Laying back with the help of the theatre staff I felt my body start to tingle and heat up from my feet, up my legs and all over my body. The kind anaesthetist sprayed me with ice cold stuff to check if the spinal had kicked in yet and it had, I could only feel above my boobs. It was a weird sensation, totally unable to move or feel my body. James sat to my right dressed in theatre clobber, I don’t know when he got changed. I remember hearing people say their names, job titles and this went on for a long time. I realised at this point that there were an awful lot of people in that theatre, maybe 20 or more, I couldn’t see as the screen was up. They then started counting in a strange way, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and so on. I was later told that this was routine checking of equipment that they do before and after any surgery. Makes sense so they don’t leave a scalpel in your belly I guess.

Once things started there was little chatter. The anaesthetist spoke to me, told me what to expect sensation wise and was just nice, a calm and soothing voice which I assumed was her way of distracting me. I played along with her and tried to feign a calm and together demeanour, but that didn’t last long. James sat calmly next to me. I felt a big pushing sensation, I didn’t like it whatever it was, it made me feel sick. I didn’t realise it was the baby being pushed out of my belly. Then there was hustle and bustle, movement of bodies, some hushed chatter that was inaudible to me. The sweet midwife that had come to theatre with us told us we had a daughter. I hadn’t told anyone, not even James, but I had desperately wanted to have a little girl all through the pregnancy. When they said I had a daughter, my instant thought was ‘I got what I wanted and now she’s being taken from me’. There was no crying. I remembered in that moment Rachel’s words, that her little girl when born didn’t cry. She didn’t cry because she wasn’t alive. I was convinced that my little girl wasn’t alive. The midwife said that not all babies cry when they’re born. I didn’t believe her, not for a single second.

What felt like an eternity passed. All I could see was the left side of James’s face and I could see one tear rolling down his cheek. I asked him what he could see and he said he couldn’t see much but that the staff all looked calm. He said ‘they look calm princess, they look like they have it under control’. I had no idea what he was watching and I didn’t know for several weeks. I didn’t need to know and James is great like that. He completely understands me, even in that situation that neither of us had ever imagined, he still knew what to do.

After what seemed like forever, there was movement in the room. A man with a face similar to my dad’s, appeared over me and behind him I saw an incubator looking thing with what I assumed was a dead baby in it. I thought to myself, why the hell are they showing me this dead baby, my dead baby….? I thought I would be able to hold her if she was dead. Rachel held her little girl when she had died so why are they taking mine away. She had a tube coming out of her mouth and she was big, swollen and purple/blue in colour.

The man standing over me said “your daughter is very unwell, we need to move her now to treat her”. I just nodded. And then sobbed. I think James did too but I can’t remember and I am now going to stop typing and go and kiss my little girl because these memories are very raw and very real and every second of every day these moments taunt me.