We all have our own unique and life-shattering story that brings us to the point in our lives; where no one can ever answer the millions of questions we have; or help us with the life-defining pain that accompanies us through every waking and sleeping moment. A pain that crushes us until we can barely breathe. A pain that takes us on a journey we wouldn’t ever join if asked. This unique pain of loss of our baby.

Lottie was not born to us, but she is our child. She is the identical twin sister of our beautiful Lexi, and they were born into a life of fear, hunger, pain, and danger. They started their lives as babies born into a very poor family in Kenya. These babies were neglected and highly vulnerable.  We met these beautiful babies when they were 5 months old. They were tiny, weighing just over 2 kilos each. They had blank stares and showed no joy and no pain. They were just there. Holding Lottie and Lexi when they were passed to me on the violent streets knocked me sideways. In my charity, I am often confronted with the most brutal images and experiences, but these babies were on another level. I fell in love so deeply it was like a thunderbolt. The charity stepped in and tried to help the family with housing and food but the neglect continued. They were so scared and not growing.  One day their mother came and said that she was going to harm them or worse. The Children’s Department took them away from her care.

Lottie and Lexi came to us in an emergency and stayed the rest of Lottie’s life. From the very first night they were with us, we watched them change from damaged, hurting, empty shells, to smiling, beautiful little baby girls. They bravely built a deep connection with us. They let us love them and they loved us back. Lottie was called my shadow as she wouldn’t go to anyone else. We held them and loved them from certain death if they had stayed on the streets to life. Lottie had many injuries from her early months, and both were constantly monitored by a medical team because of how sick they were. But they grew. They put meat on their bones and joy in their hearts and we began to relax. They smiled, made gurgling sounds, and sought each other every minute of every day. Their bond was magical. They were destined to join our family in Kenya. They were our babies and so very very loved. We all began to relax and think about their futures and the babies they would become, wrapped in love, and accepted for the way they were. Just perfect.

In December I had to return to the UK for a week and I missed the girls so much. I talked to them all day and saw the delight they were from a distance, counting the hours until I was back home with them. Every night I was online with Lottie as she went to sleep. She wouldn’t sleep without me talking and telling her how loved she was. I missed them but they were in safe hands.

Photo of Lottie

That all changed like a bolt of thunder. On Christmas morning Lottie became really sick. She was well at 6 am and dying at 7 am. She was rushed to hospital but died within 2 hours. She was 9 months and 16 days old.

The speed and horrific way she was stolen from our lives on Christmas day is still totally unbelievable. I wasn’t with her when she took her last breath and that will sit with me forever. I was with her via WhatsApp but I swear she knew I was there. My last moment next to her was when she was being incubated. She followed my voice and watched me, just as she did when she fell asleep at night. But this was so different. Her beautiful enormous eyes staring and alert, those eyes that looked into your soul.  Her eyes were filled with knowing, and hope, and love, and fear. She stared into my heart and filled it with a love I never knew existed, and then nothing. She was gone. That is still impossible to understand.

They couldn’t revive her. Our beautiful perfect little Lottie had joined the Angels too soon, too fast and has left a lifetime of sadness and disbelief to all of us, but especially little Lexi.

The next time I saw our darling baby was at her funeral. How was that even possible? She leaves a gaping hole where she should be. Our lives are filled with pain I have never experienced before. A pain that is constant. A pain that never goes away. It comes everywhere with me now.

She is our child. She is our family and I thank the universe that we were invited into her love. We miss you every second of every day, but I will live this pain forever for the joy of loving you baby girl.

We all arrive here with our own unique story. I didn’t carry Lottie; I wish I had. But I carry the joy of her love and loving her forever.