Sage Azalea Wilson, my first-born daughter, was born sleeping on 8 November 2021.
I had many tests performed after her birth but there was no reason why she had died.
Throughout my pregnancy at all my appointments everything was fine. The week before Sage passed I was advised that her growth had slowed but I had been reassured that everything was ok right until 2 days before she was born.
But on Sunday 7 November 2021, when I was 36.5 weeks pregnant, I did not feel her move at all so I went to the hospital expecting to be told that I would need to deliver early, not “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat”.
Nearly 30 hours of labour later, Sage was finally birthed into the world sleeping.
Her skin was frail and easily ripped, the guilt of washing her body and seeing her skin tear was hard to sit with. She was a perfect size, head full of hair, but silent.
I have no other children at home, so returning to an empty house without a baby was very difficult. The silence was deafening, Sage’s nursery room was all ready.
Having my first child born still so late in the pregnancy means I will never be able to experience a pregnancy/labour/birth/motherhood without the fear of loss. That naivety of pregnancy has been stripped. I can no longer simply be excited when a pregnancy occurs because it will never equate to a living child in my head. Even after birth, that fear will still remain after my reality has been shattered so suddenly.
My first post-partum and motherhood experience has been shadowed by grief and pain. To have to go through all things that any birthing person would go through after birth, but without my baby alive is such a confusing and painful experience. The hormonal changes and motherly instincts to love, nurture and protect my baby are still there, but I cannot direct them anywhere. Those feelings had nowhere to go. I felt so lost and still do.
As a bereaved mother, the guilt of my baby dying in my womb never goes away no matter how much I know and was told it wasn’t my fault. But the judgement, guilt and shame that others additionally add make it worse.
It is okay to distance yourself from others in times like this, regardless of what relationship you had with them. You are allowed to put what you need first, because you are the one having to somehow survive life after losing a baby.
And if you know someone who has lost a baby, please do not forget how hard life is every single day no matter how much time passes. Time does not ease the pain, time makes it harder as each milestone that our baby should have made passes.
Please acknowledge and say our baby’s name. Please show some compassion rather than judgement, shame and blame. No one else knows how the pregnancy actually went except for those involved.
My husband Jacob Wilson took 3 weeks off work before having to go back. He had changed his role only 2 months prior to Sage dying so that he wouldn’t have to be FIFO so often with a child at home, only for everything to change so suddenly.
I was supported through the hospital-to-home program to help me transition back into the world and have recently started grief counselling.
Now I am sharing my story to keep Sage’s memories alive and so that others in my position do not feel alone.
I want to shed some light on what life is like after losing my first-born child.
No matter how much time passes, my heart is always torn between two places: The world of the living because I have no choice, and the world of the dead where my Sage is.