Making an ultrasound
with my mother at her hospital bed and looking at the baby in my belly
At the age of twenty-three, Astrid lost her mother. Two days before little Ivy Mae was born. At the same time, Astrid experienced one of the saddest and most beautiful events of her life. She is grateful for one of the last memories with her mother. Together, in the hospital bed, admiring her little one with the Babywatcher.
Why my mother?“I grew up in a warm family. My mother gave birth to me when she was only twenty. Back then, my parents were already married, and later they gave birth to my little sister. When I think about my childhood, I only have good memories. The four of us were very close and spent most of our time together. When we heard my mother was sick, we grew even closer. We went to all hospital visits together and were always there for each other. It was the four of us against the world; we would overcome this! It started with a troubled birthmark and turned out to be melanoma cancer. She went into surgery to remove it, and after that, everything seemed fine for quite a while. But in 2017, we got terrible news: her cancer had metastasized. My world collapsed, and I started overthinking everything. I did not have a diploma yet; no driver's license. Was my mother going to be there when I did? When I saw older people I couldn’t help but think: why my mother, why not you first? Life most certainly isn’t always fair.”
The last 'I love you'"My mother's disease lasted four and a half years in total. Every spare moment I had, I wanted to spend with her. We thought she would be with us much longer, so we continued our normal life. Occasionally we went on fun trips, for example, going to the zoo, because my mother loved this. But we couldn't go far, because we had to stay nearby the hospital. Travelling wasn't a possibility anymore, also because of this. My mother was a very positive person, even when she got sick. Every time we got bad news, my mother was certain we could fight this together. The last news we got was tougher on her. It was tough on all of us. She didn't want to leave her husband and children. So until the end, she fought hard. If I could turn back time, I would have told her how proud of her I was. And I would have told her the name of the baby. Because now she left without knowing, and I know how curious she was. But I was convinced she would be there with me. I didn't want anyone to know the name yet, so why tell her before? She was still there with us. Unfortunately, it didn't go as expected. On Saturday, I was with her; on Monday, she passed away. She said her goodbyes; I didn't. She was doing alright that Saturday. When we left, she said to my boyfriend, Jordy, that he had to take good care of the baby and me. She rubbed my belly like she always did. I said: I love you. But I had no idea this was the last one."
"My mother was a very proud grandmother. On the 30th of December 2017, Jordy and I found out we were pregnant. Usually, you keep this for yourself a while, but I was full of excitement to tell my mom. Jordy agreed we could tell it straight away. 'Do you have wishes for 2018,' he asked my mother on New Year's Eve. 'Getting healthy again,' she said. 'And become a grandmother.' Excited, I shouted; this was going to happen. It made her very happy, and immediately she went to the attic to find baby stuff. A week later, she went shopping for baby clothes. I was thrilled she was with me during my pregnancy. She helped me through and answered all my questions. Honestly, I didn't think my mother wouldn't be with me during the birth of Ivy. Because we lived in another city and my mother couldn't travel anymore, I arranged a Wish Ambulance. That way, she could see Ivy soon after birth. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, and now she has never held little Ivy in her arms. It hurts! To be honest: a few days after the birth would have been more peaceful for me. Or earlier during my pregnancy. Not only two days away..”
A proud grandmother
“Because she was getting worse and went into another surgery, I rented a Babywatcher during week 30 of my pregnancy and took it to the hospital. It was such a special moment, but at the same time very sad, because it could be the first and last time they'd meet. My mother was full of admiration when seeing the baby. 'Look at that little nose, those hands, her thumbs...' She said proudly to every nurse who passed by: 'Look, this is my granddaughter!' I'm certain this was an important moment for my mother. She probably already knew she wouldn't be around that long anymore, but now at least, she has seen little Ivy. Sort of. Also, for me, it was a moment I will never forget. No one can ever take away the amazing memory Babywatcher gave me. Watching the little one together with my mom and taking the only photo of us together with Ivy. It's is a priceless memory!"
A priceless memory
The pain and sorrow after giving birth"I wanted, no actually, I needed to give birth to Ivy as soon as possible. During the hot summer days, all this sorrow and stress couldn't be healthy for the baby. Also, I wanted to take Ivy to my mother's funeral and be strong enough to go there myself. So I was induced at 39 weeks, two days after the death of my mother. What it felt like? Like reaching cloud eight instead of cloud nine. A beautiful new person on this earth that made me feel enormously happy. But on the other hand, losing the most important person in your life. During maternity week, I felt pretty good and positive. My maternity help was amazing and as a psychologist to me. When she left, I had a rough time. You realise your mom isn't around, but you are a new mom yourself. Questions I wanted to ask her filled my mind. She was also a young mother; she understood me. She could have helped me. How did she do it; how did she raise me? I felt alone, and I’d rather not be around either anymore. I wanted to be with her. But I had to keep going. My love for little Ivy kept me going.”
Memories for the little one"I love being a mother. Sometimes, when she doesn't keep quiet, I'd like to put her in a soundproof area. But as soon as she brabbles or starts smiling again, I know it is all worth it. Ivy is a lovely and happy baby. We were afraid she would cry a lot because of all the stress she went through even before birth, but the opposite is true. She sleeps a lot and always wakes up with an enormous cute smile on her face. Thankfully I'm doing much better now. Every month I go to a psychologist. It helps me a lot talking to her. It talks easier than to people you speak to every day. Next week I'll start working at a new company: at a funeral insurance. Because of what happened to me recently, I realised I also want to help people in the same situation. So, 2019 is a whole new start for me. I hope this year will be better! I think about my mother a lot and all our precious memories. I'm going to share every one of them with Ivy. What kind of mother she was, how proud she was of Ivy and that she had prepared everything for her birth."