On this day two years ago I heard the words that no expectant mother wants to hear. “I’m sorry.”
My baby, gone before I had the chance to say hello.
I used to think people were being dramatic when they talked about rooms spinning as devastating news was delivered to them. But at that moment I felt so overwhelmed by what I was seeing and hearing, so crushed by the pain of it all, that I could barely breathe.
My baby, wriggling around just weeks before in my 12-week scan, the baby I’d bonded with and taken my first bump photos of, now still and silent. We’d been so excited about telling our daughter the news she was going to be a big sister and had waited months to share it. Now there was nothing to say to her. Only bad news to share with our family and friends.
Strangely, I hadn’t been so open about the pregnancy, and I often look back and wonder if, deep down, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I’d been experiencing backache and had a temperature in the days leading up to the private scan. On the morning of the scan itself I had other symptoms that suggested things weren’t going to plan; pink spotting, waves of nausea, radiating pains. What I hadn’t realised is that I was in very early labour. And that day marked the start of my secondary infertility journey, only I didn’t know it yet.
The sonographer called triage to arrange for us to go in and have the news confirmed. And a midwife was waiting to quickly take us past all the anxious and happy pregnant women waiting for their 12 and 20-week scans. I remember wishing I was them, hoping that the sonographer had somehow just got it all very wrong. It felt like a nightmare, it just didn’t seem real.
After the loss of our baby had been confirmed we were sent home with instructions to come back in two days for an induction. I would need to give birth and it’s something I really struggled to get my head around. Despite having given birth previously, I didn’t know what to expect. All I could do was take it one step at a time.
As it happens I went into full labour the following night and I delivered our beautiful son on 30th June 2016. The rush of love I felt for Harris when I first saw him was no different to how I felt the very first time I set eyes on Cora. I was in shock, I was in pain, but I was in love.
And I would give anything for just one more second of carrying Harris, of believing everything was okay, of feeling at home with him inside me. I miss that feeling. I miss cupping the soft curve of my tummy. I miss Cora snuggling into my wee bump.
And if there’s one thing Harris has left me with it’s the ability to enjoy little moments, to find the good in every day. While I experienced a great loss, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn to appreciate a good life.
Harris may be gone, and his time here was short, but he taught me so much.
There are of course days where the anger and pain are all consuming. Some nights I still curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. Some days I beat a pillow and let it all out. And there’s still that silent scream, the deafening kind where you open your mouth and you hurt so much inside that no sound escapes and the pressure inside your head can make you feel like it’s about to explode. Those moments are the worst.
But I believe that bad days build better days.
And tonight as I write this, I’m aching but I can breathe, I’m hurting but I can feel. The longing for Harris will never leave me and that’s okay. That’s just how life is for me and my family.
Tonight I read these words by Helen Keller. They really spoke to me, capturing everything I’m feeling right now, and her words might speak to you.
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
She also wrote:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
And I know that so many of you will resonate with this.
Harris, I miss and love you, and you’ll be forever in my heart. Goodnight, baby boy. Goodnight, all little stars.