This month was supposed to be a month of joy and happiness for my family. My husband Steven and I were expecting another baby. We had wanted to have a baby for so long, but work commitments meant that there was never a good time to be 9 months pregnant. Simply put, I had put wedding schedules ahead of my own. Last year I decided to scale back my weddings and focus on my family. High on the list was trying for another baby. With my 40th looming there was no better time. Towards the middle of the year we found out that our dreams had come true. We were expecting another baby this February and we were both so excited, but most of all our son Benjamin was over the moon with happiness that he was going to be a big brother.
We didn’t tell too many people the news, just our trusted friends and family. We had all our check ups before heading off to Europe for my 40th birthday and my pregnancy was going really well. I didn’t have any morning sickness and felt full of energy even while travelling. We planned on announcing the news once I got to the half way mark in the pregnancy after the excitement of our European trip and my big birthday had died down.
Sadly just days after returning to Australia we found out the devastating news that our baby was in serious danger. I had a previously undiagnosed complication with my womb and my little boy had some serious complications of his own. A few days later he passed away and I had to deliver him. That day was a very dark day for my family, I wanted to be out of it but I had to be present and go through labour knowing there wasn’t going to be a beautiful healthy baby at the end of it. My heart was literally breaking in two and I begged to be put to sleep.
I’m not going to lie. The year of December 2010 – December 2011 sucked the big cheese for my family. My father died, my baby died, my dog got bitten by a snake, my son was attacked by a group of thugs and had broken facial bones. Life was pretty darn awful in 2011. But even with so much sadness going on I wanted to document and honour my little boy Ryan John. I had been thinking about voluenteering for the charity Heartfelt for a number of years but had been unable to pluck up the courage. I didn’t know how I would handle such a tragedy in someone else’s life. Would I feel guilty for having healthy babies, would I feel so sad that I just broke down and made a fool of myself in front of grieving parents. Those are the things that kept me from picking up that phone. Little did I know that one day I would need the generous services of this amazing charity myself.
My dear friend Kim contacted Heartfelt on my behalf and true to their word they came to my rescue. My friend Casandra who works with Heartfelt arranged for a lovely photographer who arrived at the hospital the day after baby Ryan was born and documented a few private moments with him. Steven and I are so grateful for those photos, going home with nothing but a painful memory is difficult after losing a child. To have anything at all to remember a baby you loved deeply is an incredible gift.
We received our Heartfelt package in the mail a few weeks after losing Ryan, and while I can’t bring myself to look at the photos just yet I know there will be a time when I really need to see them. Knowing that they are safely stored away in a beautiful keepsake box is my own piece of mind.
Ryan John was due around now. I have tried not to think about how different my life would have been last Christmas or this Summer. How pregnant I would have looked. What baby clothes I would have purchased at the shops. But this week I am letting myself think about all those things because I don’t want to pretend that he wasn’t going to be a big part of my life. Because he was. He was going to be a very special part of all our lives. He was my fourth child and I love him. I always will.