"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself."
~ Soren Kierkegaard
My sweet Eilidh Beth
Your big sister Niamh, as you know, was Mummy's 3rd baby and I know that many family members and friends thought I was mad to allow myself to fall pregnant again after the scare with your biggest sister Charis and losing your 2nd biggest sister Alex. But I was chuffed to bits to be carrying another baby and once we were past Alex's milestone of 13 weeks it felt like plain sailing from there!
4 years ago tonight Mummy was at work at Cale House and was a tad concerned that my bladder had started leaking. I put it down to having heavy babies and carried on with my weekend of shifts.
Come Monday 30th Sept 2008 I thought I'd best go get checked out and Daddy & I popped into the hospital. All the usual checks were made on baby then the consultant dropped the bomb shell ... despite still having over 4 weeks of pregnancy to go my waters had broken and were slowly leaking out! She told us that we were to be booked in for that Thursday to have baby delivered at the end of the week. and we thought nothing of it so Mummy drove Daddy back to work.
Sitting outside Daddy's work I was just about to head home to phone Noni & Gramps and to have a think about my hospital bag when my phone went. Your big sister Charis's consultant Dr Caird had spotted my notes and, thankfully, read them ~ she wanted Mummy right back and baby was to be delivered tomorrow! That was a bit of a surprise to say the least, but she agreed I could go home and pack a bag. I called Daddy back out, then phoned Noni and Gramps ... action stations all round!
So, a few hours later Mummy was in Ward 10 having an injection to boost your big sister Niamh's still developing lungs and I settled down for the evening as we all prepared for the very early arrival!
My darling, I have spent the last 2 years struggling so much with many 'what if's?' about your birth. But I have so many for your sister Niamh's birth too. 'What if I had not gone to hospital on the Monday?' 'What if Dr Caird had not seen and read my notes?' 'What if we had left it til the Friday before they delivered her?'
But thanks be to our God at whose feet you play, none of those 'what if's' came to fruition and as you can see from this scrumptious photo taken in July at Troon Harbour she came at the right time!
Run free with the angels my darling!
Lots of love and kisses
Niamh's Photo for Daddy
Hello Eilidh Beth!
Mummy is busy getting ready for your big sister Niamh's 4th birthday next Monday and her party the following Saturday. She is so excited about it and skipped off to nursery with her party invitations.
The hard thing when we lost you my love was trying to make sure that Niamh's 2nd birthday on 1st Oct 2010 was fun, a real celebration. But we made sure that she had a great day after all the saddness her wee heart had absorbed.
Love you my darling! Run free with the angels .... and if a wee friend we have here on earth pops in to see you again. please tell her she is needed back on earth if it's God's will!
Love & kisses from Mummy!
God says, "I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with My victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10
SiMBA Tree of Tranquility, Flor
My darling Eilidh Beth,
I've putting off this letter to you all night, but was determined I would get it down for you.
Noni, Gramps, Charis and I had lunch at the Floral Hall today after Charis's Girls' Brigade rededication service at East Church. It was lovely to sit for a wee while in the Autumnal sunshine, cold as it was, and to drink in the serenity and peace of the ga
2 years ago was when your heart last beat. I can remember the day so clearly my love. I woke in that hospital room, one day closer to your day of delivery, and gave thanks that you were still with us. You were so sluggish that day my sweet, that I called for a midwife in to check on you and it was our lovely student midwife. She really struggled to find a heart beat and put it down to all the fluid that had built up within you and in me, but I could still feel you move so we took hope from that.
The day's routine was as per normal and included a chat with our consultants about your birth tomorrow. Noni, Daddy and your big sisters came to visit in the afternoon and your sisters spent half their time watching TV and half in the lounge. Before teatime they all headed home and you and I were alne again.
My heart was troubled so I called the midwife again and again she could not hear your sweet beating heart. She called Dr Kosseim who also listened then went for the mobile scanning machine. I knew by the silence in the room that you had taken the decision out of our hands, that you were now in Christ's arms. The comfort and care I received from Dr Kosseim and our midwife gave me strength and I phoned Daddy ... who was devastated by the news, understandably so.
