Each week I comment that Call The Midwife leaves me in tears. Last night’s episode had me sobbing – a poorly baby, deformed thanks to Thalidomide being given to pregnant women for their morning sickness, was left to die alone by an open window. Just the thought of it brings tears to my eyes – this practice had no thought for any suffering of the babies, there was no compassion for babies deemed monsters, almost as if they were a dirty little secret to be kept hidden away.
I also struggled with the reminder that parents of dead babies didn’t get to see them, they didn’t get to say goodbye, they didn’t get to make some memories.
Thoughts of my own baby boy have hit me watching it last night – he died in an operating theatre when he was three days old. We were offered the chance to be with him when he died, when the machines were turned off, but we declined – we didn’t want our memories of him to be on an operating table but his wonderful nurse said she would stay with him – as did the whole team – and we next saw our boy wrapped up, cosy but still to say some of our goodbyes – we went to see him twice more before his funeral.
The compassion from the hospital staff at the Freeman was not only very touching, it will stay with us forever. The surgical team struggled with their composure when they came to see us and we knew he was in good hands with his nurse who was going to bathe and dress him – something we could also have done but declined because we didn’t want to remember all the tubes attached to his little body. We still don’t regret this – we gained enough memories from all the cuddles when he was wrapped in his blanket. The important thing is that we were offered this time with our baby and we took what we needed. Those memories have to last us a lifetime and I can’t imagine not being able to see him again after he died.
It was a tough watch last night and it brought a lot of issues back into my head but it has made me grateful for the changing times and the care we received from our brilliant NHS and the dedicated and caring staff we encountered.