In the very first weeks after Oscar died David and I talked a lot about the impact of his death on Holly. I remember the feeling that went through my body as we were told the news by the doctors. It was literally like getting knocked down by a high speed train. And then seconds later we both got hit again as the realisation began to sink in. Oscar is gone….. how can we go on?….. and then… what on earth will become of Holly’s life? How can she survive this experience? We had never intended for her to be an only child. We always wanted her to have a sibling to share her childhood with but also as a friend for life. Holly and Oscar were only a couple of years apart, had developed a very close bond and made one another laugh more than anyone else. It was a very easy decision for David and I to see if it would be possible to have another child. Our point of view was that it would give Holly huge happiness as she already knew how amazing it felt to love someone. Later on in our thought processes we realised that it would also help us in our quest to carve out a new life for ourselves, one that is unrecognisable from the past.
We are really happy to say that we are expecting another baby who is due to be born on the 23rd of May. During my pregnancies with Holly and Oscar we had no interest in finding out the sex of the baby, we were just happy with what we got and grateful that they were strong and healthy. This time round it was different. If it was going to be a girl we thought we might grieve the fact that we would never have a boy. And if it was a boy we would need to get really clear on the thoughts in our head that this was not another Oscar. So, on the same day that we met with the consultants to be debriefed as to the findings from the investigation into Oscar’s death, we also found ourselves in the Women’s hospital having the twenty week scan. There was no doubt at that point that the little person growing inside is a boy.
Looking ahead to the next few months is an incredible mix of feelings. We are unreservedly excited about the prospect of meeting Baby Cole. I grumbled my way through my first two pregnancies – I am not one of those who blossoms when pregnant – and this time I have tried not to do that because I deeply appreciate how lucky we are. As Holly observed a couple of months ago we’ll be a family of five soon. She recognises herself as a big sister with two little brothers and she is looking forward to a more authoritative role than she had first time round. But at the same time we look at everything that we are doing… a new baby in May, the cricket match in June, followed by the triathlon and then the first anniversary of Oscar’s death, all in the same month. Even for us it is easy to lose sight of why we are involved in all these amazing things. And then you catch sight of a photograph of a cheeky chap watching you from across the room and just miss him so very much.
It has been a deliberate decision not to share our news widely until now. There has been so much for David and I to get our own heads around and it felt odd telling somebody news about Baby Cole #3 if they weren’t talking to us about Oscar. But we have now got to a point where it would be unfair on the new baby not to be talking about him. Despite being intrinsically linked to his big brother’s death we will ensure that he does not spend his life walking in Oscar’s shadow. A chance conversation with a chatty till lady at the Supermarket earlier today is just one example of why this is not a straight forward family announcement:
Lady: “So… when are you due? Must be soon?”
Me: “Well, May actually”
Lady: “Oh (surprised)… beginning or end?”
Me: (Friendly voice but wishing I had less shopping to scan) “Middle.”
Lady: “Oh (still surprised)… do you think you’ll last that long?”
Me: “I don’t know. Bumps get bigger third time round you know” (it’s actually not freakishly big, people just often seem to have opinions on the size or shape of baby bumps).
Lady: “Oh right. Do you know what you are having?”
Me: “It’s a boy” (desperately hoping this conversation will end soon. It’s hard to say as little as possible while looking relaxed and friendly. It’s not her fault).
Lady: “That’s nice. What are your other two?”
Me: “A girl and a boy.”
Lady: “That’s good. You must not have minded this time which it was since you have one of each already.”
Me: “That’s right.”
Lady: “How old are your other two?”
Me: (I really do not want to answer this one. Am thinking fast. Telling the truth now is not going to help anyone here.) “They are 4 and 2.”
Lady: “Ah 3 under 5 that’ll be a handful.”
Me: “No really, it will be fine. Holly turns 5 in September so it’s not that hard.”
Lady: “Well if I don’t see you again beforehand then good luck.”
Me: “Thank you, Bye.”