Friday, 30 October 2009

And for my next trick . . . another vanishing act

When I returned to work two weeks ago, I was pregnant.
Not very.
8 weeks.
But I'm not anymore.
There was no heartbeat on the early scan.

It was strange to be in an environment where my previous pregnancy is considered a lengthy and successful one. But I suppose it was in the only way that truly matters, in that it resulted in one living child.

I could hear the woman in the next room sobbing her heart out. I felt so sad for her. It reminded me of the crying I used to hear in the NICU from time to time.

I didn't cry. When the doctor told me that there was no sign of a viable pregnancy, that my uterus contained only a sac, it felt strangely right. This is how my pregnancies seem to end. Abruptly.

I suspect he may have found me somewhat cold.

I don't know what to do anymore. Perhaps there is something wrong with my body?

I felt so hopeful. Now I just feel foolish and greedy. For wanting more. I already have more than enough, far more than I deserve. I have my two beautiful daughters. It felt like a betrayal, to want another.

And what I really want is my previous pregnancy back. To make it different. To give birth to my two beautiful daughters healthy and screaming. Not fragile and muffled and close to death.

I want to undo all those memories, unravel them, unknit them. Take them away from my sister, my husband, my parents. They should never have been there, they should never have had to see my girls. It was all my fault, this body that can't seem to do anything as it is supposed to.

There, at the swirling epicentre of disaster, is always me. The centre of attention. Ashamed and embarrassed of my inability to do any of this.

And how would I feel if I ever was to have a healthy pregnancy that went to term and resulted in a living child?
What if I was the woman with balloons and flowers and a crying newborn on her chest?
What if my husband was the man 'wetting the baby's head' in the pub with his brother?
What if my parents and my sister were the smiling, doting grandparents and aunt?

Perhaps then I would know precisely what I missed out on?
Maybe that would just make this situation even more unbearable.
Maybe that person just isn't me. Won't ever be me.
Maybe. Who knows.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The strange case of the vanishing twin

Well, as you can probably tell from the trail of rambling comments I tend to leave in my wake, going back to work didn't really have much impact on my time here in blog world. I've been doing a bit of reading in the dead of night, when I can't sleep, and I'm writing this whilst I am waiting for my mom to arrive and take Jessica for the day.

Going back to work has been . . . peculiar. I sometimes feel as though nothing ever happened, that I was never pregnant, that I never gave birth to my two beautiful daughters. As though my life just chugged along and I never took this mad swerve off to a world of NICUs, ventilators, human beings who weigh less than two pounds and babies dying in front of me. Including my own daughter. All of it seems too implausible when placed alongside the world of desks and telephone extensions and neat little spreadsheets of figures. It feel as if only one could possibly be real, that they couldn't possibly co-exist. One must surely be make-believe. Surely.

One of the things I find most disconcerting is the vanishing of Georgina. Before I fell pregnant with twins, I didn't understand how much attention pregnancy in general seems to attract. When I announced I was expecting twins, everyone who works with me seemed interested. Or perhaps just out of politeness. Who knows?

Quite a few people who I had never really spoken to before asked a number of questions. Had I undertaken fertility treatments? Did twins run in the family? One that came up surprisingly frequently was had I done anything special to conceive twins? Like eating certain foods. I didn't even know that people would actively seek to conceive twins. I thought it just happened. Or it didn't.

But now, nobody ever mentions the fact that I had twins. That I had two daughters. That I have two daughters. Some people kindly ask after Jessica. Some with a kind of idle curiosity, just how much did she weigh again?

Not one soul has breathed a single word about Georgina. Not even a sorry.

I like it that way. But, at the same time, I don't like it that way.

No pleasing me eh?

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Following on from my earlier ramble about why I decided to have children, I'm going to go back to the issue of 'so-called replacement' children to borrow a turn of phrase from klepsydra.

I think that this an issue that is at once simplified and complicated by losing one of twins.

Simple because, after the girls were born, they ceased to be the 'twins' but became two separate, distinct individuals. My daughters. I loved them both. I wanted them both. No question of replacement. I may be deceiving myself but I think that I knew them, their personalities. I think my daughters were quite different people.

But more complicated because of the time frame. Everything happened at once, birth, death, motherhood, prolonged hospital stay, fear of continuing health problems.

I found that, after Georgina died, many people said to me, "at least you still have Jessica".

