For Your First Birthday, Hugo

My Darling Hugo,

Mummy and Daddy so wish you were with us tomorrow, so we could sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you. We wish we had a mountain of presents to wrap, to add to the others you would get from friends and family. We wish we could watch you unwrap them all.

And ignore the toys to play with the paper and boxes, no doubt.

You made your very early arrival in the world a year ago tomorrow, Hugo. Your very early birth was something that none of us wanted. The doctors came to see me that morning. They told us that Mummy was very poorly, and that meant that you were very poorly, too. Mummy and Daddy sobbed and sobbed. We had hoped for more time, for you to grow bigger and stronger.

We knew that you would have to be born by an operation called a Caesarean section, where you would be cut out of my tummy. Mummy was so sick I had to be put to sleep for the operation. That meant I wouldn’t be able to see you be born. I so wanted to be able to cuddle you when you were born, look at you, marvel at you, get to know you with Daddy, but that was not going to be possible. I was going to be asleep, and Daddy wasn’t allowed in to the operating theatre.

I didn’t want to sign the form that meant they could do the operation for you to be born, but I didn’t have a choice, Hugo. If I had got poorlier I could have had seizures or a stroke which meant you would have died anyway, and I might have died too.

We were not sure if you would be born alive. Daddy and I were inconsolable. However, you were born fighting at 11.19am. I don’t know if you cried, but you were strong and feisty and the doctors were able to put a tube in you to help you breathe. You were put into an incubator. Daddy managed to catch a glimpse of you as you were whisked past to be taken to the neonatal unit.

Hugo, on the day he was born.

Hugo, on the day he was born.

Daddy says that when I woke up he told me you had been born fighting, and I gave the biggest smile ever.

Mummy so wanted to be able to see you, Hugo, but I had to make do with photos. Mummy will always feel sad that I didn’t get to see you on the day you were born. I know why it wasn’t possible: you and I were both so poorly. It still makes me sad, though.

I still feel sad that I didn’t get to meet you until about 9pm the next day. We were kept apart from each other for too long. You needed me and I needed you. You needed to hear my voice, feel my touch. I wonder whether you wondered what on earth was going on. Suddenly taken out of your Mummy, wires put in to you, put into a plastic box, surrounded by voices you did not recognise. I’ll always be cross with the people who kept us apart. We can never get that precious time back.

Hugo, you brightened up our lives with your antics, your mischief, and your fighting spirit. Daddy and I did not know it was possible to love anyone so much.

We don’t know what we would be doing tomorrow if you were still with us, Hugo. Perhaps you would still be in hospital. Perhaps you would be home with us, but Mummy and Daddy wouldn’t be letting anyone come around in case they had yucky germs that could make you poorly.

Even better, if things were different you wouldn’t even be celebrating your birthday for a few months yet. We would be celebrating your first birthday in the sunshine of early summer. Or hiding inside while it rained. It is England, after all. We wouldn’t have minded though, Mummy and Daddy would have loved to have seen your face when you saw your presents.

We will miss seeing your face light up on all your birthdays, Hugo. We will miss seeing the joy on your face when you got the toy you had been asking for. We will miss organising parties for you and your friends.

We miss you, Hugo, so very much.

We know you are enjoying adventures in the stars, our precious Star Boy, but we wish you were having more earthly adventures down here, with us.

Tomorrow, we will be celebrating your arrival in the world. We will be celebrating the impact you have made to so many people’s lives.

So many people have taken you in to their hearts, Hugo. You were, are, and always will be a very special boy. Mummy and Daddy are so very proud of you.

We love you to the moon (which is made of cheese and you get to in a spaceship) and back a million times.

So many kisses, cuddles, stories and songs.

Mummy and Daddy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mummy, Daddy, Hugo - and lots of medical equipment.

Mummy, Daddy, Hugo – and lots of medical equipment.



43 thoughts on “For Your First Birthday, Hugo

  1. Not A Frumpy Mum says:

    Such a beautiful letter to your precious boy. Happy Birthday Hugo, you have been in my thoughts today along with your very brave mummy and daddy. xxx


  2. Lorraine says:

    Such a beautiful post brought me to tears, happy birthday to Hugo! Such a sweetheart! This is a tough tough day for you and I’m thinking of you and so are many many more.. all with Hugo at heart. Your such a brave women! Lots of love to you xxxx


  3. mrshsfavouritethings says:

    Dearest Leigh and Martin. I have no words. I can’t imagine how you must feel today. I know that I am in tears just reading this and feeling your loss. I wish so much that you were able to give Hugo a birthday kiss and cuddle today. The world can be a cruel place and especially for people who only deserve love and happiness. Happy birthday little star boy. #HugosLegacy Hugs Mrs H xxxx


  4. carla says:

    It’s a difficult day but also a day to celebrate that he was born fighting. I’m so teary reading this and yet I know it will be nothing compared to the pain and bravery it took to write this post.
    Lots of love and a very happy birthday to your little star


  5. kaitlynva says:

    Thank you for sharing how upset you were at the separation. I only got to hear my son at the beginning, didn’t get to see or hold him… And then when I finally could, he was already brain dead from blood loss. I am so heartbroken over that experience but have a very hard time expressing it at all. Thanks for putting that into words, it really helped me.


  6. Tim says:

    Happy birthday for tomorrow, Hugo. You will be remembered and celebrated by your loving parents and by an extended family of those who have been inspired by your story.


  7. Katie / Pouting In Heels says:

    Happy Birthday Hugo. You and your mummy have touched my heart so so much. I hope you are having amazing adventures up there in the stars. You will twinkle extra brightly tomorrow. xxx

    Sending you much love Leigh. Elsie and I will light a special candle for Hugo tomorrow and you will be in my thoughts (and those of many others I’m sure) Now then…Let’s get #hugoslegacy trending shall we?! xxx


  8. Kiran Chug says:

    Oh my dearest Leigh. To your beautiful Hugo – happy birthday. To you and Martin – so much love. My heart aches. You have all been in my thoughts this week, and tomorrow I will be sending much love, as always XXX


  9. Ali says:

    God bless you, little Hugo. And you, Leigh. The world can be such an unfair place. I have tears rolling down my cheeks, for you, for my own selfish reasons? You are incredibly brave. I know I have said it before, I think you are amazing to have to deal with such pain, everyday. Happy birthday little man, I will light a candle for him tomorrow. Ali xx


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