This time last week we were preparing to go to hospital to say hello and goodbye to Henry. Sunday being Matt’s birthday and Father’s Day made it all the more poignant.
In my heart I knew Henry had already gone, his movements had slowed right down since the Friday morning and I’d felt very few on Saturday, if any. I was happy that he had made the decision for us as it made going in for induction easier to live with but I was so sad because he wouldn’t be eligible for a birth and death certificate. Babies born sleeping before 24 weeks are classed as a late miscarriage or a non-viable foetus but he wasn’t either of those, he is our baby boy. Despite not having official paperwork to prove his existence he lived inside me and he was real and I gave birth to him.
When we arrived we said we were booked into room 1, the receptionist knew what that meant and took us round to the labour room for people like us. Later that morning a saw a sign go up on the frosted glass window. It was a butterfly, the unofficial symbol of a baby who can’t stay. I was grateful we were not in the HDU room next door as that is where Rory lived and died 15 months ago.
The day was long and heavy, my labour was 18 hours, longer than Toby and Rory combined – this baby boy was making me work! We made it clear we wanted him to be born that day and so with some determined pushing Henry was born at 11.45pm and given his daddy’s name as a middle name to mark the day he was born and the connection they have.
Henry was taken off for a bath and to be dressed in the little gown we’d chosen earlier that day. The lovely midwives also took his hand and footprints for us. When we were ready to meet him he was all peaceful and beautiful. A tiny scrap of a baby weighing just 245g.
A very special midwife called Margaret was there when Henry was born; she was a joy and kept our spirits up at an impossible time. In the morning she came back at the end of her shift and asked us to keep a special place in our hearts for her to love Henry that little bit more and we will, we always will.
No midwife goes in to work wanting to deliver a dead or dying baby, we are forever grateful to people like Lucy, Margaret and Alison who helped me through labour last week.