Today marks nine months since you breathed your last, my special boy.
Nine months is the time you should have been with me, in my tummy growing big and strong.
Nine months is 40 weeks. You were in my tummy for only 24. You had to be taken out far too early.
Your birth and your life were governed by numbers.
Mummy’s body was in trouble. The placenta, the new organ growing with you that was keeping you alive was broken. It was sending yucky things to Mummy’s vital organs, they were failing.
Doctors like to measure how a body is getting on using numbers. Some of Mummy’s body’s numbers were far too high, while others were far too low. The doctors decided that you had to be born way before time because otherwise Mummy would die, and so would you.
Your numbers were too small. Only 420 grams, much smaller than you should have been after 24 weeks in Mummy’s tummy.
You would have a better chance in an incubator.
Now an incubator really is ruled my numbers.
Machines that beep if you are doing well, machines that beep if you are not doing so well.
A life ruled by numbers, numbers recorded on the clipboard hung from your incubator. The weight of your wet nappy. The amount of my breast milk you were allowed. Blood gas test numbers. So many other things, too.
The most important numbers of all were the ones on your ventilator. Oxygen levels, pressures. Both of these numbers were too high for you to thrive. The ventilator was helping keep you with us. You fought so hard. You had strength and courage that belied your 420 grams.
Nine months ago today, my heart shattered in to a million pieces when the doctors said there was no more hope for you. I did not want to believe it, you had been fighting so hard.
Nine months ago today, we had our final, epic cuddle. Three hours. So many songs, I lost count of the amount of times I sang you your favourite nursery rhymes. Daddy read his favourite book to you, the Animal Bop, which has counting in it.
Nine months ago today, you told us you had had enough of fighting. You wanted things your way, as always.
Nine months ago today, you spent your last moments first with Daddy, and then with me, snuggled on my chest, skin-to-skin.
Nine months ago today, I heard the four worst words in the English language, when put together in a sentence in this order:
“There is no heartbeat.”
I dressed you in a baby grow, for the first and the last time.
You looked so precious.
I cuddled you for hours.
I traced the skin on your face, the first time I was able to without your ventilator and naso-gastric tube. I stroked your hair.
You were so, so beautiful, Hugo. So perfect.
We left you in a Moses basket. I didn’t want to leave you. I couldn’t bear it. You had three teddies with you, to keep you company.
The tears we cried cannot be counted.
It was 13 days before we saw you again. You had been dressed by the kind people at the funeral home in the outfit we had given them. Placed in the blue casket that Mummy and Daddy had chosen for you.
You looked like you were asleep. You had changed, of course, but you still were so handsome. That perfectly-shaped nose. That soft, dark hair. Those long eyelashes.
I wanted so much to awake from this nightmare, Hugo, for you to still be in my tummy for the seven or so more weeks you should have been in there.
Or for us to be still watching over you in your incubator, fighting still, defying the odds, those infernal numbers.
For me and Daddy to have taken you home.
We had more cuddles, sang more songs, read more books.
We were allowed to come and see you as many times as we wanted and for as long as we wanted before your funeral.
But no number of cuddles, songs, books could be enough.
You left us nine months ago today, my super champion boy.
You have been in my heart ever since.
I love you, my beautiful boy, all the way to the moon and back. A million times.
But a million is not enough.
No number is enough.
I want you back, Hugo, so, so much.
Love cannot be written in numbers, tracked, or recorded in digits.
Love is something that defies measurement.