With the imminent arrival of her new baby, Andrea had to face the prospect that she may lose her own mother before she was to become a mum herself. Here, Andrea tells us her story of bereavement. Be warned …. have a tissue ready ….
5 days before I was due to be induced I received a text from my Mum to say she had been admitted to hospital with dehydration. Just 5 weeks earlier she had been diagnosed with cancer, but she had assured me that although it was terminal, she could live for up to 5 years with treatment. I had taken her to hospital for her first appointments and I had arranged for my partner, Michael, to take her for her first radiotherapy appointment, by which time I should have given birth.
We had always had a difficult relationship, since my Dad left when I was 10 we clashed, but there was always an unspoken closeness between us, we were always there for each other when we needed it and we both saw Sophie’s birth as a chance to spend more time together. It was the new beginning we needed.
We visited Mum in hospital, and over the next couple of days she seemed to improve – she was upbeat and excited about Sophie’s imminent arrival. She said she thought my bump had dropped and I could go into labour naturally, and she gave me some money to buy something for Sophie with – she was really disappointed that she hadn’t been well enough to do it herself. We had arranged with the hospital that she would be allowed to visit us on the maternity ward, as long as she continued to feel well.
The day before my induction I received a call from the hospital asking me to come in straight away to see Mum, we rushed over and were told that she had developed an abscess on her remaining healthy lung, but because she had a tumour on her other lung it wasn’t strong enough to help her through it. When she saw me, her eyes lit up and she said ‘is she here?’ I knew she meant Sophie and I shook my head. She sank back into her pillow, with a devastated look on her face. The realisation that my Mum would never see my baby girl suddenly hit me. We sat with her for the next couple of hours and I held her hand as she took her last breath, all the time thinking about how she would never be a grandma.
She passed away at 6.50 in the evening. We went home and I began making plans for her funeral. I didn’t sleep that night. The next morning we visited a couple of funeral directors, I chose a coffin and booked the crematorium, I then booked the venue for the wake, then I made sure I had everything I needed to give birth and headed to the same hospital where I had watched my Mum die less than 24 hours earlier.
Have you had to face the difficulty of losing a parent while waiting to give birth?