This angered me because the implication seemed to be
that Jessica was some sort of consolation prize,
that the absence of Georgina in my life could simply be patched over with the presence of Jessica,
that Georgina wasn't worth enough to be grieved over, that her existence could simply be dismissed by a chance of focus.
It didn't seem to do either of my children justice. That they could be so easily replaced or that I might not have the one I wanted but, hey, at least I had a child. I did. I do. I am grateful. But it doesn't stop me wanting the two children that I anticipated.

But I can see why people said it.
Given the circumstances, I am incredibly lucky to have any children surviving from a pregnancy that was cut so short.
I can't deny that Jessica's survival has helped me to recover from some aspects of the experience.

Events conspired to make Jessica feel like a substitute at times. I did not see very much of Jessica for the first few days of her life. Initially the girls were in the smaller of the wards, opposite one another. Georgina on the left and Jessica on the right. Because I knew her sister was very ill and would most likely die, I felt (perhaps wrongly) that the medical staff were encouraging me to sit with her. They kept telling me that Jessica was stable and one of the doctors in particular was extremely positive about her chances of survival. So I spent most of the first three days huddled over the incubator on the left and this culminated in my holding Georgina for the first time just before life support was removed from her.

I know I stayed with her body for some time, until her heart stopped beating. My husband and I bathed her and dressed her. Then we left her body and went back into the ward to huddle on the right hand side of the room with Jessica. It was a very peculiar thing, to walk straight back into that room where my other daughter had just taken her last breaths.

I think that I may use Jessica's survival to comfort myself. At my lowest ebbs, when I miss Georgina terribly, I do tend to take comfort in Jessica's physical presence. Even if she is sleeping, I like to go and sit in her room and listen to her breathing. To try and catch a little splinter of her sister. Just a tiny sliver of that daughter I will never hold, whose breathing I can never hear.

I think that there is a terrible, gaping hole in me. A void. An empty place. Where Georgina should be. And I don't think that anything or anyone else can ever fill that space. Her sister cannot fill it. She is busy occupying her own spaces. Another child cannot fill it. They will be in a different place. Anything or anyone I attempt to put there just gets swallowed up. That spot is for my Georgina. That specific human being. My daughter. She is irreplaceable. All children are.

And that is without counting the tangle between Georgina and Jessica. There lies a loss that I can never comprehend. I can attempt to give Jessica another sister. But it will never be her twin sister. It will never be Georgina, the sister that grew with her. The sister that accompanied her when she was only a few cells. She is irreplaceable.

When I contemplate that uniqueness, those strange chances, the impossibility that, from all those potentials, Georgina came to be. That she survived for 23 weeks in the womb. That all those cells came together in the correct places. That she had limbs and eyes and a face. That so many things that could have gone wrong before that point, didn't. And then I lost her. To an infection. That still makes me want to howl and howl and howl. In fury and despair and horrible, horrible sadness. And it makes me so angry. So angry on behalf of all our babies who came so far, some of them much more developed and healthy than my Georgina. So angry that they had that chance ripped away from them.

If I had another pregnancy, another child, it is possible that some of the grief I have could be assuaged.
The grief that I never managed to experience the third trimester of pregnancy.
The grief that my body let my family down and brought my husband and my family, not the incredibly happiness that we were all so confidently expecting, but a time full of so much heartache and terror.
The grief that the one experience of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood that I have diverges so dramatically from that experienced by the majority.
The grief I feel that Jessica, who is a twin, is an only child with no siblings at all.
The grief that I feel that I somehow wasn't a proper mother to my girls. That I failed to keep them safe. If I could have another try, to prove that it wasn't my fault the first time in a way.

But none of these minor gripes really touch the sides of the loss that sits where my eldest daughter should be. I can't replace her. I can't even hope to try.

I was listening to a programme about graveyards on the radio this morning and the presenter stated that most graves remain unvisited after an average of fifteen years. Don't ask me how they arrived at that figure but that was the length of time quoted. He said that he often visits a graveyard nearby and, in this graveyard, is the grave of a child who died forty five years ago. And there are still often fresh flowers on that particular grave. This didn't surprise me. Because I know I will always miss Georgina. My sweet little Georgie.

I know that void inside me will change. Time will erode the jagged edges that border it today. I may decorate it with flowers and candles. I may be able to hang some beautiful paintings on the walls. But it will always be there. A space where something irreplaceable and so, so precious to me once lived and breathed.

