Andrew: 7 weeks

In Memory of Andrew Gordon Adams

We always dreamed of 4 children and, despite being 9 weeks early, when Drew was born on 18th Feb 2011 our family was complete. Our older children (Libby, 8, Callum, 7, and Duncan, 4) were delighted with their new brother. For 4 weeks I travelled to our “local” hospital daily (2½ hour round trip) with my husband, Graham, and kids going as often as possible, hindered by school and lambing (the joys of farming). Graham always said Drew needed me to establish feeding etc to get him home, there would be time for Drew to get to know the family after that. Duncan was 10 weeks early, so we had no worries about Drew, we knew he would come home in his own time. Just 4 weeks later I went to stay in the hospital but Drew had been doing so well we were both able to come home on Saturday 19th March – to everyone’s surprise.

The next three weeks passed quickly. Drew was everywhere. He was adored by our village especially at the nursery and school, overwhelmed by presents from friends and family and was shown off at every club the children attended. We adored him, Duncan loved being a big brother at last, Callum and Libby were always on hand to help. It made it so much harder then to have to sit them down on the 9th April to tell them Mummy and Daddy had woken up to find Drew had stopped breathing, the doctors did what they could but were unable to save him. It was just 8 days past Libby’s 9th birthday and 5 past Duncan’s 5th, only a week before Easter, it felt so unreal.

We live in a rural part of Scotland – the medical staff and police we dealt with had little prior experience and also found things very difficult. When we registered Drew’s death the Registrar could barely talk to us and had a tear in her eye – it was just 4 weeks since we had sat happily chatting as I registered his birth. The days which followed were awful, my husband did the brunt of telling people, I simply couldn’t. My family and dearest friends dropped everything to be there for us. I don’t even know who dressed, fed or what the kids did on that day. The police were great, we had to go through the interviews, his basket etc was taken from our room – I couldn’t even watch it go, Graham dealt with that as well. Even in the past few weeks as his items were returned they have continued to be so supportive.

We knew many of the people involved after Drew’s death, the police, midwives, funeral directors etc. It was hard for us all but the familiar faces helped. The hospital had promised us that although Drew had to go through an autopsy at Yorkhill, we would receive his handprint, footprints and a lock of his hair to keep – I held on to this as some comfort – I was devastated to later find out that as we had not signed the correct permissions we would not receive any of these. Our Funeral Director heard about this and bought a small canvas and ink and took prints for us, I treasure these. I have had them made into pendants for my necklace which I wear constantly.

We have a family friend who is a Minister. He married Graham and I and christened all the children. I was devastated that Drew was never christened, but our friend agreed to preside over Drew’s funeral and at the start of the service performed a blessing on him which made me feel so much better. I was overwhelmed by the amount and variety of people who turned out for Drew’s Funeral – the children asked if the school had been shut after as all the staff attended. We were able to send over £800 to the Neo-Natal Unit in Drew’s memory and his little grave sits exactly one row behind his Papa. He was buried on the day he should have been two months old.

I visit Drew every week, take him flowers and chat for a bit. The kids like to go, they “cuddle” him and race to see who is there first. He is buried in the same cemetery as my friend’s twins, who, according to my children are looking after him in heaven. We talk about Drew, often and openly, even the kids – they have their own wee coping ways. They each have a photo by their bedside, as do Graham and I. We have other personal mementos and a special “Angel Drew” star was on the Christmas tree. All his clothes, blankets and toys are stored safely in a spare set of drawers. His photos are around us and his cards etc in a scrap book. Teddy Drew was given to him the week before he died – it wears his “DREW” “Baby Brother” t-shirt. If we want to cuddle Drew, we cuddle Teddy Drew – he lives by my bed and I kiss him goodnight every night.

Callum’s birthday was hard – he didn’t have his brother there, the others did, but we got through it. Just 2 weeks later we banned all visitors for Christmas and had an “Us” Day. We survived, the thought and build up was worse than the actual day. The next one is Drew’s first birthday – we will have a cake and hope to hold a SCDT Afternoon Tea soon after, a sort of birthday party for him, in his memory. There are still things I find hard, places I won’t go back to, people who make me cry, I can’t listen to nursery rhymes and still haven’t visited my cousin who has a son 3 months younger than Drew – I think he understands though, I hope so.

We are moving on, Drew is with us always and we have amazing support. Our lives are richer for knowing him and poorer for losing him but he is and always will be our boy.