I can't believe we're about to hit your third birthday tomorrow. Like so many life-defining moments, your birth seems like it was yesterday, and yet also like it was a lifetime ago. I normally write to you on your birthday, but this year I felt moved to write today, the day before. I can't explain why, but I've learnt to stop questioning myself and go with what I feel when it comes to you.
I have been tired and short-tempered today. I always struggle with this day more than your birthday. Because your birthday wasn't the worst day of my life. It could never, ever be that. No, the worst day of my life was the day before. Because that was the day you died. I don't know when, but sometime after 2pm - when I heard your heartbeat, steady and true - and before midnight, you died. Your heart simply stopped. I hate that I don't know where I was when it happened. Was I on the sofa? In the bath? Moving around on my birth ball, trying to get labour started? Was it when I was laid in bed, feeling so ill? Or was it on the way to hospital - did your life stop just as I arrived in the car park or laid on the hospital bed? It does feel like a lifetime ago, but remembering a few short words can take me back there instantly, 'I'm sorry, but there's no heartbeat'.
I have often told women who are at the start of this journey, who say 'how will I cope with the funeral, or the first anniversary, or telling people, or my friend's pregnancy?. To them I say 'you have survived the worst already. You had the news that your baby has died. If you lived through that moment, you can get through anything'. I stand by that, but I still think that everything else is horrible, and beyond difficult. Telling everyone was hell. Registering your stillbirth was sickening. And your funeral was utterly and totally heartbreaking.
My nana, your great-nana, died a few weeks ago. I adored her. We had always been close and I miss her like crazy. But her funeral was the first I had been to after yours, and it was poles apart. Though sad, and moving, the funeral of a 97 year old lady, who had lived a good life and was mourned by her family, has a feeling of completeness and closure about it. It is sad, but it is right. The normal way of things. I found myself smiling a lot during her funeral, thinking of her and how wonderful it had been to have had her in my life for so long.
Your funeral, my darling boy - there was nothing right about that. We chose songs that felt appropriate, readings that fit, and we wrote a piece to be read out that so well expressed how we felt that we could never have written anything different. But a child's funeral can never be right. Everything about it is jarring, and wrong, like a horrible screeching flat note that ruins a piece of beautiful music. I remember that note. It sickens me to think of it even today. I feel it, and I feel your loss, like a physical pain, every day. Like someone cut part of me away, never to return it.
But your birthday, my love? That could never be the worst day of my life. That was the day you finally came into the world, after 9 long months, and 3 years of waiting. You were amazing, and beautiful. The memory of you - the wonderfulness of those 9 months we had together - and the lack of you - the way I miss you every day - has moved me to do so many things that I would never have done otherwise. You know I wish you were here, more than anything. But those memories of you sustain me. The legacy that you have left - the new things, the shared blog, the forum I was part of and the support group I'm about to launch - they keep me going. And the relationships I have developed - the friendships that grew stronger because of the people who simply listened to me, the individuals who remember you through cards, messages and doing new things, and the bereaved mums who are so integral to my life I don't know how I lived without them - well, that's all thanks to you.
I'd give anything for today's anniversary not to exist, but tomorrow? Well, no one can take that away from me, or from you. Happy third birthday, my beautiful, wonderful son. xxx