I’m So Happy

These were the words of a mummy as she cradled her dying daughter who had only been born a few hours ago. She knew that her daughter couldn’t live for much longer; that she had a condition that was incompatible with life and that there was nothing that medicine or surgery could do for her little girl.

The baby was bought up to the unit so that she could be stabilised for a scan, at her parents request that would  unequivicollay confirm her condition. Sometimes babies are scanned after they are born and it’s found that they’re not as sick as was thought during the pregnancy but these are few and far between.

The was not one of those rare occasions.

The parents arrive on the unit; mum is wheeled in on her hospital bed, unable to walk due to her daughter’s emergency delivery less than an hour ago. The specialist doctors discuss the results of the scan they’ve just carried out, definitively confirming that the little girl is as sick as they had always feared.

The parents process this information and decide to continue with the plan they had made before their daughter was born; that we will make sure their baby is pain free and comfortable and that they will hold her and cuddle her until the end.

The parents had known for most of the pregnancy how sick their daughter was, ever since the baby’s condition had been picked up on a routine scan.

They had also known that their daughter was not expected to survive pregnancy long enough to actually be born.

If she was born alive they knew that the day their daughter was born was also the day that she would die.

When other parents were painting nurseries and buying baby clothes these parents were having to make decisions regarding the end of their daughter’s life.

They knew these things and yet she continued with the pregnancy, waking each day to grief and loss even though her baby was still alive inside her but not knowing if maybe today would be the last.

Feeling her baby move and kick inside her, growing to love her more each day but also knowing that it was another day closer to the day that she would have to let her go.

Enduring the physical toll that it took on her body and the emotional toll that it took on her mind; knowing that her growing bump heralded the end of her daughter’s life and not the beginning but holding on to the possibility that her daughter might survive long enough inside her for her be born so that she could meet her.

There was no guarantee that this would happen, as it was she went into labour six weeks early and the baby had been born by emergency c-section and yet here she was, holding her baby wrapped in a pretty knitted blanket.

Her eyes and voice were full of tears but there was also joy and pride, love and happiness, gratitude that her daughter was living even though it would only be for a few minutes or maybe a few hours.

Nothing more.

“My daughter” she says “Come to your Mummy.”

She cuddles her daughter close, studying her little face and hands, her tiny fingers.

She breathe in her daughters unique baby smell.

She hears her daughter breathe and feels the beat of her heart.

She talks to her, telling her the name she and her husband chose for their little one.

She sings to her.

All things she thought she might never get the chance to do.

“I am so happy” she says “I got to meet my daughter.”

She says these words many times over the next few hours, stricken with grief but cherishing and savouring every second of her daughter’s short life, taking as many photographs and making as many memories as she can.

Imprinting the memory of her living daughter onto her very soul while she has the chance that she didn’t know if she would have.

The time she didn’t know if she would be given.

There is never enough time.

“I am so happy.”

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