Two Years, here we approach two years Henry where has that time gone, coming up to your second birthday. My mind at the moment I find it searching looking for answers to the questions I know can never be answered and yet after almost two years at times like this I still look for those answers. Looking for something that doesn’t exist and can never be found.
So many questions swirling around in my mind, it is like a battle zone in there, all of the questions mix together, fighting, trying to push the other out of the way. I feel constantly on edge at the moment, my mind on the go, it rarely switches off no matter what I try. The ‘Why us?’ pops up with the ‘How could this have happened?’ then moving straight into ‘At what exact moment did you die?’ pushed aside by ‘Why didn’t they listen?’, ‘Why didn’t she do her checks that night?’, ‘how wasn’t I monitored?’, ‘How could I have known what was supposed to happen being a first time mum?’, ‘Why send Tim home?’, ‘How could we be treated this way?’ making it back to ‘why us?’ but why anyone Henry.
Tears sting my eyes and as they do, I feel the lump form in my throat and pain all through my body, but mostly my heart aches. Such familiar feelings to my body now, sensations that never go completely away, sometimes they show less, other times more often, the closer it gets to your birthday the harder they are to hide, I find myself sad, empty, angry and everything in between, just wishing this wasn’t our lives that it didn’t happen to us, but it did and I would still never trade having had you for anything as you were the one that made me a Mum and carrying you was one of the most happy times in my life, oh god was I happy, I thought we had it all.
I didn’t want lots of money or a fancy house and all those material things, it has never been me but when we found out about you and I got over the shock (as I never thought I would be able to have a baby) well the thought of you our little boy growing and that we would bring you home, you would make our family, all the adventures we would go on, how much we loved you and how our lives would change and you had filled our hearts, I was so damn bloody happy.
It’s not to say I am not happy now Henry, as Charlie brings us so much joy, but you are still missing from my arms, my first born and I don’t know how any mother can feel complete without all of her children to care for and watch grow.
Hours have turned to days, days to months, and now months to years, another year without you and I just miss you it’s as simple and as complicated as that. I miss the lives we had planned, the people we were when I was pregnant with you, I miss waking up without an ache in my heart and a heaviness that’s always there.
How is it two years, how? since I last got to hold you, take all of your features in, your soft dark hair, that beautiful little nose, those ears mostly like your Dad but yet that little pixie shape at the top on one side just like me…. Oh gosh you are so beautiful, and I hope I never forget. I never want to forget each and every little detail and feature, how long your fingernails were, your long fingers, your big toes, your belly, every day I hope I never forget what it was like to see you, hold you, feel you, because those memories are all I have.
Your little sister is growing so fast, but you already know that don’t you? there are certain times when I swear she is chattering away to you, looking off in to the distance it will often begin with a shiver and then a little laugh then she will begin babbling in a way that seems different to other times and I often smile wondering if it’s you close to her. We already talk to her about you, you are included in daily conversation as anyone who is a part of the family should be. She is so much sunshine in our lives Henry, and she makes me wonder more about how much joy you would bring if you were here. I also wonder whether you would have gotten along, whether she would’ve followed you everywhere as she does Snikkers and if she would annoy you, on Easter when we took her photo as she was holding your blue bear (so you were included) she tried several times to put it in her mouth even after me trying to tell her not to. I like to think it was her little way of being annoying to her big brother.
I often wonder Henry; how will we tell Charlie all about you as she grows and understands more? how do we balance it, so she knows about you? yet I never want her to feel like she’s living in your shadow either. You are both our children and I love you both equally, it’s just one of you is here in my arms and the other is not so the way I parent is different. I know as she grows, she is going to see the sadness in my eyes at times, she’s going to recognise the ache, but you know what I never want to hide it from her either. I always want to be open about feelings, let her know that it is more than ok to show how you are feeling, be vulnerable, open and honest as there is no shame.
This year for your birthday we had booked accommodation and had planned to take Charlie on a holiday, to explore, be in nature, stop, take time and slow down and I guess we thought hopefully by being somewhere else and being Charlie’s first holiday with us we would be more inclined get out and do things as we would want to enjoy it for Charlie and in honour of you. However, it was not to be with this pandemic going on like many our holiday and accommodation were cancelled, such a strange time for so many Henry. So, at home it is and maybe, just maybe home is the best place to be.
We will spend time on a walk at your beach in the morning, then home, I have already planned the cake I will bake for you and I can’t wait to show your sister and give her a piece. To celebrate you as you deserve to be celebrated. I know there’ll be tears as I bake and decorate, I know it will be bittersweet but I will always acknowledge your special day, it may have been the worst day of our lives but the funny complex thing is it is also one of the best as its when we got to meet you.
I was speaking with my psychologist recently Henry, I have struggled with my identity since you died, being a planner and having planned what our life would be like with you and having that suddenly ripped away from us, it left a big gaping hole and I lost who I was as I couldn’t be who I was and who I thought I would be. I thought I would be returning home with my little boy in my arms looking after and caring for you, yet we left the hospital with empty arms, I thought I would be a Mum and I was and still am your Mum but a Mum without the baby to feed, wake up to, teach, look after. So how could I grasp even being a Mum let alone the rest of my identity which was lost.
