It was 5 years ago today when I carried my angel baby, Pixie, in her coffin at her funeral.
That was the hardest day of my life, along with the night we found out she had died, and the day Nora, her Mother, had to give birth to her naturally. Nothing can make you feel more numb.
According to the NHS, stillbirths are quite common – one in every 200 births ends in a stillbirth, or 11 stillbirths every day across the UK. It’s 15 times more common than cot death, although knots on the cord and similar freak accidents, like with Pixie, are extremely rare.
The Family I Longed For
Sounds cliché, but all I ever wanted in life was a family. Even in High School when I had dreams of being successful, I always had a deeper desire to have a family. Just a normal, happy family unit to make memories with, and little people to teach and mould into great human beings.
When I met Nora I knew I had met the woman I wanted to have children with. She wanted the same things as me, and had the same values. I was 24 when she fell pregnant with Pixie.
I was so excited. We were so excited. I was 9 months away from having my family.
For the first time I was completely happy and content in life. I had ‘that someone’ I wanted to spend my life with, and we had the first member of our little family on the way.
7 Months on Cloud 9
For the first 7 months of the pregnancy it was like being on cloud 9 every day of the week, I was so excited for the future, and all the new movements etc. filled me with complete joy.
The pregnancy wasn’t plain sailing, at 14 weeks Nora was in hospital with bleeding caused by a low lying placenta, which had fortunately moved up by week 20. And at 27 weeks she was again in hospital, for almost a week this time, with a severe kidney infection. Poor girl.
After that things went well with Jellybean – we called her that during the pregnancy! 🙂
We got all of the stuff we needed for her big arrival and were both so excited to meet the little wriggler we had both always wanted. The first pregnancy is always like a big whirlwind, you’re going through the motions, soaking up knowledge, preparing, not knowing what to expect.
The Night She Died
I still remember the night we found out that we had lost Pixie.
Nora usually felt movements in the early hours of the night, but that day she didn’t. And she was getting pains. I’m a positive person so I put it down to Pixie resting, so Nora drank some water as that usually gets them wriggling again. But it didn’t help. There were no movements.
At that point I was still feeling positive, but I started hurting for Nora because I knew she was worried and starting to fear the worst. We went to the hospital hoping for reassurance.
We didn’t get it. There was no heartbeat. Our little girl was gone.
That was at 37 weeks and 4 days. I just felt numb. I didn’t know what to think or feel. Was it even real? She was due a week or so later, how could life be so cruel? It was so hard to understand how or why it happened, and even harder to accept that it had happened to us. Our first baby. She was all we had ever wanted. Gone. Just like that, in a freak accident. Why? Just why?
I felt so crushed and sad when I looked at Nora. I just held her tight. She’d had a tough life and lost her own Mum when she was young, she didn’t deserve that. Not that anybody does. But she’d served her time with suffering in life. I felt so hopeless as a man because I couldn’t help her.
I called my Mum and Dad and told them what had happened, they came to the hospital to comfort us and take us home afterwards. We were told to return in 3 days for induction.
I don’t remember much about those 3 days. Nora doesn’t either. It’s just a total blur.
The Day She Arrived
It sounds strange to say, but the day of our little angels arrival wasn’t as bad as it could have been. And I mean the day as a whole, rather than the actual labour, which was traumatic. I was doing everything I could to take Nora’s mind off things – dressing up as a doctor, peeing on test strips, making jokes, putting Jeremy Kyle on in my pyjamas. And we had my Mum there.
But giving birth to your child when you know they’re going to arrive lifeless is just a numbing and traumatic thought. And the experience matched the thought. Watching the person I loved going through the motions of labour – the pain, the fear, the feeling of failure, and everything else.
It was just horrendous. And I remember Nora turning to me midway through and saying sorry she couldn’t give me a baby. It broke my heart into little pieces knowing she felt that way.
But then Pixie arrived. She was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. So, so perfect.
We spent a few hours with her, bathing her, dressing her, holding her, taking pictures and we even got her footprints which was lovely. It was heartbreaking, but also so peaceful, and I’m so grateful for that little moment in time where I got to meet my first little girl.
Here are Pixie’s little footprints:
Nora did so well. I can’t put into words how proud of her I am, still to this day. Seeing her hold Pixie filled me with so much sadness, and yet joy, too. I have so much respect for her.
Leaving the hospital without our baby was surreal to say the least.
To this day it’s still hard to accept and comprehend that I saw my daughter off at a funeral. Our kids should never go before us, should they? They should be seeing us off.
But despite all of that, we gave Pixie a lovely send-off. Carrying her tiny coffin was so emotional, but again I’m so happy I got to do that. We had all of our family and closest friends there, we played some lovely songs and Nora even read out a beautiful poem that she had written.
Pixie’s Funeral Songs:
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (chosen by me)
- Goo Goo Dolls – Iris (chosen by Nora)
- Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven (chosen by my Mum)
After the funeral we all went to a local pub and spent time together with some food while playing some darts and pool. It was nice, all in our little girls memory. Everyone was so lovely.
Keeping Her Memory Alive
I will never forget my first beautiful daughter. I’ll always hurt for her.
Sometimes I catch myself looking at my other daughter, Poppy, and wondering if Pixie would be like her. If she’d look like her. It makes me so emotional, but strangely happy, too.
Every year we spend her birthday together and we set off balloons and lanterns with messages for her. Poppy and Marty now understand that they have a big sister up in the sky, and it’s so adorable watching them say happy birthday, write messages and let off balloons for her.
Here’s a picture from her 5th birthday, January 7th:
Happy Birthday Pixie ❤️ pic.twitter.com/tffClAyz5H
— Marty Rogers (@thatmartylad) January 7, 2018
That was a lovely day. Sad, but lovely. With my family.
Nora also buys an angel every year for Pixie. She has a shelf with her ashes on along with her growing collection of angels. It’s beautiful. Her memory always surrounds us. I love it.
My best mate, Rick, is also keeping my little girls memory alive with a lovely tattoo he got for her on his leg. He has kids himself so I know he hurts for me, and that was such a kind thing for him to do. Him and his then-girlfriend Lorrin were so good and got us little gifts to cheer us up.
Here’s Rick’s tattoo for my little girl:
Isn’t that lovely? So proud to call him my best mate. Thanks again Rick! <3
Just one more thing before I end this post…
My mum’s first baby, my big sister, died too. She has the same birthday as Pixie.
How crazy is that? I find it hard to comprehend that fact, and I feel for my mum because I know she hurts when myself and Nora are hurting but she hides it. It’s just so sad.
It was really hard for me to write this post. My brain naturally blocks out bad events so I don’t deal with them like I should, which is probably why I had a health anxiety meltdown, so sitting here and re-living it has been very emotional. I nearly drowned, actually, haha. But it’s a good thing, and it’s one of the reasons I appreciate having a blog. I hope it helps others.
Have you been through a stillbirth? Share your stories below! <3