To the doctor who cared for me.
I had never met you until the day I walked into your office, and you calmly asked me to lay down for my scan.
For you this was kind of routine... just another scan to confirm a baby had died in utero. For me it was far from routine, it was torture.
I could hardly answer you as you gently enquired how I was doing, my ability to communicate had pretty much vanished over the previous 48 hours.
Tears just streamed down my face as I nodded yes, to your question, to confirm I was ok.
I was far from ok.
I was broken.
I did not even recognise myself when I looked in the mirror.
You smiled at me, the sort of smile that says ‘I don’t believe it’, but I won’t challenge your answer.
You then said ‘shall we just start the scan?’ I nodded yes.
As I stared at the screen, I held my breath. My faith was so strong; I totally believed that I might be about to witness a miracle. Yes, I had been told days before my daughter had died, but since then I had endlessly begged God to bring her back to life.
I watched the monitor for any sign of life... but my little girl was just - still.
She was no longer kicking and waving back at me, as she had a mere six days ago.
Time stood still, as my mind became crammed with questions, all involving the words, ‘why?’, ‘how?’ I could not ask any of them, though; it was like I had been struck dumb.
You carried on recording measurements and entering information into the computer. You thought I was silent, but I was screaming so loudly it deafened my ears. A silent scream... a scream someone can only produce when their world has just imploded in front of their eyes. A scream so loud, so powerful it cannot be heard by human ears.
You could have given me platitudes like so many others had, but you didn’t.
You silently took my hand, looked into my eyes and said ‘my wife and I have lost three babies too’. You then sat stroking my hand as I sobbed not only for the child we had lost but because you understood. You got it. I knew you did not pity us, you empathised with us, and that meant your words were authentic and genuine.
You could have easily then slipped into an official doctor mode, but you didn’t, you took the time to explain things to us, being careful to avoid using common medical jargon... you treated us like family, and I am not sure you are truly aware of what a gift that was.
We were aware of the fact that you had another family waiting to see you, but you did not rush us, you allowed us time to sit and try to regain our composure before we exited the room.
Thank you seems too small a word for helping us through that time, so instead, I will simply say without your help I don’t know what we would have done.
When you trained to be a doctor, I know you did so to help save lives. It would be easy to think the only way you can do that is by performing lifesaving surgeries, but by offering us true compassion, you helped save us... perhaps not from death, but from our hearts being even more broken, as they lay shattered on your office floor.