We were moved to Room 4 ... that dreaded room that only those who have experienced this horror know about. Daddy came in later in the evening and Noni and Uncle Leh-Leh agreed to look after your sisters so that Daddy could stay the night.
I wish I had the words to describe the pain of such heart break, but no words suffice. It was as if my heart had shattered into a million shards and I have to say that I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to draw the shards together again. I do think that it will only when we are reunited in eternity that I will be complete again my love.
Daddy and I curled up together and tried to sleep as we cradled your lifeless body in my womb that now felt like a tomb. But I can honestly say that through the hours as we counted down the time until you were to be delivered, we had such a sense of God's presence with us and His peace on our hearts.
And we got so many beautiful messages and texts from friends and families who shared our sorrow. They will never know just what a comfort and strength their words, empathy and their own sorrow that you were gone meant to me and spurred me on to make sure that your death would have some meaning in the world! Our sweet friend Amanda, every day in the lead up to you leaving us and after, took time out of her day every day to send me a text with random information about her day or something she'd read or experienced and I would sit and wait for these texts each day! Our Flickr friends and Blogging buddies sent amazing messages of love and care. I wish I had the words to tell them how even 2 years on I treasure these messages and often go back to look at them! In fact I really must get a nice book and record them in there when my writing gets better again!
Anyway my love, miss you as always and am so, so proud of you.
Love and hugs and extra special kisses
Hello my darling!
Your big sister Niamh and I went to the Cathedral today ~ I have not been in this amazing building for years. Niamh put money in the donation box and then chose your candle and together we lit it. If I had been on my own I would have shed more tears, but tears are difficult when you have a 3 year old elephant exploring a place of peace, tranquillity and silent, reverent reflection! You know Mummy doesn’t like to give in to tears too often, but I often feel like they have been bottled up for this week each year. I do not have a clue, by the way, where Niamh learns these poses!!
As I watched the flame on your candle flicker and cast a soft glow over the stand, I was reminded how much you really have been our torch in the darkness, shining bright and lighting the path that God would have us take. I gave thanks for His divine promises to us that you would make a difference in this world, and I gave thanks for the ripple effect your death has had. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you, it doesn’t mean that I understand why you were not able to live with us, but I can still give sincere thanks despite my questioning.
Niamh asked me what the cushions were for on the floor, so I explained that people in this church kneel to pray. Well, you know your sisters, they don’t need much of an invitation to pray so she insisted we get on our knees and pray! And she kept going back to your candle and spoke about you being dead and in Heaven with Alex and Xander and Grandpa and Aunty Tooty.
That is what made me really sad that at 3 years old she has already lost her sister, her Grandpa and her Aunt Tooty. I am so thankful that children are so accepting of death and so matter of fact, but I do wonder what impact it has had upon your sisters. Time will only tell I guess and the hope is that the Lord can use it for good as we know He can with anything we go through.
Anyway my love, thank you for being such an amazing wee sister and for showing your big sisters how to spread God’s love and healing!
Mummy misses you and loves you. xxxxxx
"Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry." ~ Dr Seuss
My sweet Eilidh Beth,
It is 2 years ago today that we found out how poorly you were and I am finding the approach to your 2nd birthday harder than your 1st birthday. 2 years ago tonight you were still bouncing away in my tum and though we had received the worst news any parent can be given we still had hope!
Though I know you are in an amazing place and give thanks that you will never experience the pain, sorrow and confusion of this world, my arms ache for you!
You should be copying your sisters, playing on the swing and trampoline with them, taking walks in the forest, making sand castles at the beach and giving me and Daddy heart failure as you run into the sea like your sisters. You should be in your own wee bed at night, tucked up with your favourite toys, wearing Fifi ForgetMeNot pjs! You should be causing mayhem at Noni & Gramp's house, tiring them out demanding that they play with you all the time.
I feel robbed my love, but I feel the whole family has been robbed. Daddy and I have been changed by your loss, which I can cope with, but it's how it has affected your sisters that is hard to bear.
