October 15th is a day of remembrance. A day when families light a candle in honour of the precious lives never forgotten.
It is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
9 years ago on the 14th January, my husband and I got the devastating news that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.
What? Why? How did this happen?
This can’t be happening. Our baby is supposed to be born any day now.
I was 41 weeks pregnant, waiting patiently for our little one to arrive into our world so we could start our life as a family.
The nursery was all set up. Cot, Stroller, toys, clothes, pictures on the wall, fluffy rug for playtime. It was all there waiting, ready to be lived in by our baby.
The day we were told our baby had passed away inside me is a day I will never forget. Who could ever forget a day like that?
We left the hospital, after making the decision to come back the next day to be induced, to call family and friends and tell them the devastating news. My husband was amazing as he told all of our loved was what had happened.
We held each other tight that night. I think we slept a little bit because I woke up in the morning, and for a moment in time i forgot.
I forgot our baby was no longer with us. I forgot I had to go to the hospital and give birth to our dead baby. I forgot that our world was no longer the same.
Then it all came flooding back. In a wave of heartbreak. Our baby was gone.
We got up and prepared to go to the hospital.
At about 6.00am I began to get pains in my back. They would come for a few seconds and then go again. This happened on and off for the next half hour or so.
On the way to the hospital, they worsened. Coming every minute or so. I had no idea what was happening. Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me that they were contractions because our son was no longer alive plus all of the pain was in my back, not in my front like I thought contractions were.
We arrived at the hospital, I let them know I was having lots of pain. Yep. I was in labour. WTF?
How is this happening? What is going on? Everything was spinning. My head was spinning. I couldn’t comprehend any of it.
It was a tough but quick labour.
We held him in our arms. We loved him. We mourned him.
We now hold him in our hearts. We love him. We celebrate his beautiful life.
His life meant something. His life means something.
He was a beautiful gift.
It took me a number of years to feel this way because I could not understand why he was taken away from. Why he came to us in the first place. Why did all of this happen?
I used to believe everything happened for a reason. What was this reason? This life-altering, heartbreaking, world-shattering reason?
There could not possibly be one good reason why he could not stay with us?
I wrestled with this notion for years. I wondered about it all the time. I felt there had to be more to his life than just a beautiful, brief moment in time.
The answer came to me not-so long ago. And the answer intertwines with the birth of his baby sister, born 19 months after our devastating news.
We found out we were pregnant again exactly 12 months to the day when we found out Harry had passed away. After trying month after month, then not trying because we had some fertility issues, she came to us.
We were over the moon. Excited. Scared. Terrified. Worried.
I felt all of that but the one thing that never left me was the knowing that we were meant to have a little girl. I knew she would get to come home with us.
And, she did.
She was born one and a half hours early, at 37 weeks, so she was technically a premature baby. We had a few hiccups those first few weeks of life but they were wonderful.
She was here. She was healthy. She was ours.
She is now 7 and doing amazing. She loves life and she brings so much joy to each moment we are here together.
Harry brought her to us. He came to us so she could make her way into our family.
We were only going to have one child together.
Harry’s gift to us, was our beautiful daughter. Harry’s gift to me was the promise I made to her as she looked up at me and smiled only minutes after being born.
I promised her I would be the mother she needed. I would be the woman I needed to be. That I would find a way to return to who I truly was so that I could give her the life she deserves.
My mother was not the mother I needed. She was not the woman she needed to be.
We did not have a great relationship. I was distant to her. I could not bring myself to feel very much for her except hate and contempt.
Our childhood was starved of love. There was a little bit there but not enough. It was outweighed by her own anger for herself and her life.
Looking back I can see she tried. I can see she did the best she knew how. Her own childhood was awful so I can understand why she was the way she was.
I have more empathy for her now after what I went through. I have been able to let go of the anger and frustration I had for myself and my life. I had to. I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be otherwise.
And, that was my promise. I have stuck to that promise every day for the last 7 years. I am not perfect. By any means. I have shitty days. Overwhelming days. Lonely days. Sad days.
But, I also have fun days. Happy days. Joyful days. Beautiful days. Loving days.
This is Harry’s Gift.
He gave this to me. Without him I don’t know if I would have gotten here. I’d like to think I would have. At some point.
He gave me the gift of love. He gave me the gift of ME.
So, on this Remembrance Day, I honour his life. I honour the many gifts he gave to me. To us.
Without his beautiful life, I wouldn’t have mine back.
I love you, Harry.
On this day, I remember and honour all babies who’s lives were too short. Who didn’t get to go home in the arms of their family.
You are always missed and never forgotten.
Share your baby’s name. Let’s remember them together.