Happy 1st birthday my precious daughter.
I am going to be completely honest, I am finding it almost impossible to get my head around today. The fact that it’s your first birthday that you would have celebrated with us, and it’s the first birthday we are having to celebrate without you. How do I ever even start to get my head around the fact that I didn’t even get to celebrate one single birthday with you?
Had you been alive what would we have done to celebrate your day? I could pretend that I would have thrown you a big 1st birthday party, but that would be a complete lie! 🙂 I don’t believe in throwing big parties for very little ones, so that is not the way I would have celebrated you. But celebrate you I would have. I would have taken the day off work so that I could spend the day doing things just for you. We would have had an adventure or 2, just you and I, while your brother was at school. We may have gone to the aquarium, the beach, Imhoff or for a lovely walk. Things I know you would have loved. And then in the afternoon we would have celebrated with your dad and brother, sung to you and blown out candles. We would have spent time with you, loved you, cherished you, and just made you feel wonderfully special. I had already actually bought a present for you for your 1st birthday before you died. A really great shape sorter that I had been looking for and know you would have loved. So that is sitting at the top of one of our cupboards, with no little girl’s face to light up.
So the reality of today is very different to what we ever could have prepared ourselves for but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to remember or celebrate you. I know already that it is going to be an exceptionally difficult day, I have been dreading it for weeks. I haven’t known what to do, how to celebrate you, how to acknowledge the day. So I will still take the day off, as I would have done had you still been alive. But I will use the time to just to remember you, cry when I need to, laugh when I can, and just in general to try and feel closer to you. Your garden is finished now and so in the afternoon, Terry (who christened and buried you) is going to come and bless your garden and say some prayers with us for you. He will also bring your ashes with him as he has been keeping them for us. We still haven’t decided what to do with them – nothing seems “right” – but they will be at home with us now. We will have some beautiful helium balloons which we will have written notes on for you and we will release this into the air so that they can fly their way to heaven, to you. We will then have some drinks and snacks to remember and celebrate you. We will talk about you, laugh about you and cry over our loss of you. But mostly importantly, we will be grateful for the 7.5 months that we did have with you, we will hold up our happy memories of you.
I was chatting to somebody about your birthday and how hard I was finding it, and she mentioned rather trying to make the day a celebration of the day you were born, that wondrous amazing day as opposed to making the day about the age you would have been turning. And I found that a really good idea. Make your birthday about a celebration of the day you were born. I love thinking back to the day you were born. My darling Bella, you were actually only due on the 22 February, but you had been anxious to get into this world for a while. On the Friday before you were born, I was sitting at my desk at work and one of my colleagues asked me when I was due to go off. I said in theory that I had at least another 2 weeks at the office as my c-section was booked on the 16 February, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to last that long. I just knew. In fact, I even took your school application forms home with me on Friday just in case!
On Saturday we took Murray to his little friend’s birthday party in the afternoon, and again I was pretty sure that things were going to start happening sooner rather than later. On Sunday morning at 4am, I got up to go to the bathroom, made a wee, and next thing my waters broke. I walked back into the bedroom and James said “Whoah, what was that?”. We phoned the maternity ward at Vincent Pallotti who said that we should get ourselves ready and come in but that there wasn’t a big hurry especially as my contractions hadn’t started yet. We then had to come up with a quick “back up plan” on a number of fronts. Firstly, who was going to look after Murray for us? We normally would have called my brother or sister but both of them were away for the weekend so that wasn’t an option. We waited until 6am and then called Connie, our nanny, who was more than happy to come in and look after Murray so we sent an Uber to fetch her.
We then had another problem to deal with. My car had broken down across and infront of our garage on Saturday (LONG story, never buy a Range Rover!) and so I could not drive myself to the hospital while James waited for Connie to arrive. So Uber to the rescue again!!!
Uber safely dropped me at the hospital and I settled in and waited for my gynae to come in and decide what to do. Steffi came and examined me and I was 3cm dilated already and so everything started to be prepared for my c-section. I manically completed your school application forms (I know, I know, could I be more anal??!!), moved rooms and unpacked all our stuff.
I love the whole experience of a c-section. I am a control freak so it completely feeds into this. I find it all quite calming actually. Also, on a weekend the operating area is so so quiet and everybody is really calm so its awesome. Because you were considered to be prem at just under 37 weeks, the paed was there with an incubator and a nurse from the NICU incase there were any problems they had to deal with. But they needn’t to have worried!
Steffi delivered you into our world in the amazing, competent way that she does at 12.35pm. She pulled you out so that we could see you. I remember saying to Steffi, “Is she okay?” and Steffi saying “She is perfect.”And that you were! Then the paed checked you out just to make sure all was okay with your dad standing by the whole while, cutting your cord and being the attentive dad he is. You were 2.76kg and 46 cm, a little scrap but just so perfect! You were quiet as a mouse, no screaming blue murder like when your brother came into this world! They then wrapped you up tightly to keep you warm and handed you to me. I will remember that moment forever! You lay there so contentedly in my arms, looking into my eyes, and you implanted yourself in my heart forever!
So my darling child, you are on my mind and in my thoughts pretty much constantly, but today more so than ever. I love you, treasure you, celebrate you, mourn for you, and miss you with a deep physical yearning. I don’t know how to make today not one of the saddest and hardest days of my life, but I will try to laugh and smile in remembering your beautiful, smiling face and in knowing you are happy in heaven and looking down on us.
I love you