But Eilidh, how can I not give thanks for all that we have been able to achieve because we lost you? When you were just a few weeks old in my tum we were told that God's angels gathered round in anticipation to watch what you would do ~ and I know that you have reached many hearts and brought healing to so many through the work I am honoured to be a part of!
So my love, my heart is heavy this month but I want you to know that Mummy is so, so proud of you for all that you have done from your Heavenly home!
Love you and miss you always darling!
"Angels descending, bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love."
~Fanny J. Crosby
My sweet lass Alex!
The day after the D&C, the day after I finally had to admit that you were in the arms of Jesus and would never grace my arms, it was back to 'normal' for me. I was physically sore, but I was emotionally bereft that our second child would not be with us here on earth.
But we were thankful ~ thankful that we had your big sister Charis to distract us and to continue to focus on ~ and thankful that you had been gifted to us for 3 short months.
I was sitting in our lounge in Laurel Avenue, reading to Charis (you know how your earthly sisters devour books!!) when she turned and looked across the room, stopping me midflow. I asked her what she was looking at ~ 'The angel Mummy' she said.
Now, what you probably already know about your remarkable big sister but that many others do not is that when she was very little she was given an insight into the realm around us that so few of us see. She would often talk about seeing angels, but she would also shrink and become quiet when she pointed out the 'bad shadows' which always saddened me and is why we taught her from a young age to call upon the Lord for protection.
So, despite her being just two, I took her at her word and, still looking at the book knowing there was no point in looking in the direction that she was as I wasn't gifted with that, I asked her what the angel was doing.
By now Charis had turned back to the book and was looking at the pictures and didn't even raise her head as she answered ~ 'Angel's here for the baby Mummy.'
There are moments in time that truly do seem to slow or even come to a full stop, when time seems to stand completely, utterly still. And that was certainly one of those moments! I already knew that you were safe in the Heavenly realm, but I took that as a message from God to comfort Daddy and I and to reassure us that all was well with you and that all would be well for us!
I have told this story but a few times this last 5 years my love, and many have commented about how open and honest we are as parents with your sisters. But because you had problems from the start of my pregnancy we had never told Charis about you ~ she was only 2 after all!
What an amazing God we serve that He will use little children to speak to our grieving hearts and souls!
We miss you Alex my darling!
Love & kisses
PS Huge thanks to Hope for your beautiful photo!
“Some choices we live not only once but a thousand times over, remembering them for the rest of our lives.”
~ Richard Bach
My darling Alex,
So few people remember you so I am always so touched by those who do!
I didn't realise I was pregnant with you when I went to the doctor ~ I was still bleeding 7 weeks into my cycle and when I was sent to the hospital and I was told I was pregnant, I was lost for words. Part of me, a huge part, was elated, so ecstatic that we had been blessed with a second pregnancy when I always thought I couldn't conceive. But part of me was terrified as we knew that it was very much touch and go. Your heart beat strongly, but my HcG levels were not as they should be.
What followed was weeks and weeks of scanning and bloods as they continue to monitor my levels. Your heart beat on, the levels rose ... but not as they would in a healthy pregnancy. We hoped and prayed that Charis, who was 2 at the time, was going to be blessed with a wee brother or sister.
I hate that I don't remember specific dates and times my love. I feel guilty that they are not etched forever in my memory. But sweetheart you know what a dreadful memory Mummy has!! So I don't remember which day it was in July 2007 when they scanned me and discovered your wee heart had given out, but I was so, so saddened that you would not join our family here on earth. So on the 31st July 2007 I had to say goodbye to you my love as I was admitted to Ward 8 of Raigmore Hospital for a D&C. I felt so empty when I woke up ~ it was all over so quickly.
What haunts me to this day, my sweet, is that I walked out of that ward that same day and didn't ask what they did with your remains. Were you just another piece of clinical waste, products of conception, to the health professionals? Or were you given a decent end, and cremated with other wee lost babies? And could they tell if, as I believe, you are a girl ... or is your big sister Charis right and I've wrongly called you our 2nd daughter?? :)
5 years on I still have not plucked up the courage to investigate, but I know I will and I feel it will be soon because life is too short not to seek out the answers to the things that weigh heavy on our minds.
