‘I NEVER PLANNED THAT I WOULD HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE’
I didn’t get to know your favourite colour, the things that would make you smile or hear the sounds of your sweet little voice.
I carried you for nine months and it was a much longer journey that finally led us here. The day I would birth our first full term child instead would be the day I would have to prepare to say goodbye.
You would breathe, cry and look me in the eyes. You would breastfeed, nap and snuggle into me tight. It was just as the hours went by they passed too quick and little did we know that you were incredibly sick. I still remember the moment my heart sank knowing something must be wrong. The pain in your breaths and sounds in your cry. I still am often left wondering why?
It was right before my eyes. I was celebrating the joy and achievement of birth to sitting in NICU watching over you. You were here. You were fighting. You came to this earth. I needed you and I know you needed me too. My heart still knows how much you were meant to be here and I’ll never stop questioning why you had to be taken from me.
I’ll never forget the way you looked at me. Your gaze so strong you knew you were going but you stayed for me. You stayed a few days just so I could hold some memories tight for the rest of my life.
It’s with tears running down my cheeks that I remember these moments and still question the journey that is called life. Feeling so much joy and so much pain in a matter of three days’ time. This isn’t how I planned it to be.
Nine months of pregnancy and there we were. Day three, three days old, you couldn’t make it through this windy road and it was In our arms we would watch you leave this earth. The deepest emotion one could ever feel. I often don’t know how we even survived.
We walked into the hospital ready to be a family of three. It was a dream we hoped for after two incredibly testing years of pregnancy and loss before there was you. Then there you were and we would lose you too. Leaving the hospital just the two of us with our hearts shattered apart. I don’t think you could ever walk out of somewhere feeling so empty after planning to feel so whole.
Your whole pregnancy is spent planning the future. You decorate a nursery, install a car seat and talk about how holidays will never be the same again. How the next time you will eat at your favourite restaurant it will be as a family. How you may never sleep again. You plan and prepare yourself for all the change that will come.
Instead we entered our apartment to an empty life. It was quiet, it was still. It was how we left it all. The world moved around us but our eyes were frozen with images of pain and our ears were mute to everyone’s little complaints.
I could cry a waterfall and it would blend in like it never happened at all. The people I passed in the supermarket and the street would have no idea of the pain behind these eyes. They didn’t know how often I would fall to my feet.
The only thing that got me through was knowing I was far from alone. I wasn’t the only mum to lose a child after birth. I wasn’t the only mum who left the hospital empty handed. I wasn’t the only mum grieving a world of pain. Miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss. I was never alone. Someone was always carrying the weight with me. I didn’t know these women before but our pain and journey is what connected us even more.
Losing our son three days after birth to group b streptococcus was something I could never have imagined. I tested negative to group b strep at 37 weeks I thought I was safe? A week later I gave birth and our son would contract it hours after. It was more common than first thought, but who knew simple antibiotics in labour could have saved our son or at least given him a better chance.
One year on, just two weeks before our son’s first birthday would’ve been, we birthed our sweet baby girl. An elective caesarean with antibiotics we chose. A controlled and magical birth. The day my heart refilled and felt whole again.
Even in this life now after loss, nothing could prepare me for the emotions to follow. The days following her birth were the hardest yet. It was like looking at our son all over again. Our daughter was healthy and here and a perfect replica of her big brother. All of the things she began to do reminded me of all the things I missed out on with him. It was like grieving a loss all over again while feeling such joy you didn’t even know could exist.
My grief is captured so differently now. I am constantly smiling but sometimes tears just make their way down my cheeks because I am feeling so much happiness while living through our pain. She is a blessing in disguise, truly gifted to us from another lifetime.
I never forget after we lost our son I continued to say ‘Love is the only thing stronger than loss’, we continued to love. Love each other. Love our life. Love our family. Love our friends. Be thankful for all that we still had here. I held onto hope that there would be brighter days ahead and they truly were.
In a journey of pain, I feel like I have lived two different lives. One in a nightmare and the one I am living here right now. I often flash between those two different lives. The silence late at night or a long car drive. My emotions run wild and words wash over me. You’ll never see me cry the way I cry in the stillness of time.
Grieving is different for everyone. Though grateful for everything I still often think ‘Is this the life I am really living?’ I thought this kind of thing only existed in a dark nightmare.
In honour of pregnancy & infant loss month and our beautiful son. I miss you so much, our baby Foxx. You will always be our first love, taken too soon.
26th – 29th March, 2017.
Mikhailla shares passion for a whole foods lifestyle, pregnancy, healing in loss and proudly inspires others to live their life with a pure heart of optimism and joy via her blog www.wholeheartedly.com.au.