Category Archives: Baby loss

baby loss, grief

Christmas 2016

Here once more, another year without our girl, of course that will never change.
I get so far into December thinking I’ve cracked this, that it is getting better.
But truth be told, this year is exactly as it was the first Christmas we had where in order to spend some time “with” her, is to venture in the chilly air, decorate a headstone.
This shit does not get any easier. It is kind of static, but at the very same time it feels worse.
One less set of presents to wrap, although we do buy her gifts, but not in a way other people buy their 4 year old gifts. An ornamental garden snail, or a candle on a metal stake.
I can’t even tell you if she wanted the latest toy this year.
I hate not knowing the sort of person she could have been growing in to.
Once again, just as we have since 2012 braved the cold, we’ve had to pick the right time, to escape the wind and the rain.
It isn’t a place I like to go, it isn’t a place where I want Melody to be either.
Every year I contemplate whether to go or not, but I would feel awful if I didn’t.
Just as I feel like shit when I do.
Her siblings also like to decorate her ready for Christmas.
I wouldn’t force them if they chose not to.
As tradition we like to include her the same week we do our own at home.
Making our way to the cemetery, keeping good spirits, a much as I can.
Feels me with dread, because every single time we go, I have to say hello and good bye really quickly, it’s the goodbyes, the leaving her out in the cold.

Slowly walking around the corner of the chapel, careful of her neighbour, but cautious in case someone else has moved in too. Thankfully not.

Carefully we remove her Halloween decorations, I know how poor of us for not visiting.
Don’t judge.
Tidy her up, a daffodil plant pot hasn’t survived.
The weather no doubt.
It sucks.
Her toys have remained in place.
In the bitter part of my brain, deep, deep within, I wonder why we bother, it isn’t as if she can play with them.
She died.
She died before she ever had chance to play.

Sellotaping tinsel, placing a tiny Christmas Tree covered in fake snow.

That’s her Christmas.

Is it enough?

We cut back on how much we decorate her this year,
it effects us more than the groundsmen or silly kids will ever know,
when things get moved or tossed aside.
Photos of the children together, the only way I can. Of course They don’t all co-operate, but that’s what happens when you have five children right?

Step back and take a moment, and prepare to leave; to once again say Goodbye.
I never could say goodbye to her when she was in the NICU, the word scared me.
It is so final.

As my heart is heavy, we finish our photos, something happened.
A couple visiting a relative of their own, had walked by clutching a reef.
Moments later walked by again to return to their car,
told us how beautiful our girl’s forever bed looks.
To carry on as we are.
The Gentleman offers to take a photo for us, of us all. He didn’t judge, he was insistent on helping us to get a family portrait.
I love pictures, creating lasting memories.
It is important.

It isn’t something we have ever been able to achieve, without one of us lost behind the camera.
Totally grateful to the kind couple’s gestures, we parted ways, and once again we began our goodbyes, our waves and blowing kisses.

Making our way through the tunnel back to our car, the couple were in their car waiting to reverse.
When the lady stepped out of the car, rushed over to us, tears in her eyes, pressed something in my hand.
“Please buy your lovely children some sweets, please don’t say no. What you do is lovely.”
Trying to say thank you, but to not let her, she rushed back to their car, driving off.
Tears rolling down my face.
Strangers, so kind, so thoughtful.
Not only helped to fulfil a rare photo opportunity, but put slight smiles on the children’s faces.
Even they were speechless.
I feel as if I could never thank them enough.
We popped to the shop and brought some flowers, and returned to the cemetery in the hope I could find where they had visited, but for the length of time the had disappeared to when they returned to their car, there were several graves with reefs.
I loosely placed them onto Melody’s grave and asked her to look after them.

No idea if they themselves are bereaved parents,
(our Cemetery is for everyone and not a baby garden)
or simply genuinely kind-hearted human beings.

I, we will be forever grateful, wish we could thank them more.
They’ll never know just how much those moments have meant to us.

* * *

As mentioned we decided not to decorate her forever bed as much as we usually do.
Instead we have been able to make her garden space festive, the space itself is very much a work in progress, we’re really pleased with how it looks this year.

The photos don’t give it justice.
Still very much unfinished, soon I hope.

Christmas without her, I have come to realise it’ll never get easier,
and we certainly won’t ever “get over her”.
I don’t want to.
Don’t expect me to.

I Miss Her So Much.

#captureyourgrief My Promise To You

I was going to go, all inspirational, how I want to change the state of the taboo, promise to help others.
But I hope I do help others, so many wonderful things in her memory.

But actually, here’s something a little different.
I have always loved Christmas. The magic, the run up, the smells, the lights…everything.
The year before she was born, we were making plans of how much our lives would change with a new baby, had she’d been born in the May like she was meant to, we’d have had a 7 month old.
The usual questions; How would she have reacted? Would she have pulled down the tree? Would she have enjoyed Brussel Sprouts? We were all so terribly excited.

