Keep Breathing

The third birthday. 
The morning of her birth, I never expected it, she was given 2 weeks, not 3 days. 
A three minute warning from hoping I could eat, to be told I was going to theatre. 
It was meant to be 2 weeks. 
John had to let go of my tightly gripped hand to get scrubs.
I had to keep breathing. 
People around me, paper flying in front of my face for a signature or two.
A syringe here, tablets there. 
Eye brow bar removal.
All I had wanted was some toast. 
I was helped into the wheelchair, 
Where was John?
He arrived just in time.
The theatre was full, a sea of blue, I could barely see the equipment.
I sat upon the trolley bed. 
Shaking, terrified. What would come next?
A midwife checked the heartbeat, could hear it faintly.
She soon made her way to stand near my head.
“Please don’t tell me the baby is sleeping” 
I begged over and over. 
I had to keep breathing.

She entered kicking and squeaking.
A girl.
670g. 1lb 5oz of baby girl.
They asked us her name.
After what seemed like a life time (5/10 minutes),
they brought her over to us, for a brief view. 
She was tightly wrapped in a towel, to keep her snug. 
Only seeing her little face. 
Then she was gone again. 
Into her incubator, off she went.
Would I see her again alive?
All I could do was keep breathing.

I was stitched back together, although I didn’t feel very whole. 
I needed to see her, but I was too numb and sore to move.
John was allowed to see her, but I had to patiently wait for a photo, some news. 
I needed to know she was still with us. 
Daddy still in his scrubs. 
Proud Dadders! Was one thing I forgot to do (of course) was to photograph Mr Scrubs.
Beaming from ear to ear he returned with photos, and a video.
She was stable.

And so incredibly tiny. 
I couldn’t wait to see her face, I knew there was to be at least a 10 day wait.
But she was stable. For now.
We had two visitors. 
One of my oldest friends, he was planning on a visit that afternoon to cheer me up.
Only we were showing off photos of our new baby. 
He was keen to look. And I felt proud.
My other visitor, a family member however point blank refused to look at her.
This hurt terribly. She’s a baby.
He turned away from her.
My beautiful new baby and he turned his head
“Nah, you’re alright”
Why? I do not know.
I met her many hours later. I couldn’t really touch her, as I was wheel chaired,
and had wires everywhere.
I was terrified to touch her. 
What if my touch broke her? Or scared her?
I’d already had a daughter in NICU, but nothing prepared me for being a micro preemie’s mum.
I cried.
Remembering to breathe.

I was now a mummy to three children.
Three Years later.
I never got to watch her open a present.
Or watch her take a step.
She never made a sandy footprint. 
Or splashed mud into her hair.
Today I have to speak about her. 
Just as I would my other children. 
She was here and not a dream.
I wish I could give her an actual kiss today, 
not some latex full of air. 
I wish I could have a day with her,
a day off from missing her, 
you know the type of day when you want a baby sitter? 
A break, you want to do something.
Well, I’d like someone to hold the shitty bereaved torch so I can have a day off. 
To be with our should have been 3 year old daughter.
But of course, I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.
Mine and her dad’s pain is no one else’s 
it is how we hold on to her, how we keep her with us.
So instead of wrapping paper and dresses.
She’s getting cement for her garden.
Just what a three year old wants.
All we can do on her third birthday
Is to keep breathing. 

Happy Third Birthday 

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