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Robert William Carter

 

July 9, 1990 – July 10, 1990

My husband and I were excited in November 1989 when we found out that we were expecting our first child. This excitement was hard to maintain with the issue of the morning sickness that I had. I would contact the doctor’s office and they would say that this was just a normal side effect of pregnancy. After the first 4 months of vomiting daily I asked my doctor and he advised the same. The entire nine months of carrying Robert was full of me vomiting or feeling odd sensations. As I look back on this I think that deep down I knew something was terribly wrong. But every time that I tried to ask the doctor or nurse they would say that I was just a young first time Mom (I was 22).

On Friday, July 6 I had my weekly appt with the Doctor. I had my examination and he advised that everything was looking good and that I was dilated to 2 cm. I was having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions. He again assured me that it was ok. During these nine months I did not have a sonogram or any AFP test done.

On Sunday, July 8 I was going to the bathroom and thought that my water had broken. My husband and I drove to the hospital excited about the fact that maybe the baby was actually coming soon. I was elated about the fact that maybe then I would no longer be so sick. I should add that during the nine months I only gained 15 pounds and the doctor did not seem concerned. Once arriving in labor and delivery the nurses checked me and indicated that I my water had not broken. The nurses then stated that I needed to have some x-rays taken to see if my pelvic bones were big enough to have a vaginal birth. Of course there was an actual reason for this. The nurse had felt something during the examination that she didn’t think felt right.

Then at 8:15 p.m. July 8 is when the whole world came crashing down. My doctor was on vacation and a very old, grouchy doctor was on call. This doctor came into the room and blurted out “Your baby is going to die!” The nurses were horrified and tried to explain that Robert had anencephaly. They tried to go through and explain what this meant. Of course to a 22 year old young mother who had just had her entire world come to a screeching halt this was not comforting. I couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. I had tried to take care of myself and tried to do everything by the book. My husband was just a basket case as well.

Our families had decided to join us at the hospital that night. This was before we received the devastating news. Because I was not in full labor we decided to wait until the next day to have Robert William. My doctor would then be back from vacation. That night I could not sleep. I would feel Robert kicking and moving and wondered if he was in pain. It didn’t matter what anyone told me I couldn’t grasp the situation. I cried until I would be sick and then start the entire process over.

On July 9 my doctor returned to the hospital after he was filled in by the nurses he came into my room. I will never forget his first sentence. “We didn’t do a sonogram?” Now how was this going to help the situation?

My husband and I decided that instead of going through hours of labor and then not being able to have him vaginally that a c-section would be performed. So on July 9, 1990 at 3:38 p.m. Robert William came into this world.

We had decided to try and donate his organs. As he lay on the bassinet covered with the life support wires and tubes all I could do was cry hysterically. I just couldn’t understand. This was not fair! We couldn’t imagine this horrific story we were living through. Because of the spinal block I had to lay flat on my back so all I could do at first was lean slightly up and look at my wonderful and brave baby boy. Robert struggled on life support system and at 1:00 a.m. on July 10 it was decided that none of his organs could be used. He just couldn’t fight any longer. Robert was taken off life support system, cleaned up, and placed in my parents’ arms. Nanny Marg and Papa Donny rocked him until he passed into heaven.

You are probably wondering where his parents where? Well this is why I am compelled to write this. During the long hours of Robert William fighting for his life so that organs could be donated, my husband and I had to be sedated. Neither one of us could cope with the fact of losing our son. We would have well intentioned family or friends saying “you are young, you can have more children.” Where were these clowns when I was carrying and loving Robert William? We were ready to love Robert; we were ready to take care of him. We couldn’t imagine life without him. The nurses decided to sedate us both and let us sleep a bit.

Once 1:00 a.m. came around they advised that it was time to take him off. He had fought hard but none of his organs matched others on the list. They asked if we wanted to hold him. At this young time in my life I didn’t think that I could stand the pain of holding him and then letting him go.

This was the biggest mistake of my life! What I would give to rewind to this time and do it all over again. This time I would hug, kiss, and love on him. Letting him know that I loved him so and that I would always love and miss him!

Nobody questioned us they just went along with this. My parents were not planning on holding him until something spoke to my Mom and said she would regret this. Oh how I wish that my Mom would of spoke to me or that something would of spoke to me! I sometimes feel like the worse Mother and Father ever. How could we only hold his little had for a few minutes and expect him to know how much we loved him!

So I am writing this…..if you have just been told that you will be having an angel then listen to me…..HOLD, HUG, KISS, and LOVE your angel. Cherish every minute you can. Don’t make our mistake…we can never get that time back.

It has been 17 years and the pain still feels fresh. I wonder sometimes if I had held him if it would have been easier on me but I know that I did what I felt was right at the time. I just hope my angel knows how much we love and miss him!

Robert William has two younger siblings: Austin Shelby – 8/8/91 and Allison Renee – 7/20/93.

Robert William you are loved and missed by all who was touched by your short time here on earth

Amy

 

Last updated 10 November 2011