I wake up at 6am. I slept. Hurrah for the first time in a week I slept a whole night through. I can hear the waves crashing in the distance and our cabin is so peaceful. We are nestled in the bush right near the beach. I roll over and kiss Greg. Going through what we have in the last 8 days has definitely brought us closer. While we might grieve in different ways and be going through this experience in different ways I feel so supported by him. I know the pressure of keeping it strong has been getting to him. I know we can get through this together. We will just take one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.
We decide to go and lie by the pool for a while. I sit there with the sun beaming down on me and wonder how I can be grateful for this day. I know I am lying in paradise but at the same time it feels so wrong for doing it. I feel like I should be in the foetal position crying my eyes out. Instead here I am at the pool of a beautiful resort and soaking up the sun. I look up to the sky and think of my boy. I wonder how we got here. How just over one week ago life was completely different. It feels like a rug was dragged from under us and now we have to get back up and just get on with it.
I decide to go spend some time alone on the beach. I sit in the sand and just weep for my little boy. I love him with all my heart. I start to go through my whole pregnancy again in my head thinking what could have been done differently. I google about a million different things around stillbirth. I search for answers. So many babies lost so many with no explanation. Knowing that the cord is what took Hamish kind of gives us some peace but at the same time it is so cruel knowing that. It was the one thing that was supposed to be giving him life.
My first week of motherhood is not how I expected it to be. I thought I would be knee deep in nappies, breastfeeding and endless cuddles. The only thing that is the same as what I expected is the lack of sleep. Not from being woken up by a little one. Instead I lie each night in my bed in complete silence. I can’t get to sleep no matter what I try.
I have to get packing. We are flying out today to Byron Bay which is my happy place. I love being close to the ocean and even though my doctor and midwife advise against swimming for 6 weeks, just being able to put my feet in the ocean will be soothing for me. I do wonder how I can pull myself together and get on a plane but I know staying in my apartment another night will not be good for me.
Just before my flight one of my goddess friends comes over and drops another hamper of food and flowers. I sit with her and tell her my story. Being quite intuitive she tells me she channelled Hamish’s soul and spent some time with him on Friday. This gives me a little more peace hearing he is part of my soul family and in a past life he may have been my grandfather. I feel his nurturing presence and I know my little Hamish had a purpose for this life and it will keep unfolding through Greg and I.
Another comforting story was the midwife who discovered Hamish had no heartbeat also saw a little blonde blue eyed toddler sitting on the midwifes station in the middle of the birthing ward while I was being induced. She came to tell me a day after his birth. I knew it must of been him. Watching over us as we went through his birth. I also had a dream that he came to me when I was dozing in and out of sleep on the second night after he was born. He came to me and stroked my face and said “Don’t worry Mummy it is all going to be ok”.
Hamish wherever your soul is now know that Mummy and Daddy love you more each day.
That’s it we need to getaway. I wake up from a few hours sleep. I know we have to get out of Sydney and spend some time away. I text my friend to help me book a trip. Within a few hours its all sorted. We are off to Byron Bay in a couple of days for a week. We have booked to stay right near the beach in the rainforest. As much as I don’t want to go on a ‘Holiday’ right now I want to spend some time away from the apartment. I want to be close to the ocean and to let it help us heal. Both Greg and I feel most at peace when we are close to nature and the ocean. It really is our happy place. Byron Bay was the first holiday we went on as a couple.
Hamish is constantly in my thoughts. I scroll through the photos on my phone over and over. I especially love the photos we took when we went outside through the gardens of the hospital. You can see his blond hair shining in the sun. My sister comes over with her laptop so we can transfer the photos Deb took from the CD to usb. I look lovingly at each one. I am so grateful we have these precious photos of Hamish’s birth and the days after. Deb says she isn’t a professional with the camera but let me tell you these photos are brilliant. They capture our little man perfectly.
Our first night at home. I drag myself to bed around midnight and take Hamish’s bunny Buster with me. I cuddle Greg and cry just longing for my little boy. I lie awake most of the night just thinking through all the what ifs. I cant let myself sleep. The adrenaline running through my body is still pumping through every vein. I get out of bed around 6am and just start doing things around the house. I make breakfast, start cleaning and just putting things away. A lovely friend drops over a box of food. She has cooked us a beautiful vegetarian shepard’s pie and minestrone soup. We are super grateful as it means for the next few days we don’t have to think about food as its just there for us.
