Sunday, 29 July 2012


I mentioned in a previous post about the funeral director's comments about being a spiritualist, and how his comments really helped me at a time that I really needed it.

I thanked him for his kind words and told him how they had really put things into perspective for me, and that I would be really interested to learn more. I have been bought up as a Christian, by a Christian family, however have always kept an open mind to other people's opinions and beliefs, with the intention of forming my own ideas. When I travelled the world at 19, I encountered many other cultures and was fascinated by the beliefs of other religons and tried to learn as much as I could to help make my own choices. I especially loved learning about Buddhism and spent a long time speaking with the monks about what they believed and read several books about their religon.

The funeral director contacted me, with the contact details for a close friend of his, who is a medium, and said to contact her to learn more about his religon and how the Spirit World works. I knew very little about this world, aside from having my cards read about four or five years ago, and after having that done I was very skeptical as the answers I was given was not what I wanted to hear. Saying that though, everything the lady told me unfolded in just the way she had predicted.

I met with the lady friend of his, and she spent a good hour explaining to me about how the world of spirits work and how she came to know all of this, and how she is able to communicate with spirits, and has been able to from a very young age. That answered all my questions on that side of things, and then she asked me if I would like to know about Harry. I was unsure how I felt about it, but as all she knew was that we had lost a baby, and she knew his name, and nothing about me, I thought it couldn't hurt to hear what she had to say. She told me I had a nun spirit guide called Sister Veronika and told me somethings about my childhood that I hadn't shared with anyone for a long time. She told me a lot about how Harry's spirit was still quite poorly and was being looked after in the nursery of the spirit world by two female ancestors. She told me that as soon as he was better, they would bring him to me and that I would know he was with me as I would be able to smell lily of the valley or violets. He would also come and put his hand on my arm when I am waking from sleep, and I might mistake it for William, but it will be Harry. She also mentioned some other things about my pregnancy and the events surrounding Harry's death and she was absolutely spot on. She told me that Harry's spirit hasn't done what it was intended to do, and that everyone's spirit has a "mission", and his was not fulfilled by his short time with us. He is destined to be a part of our family, so he will be coming back to us, and I will know it is him when I look into his eyes. She told me I would raise three children, and he will not be coming back as my next child, but my third. When we were finished, the lady told me not to be sad, as my boy would be coming back.

I left feeling much more settled and content, but slightly confused. What if this thought keeps me going and I don't grieve properly? What if this is all a load of rubbish and I have just been told a lot of coincidental information? It stayed in my head for days to come.

I was sat reading the Sunday papers at my parents house days later, and was reading a special about ladies perfumes. Randomly, the fragrances were groups by floral scent, and what should be at the top of the page? A group of scents similar to lily of the valley and next to that, violets. I was stunned.

I decided to go and see an evening of clairvoyance recommended by the lady who I saw. Keeping an open mind again, I listened to this medium talk to the other people in the audience about their loved ones, but found her not as accurate as the first lady I had seen. She was using peopel's personal items to help her with her readings, and I gave her my ring that my parents gave me for my 18th birthday. She took it and said "Your life is topsy turvy at the moment" and I said yes, and she started saying a few things that I wasn't really following, but stopped and said that she felt it would be more appropriate to speak to me after the evening had finished as she felt this was not for an audience. She said that she knew something traumatic had happened but couldn't put her finger on it. I told her we had lost our son, and she told me that my great-grandmother was looking after him and that he was ok. She told me that he has been with me, and that I know when he is with me as I can smell him. Now, ever since I saw that first lady, and I smell any kind of unexplained/unexpected floral smell, I think of Harry. She told me that I sing to him (which I do) and that he is trying to let me know he is around by sending me white feathers. I can't tell you how many white feathers I have seen this week, but it has been a noticeable amount. The thing that shocked me the most, and my friend as well, was that she said "he is coming back". For two people to say such similar things has made me feel like there must be some truth in this.

