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English summary

For all our relatives in America, we have prepared this special page in English. It contains an extract of the content of the rest of this site, and is written by Viktorias dad, Ole.

We didn't know it at the time, but Viktoria was probably conceived on May 8, 2001. Only two days later I, who rarely dream of children, had a strange dream about a cute little baby girl - my daughter ! Then, on May 23, we got it confirmed - the pregnancy test showed positive.
Since our first pregnancy ended in a "missed abortion", we felt a little worried that things could go wrong again, and Friday 13th of July turned out to be a real thriller. Mom started bleeding, and after a pretty scary night we went to the hospital the next day. The doctors performed some tests and took an ultra sonic scan, which gave me the opportunity to see my child for the very first time. It was an awesome experience ! And to our great relief, the tests showed that everything was all right.
On August 12 we passed one of the most important milestones, when Mom felt the first signs of life inside, and three weeks later we went to the hospital again for the nineteenth week ultra sonic examination, a standard procedure in Norway. They showed us, and counted, fingers, toes, heart chambers and so on, but told us that it was not possible to tell the baby's sex. That didn't matter much, I knew anyway, didn't I…
From October, Mom started working part-time, to reduce the stress a bit, and from December she took leave of absence, as her blood pressure was increasing. A least once a week she went to the local midwife for a check up. The baby was due February 4, but the day passed without drama, as did the next week as well. Then, at February 11, on a routine trip to the midwife, mom discovered that the baby's heart rate was unusually low - 107 beats/min (normally around 140). She was asked to wait for an hour and take a new test and this time it showed 127, so the midwife reassured her that it was no cause for worries. Variations like these were quite normal.
At 11:30 pm the very same night, Mom went into labor and after spending half the night in the shower we drove off to the hospital a few minutes past five in the morning. The contractions were coming every 5 minutes went we arrived and the midwife in charge confirmed about 1 inch opening, so we were given a room right away.
Everything seemed to be going along just fine, but the doctor commented that from CTG-readings, the baby seemed a little drowsy. The heart rate was about 140, which is fine, but with few ups and downs. A little later they also discovered meconium stained amniotic fluid, so to be on the safe side, the CTG was replaced by even more sophisticated surveillance equipment, known as STAN (ST wave analysis).
There were still no cause for alarm, but progress was slowing down, so about 2 p.m. the doctor decided that a cesarean section would by best for the baby and went along to prepare for this. The preparations never got very far though, because 20 minutes later the fetal heart rate suddenly dropped to zero, and within seconds, Mom and all the doctors and nurses was out of the room and under way to emergency surgery. I was left behind, rather puzzled but not scared. After all, these people seemed to know what they were doing, I told myself.
The feeling changed when the doctor finally came back. From the look on his face, I could see that he was not bringing good news. He said that child, a girl weighing 3920 g (8 lbs 10 oz?) had been delivered at 2:26 pm, and her condition was very critical. At delivery she was not breathing, and her heart was not beating, but after 25 minutes of resuscitation they had managed to bring her back to life.

