Notes to my daughter Oliver


To Poppy or Oliver,

On October 25th 2018 I found that I was pregnant. I worried every single day that I would lose you but by the scan on 28th December I had really started to imagine our future together.

When the sonographer showed me the screen I was so relieved. Then she said there were problems with your kidneys and head. The consultant told us that you were very ill and would only live for minutes. I told him that I had always been against abortion. They did not know what was wrong or why it had happened.

I slowly realised that whatever we decide the outcome is the same; you are going to die and it’s not fair. I don’t want to end your life. But I don’t want you to be in pain or to suffer. I think I know what I must do but I don’t want to do it.


Since I last wrote to you, I’ve had better days and worse days, but no happy days. I’ve slowly accepted that you are too ill to survive, and even more slowly I’ve started to accept that 2019 will not be the year that I had hoped for. I worry about feeling so empty when you’re gone. I’m so sorry you have to leave us and I’ll really, really miss you.


The day that you were born and died. We told you that we loved you.


Dear Oliver,

Daddy always said that you were a boy.

Yesterday, I didn’t have time to feel emotional. I was in a lot of pain so was relieved when you arrived. You have 6 fingers and toes on each hand and foot. You have a very big tummy, which is the fault of those silly kidneys. I didn’t cry until we were going home. I didn’t like that we’d all gone in together but that you were left behind. In my hopes for the future you were crying in a baby seat with me sitting beside you.

Today, I’ve cried a lot. I cried when I saw blood in the toilet. I cried when making a frame with your photo and palm prints in. I cried when I realised that I could have given you something to keep. I cried when I subconsciously rubbed my stomach. I feel as though the only job I had as was to keep you safe, and I’ve failed.  People say that I’ll never forget you and I don’t want to, but I wonder if I’ll ever feel happy again.


Dear Oliver,

It’s been the hardest, saddest month of my life. I just wish we could have met you properly, and that you could have grown up. I miss not having you around. We’ve discovered that we have some great friends. I can talk about you to them and not cry. I think I’m going to be sad for a very long time but I need to remember that I had positives in my life that are still there amidst this utter sadness. I will always love you and hope that you are safe somewhere.

We bought an olive tree. I’m so scared of it dying. I’ve had fresh flowers in the house ever since you were born and I’ve promised myself that I’ll always keep fresh flowers until I have a child, even if that means buying them for the rest of my life.


Dear Oliver,

I’ve missed you. I’ve been back at work for two days, and it’s the longest time that I’ve gone without crying. I’m writing here because I want to feel close to you. I’m upset that no one at work asks me about you. I think that they’re scared of upsetting me, but I want people to know that you were real. Saying that, I have enjoyed being useful and not continuously upset. It’s confusing.

Yesterday, I felt as though I were leaving you behind all over again. I felt the need to take something with me, so put your handprints in my wallet. I haven’t even looked at them but knowing that they’re with me helps. I love you forever, Mum.


Dear Oliver,

We had your funeral service this week. It was raining and I was crying before we even arrived. Mum had bought some flowers, which we put on your box. I sat in the front row with Daddy and thought “This isn’t ok, this isn’t fair.” The priest said some kind words about you being with God. I hope that you are. I think about you every day, and every day I wish things could have been different.

We bought an olive tree. I’m so scared of it dying. I’ve had fresh flowers in the house ever since you were born and I’ve promised myself that I’ll always keep fresh flowers until I have a child, even if that means buying them for the rest of my life.

I’ve just read back this book. I’m pleased to say that I’ve had some happy moments. I look at your handprints in my wallet every day. Normal isn’t the same normal as before, but maybe that’s ok. Wish you were here, Mum.


Dear Oliver,

We should have called you Poppy! I’m sorry. They found out at the post-mortem that you were a girl. It’s been difficult to get my head around.

They also found out that you had Meckel-Gruber Syndrome. It’s incompatible with life. That sucks.

Your diagnosis means that Daddy and I are both carriers of a gene, which means you had a 25% chance of this. I’m sad every day that you had to be the 1 in 4 and not the 3 in 4.

I’m beginning to consider the possibility that you aren’t going to be the only baby I give birth to. If there’s a chance that we can tell a brother or sister about you I think that you’d want us to try.

I love you for all your imperfections, for teaching me about myself, and for shaping mine and Daddy’s futures forever. Although it’s been hard I wouldn’t change anything, so thank you Oliver, our special daughter.


Hi Oliver, happy due date. The sun was shining as we blew bubbles in the memorial garden.