Today marks a year since I gave birth to our sleeping baby; “Poppy Quinn Smith”. She was our 3rd child and 2nd daughter. She was born by natural delivery at 2.30am on the 16th of September 2014, and though full term weighed just 4lb 5oz. She has passed away 2 days previous and whilst physically the easiest delivery to go through, it was emotionally the most painful.
I definitely feel stronger today than I did a year ago. I definitely feel different.
Although I am still very much sad and heartbroken over it all it isn’t as raw and grief doesn’t hit as frequently. I am continuing to learn of and understand this whole grief thing and its intertwining cycles and stages, but I cope. I feel I am walking (all be it slowly) closer towards accepting that it was part of God’s plan and without understanding it, knowing there was some bigger plan and just being grateful that I am her mother though we are briefly separated (but please don’t tell me that because it winds me up to hear people just spout it off). I am learning who to talk to and who to just say “I am okay” to. I am learning to face fears to be able to find joy and I am searching for the strength to keep going and be happy in my life. I recognise changes in my personality, in my character and in how I see the world…in some ways I am still me, in many other ways this last year has completely changed me.
Not many people ask me my birth story of Poppy, not many people regularly ask If I am okay though…Its not a dig, in fact that is one of the only parts of this and peoples responses I actually get. It has a sad ending, it will always have a sad ending and who wants to hear about a birth and not admire the gorgeous result? who wants to constantly hear the same sadness from a person? But what I want to say is that this is my birth story, because this was the story of the birth of our 3rd child (yes we have 3 kids not the 2 you see) and she was our full term baby girl. We are very much aware that when she arrived it wasn’t with excitement and tears of joy like our others, quite the opposite, we were there, I had the pain of a 7hr labour and I still remember the awful silence and my beating heart as I looked upon her, begging her to move or make a sound.. she did neither. As much as I hoped it was wrong, they had been right.There is one thing I often think about with my Stillbirth story and that is because people don’t ask, they don’t know what time she came, how it was physically, that she had dark brown hair and petite features that she had cute little pixie ears. Her feet were long and skinny (Smith feet) and she was beautifully perfect. They just know that she was full Trisomy 18 with multiple complex heart defects and It wasn’t the outcome we hoped.
We knew from 20 weeks that we wouldn’t have her long and would have to say goodbye whilst in her infancy, but we only wished we could have had a few days to see her alive… hear her cry, feed her, take her out, make some memories, but sadly It was never so. I wish I had held her longer, taken more pics, not had to go back to hospital the only day we had with her..so many wishes, so many ifs and buts – her life was brief but there is still so much to say or that we’d often like to share with people if only it wasn’t so awkward ay? But I don’t really have much more to say today about it – I just feel numb again. They are the facts and cannot be changed. They are our daily reality we live with…The sad truth of our 3rd childs short little life.
I wrote this poem last month which I feel sums up our journey over this last year and my feelings on all of this a year on from our loss
You see two but I have 3, the third she is not here.
She left before we said hello and to heaven we send our tears.
I don’t know who you are my child, or who you would have been,
what colour eyes or beauty all our family could have seen.
I never heard you cry, or saw your little smile.
I never saw you take a step as though it was a mile.
I left not with a baby but a box of this and that,
a blanket held in my arms and a small white knitted hat.
I’d birthed you, held you, dressed you and recognised our bond,
but this was only a day or 2, and to us it wasn’t long.
Pacing, winding, giggles, toothless grins and crawls,
baby smells and snuggles all gone with that curtain call.
We missed your thirst for milk, your crying through the night,
your first tooth of so many and your little hands clasped tight.
People rarely ask or acknowledge you were here,
and for those who hear our story they often shy away in fear.
It hurts me I can’t share you, my gorgeous baby girl.
That I can’t speak your name in crowds, without the emotions that unfurl.
Some people regularly come to us to try and offer aid,
but that is hard for everyone because you never stayed.
My life it is so different to what I thought id see,
I don’t know what I need each day other than for you to be with me.
Your brother and your sister ask daily where you are,
with tear filled eyes and a broken heart I tell them “not too far”
In heaven you were born, for reasons we know not,
but despite our brief encounter you will never be forgot.
Iv’e mourned and grieved and stumbled through this years dark long paths;
wounded, hurt and lonely never knowing what is next.
Each day I wish I felt less pain and knew why this was so, but no one has the answers and for you to stay God answered “NO”.