Daddy's little angel

Tragically, only one of us would get to keep our baby

Published by: Amy Thompson
Published on: 23rd November 2010

Dear Liam,
Do you remember the day we had our first midwife appointment at the hospital? I was only eight weeks pregnant and, as we sat in the waiting room, I felt sick with worry. Would the baby be okay? Would there be a baby at all?
We’d tried so hard over the last three years to start a family but, after four miscarriages, I’d been ready to give up.
‘I can’t take this any more,’ I’d told you.
‘Let’s give it one final go,’ you’d said, kissing the top of my head. ‘I’ve got a good feeling.’
When I’d fallen pregnant for the fifth time in September last year, we’d held our breath until we reached eight weeks – that’s when I’d lost the others.
But it wasn’t until the midwife checked me over and said everything was okay that I really allowed myself to believe.
‘Everything looks normal, but we’ll keep an eye on you because of your history,’ she smiled. ‘I’ll book you in for your first scan next week.’
Tears filled my eyes as I gripped your hand tightly.
‘We’re actually going to see our baby,’ I beamed, happily.
‘Just seven more days,’ you grinned, kissing me.
Our baby. Our dream come true.
We spent the next week talking about names and planning where the Moses basket would go. You were so excited about being a dad, and I couldn’t believe it was finally happening.
That weekend, we both had plans to go out with friends.
‘Is Chris picking you up?’ I asked, putting on my make-up. You and Chris were practically joined at the hip. You’d been mates for years.
‘Yeah, he’ll be around in a minute,’ you smiled, circling the date of my nine-week scan on the calendar. You were like a little kid counting down the days until Christmas.
The doorbell rang. You leaped up, kissed me goodbye and raced downstairs and out the door.
As the night wore on, somehow we ended up in the same bar.
‘Fancy seeing you here,’ you whispered  wrapping your arms around my waist. I leaned back into your chest happily.
‘Hey guys, let’s get a photo of you,’ my mate Sonja said, pointing her camera at us.
Smiling next to you, I’d never felt happier. You’d always told me never to give up hope, and now here we were – a new life in front of us. 
‘I’ll see you at home,’ you winked, as your mates dragged you off to the next bar.
Liam, if only I’d known what was about to happen… if I’d known that just a few hours later, I’d be opening the door to two policemen… I’d have held on to you and never let you go.
The police told me you’d been in a car crash. Chris was driving and had swerved to miss an animal and ploughed into a tree – you took the full impact.
When I got to the hospital, you were unconscious. You’d suffered severe brain injuries. Sitting next to you, I squeezed your hand.
‘Please wake up,’ I begged. ‘Me and the baby need you.’
A few days later, I brought in my scan picture. ‘I reckon it’s a boy,’ I told you, fighting back tears. ‘You’ve got to get better, babe. You can take him to see Wolverhampton Wanderers play footie, get him a little shirt…’
I said the words. But a coldness in the pit of my stomach told me it would never happen.
A week later, you died.
At your funeral, I placed the scan photo in your coffin along with a book I’d made of all our photos together. ‘I’ve got a copy, too, to show our baby one day,’ I whispered tearfually.
I was only 10 weeks pregnant when you died. All I wanted was to curl up next to you and fall asleep forever. Yet every time I felt like that, your voice repeated in my mind – don’t give up.
‘You’ll always have a part of Liam with you,’ Mum comforted me. ‘You’ve still got his baby.’
I threw myself into buying baby bits. I even found a cute little plastic photo frame that played music, so I could put your picture in the baby’s cot.
By the 20-week scan, I was so excited, even with my grief. With every day that passed, I was closer to meeting our little one, seeing how much he would look like you.
I shivered as the nurse squeezed the gel on to my tum. Then, Liam, she frowned and called a doctor.
‘Your baby has fluid on its heart and doesn’t seem to be growing at the normal rate,’ the doctor said. ‘We’ll have to keep a close eye on both of you.’
Okay… but everything would be fine, right? At 27 weeks, I had another scan.
‘The baby’s stopped growing,’ the doctor explained. ‘If you wait, chances are you’ll have a stillbirth. Or we can do an emergency Caesarean now.’
I had to give our baby a fighting chance. So, just five months after you died, our baby son was born. But as the doctor placed our tiny boy in my arms, he looked grave.
‘I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do for him…’ he said, sadly.
When you died, I didn’t think anything could hurt me more. But holding our son for the first and only time, I felt so fragile, I don’t know how I didn’t shatter.
I could barely feel him, he only weighed 8oz, but that was big enough to take my whole heartful of love. ‘Welcome to the world, Liam Anthony Turner,’ I whispered to him.
Yes, I named him after you. And as I said his name, he looked up at me. I showed him your picture and I couldn’t get over how much he looked like you.
‘I’ve worked here 20 years,’ one nurse smiled. ‘I’ve never seen a baby with such defined features. He’s gorgeous.’
One hundred minutes was all the time I had with our son. He took his last breath in my arms.
‘Daddy will look after you now,’ I whispered, as he slipped away.
That’s when I did shatter – or that’s how it felt. My heart was in pieces. How could I lose you both?
I had little Liam buried in the same cemetery as you. Just like before, I made up a photo album, and placed it in his coffin along with a little brown teddy.
I have a copy of the same photo book and carry it in my bag. Any time I feel down, I hold it in my hands and think of you both.
Knowing that you’re together keeps me going.
Seven months on, it’s still difficult, but I’m getting there.
We tried so hard to have a baby, Liam, but for now only one of us can keep him. So until we’re together again, look after our little boy and give him a kiss from me.
All my love,
Aimee xxx
Aimee Nicholls, 25, Low Hill, Wolverhampton