“True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another”
Just before my husband and I got married, a friend sent us a card with this quote written on the front. At the time I saw it as just a nice quote without really understanding its meaning – and then I met my son. Then I realised what true love really is. I saw so much of Garry and I in Ruairidh, from Garry’s massive feet to my facial features. I never thought I could love anyone as much as I love my husband, but Ruairidh gave him a good run for his money.
A few days before my birthday in June 2019 I had made plans to see friends for a few birthday drinks. Something made me take a pregnancy test before leaving, and there in front of me were two little pink lines. We had been trying since the previous November with no success, so I was not expecting a positive result. Just to be sure I then took a more expensive test, and then there was no denying it. After some celebrations we settled into life as expectant parents.
I’m sure I am not the only woman who felt so nervous before each scan. At 12 weeks, I was sick in the hospital car park (whoever said being pregnant is graceful lied!). The same nerves were there at our 20 week and gender scans. But the elation afterwards is a feeling I will never forget. When we discovered we were having a boy, I left the hospital clinging to the pictures and marvelled at the miracle growing inside of me. In every scan we could see his big feet (just like his dad) and his hands up at his face which is how I sleep. He was the perfect blend of both of us.
At 28 weeks, there was no heartbeat. On the Saturday of that week we arrived in hospital ready to deliver our baby boy sleeping. Our world had been turned upside down but we had planned to have as calm a birth experience as possible, and that was still our plan. I had induced labour by tablets that were inserted into my cervix. Then it was a waiting game. At 2:59 AM on Sunday 1st December our little boy was born. Our little Christmas baby. He came feet first which meant a little bit of pushing before he made his entrance into this world. The relief at knowing that he was at peace was what kept me going. We spent the next few hours making memories and taking pictures that we will treasure forever. When we felt ready we left Ruairidh in the care of the hospital and headed home. Two weeks later we buried Ruairidh surrounded by our family. I felt a strong sense of peace on that day amongst the sadness. I have found great satisfaction in finding toys and things to place at his grave – the one thing I can do as a mum for my baby in heaven.
Throughout this whole experience my goal was to do my part as a mother for my son. I had this overwhelming need to protect him until the very end. Garry and I carried him in and out of the church and to his final resting place. We felt we wanted to bring him to the place where we had been married. A place full of love. Now that I am a mother without a baby in my arms, I am determined that Ruairidh’s legacy is carried on through me. I take every opportunity to share the story of our beautiful little boy. My advice to anyone who has lost a baby, at any stage, would be to try to talk about your loss if you feel able to. Every baby matters, and I have found that some people are frightened to talk about their babies and all they needed was someone to take the first step. I have made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t had this experience, and they have become the most amazing support system around Garry and I.
I believe that if Ruairidh’s story helps or impacts even just one person, then it is worth telling. We have experienced great joy in sharing our memory box from SIMBA that contains our photos of our precious cuddles with Ruairidh and prints of his big feet! It has been such a valuable item in helping us to grieve as well as share Ruairidh with others and is a charity that is close to our hearts. Although some days are so dark, we still have hope. I hope that one day I will be able to give Ruairidh a baby brother or siste,r but he will always be my beautiful first born who my soul recognised its counterpoint in.
In memory of Ruairidh Alexander John Carr.