Dear Matilda Mae,
When I met your mummy, you were in her tummy and E was in mine. We were at an antenatal weekend, sharing our worries and fears with the midwife as we’d both had complicated twin births before. This time round, pregnancy was going to be easier and less risky for both of us, which was a huge relief. After the course was over, I followed your news online. I cried with joy when I read your birth story. E was still in my tummy then, and it felt like a long time before I’d finally get to hold her in my arms. Thankfully four months later, E arrived safely too.
Through the months that followed, I saw you grow. Each time I saw your photo, I thought about how E was following in your footsteps, just a few months behind. I wondered if we’d have a chance to catch up with the bloggers from the antenatal weekend so we could meet up with our babies. We talked about it but life got in the way and planning a time and place was difficult.
Then it happened. I read your mummy’s tweet. I felt like somebody had kicked me in the stomach. All of the air went out of me. The tears came fast and I couldn’t stop them. It couldn’t be true – you couldn’t be gone.
Nothing made any sense. I searched Twitter to see if anybody knew what had happened. It was flooded with messages of sympathy for you. I couldn’t breathe. I cried and cried for you and for your mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
When I heard what had happened, I couldn’t understand. Healthy babies – older, healthy babies like you – couldn’t just die. Babies don’t stop breathing for no reason. A baby couldn’t fill someone’s world one minute and then just vanish. The universe couldn’t possibly operate like that.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. You’ve left a Matilda Mae-sized gaping hole in the world. You’ve touched people that never met you, and made us cry rivers full of tears. You’ve inspired us all to donate to a cause we didn’t know much about before, you’ve brought people together, you made us all more aware, you’ve made us clutch our own children tighter and give extra bedtime kisses and cuddles. In nine months, you’ve done more than many people achieve in a long lifetime.
Each time E passes a new milestone, I look at her and think how you should be a few steps ahead. But you’ll always be nine months old. I may never have met you, but I’ll never forget you.
There will always be a space where you were that can never be filled. One little life has touched so many, and we’re thankful to have been able to share in your life on your mummy’s blog, and share in your legacy as you go on to make the world a better place, even from your new home in the stars above.
Rest in peace baby Tilda. I’m sorry you never got to meet Eva. I’m sorry your mummy never got to see you take your first steps or hear your first word. I’m so sorry.
If you don’t know much about SIDS, please visit The Lullaby Trust website. SIDS can affect anyone, whether the baby is young or older, breast or bottle fed. The risks are real and the danger is still present. It’s something that could easily affect any one of us. The work they do offering advice, raising awareness and fundraising for research is so important.