I am going to do my own reading into all this, and may meet with the first lady I saw, again. But in some way it has made me feel better. I don't want to think too much about it all as it is one of those things that could be all pie in the sky, but it is a nice way to look at a bad situation, and I will take that, for now...

Blown away...

We had the first event of Harry's Trust this week, a sponsored walk organised by an old school friend. Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny day which made for an excellent turn out. There were blue helium balloons organised for all the people taking part to hold along their way, to be released when we reached the spot where we would be having a picnic after the walk.

It was amazing to see how many people had been touched by our story, and had come along to support us. I could see so many balloons bobbing about in the sea breeze, telling apart the "walkers" from the tourists. I felt overwhelmed. A lot of people who I didn't even know, who had come as they had heard from someone else. I couldn't believe it.

Setting up Harry's charity has been such a support for me. Not just to keep my mind busy but also to know, that in some way, I am able to support other people who have been in the same (ish) position as me. So that is why I was so overwhelmed, that others were helping to fundraise for charities that mean so much to me.

We walked along the seafront and it was just breathtaking to turn around and see how many people were following on the walk.


We had organised for each balloon to have a message to Harry on it. Some of the balloons were from little children, who had drawn pictures for Harry. William, my eldest son, is yet to have mastered his artistic skills and did a very lovely scribble, which he told me was a picture of the balloon. I found it much harder to write my message to Harry. What do you write to your baby that you will never see again? I could have sat and wrote a whole letter to him but only had a small space. I wrote "To my darling little Harry, You are in my thoughts... constantly. We all miss you. You are loved, so much, by so many. With love from, your Mummy xxx" I could only hope that somehow, he would be able to read this message. And then, as we were walking along the seafront, amazingly, my balloon came loose from William's pushchair, and was off! Up into the sky, soaring higher and higher. Alone. I was at first a bit upset as I hadn't had the emotional moment I had thought I would, letting go of my balloon. It was taken unexpectedly, so suddenly, and too soon. But on reflection, this is how I lost my baby.... taken unexpectedly, so suddenly and too soon. It was meant to be this way. My Nan said to me that Harry wanted my balloon first. And I like to look at it that way too.

When we got to the end point, we were met by a local newspaper photographer, who gathered us for a photograph. When he'd taken the photograph, we all let the balloons go. Watching all the balloons together in a group, each with their little messages to Harry, was a touching moment. As Harry's mum, it was nice to see a symbol of everyone's thoughts and wishes for Harry soaring off into the sky for our little boy waiting to read them all in Heaven.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The emotions of others...

One thing that being a bereaved parent has taught me is to be strong for others.

Watching our families greive for Harry has been really difficult, as you think that you are the only one suffering, and become consumed by thoughts of how you are feeling. Suddenly you are reminded that others are greiving too, and at first I couldn't get my head around it. I would think "Harry was my baby, I carried him for nine months, I knew him, I gave birth to him.... how can you feel the pain or sadness I feel?" Thankfully, most people in our families have been strong for Jamie and I in our presence, to support us, and have been able to deal with their own grief in their own way, in private or away from us. Others haven't been as helpful, and my husband and I have had to keep strong for them.
Although, sometimes it has been useful to share and voice our experiences, especially with my Mother as she was there at the hospital when Harry was born, and witnessed all the trauma that my husband and I did. So for the times when my husband doesn't want to talk, it has been useful to talk to her as she knows exactly what I am talking about, when I relive the experience with her, again and again.

I have also learnt about how differently men and women grieve. Women want to talk and to feel their emotions. Men want to accept, and make things better, and to put things that can't be fixed into locked boxes that need not be opened again. At first I found this strange, but it is again another reminder of how different men and women are.

It has been hard to be in a public place for the past few weeks. I was really concerned about being "that woman who lost her baby". I was worried that people who knew what had happened, would try to ignore me, or for someone to ask "what did I have?" and have to tell them the story about Harry. We have thankfully only had a few people who didn't know and had to tell, as news travels fast in a small town, and I have seen a few people avoid eye contact with me in an attempt to not have to address me. It was painful at first but now I realise that people are afraid of their own emotions in that circumstance, as well as mine. And that's ok. It affects people in different ways and I can accept that.

