Missing Liam

Goodbye baby boy, mummy loves you x

Thursday night, and I look at Ryan as he was preparing for bed, as usual he took off his necklace, which is silver and has a ‘dog tag’ on it which has Alethea’s handprint that has been digitalised down, her name and date of birth, Alethea and I made it for his second ever father’s day, (through a company called Smallprint) he wears it every day close to his heart and I had a sudden thought that we needed to get one of Liam for him. ‘Honey, I totally forgot, would you like a tag with Liam’s hand on it?’ Ryan looks at me with hope in his eyes and says to me that he had thought about it, but hadn’t wanted to upset me by asking for it. I look up the Smallprint website and find Vanessa who covers the northern beaches and I call her mobile, I tell her what we were after and that Liam is dead and that we are leaving hospital tomorrow, is there any chance that she is be able to do this for us. She informed me that although she attends the markets on the northern beaches and services it, she has recently moved to the central coast, my heart sinks, she then says that she will ask her husband if he can look after her children that night and she will drive down for us, and then she changes her mind and says that if she can get her children into day care tomorrow she will come and see us before we leave. Again I was blown away by the extreme length that someone would go to for us and our little man.

That night the nurse again gives me 2 sleeping tablets, and this time when I offer Ryan one, as he had not slept the night before he graciously accepts it, again it was a horrible night. Surrounded by newborns crying I bury my head into my pillow and scream and cry until sleep takes over me, but again I wake frequently and look at my little boy’s cot, who has a dead baby, who does this?

We woke at day break on Friday morning with knowledge that we were going home, these were to be our last hours with Liam. I ask Ryan to bring Liam to me and I cuddle him and kiss his head, he is so soft, and unlike what people may think, except for his lips being dark red and not as plump as they should be he looks like he is just sleeping, not blue, not smelly, just beautiful. I lay him next to me as I use to when Alethea was a baby and cuddle in close to him, I used to love snuggling with Alethea beside me and falling asleep with her after her early morning feed, it was so innocent, so beautiful and although I can’t feed Liam I can have this one early morning snuggle. Ryan sees what I am doing and he too climbs on the hospital bed, the three of us cuddle, like it should be if Liam was alive and fall asleep, it was the most peaceful and loving experience that we had and a time that I will treasure forever.  All too soon we are woken by our nurse bringing in breakfast, I so wished she hadn’t woken us, it was the only time that I was in hospital that I had felt like a family and a mummy and as I wake the realisation sets in that this is not reality, we are not a normal “happy family” and I look at my beautiful boy kiss him and know that it is time we say our goodbyes. Being in hospital meant we were escaping reality, we didn’t have to think about anything while we were there, we didn’t have to deal with “life” we were just existing in our own little bubble, but knowing that there were so many happy people around us and so many babies being born was too much for us to bear. We requested that both our obstetrician and the paediatrician came and saw us before we left, now we had some questions, now that we had a few days to think about it, Ryan and I had decided it was not acceptable to be told that they didn’t know what went wrong and that these things happen, and that it was just “bad luck.” We were told it was bad luck after our first miscarriage then again after the second and third one, we were also told after the 4th it was bad luck, however try the clexane and see if it helped make a pregnancy stay, to come and tell us now that this too was “bad luck” was not fair, you can only have so much bad luck in your life!

Ryan had the first shower of the morning and while he did I held my little boy and said all my goodbyes to him, I told him to find my “Pa” in heaven, that he would look after him and cuddle him until I got there, I told him that Pa’s time with him would be short and that mummy would soon be there to kiss him and shower him with all the love that he missed out on, he just needed to wait a little while as mummy needed to be here with daddy and his big sister Alethea, that it was not yet my time to be with him, but when my time did come I would embrace it with open arms longing to see him again. I told my baby boy again what my hopes and dreams were for him and I told him that I had been selfish having those for him, I told him that he was beautiful and that I loved him to the stars and back and that I missed him so much and he would always be part of our family, I told him that our family was forever 4, never just the 3 of us, I promised him that Alethea would grow up knowing that she had a little brother, that I would never hide that from her, I promised my little boy that I would grieve for him, but I also promised him that I would live my life to the fullest, that I would try to live as if he was still here, that although I would miss him and mourn him that I would be the best mummy that I could be to Alethea, and to do that would mean that I was going to have to be a happy mummy, not a sad mummy. I promised my little man that I would think of him always and I hoped that I could live a life that he would be proud of (these are very hard promises to fulfil, because every part of my body wants him, yearns for him, and I think that the easier path to follow is to never resurface, to let it consume me, and envelope myself in sadness, but that was not my promise). I knew that this time that I had with Liam was my last ever by myself and so I sang to him, kissed him and stroked his hair and told him that he was loved beyond compare. Ryan came out of the shower and I handed Liam to him and went for my shower, I had an extra-long one to give Ryan the opportunity to say everything that he wanted to, to his baby boy and when I came out Ryan had tears gently falling down his cheeks, he looked up and nodded his head at me with resolve, he had told Liam all that he needed to say and he knew it was time for us to prepare ourselves to leave.

