Lenny’s death has recently been officially classified as a neonatal death. Before this, it wasn’t entirely clear whether Lenny died in the last seconds of labour which would be classed as an intrapartum stillbirth or a neonatal death. As parents you always want to know exactly what happened to your child but these small details don’t make a difference because the fact of the matter remains that we never held him in our arms whilst he was alive.
In those 27 minutes, Lenny was being resuscitated. Amazing, dedicated and fearless medics were fighting to save his life. We watched helplessly as our son died in front of our eyes – this isn’t the ‘shit events’ Olympics but I think most people would agree that is up there with one of the worst experiences anyone can have. Up until that point everything throughout my labour and childbirth had been super smooth. My brother described it well – it was like Lenny was born and then was hit my lightning – that was exactly how it felt.
Reading in black and white that Lenny was pronounced dead after just 27minutes (which felt to us like 27 seconds and 27 years all at once) made me think about time and how we spend it. Lenny had such a small time on Earth. It made me think how in modern societies we are all so, ‘busy,’ and we commonly complain about a lack of time. I get it – between jobs, families, friends, household tasks etc etc there is little time. It seems the more tech we have to save us time, the less time we have.
Lots of people have kindly asked if there is anything they can do to help – and honestly other than being a listening ear, cooking us a meal if we are having a hard day or just generally not giving up on us – there isn’t a great deal. But there is one thing I would ask of everyone reading this – to find 27 minutes a day that brings you joy. It doesn’t need to be a Lenny-style adventure, it could be walking your dog, having a bath, reading a book or catching up with a good friend. Especially if you are fortunate enough to have living children – to spend just 27 minutes as a minimum everyday just doing something which is pure joy and fun.
We have been socialised to think this is in someway selfish or frivolous but I don’t see it like that anymore. Since Lenny died, we have gone to great efforts to keep going – I am certainly not suggesting we haven’t faced up to difficult emotions, we definitely have!!! We have at times forced ourselves to do something for our wellbeing each day – yoga, going for a massage, having a bath, going to the gym, cycling etc. The amount of times I have grimly got on my bike and cycled around feeling numb with tears streaming down my face BUT I did feel a tiny tiny percentage better for doing it. Obviously I am not suggesting that even bikes have the power to make you feel better when the worst happens but I do think it would have been somehow EVEN worse if we didn’t have these coping mechanisms.
So it got me thinking – we shouldn’t save these things for times of huge emotional strain but we should weave them organically into our lives. We generally do have the luxury of leisure time and just 27 minutes of doing something ‘nice’ each day is so worth it. I think it pays back dividends and means that we are more present and effective in the rest of our lives for doing this.
I would ask everyone reading this to spend 27 minutes a day doing something joyful – either alone, with your living children if you have them, with your loved fellow humans, or dogs. You owe it to yourself. That is one thing everyone could do not only for us but more importantly for Lenny. He didn’t get any joy in those 27 minutes and he didn’t get the chance to experience all that life has to offer. You do! Please allow Lenny to inspire you to make the most of those 27 minutes – keep adventuring!