Bringing Connor Home (New Zealand)

My Lil Angel Connor

My son was kicking in my belly from 14 weeks into my pregnancy; he made himself known from very early on. We were very nervous from the start as I had bleeding for the first 12 weeks and also suffered a missed miscarriage six years before. I imagined him to be like his father – very cheeky, eager for adventure, full of energy and a fighter. Our son was also a little fighter and we were so excited when we got to the half way mark, 20 weeks. But in my 21st week of pregnancy, due to an unusual shape uterus called a septate uterus (which means my uterus is divided into two) my healthy son ran out of room and it triggered premature labor. Unfortunately there was nothing the hospital could do and my son was born on the 3 February 2013, weighing 450 grams at 9.45 am. Our son lived for an hour and a half but due to his prematurity he passed away peacefully in my arms at around 11.10am.

My midwife made the situation as normal as it could be throughout the birth and when meeting our son. After I gave birth she placed him straight on my chest so we could have skin to skin contact. As I really wanted to see him, they then placed him in my arms. Our son clutched onto my gown and wouldn’t give up without a fight. My partner also held him before family members started coming in to see us. The midwives that helped me through my birth took pictures of me and my partner with our son Connor. They brought in a flax basket with clothes, hat and booties. As I was exhausted from my birth they dressed him in a gorgeous blue knitted hoodie for me and took more pictures. My mother, step father and mother-in-law all came into the hospital and got a chance to say goodbye and have a cuddle.

We didn’t think through yes or no when considering whether or not to bring our son home. I can’t even remember the midwives asking me if I wanted to bring him home. I think our instinct was that of just wanting to bring him home as any other mother would bring their baby home and also the thought of our son being by himself didn’t feel right. As I have Maori blood/heritage, it is normal to have a family member who has passed away in a home with other family members until they are buried. It was very normal for me and nothing felt wrong about bringing our son home. As we have some idea of what went wrong, we didn’t get an autopsy and brought him home with us in his little flax basket later that afternoon.

We placed our son in his basket in our lounge where we spend most of our time. We never left his side that evening and if my partner or I had to leave the room to do something we made sure someone was with him and he was never alone. Both our parents came over and said goodbye again as well as some other members of our family. Both my partner and I slept in the lounge on the couch with our son in his wee basket that night. The next day we decided that we needed to organise his funeral and go and take him to the funeral director. I couldn’t do it or make myself leave the lounge to take our son away. I didn’t want him to go. My parents came over for some support and the funeral director came over to our house to discuss details and to take our little man away. It was very overwhelming but we felt that we needed to say goodbye that day.

Having our son at home has helped with my grief in so many ways. I feel and think that when you give birth to a baby in negative or positive circumstances, maternal instincts kick straight in. I felt sad, proud, in love with my son and broken hearted all at the same time but being able to have that proud feeling of bringing my baby home made such a difference.
As it was an overwhelming and devastating experience that I wasn’t expecting, I cannot imagine not being able to bring my baby home. Being able to hold him in a comfortable home environment to say goodbye made the hurt a little less painful. We will always be a family with our angel but bringing our son home has meant that we could be a tangible family for a little while in our home.

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