To Be With Woman

Well you showed me how it feels to feel the sky within my reach, And I always will remember all the strength you gave to me, your love made me make it through, oh I owe so much to you, you were right there for me. (There You’ll Be, Faith Hill)

I remember it was a few weeks after Liam and Grace were born and died (during the Referendum) that I learned the word Midwife means “to be with woman”.  I didn’t know that on the 22nd and 23rd March but I certainly felt it.  From the moment we went into hospital I was treated with the best of care.  Sadly, over the last few years I have had experiences where the care I received was lacking so I’ve experienced both the good and bad.  But what a difference it makes when it’s good. 

There were 3 lovely midwives and a doctor who cared for me at different times while I was in labour.  I’m sure when they signed up to be a midwife they looked forward to delivering lots of healthy babies and the absolute joy of being part of something so wonderful each day. Looking back I think they realised very early that my babies were coming and they wouldn’t survive.  But they gently took our lead and gave us the time and space we needed to accept our worst nightmare was coming through.  They really guided and supported me through every step of my labour but I think it was after my beautiful babies were born that they really cared for us. 

My favourite memory just after Liam and Grace were born is the midwives congratulating me on becoming a mammy and what beautiful words to hear.  I had just become a mammy for the first time, my two babies didn’t survive, but I was still their mammy and I will always love that they congratulated me.  I remember them telling me how beautiful my babies were and I knew that they meant it.  They really looked at them and bereaved mammys will tell you that we know the difference of when someone just glances, not really seeing your baby and when someone really looks, and I know they really took in every feature of our babies.  After giving us some time alone together as a family, they came back into the room and gently took their hand and foot prints on the card from the Feileacain memory box.  They carefully wrapped Liam and Grace in their beautiful hand knitted blankets and took the most special photos of us as a family.  This level of care continued throughout our stay in hospital and the bereavement midwife gave me another of my favourite memories with Liam and Grace, the time to bath them both.  It was such a lovely thing to experience with my beautiful babies and I’m so grateful to have these special memories.

It is so sad to hear that other bereaved parents have had such bad experiences in hospital when they have given birth to their precious babies.  However, I cannot speak highly enough of the care we, as a family, received and I will always be grateful to the wonderful ladies who cared so lovingly for Liam and Grace.  So thank you Dr. Kate, Ellie, Lynn, Michelle and Brenda, I will never forget your kindness and please know that the compassion and care you gave to us all during our worst nightmare, made such a difference to our lives, the night we became a family of four.


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