Martin and Hugo

Martin Parker is daddy to Hugo who sadly died aged 35 days in March 2014. Hugo had been born 16 weeks prematurely because his mummy, Leigh, had the rare, life-threatening pregnancy complications HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia.

By Martin Parker

"No more cuddles with me or Mummy.
No sleepless nights.
No wet or dirty nappies.
No dirty nappies!
No being peed on when changing you.
No fresh baby smell.
No explosions of talcum powder.
No watching you sleep.
No watching you feed.
No winding you after you feed on Mummy’s milk.
No sick on my shoulder.
No tears – I never heard you cry.
No colourful outfits.
No silly hats.
No idea what your eye colour would be.
No more bravery.
No watching you grow.
No helping you learn.
No firsts.
No sitting up.
No crawling.
No teething.
No first steps.
No first word.
No reading stories to you.
No sharing football news.
No teasing Mummy with you on my side.
No ganging up on Daddy.
No learning to be a dad.
No sleeping on the sofa with you in my arms.
No sharing you with family and friends.
No being stopped in the street by strangers asking to say hello to you.
No smiling as you pull funny faces when trying new foods.
No scabs on your knees from the inevitable falling over.
No shrieks of laughter.
No tickling you.
No terrible twos.
No first day at nursery.
No first day at school.
No last day at school.
No school photos.
No more photos – and Daddy would have taken thousands.
No helping with your homework.
No idea if you would have looked like Mummy or me.
No play days with friends.
No sleepovers.
No holidays.
No sand castles.
No trips to the beach.
No swimming lessons.
No, the stabilisers won’t ever come off.
No paintings or drawings on the fridge.
No cartoons on the television.
No toys.
No excitement as birthdays and Christmas approach.
No looking forward to your first aeroplane journey.
No watching you try and speak a foreign language on holiday.
No surpassing Mum’s maths skills by the time you get to school.
No bettering Dad’s understanding of the use of commas or apostrophes.
No splashing in puddles.
No getting muddy playing football with your friends in the park.
No overcoming fears.
No beating Daddy on a games system.
No being spoilt rotten by family.
No girlfriends or boyfriends.
No hangovers.
No driving lessons.
No exam stress.
No going to university.
No graduation.
No first job.
No grandchildren.
No life for you.
No future for you.
No fairness in this.

Yes, finally a yes, I do get to visit your grave.
No, it is not something any parent gets used to or takes enjoyment from.
No, you never recover from the shock of seeing so many baby graves in the cemetery.
Yes Hugo, I am proud to be your father. No, I am not happy about what has happened. Yes, I miss you so deeply. No, I will never get over this although I may in time come to terms with it. Yes, our future as a family has been cruelly cut short. No, I will never forget you. Yes, I am enamoured with your fight, courage, spirit, determination and will to fight then fight some more. No, you may not physically be with me but I think about you all the time. Yes, you are always my son, my first child and fill me with so much love and pride.

Yes, you enrich my life but not in the way I nor Mummy had hoped."

Martin with baby Hugo.

Hugo's mummy, Leigh, is the winner of the Tommy's Mum's Voice Award 2016, and blogs at Headspace Perspective

To support Tommy's research into pre-eclampsia and prematurity, donate here.

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