I have also had to consider the emotions of little ones in the past few weeks. There is a dear little girl at William's nursery who before I was pregnant has always been ever so sweet to me, and she calls me "William's mum" which is just so cute. She knew we were having a baby as her mum was having a baby at the same time as us. Now, we had decided to tell William about Harry when he asked about our baby but he didn't for a few weeks. This dear little girl spoke to me when I picked up William from nursery and asked "William's mum, do you still have your baby?" This took me by surprise, as speaking to a child about a death, especially a baby's death, has to be taken sensitively. I just told her "no sweetheart, we don't. He was very poorly". She wasn't to know, but I know that her parents have since told her that Harry is now "the brightest star in the sky", which is what she told me earlier this week, which was lovely.
William has been asking over the past week or so, "where is our baby?" He knew we were expecting a new arrival, as I had been talking to him about how we would be changing the baby's nappy together, and bathing together, and having to be quiet when the baby was asleep. He used to kiss my pregnant belly and tell the baby he loved him through my skin. But although William saw the tears over the first few weeks, he never asked any questions, until these last few days. When he asked me "Where is our baby?" he was lifting my top to see my tummy, obviously realising it was much smaller than when I was pregnant. I knew I had to tell William what had happened, as I felt that keeping it a secret might be potentially damaging to him years down the line. I showed William the photographs I have of Harry and told him "this is our baby, but he was very poorly". SANDS, one of the charities Harry's Trust supports, gave us a book called "A Star for Bobby", which I would absolutely recommend to anyone wanting to explain about the death of a baby to a child. William has loved it, and it has helped him to understand that Harry has gone. It even shows the family (of birds) visiting their babies grave, which prompted me to take William to Harry's grave. At Harry's grave we have put a little windmill, and William has the same one in our garden. It was good for William to recognise that Harry had the same windmill, as they have so much of the same in both of them. It made me sad when we were up at the burial ground, watching William play with the windmill, and touching the flowers and the tree next to Harry's grave. I was thinking that William should be playing with his baby brother, and growing up together. And this was the feeling of another "loss" - the loss of William's brother... I hope that as William gets older he will understand better that he had a brother, only for a short while, and that Harry will be William's guardian angel as he gets older.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Dealing with the physical and emotional loss

Obviously, I still needed to see a midwife to check on my post-natal recovery. I think this was as hard for them as it was for me. A midwife is trained to look after a pregnant mother, bring a life into the world, and then support the mother in the early days with their newborn. They weren't ready to deal with a mother who had given birth, needed physical check-ups but no baby to weigh or advise on feeding. I remember being in the clinic to be "signed off" by the midwife and sat in the waiting room with my husband, when a new mother came out of the weighing room with her tiny baby. She promptly sat down next to us, and started breastfeeding. The feeling I had was a feeling of anger (that I had to endure this), jealousy, deep sadness and a real, physical pain. Thank the Lord, that the midwife appeared at that moment and took us down to a consultation room. Those feelings were a shock. I didn't want to feel those feelings, but I suppose grief does funny things. I just wanted to be feeding my baby.

I had been given some medicine to stop my milk coming in, and I was given a whole host of medications to help me with the incision pain, from the c-section. It was hard to walk in the early days, but they encourage the movement. The medication was a hard one at night time though as I would wake up in the night in a really odd state of mind, and literally freak out and have a full on panic attack complete with shakes/convulsions. My body was wanting to wake in the night to feed my newborn but instead I would wake up to the feeling out complete dread and the sinking feeling of reality. I would even convince myself that Harry was still in my belly, and wait to feel his little kicks. Then I would feel the pain in the scar and remember what happened.

