the first SPRING open support meeting with Michelle as I was working, but when she told me that there was another Dad there I promised to go to the next one and have been attending ever since.