Category Archives: I AM

Melody – Remembering Our Daughter.

I love taking photographs; even more so since Melody died. We have few photos of her, but we do have them, but in her albums there are days missing. Days which I can’t piece together what she did, moments of her life missing, memories which have faded for me.

Photographs now are of great importance to me. I try to take them of my growing children as often as I can, but I always try to capture a moment in every day, albeit small or something huge.

I don’t want to miss a thing.

In the weeks which followed the death of our daughter, we began to find comfort in seeing her name. I have always struggled with signs from her, struggled with the thought that “she is all around us”. I have worked on this over the five years, it isn’t something that has really changed, and I don’t think it will.

So, I love seeing her name, it kind of began with our memory box which my online birth group friends brought for us; her name as clear as day on the front of the box, inside the box is a tiny cushion with her name on too, it gave her presence.

Various social media pages began offering personalised graphic pictures, where they put your baby’s name on a picture, so I began “collecting” these, different designs – some were themed like for Christmas or Easter, some just had a nice or meaningful background; each included Melody.  

I can’t quite remember which picture started it off, but I remember we visited a place in Devon the first summer we were without her, there’s a section named “Melody Close”, seeing her name felt like she had been included in our day out. 

From then we began writing her name in the sand. Every beach we visited we wrote her name, close friends began to follow suit, places we had never heard of or would dream of visiting. Having the imagination I have, it is almost like she is having her own adventures, traveling the world, going to places we’d never dream or afford of going.

By our first October, Melody was soon included in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Wave of Light, her name placed by candles alongside many, many other babies’ names. I was a beautiful thing to know she was remembered in this event. The following summer I placed a status on my Facebook, asking if people would write her name in the sand at the beaches they visited, it was a way of giving her a footprint to walk in the sand; she never had the chance to feel sand between her toes, this would have been the only way.

Many pictures came through; it was touching to see the many places she was being remembered, for the moments her name was being written, she was being thought of. Sad as it is as time as moved forward, the moments of thought can lessen. As her second birthday approached, we didn’t know how we would ‘celebrate’, we found the second birthday harder than the first; from a friend’s idea from her daughter’s birthday the year before, we asked people to write her name, not just in the sand, but in any kind of way they could think of. There would be no cards, no party or her choosing a birthday cake. Our friends and family came up with the most wonderful designs and ideas – there were so many and no two were the same. It meant so much to see people had taken a moment out of their day to do a little something for her.

We are five years into this journey, and over the course of the years the photos don’t come as often. But the ones which arrive mean so much to us. We can’t physically make memories with her, but we can somehow make her memory last. When the days in which is feels all is fading her name appears, someone has taken the time to remember her.

We fill scrap books when we have time, rather than photo albums.

We have several which we love; the children are often the first to want to include her name in a place we were visiting.

She has been taken to Florida, Indiana, France, Cornwall, Australia, Scotland, and Devon to name a few.

She was remembered by a couple we have never met on their wedding day, this one landed a spot on our wall in our living room.

Here are just a few.

We named her after a character in the Doctor Who series, when she was born we knew we had picked the right name. 

We just didn’t know she would end up traveling on her own. 

I don’t want the only place her name is written is on her headstone. 

Her name should be surrounded the beauty she deserves. 

A photograph.

In parenting there is such constant competition.  
My baby took their steps before yours.  
My child read a whole book before yours. 
I’ve done so much more as a parent than you. 

It is hard to know that even in the devastating community of baby and child loss that even then there is some kind of competition.  
There shouldn’t be.  

I remember feeling particularly bad because all other baby loss mums had a shelf or something in their home to remember their babies with, I didn’t.. But now I have and I don’t really like it.
Over the course of the years there’s been a lot of mention about the quantity of photos I have for our daughter, the clothes, the memories we were able to build. 
How I’m lucky I got to spend time with her.
How lucky to have a “million” photos of her. 
(of course it isn’t a million, maybe just about 50).
I know it is 50 more than other parents, but it also 50 less than others too. 
I feel sad that I am made to feel less because I have these photos, these photos like I said others may not have. 
When the first photo was taken, not by me but some random nurse, I’d not even met her, I didn’t know that the photo that arrived in my room was the only photo I would have knowing she was alive at that point. 
I was stuck to the bed on drips, body still numb, still really poorly and I was desperate to see her, to know she was OK. 
John went to see her, midwives went to see her EVERYONE went to see her, they returned with photos and even a video. 
They’re precious to me.  The first few photos at that point were the only things keeping me going. 
Once she’d come off the ventilation, I knew then I needed to document everything about her journey. 
Her life, because at one point, she was coming home, these photos were meant to be her story to tell her at her 18th birthday.  They were never meant to be.

