That question.

Thursday Henry, Thursday was the day your Dad and I officially became a couple four years ago, Thursday was the day four years ago he picked me up from the airport when I had returned from Italy waiting with a big bunch of red roses and he asked me if I would be his girlfriend.. I remember at the time saying to him, girlfriend sounded so young I felt like I was 16 again. But either way it was that day we made a commitment to one another, and we both knew before that commitment was made we wanted to spend our lives together, being older and wiser you are able to make those decisions faster, it was really the start of the rest of our lives.

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Thursday we went to breakfast with your nanny and poppy, I then met up with a good friend and her little fella for a coffee and so he could have a play in the park, once again she gave me her time, listened to me I probably repeated things, and the conversation was easy. It was nice. I went from there to a Doctor appointment, deciding it would be good to get a blood test to see where all my crazy hormones were at and whether my body would be good for making babies, I got my referral for a blood test to be done on day 21….

Thursday night Henry, your Dad; despite us wishing the day wasn’t as it was, despite not being able to do what we had planned we would have done with you here….  your Dad he still went to the effort to begin preparing a nice dinner, he began by smoking some meat to sit before he would later cook it, after he did this we danced in the kitchen, he held my hands and held me close and we danced around silly in the kitchen… Missy not impressed by this, jumped and ran around us barking while Snikkers stood nearby, we moved around Missy moving closer to her and stepping back playfully, as we danced to tease her some more, she continued to bounce around us and we laughed, it was nice, it was so nice to dance in the kitchen with your Dad and fur sisters, how I would have loved to be dancing with you in our arms.

Once meal prep was done and put away to cook later, I suggested perhaps now might be a good time to try for a sibling for you…. except your Dad he smelt like hickory smoke from smoking the meat and tasted like beer “mmmmm hickory smoke smelling and beer breath” I said sarcastically to your dad “enough to make any girl want you” I laughed “Well ma’am is my horse still tied to the pole out the front” he replied in his really bad version of a Texan accent and I laughed so much…. This silly talk continued with us laughing and laughing…

No one needs to know the details in-between Henry, but after all our silliness I don’t know how we managed to do what we needed too.. I joked with your Dad after maybe I needed to do a handstand and stay on my head to encourage them all to swim the right way… he suggested I lay with my legs against the wall… I really feel this makes no difference, but we would do anything for sibling for you… so there I lay with my legs against the wall messaging a friend until so much blood had rushed out of my toes they went numb…. Your Dad even took a picture for me so I could send it to my friend who I was having a silly conversation with. I told my friend I am crossing everything but my legs.

Late Thursday night I completed my submission, my submission for the senate inquiry in to stillbirth, I completed and emailed it, it was done! So hard, so very hard, yet so very important to do.. I did it Henry, for you, for us, for change! I so hope that there is change.

Friday Henry I was up early to go to a retreat my lovely friend, her family and your Dad’s family had all put in for. When I arrived I sat in a room with another lady who had also just arrived, we got talking… As we sat there two other ladies arrived and they knew each other and the host of the retreat, more ladies arrived and they all knew the people there already too. I was thankful for the lady who sat near me who didn’t know everyone. As I talked to her she asked ‘the question’ ‘that question’ the one I have been dreading being asked……. “Do you have any children?” instantly tears came to my eyes I couldn’t help it, glad the others were not paying attention to our conversation I apologised to her for the tears that started and said to her “we recently lost our son” I didn’t want to not acknowledge you, I want everyone to know we have a son… It is just hard in a situation where you are not prepared and you get the question, I never knew how hard that one question would be. I wanted to be giving a different answer… I wanted to be saying I have a son Henry he is just over 2 months old, I wanted to be telling her you had just started smiling, I wanted to be telling her about how much joy you had brought to our lives and how your Dad and I just adore you….. but I guess I wouldn’t have actually even been there if you were here as I would be spending every moment I could with you.

