Missing Liam

Pain, Heartache and Numbness

Liam’s official time of death was 523am, such an odd coincidence as that is the exact time of day that Alethea was born down to the minute. No-one is with us now, they have finally given us the peace that we so craved when Liam was alive, but now he is dead and we are alone, what are we meant to do, how am I meant to act. The recovery nurse comes and asks about my pain, up to now I hadn’t thought about it, but now she has mentioned it yes it does hurt, she asks if I need something for it and I reply ‘that would be nice.’ Half an hour passes and no one has said anything, we are all deep in our thoughts. People start to appear around our curtains, first the paediatrician and then there is a line of people behind him, all here to pay their condolences, it feels strangely odd. The paediatrician asks me if I have any questions, and I just stare at him, what am I meant to ask, my baby is dead what will it achieve by asking something, am I meant to ask a question? He moves aside and the NETS team approach me, their arms are hung in front of them with hands crossed over and their heads are down, they tell me they are sorry for my loss and ask if I have any questions. The OB then comes in, he fusses and asks if he might see the wound, he looks at it, not really paying attention, he doesn’t know what to say, he has been on this journey with us, he delivered Alethea, he performed my D & Cs post miscarriage, he knows how much we have gone through to have this baby. He asks me  if I have any questions and I just look again, I can’t speak, please, someone, tell me what am I meant to be asking, he strokes my hair and gently says ‘ok I will come and see you in a couple of hours.’

I look at Ryan, ‘You haven’t told your mum or dad yet,’ and he looks at me with such sad eyes, I can see that he has thought about it, but who would ever want to make that phone call. I say to him that I think he should at least give his mum a call (who if you remember was staying at our house to mind Alethea) before Alethea wakes, (I feared that if Alethea woke nanna would be excited and tell Alethea that mummy was having the baby and she would soon be a big sister, which although is still true, needed to be told to her very delicately). I ask Ryan to please tell his mum not to tell Alethea that the baby is dead, and to try not to cry in front of her, as I think it is best that Ryan and I tell her, and that she is not frightened or scared when she finally sees us. Ryan walks about 5 metres away from me and I can barely hear the conversation, but I can hear the pain in his voice and I know that he was crying, I didn’t need to hear what nanna was saying on the phone, because I could imagine it, and I know the shock she would be feeling and how heartbreaking it would have been for her to hear her son say that his baby boy was dead.

Mum tries to fuss over me, ‘how is the pain’ and I tell her that it is not good, I still haven’t had any pain relief, but at this stage I didn’t really care, who cares about physical pain, pain is nothing. Mum heads off to look for the recovery nurse and I faintly remember saying ‘its ok mum, don’t worry’ but mum needs a job, she needs to feel  as if she is in control of just one thing that morning, and if it means getting pain relief for me then that is what she needs to do. The recovery nurse returns and mum tells her that I am in pain and I need something, she lets us know that I am moving to the ward now, and that she will sort it out when we get there. The nurse asks if we will take Liam with us, or would we prefer that he went “downstairs”. Ryan is now nursing Liam and I can see that he is both rocking and patting him, just as any dad of a newborn would be doing, I look at the recovery nurse and tell her that I don’t want him to come with us, I can’t bear the pain of seeing him, he is so perfect, so beautiful, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do for him. Mum steps in and says ‘yes Amanda, you need to have him with you’ and all I can do is shake my head, no, no, no I can’t have it, mum then says it again and I glimpse out of the side of my eye that dad has his hand on my mums shoulder, ‘don’t push her Chris, she doesn’t want to’ and then from nowhere my husband interjects and says that he needs Liam to come with us. I look at my husband, I had totally left him out of the equation, yes I had carried the baby, yes I had had the surgery, but this was his son. Tears filled my eyes as I realise he was the stronger of the two of us, he can handle it and I can’t, he needs his son with him, with us, we are a team, we need each other, we need Liam.

