I never really expected the days between her birthday and anniversary to hurt as much as they do. The run-up to the anniversary is never easy; it never shocks me how much this one hurts. The date of her birth gives us a moment, a few days of happy, to grip tightly on to; we can relive the happy memories, the things we built to be memories; like the weather, the daffodils, the hope that we had.
Just the day before there was hope; hope for the future plans for the next day, the day was amazing. If I knew what would be occurring less than 24 hours later, I would have held her longer; in fact, I probably would never have let her go. Everything about that day, those hours play in my mind repeatedly. Each and every anniversary I remember.
My husband phoned in the morning as he did every day; I was always so scared to make that phone call – I am not keen on phone calls now – He was told she wasn’t ‘feeling well’. She’d had blips like this before, where she’d needed a blood transfusion due to regular blood tests (premature babies don’t have a lot reserved for blood tests).
I needed to be with her. The original plan for the day was for a girly day; myself, my eldest daughter and her; we’d even been given hope for sister cuddles. Nothing went to plan; her siblings went to stay with family as a temporary measure; we fully expected to be collecting them later in the day to fulfill these plans.
We fully expected everything else but the outcome we had; I drove 90 down the back roads to the hospital; we assumed there would be a helicopter waiting to transfer her. We expected to find her being the diva that she had been a couple of times before. Our daughter was cheeky; she never did as she was expected, sailed through ICU and was well on her way to leaving HDU. She would pull up to 12 feeding tubes out a day, one of which caused her to faint…this is what we were expecting. These memories are what fill my lead-ups.
We arrived and buzzed the door was we normally did; behind the brick wall, she was dying. We were NOT expecting that.
Related: The Unexpected Waves of Grief
“I’m afraid she won’t survive.”
As it was April Fool’s Day, I remember asking if they were joking.
Sepsis stole our beautiful baby.
The lead-ups are there to help me remember her, her moments, her life. They fill me with dread, and nothing I can do will ever make them go away. I am mostly scared that I won’t remember.
This sixth anniversary, I still cannot believe it happened to us.