* * * *

I'm going back to work tomorrow. I have been on leave since the girls were born, nearly fourteen months ago. I feel quite anxious about how to behave. Do I try and pretend to be my old self? Or do I try and adopt a new persona? I don't think that my current mode of gibbering wreck is going to cut the mustard somehow.

I'm not sure what this is going to do to my blogging. I usually blog and comment whilst Jessica is taking her naps but, obviously, I will now be at work during that time. So if my rambling comments tail off a bit, it is because 'the toad work is currently squatting on my life' to steal a phrase from Mr. Larkin.

Perhaps I have run out of things to say anyway? I seem to be repeating myself lately.
Anyhow, here is a song about work . . .

Friday, 16 October 2009


I've been reading so many interesting pieces of writing on blogs recently. These two have been occupying my brain for the past two or three days.

'so-called replacement child part 1' at klepsydra

'words pouring out' at Fionn

I started writing comments on both occasions but I got a bit carried away. Rather than take over either of these good folk's blogs with my rambling, I thought I would grab (or perhaps more accurately steal?) these topics, bring them back over here and ramble away on my own blog instead.

As I read them (with a thousand apologies to the authors if I have the wrong end of the stick) these posts revolved around two major topics

(a) what motivates us to have children in the first place? Do we have children in order to fill a void in our own lives? In the hope that they will make us happy or give us purpose that we would otherwise be lacking? Or to occupy the void left by the loss of an older sibling?

(b) Following on from the final question, the notion of so-called 'replacement' children.

I've been racking my poor old brain over these questions.

Why did I decide to have children?
Why did I want to have children?
Why do I want to have more children?
Is Jessica Georgina's 'replacement' child?
Are any further children that I bring into my family condemned to be 'replacements' for Georgina in one way or another?

Well . . . . why did I decide to have children?

I suppose you could argue that the decision I took was rather the decision NOT to have children earlier by taking precautions for the past fifteen odd years or so. If I had left it up to nature alone and dithered over taking the decision NOT to fall pregnant my eldest children would be in secondary school by now.

But, having taken birth control for many years, I made a conscious decision to stop taking it and I certainly did this in the hope that I would fall pregnant and have a child.

It seems rather frightening that I conceived two children deliberately - not accidentally, as the result of one too many glasses of wine which I believe is partially the reason for my existence on this planet -  yet I really have no clear explanation as to WHY I did this.

I think I can probably provide some sort of rationale for most major decisions that I have made in my life. This isn't to say that I have made good decisions necessarily but at least I have some vague inkling of why I acted the way that I did, why I took the routes that I took. But having children? Suddenly everything seems much more murky.

I've been trying to peer into my motivations for wanting children but I've actually found it extremely hard to grasp any of the specifics.

Perhaps because I run a pretty fine line in the self deception department? I've often thought that if, through some horrible fairytale type mechanism, all my inner workings were laid bare I would run screaming from the monster that suddenly appeared. Perhaps I don't actually want to know why I want(ed) children? Were my motivations purely selfish? To make myself happy or to fill my aimless existence with something, anything. I hope not but it is very hard to decipher when I stand so close to myself that I can hardly make myself out.

Perhaps because some of my motivation is hardwired into that old, old part of the brain that drives the basic impulses, to eat, to breath, to run from danger, to reproduce?

Perhaps because the decision to have children was one that I made a very long time ago? I have always wanted children or at least I can't remember a time before I knew I wanted them. My mother has always been involved in the care of young children and as I grew up I spent a lot of time with children younger than myself. I loved looking after them, I liked their company and their honesty. I used to daydream about the children that I would have when I grew up.

When I started my periods at the age of about thirteen, I remember crying and crying over the 'children' that I was losing. I thought of it as ' there's that little one's chance gone' in a rush of blood and teenage melodrama. Never mind that I was a million miles from having a boyfriend, even further from having much idea what to do with one if I had happened to come by such a creature and being the kind of teenage girl that actually prefers books to boys at that age.

As I grew older I realised that there were other things I wanted too. I wanted to study, stay out late, have a career, have boyfriends who weren't interested in having children, a house and to be irresponsible. But my future children were always there, I confidently assumed that they were waiting in the wings, definitely part of my ten year plan. I had a notion that I wanted my first child whilst I was still in my twenties. I don't know why? Perhaps in imitation of my own mother.