I am wheeled away with mum, dad and Ryan trailing behind, the nurse had offered to take Liam from Ryan but he refused, preferring to cradle him all the way. My pain is made all so real as the bed is wheeled to the ward, every bump that we went over hurt. Travelling through the hospital I felt like EVERYONE was looking at us, everyone knew that this lady and her husband had lost their child, they would stand against the wall with their heads bowed as we went by, no one looked for any eye contact, which I now desperately sought….someone look at me and tell me what has just happened, someone look at me and make it better. We arrive at my room and the nurse leaves, it is now 700am and I have been 2 hours without any pain relief and it is starting to take over me, mum finds the nurse ‘Amanda is still without pain relief and she needs something’ the nurse leaves with a promise to bring something. At 730am two nurses come bounding into the room, ‘we have a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) for you’ they connect it up and tell me to press the button as many times as I need, however there is a lockout period as well, (which I already know, but nod politely) lock out period or not, I press the button and keep pressing it, I feel no relief, I keep pressing knowing that it won’t work. Twenty minutes pass and a beautiful nurse “Jane” (not wanting to put her real name here) came in and introduced herself, ‘My name is Jane and I am the NUM of delivery, how are you feeling, how is the pain?’ I tell her that I have pressed the button many times and that I am still in as much pain as I was before I had the PCA, she responds with ‘Fentanyl, I hate fentanyl, sends you funny in the head and does very little for the pain’ she then tells me that her and another RN “Sally” will be looking after me all day, that if I need anything to press my button and they have a pager attached to them, and that only her or Sally will be attending me, she also informs me that she will introduce me to Sally soon. She asks to have a look at my little man, and rather than shying away from him (as I am sure I would if I saw another persons dead baby) she talks to him like he was alive and tells him how it is unfair that he is not here and that he is beautiful, she then turns to me and tells me to keep pressing the PCA button every 5 mins and pain relief should be achieved soon, she looks at Ryan and asks if she can get him anything and then exits.

The next 2 hours I work at getting my pain relief under control, Jane brings Sally in who is equally as sensitive and respectful of Liam and introduces us to her.  I tell them that my pain is still not under control at which point they look at each other and discuss their hated of Fentanyl. Sally exists and brings in some oral analgesics which I take, in trying to obtain pain relief with the fentanyl I have now made myself very drowsy which I don’t mind because things don’t feel quite as raw. It’s now 10am and mum, dad, Ryan, Liam and I are all in the room together, I have nothing to say, my world has been taken from me, what am I meant to say, every thought that I have is on Liam, I haven’t slept since yesterday and my eyes are so puffy from crying they now hardly open. I look at mum and dad and realise they are both heartbroken and at a loss at what to do with themselves, I could tell they didn’t know whether they should talk, ask us questions on what happened, or just sit there, so I decide to give them a job and ask that they go to my house and take over looking after Alethea so that Ryan’s mum and dad might come and see our beautiful boy. I also ask that they take Alethea home to their house that night, but before they do that I ask for them to bring our little bundle of energy in to see us, she needs to see Liam and understand that he is not alive, and I need to see her, all I want to do is hold her and tell her how much I love her. Ryan and I are then alone for a little while, and we both have a cry and a cuddle, I tell him that I am so sorry, that I can’t understand what has happened and why it went so wrong, I feel like somehow this is my fault, I was the one that was carrying our son, I must have done something to him to make him die.

Sally enters the room and with her cheery disposition tells us that Liam needs to have a bath, the poor little bubba still had quite a bit of blood over him, she asks if we would like to do it, or would we prefer that she did it, as I am bed bound and still haven’t touched Liam since the Dr told me that he had passed, I looked at Ryan, he had done the first bath for Alethea and I thought he might like to bath his little boy, at first Ryan hesitated and then he said yes, he would like to bath Liam. Sally and Ryan prepare the bath together and undress Liam, Sally has a camera in her hand and takes photos as Ryan gives our son his first and last ever bath. Ryan was so good, he talked to Liam as he bathed him, telling him ‘don’t you worry little man, daddy will clean you up and make you feel much better’ I was watching from the bed with tears streaming down my face, Ryan was so brave, and our baby who should have good muscle tone and either love (fall asleep) or hate (scream the room down) the bath was just limp in his arms. Ryan turned him over to wash the other side of him just as gently as he would have if Liam was alive, and finished washing him, talking to him the whole time, meanwhile I was watching on with tears streaming down my face, not wanting to miss a moment of it but hating every second of it as well. Sally then dressed Liam and asked if I wanted to have a hold, I was crying shaking my head, but she showed him to me and I found my head nodding. He smelled beautiful, that newborn smell that all babies have and he was without doubt the most beautiful little boy I had ever laid eyes on. I cried for him and I told him that I was so sorry that this had happened to him and that I wished I could turn the clock back 12 hours and change everything, I couldn’t let him go, I couldn’t stop stroking his hair and touching his cheeks, he was the softest thing that I have ever touched and I kept saying to Ryan, ‘he is so beautiful and he is so soft, he is perfect and looks like he just needs to wake up’. Ryan and I looked closely at him for the first time and noticed that he had the same lips, nose and chubby cheeks that Alethea had when she was born, I offered Ryan a cuddle and of course he said yes and he sat in the chair beside me whispering to Liam all of his thoughts, love, hopes and dreams to him, I sat in the bed next to him with my eyes closed listening to my husband, silent tears streaming down my face as he tells my son that he will miss teaching him how to catch and kick a ball, play tennis, and watch the footy together. (In my mind I was replaying the conversation that Ryan and I had a couple of weeks ago, Ryan had just come back from watching his team play footy, and he had said, ‘as I was walking to the oval, I saw a couple of dads, sitting with their young sons eating a sausage sizzle and I could picture the dads saying ‘don’t tell your mum about this’ and I continued to walk on and thought to myself I hope we have a son and that is me one day.’)

