Leo and I met each other at work in early 1999. It was certainly not a question of love at first sight; in fact, I was annoyed by 'that newcomer with that big mouth'. But because we were put together on one project, we were forced to work closely together. In such a situation it can go two ways: either it comes to an eruption or you learn to accept and appreciate each other. The last thing happened to us. Within a few months there was also 'love each other'.
Our relationship was not welcomed everywhere. This was partly due to the age difference, I was thirty-five, Leo fifty-six. I myself have also had my doubts. Especially because I had a strong desire for children for years and Leo wondered whether it was wise to start children at his age. He had a grown-up son from a previous marriage with whom he had no contact until his grief. Was he still able to be a good father? After much in-depth discussions, he finally dared to take the step. At the same time, we also decided to live together. First to see if that would go well and then I would have medical examination after six months whether I should be pregnant with my thrombosis history
The cohabitation went perfectly and also physically nothing stood in the way of a pregnancy. I should only use blood thinners after delivery. The signal was green.
Immediately the first month it was hit. Leo was already at work when I did the test with trembling hands in the morning. I was only one day overdue and almost did not dare to believe it. To be on the safe side I bought another test, but when it turned out to be positive, the tears ran down my cheeks. I was pregnant! I immediately went to buy a tiny, yellow bathrobe that I packed with the test rods. When Leo came home later that day, I pushed the package into his hands. He took it out and looked a little silly at that bathrobe, but then he saw the two test sticks. "Does that mean you're pregnant, Marion?" Yes! " I cried happily. "Gosh, that's fast," he replied a little.
Now that the time had come, Leo had to get used to the idea. But then it was he who threw overboard all good intentions not to make it public immediately. Already after a few days he told everyone who wanted to hear it. Not really smart, because everything could go wrong, but in any case excited and above all very proud!
Apart from a painful pelvic instability, I was not allowed to complain about anything during pregnancy. Everything seemed fine until I got the feeling in the twenty-seventh week that the baby had become less mobile. This was especially striking, because he could be just such a busy kicker. He always showed up at fixed times: in the morning when I was preparing myself, at work in the afternoon, early in the evening when I lay watching lazily on the couch, and finally a joyful dance just before bedtime. And suddenly there was that ominous peace in my stomach.
A week later I would have to check with the gynecologist and because I sometimes felt a bit, we decided to just wait for that appointment and not immediately panic to the hospital.
That appointment was on Wednesday, October 3, in the Bronovo hospital. It was only at the end of the consultation that I said that I felt our baby moving less in my stomach. I was surprised about the doctor's startle reaction, I had not said that I did not feel any movement anymore at all? However, he immediately took us for an echo. Then we clearly saw the heart beat, which gave me a feeling of peace. Where a heart beats is life, right? Nothing wrong! But apparently the doctor was not so satisfied with what he saw, he wanted to make a motion activity film. My stomach was connected to a monitor that recorded the movements of our baby. Leo and I were left alone for a moment. Together we looked at the results. We saw a fairly even line with few large peaks and valleys which reassured us - silly goslings. 'Looks good', we said to each other. What did we base that on? No idea. You see what you want to see. In between, an assistant tore off the strip to show it to the gynecologist. Less than five minutes later the doctor came by himself and sat down at my bed. He put his hand on my arm. "You will understand that we are not so satisfied. We want to get you recorded. "
At that moment the seriousness of the situation absolutely did not happen to us, after all, had we just seen our baby alive and well in my stomach? And we clearly saw the heart beat. What could be wrong? We were taken along to make an echo flow. With this ultrasound, the circulation of the umbilical cord could be measured. Still full of good hope I took a seat on the couch and let me rub again with gel. A friendly, female doctor looked at all the images with the utmost care. "You will have understood that your child is no longer enjoying himself in your stomach," she said. Understood? I did not understand anything at all! Why not? She showed us that there was almost no amniotic fluid left and asked if I might have lost amniotic fluid. I had not lost anything at all. But where was it then?
Again a motion activity film of the baby was made. This time a longer movie. After an hour - in my opinion after all - the gynecologist came back in again. He sat down on my bed and the panic hit me as soon as he took my hand. This was not a good sign!
