This mum's heartbreaking story will leave you in tears...
In September 2015, Natalie Morgan gave birth to a stillborn daughter. Read her heartbreaking story here and the message she has for all mums
Our hearts are breaking into tiny pieces for what this mum has been through. But she wants to share her story with other mums, just so they appreciate the precious miracles that their children are, especially when confronted with the daily challenges of parenthood.
Natalie was 40 weeks pregnant when her nightmare started. Her little girl, Eleanor Josephine was kicking away on the night of 10 September 2015. But when Natalie woke up next morning she knew something was wrong -- she couldn't find her baby's heartbeat on her home doppler machine. Natalie says, "I knew. I just knew. I didn't want to know...I wanted to be mistaken, but I knew."
They rushed to the hospital immediately, praying all the way there. At the hospital too, the doppler revealed no heartbeat: "Before they put the ultrasound wand on me, they ran the heartbeat monitor over my belly - nothing. My heart was sinking fast, and I remember thinking 'This can't be happening...this is just a dream...this can't be happening...They'll find something on the ultrasound...just *something*.'"
Finally, one of the doctors there confirmed the horrible truth -- "'I'm sorry...there's nothing there.'"
The horror of this moment keeps returning as flashbacks to Natalie, who says, "It's a crippling, all-consuming feeling of utter suffocation, and a memory that will haunt me for the rest of my life. In that moment, I felt trapped as if the ceiling was literally crashing down on top of me. I couldn't breathe, lashed out, I screamed, I threw things, I threw up...and then a piece of me died with her. I was helpless to change anything. My body was supposed to keep her safe, and instead it killed her. I was 40w6d."
A few hours later, Natalie was induced. She was offered an epidural but she refused.
She says, "I needed to own it. I needed the pain, the agony, and misery to mirror what I felt in my heart. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Ever. Dealing with the unbearable contractions, the ring of fire, the tearing...knowing that all of it was for nothing. I was delivering a lifeless child. There would be no happiness at the end of it to help me forget the pain. The pain, unlike my baby girl, would live on forever."
After hours of labour, little Eleanor Josephine was born sleeping. Perfect in every way and beautiful, but lifeless.
There was no reason to expect that first little cry from her. Instead, it was me who sobbed. I begged her through my tears to wake up: 'Please wake up, baby girl...please, wake up. Why won't you cry for mommy? Please, please, please....just wake up... I love her so much, and the devastation I felt, and still feel, cannot even begin to be described. We got to spend 6 hours with her. We took hundreds of photos. A photographer from "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" came by and took even more. We bathed her, we brushed her hair, we held her, kissed her, and told her how much we loved her. And I apologized over and over again for failing her. Oh, how I failed my beautiful baby girl.
Natalie and her husband were offered to stay the night, but she explains that even though she couldn't bear the thought of leaving her daughter, she knew she was just prolonging the inevitable. She had reached her breaking point, saying, "I wanted to die with her."
As Natalie spent the last few minutes with her precious daughter, with blood cascading down her legs like her womb was weeping with her, she says, "watching them wheel her away broke me. My life ended then and there. They wheeled me out of the hospital and I screamed the entire way."
At little Eleanor's funeral, Natalie and her husband Brian went through the unimaginable pain of saying farewell for ever to their daughter.
She says of this day: "This was a nightmare, this was morbid, this was wrong. Everything about it was wrong. I can still see that tiny box draped in a white cloth that held her tiny body. I had to leave her there in that cold, empty room; all alone all over again. It's a nightmare that just won't end."
Natalie has a very important message for each one of you reading this. Please go to the next page to read it.
Natalie's message to you
Mums reading this, you may have tears pouring down your face right now -- I certainly did while writing this story. But Natalie has a very important message she wants to share with each one of us, especially as we deal with parenthood's frustrating moments:
"There are going to be so many of you who have babies who are going to cry every time you try to put him or her down. Or they'll cry for no reason even if you're holding them and you've fed them, burped them, changed them...everything.
"And inevitably you're going to cry too, because you will feel so helpless and so frustrated and so clueless, and you'll want to scream, 'Why won't you stop crying?!' You're going to be exhausted and angry and fed up and all you're going to want in this world is just a little time to yourself so you can sleep or shower or or eat whatever.
"People will tell you to just let them cry it out, that you'll otherwise just be spoiling them, as if you can spoil a child with too much love. Feel free to slap those people for me.
"But please just remember, while you're awake at 3am because you have a baby in your arms keeping you up that late, I'm up at 3am because I don't. And I would give anything in this world to have a baby spitting up on me, being colicky for all hours of the day and night, screaming, not letting me put her down, cracking my nipples from breastfeeding, keeping me up all night.
"Instead, I have a stitched nether region, painfully engorged breasts no baby will suckle from, a flabby stomach, an empty womb, and blood that will continue to pour out of me for who knows how many more weeks. As if her death and birth wasn't traumatic enough, I still have to live with the physical effects all these many days later.
"All I ask of you is when you have your dark moments with your baby - when you're at your wits' end and feel like you can't go on anymore when you're only getting an hour or two of sleep a night - instead of begging your child to go to sleep and wallowing in your frustration and exhaustion, say a prayer of gratitude for your child, as difficult as it may be in that moment.
"And if you would, say a prayer for me and all the mothers whose children were taken from them too soon. Say a prayer for my sweet, sweet Eleanor who never got to know life outside my womb.
"Please. Do it for Eleanor. And do it for her mommy who loves her and misses her beyond measure."
Rest in peace, little girl. You and your mummy are in our hearts and minds.
And if you are a mum whose baby was born sleeping -- our hearts go out to you. We may never fully understand the extent of pain you went through and perhaps still are experiencing, but we stand by your side as fellow mums, in solidarity.
*All images are from Natalie Morgan's Facebook page.
Please share your messages of love and support for Natalie and her family in a comment below.