Neonatal death, the forgotten babies.
Leaving the hospital in 2012 broken, wondering whether we’d ever be able to carry on. Not knowing what to do next. I threw my proudly pumped breast milk and my pump in the bin.
I’d actually pumped quite a bit that day. I was excited by the amount in the hope that the formula feeds would be weaned and it would just be me feeding her.
We phoned and text friends and family, we ended up putting a post on Facebook 2 hours after she died. Before we got to the hospital we’d asked for positive vibes, because we knew she felt poorly, but we also knew she’d had these blips before. But had recovered.
I couldn’t bear reading the well wishes knowing our daughter had already died.
Take the pain away.
I requested cigarettes, it was one of the first things I wanted, I needed something to take away the pain. I’ve never been one for drinking, I didn’t want to vomit, I’d done enough of that.
I hoped the cigarettes would help somehow, be the answer.
They arrived, I hadn’t smoked for a while due to pregnancy, I smoked two maybe three one after each other, my husband’s step mum worried I’d pass out from the nicotine, maybe that’s what I wanted.
The pain from the heartache remained, I knew then it would take a lot more than a few cigarettes.
I think I smoked more than half a pack that day. I couldn’t fathom in my head what was going on. People came to say goodbye, which in a way we regret now, it should probably have just been us.
Then we walked out, we met our friends and family in the cafe, as if it were a family day out; a family reunion or just a catch up.
We had no idea what we were doing, how to react. I remember bumping into an ex work colleague, I told her that Melody had died, she said sorry; I said that’s okay.
But it wasn’t.
We were sat in a hospital cafe, making pleasantries while our baby had died; she was in a morgue, in a cold dark hideous part of the hospital.
No, it wasn’t okay.
We had switched our daughter’s life support machine off. She wasn’t even on one the previous day.
A carrier bag with a butter box inside carrying her belongings.
It soon became apparent that we weren’t quite catered for.
Leaflets about Stillbirth Sat in our information pack.
Poems about miscarriage and never taking a breath sat in front of us.
What just happened? Did we miss something? She’d lived; she was actually here for 5 weeks. Lived and breathed for five weeks.
Not many I know but she did.
Everywhere we turned gave us information about late losses and Stillbirth. There was miscarriage support, even babies up to 7 days. But she was 35 days – 5 weeks, just over a month old.
Some areas we were informed that she was too old to be neonatal, so we couldn’t get the support we desperately needed.
Neonatal Death – Silent
Over the years it has often felt like we’re the silent statistic. Stuck in a limbo of nothingness.
We’ve had over the years comments about how we have photos, how we got to spend time with her; almost like because she lived that is enough to not be mentioned, to have her labelled with the other deaths, an afterthought at times.
Or maybe it’s because she never came home; she was born early that people mistake her as a miscarriage, Stillbirth even a termination.
It’s painful when people, professionals get the terminologies wrong; but it’s just as painful to never get a mention. Forgotten, it is as if she didn’t matter.
Our daughter lived for 35 days. Five weeks. She died from Sepsis. Our baby is a neonatal death, at most a post-neonatal death.
Melody mattered; I’m sure she did.
I live in the UK, Mum to five children, one of whom could only stay for five weeks. Since her death, I have found a passion through writing to make sure nobody feels as alone as we did. I’m open and honest, that helps me to release the love I have for a girl who couldn’t stay.