Only the following year I was pregnant again, desperately hoping we could have that “First Christmas” the following year, I was sick, I was angry, sad, hormonal I wanted it all to be over. Our cards which were signed from bump, were now carefully chosen, on who we’d include our special “M” cloud.
How was I ever supposed to love Christmas again? In the beginning I hated it, when I desperately wanted to love it, if not for me, but my children..that’s who they are, children.
Christmas had, and needed to be magical, the idea they had their hearts broken, a little bit of innocence stolen from them I couldn’t take that magic away from them.

So as we’ve gone through the years, I have tried my best to make it the most magical time for them.
We’ve had Christmas Characters come to stay (much like Elf on the shelf, but Elves aren’t the only ones part of the Christmas story). First one I turned into a book. (Ralph’s Christmas Adventure).
We do Bookmas,24 books for advent to open daily, brought by our Christmas Helper.

We give them magic for the whole of December (to the best of our abilities and finances).
Of course we want to give them magic the whole year round.
But for most people, Christmas during their childhood is the most remembered. I want them to remember, love,fun, laughter…magic.

It is unbelievably difficult knowing we do have her missing, we include her in our celebrations..candles, she has decorations for the tree and a Christmas Village, illuminated houses we add to each year since she died.

She was alive Christmas 2011, she may have been in utero but she was alive, a heartbeat, hands, feet. We picked her name at Christmas too, thanks to Dr Who Christmas episodes.

My Promise would be to give them the magical childhood they deserve.
If it means going crazy at Christmas, spoiling them for birthdays, days out when we can. Then that is what it takes.
I hate I couldn’t protect them from losing her, but I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to them.

Believing in the magic.

baby loss, grief

At Least…

Aside from “There’s no heartbeat”. ” She won’t survive”.
At least has to be just as ugly. Because there is nothing “least” in the world of baby loss.

“At least she wasn’t too old”
“At least she was only premature”
“At least she didn’t come home”
“At least you didn’t get to know her”
“At least you know you can do it”

“At least you have other children…”

This has to be one of the biggest things to have to hear from someone who has all their children stood next to them.
Or from someone who couldn’t possibly decide which child they could do without. Of course, I wouldn’t want or expect them to.
I feel so incredibly lucky to have the children I have at home with me. So damn lucky.

Today is the 10-day countdown until our daughter’s birthday. I’ve been doing reasonably well, keeping myself busy, doing new things, making different plans.
But today it has hit me. That once again instead of shopping for last minute present, planning a birthday or a tea party. I am trying to decide what flowers to buy for her grave, which oasis shall I choose?
Which cake shall we have? For a child that will never taste a piece. But we can’t have a birthday without cake.

Today having that heavy feeling, that heaviness which comes with the run-up to a date. Where I am so,so lucky to have my children with me..yet all I wanted to do was stay in bed.
I never did the stereotypical grieve in bed, or rock in the corner, crying all the day.
You know because that is what bereaved parents do…we’re crazy…..
Or so media would have you believe.
I wanted to shut down for a few hours today.

I cancelled one lot of plans I had. But luckily for me, they’re an understanding bunch.
But I couldn’t shut down. Couldn’t just lock myself away.
I have little people who need me to be okay.

So no shutting down, no staying in bed. No breakdowns.
I’ve bottled the tears so much in the past, I’m not even sure the function is there anymore!

So here I am writing it out, sticking this shit out once again.
Because quite frankly there is no at least…

The Sun will come out tomorrow.

baby loss, grief

Baby-Loss. Never Ending Story

Your friend, your family member has something so unimaginable happen to them. The happy moments, the most wonderful news…changes.
In an instant. So suddenly everything is different.
Your friend, your family member, their baby, their beautiful child dies.
It’s not the way it’s meant to happen. Not the right order.
But it does, it has happened.

What can you do?

What can you say?

Be there, be that Rainbow in the family’s storm.

Don’t be the person who friend requests on social media, to someone you barely know, to watch the devastation unfold and offer nothing in return.

It is not a holiday, and you are not a tourist – sightseeing.

Their baby’s death is not your loss, it can make it incredibly hard for the parents to grieve in front of you if they see that you’re grieving harder than they are. A death of a baby is indescribable, the bereaved parents aren’t always strong enough to carry the grief of their friends and family too.

Never be afraid to say the baby’s name, honestly, it hurts more if you just ignore that there ever was a baby who died.

Assume nothing.

Never be afraid to ask questions.

The effects of baby-loss lasts forever, but sadly the initial support shown to parents, be it friendships or professional support doesn’t last that long.
Grief is boring. It’s dull and ugly.
Once the initial change has happened, people’s lives move on, the attention has gone.
Of course, that is fine.
But it can leave the parents feeling lost, confused questioning everything.
Never leave them feeling lonelier than they already do.
Cutting contact, turning your back without an explanation, hurts. As well as the grief they have for their baby, they now have a secondary loss too.

