For Baby loss awareness week 2022 – we hear Meg’s story of her angel baby Gabriel .
“My name is Meg and I am a mother of two beautiful children, my handsome boy is 4 years old and my princess just 2.
But I am also mamma to an angel!
I was 17 weeks pregnant when I learned Gabriel would not be mine to keep. My life was destroyed, my heart broken and all hope lost after trying for so many years to be a mamma, and I finally was… Or was I?
I was lucky enough to be able to meet my boy, have a natural labour and experience everything you hope and wish for when delivering your first child, until he was taken from me after a short 12 hours after birth.
Gabriel was so beautiful, the image of his daddy already, ten perfect fingers, long like mine and ten perfect toes, unfortunately also like mine! I remember his little tongue sticking out as I pulled down his chin to inspect every inch of him, he was perfection!
He lay in my hand barely reaching from the tip of my fingers to my wrist, tiny, yet complete and already his own unique features.
I knew I’d have to face the world and return to reality at some point, but did I do that as a new mother or not? How do you answer the questions, ‘do you have kids’, ‘do you want children?’, ‘you’d be a great mum’. This was the hardest part of it all!
I didn’t want to upset people, make people feel uneasy, uncomfortable but inside, I was screaming… “I am a mother”
I held my boy in my arms and felt that unconditional love that new mummy’s feel, a bond so strong its life altering, it changes you as a person, it makes you who you are, it makes you the strongest woman in the world!!
After Gabriel I was introduced to a bereavement councillor at Wythenshawe hospital where I delivered Gabe, who was just incredible. Her name is Christine Navin and I tell you that woman changed my life! I think about her all the time and am just so grateful for all the support she gave me. I often think I’d like to go and see her and tell her I now have two healthy babies as I know she’d just be so pleased.
Christine not only helped with how I was feeling but helped plan Gabriel’s funeral, read through his postmortem results to help me understand all that scientific jargon and basically helped me see that there was a future for me after what had just happened.
Gabe’s funeral took a while as we had to wait for the postmortem to be done. We chose to have a proper funeral, there are many options of having babies lay to rest in remembrance gardens or cremated along with other babies but me and Gabriel’s dad wanted him cremated so we could scatter his ashes in a place special to us. The funeral was hard. I didn’t want anyone else to touch him so I carried his box myself and I also insisted I was to put him in the incinerator as I wanted to be with him until the end, as long as I could.
After that, I suppose it was even harder for a time as there was nothing left to do for him, he was just gone and now it was time for me to get my shit together and figure out how I was going to carry on with my life. It took a while, I think of him every day and some are harder than others, and I won’t say it gets easier, but you learn how to manage your emotions about it, you have to.
When I learned I was pregnant with Eli, my husband and I were ecstatic. My husband is not Gabriel’s father but he, just like me had been trying for a baby for so long, gone through IVF with his ex partner to no avail and after Gabe I constantly felt an absence, so to say we were happy is an understatement.
Nothing could have got me down, not morning sickness, being uncomfortable, nothing! I was just so happy that we were about to have what we both dreamed of for so long. I hoped for a boy, obviously. Not to replace Gabe but I had envisioned my life with a son when I was expecting Gabriel and I just wanted that so much and we were so lucky when Eli arrived. We didn’t find out the sex when we were expecting, so the feeling and emotion I felt when he whispered to me, it’s a boy was just so overwhelming. My family in the room with me all rushed to us and
I remember my sister saying to me over and over ‘Meg, you’ve got your boy!’
Eli was such an incredible baby, so content, happy and just easy. But he could have been a devil and I would have thought otherwise. Because I was just so happy to have him, and be able to keep him!
I remember in the early days I was a little over protective, as all mother’s are and should be, but I would have this fear that something was going to happen and he would be gone.
I was lucky enough to not suffer any baby blues too, however I did have a day! Eli was born in January and Gabriel’s anniversary is valentine’s Day and it was around this time that I began to realise what I had actually lost. I had this beautiful baby boy with me and I was so happy but at the same time, experiencing everything with Eli for those first few weeks made me realise that I didn’t just lose Gabe in 1 day, I had been pregnant with him for 4 and a half months and any pregnant woman will know, you’ve pretty much planned your life around this child already, you’ve thought about how your life will be with this new baby, what sort of mother you want to be, addressed all your bad habits and thought about how you are going to protect this child, and it’s all of that too that was taken. You don’t become a mum when your baby arrives, you have been parenting since you first found out you were expecting! I was comforted by the fact that someone had told me when you have a baby after a loss that these feelings are normal, so I knew it was ok to feel how I did.
I know I’m so lucky to have met my amazing husband who has given me two incredible, beautiful babies and I am grateful everyday. But I also feel grateful for my experience with Gabriel, it’s sad yes, but I know I was also lucky to have had that short time with him, hold him and I have those memories to keep.
Gabriel will always be with me, and it’s my job to keep him alive. I cherish every moment family, friends and new people allow me to speak of him, remember him, acknowledge him for the beautiful baby boy that touched this earth and our hearts for just a short time but left a lifetime of love and light in his passing.
I’m thankful for events like the ‘wave of light’, it’s hard, it’s sad, but for me, it’s a time I know that I don’t have to fight my feelings, I don’t have to keep myself in check, this night is for my baby Gabriel. A time I can remember him, mourn him and celebrate him!
I am a mother of 3, my first was born sleeping and I am blessed to have two by my side.”
If you need any support about anything discussed in this story, you can contact us via email or our Facebook page. If you’ve been affected by Baby Loss, contact the SANDS charity helpline. This year, Visit from the Stork is also holding a Wave of Light ceremony in Salford on 15th October 2022. Please see our Facebook page or Eventbrite for more details.