My name is Steve Carter and I live in Glengormley Northern Ireland. I am writing to you today to tell you my story about my lovely wife and my fantastic children. I find writing this helps me through the heart ache and pain that I have suffered over the last 10 months. This is my story...
I met my wife Denise while we were both travelling around the world. I was on my sixth year of my travels and had headed back to Australia after spending the last 6 years as follows..1 year in Oz, 3 years in New Zealand and 2 years in Malaysia.
I was working for a door to door sales company for the last 6 years travelling to all these countries. I had to leave Malaysia due to my visa expiring and had the opportunity to head back to Australia to continue the door to door work there for another year.
After only a week back in oz this wonderful girl turned up for an interview with the company I was working for, and I was immediately attracted to her. Her name was Denise McDermott. She was in the middle of a once in the life time trip around the world. This had taken her to place like America, Fiji, New Zealand and now Australia.
We hit it off together straight away with much in common. I not only feel in love with her northern Ireland accent but i started to full in love with her.
After only 2 weeks of knowing each other we ended up sharing a flat with 3 other couples in Sydney.
Things were going well until she got the opportunity to head to Melbourne with the company. Unfortunately I was not allowed to go with her as I had to stay in Sydney.
Ithought that was going to be the last I was to see of Denise.
We tried to keep in contact by phone and letters but the nature of the our work had us working long hours and all weekends.
I couldn't stop thinking of Denise and I eventually made the decision to leave sydney and head to Melbourne to met up with her again.
This was the best decision i made as we started where we had left off in Sydney very much in love.
After 2 years in Melbourne our temp working visa were coming to an end and another decision had to be made.
what to do next?
Denise had a good job to go back to in her home country of Northern Ireland and she asked me to go back there with her. of course i said yes.
I am originally from england so it was good to be a bit closer to my family and denise was happy to be back home with her family.
we arrived in northern ireland with just the suite cases we carried. Denise immediately went back to her old job working as an admin in the Northern Ireland probation board.
As for me, I had to find a job ASAP to get some money coming in. I asked around the local restaurants and got a job as a waiter.
Times were hard for the first 6 months as all the money that we had coming in went on rent and bills.
We decided to stop wasting money on rent and invest in buying a house of our own. Denise's family were a big help and helped us get a deposit on a house in Glengormley in Northern Ireland. The house needed a lot of work done on it but it was perfect.
After less than a year in Northern Ireland we had started to build ourselves a place where we could call home and the first Christmas we had together in our new home I asked Denise to marry me.
To my delight she said yes!
Due to our times of travelling we thought it would be a good idea to go abroad to get married.
So we head of to Cuba in November 2001 and got married on the beach just the 2 of us.
When we returned we starting talking about starting a family and before long we had our first son Cameron born on 11th september 2002. We were so happy everything was going so well for us. I had left the catering business and was now working in a call centre for the Halifax bank. So the financial situation was improving. This is when we decided to try for our second child.
Ethan was born on 1st June 2004.
Our family was growing and our happiness was getting stronger day by day.
The boys were fantastic and growing up so fast. i had always wanted to have a girl and even though the boys were the best and I wouldn't have changed them for the world there was still room for more kids. So after a short agreement we thought we would increase the family once more.
As you know can don't always get what you ask for and another wonderful baby boy was born on 15th August 2007. Aaron Carter
We now had 3 fantastic boys. They are handsome, bright and the best kids in the world.
Denise was approaching the milestone age of 40 in 2009 so she was thinking about should we try that one last time for a girl or be satisfied with the 3 boys we already had....
We decided to try for one last child if it was going to be a boy then we would have close to a five a side football team, and if it was to be a girl then that would be the cherry on top of the cake.
Denise fell pregnant in 2008. We tried desperately to find out what she was having this time but every time that we had the scan the way the baby was laying the nurse couldn't give us a clear answer we were just going to have to wait and be surprised at the birth.
Denise's pregnancy was going well, all the scans were great and the doctors were happy with the progress.
This was until week 38. 2 weeks before Denise was due she had her final check up. The doctors were a little concerned that the baby had not put on any weight in the last 2 weeks.
The said there was nothing for us to worry about but they were going to bring denise in early and start her off.
That night Denise raised a slight concern but I reassured her that all was well and that they were only doing this as a precaution.
We dropped the 3 boys off to Denise's sisters on sunday morning the 29th March 2009.
Denise kissed them good bye and told them to behave at their aunties and that they would meet their new brother and sister soon.