Ryan gently hands Liam back to me and I cradle him and kiss his head, rubbing my lips over the top of his head, the feeling is so soft and beautiful and comforting, and I keep willing the day to rewind, I keep wanting to feel like this hasn’t happened, it all feels so surreal and I turn to Ryan and ask ‘who has a dead baby, who does this?’ and I keep asking that question, the day does not feel real and that’s when I realise that numbness has overtaken my body, and I feel like I am no longer me, that I am no longer in this day, this day is not real and this hasn’t happened.  I am since told that this feeling is a natural part of grief and it is how we as humans cope when things totally overwhelm us.

 

Liam

Ryan, giving our little boy his first and last ever bath x

38 Comments

  1. Hi Amanda,
    I have been reading all your posts and your blogs and can’t even imagine the enormity and how courageous you have had to be on the outside through this uncontrolled journey which has taken you, Ryan and Alethea through and no words will ever be enough to send to you. I will certainly be sharing this with all my friends. Take care my friend x
    Karyn

    • Hi Karyn,
      Thanks for reading and sharing, and you are right, my whole world is uncontrolled at the moment!

  2. Sharnita

    My thoughts are with you Amanda and Ryan and thank you for your story which resonates with so much love for your little guy. Your beautiful Liam will always be remembered.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Sharnie, yes Liam was loved to the moon and back!
      Love to you
      Amanda x

  3. lee

    Dear Amanda, you are so brave to share your family’s heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience this. We’re praying that you get through this. Liam looks like such a beautiful baby, he looks so perfect in the photo. There are so many crying with you and praying for you and your family. God bless, Lee

    • Hi Lee,
      Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and yes I agree in the photo he was perfect, but in reality he was soo much more

  4. Roslyn

    Pain, heartache and numbness….. 😥 Cried on the train reading this, his story. So moved to look on his beautiful, sweet angel face.

    • Roslyn,
      It is because of your blog that I decided to start mine, so I thank you for help. I just wish rather than only seeing a photo of him, that you could meet him and he was still here, because in real life he was gorgeous and I’m sure he would have had a lot to offer the world

      • Roslyn

        Yes, I wish that, too. Very much.

  5. Michelle

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your whole family. You have more courage than you realise. I thank you for being brave enough to share your story and helping others in similar situations. You have a beautiful son whom will always be remembered. I cried reading part 1 and 2 and haven’t stopped thinking about what you must be going through.

    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I share my story firstly to help others in need and to help others understand, but also I share my story because this is all I have of Liam, and I want the world to know that he lived, he was a real baby and he deserves everyone to know how much we love him and how proud we are of him. x

  6. Isabel Stephens

    My Dearest Amanda,

    All I want to tell you is that you are a true inspiration, the strongest woman I’ve ever met, and that you make your beautiful, beautiful little man so very, very proud of his mummy. I am thinking of you, Ryan, Alethea and especially your beautiful little angel Liam every moment of every day.

