Right from the outset you could see that this was a very special occasion for very special mums and dads. People weren't afraid to talk about their loss - in fact, they welcomed discussion about it - and you felt like you were in the company of those who really wanted to make a difference, to raise awareness of baby loss so that the right amount of funding and research could be ploughed into the field to, one day, make the death of a baby a thing of the past.
Being surrounded by so many incredibly brave people was pretty overwhelming. Besides a couple of miscarriages early on in pregnancy, which was obviously upsetting, I have not experienced first-hand the horror of losing a baby. It's a field that I voluntarily plunged myself into to write this book, and so being in the company of people whose bravery far surpassed that of anybody else I know was enough to make me feel more than a little inadequate.
I'm not a particularly emotional person, but being at the Butterfly Awards brought me to tears on more than one occasion. To see a mum overcome with grief at being handed an award and dedicating it to her girls, or seeing a dad look towards the ceiling and say that he hopes his son is proud of him, is just heartbreaking. It has been said many times before, but there are no individual winners on a night like this; everybody can be proud of themselves for doing their bit to raise awareness and strip the stigma surrounding baby loss. Any disappointment I may have felt at not winning was quickly wiped out by the swift realisation that my word, any one of these mothers or fathers would give anything to swap their award for just a few more seconds with their angel baby.
Special mention go to a few people: firstly my wife, who has always supported me in whatever writing venture I undertake. I still don't think I fully understand the impact that our miscarriages has had on her, and I know I don't feel her level of pain. Secondly, to Elizabeth Hutton from Count the Kicks, whom I thoroughly confused by insisting she was someone else. Thirdly, to Paul from Daddys with Angels, who was sitting just a couple of seats away from me (I had no idea who he was before he got up to claim his award - I've been a member of the DWA Facebook group for at least a year).
Final mentions go to Gemma Antell who, along with Helen, Tanya and Nicola, brightened my evening with conversation, laughter, and that hashtag! It was an honour to share the evening with every single person in that room.
Thank you to everybody who nominated and voted for me and 'How I Came to Hold You'. Now and again I'll hear that it's helped a newly-bereaved parent, even in just a small way, and that in itself is award enough.