Today would have been our son's third birthday.
22nd January 2007, at 11.09am we gave birth to a little boy, born at 21 weeks and 3 days. A perfectly formed, tiny little boy. He was born sleeping after my waters broke two weeks earlier.
It's a day Chris and I will never forget, I remember every moment of it, from the day before when I woke up to find the umbilical chord had come down, to the moment he was born and the rest of that awful day.
It was a sad day, but somehow serene and peaceful, filled with tears and broken dreams. Losing a baby is hard at any stage but when you go through 9 hours of labour knowing all the time that it is not going to end the way it should, it's just heartbreaking.
We spent the day at the hospital, he was wrapped in a little blanket and stayed with us until we left that evening. While we sat on the bed that day we could only hear one song, which we later played at his funeral Chasing cars by Snow Patrol.
Three years on and the pain is not quite so raw, it seems to ease a little as time moves on, but I know that we will never forget, and each year on his birthday we will reflect on that day and always wish that things could have turned out different.
He would have been quite excited this year, probably the first year he realised that it's his birthday and he gets presents from everyone! I will always wonder what we might have bought him, how he would look now, and what life would be like with a son.
So to Matthew Christopher Stuart Russell, we miss you, our little sleeping angel.
I wrote this poem last year, and have changed it slightly for this year - it still seems appropriate being that this year we are carrying two!
It’s been three years since that day in the delivery suite
Where you were born too soon, with such tiny hands and tiny feet
It’s hard to think to the day that you died
When we lost you, our son, and both of us cried
It feels like it happened just yesterday,
I still ask the question will the pain go away?
Your daddy and I still cry for you
Not a month goes by without one of us feeling blue
We wonder what you’d look like today
Perhaps big blue eyes, blonde hair and we’d say
How proud we are that you can now walk,
And how many words you say, now you can talk
But none of this was meant for us
Our journey continues with so much fuss
Three years on since my baby was born
36 months since you have been gone
This year we will plant a rose bush for you
To remind us to be happy, on days when we’re blue
To think of the time you were inside me and then
To smile and be happy, try to forget all the pain
We loved you then, and we love you still
It’s what keeps us strong and gives us the will
To carry on and make a brother for you
Or maybe a sister, or maybe there’s two!
But you remember my darling son
We will never forget that you were the one
That broke our hearts and made us realise
That although we never got to see your eyes
We spent a few hours holding you tight
We held on to each other all through that night
And both of us know that whatever our fears
You were worth it to us, even though there are tears.
And we’ll always be glad that you never felt pain
And one day we know we will see you again
Until then my darling we will cry tears like rain
And we will continue to pray that it won’t happen again.