An “Angel Baby” is a baby that has passed through miscarriage, pre-term loss, still-born, death after birth, infant death or anything in between.
Welcome to the world where speaking of child loss is not forbidden.
It was February 2013 when my story began. I was 23 years old and due to have my dream wedding to my childhood sweetheart on the 30th May 2013 in Skiathos, Greece.
It was unexpected. I had literally only stopped taking my Pill 2 weeks before.
Surely I couldn’t already be pregnant? I can’t have even ovulated off the Pill yet... surely? It takes months for people to get pregnant not weeks!! That’s why we had agreed to come off the Pill now, so that it would (hopefully) be out of my system in time for the honeymoon when we would start trying… It can’t have happened already… I must just be ill.
The word blazing from the test put paid to that thought.
Wow. Oh Wow.
It was sooner than expected but it wasnt unwanted. Not at all. Me and Andy rejoiced in the speed and ease of it all…
At 8 weeks pregnant I bled- Shit, shit, buggery shit! No, no, NO, no!
We waited in the ultrasound room of our local hospital’s Maternity Department. I was adamant I had miscarried. It was over.
The screen flashed up with a little bean. Two circles were visible, one slightly smaller than the other, little squiggly lines protruded from either side and two more were wiggling down the bottom. A head, a body, 2 arms and 2 legs.
And a small dot in the centre of the body flickering away. A heartbeat.
He was alive!
Weeks later, our 12 week scan showed our little “Bert” was developing nicely and we came away with a prized photo.
We married when I was 18 weeks pregnant, my bump only just visible beneath my dress. I could feel my little soldier wriggling away all day and night. We announced our pregnancy in the speeches. Again we rejoiced. Married and expecting our first child- the perfect start to our surely perfect life.
At 20 weeks we discovered he was indeed a boy. His name was to be Harry. We painted the nursery blue.
At 24 weeks, our world fell apart.
I awoke at 5.00am on the 15th July 2013 with cramps and tightenings. Thinking they were Braxton Hicks I went about my day as usual and went to work. Throughout the day the pain increased.
It didn’t stop.
At 10pm I rang an ambulance; Andy came home from work.
At 10.30pm we were on our way to hospital- Andy was driving- the paramedics didn’t think I was in labour. I didn’t share their views.
At a little after 11.00pm we arrived at the Maternity Ward.
At 00.55am on the 16th July 2013 our son was born.
At 2.55am on the 16th July 2013 our son died, the world stopped and my heart broke beyond repair.
Harry has never and will never be forgotton. He is with me every day, he is in the scars on my heart and in his sisters eyes.
Its important to me to not let the memory of my son die.
I never wanted to be a part of this club (does anyone?); the “Angel Parent” club, but since unfortunately becoming a member I have realised two things, firstly, there is a HUGE stigma attached to child loss, in any sense, be that miscarriage, preterm loss, still born, infant death- you name it, theres this massive taboo and for some reason people do not speak of it; almost like its contagious or dirty.
Its a topic people talk about in hushed voices and strained faces, and why? Theres no need. Which brings me to my next point- Angel Parents DO NOT want to forget. They want to talk about their losses, their children, their babies, and why wouldnt they? They existed, it happened. Hopefully, in time to come, we will have helped to stop the taboo that child loss is something to be hidden and whispered about.
We wont forget.