When I was pregnant my main concern was how we were going to keep Rosie warm when she was out in the big wide world. I had my mum knitting and crocheting blankets for Rosie, I had room temperature gadgets, I even read up on how a mothers skin adapts to the baby’s heat cooling and rising to whatever the baby needs when the baby is close to you. I read about the signs of a baby sticking its arm out when its too hot. I was ever so keen on making sure that Rosie would never be cold.
When I gave birth to Rosie she was put onto my skin she was so warm it was very comforting. I watched her face to see if her eyes would flicker, concentrated hard trying not to blink so I could see if her lips would move or her nostrels would flare with breaths being taken. She was warm and perfect, it was very evident that Rosie had only just died which is where Andrew and I were blessed, we still got to see Rosie as her. She was still a baby and not a dead baby. Many parents don’t have the blessing to see their baby as they should have looked so for this I am so very thankful. I gently opened Rosie’s eyelid to see the colour of her eye. It was a stone coloured blue but still I imagine her with brown eyes, perhaps because both Andrew and mine are brown and that’s how hers would have changed. Rapidly Rosie began to lose the warmth she came out with. This is how I knew she was never going to open her eyes to look at me, I would never see her chest move up and down or see her lips move. The opposite of what I had prepared for had started to happen and I had to do all I could to keep my baby cold. I wasn’t prepared to keep my baby cold, it was so unnatural. We bathed Rosie shortly after she was born, Andrew filled the bath with cold water, I tested the water to feel the temperature, it was cold. I couldn’t put my baby in a cold bath it wasn’t right. I asked Andrew to change the water to something a bit warmer, I just couldn’t bare to put Rosie in a cold bath. She shouldn’t be cold, everything in me wanted to make sure my baby was warm and comfortable, handled gently and smoothly. I rocked her and stroked her, I held her hands and patted her bum. Nothing to me was natural to treat my Rose like she was dead. Birth is supposed to be the beginning of life not the end of it so how could I tell myself to go against my natural instincts? When Rosie was dressed we wrapped her in blankets that my mum had made for her and put her in a moses basket. This moses basket had a cold mattress in it, although it wasn’t working properly to keep Rosie cold enough I remember confusing myself, keeping Rosie wrapped up but keeping the air cooler on in the room and a cold cot to make her cold. No baby should be cold but mine was losing heat. She wasn’t warm any more. I wanted Rosie to be warm, the confusion of trying to make her cold was something in itself to focus on. When we visited Rosie in the funeral home she was left in a room so cold you could see your breath when you walked in, She was just placed on an adult sized bed not moving, cheeks as blue as her eyes were when I looked and lips a dark purple that looked almost black, I guess this is as close as we’d get to seeing her go through that teenage goth phase. Still after a week of knowing Rosie was dead and that we had to keep her cold to preserve her body my instinct was to wrap her up in more blankets. I had my mum making more for her the week that she had been dead. Feeling her cold cheeks and head made me feel like I wasn’t doing my job as her mum properly. I wanted my baby to be warm. When we settled Rosie down, this is what we called her cremation, a funeral isn’t the right word for a baby so we chose to call it Rosie finally being settled, We knew that no longer would Rosie be cold. No longer would I fight my natural instincts to keep my baby warm. We now believe that Rosie is warm and safe in our hearts and every time we eat a Rosey apple sweet which is what our Rose was named after we remember she is no longer cold but warm and safe in our hearts.
Four months after Rosie was born I thought that I wouldn’t be here, I thought that I was so broken i’d be with her in no time. Four months on Andrew and I talk about what she’d be doing now, how big she would be and laugh about how much more hair she’d have. Four months seems like such a long time but for me it is no time at all. Lots of people have moved on from what happened to Rosie, lots of people choose not to remember because it hinders them from being happy in their own lives. People don’t ask us about Rosie anymore, friends don’t even mention her name scared that it will make things uncomfortable or bring back painful memories. Let me explain that Rosie isn’t a painful memory but she is the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever done. I am so proud to be Rosie’s mum and so very lost without her. Please remember Rosie, she isn’t just a dead baby she was a person with her own personality that died. Rosie is as much a part of history as you and me, you only get to meet her through me, that’s the only difference. Rosie’s death doesn’t get any easier to deal with its just easier to fill life up with other things as well as grief. The pain I had when I found out Rosie was dead is still the same, I just manage to smile more now.