The paediatrician was the first person to come, and we asked him what he thought had gone wrong or did he too believe it was “bad luck” and his response will stay with me forever he said ‘this is not bad luck, this is terrible terrible luck’, that something like what happened to us only happens around once every 2 years, and that this is not normally seen, he told me it was a tragedy and that all the staff involved were in disbelief. He told us that he had been called in and entered the room 20mins into the resuscitation of Liam, but from what he can gather from the notes and how Liam was/wasn’t responding that he believed ‘the last hour of your pregnancy went horribly, horribly wrong’ that he believed we had a perfect pregnancy and unfortunately it had come down to things falling apart in that final hour (So 9 months of pregnancy, in a nutshell came down to 1 hour going horribly wrong!). I said to him ‘I know that you can’t answer this question, but do you think we did the right thing by letting Liam go or should we have fought for him a little more’ and he answered straight away without hesitation that we certainly did the right thing for Liam, that he would have been lucky to make it to 1 year (if everything had of gone perfectly and he survived the transfer and coming weeks) and that he would never have made it out of hospital, his organs had all shut down and he would have died in hospital, if we had of fought for him, he would never have responded to us, or known that we were there, that his life would have been one of extreme pain and suffering and to put him through that would not have been fair. I asked this doctor if he thought that I had done anything that he could possibly think of to cause Liam to die (and I went through a range of scenarios for him) and he reiterated that he believed Liam’s problems came from the last hour of my pregnancy that I did nothing to cause him to die and that every time I thought of laying blame on myself to say ‘Liam’s death is not my fault’. Although he did not give us a definitive answer to what happened to Liam he had made us feel much more at ease, I realised that it wasn’t my fault and Ryan and I had made the “right” choice letting Liam go. Our obstetrician came after the paediatrician and as the paed had answered most of our questions better than anyone else had, we didn’t really have too much to ask him, however we asked again what he thought had gone wrong and he made a few speculations, but said we would know more when my blood tests came back in a couple of days, and to come and see him in his rooms in 2 week’s time and he would go through the results then.

We started packing our room and Ryan took everything down to the car, there was lots to take including the numerous arrangements of flowers that had been sent to us. The only thing that was left to do was to wait for Vanessa from Smallprint to come. She came and was so caring of our little baby; she talked to him and was gentle with him. She asked me if there was anything that I would like from her and I said no thankyou that I was fine and she said that she would take an imprint of Liam’s fingerprint and make something up for me, she said that if I didn’t want or like it that I didn’t need to wear it, but she would do it for me anyway just in case I did want one. (At the time I thought of how lovely an idea it was, and how nice she was for suggesting it, however I told myself that it wasn’t something that I wanted or would hold dear to me, when it did arrive in the post however, it was a different story, Vanessa had made me a drop pendant with Liam’s fingerprint on it, his name and date of birth and I fell in love with it straight away) Vanessa was such a beautiful lady with a lovely soul and I thank her for all the effort she went to coming to see us that day.