“In Memory of.. “

I have empty folders of days I’d not photographed or days where I wasn’t allowed to visit.  To me now that kills me that I don’t have every single day of her short life. 
She was not meant to die. 
I don’t have cuddle cot photos, or bed sharing photos, we didn’t get chance to spend extra time after she died, we didn’t get that option.
So when I share the photos I have it isn’t to hurt anyone else, for attention,  it is because it is all I have, I don’t expect other people to comment on “how lucky I am to have these photos”.
I hear this often, as well as “at least you got time to with her”.  Same with everyone else it was never enough.
Well because if I had a choice, the same choice anyone in our situation would have, I’d swap the photos for her any day. 

Every single baby/child loss parent is in this shitty time together. Nobody’s journey is worth less than someone else’s because of how different the situation is. 
I’m not lucky I got to spend time with her. 
I’m lucky because I GET to be Melody’s Mum, no matter how long she lived.
This photo is her second photo, (her first she is completely naked flat out in her incubator).
Here she is Two Hours and Fifteen Minutes old. There are a few taken close together. 
At these moments I did not know how many more pictures I’d get. 
Whether this would be the only way I’d have seen her alive, 
I didn’t know a thing, apart from she was stable. 
But to me it could have meant anything. 

This is her second from last alive, (her last is with the three of us broken beyond repair, watching the vent being removed from our precious daughter).
When this photo was taken, she was 34 days One Hour and Ten minutes old. 
We had no idea that she would die. 
We had no idea that this photo was going to be the final one of our then normality. 
We had no idea that this photo would turn into a part of a memorial. 
We had no idea that LESS than 24 hours after this photo was taken she’d be dead. 
We have photos of her after her heart stopped beating, and in the chapel of rest, only but a few have seen that one (the hospital ones only myself and John have seen those). 
I cannot bear to look at them, this may sound particularly ungrateful to anyone who hasn’t got photos, 
I can’t imagine that loss, that feeling. 
But to me Melody is so like her sisters, and even her brother at times, seeing her in such a devastating way, only reminds me, not just of the loss of Melody, but the unimaginable anxieties that come with being a bereaved parent. 
I don’t just see her, I see them too. 
I cannot imagine ever not having photos, or for the parents that couldn’t have a footprint…because there are footprints just too small. 
But please don’t make my memories, my pain any less because I do have the photos. 
Because if I could choose to have any of this shit, I’d have chosen not photos and no footprints just to give her one last cuddle and one last kiss. 
I’d have never let go. 

#captureyourgrief I AM

Today we are given the task to finish these five sentences.

I Wish
I Remember
I Could Not Believe
If Only 
I Am 

I WISH  I had held her longer, once she died. I felt like as her mum I had abandoned her, I was too scared to hold her, too scared to bath her. Once she was returned to us after her bath, I didn’t pick her up, I didn’t know if I was allowed to disturb her, would I hurt her. Of course I wouldn’t have hurt her. That we had spent more time with just me, her and her dad, nobody else. We thought we did the right thing by inviting people to say goodbye, but it should have been just us.  That we had co-slept with her, or had the equipment to have allowed us more time. I know I sound ungrateful, as we had longer than most, we had her whole life. But we didn’t know it was going to be her whole life, we weren’t supposed to say goodbye. I wish I’d sung her a lullaby, or read her a story.
I wish she hadn’t died, she should have been still here.

I REMEMBER Wanting the pain to stop, I cannot even describe what it felt like to have the doctor tell us that she wouldn’t survive. The same woman only five weeks before had told us she was doing well in the NICU. She’d wheeled her away after showing her her beautiful pink warm face.
How I couldn’t control any of it. Her birth, her life, her death. My knees were weak from the sickening blow. I remember not knowing how the hell I was going to breathe again, how we were going to move forward in life. The Pain has never gone away, it still remains, but I can live with it. I have to live with it.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE It happened to  us. That not only could I not save our beautiful girl, but I could not save my children from the heartache of having their baby sister die. I admit when I’d had my miscarriages in earlier years, I never mentioned them, I needed to protect them, I still haven’t told them. I didn’t want them to know that babies can die.
I still feel like a shit mum for being unable to protect any of them, my one job..

IF ONLY Things were different, not my life, we may have had five living children, but the day she died everything the surrounds her death, the lead up to it. If only things were done differently, there was a chance there could have been a better outcome. I do go over and over, I know I shouldn’t, but the strength that baby had, the hope we were given, the babies after her with less chances who have survived, it pinches. If Only.

I AM a Mum to FIVE children. A Mum who makes mistakes, who finds things hard, who laughs hard, screams the loudest, and cry until I can no longer breathe.

I AM HUMAN.

(Google)


I cannot believe that sometimes; I wish I didn’t have to remember who I am. 
If Only