We headed off to hospital in good spirits excited that we were going to see our new baby son or daughter within the next day.
when we got the hospital we were taken to the maternity ward and denise settled in. The mid wives were great friendly and kind.
At about 11am they gave denise the starting gel to try and get things started and warned us that this could still take another 24 hours before the contractions would start.After 3 hours of doing nothing denise sent me home to tidy up the house and said that she would call me if anything happened.
I went home for a few hours and called Denise that evening about 8pm.
She told me that the contractions had slowly started and to come to hospital. when i arrived at the hospital they had moved Denise to the delivery suite. The contractions were stronger now but the midwife still said we could be in for a long night.
at 9:30 things were starting to happen very quickly and the contractions had got very strong and Denise was now wanting to start pushing.
An hour later the baby's head was out all was going well and the mid wife asked Denise to give one last push to get the baby out. Denise did what she was told and gave one final push. The baby came out... I turned to Denise to give her a kiss when she cried out that she had a really bad headache................ at that point all hell broke loose. Denise's eyes rolled back and started to fit. The mid wife pressed the alarm and doctors and nurses came rushing in. The baby was taken away as well. I didn't know what to do or where to stand as the doctors tried to find out had happened.
After what I thought was hours but was only a matter of minute the doctors asked me to wait in the other room with the new baby. The mid wife checked the baby over and informed me that Denise had given birth to a baby girl at 22:32 on 29th march 2009. My thoughts where going backwards and forward between our new baby daughter and what was happening to Denise. After about half an hour the doctor came in and told me what was going on. He informed me that Denise had suffered a bleed to the brain and that she had gone into arrest. They had revived her but things were not looking good. when the mid wife had asked what religion denise was and that she recommended that we call the chaplain I broke down... this was not happening this was not happening was all I kept saying.
The priest arrived and to my surprise it was Denise's family priest who we knew quite well. He comforted me and said he would let Denise's family know what was happening.
During the night Denise's family started to arrive. I didn't know what to say and what to do everything was just going in slow motion.
The doctors moved Denise into the intensive care unit where they put her on the life support machine.
the doctors explained to us all that the bleed on Denise's brain had been very large and that she was too poorly to try and move her to the main hospital in belfast until she had stabilised. That night was the longest night of my life sitting there next to denise with all these machines helping her to breath. it was like a scene out of a soap opera.. not real.
I spent the night backwards and forwards from Denise and our new bay daughter. She was doing well and the midwives were looking after her. She weighed 6lb and 1 oz and breathing normally.
The next morning the specialist examined Denise and broke the devastating news that Denise had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and that the bleed was so large there was nothing that they could do to save her.
My world had fallen apart...
Later that day i had to make some of the most hardest decisions in my life. The first was to let Denise go and admit to myself that she was not going to survive. The next was whether to donate Denise's organs. Then the hardest was how am I going to tell the boys that their mummy is not coming home!
The donor people spoke to me and after chatting to Denise's family I decided that Denise would have wanted to help other people and i thought it would be good for the boys to know that their mum had helped someone after she had gone.
the next hard thing to do now was to tell the boys.
They went to school and nursery as normal on the Monday and were picked up and brought home Monday after noon.
I sat the two eldest Cameron aged 6 and Ethan aged 4 down and tried to explain to them that mummy got very sick during the night and had died and would not be coming home..... this was the hardest thing that I have ever done.
Poor little Aaron who is only 20 months would not understand so I couldn't tell him.
That night I went back to the hospital to say my final farewell to Denise. Before I left I told her that we were now the proud parents of not just 3 lovely boys but that of a beautiful baby daughter... who we have named Leah Grace Denise Carter.
That was when the doctors pronounced Denise's death and i gave her a final kiss goodbye.
I am especially proud of the boys they have had to go through so much over the last few months and they are doing so well.
I have also had so much support from my family but especially Denise's family. she has 4 sisters 3 of which live near by. they have all been around every day to help me look after Leah and the boys.
I have had some OK days and some bad days and I know that there will be many more of these to come. I know I have the strength to carry on when I look at my fantastic children.
I just hope that Denise heard my final words and knew that she had given birth to the daughter that she always wanted. I also hope she is looking down on us and proud of what we are all doing.
I hope you get chance to read this, even if you don't think you can share this with anyone else it has been a big help for me to share this with you just writing this down has made my cry but at the same time has helped me express my feeling.