The last time I was happy you were growing inside of me. We were debating whether you’d be a boy or a girl. Your Daddy knew he was destined to be a girl Dad. I was putting the finishing touches on your nursery, packing my hospital bag, and spending quality time with your big sisters. I was relaxing and catching up with friends before the adventure of 3 little ones began. I felt like I was glowing and so ready to meet you. Suddenly all of that changed without any warning…You were gone and there was nothing I could do to protect you.
Only one week before you died I thought you were coming very soon. On the morning of your death, your big sister Ellie spoke to you and said “You can come anytime now. We’re ready to meet you”. We were ready, but not for what was to come. The day you died, both your sisters woke with tummy aches but you were happily kicking away before the sun rose in the sky. I was busy looking after them when I noticed you were quieter than normal. The girls and I danced around the house trying to get you to join in. They poked you to see if they could get you to wiggle. You were quiet. You were still. I began to panic and messaged your Daddy. My sentence began with, “I think I am being paranoid but…” You see, two weeks before, I thought I was being paranoid. Your movements changed and I went to the hospital. They reassured me that you were okay and I had faith because you were moving around like crazy. I was sent for a scan 3 days before you died, and you were happy in there. There was nothing to worry about and you’d be here soon.
Little did I know that when I walked into the hospital on Thursday 4th of June 2020, my life was about to be changed forever. My heart would be shattered with words that I never thought I’d hear. “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat.” I cannot even explain the shock, the wailing cries that came from deep within, the tears that poured from my eyes like rivers, and the trembling of my whole body. I screamed “No” in my head over and over again. I couldn’t get any words out. If I could just close my eyes this wouldn’t be happening. If they got a new machine, you’d start kicking me again. If I prayed hard enough, God would step in and bring you back to me. None of this happened. You were gone and you weren’t coming back. There was a lot of talking around me but all I heard was noise and the silent sounds of your heart.
Decisions were made but I sat there numb, empty and heart broken. We went home that night. I couldn’t bear the thought of your sisters waking in the morning without me and without saying goodbye to you. The first person we told about your death was Nana. Her response was exactly how I was feeling, “But she was just in the hospital last week” as the tears flowed down her face. It makes me wonder if you could have been saved. If you wanted to come but the Doctors said it was too soon, and you were safer on the inside. You weren’t safer on the inside because now my arms are empty.
Grandma was the next person I phoned with the news. She was eagerly awaiting the phone call about your arrival. I felt like as I shared my reality I was ripping her heart out of her chest and stomping on it. Your death was not just devastating for me, but for everyone who played a part in your journey thus far. Our family lost a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, a niece, a cousin, a great grand-daughter and a treasured friend. Who knew that a few moments could change the lives of so many people around us? I reached out to a few close friends to share this unexpected and tragic news. This is the time I became silent. I gave into my overwhelming pain and laid crippled on the floor at the thought of not having you inside me growing, nor Earth side in my arms surrounded by admiration, love and joy.
The next morning your Daddy told your big sisters the heartbreaking news in such a gentle and soothing way. Oh how I wish you could be here right now to feel the love and tenderness in his hugs. I long to see you in his arms, laying on his chest and cuddled into his neck. One thing is certain. You have the best Daddy in the world and his love for you is endless. Over the next couple of days as my body was preparing for your silent arrival, I took every opportunity to stroke my tummy, talk to you, cuddle you in the night, glance at my loved baby bump in the mirror and share stories of our journey with you together. The tears flowed endlessly until the moment you arrived. In this time leading up to your arrival I felt a multitude of big emotions and constantly wished I would wake from this nightmare.
On Sunday 7th of June 2020 I walked into the hospital in the morning knowing that when I left, you wouldn’t be in my arms. That this empty and sinking feeling was here to stay. That I was going to become a mother to an angel and be changed in so many ways. I didn’t want to feel any pain as the emotional toll was unbearable but as the contractions came I embraced each one of them in a way I never thought I could. I desired to meet you, to soak in every one of your features and imprint you into my mind, never to be forgotten. I was eager to hold you, kiss you and tell you how much we loved you, how wanted you were and how we would miss you every day for the rest of our lives. I was fearful that once I held you, I would never be able to let you go. That I’d run out of the hospital clutching onto my last hope that you were alive in my arms.
When I held you for the first time you were perfect and I couldn’t help but say, “She looks just like Zoey”. These words will stick with me each day as I watch your big sister grow without even knowing you. As I held you I thought of the moments we would miss, and how this was my only chance to create an everlasting memory of you in my mind. My time with you was too short, but no length of time would have been long enough as I hoped for a lifetime with you. My heart ached for more but I will always cherish the time I held you in my arms and the time you spent growing within me. I will never regret seeing you, holding you, kissing you and embracing you as you lay silent and still. Tears streamed down my face as we said our first hellos and our final goodbyes within hours of bringing you Earth side.
We left the hospital in the early hours of the morning where we saw other hopeful and expecting parents begin the possible journey of welcoming their new bubs. We heard the beautiful sounds of newborns being brought into this world safely, yet we left with this feeling of emptiness, hopelessness and heartache that we could have never thought possible. Leaving you behind was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You are our baby and we couldn’t save you from this cruel reality of life and death. You were not supposed to die before me. I had envisioned your future and the space you would fill in our growing family. Coming home without you was excruciating, as every moment without you has been. Every baby arrival announcement since your death stings me with so much pain and envy. That should have been you. That should have been our joyous news.
The day we lost you will be etched in my mind forever. The day you were born will forever shatter my heart. My love for you knows no bounds. It is strong and powerful as is my grief. You were lost, yet you are missed and loved more than any words could express. You are our angel baby Georgie, now, always and forever.
Amy Malan is mother to Georgie, born on June 7th, 2020.