At 4 p.m., while Mom was still at post-surgery, I was allowed to see her for the first time. The doctors warned me that it would be a chocking sight, with all the tubes, wires and equipment, but I didn't notice any of it. All I could see was the most adorable little girl in the whole wide world - and she was mine !
While I was there, the doctors told me she suffered from sever asphyxia (suffocation), and the lack of oxygen in the tissue had damaged all her internal organs badly. She might suffer brain damage as well, but it was to early to tell. In order to stress her fragile body as little as possible, they kept her heavily sedated.
But how could this happen ? Everything had seemed just fine, hadn't it ? Well, all babies suffer a restricted supply of oxygen during labor, but they have large energy deposits in their muscles, that makes it possible to survive anyway. In Viktorias case however, these deposits had probably been spent a few hours or days prior to labor, because of a temporary, but long umbilical cord compression. So when not been given enough time to restore these energy reserves, labor became lethally stressful.
I sat by her bed until Mom woke up from anesthesia, and then went to her with the shocking news about our baby's condition. As soon as she was allowed to leave the Post Surgery Unit, we moved her bed into the Neonatal Emergency Unit, so we both could be with our beloved daughter, and together stayed by Viktorias bed until well past midnight.
During the evening we informed our parents that they now had become grandparents, but that the condition for their little granddaughter was rather critical, and they tried to comfort us as best they could.
The doctors told us that our little girl was putting up a tremendous fight, and as the hours went by, they gradually grew more optimistic. Though the damage to her internal organs was severe, they said that it was a good chance she would survive after all. So as we went to bed that night, we had a tiny flame of hope in our hearts, and we agreed upon a name for her; Viktoria - the victorious one, for surely would she vanquish this sinister destiny.
The next morning, the nurses woke us at 5:45 a.m. and asked us to come down to the neonatal emergency unit right away. Viktorias condition was deteriorating, and they wanted to know if we were going to christen her. We confirmed and at 7:15 a.m. the small ceremony has held. Then Viktoria was moved to her Moms chest, and though still unconscious, I think she recognized her warmth and heartbeat, and for a short while, her condition improved a bit, but gradually the oxygen saturation and pulse rate fell back to their former values and beyond. Around noon Moms parents arrived and got a glimpse of her while she was still alive, and at 1:10 p.m. February 13, she passed away. Viktoria became 22h 44min old.
They gently they removed all the medical equipment, dimmed the lights and, all but one nurse left the room, so we could have some minutes in privacy. Afterwards, a nurse carefully washed and dressed her, under Mom's supervision, before the three of us was transferred to the Maternity Unit. She stayed with us all afternoon and part of Thursday afternoon as well. My parents came to see her, as did her great grandpa Hans. Just before midnight Thursday we held her for the last time and said farewell for now, and the next day we left the hospital, while the doctors prepared for an autopsy.
We now know they didn't find much. They only confirmed the theory that some time prior to birth, her oxygen supply has greatly reduced (e.g. by temporary blocking of the umbilical cord). She survived this instance, but it wore down her energy reserves so much, that the stress of labor became too exhausting and her internal organs were damaged beyond repair.

The following days were very hectic, with lot of things to prepare before the funeral, and little time to grieve. Tuesday afternoon, a week after she was born, the funeral director brought her to the chapel in Trøgstad, and we got a final opportunity to see her. She still looked beautiful, but perhaps a little more stern, as if she wanted to express her discontentment with the way things had turned out. Mom put on her the bracelet we had bought for her and we also gave her a teddy bear and a letter we had written to her (a copy of which we read at the service the next day). Wednesday came with sun, blue skies and a cool winter breeze. The service started at noon and in addition to our closest relatives we had also invited some of our best friends. We were app. 35, all together. After the service, I picked up the incredibly small casket, and with Mom supporting me, I carried her out to her final resting-place, close to the graves of her great grandpa Olaf, greatgreat grandpa Arnt and greatgreatgreat grandpa Gudbrand (Martins father). By the grave we read our letter to her

Our truly dearest Viktoria
You never got the chance to show off much, but on us who got the opportunity to get to know you, you made a deep impression.

Naturally, such impressions will always be colored by wishful thinking, but we're convinced that you where a strong character, and your determination and will power you proved to us. Even when the doctors wanted to let the respirator do the breathing for you, you struggled on and kept breathing yourself.

We miss so terribly what we have lost, but almost just as much what we never got. It was so much we should have done together, the three of us; changed diapers and read stories, walked in woods, plastered small scratches, taken you to sports practice and youth club, comforted you when you were broken-hearted and helped you with your home work.

In the hectic hours we had together, we never got around to any of this, because you had to move on before our first day had passed. In spite of this, we will not say farewell. We will not even say "will be seeing you again", because your not really leaving us. You'll always be with, no matter what we do and no matter where we are.

And yet we miss you more than air...our truly dearest Viktoria

and then the priest finished the ceremony, exactly one week on the hour from the moment Viktoria passed away.

We've visited the cemetery many times since - in all kinds of weather and at all times of the day, and even if seven months have passed, we still stop by several days a week.


© 2002-2008 - Tina og Ole Dahl - All tekst og alle bilder på dette nettstedet er omfattet av åndsverklovens bestemmelser. Kopiering og bruk av dette materialet er bare tillatt i den utstrekning det er hjemlet i lov eller tillatt gjennom avtale med rettighetshaverne.