“I have so little left of Isobel, and so I really do value what I do have of her and that is that she was born, and she has a name and she lived. It’s important to me that has as much of a beautiful impact as it possibly can.”
I wanted to be part of Say Their Name Day because sharing my daughter’s story is one of the few opportunities I have to create space for her since she died.
Isobel Ivory Reeve was my second daughter. She was born on 8th September 2016 at 40 weeks and 6 days gestation after a textbook pregnancy and uncomplicated birth.
She was a healthy, beautiful baby girl. When I first saw her, I felt this gush of love and relief. She was perfect, she was crying, she was here. Her little eyes were opening to the world. Still in our post-birth bubble, we took some photos and immediately shared the happy news with our family.
But barely an hour later, with the midwife still in the room, Isobel suddenly went limp. We didn’t know what was happening. I just remember a code blue being called and the nurses working on her on the end of my bed. She wasn’t breathing.
They tried for a long time, but they couldn’t bring her back.
We thought we’d had a healthy baby. She was about to have a feed. I was in shock. People wanted to take photos of the baby and of me holding her and I just couldn’t process it. I couldn’t believe she was just in my arms alive – my arms were still warm from her.
I was incredibly overwhelmed when I left the hospital. I guess I just kind of went through the motions of it. I spent my time doing things that were about her – organising her memorial, dealing with all the paperwork. I was shattered by the impotence of it all, so I threw myself into the things I could change, and I could control. This was the only way I had left of creating memories of her.
Despite genetic testing and a traumatic 6-month-long coronial inquest, we still don’t know what happened to Isobel. They weren’t able to find out any reason for her death. This still weighs on us, but my husband and I and our living daughters, Indigo and Bowe (our rainbow baby) do what we can to include Isobel in our everyday lives. We try to be guided by the girls. My older daughter, especially, is very inclusive of Isobel in our family rituals. She is always careful to include Isobel’s name in the list of family members she loves and talks about.
I think Say Their Name Day is important because it gives families like mine a ritual with which to remember their babies. For my girls, another opportunity to light a candle or have a cupcake as a family is another memory of their sister they’ll get to take with them when they are grown.
Having these opportunities to allow for people to share their stories is really important. It’s a way of holding space for bereaved families – space for grief and space for love.
Say Their Name Day is on March 25 – a special day to remember all of the little lives we have loved and lost, and support bereaved families.