Made it, that’s another anniversary done. I can’t quite describe the feeling on the run up to my boy’s birthday apart from sadness and a need to run away. I feel overwhelmed and I feel torn by a need to wallow in my duvet and a need to continue on. It’s a bit of a struggle. By Saturday afternoon I was feeling good, much of it had lifted and work was a brilliant distraction, as ever. My weekend was full of love, laughter, family and brilliant people – what better way to spend it, much better than hiding away in my bed!
But the anniversaries (and Christmas if I’m really honest) don’t get any easier, losing my child just doesn’t get any easier. Ten years on, it can be as raw as when he died.
My third pregnancy, back in 2007, was as beautiful as it was traumatic. Finding out he had a serious heart defect in my second trimester and the rollercoaster of medical appointments and surgery plans was emotionally traumatic but I made the most of every opportunity to focus on my unborn baby – when I used to lay my hands on my enormous bump, he would respond with a kick, and I talked to him all the time. I tried not to get too bogged down with being too tired or juggling my older children, I made time for just me and my bump too because somehow I knew that these memories would matter.
My beautiful boy Jamie was born with a few severe defects, he was born incompatible with life but we gave him the best chance we could. He never knew cuddles, I was never able to have skin to skin with him and our longest cuddle came after he died. From the moment he was born he was prodded and poked and he was quickly moved to intensive care. His first surgery, when he was 6 hours old, was not a success. The next day he was moved from the RVI to the Freeman because of his heart. The following day was our best day together – his grandparents and his sisters met him and me and my husband were able to spend time with him. He was settled in intensive care, we had grown accustomed to the noises of all the machines, we had chatted with his team and he was in and out of consciousness. The few moments when he opened his eyes were precious and we were able to wash him and touch him and speak to him.
On his last day we saw him before he was prepped for his heart surgery. We met the surgical team, we spent time with our boy and we said our goodbyes because we knew there was a chance he wouldn’t make it. He also responded and opened his eyes wide and I’m sure he smiled at us – his nurse saw it and she commented that he really shouldn’t be that alert as he had been given meds in preparation of his general anaesthetic. I’ve always said this was his goodbye to us.
The surgery was not a success, his body wouldn’t stop bleeding and his tissue was too fragile to hold a stitch. The team worked hard for 12 hours until we told them to stop. Our boy was not meant to live. But he lived for three and a half days and those memories will last for a lifetime.