My body is craving my baby, as well as my mind and that is a hard thing to manage. Mentally I had been preparing for a new baby, but you forget that your body has too. And my hormones were that of a new mother, except my baby had gone. Thoughts turn to trying again, which some people find a shock, but my body is yearning for a baby. It is physically missing a baby. I spoke to the midwife about trying again, and thankfully they offered me their full support for when I was ready.

I have seen a bereavement counsellor and she has really helped me to realise that everything I am feeling emotionally is really normal. I am not one to visit a counsellor on a weekly basis but it is good to know that I have somewhere confidential and impartial that I can go to share these feelings. And also someone who knows a lot about what it feels like to have such a hideous loss. I find that I relive the day that he was born and the day that he died, over and over in my head. When I have nothing to think about, I find my thoughts return to Harry and the tragic circumstances. The hardest time for me recently was in a yoga class, during the relaxation time or meditation, at the end of the class. I found myself with warm tears pouring down my face after allowing my thoughts to wonder. Thankfully we were all lying on the floor so no one could see and I managed to collect myself before the class dispersed. Even little reminders can creep up on you when you least expect it. I found it hard watching films  or reading books with William that we watched together when I was heavily pregnant, as it reminded me that I wasn't pregnant anymore and I didn't have Harry either.

I recently visited the gynae ward of the hospital and they gave me a scan, blood tests and swab tests to check all is well, and they have given me the all clear to try again when I am ready. I don't want to replace Harry in any way. But I wanted a baby, and I still want a baby. A baby isn't just going to appear in a few days time, it does take nine months to make a baby. We will see what the future brings but I am praying for my "rainbow baby". I love this phrase. I found it on a "dealing with a loss" site.  Here is a beautiful way of describing the phrase:
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Trying to "get back to normal"...

The weekend after the funeral, my husband, William and I came back to our house. We were sad to be leaving my parents home, and I think they were sad to see us go. It had been nice to have that extra support around us all the time, but the time had come for Mum to go back to work, and we needed to get home after my inlaws were no longer using our house and taking care of our dog.

I hated being home. I desperately wanted to find a new home. As we rent, it would have been easier to move than if we owned, and I spent a while searching the internet, but fortunately, or unfortunately, there was nothing suitable available, or in our price bracket as rent seems to have shot up since we moved here. My husband had a bit longer off work as I had the c-section, I couldn't drive, and he didn't want me being housebound with William while he was at work as it would have made things harder.

We kept busy by organising trips with William and also setting up a Trust in Harry's name to raise money for the ward that gave us those precious 26 hours with Harry and also Bliss, a charity who support families of early and sick babies, as well as Sands who support bereaved families. We spent a lot of time, with the help of others, setting up a website, and organising fundraising events. We both joined the gym, to give us an outlet for our anger and frustration, and also to get healthy.

The thing I was finding hardest was leaving the bubble that was my parent's home, to find that the world had kept turning. People were still doing what they always did, and I don't know why I was surprised that people were still having babies. No one else was having the experience we did. I would see photos of friend's new babies on the internet and whilst being happy that their babies were beautiful and healthy, finding it so hard to understand why it was my baby that wasn't with us. He had been just fine right up until the birth, and now he was gone. Why my baby? Was I being punished? I would sit and try to make sense of it. Questioning all I had done to try and understand, why my baby?

People would find it hard with how to address me. I think people try to say things to "make things better" but nothing anyone says can do this. The best thing someone can say is "I don't know what to say"... I have heard some real shockers:

"There will be other babies.... you are still young"
"I know someone who lost their baby at 3 months, she knows what you are going through"
"You need to bear up, because we are walking on eggshells"

Everytime I heard these, I have felt like yelling "ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?!"
No "other baby" is going to replace Harry, or make me stop feeling this hideous pain.
Losing a baby at 3 months, is not the same as going full term, giving birth and having to say goodbye to your incredibly poorly baby, organising and attending their funeral, and watching them be buried. It just is not the same. She has no idea what I am going through.
And, I need to bear up?! No. No I do not. And I most certainly do not have to, because you feel like you are walking on eggshells. And I am sorry you feel like that, but it is not top of my priority list.

