We should have been celebrating a 21st birthday this month, but it wasn’t to be. In 1994, our baby boy Robin died in utero at 20 weeks from heart failure caused by severe Noonan’s Syndrome. Some months later, my composer sister Susan Frykberg recorded my story, from which she created a six-minute long composition for spoken voice, digital sound and cello. Because she did such a nice job editing the words it isn’t as sad as it could be.
You can download or listen to my amateur iPhone recording of its premier in Melbourne last year with cellist Lachlan Dent here:
Dave and I are fortunate to have three fabulous sons aged 23, 19 and 11. In between were three “shadow children” – the babies who didn’t make it. As well as Robin, there was Freya (a missed miscarriage at 17 weeks) and Vivienne (miscarried at 8 weeks). Also there were the months then years of trying to get pregnant – with accompanying emotions ranging from desperation to resignation and ambivalence.
We got through with help from family, a miscarriage support group, counselling and time.
Twenty-one years on, all that pain and grief is woven into the fabric of my life and remembering is usually more poignant than painful. Creating our three children took twelve years and six pregnancies – and the thing that stands out for me now is that if I had to go through it all again I would do so in a heartbeat.
Because life has few, if any, gifts more precious than children.