If I was brave enough to look through my browsing history from the weeks and months that followed on after Norah’s death, amongst my darkest thoughts, I would be sure to find the reasons that I find myself here, scribbling away and finding our voice.
“Why did my baby stop breathing?”
“Sudden death of one week old baby”
“Can you survive when your baby dies?”
In my previous life, it was incredibly rare to find myself in a situation that was not only completely out of my control, but utterly devoid of information or answers. Every part of my previous self was planned and organised within an inch of its life, as if my ability to balance and research gave me some kind of super power, ultimate control over my present and my future. My delusional super power may not have been fully functional, but it gave me armour, a coping strategy that equipped me to survive in the face of my anxieties.
Until it didn’t; no amount of research or planning could have prevented Norah’s sudden unexplained death.
If I could just find one other person that had survived, just one story like ours that ended with happiness and family, maybe then I could keep going for another day so I could find the answers to my frantic and incessant research. And so I continued, pleading with Google to find me that family, the mother that didn’t just survive, but thrived in the face of child loss, there had to be others like us, maybe they held the answers. In the first month of our lives without Norah I became a collector of stories, learning the names of the babies gone too soon and consuming every ounce of strength I could from the mothers and families that came before us.
In the seven months since Norah died, the questions that haunt us in the depths of our grief remain unanswered. We still don’t know why our baby, born at term, weighing 9lb 6oz and every bit a picture of health, could stop breathing in our arms at home. We are no closer to understanding what happened to our daughter, or where we go from here. And yet we are still here, closer to surviving than thriving, but taking steps forward and learning how to breathe again.
As the weeks and months rolled on by after Norah died, once the shock and disbelief started to ebb away, I found my strength in the stories of baby loss survivors. Google couldn’t answer when I desperately asked if we could survive the death of our baby, but every voice that reached us through blog posts, forums and support groups gave us hope. Our journey since has felt closer to stumbling through the wilderness, but day by day we have found a way to navigate through. As we continue to fumble through grief, rebuild our lives in the wake of loss and parent Norah in the most unconventional of manners, it feels imperative to share Norah’s story, and add another voice of hope in the world of baby loss.