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The First Last Time

1
As I lie here, on the eve of your half birthday, I can hear you softly breathing on one side, daddy on the brink of snoring on the other; I’m reminded of that lovely poem that talks of ’there is one last time for everything.’

This is the last night you will sleep beside me in your tiny cot for tomorrow you will move into your big girl’s room. It’s the end of an era for me. You’re the third and final one of my babies to go into that room, the third and final one to sleep in this tiny cot, the third and final one to sleep beside me for one last

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time. You shouldn’t be though. It should’ve been your sister doing all the lasts, her sleeping beside me for one last time, her moving into the nursery, her moving into the big girl’s room.

But she didn’t live, your beautiful sister, our first daughter.  She was stillborn at full term on 1st September 2013. I never got to hear her soft whispery breath as I’m hearing yours now, never got to place my hand on her chest (as I’ve done twice already whilst writing this) to check she was still breathing, never got to have her sleeping in this cot next

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to me. You are part of her legacy, your lives intertwined across a void. One day daddy and I will explain to you how you came to be, how you will never be a replacement for your sister but how your arrival has helped our broken hearts heal a little, how you are our rainbow after our storm.

So this night becomes the end of a difficult path and the start of another. Ever since I woke on that fateful morning at the end of August 2013 to the gut-wrenching fear that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong, I have questioned my aptitude in the job role

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known as ’mother’, wondered how, as a mum, I could’ve missed the signs. How could I have slept through my own daughter’s death? How could I have not known what was happening inside my own body? How could my body have failed us all so monumentally?

This last 15 months have been a veritable rollercoaster. From the first positive pregnancy test I have held you so so close; I cuddled my expanding belly constantly, willing you to make it, desperate for you to survive. I didn’t care if you were a boy or a girl, all that mattered was me not failing you;

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not letting you, your two brothers and daddy down. When you arrived on the 4th July after months of scans and sleepless nights and stressful days, I promised to care for you always. I raised my eyes skyward and thanked your sister for giving you to us, I looked at you and knew you had some of her spirit in you. We fell asleep that night, you and I, holding hands. We’ve done much the same every night since, hand holding, across our beds. You take such comfort in being as close to me as possible, it’s as if you know what I need – that reassurance that
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you’re okay.

Tomorrow you will turn a half and I will begin the difficult journey of letting you go. Slowly, slowly I will do it and it will be torturous for me, but I know I must. We’ve already invested in the most fancy pants monitor so we can see you, hear you and check that you’re breathing from across the landing, but I will miss you terribly. From that first knowledge of you, you’ve been within inches of my heart and I within inches of yours. I’ve checked on you a million times and more over the last 184 days, always fearing the worst,

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always so thankful when that fear isn’t realised.

So tomorrow will be the start of a new stage in our relationship but for tonight, your last night in the little cot, I will hold your tiny, chubby hand through the bars as we have done for the last 6 months. I will cry silent tears of sadness and joy into my pillow and I will thank my lucky stars that I have you and you have me and that we both have the three crazy men in our lives and our beautiful angel in the sky watching down on us always.

Sleep well, my precious one xxx

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- 5 Jan 16

As I lie here, on the eve of your half birthday, I can hear you softly breathing on one side, daddy on the brink of snoring on the other; I’m reminded of that lovely poem that talks of ‘there is one last time for everything.’

This is the last night you will sleep beside me in your tiny cot for tomorrow you will move into your big girl’s room. It’s the end of an era for me. You’re the third and final one of my babies to go into that room, the third and final one to sleep in this tiny cot, the third and final one to sleep beside me for one last time. You shouldn’t be though. It should’ve been your sister doing all the lasts, her sleeping beside me for one last time, her moving into the nursery, her moving into the big girl’s room.

But she didn’t live, your beautiful sister, our first daughter.  She was stillborn at full term on 1st September 2013. I never got to hear her soft whispery breath as I’m hearing yours now, never got to place my hand on her chest (as I’ve done twice already whilst writing this) to check she was still breathing, never got to have her sleeping in this cot next to me. You are part of her legacy, your lives intertwined across a void. One day daddy and I will explain to you how you came to be, how you will never be a replacement for your sister but how your arrival has helped our broken hearts heal a little, how you are our rainbow after our storm.

So this night becomes the end of a difficult path and the start of another. Ever since I woke on that fateful morning at the end of August 2013 to the gut-wrenching fear that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong, I have questioned my aptitude in the job role known as ‘mother’, wondered how, as a mum, I could’ve missed the signs. How could I have slept through my own daughter’s death? How could I have not known what was happening inside my own body? How could my body have failed us all so monumentally?

This last 15 months have been a veritable rollercoaster. From the first positive pregnancy test I have held you so so close; I cuddled my expanding belly constantly, willing you to make it, desperate for you to survive. I didn’t care if you were a boy or a girl, all that mattered was me not failing you; not letting you, your two brothers and daddy down. When you arrived on the 4th July after months of scans and sleepless nights and stressful days, I promised to care for you always. I raised my eyes skyward and thanked your sister for giving you to us, I looked at you and knew you had some of her spirit in you. We fell asleep that night, you and I, holding hands. We’ve done much the same every night since, hand holding, across our beds. You take such comfort in being as close to me as possible, it’s as if you know what I need – that reassurance that you’re okay.

Tomorrow you will turn a half and I will begin the difficult journey of letting you go. Slowly, slowly I will do it and it will be torturous for me, but I know I must. We’ve already invested in the most fancy pants monitor so we can see you, hear you and check that you’re breathing from across the landing, but I will miss you terribly. From that first knowledge of you, you’ve been within inches of my heart and I within inches of yours. I’ve checked on you a million times and more over the last 184 days, always fearing the worst, always so thankful when that fear isn’t realised.

So tomorrow will be the start of a new stage in our relationship but for tonight, your last night in the little cot, I will hold your tiny, chubby hand through the bars as we have done for the last 6 months. I will cry silent tears of sadness and joy into my pillow and I will thank my lucky stars that I have you and you have me and that we both have the three crazy men in our lives and our beautiful angel in the sky watching down on us always.

Sleep well, my precious one xxx

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Mother of two boys, a girl and an angel baby girl. Lover of literature, gourmand extraordinaire, educator of future generations.

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