'We have faxed the test results to the LUMC in Leiden and they agree with us that there is no time to lose. We have to get your baby now, the operating room has already been put in readiness. Today your mother will be. " Tears shot in my eyes and my heart stopped with fright. "But it's still a pea, he's still too small to be born!" I wanted to scream, yell, hit, but the only thing I saw was to look at Leo in horror. Soon there were nurses around me to get ready for the operation. I cried, as they pulled my socks, brought in a catheter, took off my clothes, and stuck a needle in my hand. I let everything come over me. What else did I have to do? Within a few minutes everything was arranged and my bed was driven to the ok. All kinds of emotions followed each other in rapid succession: fear, sadness, defeat, but also hope and even a bit of joy. After all, I would go see our baby! As many as thirteen specialists and nurses were ready to be born! That gave me a good feeling. Our child was taken seriously with his twenty-eight weeks. It was a knife and deserved a serious fight.
Leo stood by me and stroked my face, while I was tied up on the operating table. On the other hand, the doctors were working to get our baby. It was 3:17 PM when weeping softly let us know that our son Nick Leroy Manolo was born. From the corner of my eye I saw our little man lying down, while the doctors were busy with him. Nick had to be taken by ambulance to the Juliana Children's Hospital. Just before they took him, Leo and I were allowed to give him a quick, small hug. Nick weighed only 895 grams and was very small. But despite that, it was a beautiful little man with small, dark curls. A perfect mini-dog. After the farewell two polaroid photos of Nick were put down. He was a bit like that with us. The doctors had now found the culprit. Nick had swallowed a big button in the umbilical cord in my stomach. Perhaps this was the reason that he had not received sufficient nutrients and oxygen. The placenta would be further investigated.
After the abdominal wall was attached, I was taken to the recovery room. There I was, only with an empty belly and after that I did not know what to start with. A nurse came to me and congratulated me. But with what? I did not even know if our little man would save it. I could not feel joy, only fear and sadness. Staring at the ceiling as if some peace could come from there. What I felt alone and above all: what did I feel empty. After half an hour or so, they have taken me to my room. There I was met by Leo, my parents and a good friend. I was congratulated by everyone, but I still wondered what? This could not be the intention?
Leo would go to Nick in the Juliana Children's Hospital that same afternoon with minors. I wanted to shout that I was his mother and also wanted to go to him, but I did not say anything. For more than six months I had carried Nick with me and now that he was born, I was so far away from him ... Fortunately a nurse came to tell me that I would be taken to Nick by ambulance the next morning. That was certainly a nice idea. I could not sleep at night. Several times I called to the JKZ to inform Nick. There were some positive messages, but I was not comfortable about it. He had already peed himself once, but he had also received some morphine to calm down. He did not want to be touched and was fighting with everyone, which meant he fought mainly against himself. I have been worrying about him all night, I longed to see him.
The next morning ambulance employees came to pick me up and I was transported to the JKZ. There lay our little Nick, one tube in his nose, connected to various monitors and surrounded by syringes and snakes. I carefully put my hand through the hole of the incubator and put it on his little body. While I was sitting with him with my hand on his body, a terrible fatigue came over me. Fighting against the closing of my eyes I have just kept going, in the end I asked the nurses to let the ambulance come again.
Back in Bronovo, however, I still could not give in to that overwhelming sleep that wanted to take over from me. The phone continued to ring. Everyone wanted to know how things were going with me and Nick. Of course, sympathy is nice, but I could not afford it at that moment. What did I have to tell those people? That it went well? I thought it was not going well at all! From misery I have thrown off the phone and tried to rest a bit. But I hardly had my eyes closed or Leo was standing in front of my nose. "We need to talk. Come, I'll take you to the smoking room with your bed. "
While he lit a cigarette for himself, he said that he had had contact with Nick's doctor. Nick would be transported to the LUMC by ambulance today. There was no reason for panic, but in the LUMC they had a better oxygen machine. Nick's lungs did not want to get under way properly yet and the oxygen machine in Leiden would bring the oxygen vibrating inside Nick what was better for his lungs. I wonder whether I also wanted to be transferred to the LUMC. Of course I wanted that! Then I was close to Nick and could see him much more often. Stupid question!