The other classic line is "how are you?" .... if you want to know the real answer, I am doing really, really bad. I have lost my son. But I will put a smile on for you, to make you feel better, and think that I am ok. The best thing you can do for a bereaved parent, is offer your ear, a cuddle and a cup of tea. Or a distraction. When your bereaved friend is ready to talk, they will know where to come. And my real friends know that. xxx

Planning what a parent should never have to plan...

I remember thinking about Harry's funeral, and calling the funeral directors to make arrangements. The lady had no idea what I was going to arrange, and when she asked for the details, I burst into tears. Why am I planning my son's funeral? I can't believe this is happening... Luckily, they were so understanding and the director came to my mum's house, where we had decided to stay, and be together with my parents, and also with William.

When he came, it was a horrible feeling, but he was a kind man and made the process simple. We knew we didn't want a formal funeral, and it wasn't going to be celebrating a life, as funerals these days tend to be. Harry had not had a life, and I could find no positive in it all.

The wonderful reverend at the church tried to find a relevant scripture reading for the service or even some hymns, but nothing seemed appropriate. I didn't want to give thanks, or praise the Lord. I wanted to tell the Lord to f*** off. Not a golden bell as my Nan would say but that is how I felt. My Nan even dug deep to find something, but nothing worked. She wrote a beautiful poem, and I wanted to read a poem that a friend had sent to me on hearing our news.

Finding the songs to use was a horrid experience. My mum and I sat at the computer trawling through lists, and crying while hearing the words. I will never forget when Mum suggested a song called "Fly" by Celine Dion, and her and my Nan and I sat around Mum's kitchen table sobbing our hearts out, while thinking of little Harry's soul flying "to the light". I have since tried listening to that song, as it is beautiful, but I find the imagery too difficult to bear.

The funeral director had contacted us to say that he had Harry from the hospital, and did we have an outfit to dress him in.
We had gone into Mothercare to buy an outfit, and I knew in my head what I had wanted to him to wear. I picked out a white babygro, a white cardigan and little blue bear slippers, and a beautiful white shawl to wrap him in. I had confirmed with myself that I was happy with my selections and took them to the counter to pay. I could barely make eye contact with anyone, and it wasn't until the lady at the counter said "oh, is it a little boy?" She wasn't to know, but I wasn't prepared for any kind of interaction. I looked at her and whispered "yes" but burst into sobs of tears and my husband quickly apologised. The lady was horrified, and my husband tried to explain but she very kindly came out from behind the counter and gave me a lovely cuddle and said she was truly sorry. How many more times would I have to explain to people what had happened? Many more. But this was the first time, and it was as hard as I had thought.
We took the outfit to the funeral directors, and I asked the director if I could dress him myself. I think he was surprised, but he understood when I explained that I wanted to do one "mummy" thing for our little boy. It was as hard to do as you can imagine it was, logistically, but the director was very helpful and said some words to us that helped enormously. He told us that he was a spiritualist and that he believed that this was just Harry's physical body but his soul had gone, but he was with us - always.

We had wanted to see Harry in the Chapel of Rest, but so did our mothers, and my Nan and my Auntie, so the director agreed to bring Harry to my Mum's house so it didn't feel so clinical. They kindly had him in a Moses' basket so it wasn't horrible seeing him in a coffin or anything. It was just how I had pictured my baby asleep in his Moses' basket, and I wished so hard that he was asleep, and that he would just wake up. But he didn't.

