Two years ago, would I have had any idea there was such a day? No, I don’t think I did, maybe a ‘ah, how awful’ and then immediate dismissal, I went back to my life. My awareness was the bare minimum really. I knew babies died, I think. Not babies in this country though, not unless somebody hurt them surely? Then it was murder and we all know how wrong that is. Or there was something so rare wrong with them that it happened to a handful of people a year maximum. Babies wouldn’t die because the cord was round their neck, the mother had caught an infection somehow, that their chromosomes were wrong and there was too much information in their little bodies for them to grow up and most definitely not through doctors and nurses making a mistake so monumentally tragic that it took the life of a baby and the hope and joy of their parents. That would never happen, would it?
Even last year I’m not sure how aware I was of baby loss and how common it actually is. I knew then that our baby; the beautiful girl growing inside me was destined to leave us. But I still lived in perpetual hope that she’d be ok, the results were wrong. I knew deep down they weren’t, but when you’ve heard the words ‘Edwards Syndrome’ and ‘Trisomy 18’ for the first time and don’t truly understand the devastation that will come with them then all you can do is hope.
Hope, sometimes is the only way to keep going, keep functioning, to survive. Every step we received more bad news, we lived in ‘worse case scenario’. Anticipatory grief they called it. I felt it was more suspended animation. I watched the world carry on, happy times, sad times happening in other people’s lives and I felt nothing. I was in a glass box that I couldn’t get out of but I could see it all. Detached from reality, from the world, never to be the same again.
So no, I don’t think the day even registered with me, I wouldn’t have been able to acknowledge Ayla if I had, because she was there, but not there. I hadn’t lost a baby at that point, what was happening to me had no name.
A week before Ayla was due I stumbled across something on the Internet that would turn out to be on of my biggest saviours. Finding the Pregnancy and Infant Loss online forum and connecting with so many amazing women on there saved my sanity at times I am sure. To be told ‘It’s ok, that’s normal’, ‘we’re here for you’ and simply ‘I know’ brought more comfort that I can ever express and I will be forever grateful to all who held out a virtual hand of support and comfort to me.
This year today has had so much more meaning to me. My awareness has increased dramatically; my knowledge is overwhelmingly scary at times. I fear for pregnant friends and I am cross with people’s naivety which borderlines stupidity at times. But am I cross or am I envious? I will never feel that again, I can no longer convince myself that babies dying only happens in other, poor countries, in magazines or at the most never to people I know.
I do know now, I AM one of those people. I now get to live in the altered world that others don’t understand, where I can only speak completely freely to the ones who live here too. Never to return but to find a new way forwards a new ‘normal’.
Yes, the awareness of baby loss has quite substantially slapped me in the face.