Three and half years ago, as I write this I can’t actually believe that amount of time has passed because there are still many days where life smacks me in the face and makes me think it was only yesterday. But three and half years ago I lost my child, my daughter Laylah was stillborn at 37 weeks. I know for many people they don’t quite understand, although they sympathise with what’s happened I think a lack of understanding of what stillbirth means makes it hard for them to truly grasp my grief.
To give you an idea, I had a healthy pregnancy where everything was going as normal. I was 37 weeks so this means I had bought all the cute baby clothes and even washed them multiple times, set up the nursery, had my hospital bags packed and sitting at the front door. I was on maternity leave and filling my days with last minute catch ups and movie dates. I was done! I was down to my last couple of doctor’s appointments and I was ready to meet my first born.
Then life changed for me. I had spent the day out and about and had thought bubs had been a little quiet but didn’t think too much more of it. I just put it down to bubs being sleepy or maybe she didn’t have as much room to move now we were so far along. That night I told hubby that I wasn’t feeling much movement and after a while we were just getting worried and couldn’t stop thinking about it so we went to the hospital. From there all I can say is that life from that moment has never and will never be the same. We were no longer the same people, we were no longer the same couple and we were no longer the same family we thought we would be.
Laylah Grace Samuels was born on 21st Jan 2015 and was perfect. I think it’s her nose I remember most. It’s hard to remember all the details sometimes, I wish that in my moments of utter devastation and grief I had studied her every curve and line just that little bit more. I held her, I sang to her and I told her how Mummy and Daddy loved her more than the world but now in my moments of missing her I wish I could hold her again. My gosh what I wouldn’t give to kiss my girl and tell her that she is so incredibly loved.
Three years on and I write to Laylah every day, in the shower on the steamy shower screen I write her notes, I tell her I miss her, I love her and that’s my way of connecting with her each day. It still baffles me that 6 babies a day are stillborn in Australia and yet it’s never spoken about. Before losing Laylah I didn’t know anything about stillbirth and now I’m trying to be more open about my story because it needs to be spoken about, families need to be supported and there needs to be education and funding for this to not happen to more families.
Life now looks different since Laylah, my hubby and I have are incredibly close and we look at life with a different perspective, we have welcomed our second daughter Isabella who is 2 and she is seriously divine. She is so loving and I know that so much of her big sister is in her and moulds the parents we are because we really try to enjoy all the small things that we longed for with Laylah and try not get caught up in the insignificant stuff. In a couple of months we are so excited (beyond anxious, nervous, scared) to welcome our third daughter to the Samuels Tribe.
For me it’s only now that I feel like I’m starting to heal, I’m starting to get to a point where I can see that our experience and story is now part of what makes me, and although I would give the world to have her back in my arms where she belongs, she now shapes the person I am in this world. I will forever long for her and there is always going to be a huge piece of me missing where my daughter should be, calling out Mummy at the top of her voice just like her little sister does 500 times a day (it’s never too much for me). Laylah has also made me a slightly more passionate, caring and stronger person so for that I’m grateful and I know what I want now and I know that every moment is worth cherishing.
If you saw me on the street you would probably only see a cute little family of 3 soon to be 4 who look like they don’t have a care in the world. Be kind, be mindful and share some love, we all have a story and some of them a really fricken hard to wake up with every day. #LaylahGrace
“Yes I do, I believe
That one day I will be, where I was
Right there, right next to you
And it’s hard, the days just seem so dark
The moon, and the stars, are nothing without you
Your touch, your skin, where do I begin?
No words can explain, the way i’m missing you
Deny this emptiness, this hole that i’m inside
These tears, they tell their own story
You told me not to cry when you were gone
But the feeling’s overwhelming, it’s much too strong
Can I lay by your side, next to you, you
And make sure you’re alright
I’ll take care of you,
And I don’t want to be here if I can’t be with you tonight”
Lay Me Down- Sam Smith