As we sat having breakfast Henry I was quiet, by then the rest of the group had arrived, they all knew one another they began conversations, conversations around their lives and children, about how frustrating it was running after their children to sports as it takes up all the weekend, about how they were glad to be away as they never get any time to themselves…. I get it Henry I do, life can get tiresome, it would be hard trying to juggle things, but as I sat there and listened to it, as I sat there and heard the words about how running a child to sport and then the game etc took up their whole weekend and it was just too much… I thought to myself about how I would give absolutely anything to be doing that in a few years with you. I quietly excused myself from the table after I had eaten in the hope I may not get ‘that question’ again.

We did yoga there was lots of free time, lunch, lots of free time then a class to make a sugar honey and olive oil scrub… and I did get that question once more that day… do you think I was any more prepared to answer it… well no 😦 I wasn’t and the lady I got the question from this time when I answered it, immediately showed her discomfort to the answer I gave and well she not long after excused herself to go talk to someone else. I felt like the awkward lady…. The awkward lady whose baby died. I know those feelings Henry are a reflection of me, of me and my feelings… but its exactly how I felt.

I was thankful for two other ladies there, who both knew no one else…. these ladies spoke to me we talked about many different things and one of these ladies made me laugh so much… she just said things as they were, she had an enthusiasm for life and infectious personality. The other lady was soft, kind and gentle… two things I definitely needed.

I came home to your Dad that night, I came home and hugged him so tight, so glad to be in his arms, so glad to be able to release some of the day. I stood under a hot hot shower and cried, I stayed there for as long as the tears flowed.

Saturday I returned to the retreat for breakfast… I must admit the food was amazing, right up my alley, healthy fresh produce used to make amazing meals. The caterer was local and I spoke to her for a little while about her experience and how she got started doing what she had, she was nice.

After breakfast, a talk, then boxing and fitness session… there were more ladies who had joined the retreat for the Saturday, they however knew the others who were already there so kind of stuck within their groups. Then there was a speaker there, she is known for consultancy work with companies and working with women… I was looking forward to the talk I thought it may be good for me……. boy was I wrong. The talk was around making change, but it was about making change in your everyday life, to fit in the things you want to, to have a diary, a plan, a schedule and to stick to your non negotiable’s…. not what I needed, I sat I listened…. the presenter went around the room focusing on one of the multiple choice questions on the worksheet… Why do you want to make a change in your life? she went around the room… the answers on the sheet were things like career, skills, challenge, financial, satisfaction etc etc… none of the answers suited me, the discussion didn’t apply to me when she got to me, Henry I looked at her and said “I can’t answer that, I have just been through a traumatic event in my life and none of this applies right now” everyone stared at me, they looked and just stared until she continued going around the room.

The presenter pulled me aside when we broke for lunch, she said to me “You really probably won’t get anything out of today” I stared at her, I made polite conversation, I tried to be positive and said “Oh I’ll take what I can” but in that moment, I felt sad, I felt angry, I felt so disappointed for my friends, for family who had put in for and paid for this, for me to be there Henry out of the kindness of their hearts out of wanting to help. I knew they had spoken to the lady who had organised it all, she assured them that it would be suitable and yet here I was and it wasn’t and I was just told that.

I sat out the rest of the talk Henry, I sat and listened as busy mums, busy mums with businesses, children, lifestyles talked about what they would now like to have or schedule in to their lives… some of the answers I just cringed, I sunk in to my chair, as some said they were going to schedule in time to play with their children as they don’t do that, or even discussion around time to hug their children…. ‘you need to schedule time for that’ I thought to myself… I couldn’t believe it, I know everyone gets caught up in life, I know people work hard for what they have… but to listen to someone say they don’t have time to play with their child or hug them! When I would love to be hugging you, holding you close, singing to you, playing blocks as you grew, pretending to drive cars with you, watching you ride. I sat deflated as I couldn’t even think how I can get through each day right now, let alone scheduling it down to even the simple things people should enjoy in life.