Perhaps I wanted them because I was, intermittently, part of a large family and then a small one? My mother is one of five children and I am one of fourteen cousins. The majority of my family live in South Africa but I was born and raised in England. I did go back to South Africa many times throughout the course of my childhood and always felt  . . . .hurt? excluded? . . .I'm not entirely sure. I was part of this family that I at once belonged to and did not belong to. The little English girls that huddled on the outskirts of a family that seemed so loving and involved with one another. Different accents, different appearance, different. Just different.
I think it made me want to anchor myself  firmly to something or somebody. My little English family of four seemed so damned insubstantial, a puff of wind could blow us away. One of us could be taken out at any second. Four, three, two, one. Almost a premonition of my own little family of four that disintegrated so rapidly and lost one of its members in a haze of hospitals and machinery.

So there probably are reasons but they are lost in the mists of time, in my befogged and befuddled adolescent brain, made by a person who is no longer.

Perhaps I had my children for all the wrong reasons?
I hope not.
I hope that I had them out of an attempt (perhaps a misguided one) to love them.
I just don't know.

But there is no escaping the fact that it was partly my decision.

To bring these children into being and subject them to this bedazzling, disorientating and appalling experience. What right did I have?
Those poor, frail little scraps of life. Such tiny glimmers of people.
To bring them here and have them stuck full of needles and tubes.
In all the noise and light when they should have been in the quiet dark.
I can only plead that this was not I what I intended. Truly.
I wish I could apologise to them in a way that they could both understand.
My dead daughter and my living daughter. I am so very sorry my dear sweet ones.

Sometimes I think we would have all have been better off if I had just left well enough alone. Kept taking the tablets that stopped my body overproducing babies and then melting down before it had finished the job.

But I can't leave that thought of  'another' alone. Another child, a phantom child, who seems to tug at my skirts and at the edges of my thoughts and dreams. But I'm not entirely sure if that child is a future child, an unknown child or if that child is, in fact, still my Georgina.

My daughter, Georgina.
I want her back so very much, against all possibility and reason.
But she isn't coming back.
Having another child will not bring her back.
I'm worried that my brain has not quite grasped that final fact yet.


Which brings me to the idea of 'replacement' but I think I'll have to save that for another day.
This post is getting far too long already.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

October 15th

Candles burning this evening for all our children.
Those I know and have remembered by name tonight and the countless, countless others.
My love to you and to the families who miss you so very, very much.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Viability (again)

Thank you so much for all your kind words about my last post. I hesitated over hitting the publish post button for quite some time after I had finished writing. I find it very painful to remember the times when Jessica was so ill and I am reluctant to admit, even to myself, that there was ever a time that I wished she would be left in peace to die.

Thank you also for putting up with my rather prosaic dreams. I read about the fascinating dreams of other bloggers with envy. Apart from when they are frightening then I'm actually quite relieved that mine are generally mundane. Seriously, anyone who ever had to psychoanalyse my dreams would be left extremely bored.

It turns out that I still have yet more demons to exorcise when it comes to viability so here is yet another post on the topic.

One thing I have noticed, both through my own experience and through reading those of other bloggers is that, should your child not reach the point of viability or full term, you are somehow entitled to 'less' grief.

As though grief could be distributed in a nice, neat proportional manner.

I knew I could manage to wangle a graph on to this blog sooner or later. You can take me away from my job but you can't take my graphs away.

Thus . .

where variable x represents gestation and variable y grief.

If your baby scores more highly on variable x, the world at large will give you more slack on variable y and k is some weird constant decided by mutual agreement between old ladies, doctors and busy bodies.

If your child only makes it to point x1 gestationally then I am afraid you are only entitled to the level of grief defined by y1 on the grief scale. If you exceed this predefined limit people are probably going to be having words with you.

On the other hand, if your child makes it all the way to x3 gestationally then congratulations. You are now entitled to grief levels all the way up to the heady heights of y3. Come on down.

Oh and by the way please make sure you've tidied up all your grief after four weeks. We don't like things messy around these parts.

Oh and shut the door on your way out won't you?

(And I'm going to have to ignore point x4,y4 because I'm not sure quite sure how to interpret it in the context of the example that I've set up. If your baby has a negative gestational age you are also entitled to happiness? Nope. Doesn't make any sense at all. So please ignore that bit of the graph. The stupid thing seems to be back firing on me now.)

Here I am going to edit my original post to add an excellent point made by Tracey in the comments on this post - 'the other key factor in this societal 'grieving allowance' is if you have other living children. If you have other living children, take the square root of your grieving allowance, and then people want you to move on'. So true, thank you Tracey.