With our room packed up I lean over Liam’s cot to give him a final goodbye kiss, I stroke his hair and tell him how much I love him. Jane comes to hold onto Liam’s cot while Sally our other nurse wheels me away, Jane has Liam’s cot at the entrance to our room and waves to us, I turn back and watch as Jane and Liam stay at the door, my little man, left in the hospital, off to the coldness of the morgue never to feel my love or warmth again, who does this, who has a dead baby? Ryan holds my hand as we walk away and my breathing became shallow and rapid, tears streamed down my face, this is not how it is meant to be, why us, we are good people, we have waited patiently for this baby, watching all our friends have their second and third healthy babies, what have we done so wrong that we don’t deserve another child. We round the corner and I get one last glimpse of Liam in his cot, ‘goodbye baby boy, mummy loves you.’

Arriving at our car means that we are outside for the first time since Liam died, I look around, everybody is going about their daily business and I feel trapped inside myself. Ryan starts the car and we drive off, we were meant to leave the hospital as a family, with Liam in the new car capsule that I bought and installed and Alethea in her big girl seat, instead it is just Ryan and I alone in the car. I hyperventilate and sob uncontrollably how did it go so wrong, from my waters breaking till Liam was born was only 3hrs and 44mins, those few hours had changed my life forever. As we travel along in the car I look at all the other drivers and I want to scream at them all, ‘How are you continuing with your lives, do you not know that my baby is dead’ I can’t understand how everything appears so normal, my baby boy who I carried for 9 months and felt his every move, every hiccup is dead, oh God the guilt comes back ‘Liam’s death is not my fault’ words that I say to myself every 5 minutes, no matter what the cause as a mum you believe that the fault lies with you and convincing myself otherwise was extraordinarily hard, there’s that saying that people have used since I was young, ‘Keep putting one foot in front of the other and one day you will turn around and see you’ve climbed a mountain’ for the moment I don’t see the whole mountain, but I have taken the first step, I hope the mountain that I am climbing is Everest, because that is what it feels like!

No, this isn’t my last post…just the end of our hospital journey x

Ryan’s pendant made by Vanessa from Smallprint

Our last morning

Our last morning and last cuddles, Ryan took this photo just before we left hospital

38 Comments

  1. Amanda, I am in tears as I reply to this brutally honest, tragic yet heart warming account of your last day with beautiful Liam. And wow he really was beautiful Amanda, a perfect little angel lovingly wrapped up in his cot.
    Don’t you ever stop saying those words ‘it was not my fault’ for one day if you say it enough I hope your mind and heart will truly believe it.
    It was a great honor to meet your precious son and I thank you for allowing me to ‘intride’ on your final hour with Liam and make these pieces for you and Ryan (and maybe big sister Alethea when she is older and understands how special the prints are).
    Love and strength to your family always.
    Vanessa xx

    • Vanessa, Thanks so much for coming to us on very short notice, in no way did you intrude, we had asked you there! What you have given us are beautiful and will last us a lifetime, we wear them with pride and love…thankyou!
      Amanda x

  2. Kate

    Thanks for sharing- what truthful, gut wrenching words. Liam was beautiful xx

  3. Michelle

    Hi Amanda,

    Your story has been terribly heart breaking, I am so terribly sorry for you and your family.

    Ryan and my husband, Darren are friends from way back and we bumped into you at the mall just before you were due, Alethea was at her grandparents and you were enjoying some time out. We had our boys with us who were being mischievous!

    Darren saw Ryan’s Facebook status with his tatto for Liam and we were extremely sad to see the terrible news, especially as we had just seen you a couple of weeks before all lovely and pregnant.

    Your blog had me sobbing my heart out for your loss.

    The photos of baby Liam are so touching, he looked a beautiful, perfect little bubba.

    Our love goes out to you and your family

    Xxxxx

    • Hi Michelle,
      Ryan and I were just talking about you and Darren tonight! We saw the photo of your little one with his hair all up in the air with static electricity and we too said that we saw you only 3-4 days before Liam was born. Its so heartbreaking to think of how excited we were then, and nothing turned out how it should have. Thanks for the love that you send and I agree, Liam was a beautiful little bubba xx

      • Michelle

        Hi Amanda,

        I’m sorry I just saw your reply message. It breaks our heart too at how excited you guys were, to then read your blog and the sad, sad news.