I also asked the Director if I could be the one that put him in his coffin the day before the funeral service. The idea of someone else being the last one to touch him made me feel physically sick. I am his mother and it is my job, I kept telling myself. My husband and the Director helped me lift Harry into his tiny white coffin, and we kissed him and said goodbye. He was tucked in with his beautiful shawl, his teddy rabbit, along with a few personal items from my husband and I and a photograph of me, my husband and William. The thing I wasn't ready for was putting the lid on the coffin. It was had Harry's name on a gold plaque and gold screws to fasten the lid down. I hadn't thought about that. I will never forget screwing those screws in, thinking about what I was doing... securing our baby in a tiny white box. It felt so odd but I didn't want anyone else doing it. We are his parents and this is our job.

The day of the funeral came, and we dressed carefully, and waited the arrival of the car carrying our little boy to the church. We sat in the back, holding hands tightly, taking our little boy on the only journey we would share.

My husband had wanted to carry Harry's coffin into the church, just as I had wanted to dress him, and move him to his final resting place. He felt he didn't want for anyone else to carry him, and he did it. He carried him in, and I walked alongside him. I couldn't tell you who was at that service, I wouldn't know. I looked straight ahead on the way in, and straight ahead on the way out, not taking in any faces around me, but I knew there was a lot of bodies.

The church service went exactly as we planned and we were soon on our way to the burial ground. Watching Harry's tiny coffin being lowered into the tiny hole that had been dug, was more than I could bear. When I threw the white rose into the ground on top of his little white box, I felt like throwing myself in after him. Obviously I didn't, but my husband held me while I sobbed. And that was our final goodbye.

Songs used in the funeral:


Coming home....

The weeks that followed after saying goodbye to Harry are like a blur. It all seems very surreal, like it didn't happen to me. But it did.

Leaving the hospital was just hideous. All the pregnant women hanging around the reception area, or other families leaving the hospital with their newborn in their car seat. That should have been us. We should have been leaving with Harry all beautfiully dressed in the "coming home outfit" I had picked out, in his brother's car seat. Ready to come home and meet his family. Instead, the car seat was shoved into the boot of our car, and Harry's outfit was unworn in the suitcase we were carrying. We were going home, and our baby wasn't. We were going back to our lives, and Harry's had ended before it had even properly begun. Devastated doesn't even come close. I walked out of the hospital with tears flowing freely down my face, squeezing my husband's hand tightly, and fearing that I might collapse before we made it back to the car.

My parent's had made a meal for us at their house, and we were able to see our first born William, who we had missed so much and just wanted to hold. The whole family were there to support us, but to be honest, I just wanted to get into a hole and never come out. I remember sitting at the table while everyone talked and ate, just staring at the food infront of me, thinking of Harry.

My mum had agreed to take care of William for a while, and my husband and I went home. Home to where Harry's moses basket was waiting, full of the freshly laundered sheets and blankets waiting to have him sleep in it. The pram had been dug out of the attic, and cleaned and re-assembled and was waiting to take Harry out for long walks along the seafront. The baby bouncer was in William's playroom, ready to cradle little Harry and play the annoying music to soothe him. The bottles in the kitchen, the breastpump, the nappies, the clothes.... We looked at them all, but just went to bed. And cried.

Missing Harry.... Those precious 26 hours

I sit here today, missing Harry.

It is 5 weeks and 2 days since we said goodbye to our little boy Harry, aged just 26 hours. 26 hours that will be etched into my memory forever.

It feels like so much longer ago that I held my little man in my arms, away from the machines that had been keeping him alive, for the first time being able to cradle him and see his face away from the tubes and breathing equipment. My darling boy. The baby I had spent nine months waiting to meet, preparing to care for and nuture, and desperately wanting to love. I held him for just 25 minutes in his short time with us, before he passed away.

I did not cry hysterically or "lose it", during those 26 hours, I was focussed on learning about what had happened to our son, and what the doctors were doing or planning to do. Obviously I shed tears but I wanted to keep a clear mind for making decisions and trying to mentally "bank" every precious moment with our boy.

Harry was born by an emergency c-section, after realising I had been bleeding during the labour. Who knows how long I was bleeding for, I had an epidural so I couldn't feel the loss and it was a complete shock when I saw the blood down my legs.