Your story of life on earth was so short my love ... just over 3 months ... 13 weeks of earthly life and then you were gone. We were allowed to have your name recorded in the Remembrance Book in Raigmore Chapel, and we attended the Service that year too.
I will make sure that you are remembered my love, because you are to precious too me to let anyone forget that you were once here, because you are my daughter and I am proud to be your Mummy!
Happy 5th Heavenly Birthday Alex ... Mummy & Daddy miss you.
" Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same."
~ Joseph F Newton
My darling Eilidh Beth,
Waking up this morning without you in my womb was utter torment. I so wanted to ask for you back, but was too scared ~ apprehensive about how much you would have changed, about how cold you would be for having slept in the morgue all night whilst I tried to sleep on Ward 10 without you, concerned that the staff and our family would think I was being morbid or unstable asking to spend more time with you.
Lynn even offered to bring you back up, but I said 'Och, no, it's alright.' Except it is not alright ... it is not ok ... 2 days ago we were nearly there, we were so close to delivering you alive, but today I wake up and you are gone. It is wrong. All wrong.
So many things to talk about today ... on Monday Daddy has to register your death when he should be registering your birth. What a dreadful, lonely thing for him to have to do. We have to decide on your funeral and who will take it and where it will be. We have to choose hymns and readings when we should have been looking to the future and planning your Baptism for when you are a couple of months old.
Anyway my love, there are so many beautiful messages and poems on Facebook and in my emails. So many people have been praying for you and you have touched so many hearts my darling. The midwives comment on that, about how you have moved people, and that brings us such comfort as we try to figure out how our family will cope without you.
I love you my sweet, beautiful daughter. And I miss you more than breath itself.
Kisses to Heaven
My darling Eilidh Beth,
No parent wants to wake to the knowledge that their sweet baby can no longer be with them, but this is exactly what Daddy and I woke to today!
Daddy and I had known since your 12-week scan that you might have Down’s Syndrome. That had not bothered us at all because we knew that you would have so much to give to this world! We held on to the words spoken over you when you were barely 13 weeks in my tum ~ that the angels were gathered round in awe at all you would do in this world! Little did we know way back then that you would accomplish great things through your death.
Just yesterday morning we had been so excited that you had held on so fiercely, that your heart had kept going despite you being so very poorly. Your doctors decided your best chance of survival was to deliver you quickly and had scheduled your delivery for today ... but you took the decision out of everyone's hands and left us for Heaven's glory!
Daddy spent last night with us, we cuddled together in Room 4, the Family Room. He was all ready to come in to theater but the planned epidural was not to be as Mummy had a sore throat, so the anaesthetist insisted on a GA. Instead Donna, our midwife, held my hand going into theater, and we both shed tears as we prepared to say goodbye to you for real. Part of me didn't want you taken from me, part of me was truly horrified that my womb, where you had been so cosy and happy had become your tomb.
You were such a wee monkey, Eilidh Beth, it took 2 consultants to deliver you as Dr Kosseim popped in to see how we were. Donna took care of you as the team took care of me ~ she took beautiful hand and foot prints for us then took you back to the ward to be with Daddy.
When I eventually got back to Ward 10 I was so scared to see you, but so excited too. And when I did see you I was amazed at how much you looked like your big sisters, Charis & Niamh, when they were born! Such a comfort as I know what you look like as time goes by. It was so, so precious to spend time with you my love, and for Noni and Gramps to have cuddles with you. I do wish I had allowed those who wanted to to visit you, but I guess I was in shock. And I truly regret not letting your big sisters having a cuddle with you!
When everyone had gone home, and it was just you and me darling, there was such an incredible sense of peace despite the pain of knowing you were gone. We cuddled, watched TV and I told you all about your family and friends. I told you about what my hopes and dreams were for you, and I did thank God that we would one day be together again. For Mummy and Daddy it will be a lifetime of waiting ... for you it will be but the blink of an eye.
Run free with the angels sweetheart.