Nathaniel, Joash and Ashley Joy Sim
2004-2007

(http://ashleyisourangel.blogspot.com)

Nathaniel, Joash and Ashley are the beloved children of David and Angeline Sim.  This is their story.

David and Angie wed eight years ago (in June 1999) and enjoy a very loving and blissful marriage.  They both adore children and naturally long to start a family of their own soon.  However, their childbearing journey is one fraught with disappointment, heartaches and tears. 

Angie has polycystic ovarian syndrome which makes it difficult for them to conceive naturally.  After five years of futile waiting and countless hospital visits, they embarked on IVF treatment.   Though costly and very physically demanding, Angie and David were delighted when the HcG test revealed that Angie was pregnant.  She was originally carrying two embryos but one failed to grow at 8 weeks gestation and was re-absorbed into the body whereas the other embryo continued to grow steadily.  Angie was given weekly doses of progesterone injections to secure this very precious pregnancy.  Their world crashed on 9th October 2004 when Angie’s waterbag ruptured prematurely when she was into her 22nd week of pregnancy.  She was rushed to the hospital where she delivered their baby boy Nathaniel the next morning in the ward.  After the delivery, Angie suffered from retained placenta and had to undergo an emergency D&C.  Amidst all the trauma and shock, David made the painful decision to let the hospital cremate Nathaniel on their behalf.  In doing so, they never bade Nathaniel a formal farewell and took a long time to come to terms with their firstborn’s death.

In Dec 2006, David and Angie mustered their courage (and saved enough again) to use their last three embryos for a final IVF cycle. This time, the transfer was again a success and Angie’s pregnancy progressed very well.  The ultrasound even revealed that they were expecting a son and a daughter (how perfect!).  Due to Angie’s history of pre-term labour, David and Angie sought the medical advice of a second gynecologist at a different hospital when Angie crossed her first trimester so as to ensure the best medical attention for the twins.  Despite their efforts, history repeated itself on 20th April. Angie experienced strong contractions while at work and she rushed to the hospital and the prognosis was not good – Angie’s amniotic sac was sagging and her cervix was dilated.  Close friends and loved ones rallied around them with intercessory prayers round-the-clock for the twins. Angie underwent two emergency operations within the first 24 hours of her hospitalization but even the team of senior consultants and specialists was not able to perform the miracle which they so desperately needed. 

On 22nd April 07, David and Angie’s twin boy, Joash, was stillborn at 18 weeks gestation.  He had to be removed very carefully via a difficult operation to ensure his twin sister’s survival.  During the process, Joash’s fragile head was severed and remained dislodged inside Angie’s womb together with his placenta. It was eventually passed out three days later and stitched onto his body by the hospital mortician.  David and Angie were devastated as they held the tiny lifeless body of baby Joash.  They grieved at the passing of their second son but had to pull themselves together for the sake of their daughter (whom they named Ashley Joy) who continued to grow steadily inside Angie’s womb. 

David and Angie sang, prayed and read bible stories to Ashley every night without fail. When Ashley crossed 24 weeks’ gestation, everyone celebrated the smooth progress; even the doctors marveled at this little fighter’s determination.  Ashley was to be their miracle baby, God’s promised child to David and Angie after years of yearning and trying.  Bearing this hope, Angie obediently followed doctor’s strict Complete Rest in Bed (CRIB) order and stayed a total of sixty days in the hospital with David by her side.  Each week that passed was a big victory as it meant another leap in survival chances for baby Ashley.  The longer she remained in mummy’s womb, the better it would be (or so everyone said).

Life dealt them a cruel blow when Angie once again experienced contractions in her 25th week of pregnancy.  At this age, Ashley only had 50% viability but the monitors were beginning to pick up signs of distress from her heartbeat.  Doctors felt it best to deliver Ashley immediately through emergency C-section.  Angie gritted her teeth as she endured her second spinal epidural in six weeks.  All she wanted was for Ashley to be delivered safely.  Baby Ashley was born alive on 3rd June 07 at 3:45pm and she scored a healthy 7.5 on the APGAR scale.  She was immediately transferred to the NICU where she was hooked to all sorts of machines and monitors big and small.  Due to complications linked to her premature birth, Ashley’s condition deteriorated rapidly in the NICU. She struggled but died of brain hemorrhage on 4th June (barely 36 hours after she was born).   David and Angie were utterly broken.  They could not believe they had to bury their precious daughter who was still alive and kicking moments ago.  Angie’s body was so weakened by the double pregnancy losses that she battled Septicemia (bacteria blood poisoning) and wound breakdown in the hospital for four more weeks before she was declared fit for discharge.

 

 

David and Angie left the hospital with empty arms and wounded hearts. What gave solace was that this time round, they gave their twins Joash and Ashley a proper send-off through separate memorial services and cremation ceremonies.  They also had a lovely niche done up at Mandai Columbarium for all 3 of their babies.   On Ashley's 100th Angel Day, David and Angie perpetuated their fond memories of Ashley by making a donation to a local charity (The Andrew & Grace Home – a Christian refuge for troubled teens).  The money was used meaningfully by the Pastor to fund the Home’s participation in the World Vision 07 Marathon in Krabi.  What gave David and Angie great comfort was that the Pastor went the extra mile to name the run after baby Ashley Joy and her brothers.

David and Angie have kept a very touching blog to honour Nathaniel, Joash and Ashley’s existence; they invite you to visit it at http://ashleyisourangel.blogspot.com to share their journey of grief and recovery.

 

 

Marooned

 

From the start, we saw your flickering light –
You were the beacon that illuminates our darkness.
Hopes soared as you grew each day;
Joy flooded our souls as visions of you turned into reality.

Almost without warning,
a raging storm came crashing.
Your beacon faded as
we struggled to hold on to you -
pleading, praying, bellowing your name.
Only to realize
Men cannot override God’s beckoning.

You fought hard to tarry with us
But your light was shrouded by the treacherous storm.
In a flash, thrust upon us -
Detachment, Doubt, Death.

Forlorn, we stood on the shores of time
Trampled, Hollow, Bruised.
We cast our eyes on what used to be our horizon of hope
A vastness now separates us
from goodness and humanity.
Disenchanted pawns in this game of Life,
We are Marooned.

 

Penned by David Sim© in Loving Memory of their firstborn Nathaniel
 on his 1st Death Anniversary  (10 October 2004)
@ National University Hospital, Singapore