On 29th March 1995 I was 7 months pregnant with a much wanted baby after some fertility issues. That day I voiced out loud the thoughts in my head. “I am sure this baby is dead”. I had been feeling different for a few days and I was startled to put my thoughts in to words.
I went to the Maternity unit and was told I couldn’t have a scan as there was no Radiologist in the hospital on a weekend, but if there was an emergency the on-call Radiologist would come in. Four hours later I was told that my baby had died. I remained calm throughout all this but I don’t know how!
My options were discussed and I was told some women go home and come back a week later. I was horrified at the thought of walking around knowing my baby was dead. I made the decision that it had to happen that day and later I was induced.
The following morning my son Christian was born. He was not born asleep, as some people say, he was stillborn! He was extremely small and weighed 6 ounces and was not much bigger than my hand. After he was blessed and photos were taken I asked the midwife to take him away because I knew that if they did not take him then I might not want to let go.
My mum came and I refused to let her see Christian. I knew seeing him would be too much for her because he didn’t look like she would expect because he had been dead for at least a week.
I was asked to stay another night because I had been to theatre after his birth but the thought of being in a room next to the wards full of happy mums and new born babies crying was just too much to bear.
At the time I was a Medical Secretary in a children’s hospital. I was friends with Paul the Mortician who phoned me to tell me he knew what the problem was with Christian, so he would go straight in to his heart and would not touch his head. He also told me that the lab staff cried when he arrived because they knew he was my baby and because I had given instructions that the teddy I put with him stayed with him at all times which had never happened before.
Having a stillborn baby is hell on earth and has been the most traumatic event in my life. Planning his funeral was devastating. I could not get out of my head that he was alone, hence the teddy and that he was naked so a small shroud was made for him in blue. Picking the music was heart breaking as I needed to be able to say how I felt. I picked Gone to Soon by Michael Jackson and Soul of my Soul by Michael Bolton.
“Like a castle built upon a sandy beach, gone too soon” “Like a comet blazing across the evening sky, gone too soon”
One of the hardest things I had to deal with after having Christian was the comments made by other people and feeling like a leper because people who you know well avoid you. Two days after I had Christian, I returned home to see my neighbour Mary sat on the step. When she realised it was me she ran in and shut the door. A few days later when I saw her again she apologised because she didn’t know what to say. I told her hello would have been fine. One of the worst comments was made by a heavily pregnant colleague “I can’t believe you held a dead baby”. No I didn’t hold a dead baby, I held my son! And “I am sorry to hear you had a miscarriage” – no my son was stillborn, and there is a big difference.
So people please think about the words and actions you use if you know someone who has a stillborn baby. Nothing more than hello is needed.
In a baby castle just beyond my eyes,
My baby plays with angel toys that money cannot buy,
Who am I to wish you back in to this world of strife?
No play on Christian, you have eternal life.
At night when all is silent and sleep forsakes my eyes,
I’ll hear your tiny footsteps coming running to my side,
Your tiny hands caress me so tenderly and sweet,
I breathe a prayer and close my eyes and embrace you in my sleep.
Now I have a treasure I rate above all other,
I have known true Glory,
I am still your MOTHER.