Our story by Joanne Goodenough
I got married on the 9th august 2008 it was a lovely day. A few days later we went on honeymoon for a week to Malia, whilst I was there I was feeling really ill I had a feeling that I was pregnant.
When I got back I did a pregnancy test, it was positive we were so excited. I then visited the midwife at my doctors who told me to ring up for an emergency appointment for an ultra sound scan, I found out I was about 4 weeks pregnant. We were really excited; they booked me in for my 12 week scan. I couldn't wait for the scan I was counting down the days and when the scan day arrived I was nervous, I drank a pint of water like they tell you to. The midwife shouted me into the room and started the scan, she said it was not very clear and turned the screen away from us, and then she stopped the ultra sound scan and asked me to drink more water. By this time I was worried and the midwife went out of the room, she returned with Mrs. Lewis (consultant ultra-sound radiographer) and they started the scan again she then said I'm sorry but your baby has Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). She then gave us a few minutes to talk and then came back in the room she said I'll have you come back next week just to double check and then we can give you your options. I walked out crying and saying it's not true. That night I went to bed, my mind was racing, all I could do was think, I couldn't sleep, and I felt sick.
The next week came and Mrs. Lewis conducted the scan she said Joanne your baby has Hydrocephalus. She then spoke to us and said we can keep the baby or have a termination, I said that's my baby alive and kicking inside of me and termination isn't an option as far as we are concerned.
Thereafter we were visiting the hospital every 2 weeks. I was horrified about going to the hospital for scans, just in case they told us our baby hasn't got a heartbeat. We carried on with the appointments, on my 20 week scan Mrs. Lewis said we are so sorry but your child hasn't got Hydrocephalus she has Anencephaly. We said what's Anencephaly, She said it means your baby has no top of the head or upper brain, she then said your baby will not survive and you will be lucky to make it to 25 weeks. I cried we still didn't think it was true because our baby was so strong and active, we kept saying that they must have made a mistake.
We had a scan every 2 weeks to check the baby's heartbeat. They confirmed the Anencephaly every time we went, they gave us the option to terminate our child, we couldn't I wanted to give our baby a chance. She then told me if you keep your baby she will be blind, deaf and have no sense of pain or feeling or that she was going to be still born. We carried on praying and hoping that everything was a dream but it wasn't it was real. They told us not to buy anything for our little baby.
After all the news we still weren't happy so we had a 3d scan and it confirmed everything but we couldn't believe how active our baby was for how ill she was. We went home and all we did was talk and we said we cant terminate our baby, even if we did terminate they told me I would have to go into labour and have all the pains and see her when she comes out. In my mind I knew I couldn't get rid of our baby so we carried on.
On the 2nd march I had a few contractions, I just kept saying I can't go in yet she's too early. Richard ran me a bath to relax me and I went to bed for an hour. When I got up all my contractions had stopped, we were so happy. The following day I went to the toilet and found blood on the tissue, I cried but had no contractions. We decided to go shopping then to go and see my cousin, who had just had an operation. When we got there I couldn't get comfy and I didn't feel right. Kelly was in bed asleep so we said we would call back later. When we got back home I said to Richard to go and find my mum and bring her round. When my mum arrived I told Richard to ring the delivery suite @ The Royal Albert Edward Infirmary ( Wigan, Lancashire ) and see what they said, they told me to come straight to the hospital so they can have a look at me. We got there about 12.40; the midwife came in and examined me she said you can't go home, your 7 cm dilated. Then as she stopped examining me my waters broke. I said I can't be in labor because I have had no contractions. They then rushed me to the delivery suit and they delivered our baby at 14.22. We named her Brooke-Elizabeth she was perfect, she weighed 2 little pounds and 11 tiny oz. She sadly passed away 28 minutes later. Whilst we were in hospital all the family came to visit us. We had Brooke- Elizabeth blessed by the hospital chaplain, it was a lovely day for Brooke just to let her know that we were happy in all the decisions that we had made for her.
We stayed with her all night and in the morning we had to leave her so she could go to the morgue. I started to cry when I had to leave her all I kept saying was I cant leave her on her own, I cried all the way home. We then had Brooke transferred to Middleton and woods(funeral directors) she would then be transferred to Sankeys(funeral directors) in Leigh the day before the funeral for us to see her for one last time. She looked lovely; we bought her a new outfit as all her clothes were too big, she looked like my little princess. When we went to see her in the funeral home she looked the spitting image of her big sister Honey-Louise. Everyone came to see her and to drop off teddies, flowers, letters and ornaments they wanted to put them in her coffin but as we decided to have her cremated she could only have 1 teddy 1 letter 1 flower with her. We kept everything that everyone had bought for Brooke and put them in boxes for keep sakes, that night we had to leave her again till the morning. We had our Brooke brought home, it was the first time she had been home. We had only 15 minutes so that everyone who didn't get to see her could meet our little angel Brooke. We had Brooke in her bedroom we think she would of loved her bedroom it was so bright. The funeral was really nice family and friends read lovely poems and verses, we then had the family come back to our house for a bit of food and to celebrate the chance of life that we had given to our angel.
We have now decided to build this website to help other families in the UK who find out that their baby's is suffering from the condition anencephaly. When we found out about Brooke, the only information was US based and there were no support groups or places in the UK where we could talk to others that had been through what we were going through.
Family and friends have been really supportive and have backed us on all of the decisions we have made. They have helped us to raise money to make the web site.
They have done this by doing
A Prize bingo evening
2 Sponsored walks
A Darts tournament
Most people have just donated money to us to help with any cost of the web site and other things we need.
If you would like to donate to keep this website running so that we can keep helping others, you can do so by pressing the donate button at the bottom of the page
Thank you for reading our story
Richard, Joanne & family