Cate's Story | Baby Loss Portrait Project
Hello, my name is Cate; I’m Raz and Elsa’s mummy.
My son, Raz, died in December 2015, 30 weeks into a perfectly healthy and textbook pregnancy.
No health care professionals had ever had a moments concern about his health, and none had mentioned stillbirth to me as a possibility. I had heard of it but had dismissed it, thinking that it was something that only happened extremely rarely, to babies already too sick to survive, to victims of medical negligence. Stillbirth didn’t happen to babies that kicked ALL.THE.TIME, that hiccupped and grew and thrived, that were so wanted, that were mine.
I never bought into the ‘it’s safe at 12 weeks’ mindset. I knew things could go wrong, friends or colleagues had lost their babies to miscarriage. But everyone told me that after 30 weeks he would be fine. That even if he were born prematurely he’d likely survive.
On the day that he turned 30 weeks I got worried, I couldn’t remember when I’d last felt him kick (I’d had a grotty cold and hadn’t been totally with it). I rang the hospital and they told me to lie down, drink something cold and eat something sugary. Give it two hours, if I was still worried to call them back.
That was one of the longest two hours of my life. I lay on the sofa going out of my mind. There was no movement, not a thing. I knew it was serious, I knew he was sick. He must be resting up; everyone said he’d be fine.
We went to the hospital and the midwife tried to find a heartbeat,’the baby must be hiding, let’s move you somewhere we can do a scan and get a good look”. What followed was an eternity while they scanned my belly. Then the dreaded words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. After writing all of this down it seems foolish, but they were words I never expected to hear. Just like that, my world crumbled. My darling son, who was so longed for. He was gone.
People don’t really realise that when your baby dies you still have to give birth to them. To meet them. To love them. To have the innate urge to put some food in their open, lifeless mouth. To want to cuddle them up and never let them go. They don’t just vanish from your belly as if they had been a beautiful dream.
Raz is buried in a beautiful woodland site, with enormous views. It is a wonderful place to visit and spend time with my boy. We did all of the funeral arrangements ourselves and it was very personal to us. We got to bring him home the afternoon before the funeral, show him the house and the garden and introduce him to the cats. He spent that night next to me on the bedroom floor, tucked up in his coffin, just like any other newborn in a bassinet. The next day was the hardest of my life. Having to help my husband lower our baby’s coffin into the ground is something that no person should ever have to do.
Over three years later, life has moved on. We have a beautiful 2.5 year old rainbow girl, who brings us so much love, light and healing. But life is not the same as it was before. So many people have thought that Elsa represented my ‘happy ending’, that she fixed things. But having had Elsa in no way diminishes from the fact that, to this day, I am devastated and heartbroken that my boy couldn’t stay. Her pregnancy and birth and even her newborn days were terrifying, as I knew exactly what could go wrong and the precise detail of how that would look and feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I laugh nowadays so much more than I cry. I am content. I have a life that is very enriching and a beautiful family. I just wish he could have stayed.