Today Betty would be 8 months old. The only thing I can remember about holding her is the feel of her cheek as I brushed my finger along it. I often do it to Archie to remind me of that moment. It felt soft, clammy and warm all at the same time. It felt like she went cold so quickly she never really felt like a baby should feel. Just floppy, no blood pumping round to give her a rosy red colour, the colour drained quickly but she was still beautiful.
We stayed all night and day with her, she was born at 8.29pm but by morning she had changed so much I didn’t like it. As much as I didn’t want to leave her there on her own I couldn’t stay and watch her change anymore. The hospital have a ‘cold cot’ to lie them in so you can stay for longer. It’s basically a refrigerated mattress – looking back I should of just picked her up off of it but she felt so fragile I didn’t want to disturb her – they picked her up on it and passed her over to me the next morning so I could lie in bed with her but I didn’t spend as much time as I wish I could of, I didn’t take the pictures I wish I had. When she had her first and only bath I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed and do it, they did it for me, put her nappy and baby grow on. I wish I had done it – but I couldn’t get up easily out of bed, and I was tired. Unlike when you usually have a baby and you think I’m going to be doing this everyday so this time it’s ok if I don’t. I knew it would be the first and only time but I wasn’t able.
I think coming home was one of the only times I got to experience the compromise of having 2 children. I wanted to stay with Betty, but Archie was at home waiting for me, asking where I was, he knew something wasn’t right, he was worried about me – I needed to get home and re-assure him, how I was going to tell him I didn’t know at that stage, but he needed me and I needed him. But I didn’t want to leave Betty all alone, but there was nothing more I could do for her, my job as her mummy was over.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but when your in shock you don’t think of taking an arty shot so It can be put up at home. It just doesn’t cross your mind. I don’t think she looks scary in her pics – she’s gorge. But the only photo I have of her and me was taken the next morning and she had changed so much, the colour drained from her face you can tell she’s dead. It’s sad I can’t put it in a frame and leave it out for Archie to see I think it might frighten him. Actually knowing him he probably wouldn’t even care – he may not even notice. But I would. The midwife took her off and took some photos, Until today I had never got the envelope out of the box, my heart pounded as I put the memory card in to the side of the computer, I was greeted by her big feet, I burst out crying. Each photo brought more tears – the others were not how I want to remember her, and I was shocked at how ‘dead’ she looked in every one. It made me so sad. (I know she is but I thought she would look different, I don’t know what I expected to find) but I’m glad I looked at them. The pic I have posted with my blog today was one of them, you can tell it was taken on a proper camera as it shows all the lovely little creases in her feet.
My favourite photo I took of her I look at every single day, some days it makes me cry, some days I smile. Usually it just makes me cry but that’s not a bad thing. When I talk to people about what’s happened if they make me cry they instantly apologise, when it first happened I remember thinking how odd to apologise, which I suppose shows making me cry doesn’t offend me. I think often people will avoid talking about the subject because they are worried they will upset or offend. But I think it’s more odd to act like it never happened – this doesn’t mean I want to spend every waking second taking about what happened to us, but I will bring Betty’s name up in conversation it doesn’t make me sad, I’ve learnt to say her name and talk about her more now without crying, in the beginning it wasn’t like that. But now it’s easier – new information or new ways of talking about her that I’m not used to may make me blub but that’s ok too.
Even tho through my blog I have in past posts talked about how people may have angered or upset me with certain things they’ve said to me, I don’t mean it disrespectfully towards anyone. I am grateful to everyone who tried to say something even if at times I took it the wrong way, I never let them know. After all at least they tried and that’s all you can do, and those who never mention her I respect that, you probably don’t know what to say either so choose to stay silent. And that’s ok too. I don’t know if I will know what to say to the next person I meet that this happens too. You just say the first thing that comes into your head. I think I would say ‘there’s nothing I can say that will make you feel better, but I know how you feel and I’m here for you’.
So as I stare at 2 little (or not so little) pinky/purple, on the verge of going white feet, with 10 perfect toes, wrinkled little skin and perfectly formed little toe nails. I ask myself WHY? Why me? Why our family? I will never get the answer to that question. 8 months on it still feels just as unfair and unbelievable as it did on day 1. I will never get over this, I will just have to accept it and that feels like the hardest thing of all.