Fiona is a new comer to the Sands blog. She shares with us her precious Manaia on the day he died.
It was the 5th of November and as the clock ticked closer to 5.30pm I knew it was nearing the time to say goodbye to Manaia.
We had just finished weighing and measuring him, trying not to notice his purple arms and legs as he lay there silently on the scales. His face was unscathed, perfect and flawless, we kept telling ourselves 'he just looks like he's sleeping, he'll wake up'.
His final measurements were 3295 grams and 50 centimetres long at the age of 128 days old.
We quickly redressed him in his clothes and I put on his final name tags, the tags I never ever wanted to put on our son.
Baby of Fiona, ID number: 7784039.
He looked perfect, the most beautiful I had ever seen him. I had never noticed how gorgeous he was until it was too late.
But then again I was never able to see his face free of all the tubes, cords and wires. In all of his 128 days on earth I had only ever seen his face this clear on one other occasion and that was the day he was born. It was only fitting that the second occasion would be when he had passed away.
Not a breath he would take nor a sound he'd make again, this was well and truly it. Manaia did graduate from NICU but instead of going home like most of the other bubs in NICU he graduated straight to heaven.
I asked the nurse if I was able to carry him down stairs and so I did.
Walking out of our private room and into a corridor, everyone must've known by the look on our faces, my red swollen eyes and our body language that this was the end of the road for us.
We left the unit with Manaia in my arms and out into the open corridors we went, walking past a window with the sun shining oh so brightly, it was at that moment that I realised Manaia had never seen the sun because his bed was on the opposite side of the windows. He would never ever see how big, bright and beautiful it could be, nor would he ever feel the warmth of it.
We got into an elevator with Charlie (my partner), Jan (the counsellor) and the sweetest nurse Amy and down into unfamiliar territory of level 1 we went.
I remember feeling the weight of Manaia, he felt so much heavier than he was yet in reality he was far from it, he was tiny even for a preemie. This was the hardest walk I would ever have to take in my life and at the same time it was one I didn't want to end. We got off the elevator and walked around a corner and there it was, the morgue. I saw the entrance and realised I'd have to let Manaia go, I had no other choice.
In less than 24 hours from finding out Manaia was sick, he was gone. And as quickly as Manaias life had ended a new, much more scarier life had begun, life as a bereaved mother. Fiona
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My name is Fiona and I am a 23 year old first time mother who lost my only child, my 4 month old son Manaia, after 128 days in NICU. I reside in Victoria with my partner Charlie. I hope by sharing my experiences as a bereaved parent that I'm able to, in some way, bring peace and comfort to others going through the heartbreak of child loss.