I sit here at the computer with thousands of thoughts running through my head. 'It' is almost here.....Yasminah's 2nd birthday. I have knots in my stomach and tears welling in my eyes as I try to type. I constantly debate if I should be so open about how I am really feeling.......but decide I can't keep this bottled up anymore and if I share a bit about my journey it may help another family who are going through the same heartache.
So today I am going to bear my whole heart for the world to see, to get a glimpse into life after the loss of my child. My second child, my first daughter Yasminah Ann Aziz. I think to myself that I shouldn't even know what this feels like, no one should. I should have my daughter here with me and my family. The question will always remain, why did this happen to us? I miss her so much. I would give anything to be able to hold her in my arms one more time, to kiss her sweet cheeks and cute button nose, brush her thick curly black locks of hair, to hold her little hand and caress her perfect feet. To whisper in her ear "I love you".
Yasminah was perfect to me, a special little girl to love and care for. She was born with a congenital limb difference. Yasminah had no right hand and 3 fingers on her left hand. Yes it would have been challenging at times but it doesn't mean we loved her any less or that we should be made to feel as though 'it was for the best'. Our daughter died, but she lived within me for almost 9 months. In those 9 months I watched as my belly grew, I felt the first flutters, which turned into strong kicks and waves of movement. We heard her heart beat during our ultrasounds and at each antenatal checkup. We watched in amazement as she grew and developed into the beautiful angel that was silently born late Thursday morning on the 26th March 2009 at 37 weeks and 4 days gestation only a few days from her planned delivery.
Yasminah suddenly passed away in utero on the 24th March and I was induced into labour the following day. I am often asked if I went through labour, and yes I did just like any other mum does to deliver their child. My husband held my hand and brought me ice cubes as I felt each contraction come and go. I was urged by my midwife to push when the time came and had my daughter placed on my chest skin to skin, then my husband cut her umbilical cord. She was still warm, and covered in vernix. We were scared but excited about finally meeting our baby for the first time. We never heard her cry, saw her open her eyes or got to change her nappy. We did get to spend several hours with her watching her get weighed and measured. We gave her a bath, before dressing her and wrapping her up to keep her warm just like any newborn baby. We didn't think it was a good idea at the time to bring our son who was only 20 months old to meet his sister, but wish I had thought differently about it and had at least one photo of my children together. My husband and I posed for a family photo and individual photos holding Yasminah. The time then came to say our final goodbyes. I wish at the time those close to us meet our little girl, but for one reason or another they didn't want to. We may have more photos today, more memories to share with others and with them. I understand they were scared, but their actions deeply hurt me and make it hard to talk about her with them today.
Moving on almost 2 years later and we have been blessed with our twin girls Aisha and Aaliyah. It was incredibly difficult being pregnant so soon after the loss of Yasminah but it was the best thing for me and I truly believe if I hadn't fallen pregnant so quickly I would of been too scared to try to have another child. Our 2nd and 3rd daughters had a rough start to life born 8+2 weeks premature, and endured 4 weeks through the roller coaster ride of the NICU. Thankfully they are here with us today and I couldn't imagine life without them. Having my daughters has helped me to heal and brought joy back into my life. I don't think I would be where I am today if I didn't have them and my son as part of my life.
My husband needs to be mentioned, he is an amazing man. Strong, loving, honest, wise and kind. A tower of strength and always able to make me laugh, even during my darkest moments. We have shared many moments together over the past 12 years and I love him just as much as today as I did 12 years ago. I thank him for his support and understanding, especially when so much of my time is spent away from him during the weeknights and over the weekends as I continue to develop Yasminah's Gift Of Hope. It isn't always easy, but we get through it.
I often find myself wondering what life would be like if Yasminah was still here with us. What would Yasminah look like now? What colour were her eyes, mixed shades of brown and green like her dad and big brother, deep brown like me or piercing blue like her sisters? Would she like reading books or prefer to play with dolls? Would she be using a prosthetic hand like we had talked about with the limb clinic, or be fiercely independent like her younger sisters?
Saturday is her 2nd birthday or angelversary. As a part of the charity set up in her honour we are releasing butterflies in memory of Yasminah and all the precious children and the families we support. It has been raining for the last few days and is scheduled to rain on the weekend too. We hope the weather holds off so we can enjoy the day, so her brother and sisters can play at the park. It has been hard to do and I wonder if people will remember her birthday or show up on the day. Does she matter to them? I remember her first birthday a few beautiful friends sent me cards and one friend in particular gave me a beautiful gold star pendant that we engraved her initial and dob on. I wear it everyday as a symbol of my shining star. It was so nice to know that she has touched so many peoples lives. There have been some really beautiful people show their love and support this year by donating things for the Butterfly Release like Denni from PurpleX Design and Print who has designed an amazing canvas signature board for people to sign on the day that we can take home to remember her birthday. Michelle from Goodie Bag Exchange another fabulous business on Facebook has organised for everyone attending the day to receive a little bag filled with goodies donated by other Facebook businesses. Fiona from Eaton Photography has offered to capture the day and will put together a special memorial keepsake of all the photos available for $10, with all proceeds going to Yasminah's Gift Of Hope. I am truly thankful for the countless people the loss of my daughter has brought into my life. There are so many people who have shown their love and cried with me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I hope that I am not an emotional mess on the day and that I can enjoy it remembering the love we have for our daughter and we can celebrate her life instead of mourning her loss.