Imagine the horror an expectant mother feels when doctors tell her there is something wrong with her baby.
Twenty-one-year-old Charlotte Szakacs was 20 weeks in her pregnancy, when the doctor gave her some really bleak news.
Namely, her baby Evelyn that she was expecting had a chromosome abnormality and there was a very small chance of her surviving through the health struggles that she would experience subsequently.
The tests that the doctors did with the help of her amniotic fluids discovered that she had unbalanced chromosome translocation, a condition where a child is either missing or has extra genes.
To make matters worse, her brain wasn’t developing properly as well as the arch that connected her brain to her heart.
“When we got the news after the 20 week scan, Attila and I completely broke down. …at that point we just had no idea what it all meant,” said the mother of her and her 28-year-old husband hearing the news.
“The last thing you want as a parent is for your child to be sick and even after we were told she would probably never breathe on her own, we still clung onto this tiny bit of hope that she would.”
Up to the point of Charlotte reaching her 37th week, she had scans performed on her every two weeks to keep track of Evlyn’s health.
It was during the 37th week of her pregnancy where things started to become very, very bad.
Charlotte’s placenta was beginning to fail and no longer providing Evlyn with an adequate amount of blood to survive, so Evelyn had to be taken out immediately!
The baby girl was delivered via C-section and then rushed to be placed in a ventilator. Evelyn weighed an astonighing 5 lbs, 5 oz.
Her brain was undeveloped and completely smooth, without any of the usual ridges and bumps. Her airways were almost non-existent, making breathing hardly possible.
Three days had passed when Charlotte was allowed to meet and hold her baby.
The parents were advised to place their daughter in hospice since their prognosis were not good at all.
“I didn’t want to believe what they were saying,” Charlotte added.
However, “she got worse and worse and we knew we could either watch our little girl die in a hospital, on a ventilator, surrounded by doctors and beeping machines or let her go peacefully in a lovely hospice.”
“It was the hardest decision you could make as parents but I knew keeping her at the hospital would just be selfish.”
January 10 was the day they moved their little girl into a hospice. It was also the first day where they got to hold her and sit with her. The nurses gave the family one hour before they would come to turn off Evelyn’s ventilator.
Some time later, Evelyn passed away. Her mother was holding her in embrace.
There is a special twist to this heartbreaking story that will sound unorthodox to some.
The hospital offered the parents something called a “cuddle cot” that was kept refrigerated to preserve Evlyn’s lifeless body.
This cold cot “allowed [them] to spend extra time with their daughter after she had died, and some parents [say] that spending time with their babies at home or in the hospital can help them with the grieving process.”
“And then we were allowed to take Evelyn and her cuddle cot home for the last four days. Her last night she slept in her actual cot we had got for her in our room,” Charlotte recalled.
Evelyn was buried sixteen days later.