Sat 15 March 2008
Got to Maternity at 10am for a check – haven’t felt baby move overnight. He has moved back to back, the midwives find it difficult to get a fix on his heartbeat and mine is quite fast. Eventually they call the doctors, Dr Ahmed gives me a scan. It goes on longer and longer (it can’t be a good sign ) whilst I study the textured tiles on the ceiling. I look past him to the scan monitor – I don’t acknowledge it at the time but I see no flutter heart beating.
Finally, he looks at me and tells me he’s very sorry, there is no heartbeat. Four pairs of eyes look at me and wait for me to implode. I feel calm. Or is it numb? I call Paul and tell him, ask him to call Mum and Dad to let them know. I can only keep thinking to myself, over and over and over “this can’t be happening to me, this can’t be happening to me”.
Over the next 24 hours I didn’t cry much, it was such a huge shock. In fact, it took me a long time to cry properly, from deep within.
Later that evening…
The next thing I’m really pushing and she checks again and I’m fully dilated. They sit me up and I push hard. I want to cry because I know he’s already dead but I can’t because I’m still pushing. I push his head out and the strangest thing happens. This overwhelming urge has just gone. It just leaves me. They tell me to push again and his body follows. At 11.21pm I push him out and he lies there, eyes closed, mouth open.
I hold him and actually feel contentment, quite in awe of this little person we have created. This warm little body, perfect little face, dark hair, peaceful. Trying to take in every detail, how I wish we’d taken a photo of him then. Paul holds him too and when he passes him back to me, I am so tired. They take him and put him in a cot. We don’t realise he won’t look the same later. They finish stitching me up and I am so tired with the emotional and physical strain – and I realise much later, the morphine – that I go to bed at 1am. Paul stays with him whilst they clean him and dress him, and Paul and the midwife bring him to our room at 3am. He stays with us tonight.
Sun 16 March 2008
They tell us to stay as long as we want and hold him, cuddle him, but I can’t. I want to remember him in my arms, like he’s alive. There is little point staying, at 10am Mum & Dad come to pick us up and see him, although I warn them that he looks like a dead baby, not all pink and squidgy. We stay outside with our son ‘B’ (aged 3), they come out, distraught. ‘B’ doesn’t want to go near me; he asks if I am going to go too. We leave, I feel really weak. I later learn that I have actually lost at least 900ml through the blood tests and birth. Mum & Dad look after ‘B’ and I go straight to sleep, Paul joining me shortly after.
I only held Philip once, just after he was born. But the overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder at this little person we had created was such an amazing, incredible feeling, despite the tragedy. I will never forget it.
My son has changed me in ways I would never have imagined. 4 years after loss, I am very thankful for everything I have; if anything, I appreciate life and my life so much more. I am more tolerant, life is no longer mostly black and white for me, I see many more shades of grey. I have learnt not to worry about the unimportant things. I have found a strength that I never knew existed within me.
I have made lifelong friendships that kept me going when times were bad. I still miss my baby boy more than words can say, but the new normal is not the early raw pain of grief; it is older, wiser, a sadness around the edges yes, but some measure of peace. I never thought I would come to accept what happened, but I have found a way to live with it. If you have lost a child, I wish this peace for you too.
Wishing you all gentle days