I was full of excitement and expectation.
A growing bump with an active, wriggly baby inside.
I bought cute little babygrows with little baby robots, and little doggies on them.
I bought story books and toys, ones designed to stimulate his development.
Plans for decorating his nursery. Brightly-coloured, with a jungle animal theme.
Preparing for our lives to change: sleepless nights; nappy changes; not being able to leave the house without military-style planning making sure we had everything the baby might need; not having time to shower, wash my hair, choose an outfit.
Looking forward to the little man our son would grow in to: what would he enjoy doing, what would his hobbies and interests be, who would his friends be?
I would coo over babies, and interact with them – whether the baby belonged to a friend or a stranger in the supermarket queue.
A person given easily to smiles and laughter. Easy-going. Positive and optimistic.
Too much sadness.
A long scar across my tummy where my baby had been taken out. Too early, far too early.
Thoughts of what should have been.
Babygrows put away in a drawer, I cannot bear to look at them. They seem wrong, inanimate without my son’s chubby little arms and legs sticking out of them.
Toys and books sit in a box. Unread, not played with.
Our lives have changed utterly and irrevocably, yet in many ways they have not changed at all. Besides the photos on the mantelpiece and the box of Hugo’s things in what would have been his nursery, there is little physical evidence in our house to show we have a baby son.
No pram, no toys, no nappy changing gear.
No brightly-coloured nursery. Instead, Hugo’s grave garden is alive with an abundance of colour with vibrant flowers and toys. It is one way of demonstrating my love.
Whenever I leave the house, I am able to pick up my handbag and go. I do not need to check my shoulders for residual baby sick. I do not need to think about my baby’s needs. I do not need to find a baby sitter.
I can spend as long as I like in the shower. Wash my hair as often as I like. Spend as long as I like styling it. Apply make-up as I like. Choose an outfit I like.
I do not like being able to do any of these things.
It is not right. No baby’s needs to meet first. A mummy should not have so much time to do as she pleases.
We will not know what our little man will grow up to be like. We will never know his hobbies, his interests, who his friends are.
We have lost not only our baby, our present. We have lost our future together, too.
I actively avoid babies, and younger children when I am out. I cannot bear to look at them. They make me think of what Hugo should be like. I am getting better at looking at some photos of other people’s babies.
There is an infinite amount of love, but no baby to bestow it on.
There is a huge gap in our lives where Hugo should be. Even if I had 100 more children the gap would remain.
Now, there is progress. Slow progress.
Things will get better. The pain dulls, even if it never fully goes away.
More smiles, laughter comes more easily.
But life will never be the same.
I am not the same. I am changed. Changed in so many ways: still easy going, still positive (no matter how hard it often feels) but defiant, determined, short on patience, I refuse to be patronised, or to take rubbish from people. Stronger than I ever knew was possible.
Now nothing is as it should be.