A Cake, A Wish, but No Liam
I’m pretty sure it was around the second week in August that I met Deb De Wilde. We had decided to meet at the Mater Hospital where Deb works, she was so kind on the phone to me when we were planning our meeting saying that if I thought that meeting in a hospital was going to be too hard that we could potentially meet somewhere else (that is if I had been so adversely affected by Liam dying in a hospital that I could not step into one again we could go elsewhere). I met Deb in the foyer and we walked around to a beautiful little court yard to sit at one of the tables there. I had been in this court yard previously when Alethea was 2.5yrs old when my mum had a knee replacement. I had gone to sit with my very nervous dad to talk to him and to keep him company while we waited for news on how mums surgery had gone. I sat down and Deb in her gentle and kind voice asked me to relay my story on the birth and death of my baby, I looked at this woman and couldn’t believe that she would want to hear what had happened, why would she care, why would she want to meet with me? She informed me that she was a midwife but her main job at the moment was as a social worker and that she met with families all the time who had lost their babies, no matter where they had their baby or what the circumstances around losing the baby was. I was having what I would call a very “strong” day, I had recently started my blog I was trying to get out and about and I was feeling good this day so I was able to relay my story to Deb without shedding a tear, in fact I tried really hard not to cry, I wanted to be strong. Deb told me how sorry she was for our loss and then we went through the care that we received afterwards in the hospital, she told me how sorry she was that apart from our beautiful nurses, that our care was less than acceptable. I told Deb that ultimately I was after policy change in the hospital, I never wanted what had happened to Liam, Ryan, Alethea and I to happen to any other family, and she indicated that policy change would take quite a while (which I already thought was a possibility) Deb asked if I had any photos of my children, this is a phrase that has only been used a couple of times to me since Liam was born and it is a phrase that I love, I don’t just have a child, I have children, and by saying this Deb acknowledged that Liam was a part of my family, and I swelled with pride at the thought that I had children. I showed Deb photos of my gorgeous girl and my beautiful boy and she sat there admiring both of them and she told me that I had a beautiful family. Even though I was very aware that Deb meets with many, many parents who have lost a baby, she made me feel like my baby was the most special, most beautiful little boy that ever graced this earth, she made me proud to be his mum (I guess I had always been proud, but Deb made me realise that yes I was a proud mum) and this was a beautiful gift that she gave to me. Deb informed me that she ran a group for bereaved parents and she invited me along to the next one, I was a little hesitant, and I asked her if it was a group where we just sat around and swapped ‘dead baby stories’ because for me that wouldn’t be helpful or was it an uplifting group, because I need to be a glass half full girl, I can’t be dragged down to the glass half empty because I feared that once I was there I would never surface. She informed me that it was a lovely supportive group and that generally it wasn’t a negative group but a place to come to and sit with other people who knew exactly how you felt. We parted our ways and as I walked to the car I started to feel very remorseful, I had just told someone how my baby had died and I hadn’t cried, what sort of mum was I, what would this lady think of me, I thought that I must have been the first person not to cry in her presence, what must she think of me, she must think that I am the coldest, hardest person alive, but I wasn’t, like I said I was having a “strong” day, it was a day that I wanted to be strong in, and I was trying my hardest to hold myself together.
A few days later (actually it was 4 days before my birthday) I had my first dream of Liam; it wasn’t a sad dream, although I knew that I was sad for some reason. It was a simple dream, I was changing his nappy, he was lying on the change table and I was talking to him making him smile. I was in a light sleep and I kept waking up from the dream each time hoping that I would go back to sleep and dream of him again, and each time I drifted off, the dream came back, it was beautiful and I didn’t want the night to end. When I woke that morning I walked into his room and looked at the change table, I had this vivid picture of this little baby in my mind, it was a little different to how Liam was born, he was a few weeks older, and I sat there trying to recapture the delight at seeing him smile, but looking at his empty room brought home my reality, I walked out of his room insisting that I wouldn’t be upset, I had been given a beautiful dream, and I needed to hold onto it as beautiful, I couldn’t turn it into something sad.
