‘Despite all my willing her to, she did not draw a breath…’
I will always feel the loss of my baby girl. Today it is 4th April 2011; she was stillborn on 1st April 2010, a little over a year ago. She was delivered at 35 weeks in the SPRING suite at St.Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole, a beautiful baby with everything in the right place, perfect feet, dark hair (her brother was born with dark hair too). Despite all my willing her to, she did not draw a breath. I can see her in the basket looking like she was only sleeping and would wake presently and call for her mum. I am so glad we spent that, all too brief, time with her, held her and kissed her. She was buried at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground, a simple service with family and friends I carried her in her little casket to the Ladybird Garden, something I could do, and placed her in the ground. Even as I write this and remember, it feels unreal, as if it must be happening, have happened to someone else, not me. How can this have happened to me? We visit most Sundays putting fresh flowers on her grave. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I can’t. I could always stay there a little longer than I do. It is a lovely place, she is surrounded by nature: trees, flowers, wildlife and a lake close by, but she should be here at home surrounded by people who love her.
I went to work the day after the funeral and for two weeks I would go in each day, sit at my desk and do virtually nothing. Fortunately I work in a very supportive place and everyone worked around me until I was able to start functioning again.
Needless to say, my wife and I were both devastated and without our youngest son who was 18 months at the time and needs us to care for and look after him, I do not know how we would have coped, how we would have got out of bed each day. It took months before her clothes were taken out of the drawers and put away in the loft.
I am lucky to have a wonderful young son and we are expecting a girl in May. The loss of Saffron-Rose has made this pregnancy a more than usually anxious one and until we are holding her in our arms I cannot plan ahead, I cannot think beyond the next scan. The consultant, his team and the midwives at Bournemouth Maternity Hospital have been very good; we have had regular scans and midwife appointments and been able to drop in at the unit for a reassuring listen to her heart at almost anytime. The consultant has agreed with our plans to have a home birth.
This last year has, at times, been a struggle. I have regular counselling through SPRING and attend the SPRING open support meetings, both of which have helped me to keep going. Meeting other parents, helping them go through the same process at different stages and being helped has been an important part of the journey. I am not over her death, I never will be. This first anniversary is hard and probably future ones will be too.