First of all I'd like to say that Aoife is absolutely fine. She has been examined by consultant after consultant both before and after she was born. There is no sign whatsoever of the heart condition that Emma had. *BIG SIGH OF RELIEF*. But the worry that the same thing might happen to her has been crippling. About 11 weeks into the pregnancy we had a massive scare and it looked like we were going to have a miscarriage. It was a false alarm but frightened the living piss out of us and resulted in Rach being signed off work for the remainder of the pregnancy. And thus the tone was set for the pregnancy, and the tone was shared shitless. We would be asked things like - "what are you hoping for?" The honest answer to that question is "a child that will survive".
Aoife getting born did not eliminate all that fear, not helped by the fact that a couple of days after she was born she was hospitalised for weight loss. She was discharged the next day. A couple of days a spot on her back was another cause of concern. Back to the hospital.
Because Emma's condition was not picked up until after she was born and because we as parents had a history of neo-natal death all the health care professionals dealing with us have been extra cautious. Grateful as we have been for this caution, it has lead to a policy of "lets get her looked at in hospital, better safe than sorry" a policy that has nearly had Rach and I at our wits end.
But time has gone on and Aoife is fine. Better than fine really, she is really starting to respond to what's going on around her, she's smiling and she's babbling to us, and it's amazing. And now everything that happens with Aoife serves as a reminder of what we missed out on with Emma. Aoife is only 11 weeks old and already she has changed so much, Emma would have been 18 months old tomorrow, I can hardly imagine how she would have been now.
If I can leave you with one thing it's this - For parents of a child that has died, having another child does not make it all better. New babies are time consuming and energy sapping, so it does distract from the pain. But it's still always there.