I look around at our perfect new family home. If there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t give a crap about material things this was it. Greg and I have worked super hard to buy our apartment and to ensure we have financial security for our family. The funny thing is none of that matters anymore. I would give up anything to have Hamish back. I had a tough childhood and the one thing I have always worked towards as an adult is to not have to worry too much about things like having a roof over my head and food on the table each night. Nothing matters anymore. The only thing I want right now is to hold my little boy.
The funeral director arrives at the hospital and it’s time for us to make a move. I pick my little boy up in his kilt and cuddle him to my body. We walk straight out of the maternity ward into a secret staff lift down to the bottom floor of the hospital. They let us out the back loading dock and we get into the funeral car. I hold Hamish in my arms for the 30 minute drive to the Chapel. There is nothing I want more than to just close my eyes and wake up from this nightmare.
I know we are going to make Hamish proud but it just hurts so much. We walk into his funeral together with all my family and friends standing up. Last time I walked down the aisle was our wedding 3 years prior. I feel Hamish’s presence and know he is in a good place.
The service starts with Eric Clapton ‘Tears in Heaven’ then the lovely celebrant starts the introduction. Both Greg and I get up and speak. Greg reads a beautiful letter he wrote to Hamish 2 months earlier. I stand next to him proud knowing he is such a loving Daddy.
I then read something I wrote in the hospital the day before.
Hamish you have brought so much joy and happiness into our lives in your short little life
We love you our boy and you are so precious
Your love has been felt and your mummy and daddy will always celebrate you and love you
Our little angel up in heaven we will always know we can talk to you and feel your presence with us everyday
While words can’t express how sad we feel right now we know you came into our lives for a reason
We will try and find the strength to move forward one step at a time
Missing out on all the firsts is going to be really tough though
Going home from the hospital without you
Celebrating what should have been your first Christmas
Celebrating what should of been our first family holiday
Staying up all night to feed you
Holding you when you cry
Taking you to meet all your loved ones
Taking you for walks in your beautiful pram
Watching you sleep
Singing you lullabies
Seeing you learn to walk
Teaching you how to kick a ball
and ride a bike
All of these things we will never know but know one thing we do know is our hearts will always yearn for you little one
Every year we will celebrate you
Every year we will be grateful for your short life
Every year we will not forget you Hamish Joseph Matthews
Love you always and forever
My life will never be the same, there will always be a piece of my heart that was taken by my little boy.
We are now getting to the end of the service and it’s time to say goodbye. They play Ed Sheeran ‘Small Bump’ as my family and friends come up to his wollen nest where he lays peacefully. They light a candle and put a piece of thistle down next to him. As each of them say their goodbyes they come and give Greg and I a big hug. I see the tears streaming down my friend and families faces and it is heartbreaking.
This is it. Everyone has left the chapel. We have Jack Johnson playing in the background ‘Better Together’. It’s time for us to say goodbye. I stare down at my son surrounded by shining candles knowing he is so loved and he knows it. I cry and lean over him. We blow out the candles and say goodnight. Goodnight seems better than goodbye. We carry him in his nest to the end of the chapel and lay him down. They close the curtains.
Goodnight Hamish you are so so so loved and don’t you forget it.
We then head into town and my friends have organised a little bar where we can all go and have some food and drinks. The last thing I feel like is drinking but to have my friends and family around me means the world. It is so comforting to talk to everyone about what we have been through in the last few days. It makes me realise how much love we have in our lives and how blessed we are. It makes me realise how loved Hamish was in those 9 months.
Another restless night with little sleep. The midwives gave me 2 lots of sleeping pills. I take them and they put me to sleep but less than an hour later I am laying wide awake. I can’t possibly sleep. My body is fuelled with adrenaline and I can’t switch off. I have been drinking a lot of water and making sure I eat as I know if I can’t sleep and eat I will probably collapse by the time we make it to Hamish’s funeral today. It’s set for 3:30pm. The dread in my mind is building as I know we will be leaving the hospital today and going straight to the funeral. Once at the funeral the time to say goodbye will be nearing.