If Jessica had died, many people would have tried to tell me that I had a miscarriage. People don't usually say that to me because miscarriages don't generally result in living children. But if I didn't have Jessica, I know that is how the birth of my twin girls would be described, as a miscarriage.

I don't have anything against that word in particular but I don't like the implications of that phrase. It feels as though other people are trying to imply that my daughters were in some way not people, not real. Only a figment of my fevered imagination. But Georgina was a person. A real, honest to goodness person. Not a medical or biological process. Not an aberration that simply wasn't meant to be. She was a person. My life isn't better or happier without her in it.

Perhaps it is a lack of the correct words to describe grief in all its different textures and forms?
Perhaps we are so uncomfortable with death and the emotions associated with it that society just decides to lump every single feeling following a death into a big jumbled pile, stick a label on that says 'grief' and then run away?
And perhaps sort it into stages, denial, anger, acceptance, whatever. And then still run away.

It seems to be considered a finite process, one that will reach a conclusion prior to the death of the person doing the grieving. There are limits and time frames applied using rules that I cannot begin to comprehend. Some actions are unseemly. Some bits must be conducted in the privacy of your own home. It must all be finished with by the second Wednesday of the month following the death.

I hope that I will never, ever imply that somehow a person is not entitled to grieve.
I've only ever experienced one situation, the loss of a twin who was born prematurely.
I've never lost a child at 12 weeks gestation.
I've never lost a child at 40 weeks gestation.
I've never given birth to a baby who never took a breath.
I've never mourned for children who never existed, who never will exist.
I've never lost a child of ten.
I've never lost my husband or one of my parents.
I've never grieved for a sibling.
I can't really understand any of these situations. I can try but I'm only imagining. I haven't lived it.

But I hope that I never, never, ever, say to anybody, no matter what the circumstances . .
What you feel isn't valid.
What you feel should be squashed down and denied.
What you feel is excessive and strange or, equally, what you feel is insufficient.
You should pull yourself together and get 'over it' and get on with your life.
Life is for the living.

Your loved one didn't matter. They certainly don't matter now that they are dead.

Because isn't that what an uncomfortableness with grief actually says?
That this person, this human being, be they young or old, born dead or alive or even if they only exist in fond imagings.
This particular person, who is so special to you, doesn't count for anything with us?

Monday, 5 October 2009


This post is probably going to be a bit of jumble so if you were looking for any eloquence or even words that make sense on the topic of viability, nothing to see here peeps. Keep right on going to the next blog in your list. Move along now.

Viability. A word that at once makes my heart leap and my blood run cold.

I've been having a recurring dream for about the past three or four months. At this point, I should probably mention that my dreams are not particularly opaque as a general rule. I suspect this is because my subconscious knows that I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. Thus any meaning that lurks in my dreams is usually declared loud and clear, possibly for fear that any attempt at cloaked hidden meanings or fancy schmancy symbolism will be met with blank incomprehension. For this dreamer, it is better to keep it simple and to the point or I'm just not going to get it.

In my dream, I am handed a large tray of babies. All different sizes and stages of development. Some breathing, some not. In the dream, it is vastly important that I sort these babies into order by gestational age. If I can do it correctly, the babies that are currently still moving will have some chance of medical treatment. It is an immensely frightening dream, there is a sense of menace to it. I feel like I will never succeed at my task but I am desperate to get it right, to give these smaller babies the same chances that my girls had. The dream never reaches a conclusion, I just sort and re-sort these babies endlessly, never satisfied with the order and frightened to submit them incorrectly.

I am also haunted by a memory of myself, when I was about 23 weeks pregnant. I was leaning up against the kitchen counter, my husband was cooking and I casually remarked to him that if the babies were born the following week they would have a chance of survival. I think I have written before about wanting to travel back in time, find my previous self and stab her in the eye with a sharp pencil. This scene is one of the inspirations for my time-travelling-orbit-pencil-jabbing doppelganger.

This so called 'viability day', this magical 24 weeks gestation. Just as much as of a poisonous myth as the 'just get to 12 weeks and you're safe' one.

I'm not talking about people who read here referring to viability day. Sadly, I don't think I need to tell you. All those mamas who count down to 24 weeks in possession of the facts, the chances of survival, the possibility of complications and in the full and (sadly) nonreturnable knowledge that babies do actually die.