    All my love and friendship always,

    Isabel xx

    • Oh Isabel,
      You out of everyone know exactly what I am feeling every minute of the day, you are just as strong, if not stronger than me, you just don’t give yourself enough credit for how far you have come, and how well you are coping considering you beautiful boy was also taken from you, he would be so proud of his mummy! 10 weeks for you, and 7 weeks for me….how our lives have changed, give it time Bel, we will heal and find our happy place, I know it, they will always be part of our lives everyday, but the immense sadness that we feel at the moment will ease, I know it, I believe it.
      Thinking of you everyday

      Amanda xx

  7. Cate

    What a beautiful, perfect boy!

    Your loss is in my thoughts x

    Thank you for being able to share Liam and your journey with us.

    • Hi Cate,
      Yes I agree, Liam was perfect! Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts
      Amanda x

  8. My heart goes out to you and your family, your loss is something nobody should ever have to suffer. In 2003 we lost our identical twin daughters, I recognise far too much of how you feel and the words you write… When I read you say sorry to your son, my throat closed over and I had an awful rushing sound in my ears and the tears poured down my face. You see I apologised too… I know we feel like we should have kept our children safe and that we should have done something, but sometimes its just out of our hands. I know your paid is raw, palpable and all consuming right now, but it won’t stay like that forever. You will feel ok being happy again. I have never stopped wondering what might have been and my arms are forever aching for our girls, but my heart has healed and yours will too… My love, blessing and sympathy to you xo Elaine

    • Elaine,
      I don’t know why we as mums have that dreaded sense of guilt, most of the time it leaves me alone now, but every now and again it raises its ugly head and comes back and it feels horrible, it is horrible. I am glad your heart has healed and I know that with time mine will to, I know that there is a lot of happiness for my family to yet come!
      Amanda x

  9. Renae

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Your words, raw emotion and love for your boy are beyond moving.
    Today was my baby’s due date, to my sadness, it wasn’t meant to be. Thank you for writing your blog, I don’t feel quite so alone.

    Thinking of you. x

    • Oh Renae,
      What an emotional day you would have had, to know what might have been but isn’t is heartbreaking, sending love and strength to you.
      Amanda x

  10. claire

    My heart goes out to your beautiful family and your so so so perfect little prince.I know the pain of greif but what you have had to endure is wrong in every single way. No parent should have to face that.Your strength is imeasurable. Bless you, your family and your little angel x

    • Claire,
      Yes I agree, no-one should endure the pain that we have gone through it is horrible. Thanks for your lovely words and blessings
      Amanda x

  11. Hi Amanda,
    thanks for sharing your story. I read through every single post and though we’ve never met I have felt your sorrow through your posts. I wish I had something better to say, something more comforting to offer. I really do appreciate you sharing this. I can’t imagine how you must feel but it most certainly is not your fault. Sometimes things that we cannot understand just happen and I really don’t know why, but what I do know is that your little boy looks down on you from Heaven and cherishes the moment you spent with him, however short, I know he too felt your love and warmth and comfort.

    I am a photographer and because of your story and reading how the Heartfelt people were able to help capture such a tender memory for you, I have now decided to do the same for others, because I now realize how truly special those few photographs are in remembering those little ones who leave too soon to watch them grow, but not too soon to feel how much they are loved and wanted. Thanks again. My thoughts are with you

    • Hi Anel,
      Thanks for reading our story, I hope Liam felt our love and warmth and comfort. Thanks for wanting to help others, these are memories and photos that we will cherish always. Thanks for your thoughts.
      Amanda x

  12. Rebecca Campbell

    Hi Amanda, I have been reading your journey
    But not without tears streaming down my face.
    You have written Liams story beautifully, the photos of him are beautiful. Be strong hunny and god bless you and your family. Xxxx

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Thanks for reading our journey so far, I agree Liam was beautiful, more strength comes day by day!
      Amanda x

  13. Susan K

    Your little boy really was beautiful. I don’t know how you keep breathing. I feel for you xx

    • Thanks Susan, yes he truly was beautiful! We keep on for Alethea and the promises we made to Liam when he died, not an easy thing to do!
      Amanda x

  14. Holly

    Amanda, you and your husband have such incredible strength and you are showing such an enormous amount of courage by sharing your beautiful Liam’s story. He is a very beautiful baby. Thanks to your blog lots of people know he was here and made a huge impact while he was and those effects are ongoing. I am sure your story will give strength to others who have endured a tragic situation similar to your own. You have inspired me, and I now reflect on my boring, pointless job and consider how I could change my career to help bereaved families. I wish your family good fortune in the future and keep you in my thoughts.