When he was born, it seemed like an eternity before the doctors came to tell my husband and I what was happening with our son, while I was being sewn up after the c-section. We had no idea to the extent that things would unfold. Our first son, William, was born with his cord around his neck and needed to be resuscitated but cried out after just a few minutes. We thought that the same thing was happening with Harry, but we did not realise how serious things were when we were kept waiting.

When the doctor came to tell us that "your son is very poorly" we really did not know what to expect, all we knew was that Harry had lost a lot of blood and been without oxygen for a fairly long period of time. We had no idea why or what even this meant for him, we just had to wait.

It turned out that somehow the umbilical cord and placenta had a vein that had been bleeding when my waters broke, and this had caused considerable "trauma" to little Harry and that he needed a lot of help.

Meeting him was so hard. A mother prepares herself for meeting the baby she has been carrying for nine months, thinking of smiles, and happy tears, cuddles and kisses. A beautiful moment. Meeting Harry was so different. My beautiful son, an exact replica of William as a newborn, was hooked up to breathing equipment, having blood transfusions, receiving pain relief, having his brain activity monitored and being fed a sugar solution. This is not what I had pictured.

I think I truly believed that Harry could have pulled through, and always looked for the positive in what the doctors were saying. I even envisaged being a mother to a severely disabled, braindamaged child, because all I wanted was my baby.

 I went back to our room after the midwife was concerned for my own health, she requested I have at least an hours rest. How can you rest when you know your baby is so poorly? How can you leave his side, even for a few moments? They assured us this was ok, and we were soon awoken by the doctor, telling us that Harry needed to spend time with us as he was rapidly deteriorating.

The next few hours, we spent at Harry's side. We had the pastor come and baptise Harry on the ward. I will never forget reading his name out in the service, knowing that this was such an important moment for us all. My parents came to the hospital and the nurses helped us to take prints of Harry's feet and hands, which I will cherish forever.

It was so distressing seeing the blood coming from Harry's tummy button, and his mouth and nose. The nurses couldn't tell us where it was coming from for sure, but the doctors told us he was having problems clotting his blood and so it just kept coming.

The doctors took blood tests and said for us to get some rest and they would come and get us if anything changed or when the results came back. The doctor came to us about an hour later and said the results were looking positive, but in reality Harry's condition was rapidly deteriorating and that they were running out of options for treating him. They were contacting hospitals around the country trying new procedures and treatments, all in the hope of prolonging little Harry's time with us.

It came to the time when my husband and I had some decisions to make. The doctors and nurses who were coming back on to shift were surprised that little Harry hadn't passed already. This was a shock to us. Learning that Harry's liver and kidneys were shutting down, and his blood just wasn't clotting, along with the fact the Harry's brain damage was so severe, that he would never walk, would always be fed through a tube, would always need assistance breathing and would never talk, hear or see. We knew what we had to do, and the doctors agreed. The last thing we wanted was for Harry to die, alone, on the machines  and never having been held by his parents.

We went back to our room and washed and dressed in some clean clothes and came back to the ward to say goodbye to our little man, just 25 hours after his birth. The short trip back to the ward was a heavy one, and it honestly felt like we were going to war or something. We were united in our decision and it is one we will never regret, but it was still the most terrible thing to do.

Little Harry was dressed in the baby-gro that his brother had worn 2 years before him, and was handed to us for a cuddle. My husband held him first as I was petrified about how I would feel holding our son knowing this was the first and last time. Those 25 minutes were so precious. The doctor and nurse took some photos of us and let us say goodbye but you could see the life leaving him and it wasn't long before they couldn't pick up a heartbeat.

Our parents came to say goodbye to Harry and have a cuddle before we left him with the doctors and then I went into shock. The baby I had carried for 9 months, who I had suffered morning sickness with, who I had felt wriggle around, who I had felt contractions in labour for, who had been born and loved, was now gone. This isn't meant to happen, I kept thinking.... a mother shouldn't have to say goodbye to her baby. But I had.