I walked outside afterwards for fresh air, I breathed in. The two ladies who I had been talking to most walked outside too, it was interesting to see they did not get too much out of the talk too.. It made me think and we all discussed the important things in life.. Each to their own, I respect so many people who work so hard and have the finer things in life.. But for me in that moment I said despite what is going on Henry, despite missing you with every fibre of my being, I felt grateful.. I felt grateful for the life your Dad and I share, that we often laugh together, that we always make time to enjoy life together such as go to the beach before I would start work, stand up paddle board when I would get home, garden, cook and be. Your dad and I truly value time together Henry and for that I am so grateful as that is what is important to me.

One lady had given an answer in the talk, she gave an answer that I loved and it took me back to Thursday, she said she wanted to make sure she danced in the kitchen to one song with her family once a week! I have to say I hope your dad and I continue to dance in the kitchen and feel you near, and that we do this with your siblings too.

That night Henry when I got home, when I walked in the door, your Dad and two of our amazing friends were there, they all greeted me with a smile and a glass of champagne, they listened about my day, we enjoyed some laughs and drinks over an amazing meal cooked by your Dad, we laughed we talked, there was guitar playing and singing. It was just what I needed, they were just there, they were there in the moments we laughed, sang together and joked and there in the moments when I shed a few tears. That night as we went to bed Henry, your dad as I walked in our bedroom, tried to hide his face, I hugged him I saw his tears running down his face, he still cries for you too.

I came across this blog post Henry and it resonated with me, it did so because it talked about what I just have, about friends just being there about them being there whether you are laughing or crying, about how they can be there and not know what to say, about how life has changed and we will never be the same….. ‘4. Realize that your friend has been forever changed by the loss of her baby. Don’t expect her to be exactly the same. And please realize that grief has its own time table. Allow her the time she needs, and remain supportive. Everyone grieves differently.’

Sunday your Dad and I had a lazy day Henry, a lazy day at home which I needed, I thought of you often as I always do. I thought of how we would have had you out in the sunshine if you were here, I thought of how much I just want to be holding you and your siblings in my aching arms.

Today Henry, I struggled when I woke up, motivation is hard to find. As I lay in bed I thought about how worried I am this feeling, this hurting this aching won’t soften, I thought about how sometimes I would give anything to make it go away. I eventually got myself up. Your Dad and I headed to my PT session, he decided he would join in today… as we sat in the car and waited until my beautiful PT finished up with her client before us… I said to your Dad “I just do not have any motivation it is just not there, I feel like the days go so slow, but then I look at the time that’s passed and I feel like its slipping away I know November will come and I will need to make decisions about work yet I can’t I don’t think I can do it” “You don’t need to worry about that yet” your Dad replied “Just take each day as it comes” tears flowed softly down my cheeks “I know” I said. Sometimes Henry, I need to remind myself not to be so hard on myself, to expect myself to have it all together, to expet myself to know what to do….

Your Dad and I worked hard during the PT session I was proud of him Henry, he did well, he almost kept up with me 😉 it felt good to exercise, it felt good to be in the sun.

After we got home and your Dad got a haircut I had a healthy lunch, I made it, I did something. We went to Bunnings to get some things to make a screen for your garden. As we got home I said to your Dad “I want to fast forward time” he replied “I know I am not even going to say not to think that, to say we would miss out on things if we did as I feel the same”, Henry sometimes I want time to stop, sometimes I want to not wake up and other times I want time to fast forward, I want it to fast forward so so quickly to be holding your siblings in my arms, to know what it’s like to have that crying baby here to show that love, all the things I had wanted with you. I can not explain that, the longing for this, how much I want it, and the fear, the fear that day may never arrive.

It’s my birthday soon Henry, your Dad keeps asking what I want, but the things I want you can’t buy, if you could I would have you here. I would walk in to that store with you in my arms and buy 7 more and maybe some more puppies too. My birthday Henry will be another reminder, a reminder of what I don’t have, of the one thing I will always want. It’s a reminder I am getting older, the clock is ticking, a reminder of things I don’t want to remember but yet never want to forget.

So much love to you our Henry, our star, the little boy who made me a mum, the little boy who will always have every inch of my heart.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

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