Today, this isn't a letter, this is what it is like...
On 6 July I woke up and felt very different to how I had the day before, I knew something wasn't quite right. Quickly we went to the hospital and within minutes were told our daughter had died and that we would have to go through labour and birth and not be taking her home. I died that day, not physically but mentally, in an instant my life was stolen as well as hers.
Not even two days were spent with her, some people don't even get that, some just have their babies taken away, they aren't allowed to see them so I am grateful we held her and told her she is loved but it isn't good enough, my daughter shouldn't be rotting in the ground she should be here.
In the weeks since, Paul and I have had to start re-building our lives, often having to hide our real emotions because they are even too much for us but doing that is exhausting and the tears do come, mostly when we least expect them to. I can't hold a conversation on the phone very well, I can call a takeaway and end up in tears. Sounds stupid doesn't it? I have hardly made a single call since she died, I don't have the confidence so Paul has to most of the time. In person I can switch off, since the funeral I have seen a few people, I have cried in front of them roughly five times in total across all friends. It is not because I don't feel I can, it is because I am terrified I won't stop. I cry as soon as I am on my own.
I wake up in the morning and for a second everything is fine, I have felt that before when bad things have happened but this is infinitely worse. I get up, I have a shower, I clean my teeth and put on my make up, sometimes I do my hair this can all happen in roughly thirty minutes, it is horrible. It should take half the morning if not more. Most of the time my house is pretty clean other than the washing up because I avoid it but I always have. There are no toys in my living room, nothing baby related at all, that is all locked in her room which I simply cannot go into. There should be toys! Almost like clockwork, whenever I feel the emotions setting in the next door neighbours newborn grandchild starts to cry, I don't dislike it because it is distracting, I dislike it because it the only time I hear a baby cry, I don't hear mine.
There are places Paul and I used to go and we can't go anymore, this can make things like going out for food even more difficult, I am fussy as it is, we had found our groove and now we have to start all over again. It is hard to say what it feels like to see pregnant women and babies, it is beautiful but it is really hard too because sadly I am really jealous, I try so hard not to be because it's not fair and I feel like an awful person. I don't know what they have been through to get their child and even if they haven't been through anything they love and want their children. I just love and want mine too. Babies shouldn't die. That's why I fundraise, the NHS could be doing more to save babies, it is so hard to know that something could have been done to save so many babies, 50% or so from what I understand but more research has to be done... More babies have to die before the NHS will change. I don't think badly of the NHS, they are covered in red tape but surely the DoH can just sign off an extra scan and a sizing chart? I would pay the £20 it costs... I would have paid £20, I would have given all the money I had. I personally do not think this extra scan at 33 weeks would have saved Ophelia, she was fine then but if I had been monitored in the days leading up to her death maybe, just maybe she would be here. That is one of the hardest things to swallow, if she had been born less than 48 hours earlier I know, without question she would be here now.
I scare people, I know I do, I am their worst nightmare. I am the 5%. That is all it is though, 5% of people will suffer a stillbirth or neo natel death (far too many, it should be 0%), the odds just weren't in our favour, nor were they the first time. I do have to talk about it though, maybe one day we will help to save lives. For the moment it is support I want give the most, to someone on this path with me, to say you aren't alone. Grief does the strangest things, I don't know me anymore, I don't know when I will react well or not, I don't know anything really. I know I am terrified, so scared that children just aren't on the cards, lots of people tell me they know we will be parents to a living child but the question that always comes into my head is, "did you know Ophelia was going to die?" Obviously no-one did but there in which lies my point, no-one knows. I know people wish they did, I wish I did. I am negative and hurting though so seeing the positive is very hard. I see it for all my friends and family though, everything will work out great, I really, really think that whatever they choose. I have contradicted my point but somehow I see clearer when I look out.
I have seen a lot of happiness recently, lots of friends have got engaged, some have got married, a few have had babies and a few are expecting. The truth is, it is hard, but not because I am angry you are happy and I am not but because I cannot join you, not properly anyway. I don't want to ruin your happiness, I feel like I did last week... Cried on the bride!! I did again this week... Very unintentionally but I made someone I care about upset. When you are grieving it is hard to do a lot of things, most of all celebrate, it becomes alien, you wish you were celebrating, for them and for you but the sadness isn't buried yet (it will always find a way out), it sits on my shoulders weighing me down and I can't help but let it out. I feel very selfish as a result and that makes me feel so very guilty but I need to give myself a break, I don't have any control of this. To all my friends please forgive me if I am not there, I wish so much that I could be, please know whatever happens we are happy for you.
Sometimes I look back at things I have said, things I have done, no-one is perfect after all, but I end up feeling like I have deserved this, like maybe Ophelia didn't want me to be her Mummy, maybe she didn't like me. Maybe it is ok that this has happened to us, maybe it was expected because I am not a good person. I complained about things a lot, wasn't always nice, wasn't always thankful for what I had/have. I look for reasons to my questions why and sadly sometimes I feel I have found them.
Sometimes I want to be with her, I think mainly because now the shock of her death has gone, reality has really hit. Like every mother, I would have given my life for hers. I think as parents we all think that, we want them to live, to love but some small part of it selfish too because living without your child is impossible.
I can never really put into words what it feels like when I see that closed door, or when I lie in bed and think about what lives in there. Sometimes I think about what we will do with her things, will they ever be used or will that room lie dormant forever?
It is hard to tell you how I feel when I take a photo of a candle instead of her face, when I read a story at her graveside instead of her bedside. It is hard, it is so hard.
I am trying.