I'm talking about people like my old self. I bandied the term viability about without having any appreciation whatsoever of what the hell I was saying.

Viability is a crucial point because it means you are in with a shot, your baby has a chance at life. I know how lucky I am to have reached that point with my last pregnancy. Please don't think that I would ever be less than get down on my knees and thanking the stars/God/Hecuba/whoever/whatever grateful. I am. I really am.

But I can't stand the way it is chucked around so freely. If any of these people who write for pregnancy websites had ever met a newborn 23-24 weeker in person, in the flesh, I would defy them to be so glib. It is not an easy sight, particularly when it is your own child. The medical procedures necessary to keep such a premature baby alive are extreme, they are not pleasant to watch or even to contemplate. There are procedures, fairly routine procedures, that the medical staff will not allow parents to be present for. And believe me, you would rather be undergoing them yourself than watching your tiny child struggling through them. I don't know how you go about intubating a baby weighing less than two pounds, I don't ever want to know if I am honest. Let alone performing the insertion of IV lines into such tiny limbs, let alone major surgeries. They are truly 'heroic measures' and, on very premature babies, they are conducted in the dark, with no guarantee of any outcome. Just a chance.

For that chance, I put one of my daughters through a great deal of pain and trauma. She could have lived for probably less than an hour with no interventions but she survived for three and a bit days with medical interventions galore.

I basically bought her hours of pain with my silence, I didn't stop her being subjected to extreme and painful procedures. Her lungs filled up with blood, her organs shut down, her brain bled. My outside bet did not pay off. She died. Even if she had lived, the doctors told us it was likely she would have been severely impaired. I remember my husband telling the doctors that we didn't care, we just wanted her. But did we really? Could we have coped? Would I have grown that carapace that I suspect would have been necessary? To fight and fight and fight for a child that only I might ever have seen the beauty of, who was never going to have a straightforward or simple life.

That is not to suggest her life would have been of less intrinsic value if she had survived than the life of a child born at term. Or of a child with no disabilities. Not at all. She was my girl and I would have stuck it out and I would have been grateful for any life that she had, whatever form it took. But it would not have been an easy one. Extreme prematurity can result in horrendous complications, complications that don't go away. I often wonder if it would have been better for her to have let her die when she was born. If I had truly loved her and not selfishly wanted her to live. But there was that chance, that small percentage that proved too irresistible to me.

For that chance, I put my other daughter through a great deal of pain and trauma. My outside bet appears to have paid off so far. It looks like I am the extremely fortunate recipient of the 100% miracle. I've heard parents of preemies that survive with severe impairments refer to 'half miracles', I don't consider Jessica one of those. No matter what lies ahead of us from here on out. But there are scars.

It is very hard to admit to this after the fact but I did ask the doctors to let Jessica die at one point. I simply couldn't fathom that the outcome could be different for my twins. I felt as though, when Georgina died, I was simply marking time until Jessica passed away as well. She had a brain hemorrhage at about three weeks old (I think, my memory of that time is a little fuzzy) and she then developed an infection and sepsis. Every day she looked sicker and in more and more distress, it seemed increasingly unlikely that she would ever be able to breathe without a ventilator. She was taking so many drugs, at such frequency, that standard NICU paperwork couldn't cope and her nurse had them all written out on a paper hand towel. The atmosphere around her incubator underwent a subtle shift, the people working on her seemed to know something that I didn't.

And again, I'm trapped in that loop. That loop that keeps me up at night after I've been woken up by my dreams of desperately sorting babies.

How could I do that? Just stand there and let it all happen.
How could I say that? Not that my pleadings made any differences at all to the medical staff but in my mind. Start. Stop. Keep going. Any means necessary. Let her be. Just let her be. Stop all of this insanity.
What sort of person am I?
What kind of mother?

Oh Georgina.

Why did I let them start? Why didn't I ask for your painful life to end sooner? If there hadn't been that cruel outside chance. I had to take it. I'm so sorry.

How could I let them stop? Why didn't I plead for another day, another hour? Perhaps you would have pulled through again if I hadn't been so quick to concede defeat. You already had. So many times when I'd been told you wouldn't.

And Jessica. I'm just so sorry my darling. I'm so, so sorry.

I didn't know. I didn't understand. I tried my best.

But it's hubris to think I had any influence on what happened. I didn't. Not really. The doctors made their decision on the basis of what was right for their patients. And their patients weren't me.
I just had to stand there and watch.
And I think I am still struggling to come to terms with that.