I told her how I just feel like the sad person and that I thought that is how everyone saw me, but she wasn’t having that and swiftly reminded me sad was an emotion and emotions are not what we are they are what we feel, that there was much more to me than that, even before and after you. She made me realise Henry I am not defined by my emotions. She then asked me to give her some other words to describe myself and how I struggled. I hate talking about myself at the best of times. We talked some more about some of the things I had done and achieved before your birth and also some of the big defining things afterwards she then used the words vulnerable, authentic, genuine, brave and courageous. It was a conversation that made me realise how little value I place on myself and how I look at myself and the lack of confidence I still suffer since your death. It also made me release being sad when I need to be isn’t a bad thing, and that by being so open, so honest that maybe just maybe I have helped someone else feel they can be open too and if that is the case Henry well then I feel that is of value.
We started getting photos printed to place some up in frames on the wall, I got some more of yours printed too. I can’t wait to see the family wall take shape with you up there on it along with Charlie. I am so forever grateful for those photo memories and that we can proudly display photos of both our babies.
I feel this morning like I am drowning, I feel like the waves are big as your sister sleeps and your Dad naps, I type these words with silent tears streaming down my face so as not to wake them. I feel like I can’t breathe, there isn’t much time to take in air between the waves crashing over me and I wonder often if I can make it out.
I often get so scared Henry that you will be forgotten, I worry as time goes on no one will mention your name, yet when I feel like this often by surprise someone will message and mention your name, I hope as the years go on they continue to do so. I know its hard on others, I know they don’t always know what to say and theres limited memories of you which are mostly just mine as I carried and grew you, but I hope as two years turns to three and three to four and for many more years to come to still get those messages, to still get the calls, to still have conversations where your name is mentioned because to us you are still our son and always will be, even if its only to say they thought of you, of us, your name Henry is one of the sweetest sounds even on the days it brings tears to my eyes.
I am feeling despondent about the next few days, in the lead up to the 26th your birthday, I have already been getting the flashbacks and I know they will increase, on the night of the 24th we went to the hospital, my waters broke while we were there, I was excited your Dad was scared. I know as the hours pass on the 24th and we approach 7:30pm that’s exactly where my mind will go, I know on the 25th I’ll think back to how I felt you move, I will think back to them checking me with the doppler that day and hearing your heartbeat, I’ll think back to how at 1:30pm we were out in the heat in front of the hospital with me pacing up and down to get things further moving, I know at 9:30pm I’ll think back to how rudely we were spoken to, How I was ignored, given medication I shouldn’t have been given and I know on the 26th I will think back to how I was alone as they finally hooked me up to the CTG to be told they couldn’t find your heartbeat. I will never forget trying to hold it together while messaging your Dad to hurry up and having to be the one to tell him when he walked in the room.
I am wondering how we will get through the next few days, yet I have wondered that since the day you died.
One way we thought to honour you this year was to raise money towards a cuddle cot to be donated to an Australian hospital who doesn’t have one, there are currently 12 hospitals on the waitlist for cuddle cots. A cuddle cot is a cooling system that lays beneath the baby within a bassinet. It enables families to keep their baby close and create beautiful memories, spending as much time as they wish with their baby, before saying goodbye. This reduces the worry or distress of separation to keep handing their baby back to hospital staff to be cooled in a traditional cooling room away from them. A cuddle cot was what enabled us to spend the night and next morning with you, to hold you have photos, bathe and dress you, the only memories will ever have with you after you are born, the most precious memories ever. The only reason we had access to the cuddle cot was because another bereaved parent had donated it to the hospital. I set out to do the same starting with our own donation as we would have spoilt you with gifts on your birthday anyway and then Thanks to our beautiful family and friends and their friends, we raised enough for one cuddle cot and a little extra. This means a cuddle cot in your honour with your name and details will be donated to one of the hospitals on the waitlist. With the extra we will be able to donate this towards someone another family’s efforts, so maybe they will reach their target and that will mean two cuddle cots go out. If anyone still wants to donate for your birthday here is The link to our fund-raising page. (maybe we could get to two) I need to mention a special Thank you to Ollie’s beautiful family, Ollie was born on the 19th July 2018 (which happens to be my birthday) sadly for Ollie’s family he was born sleeping, his beautiful Mum, Dad and he now has a baby sister Charli (what are the odds) raised money for a cuddle cot and some extra and chose to donate their extra $1500 raised towards ours. Such a beautiful gesture from one bereaved family to another, I know Henry yourself and Ollie are watching over us all and I hope you are both proud.
Happy 2nd Birthday for Sunday Henry, we love you, our beautiful boy, the brightest star in our sky. Our family will never be the same but nor would I want it to be if it meant you didn’t exist.