        You are so strong to put this all down on paper and to share. It’s lovely that you got those precious photos and hand prints xxxxx

        You are all in our thoughts, all 4 of you xxx

  4. Jacqui

    Dear Amanda,
    It was lovely to meet you today. Your strength and courage is an inspiration. I love the photographs you have posted on this blog- Liam is adorable.
    You said today that at first people didn’t know what to say when you tell them your story and I fear that I may have fallen into that category. Truth be told, I guess there really is very little anyone can say except how truly sorry they are for your loss. Unless they have been there before you, no one can even begin to imagine what you and your family have been through these past few months but with the help of your blog, we can try to understand.
    Take care
    Jacqui and Finlay

    • Jacqui,
      Finlay is just beautiful, and one day when he is awake I’d love to have a little cuddle, Jacqui you did just fine! You talked to me and didn’t ‘run for the hills’ thanks
      Amanda X

  5. Ashleigh Chambers

    You are a beautifully brave woman.
    I admire your strength and the love you have for your family
    And the courage you have to tell your story.
    You will never truly know how many hearts you have touched.
    Ash x

    • Hi Ashleigh,
      Thanks for your lovely comments, I do hope we have touched some peoples hearts. I’m not sure about being brave and strong, but I love sharing my story so that the world knows that our little boy lived and was loved
      Amanda x

  6. Alethea White

    Hi Amanda

    I am a huge supporter of heartfelt and found your blog on referral from their Facebook page. I am crying for you and your beautiful Liam as I read your posts, thank you for your honesty and candor and your willingness to share your story.

    I just wanted to say I too think Vanessa is wonderful – i had my daughter’s fingerprint done earlier this year and I had many conversations with Vanessa at that time. She is one of the truly special people in this world and I am so glad she was able to do Liam’s prints for you.

    All my love and thoughts go to you and ryan – but please too pass on a special hug for big sister Alethea. I feel a special affinity with her as
    I share her name, and I have thought of her so much while reading your posts. She is just a little bit older than my own gorgeous girl and I know how much these little ladies need their cuddles!

    I wish you all the best Amanda. You will not be far from my thoughts xx

    • Great name Alethea!
      Most of the people we came into contact with were just gorgeous and yes Vanessa was just so sweet with our little boy. I’ll give my Alethea an extra special cuddle today
      Amanda x

  7. Nicole

    Oh wow that was tough to read. I felt like I was right there with you and it was heartbreaking. Liam was a beautiful baby. I’m so sorry this happened to you – it seems beyond cruel that anyone should endure this.

    • Oh Nicole,
      Liam was so beautiful, even more so in real life, thanks for reading our journey so far
      Amanda x

  8. Natalie

    It took everything in me to push past the knot in my stomach & lump caught in my throat to read your story from start to finish. I look at the photos & can’t even imagine. I lost my 18year old brother when I was 14 so some of the feelings you describe really sat hard with me & I too have a son. It also makes me think of my step-sister whose baby boy decided one night in his cot when 6 weeks old to stop breathing. So many tragedies, so many beautiful lives too short. As sad as it was I feel privileged to have shared your journey by reading this & being allowed in some small way to know yourselves& of course baby Liam & I can promise you I will never forget your story. Love to you all ❤

    • Oh Natalie,
      To lose a brother when you were at such a fragile age must have been heartbreaking. I feel for your step-sister I think that would be even worse than for me, as by 6 weeks they have a little personality developing and they can smile and to then have that taken away would be devastating. Thanks for reading our journey and remembering my beautiful baby
      Amanda x

  9. Nikki

    Oh my I can’t imagine your pain or grief. I am so sorry for your loss. It only helps me to appreciate the two beautiful healthy boys I have been blessed to have. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • Nikki,
      Thanks for reading our journey. Yes love and cuddle your boys everyday, they are a blessing that most people don’t even think about until something like this happens to them. Alethea gets extra cuddles these days, just because I can!
      Amanda x

  10. Kelly Daunt

    Hi Amanda

    We are all different in the way we do things, but I to lost my beautiful baby girl I was 34 weeks and had a picture perfect pregnancy with no problems, we never got any answers as to why this happened, Ava was my only girl as I have all boys which I am very thankful for. Reading your story is exactly how I felt, We also had some beautiful pictures taken and we christened our little girl in the family gown that all her cousin have used. Special memories but sometime in anger they are never enough. My boy was also 3 and it is the hardest thing to do and to tell them, I just was full of guilt that it somehow was my fault that I am causing all this pain. We have just pased her 3rd birthday and I still relive that day like it was yesterday.

