Dead Alfie watching over his twin
We’d lost him… but maybe our baby Alfie wasn’t so far away Amy Farquhar, 27, from Cambridgeshire
We were excited, happy, and terrified.
‘We’ll manage,’ my hubby James, 28, reassured me. ‘We’ll have to!’
‘You’re going to be such a good dad,’ I told him.
It was October 2014, we’d just found out we were expecting twins.
Boys, we decided to call Alfie and Charlie.
But then, bad news…
That December, me and James were having our 16-week scan…
‘I’m sorry,’ the doctor said. ‘Your babies have twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Blood isn’t flowing evenly between them. Charlie is getting a lot of blood – as well as all the good nutrients it contains. Alfie is hardly getting any.’
The happiness, excitement, nervousness vanished. Replaced by fear. ‘Everything’s going to be OK, isn’t it?’ I asked the doctor. ‘We’ll do everything we can,’ she said. We were transferred to Kings College Hospital in London for a laser ablation – pinhole surgery to separate the placenta, giving Alfie and Charlie access to the blood and nutrients they needed. It was a success. But a couple of days on, I was back at hospital with stomach pains.
I had another scan… ‘There’s no easy way of saying this,’ the doctor began. Alfie had died. The tiny little thing hadn’t been able to cope with the sudden rush of blood through his system when my placenta had been separated. My head was spinning, my heart aching, and my world ending. ‘No,’ I kept repeating. James pulled me into his arms. I couldn’t even cry. ‘What’ll we do?’ I whispered. ‘We’re going to be strong,’ James told me. ‘For Charlie.’ And that’s the thing. That’s why I couldn’t cry. Because I was still pregnant. Yes. We’d lost one baby. But shouldn’t we be grateful for the one we had?
The doctor said Alfie would stay inside until I went into labour. Then, I’d deliver him like Charlie.
Over the next weeks, my bump grew and grew. Two babies. One living. One dead. But there was no time to grieve.
On 15 March 2015, my placenta ruptured. I was just 26 weeks gone.
At 8.14pm that night, I gave birth to baby Charlie by emergency C-section. He weighed 2lb 1oz. Two minutes later came Alfie. Just 10oz.
He was taken away, and the next day we were taken to a room where he was on a bed.
A hello and a goodbye, a lifetime of love in moments.
Charlie was so small, he’d been taken straight to Neonatal Intensive Care and put on life support.
But he developed meningitis, sepsis and
James and I were excited, happy and terrified
needed a hernia operation. The only thing that got us through it… Alfie. At first, it was a feeling. Like he was watching over Charlie – the odds were stacked against him but he pulled through. ‘It’s a miracle Charlie’s doing so well,’ the doctor smiled. ‘Thank you, Alfie,’ I whispered.
Charlie was in hospital for the next four months. Me and James were at his side all the time. Just nipped back home in shifts to get 40 winks. But I didn’t feel alone at home, either. ‘Have you noticed them?’ I asked James when he’d been home for a shower. ‘Feathers?’ he said. I nodded. Whenever I was at home, I’d find them. Tiny, white feathers. On my pillow, on the doormat, resting on the bath towels. We couldn’t work out where they were coming from. ‘We don’t even have feather pillows,’ James said. It was Alfie. A sign. ‘He’s here with us,’ I said. I was struggling. But those feathers changed everything. ‘I know you’re there,’ I said aloud to the photo of Alfie’s scan on the shelf of our lounge. We’d had his ashes made into a diamond set into a ring for me. With enough left over for James and Charlie if they want one made later.
Ray of light
Four months on, Charlie was allowed home. And then, 15 March 2016, Charlie’s first birthday. Alfie’s, too. Me and James released a balloon for him, both of us filming on our phones. ‘Happy birthday, Alfie,’ I said. ‘Happy birthday Charlie.’ Later that night, we watched the videos. Neither of us could believe our eyes. A ray of light, a shaft of brightness dancing around the balloon. Alfie. Telling us to be happy. I knew it’d be hard. But I made a promise to Alfie there and then. I’d try my best to be happy. For Charlie and James. There was no way I’d ever forget Alfie. And I’d never get over losing him. But I owe it to him to be the best mum I can be. for his brother. Charlie’s 2 now. As soon as he’s old enough, I’ll tell him about Alfie. Although I think he knows already. Alfie never got a chance at life. My son. My baby boy. And the angel on my shoulder.
It was like Alfie was watching over Charlie
Holding hands: Our babies
Little fighter: Strong Charlie Happy birthday: Special balloon
Happy Charlie: Big brother