My little brother comes in to visit and hold his nephew. It was beautiful to see them together. I know Hamish would have loved his uncle and had many adventure together. Deb is here again and lets us know she has been with another family all night. It breaks my heart to know this is a daily occurrence in Australia. There are 6 stillborn babies in Australia each day and the rate has not reduced in 2 decades. Deb helps us with the final arrangements of the day. We decide to take Hamish for a walk outside in the sunshine. Today is just perfect, the sun is shining bright and it is so warm. I cherish the moments outside with our little boy. The sun shines bright on his face and I see that his hair is blonde. We love you Hamish our little blue eyed, blond hair angel. I weep with happy tears knowing he is where he is supposed to be. I still struggle though holding him.
The hospital pastor comes to see us in the hospital room so we can perform a blessing. I read out a little note that I wrote a month back.
Hey lil one
Just wanted to write you a note before you are born. You are coming into a family that will love you unconditionally and will always have your back. We will give you all the love in the world and help you become the best person you can be. Sometimes you might get frustrated with us but we will always have your best interests at heart. Your Dad and I can’t wait to shower you with kisses and hugs and so much love. You never know what life will throw at you but with a grateful and open heart you can do anything. I already know your a super generous person with a big heart. You are compassionate and will always help others where you can. The biggest day of my life is coming up when I give birth to you and I know it’s going to be a freaking amazing day! I will be calm knowing you know what to do and will come into this world with grace and ease. Birthing you will be a joy and I will soak up every moment.
Greg and I put water across his head blessing him with so much love.
In what seems like a big rush we meet the funeral director and have to put little Hamish in his final outfit which is a pride of Scotland kilt. I dress him carefully and wrap him up in his blanket and swaddle. I look down at his cute lips which are the same shape as mine. I look down at his hair and peaceful closed eyes. I cry out as I know it won’t be long till I have to say goodbye to my precious son.
I love you with all my heart Hamish. You will be remembered and I will always live in your honour.
We got moved yesterday into a maternity room lastnight. While this is daunting to be moved from the birthing suite to the maternity rooms I am happy to be able to get out of the room where Hamish was delivered. Deb brought in a cold cot and set it up in our room. We got to spend the night with Hamish sleeping next to us. While we didn’t get any sleep it was lovely to have him in our room with us. I cherished each minute as it ticked past knowing that the time we would spend with him would be coming to an end shortly. I spent time just looking down at his gorgeous face, stroking his hair and chubby cheeks. Greg and I told him how much love we felt for him. We sung to him and held him close.
The morning came and we had to send him back to be held in the cold room. I got myself out of bed. By this time it has been 4 days since I have slept more that 2 hours. I have a shower and try and deal with the physical pain I am feeling after the labour and the emotional pain that is also taking over my mind and body. I wonder why Hamish choose us as his parents. I wonder why he wanted to touch our lives in this way. I wonder if there is anything else I could have done. I rethink my whole pregnancy in my head. It was picture perfect. No morning sickness, not much tiredness. I felt alive when I was pregnant. I felt so much vitality that I didn’t worry too much about my little boy. I knew each day I woke up feeling wonderful my boy did too. Unfortunately his passing would have only been up to 2 days before I went to hospital. He may have been wrapped in the cord for some time but he was fighting. If only my body had screamed out earlier to tell me what was going on.
By the afternoon my family was back to visit. I also had my friends come in and visit. They all had a turn holding Hamish. Giving him loving cuddles and wishing him all the best in his angel life. I felt so honoured how much love we had around us especially towards our little boy. Hamish was loved by so many. He has so many loving aunts and uncles, grandparents, two great grandparents. My 87 year old Pop came to meet him. This broke my heart as I knew how excited Pop was to meet his first great grandson. He recently had heart surgery which had given him a new lease on life. I knew my Pop would be such a loving influence on our little mans life.
Deb came to see us and we had to finalise the arrangements for Hamish’s funeral. We decided to have it on Wednesday (tomorrow) in the afternoon. I invited family and close friends to farewell him. My lovely sister came in to help us put together an order of service. My other beautiful sister who is just over 6 months pregnant is by my side everyday since we found out our little boy didn’t have a heartbeat. It is comforting to have my family by my side and my loving husband Greg. We plan out his special day and meet with the celebrant. Our celebrant takes notes intently for about an hour on Hamish’s last 9 months. I still pinch myself to see if this is really my reality. Planning my little ones funeral is heartbreaking. We are less than a week away from his due date and I still can’t reconcile how and why this has happened.
I love you Hamish