At four o'clock Nick was transferred to Leiden, I an hour later. Once in Leiden we were not left with him. Only when the doctors of the department of neontology were done with him, and then she would also like to talk to the attending physician. Nervously, we were waiting there until we were met to go to Nick. What a terrible sight that was! Our little fellow was there vibrating - through that oxygen machine - in his incubator, surrounded by as many as fifteen different devices. His doctor told us it was bad with Nick. One lung had not developed and the other lung showed symptoms of emphysema. Never before have we been pushed to the facts so hard. Tears ran down our cheeks as we sat there for a moment and put our hands on his little body. 'Put it on little one, you can do it! Mom and Dad love you! "
The second night I did not close my eyes again. My thoughts were always with Nick. I called neonatology several times to inquire about him. More and more gloomy messages followed each other. He could no longer urinate independently and therefore had a catheter, he was on the maximum oxygen and there was no improvement. Towards the end of the night I gave up the courage to call, I could not hear all those dark messages anymore. I would wait for Leo and only inform Nick again with him. I also decided to no longer stay in bed. I would ask the nurses for a chair, because then I could easily, better and so often come to Nicks incubator.
But even before Leo was there, I was taken off the room. Nick was not doing well, Leo was called by speed. The doctor wanted to talk to us, but waited for Leo. There I was, only with our male who was bravely fighting in his incubator. But for whom? For what? I put my hands on him and said how much I love him and that he would save it. But my fear and grief was too big to sound really convincing. Nick looked at me with one eye, and then continued to sleep.
While I was sitting with him, they placed a large lamp above him. He was discoloring and received light therapy. Because this bright light was harmful to his eyes, they were taped off. What a terrible sight that was! The only thing our male could have done so far was watching. And now this was also taken away from him. Horrible! At last Leo came running and together we heard from the doctor how bad it was with Nick. He was on the maximum ventilation, got the maximum dose of medication for his blood pressure, had one lung that had not occurred and one lung that they feared a lung alve might break, he had a brain damage incurred due to the lack of oxygen, his kidneys and liver almost did not work anymore, he had already had an infection and was also feared for a brain haemorrhage. Earlier it had been indicated that Nick would be handicapped by the lack of oxygen and the question now was whether we still wanted him to be resuscitated in case of emergency; only nobody would be able to guarantee that he would not suffer. What are you doing then? That our male would suffer was the last thing we wanted. At the same time, Leo and I indicated that we no longer wanted him to be resuscitated.
After that conversation, we sat down with Nick and whispered to him that he could fly from us if he did not want to continue. For us he did not have to deliver this hard, unequal battle, he did not have to fight for us. He had suffered enough. Love has wanted to be together, real love is able to let go ...
As I put my hand on his body and spoke these words to him, Leo saw Nick's heartbeat drop from 180 to 140. As soon as I removed my hand, his heartbeat rose again in record time. This wonderful experience made us realize that there was certainly a bath with my mum, no matter how small he was.
We were asked if we would like to have him baptized again. We wanted to do that and within one hour a pastor was arranged. A sweet, friendly greeting, who has nicknamed Nick with her tears. If there is a higher power, then his fate is now in his hands.
Shortly thereafter, we were told that Nick had deteriorated, it seemed that he had given up the fight. The oxygen content in his blood had dropped sharply and the end seemed to come closer and closer. His attending doctor was called back from home and after thorough consultation, he decided to disconnect Nick from all machines, so that he could fall asleep on my chest. Leo and I were given a separate room where Nick would be taken to. In one way or another, I felt an intense calm coming over me in addition to the pain and the sadness. Nick was allowed to fly, he was released from his suffering. After a few minutes he was driven into his incubator. After he was disconnected and only received morphine for the pain, he was carefully placed on my chest. Finally I was allowed to hold our man in my arms, caress and cuddle. Only now was it only to be allowed to die. Surrounded by our love, he fell into a perpetual sleep very quietly. At the moment his heart stopped beating, a big bird flew past the window. Our little man had flown ...