    You wirte this beautifully and I would be happy to share some of my experiences with you if that is what you want,

    I am really sorry that this happens to us and from one angel mummy to another I hope your days get better.
    Love Kelly x

    • Oh Kelly,
      I wouldn’t wish anyone to experience losing a baby and I am sorry that you too had to go through this. I am not sure why we as mums feel guilty for something that is so far out of our control, but the guilt even now still comes to raise its ugly head. I would love to hear some of your experiences and I am sure our days will look much brighter soon
      Amanda x

  11. Hi Amanda & Ryan,

    I have just read your blog & can I just say it was so beautifully written. I felt like I was right there in the hospital room with you and could feel the pain in my heart. How wonderful to have such special memories & keepsakes off Liam. Material items are ones to be cherished but your memories off holding your baby boy, his touch, his smell, his silky soft skin & hair are memories you will hold forever inside your heart. I can see from your photos that Liam was a beautiful baby boy. Life can be so terribly cruel & no one can understand why?. I am sorry this has happened to you & your family. May God Bless you all & keep Liam safe in his arms until you see him again & think off the cuddles & kisses you will have together then. You are one brave mummy & daddy. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Xx

    • Hi Angela,
      Thanks for reading our story, yes all I need to do is close my eyes and I can remember his smell and how soft he was. Yes I can’t wait to give him big cuddles and kisses…but not yet, as sad as we are there is still a lot more living we have to do. I am glad that people feel like they experienced his birth and death, that was one of the reason why I started my blog, so that our family and friends understood the depths of despair we went through.
      Amanda x

  12. Mel

    Hi Amanda,
    I so wish I could ease your aching heart. Liam was truely a beautiful little boy and I”m sure
    dancing upstairs on the rainbow with your pa. I wish you all the happiness for the future with your little family. Your a true spirit and angel to earth Amanda xx

    • Hi Mel,
      Thanks for your lovely words, yes, that is a nice thought that Liam is dancing with Pa on rainbows, I like that one
      Amanda x

  13. Liz

    Amanda, I am sending so much love to you and your beautiful family. I was barely able to read these stories through my tears…oh my heart aches so much for you. The loss of your precious Liam is the cruelest injustice, and the pain I imagine of the very worst kind anyone could endure. This blog particularly grasped at me, as I believe walking away and saying the final goodbye would be the toughest battle of the heart and mind….I’ve often thought I would find that so difficult to do…as you said ‘ you never know how strong you are, till being strong is the only option’ its something you never imagined but you find yourself forced to face….you are brave,you have so much love surrounding you. Writting is a wonderful healer.
    I have been following another blog from a dear lady who also lost her baby boy a bit over a year ago, she to has a daughter. The journey is hard. but you will find the new kind of normal in your days, and the lightness will come back xoxo

    • Hi Liz,
      Thanks for your kind words. Yes I do find that writing is a great healer, I didn’t set out to write and feel better about myself, but it has sort of happened, for me it has been the best therapy of all. I agree the lightness will come back and I will find joy, peace and happiness again, I know it!
      Amanda x

      • Liz

        hi Amanda I just wanted to give you the blog site of the lady I was talking about in my msg….her name is Kristie Tatton, she is from sydney.and her blog is called Hesperas garden, http://www.hesperasgarden.com. she is a beautiful mumma who shares her storyx

  14. Amy

    Dear Amanda,

    We too left our baby boy at the hospital. While it was 5 yrs ago now, reading your story makes it feel like yesterday. He was born at 24 weeks with anencephaly. We too met some amazing people and have some very special memories to treasure thanks to them. While I would still choose to have my Simon here with me, I love the thought of him playing with the Angels till I can see him again. We now have two more beautiful children, Daniel is 3 and Samantha is 6 months. I treasure them every day.

