The Ways My Heart is Broken

My heart broke the moment I knew there was no more hope for Hugo. He had fought so hard for 35 days, had defied so many odds, won so many hearts. Hugo had been born early, far too early, and his lungs were not yet fully developed. There was nothing more that could be done, except show him how much we love him.

Hugo and I during our final cuddle.

Hugo and I during our final cuddle.

My heart was broken during our final cuddle. I knew I was already a mother bereaved. It was just a matter of time, and when. We sat skin-to-skin for three hours on that final day. I tried to take in everything about my precious child, in between my sobs. His smell, the feel of his warm skin against mine, looking at his lovely face with a mirror, him opening his eyes. His fingers gently tracing my breast.

My heart breaks when I think that Hugo knew, too. Each breath was raspy and bronchial. I knew that he was giving me a final cuddle, too.

My heart was shattered when we saw later that day that Hugo had had enough of fighting. He pulled at his ventilator tube telling us, no more. I comforted him, and cuddled him so he passed away peacefully in my arms.

My heart felt so sad after he had died. I felt so sad that it was the first time I had been able to look at his lovely face, without all the equipment that helped to keep him alive attached to it. I am sad that I don’t have a photo of it.

My heart is full of confusion. There was nothing more anybody could have done during my pregnancy, or to save Hugo. I am grateful for the 35 precious days we spent together. I am also sad that there were only 35 days. My acceptance, if you can call it that, can change hour-by-hour, and day-by-day.

Mummy, Daddy and Hugo

Mummy, Daddy and Hugo

My heart is full of pain. It is so unfair. Why me, why us? The light in my and his Daddy’s eyes is gone. We wanted our baby so much. We loved him so much. We were so excited. We are good parents. We did not deserve to have our baby taken away from us. Hugo was an innocent baby, who had done no harm to anyone. He so wanted to live. Hugo deserved to be a success story.

My heart is crushed to know that Hugo wanted to live, but that could not be. He was so feisty, so determined, such a true boy. He would have wanted to play with the Lego that his Daddy had told him about, watch the Star Wars films I had told him about, sit and read books with us, learn about his daddy’s favourite sports, run, play, be naughty, grow up. All the things so many parents take for granted.

My heart feels heavy. Grief is a terrible burden. It is lonely. It is overwhelming. It is exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I am spinning, spinning, spinning. There is no end.



My heart is lost. I feel I am not really here. I don’t know where I am. I have no control over my emotions. Bad days are straightforward. I know what to expect with bad days, because I wake up with that heaviness in my chest: sadness, tears, not wanting to speak to anyone, or leave the house. Good days can be confusing. I can wake up feeling more positive. Some good days can end as a good day, or at least a better day, feeling I have achieved something – especially if I have been raising awareness for my Hugo. The trouble is, the pain can come from anywhere, and at any time. It can leave me wracked with sobs as bad as the day Hugo died. Some things you would expect to be a trigger, other things are more obscure. A baby in the distinctively-patterned pram I had chosen for Hugo; a baby crying in the swimming pool changing rooms. Children playing in the local park. The Pets at Home advert, especially the boy pushing a chicken on a swing. I can imagine my cheeky and strong-willed Hugo doing something similar. Except he never will.

Hugo cuddling Mummy

Hugo cuddling Mummy

My heart is empty. Time is not a healer. Hugo has already been gone for longer than he lived, and he should not even have been born yet.

My heart feels bereft every time I go to visit Hugo’s grave. It is not the natural order. So many babies’ graves surround Hugo’s. So many babies born asleep.

My heart feels so angry that we cannot know why our beautiful, perfect little boy was taken from us. Yes, I know I had pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, but what I mean is we do not know why it happened to me – or any other woman it affects, for that matter.

My heart feels frustrated when I am told it is ‘bad luck’, or ‘one of those things’. Those pat phrases are not good enough for the loss of an innocent life. Our priorities are wrong. Billions are invested in sending probes to Mars to look for evidence of new life, and yet we fail to invest adequately in research to learn how to protect the new lives that grow within us here on Earth. It is so, so sad.

Billions are invested in sending probes to Mars to look for new life, and yet we fail to invest adequately in research to learn how to protect the new lives that grow within us here on Earth.

My heart is inconsolable. Hugo inspired so many people throughout the world during his 35 days. He surely would have grown up to have been a wonderful man, using his determined spirit to contribute so much.

My heart is broken. It will always will be. A part of my heart belongs to my Hugo.

18 thoughts on “The Ways My Heart is Broken

  1. Paula Reed Nancarrow says:

    “Hugo has already been gone for longer than he lived, and he should not even have been born yet.” That is such a painful thing to read, Leigh, and yet it captures the pain for others so beautifully that I have to somehow recognize what a grace-filled thing your writing is.

    What you said about not having a picture reminded me of this post, which I read about a month after your post was first published: I wonder if Hugo’s Legacy might want to help facilitate something like this.


  2. Frazzled Mum says:

    This is so, so sad. Hugo may only have had a very short life but he will never be forgotten and I am sure that your determination to find answers will mean that his death will leave a lasting legacy for many people. You will never forget the feel of him in your arms or the smell of his skin and although now the pain seems too great to bear I pray that one day you will find peace x


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. It breaks my heart to know that Hugo will never grow up and we will never see what could have been. It is a small solace to know what an impact he made on the world during his life, and will continue to make.


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