I’m sorry Mr Ainsworth, I can’t find the heartbeat.
These are the words i didn’t want to hear from a doctor whilst holding on to the hope of kindling new life in my hands. This is my perspective of the loss of my baby Rosie.
I have my beautiful wife lay in a bed holding on to my hand as the doctor scans to find the baby’s heartbeat. After what seems an eternity and a seven hour wait for this second opinion, it’s confirmed our daughter is dead. My heart sinks, my hand clamps around Hannah’s I bring her in close and hold her in a tight embrace. I Can’t believe and won’t believe what I have just heard. Amid the fuss and the overwhelming confusion Hannah didn’t really take in what had been said, so I composed myself and had to break the worst news to her in clear English, yet again both our hearts broke into a million shards of disbelief. Immediately a million questions fill my mind, questions we will never get answered. Some do. But most don’t. All day at the hospital we were praying for our baby girl to be safe as we waited for that second opinion but every time someone new came into the room they were sympathetic and we didn’t know why. Did they know something we didn’t?
I have two dates in my life which mean more to me than anything, the first is the day I met Hannah. The second, the day I married her. I hold onto these two days when I have a sad day thinking of Rosie and how big she would be now and how pretty she would look in that cute dress we bought for her. Every day that goes by I see her pram sat in the living room, I see her crib next to our bed and my heart sinks again because I hear those fatal words clear as the first time they were spoken to me.
This whole experience is the hardest thing I personally have ever had to deal with and it takes its toll in every aspect of my life. It’s hard going to work because colleagues have children and are constantly moaning about them and also praising them. I want to scream just shut up and savour your children. My daughter is dead, do any of you realise the pain I feel when you complain about them, at least you have the gift of nurturing a life. When I look into my Hannah’s eyes i see our beautiful daughter and just want to hold onto her forever, it hasn’t been easy on our marriage either but we talk and pull each other through our times of great sadness.
As a father I want people to recognise the feat my amazing wife went through for nine months to carry and protect our baby, she did everything the way the professionals suggested and took all the advice given. Now I’m lost because I don’t have a duty to protect my daughter from this world, nor the chance to have sleepless nights because she needs feeding or her bum changing. Instead I lie awake at night looking at her crib, hoping one day I’ll wake up from this dream and see her gorgeous smile and pretty eyes looking up at me awaiting me to hold and love her like a daddy should.
One time I remember hurt me like a sudden kick to the stomach was when I was walking through town and I saw a father from the ante natal class Hannah and I had taken, he was simply pushing his new baby in his pram. I stopped and just cried in anguish. To see a mum pushing a pram doesn’t affect me that much but to see this new Dad with his baby like nothing bad had ever happened in the world gave me that dark lurching sick feeling. That should be me, proud, frustrated, happy. I don’t have sleepless nights because our baby is keeping us up, I have sleepless nights because of pain and my wife’s constant nightmares. We don’t even have the chance to get away from this nightmare when we sleep.
I’m sure my wife will read this; I must say one thing. Hannah I love you with everything I am, and we can and will get through anything.
That goes for all other lost parents struggling with the same situation as us, it is so hard to come out of the other side but you must make sure that you talk every day about your feelings and be honest. Even if that day you just feel numb tell your partner and work through it together. Hannah and I are often at different stages of grief so we don’t realise sometimes that the other needs more support one day. Just take time to be together. Look at your partner’s nose and remember your baby, look into each other’s eyes and remember the beauty that you see you also gave to your baby. We always say that Rosie is still here, she is in our hearts and that is a beautiful thing to hold on to.
As a man I feel like I have to be strong, I have to let Rosie’s death affect me that little bit less so that I can pull Hannah out of this pit but sometimes I just want to be angry and weak. I wouldn’t cry in front of Hannah when she was in labour, I had to leave the room so I could cry, I had to make sure she was comfortable, I wanted to stop her pain so much that i clung on to any bit of strength I had and gave it to her. As a man, husband and Dad my job is to protect and carry on whatever happens. I feel lost now that I can’t protect my daughter, I don’t feel like a Dad and that is one of the most painful things I am coping with, trying to be strong whilst fatherhood has been ripped away from me. That prize we had won was taken away from us, that beautiful handful of a prize has been taken and left me feeling lost too.