Just before my Birthday, David a friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen for many years called me to ask how Ryan, Alethea and I were going. David is one of those friends where it doesn’t matter how long it has been since you last talked, when you start talking it is like the last time you talked to him was yesterday. David and I had gone to preschool, primary school and high school together, so we have known each other for a very long time. When we were in high school, David and I became quite good friends, however no one at school knew that we were friends, he was friends with one group and I was friends with a completely different group, so at school we would barely acknowledge each other, but on the weekend we spent heaps of time with each other and had a great time. The purpose of David’s call was to find out how we were going, to ask if he could do anything for us and to tell me that he was arranging my birthday cake for me. David had recently stated a cake business called Edible designs, and from his pictures on his Facebook page he was really quite good at it (Please check out his FB page, and like his page, he has done some amazing work! If you have a look check out the Dora cake and the Little Miss Cake…yes David made TWO cakes for Alethea’s birthday, which was in October). I was a little hesitant to start with, having someone make me a birthday cake, because I was not even sure that I wanted to celebrate my birthday yet, but David insisted and I actually got quite excited at the thought of having something made especially for me. Two days before my birthday, David brought my cake over to me, and it was amazing. Describing it won’t do it any justice, because I don’t know all of the technical cake terms but basically it was chocolaty goodness that melted in your mouth! He also brought around some sensational cupcakes for Alethea which were awesome, but because we had a lot of yummy cake to eat, we gave some of the cupcakes to Alethea’s day care teachers the next day.
The next day was Friday, it was the day before my birthday and as Alethea was going to day care that day, Ryan decided to have the day off work so that he could take me out to lunch for my birthday. I was actually quite excited, Ryan had a surprise Birthday present for me and he asked me if I wanted to have it on this day or tomorrow when my birthday was, and if you know me you’ll know that I am terrible with surprises/Christmas etc. even at the age that I am now, I still hunt the house trying to find my presents, so of course given this option I told Ryan that I would love my present on this day. When I opened the present there was a little Tiffany bag inside, and inside that was a gold infinity pendant on a necklace, to match my infinity tattoo that I had for Liam, to hang round my neck so that I would know that Liam was in my heart for infinity, that I loved him for infinity, that he was my child for infinity. It was the most thoughtful present I have ever been given, it was perfect and I was very excited to wear it. For lunch Ryan took me to a gorgeous little restaurant called Cottage Point Inn which is located right on the water’s edge. We started with a glass of bubbly and Ryan toasted me wishing me a very happy birthday, we then proceeded to a 3 course lunch with accompanying wine, and great grandfather port. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the water was glistening and Ryan and I talked and laughed most of our meal. It was the first time since Liam’s death that I felt totally happy and relaxed. Our waiter had heard Ryan wishing me happy birthday when we first sat down and so he brought out a little cake with a candle on it and sang happy birthday to me. I loved every minute of being there, and so did Ryan, nestled in amongst the trees and the water, the serenity of the place made it feel like all our cares were miles and miles away.
The next day was my birthday, and I was brought crashing down. It was lovely that Ryan and I had celebrated the day before; we had the perfect day, because this day was anything but perfect. I woke up with that sick churning feeling in my stomach, it was that feeling that you get when you know that the world is not how it should be. After a couple of seconds I realised that it was my birthday and my little boy was not here to celebrate it with me. I tried to put on a happy face for Alethea, because she was very excited that it was my birthday, but it was really hard. We headed to mum and dads place a little after lunch to have a little family birthday party. I took the cake that David had made for me. Mum and Dad had gone to a lot of effort, they had balloons everywhere, they had decorated the kids table with special plates, party hats and whistles and the place looked beautiful. I really tried to smile and be happy because I knew what a huge effort everyone had gone to, but inside I was melting away, I felt like the inner me was sitting in the corner in the foetal position rocking backwards and forwards just trying to get through the night. Everybody sang Happy Birthday to me I cut into the delicious cake and everyone told me to make a wish, and I wished with all my might that time would reverse and I would once again be 38 weeks pregnant with Liam, I would change everything….but my wish never came. The day felt all wrong, it was not happy, it was far from happy. I wonder now if everyone knew what a bad day that was for me, I do appreciate all the effort that they went to, but I just couldn’t truly be happy.
Then next morning we went to Ryan’s parents’ house for birthday breakfast with the family. Again they had gone to a huge effort with balloons etc. but again I didn’t want to celebrate, I just wanted the weekend over. I went to Liam’s grave that day and took with me a blue balloon and wrote him a letter that went something like this
Hello Beautiful Boy,
Mummy had a birthday yesterday, and I have brought you a blue balloon from my party. All I wanted was you there to cuddle and kiss. It’s been a hard weekend without you and I miss you to the stars and back. Baby boy, I hope you are happy and safe. I think about what it would be like if you were here, you would be smiling now and it breaks my heart that I will never see you smile or laugh. I wish you were here with us. Know that mummy and daddy love you to the sun and back, you will always be a part of our little family.
Forever 4, never 3, Love Mummy xxoo
- Posted in: The First Weeks