    Continue to be kind to yourself, one day at a time is the only way. But know that while you will never forget, you will begin to find that it will get easier. More than anything, you are not alone! That was the most helpful thing I found. I will continue to pray Gods peace for you and your beautiful little family. Amy xx

    • Oh Amy,
      I am sorry for your loss, and I agree, amazing people come out from ‘nowhere’ to help in times like these, I am sure that you are a much stronger mum and an amazing mum for your 2 little ones….but it never takes away from the fact that you have lost Simon. Thanks for your prayers, love to you and your family
      Amanda x

  15. Hi Amanda. I’m another one getting onto your blog a bit late – through the heartfelt website.
    I just wanted to say how beautiful your photos and your words are. What an absolutely gorgeous baby Liam was.
    I too have been where you are, a beautiful boy making an abrupt entrance into the world after a massive haemorrhage, kept alive for about an hour and 45 mins, then dying in my arms at almost 37 weeks. Blake would have been 12 this year. I think of him every day, and on most days lots of times. These days it’s with joy (although of course still sadness), wondering what he would be doing, remembering his little cow-lick and his precious nose…. and less often now, tears. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy, but I would rather remember losing him, than imagine not having him at all. It’s a strange concept, which only makes sense to people who’ve been there…
    I am a midwife working in a busy labour ward, and have many times been the person comforting a shocked and confused couple, or standing in the door way holding a beautiful baby, waving goodbye to the bereft family. It is an honour and a privilege to be involved in every one of those families lives. We don’t use heartfelt, but I will certainly be looking into whether they are available to us. At the moment, we take the photos, and I take great joy in giving them to the families as memories, knowing what they have meant to me over many years.
    Thanks so much for your posts. The words are very real.
    Cathy. x

    • Hi Cathy,
      I agree we are very lucky to have such great photos of Liam. I am sorry that you too have been where we are at the moment, and I totally agree with you, even at this stage, that I would have rather loved and lost him then to have never have met him at all….but it still hurts a lot. I often wonder to myself when it will be that I don’t think of Liam every minute of the day (don’t get me wrong I do like to think of him, but he consumes my every thoughts)
      I feel like I need to thank you for helping people like us, I know that we will always look back fondly at the two nurses who were with us for the 3.5 days we were in hospital, it is people like you who are strong enough to take on this kind of job that make all the difference, you hold our hands and take us through our darkest hours, so thank you. Our 2 nurses took a lot of photos for us as well which we also treasure.
      Love to you
      Amanda x

  16. Janelle

    Hi Amanda,
    As a student Midwife and I read your story and hang on each and every word, thinking how I can empathise and offer support to a family going through your pain. I hope that with your insight I can offer the best I can if/when faced with this situation. No training we are provided has touched me and helped me to understand more than reading your words. I have followed the great work of Heartfelt and know the amazing work they do and try my hardest to spread the word of this invaluable service. I truly hope each day your pain eases and wish you and your family all the best for the future.

    Warm regards,
    Janelle

    • Thanks Janelle,
      It is nice to think that our little boys story may help you in the future. You are right Heartfelt do such wonderful work, providing families with memories to last a lifetime. You are right, each day that passes the pain gets slightly less, I know we will have lots of happiness to come, but I think that everything that was once bright is now dimmer than before, and I think that will always remain.
      Thanks for your lovely words
      Amanda x

  17. Manu Barlow

    Hi Amanda,
    I cannot stop crying!!!! Your are such a brave girl! No one should ever have to go through this.
    My thougts are with you, Ryan and Alethea.
    God bless you
    Manu

    • Oh Manu,
      Again thanks for your lovely words, unfortunately there are a lot of mums and dads going through exactly the same thing as Ryan and I are going through but they just haven’t verbalised or written down their journey and I feel for all of them, I would never wish any parent to go through this.
      Amanda x

  18. Emma O'Keefe

    I don’t know what to say…
    I am absolutely heartbroken to hear about Liam. No one should go through anything like this. I was told I lost my 2nd baby when I was pregnant and that was hard enough…
    I want u to know that your story have touched my heart In a way that u will never understand… It’s so surreal that u could live in my street or pass me everyday at the park (I have a 3.5yr old little girl and an 11month old)
    But that u have had to go through this.
    I haven’t stopped crying.
    Please know that I will be thinking of u and your family and especially baby Liam
    What a miracle little boy.
    He really was just perfect!

    • Hi Emma,
      Thanks for reading our journey, and for your lovely message. Thanks for you thoughts, and I totally agree, Liam was just perfect
      love to you and your family, Amanda x

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