I miss so many things about the first week of her life, before she had her operation, when she was on K2 at Alder Hey hospital. I miss watching her stretch her entire little body and wriggle around as she was waking up from a deep sleep. I miss the way she used to gulp down her milk as fast as she could and then clamp her mouth tightly shut when she had drunk enough and refuse to let the bottle pass her lips again. I miss watching her sleep - it seemed she could get comfortable in any position. I miss it when she pursed her lips in her sleep and pulled other funny faces. I miss our cuddles - I miss our cuddles so much. I miss holding her against my chest and snuggling her close. I miss stroking her soft hair and watching her sleep, her cheek squashed against my shoulder. I miss resting my cheek on the softness of her head and feeling totally at peace, knowing that this felt totally right and was what my life was all about - caring for my beautiful daughter. I miss jumping out of bed in the morning, even though I had only had a few hours sleep, because I was going to spend another day with my amazing little girl. Jumping quickly in the shower and getting dressed as quickly as I could - I never once dried my hair with a hairdryer during Erin's life because that would just be wasting time. I could not wait to be by her side and every minute was precious. I miss getting up in the morning and saying excitedly to my husband, "come on, lets go and see our little poppet". I miss changing her as she wiggled around on the mat - trying to work around the wires and monitors. I miss choosing a babygrow for her to wear and dressing her proudly. I miss everything!
The next 2 weeks were spent with Erin in ICU following her operation. This was a very different time as she was critically ill and there were no cuddles, or dressing or stretching anymore.....but despite this, there was still hope. There was still a skip in my step as I rushed down to the ward in the morning, hoping that today would be the day when she could come off the ECMO machine. There were still tremendous feelings of pride as I sat by her side, whispering words of comfort in her ear, stroking her hair and holding her hand. These feelings of pride will never leave me.
And now, there are things that I miss that I never even got to do. I miss having the opportunity to sit in the rocking chair in her nursery with her and sing her to sleep. I miss having the chance to take her for walks in the sunshine and visit daddy during his lunch break at work. I miss the fact that I never got the chance to introduce her to most of my friends and family and that she never got to enjoy all the cuddles she would have had. I miss getting out of bed full of hope and joy in the morning.......
When we returned home from hospital without Erin one of the first things I did was write down all the wonderful things about her - the details of her hair and her weight and the funny little mannerisms that she had. I was so terrified that one day I may forget them and I never wanted to forget anything about my precious little girl. Now I know that I will never forget these things, but what I worry about is that I will forget how these things felt. It is 4 months on and I am struggling to remember just how it felt to hold my baby girl close and this scares me, because my memories are everything...they are all I have.
"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. "
~ Author Unknown