It is with immense sadness, pride and love that I decided to start this blog. 20 weeks into my complicated pregnancy, I went into premature labour and on 17th January 2016 at 12:15am, my beautiful son Rubén Ortiz-Illidge was born peacefully sleeping. Neither my partner Paul or I could have ever imagined that our lives would take this unexpected and unwanted road, but nonetheless here we are, for the rest of our lives.
Although losing our son has been a tragic ordeal, we were lucky enough to get to spend 3 weeks with him following his death; this is, for his age and size, somewhat rare. These precious moments were filled with tons of ‘mummy kisses’, laughter and very little tears. It was giving him back that was the real torture. We spent hours examining him, making mental notes of his physical attributes from his fine blonde hair to his wrinkles and dimples. I remember clearly feeling of pure fear that I would forget his face. Needless to say that is was pretty soon after I realised how ridiculous that was.. I found so much comfort in holding my son. I didn’t feel lonely, I didn’t feel scared and I didn’t miss him so much that my whole body hurt. I didn’t cry when I had him, I didn’t reminisce about what
could of should of been. I didn’t do or feel any of the things I did when I didn’t have him. When the nurses came each day to take him back down to the mortuary, I could feel the intense anxiety that would take my breath away.
I found a poem not long after Rubén died that resonates with me even to this day:
Following the loss of our son, we were given a few pieces of literature from the charity SANDS, (Stillborn and Neonatal Death Society) by the hospital and were sent on our way. We had to cope with the loss of our son, the loss of the dreams and the future we had envisioned, the planning of his funeral and finding ways to keep his memory alive, all on our own. No-one can ever predict how they would cope or how they would feel after such a traumatic loss but I believe everyone can benefit in some way from help and support. I have spent endless days reading all types of blogs and posts from other people who had gone through the same ordeal we have with their own children and, in an odd way, I found some comfort in knowing we were not alone in going through this. Despite this, my family and I was stunned to see the lack of support given to bereaved families following such a loss. Find out more about what we are doing to combat this here.
Even though our journey has only just begun and it was a difficult decision for me to decide whether or not to set up this blog; I am typically a very private person; only a handful of people knew that Paul and I were even expecting. But as a focus for my grief, along with keeping my son’s memory alive and being therapeutic for me, I am hoping it will help ease the pain of at least one person in the same way it has helped me. We have not gone through all of the ‘firsts’ yet – his first birth/death anniversary, our first Christmas or New Years without him – we haven’t even passed June 1st and what would have been his due date. But by using this blog as a type of ‘journal’, I am hoping that when others read it, they will see that what they are feeling isn’t abnormal. Baby loss is a loss like no other. While baby loss is quite often regarded as the most painful type of loss, there is so much taboo that surrounds discussing it. Whether a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, it is a pain that no-one should have to go through and it is my hope that people will find this page to be a useful and safe place to express their loss, to find support or information and ultimately a place to aid them in their journey through grief.