Cubface and Mama Grace

A 25weeker with a 10% chance – 10 years on

Today was your due date. You should have been born today. You should have been a healthy, squishy newborn with a cute wrinkled face and a lucky head of hair with a scent of heaven. You should have announced your arrival to the world with a strong cry from healthy, working lungs and been handed to me, a bundle of joy, so I could drink you in for our first proper meeting. I should have stared into your beautiful eyes, you full of wonder, me full of pride. A rush of love, a momentous moment, beaming smiles all around as I fell in love with you. I should have counted your tiny toes and admired your strong legs, the legs that had kicked up a storm in my tummy at 2am. I should have marvelled at your perfect, miniature hands, hands that I’d hold as you fed with an instinctive suckle. You should have had an unblemished brain, ready to learn, to develop, to become a doctor or a lawyer or a scientist. We should have had a fanfare, a celebration, a congratulations, “Welcome a precious, new baby girl!” A life full of promise and experience, unconditional love and lots of fun. It should have been the most miraculous day. It should have been.

On your due date you were three months old. You had endured 14 weeks of survival torture. You shouldn’t have been born so early that your beautiful eyes were fused shut. You shouldn’t have been silently taken from the safety of me and ventilated, the agony you must have felt. You shouldn’t have had needles forced into your thread-like veins. You shouldn’t have had an internal bleed that damaged your developing brain, affecting every sense, every movement, every thought you have. You shouldn’t have developed epilepsy. You shouldn’t have felt any pain. I shouldn’t have had to wash my hands until they bled just to be able to touch you. You shouldn’t have spent your first, precious bonding months alone in an incubator, sedated, fighting, struggling. Your lullabies shouldn’t have been the continuous hum of life support machines. You shouldn’t have had to battle so hard to stay alive. You shouldn’t have been fed through tubes. You shouldn’t have had the trauma of scalpels scarring your transparent skin. You shouldn’t have gone blue. I shouldn’t have witnessed crash teams bringing you back from the brink, over and over and over again. We shouldn’t have had to witness the devastation of other Mummies kissing their babies goodbye, babies who were just like you but didn’t make it.

I’ve let the 14th of September slip by quietly every year for a decade. We don’t celebrate. I’ve mourned the baby you should have been, the life you should have had. I’ve grieved for the babies who didn’t make it home. I’ve come to terms with my own trauma, and navigated the utter sorrow of yours. We’ve met many Doctors at the top of their game along the way, nobody can tell me why you came so soon. I now accept their medical questions will never be answered, you see, I think I know why; You were meant to be. You shouldn’t have suffered, but you should have been you, and you wouldn’t be you without what had gone before. Your destiny was a different path. Your journey should never be underestimated. I’m ready to tell your story. I didn’t get to Italy, instead we went to Holland. I’m so lucky I get to admire the Tulips with you 💐 Here’s to Cub, 10 years and 14 weeks old today. She always should have been. 💋🐯

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