When Xavier Christopher was born at 8.19am on January 31, there was no excitement or congratulations.

At just 25 weeks, it was action stations as doctors worked to save his life.

Shortly after the emergency caesar, my husband Chris made his way over to the table where Xavier laid. I’ll never forget his face as he turned to me with a look of pride, love and disbelief and said,

Honey, it’s a boy!

It was such a precious moment that’s etched into my mind. Even in the tragedy of what was happening, I had a giggle when I saw my husband in his blue scrubs and pink surgical hat, but we were quickly snapped back to reality, to our living nightmare.

As an army of doctors whisked Xavier away, the anesthetist, a beautiful man, kept stroking my head and telling me it was going to be ok. The two obstetricians sewing me up talked about their golf weekend, completely detached from this life-changing experience.

That morning, I’d been the happiest woman in the world. Now, I was totally and utterly devastated.

Two hours later, I finally saw my Xavier. He weighed 850g, was perfect and looked just like his Daddy. He was the beautiful baby I’d loved from the minute I saw two pink lines on the pregnancy test.

Xavier fought gallantly for 29 hours, but the odds were against us.

We had to turn off his life support; the most heart-wrenching decision we’ve ever made. Before we did, we held him for an hour. We said everything we thought we’d have a lifetime to say. Xavier passed away in my arms, surrounded by love.

I let out a primal scream as I saw him take his last breath.

Going home to an empty nursery without our son was the most harrowing and lonely experience of our lives. My arms physically ached; I knew I should be holding Xavier, yet I wasn’t. We’d lost the thing we wanted most in the world – a family. At that moment and for some time, I was absolutely and utterly broken.

My healing journey is ongoing and always will be. There was a moment in time I didn’t think I could go on. I was so totally broken, I didn’t see how I could ever be happy again. I remember that moment so clearly.

I was in the bath when I felt my darkest hour; I was lost, broken, depressed, sad and angry. I felt like I was at the bottom of the deepest hole, it was black, it was dark and I was drowning. I couldn’t see the light. But then as if someone was talking to me, I heard:

If you don’t pull your shit together, you are going to lose more than Xavier, you will lose your husband, your friends, your work and most importantly, yourself. Xavier wouldn’t want that, do you? That’s not what you are about, you get up and you fight, you find a way to the light.

It was that day in the bath, I chose to find the light.

To believe I am not what happened to me, I can choose what I want to be. I can choose to be happy, I can choose to move forward in my life whilst still honouring and loving my son. I didn’t want to be defined by my loss. To be that person sitting on the sidelines of life just barely surviving, I wanted to be thriving.

Xavier’s death has changed me in many ways but, I haven’t lost myself.

Here I am, three years later. A wife and mother to a beautiful son in heaven, a two-year-old daughter Eliza and 7 month old son, Kingston. I am strong, happy and whilst I miss Xavier every moment of every day, I can live with my grief.

I lost my baby, but I haven’t lost myself.

By Debb Meyer