To the Midwives who helped birth my Stillborn Daughter
Firstly I don’t know if you are having a good day, a bad day, if you had a fight with your partner this morning and slammed the door on the way out. If you had no sleep last night because your own baby was teething or if you are at the end of a double shift, I don’t know if it your birthday today or maybe it’s your own child’s birthday, maybe your mother’s in hospital. But today is the worst day of my life. Today I have to lay in this hospital bed and be induced into labour and give birth to my daughter. When I came in yesterday morning I dreaded what you would tell me, and in the end the doctor came in a confirmed what I’m sure you already knew when you examined me. She didn’t make it, my baby girl had died.
Your silence spoke louder than any words. I don’t blame you, what are you suppose to say to a mother and father who desperately want to hear you say the words that you cannot, to hear you say she’s fine, to hear you say her heart is beating strong and loud. Then we can laugh at how silly it is to worry so much and how those pregnancy hormones make you us mothers so crazy and paranoid. I imagine that you have felt the same dread when you put the hand monitor on my swollen belly and didn’t hear what you expected, silence can be deafening.
So however your day was going when you walk through the ward to my door you knew there would be no loud screams from tiny lungs and tears of joy from exhausted new parents. Only sorrow, heartache, grief and silent love. This is the suite at the end of the ward, the one that’s a little separate from the others, because this birth is not like the others here today.
Thanks you for taking the time to sit with me, for explaining to me what’s going to happen. Thank you for making us feel our daughter was important. Thank you for giving us space to process what was happening and giving us support when we need it. Thank you for putting her straight up onto my bare chest as I had asked, thank you for taking some pictures for me in the birthing suite when I was too overwhelmed to function, thank you for getting her hand and foot prints, thank you for running her a warm bath and giving me a tiny bonnet to cradle her head and framed her perfectly still face.
We had some clothes to dress her in from home; it was an outfit both of her sisters had been dressed in before her. Both of our older girls are at home while their dad and I are here, trying to understand why their new sister cannot come home and you listened to me with compassion as I compounded my guilt anew at the thought of what they must be going through as well.
Thank you for holding her in your arms when my husband took my exhausted body to the bathroom after her birth. I noticed you holding her, I noticed you cuddling her, I noticed your whispers to her and the little kiss on the nose. I noticed your tears.
And even now over two years later, I still remember that you treated my daughter like any newborn that night, with love and care. Throughout my time processing the grief of her death, I always remember how you cared.
You selflessness that night help me in the future to make sense of some of the grief, because I can always feel as through her death was out of my control, but her birth was something I could have a say in. Her birthday was a sorrowful event but your calmness, professionalism and caring help shape how I remember the birth and, in turn how I remember my only time with her.
Claudia’s Mum Xx
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