    • Hi Holly,
      I agree Liam is a very beautiful baby, it’s great to know that our story has inspired people to do great things and I wish you all the best in whatever your next venture may be! Thanks for your lovely words and for keeping us in your thoughts. Love to you
      Amanda x

  15. Maria

    Oh my, I am so sorry. After reading this I feel like I was there. Your writing is so descriptive, beautiful and touching. As a mother of 4, I am very sorry for your loss and can only imagine your deep pain and suffering. I pray that you find peace. I will keep you in thoughts and prayers.
    Maria

    • Hi Maria,
      Thanks for you lovely words and for your prayers and thoughts. Thanks especially for your prayers of peace, and hopefully that will come to us very soon!
      Amanda x

  16. Sam

    I stumbled across your husbands blog about your gorgeous son Liam, and even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to read it without a box of tissues I’m so glad I did, and am now reading this. You are an inspiration and so very brave to put this out there, and hopefully it will help others who have gone through the same thing feel not quite so alone. I can’t imagine the pain that you and your family are going through, the photos of baby Liam are so precious and gorgeous, he is truly beautiful. For the first time since my son was born you have made me realise even more so how precious life is-looking back at his birth my son didn’t have a very good start to life , it was a very scary moment, and I understand how truly fragile life is.. You have your very own angel watching over you now…. My deepest sympathies go out to you, thank you for sharing xxxxx

    • Hi Sam, Thanks for your lovely words, I agree-the photos of Liam are VERY precious and he was beautiful! I am sure it was very scary for you when your son was born and I am very happy that you have him safe and sound. Love to you and your family
      Amanda x

  17. Stacey

    To Amanda, Ryan Alethea and families,
    My heart goes out to you all on the passing of your truly beautiful and perfect son, brother, grandson and nephew. I’ve read all your thoughts feelings and heartfelt stories over the last week with tears in my eyes many a times. For what you are all going through I understand and so totally ” get it”
    We had a beautiful healthy baby boy brandon in may 2007 after 2 gorgeous girls and lost him so unexpectantly and sudden in June 2007. Your world for sure certainly changes.
    Your thoughts, outlook on life and the words like ” does this thing really happen…… To me .” it’s really literally unbelievable that the world could be so cruel to such good people” and to not let these cherished loved babies have a life is uncomprehendable, but the little things that will help you to cope is the day to day tasks and most importantly your love and commitment to each other and for as long as you all shall live , gorgeous Liam will live on as well, not in the way you had planned for that was unfortunately taken from your control. However, telling these stories is a great way to start for you have made him be in my thoughts and mind as I’m sure many others as well, not to mention the way you say you’ll always be a family of 4 and little Alethea will remember seeing her brother. 3.5 year olds are very intelligent and your gorgeous photos.
    I know nothing I write or say will take this heartache away but may it bring a little comfort to know you are not alone on this devastating journey and there are others who do truly understand how you feel in each and every way
    Love to you all and baby angel Liam,
    Stacey, Steve and family.xoxo

    • Hi Stacey,
      Thanks for your lovely message, it is very comforting that we are not alone in this experience, but also very sad that we are not alone, I would never wish anyone to go through such a heartache, and for you to lose Brandon after just starting to know him is devastating, I think that would be much harder than what we are going through, you would have nursed him, watched him learn to smile, seen a glimpse of his personality…life is just really unfair sometimes!
      Love to you and all your family
      Amanda x

  18. Manu Barlow

    Dear Amanda,
    Thank you for sharing your history with us.
    I would love to find words that would make you feel better…. Stay strong and try to live day by day.
    Your little boy was very lucky to have such a loving mum and dad and will be forever alive in your hearts.
    As you said I hope that your beautiful testemonials will help other families.
    God bless you, Ryan and Alethea!
    With love and prayes,
    Manu Barlow

    • Thanks Manu for your lovely words, you are right, Liam will be alive in our hearts forever. Thanks for your love and prayers
      Amanda x

  19. Hayley hill

    Your son is so beautiful and through your words he will never be forgotten as you memories of him have been etched on the hearts of everyone that has read your words thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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