Forty years ago my eldest sister was born. She never took a breath. She was 28 weeks gestation and died because of an infection caused by my mum's water's breaking 3 weeks before her birth and no-one doing anything about it.
When she died inside my mum, my mum knew she was gone. Once it was confirmed, my mum was induced and had to go through hours of labour and birth and before her yearning arms could hold the baby girl she had just birthed, her tiny lifeless baby was whisked away. Mum never even got to see her face.
Afterwards on the maternity ward, mum stayed in a shared room with other new mums and newborns. The nurses/midwives wouldn't talk about my mum's loss. They just pat her hand and said she could always "try again". Mum was told to move on. She never really spoke of this experience. We all knew that mum had lost a baby girl in the second trimester, but never knew the whole story or the depth of grief.
My beautiful, strong and courageous mum went on to have 3 live babies. My sisters and I. She lost a few pregnancies (all beyond 20 weeks) in her life, but it never stopped her from trying again. And her losses made her love and cherish us all the more
Well, recently mum talked about this little girl who died - my sister. I said to her "let's find her and lay her to rest". So we have tracked down her birth and death certificate and we are now in the process of finding where she is buried...and on Mother's Day we will go together and lay flowers at my sister's grave. Finally this little baby girl will have a family to welcome her into our fold, mourn her, miss her.
I feel like I am grieving her loss as though I knew her. I just want her to know that she is part of our family, she is loved and she is forever in my heart.
Rebecca, my biggest sister. I love you.