It was a weeks anniversary since Ivy’s death. I was sure that these initial anniversaries would cripple me and that I’d be directly transported back to those moments. But they passed by without much disturbance.
It was the 27th of July 2014, at 15:35, that our baby girl took her last short breaths.
We had agreed to head down to the NICU for 14:30 to begin the process of withdrawing her life support. We were late – no surprise there as I’m always late! But it’s not something you rush to go do, really.
They began the process of removing all non-essential support leaving just her breathing tube and her belly button cannula incase she needed morphine to relieve any pain.
The room where her last moments were to happen was inside the post-natal unit, and for me it was very emotional being taken there; the last time I was pushed up that corridor was 3 years earlier when I was holding my newborn son. To be heading to a place that I knew was full of mums with new babies when I was about to say goodbye to my precious little one, it was just hard.
Our NICU Nurse wheeled her into the room in her NICU cot, whilst a midwife hand pumped an air bag.
She was placed in my arms and I got to cuddle my baby for the first time. She really was a chunky little one compared to my son. To see the face of my baby without all of the wires and tubes and to finally see how much hair she had was just so emotional.
She took her first intake of breathe, and it startled me. I’m ashamed to say I let out a little shriek. I just wasn’t expecting it. It wasn’t as though she was gasping for air but it was louder than a normal breathe. The NICU nurse quickly reassured me that this was normal and I felt so guilty for having been so easily startled. After a couple of moments she let that breathe out, and continued to breathe like that for about 5-10 minutes.
I spoke to her and told her how much we all loved her, and anything I could possibly think of to let her know that she will be missed every day and never forgotten.
It felt wrong for me to be the only one to hold Ivy in her last moments so I passed her to her Daddy, a decision I’m glad I made. To see him holding her and loving her as he would have done every day of her life, added more to my pain. I was witnessing the loss of Ivy’s life, the life of my daughter, but also the loss of his princess.
Her final breathes were short and sweet, like a baby drifting off to sleep. I was so pleased that she had peace in those last few breathes.
We spent some time holding her and waiting for the doctor to come in and verify her death, which they did 20 minutes later. In that time I took my most precious photograph. She is wrapped up in her brother’s blanket which I have cradled him in many a time. My husband had gone to find a doctor so that we could go back to our room and spend our last hours with her, so it was just me & Ivy snuggled into one another. Of the limited mummy daughter bonding time that I had, this is the most precious.
The staff in the NICU were lovely & our NICU Nurse, Nadine, made our final moments as calming as she could. The way she handled and spoke to Ivy before & after her passing was filled with respect and compassion. Nadine was such a significant part of Ivy’s short life, but also of her passing. She stayed with us throughout and wiped away tears when Ivy’s last moments came. She is worth every penny that the NHS pays her. Every single penny.
Dexter, our cat, must be able to feel my sadness this morning because he’s as curled up in my hair as he could possible get (I’m still lay in bed – or was when I originally drafted this post!)
I’ll post a picture of him & all his loveliness soon. He’s delish 🙂
I started today on a sad note which has been impossible to shake off. Even my son pretending to be a cat isn’t lighting me up as it usually would. Tough days are bound to happen. Today is one of them.