It struck me this weekend that we barely ever hear Bear's name said aloud in full. Bear Hamilton Pullen. It's just a great name and yet no one gets to appreciate how beautiful and strong it sounds.
Sometimes I wonder whether the name Bear means people don't think of him as a proper person. It's such an unusual choice and sounds a bit like a cute pet, that I worry they forget that he was a proper little boy who had his whole life ahead of him. If he had been Jack or Harry, might it have made others feel more connected to him in some way? It's a confusing one. But I absolutely do not regret the choice. That was his name ever since we saw him at 8 weeks on the sonographer's screen. Our little darling Bear. And when he was born, he had big hands, kind of like paws, so I know it was meant to be.
I am angry, at the moment, that Bear had his life snatched away. Why didn't he get what the rest of us have? The freedom to live and play and laugh and love. My poor boy has missed out on so much. It made me start questioning my care during the pregnancy.
Nothing, of course, will bring him back. But I do wonder whether there weren't some clues that the midwives failed to see. Anyone who saw me will know that I had a big bump. From about 20 weeks, my tummy measured two weeks ahead at each antenatal appointment. On top of that, his head became fully engaged early, at about 35 weeks. To me, these two pieces of information say that perhaps this pregnancy was never intended to be the standard 40 weeks.
This 40 weeks thing is bugging me. Why should everyone have the same length gestation? We didn't all go into puberty the same week, or learn to walk at the same age, so why when we are so sophisticated in so many areas of life, does the medical profession still paint every pregnancy with the same, bog-standard length?
I also had a strong feeling that I was always meant to be early. I know that is something nebulous and hard to put down in a chart on your notes, but I feel very strongly that a mother's instinct should be listened too in these situations. After all, we are living the pregnancy and know our bodies so well.
When I put all the pieces of evidence together it makes me angry. Why, when I went for my 38 week appointment, and the midwife measured me to be 40 weeks, and the head was so far into my pelvis that she couldn't actually find it at first, didn't someone offer me a scan to make sure everything was still working properly? Or better, an induction?
The NHS are actually rather favourable to inductions, I have since learnt. It gives them control over the labour. So why are they so regimented about this darn 40 weeks?
I had this terribly poignant thought at some point during my pregnancy. I thought, wouldn't it be terribly if you got to 37 weeks (full term) and everything was good and healthy, and then something happened, before you reached your due date. I didn't actually think about it in terms of me, but in a general sense. It seems so sad now that I had all these thoughts and that perhaps there were clues that my pregnancy should never had got that far, and yet the conveyor belt of NHS prenatal care is such, that as long as there are no big problems, no pre-eclampsia or diabetes, then all the statistics and measurements gathered over the weeks and months are never analysed. Everything is just deemed to be ok.
The post mortem proved that Bear was healthy in every way. This was very much a pregnancy malfunction.
His house burnt down and we should have got him out before the first spark ignited.