Listen, hear what the parents have to say, don’t change the subject, show obvious twitching; talking isn’t to grab attention. Speaking as anyone else would be about their child.
Baby-loss isn’t contagious. Actually, someone else’s loss could help save your baby.

Hard as it may be, don’t compare, no two losses are the same…even if they are…every person’s grief is different. It is as individual as the loss itself.
Nobody has a right to judge how you grieve.

Child loss to those parents last a lifetime, the grief is never-ending.
But the help with friends, family, the ones who stay, who linger. Are the ones who are cherished and remembered.
You’ll truly never know how much being that person will mean to them.

baby loss, grief

Melody and Me. Holding On For Dear Life.

The countdown to Melody’s birthday.

February 7th 2012 23+1

I began to feel slightly headache-y, which wasn’t disappearing with paracetamol, accompanied with some blurry vision – I just didn’t feel right. So to be on the safe side I booked myself in to see the midwife, due to my history of Pre-eclampsia when I’d had my eldest daughter. I was aware of the symptoms, I kind of knew it was too early but I just wanted to be safe and get checked out…
(Excerpt from Mayflower’s Rainbow)

On This Day

 
On this day in 2012, something wasn’t right. But having clear test results days later, I knew at that moment I could breathe a sigh of relief. A false alarm, it was far too early to have this.
Looking back, she was born the size of a 23 week old baby, was this the day she had stopped growing? Was this the first warning sign?
Counting down the days until her birthday.
Keeping myself busy; too busy to think too much.
Too busy to remember that, I really should be shopping for something for her birthday.
I don’t even know what she would have liked.
Of course, I am told not to dwell on this, not to think about this too much.
Why shouldn’t I?
I have no idea what her favourite obsession would have been?
Crafts?
Princesses?
Would she have been a Tom Boy?
I am allowed to wonder.

Dreams

I remember watching a video about skin to skin and kangaroo care, a beautiful thing to watch.
Then I am hit as if I’d been punched in my stomach, a glimpse of the poorly, premature babies.
The wave of new pain arrived again.
We weren’t allowed to have skin to skin often, we had it, don’t get me wrong.
Given the importance of kangaroo care, it was never enough.
It hurt, so much.
These precious babies being cuddled better.
Mine…gone.
I do sometimes wonder whether had we been phoned sooner, could I have cuddled her better?
A fairy tale dream perhaps.
Always felt like she never belonged to us.
Whatever is out there, will never be enough.

Melody and Me

23 Days old, we get to have skin to skin.
Tucked into my bra, she was tiny, warm and happy.
Albeit wet from a teary shower.
The power of skin to skin is amazing.
I wish we’d had more.

Projects

Working on a project involving Melody, something I needed to do.
Feeling incredibly honoured to be asked for an input, I knew I could do it, just words, reflection.
Talking about Melody.
Felt wonderful getting it down again, bringing her memory to the forefront of my mind.
Then…
The neonatal doors were closed; there was a privacy board around a cot. We walked in, attempted to walk to where our little girl had been the day before when we realise that the cot behind the privacy board was indeed our daughter. She’d been moved to ITU overnight.
A doctor came to us and told us that she wouldn’t survive… 
 
Floored for a moment. Wondering why I did this to myself.
But I’m not *really* doing this to myself, this is me, us. Our story.
Could feel the tears coming, it isn’t torture, it hurts.
But why wouldn’t it?
Our baby died.
I am trying to be busy, to be strong.
To be brave.
But I really am holding on for dear life…
Melody and Me

Memories – What Day Would You Want To Live Again?

It’s that time of year again, the memories of dates, the dates of before, the afters.
Even if it has been since 2012 I can still remember the tiny details that come with Melody, her scans, my consultant appointments. When it went wrong.
Time doesn’t heal, it’s not a magic cure, she should have been starting school in 2016; with one daughter leaving her primary school journey, as the other begins, that was what was meant to happen.
Time doesn’t heal, but for me it was like a rebirth, learning to live again. A different path had been placed. Through no choice of my own, that was what lay before me.
She may have only been here 5 weeks…35 days…just over a month. But Melody changed me, she changed us.
Another place I use to take comfort in, brought up a question I simply had to answer.

What Day Would I Want To Live Again? – Memories

Obviously all my children’s births, meeting my husband, our engagement, even various adventure days too, all up there on my favourite days…..
But the day I would live again would have to be…

The day before our daughter died.
We were a normal happy family, excited about the following day where L was going to help with Melody’s nappy changes. L was very excited, she was maybe hoping for a very brief cuddle.
Sisters, girls together.
We were looking forward to April, because it meant we had one month until she’d come home, remember the text the morning it went wrong.
“She’s coming home next month!!”
Yay! I thought, only one month of to-ing and froing to go.
If I had that day again, I’d have stayed longer, refused a party invitation for my eldest so she could have spent what we didn’t know was Melody’s last afternoon.
I would have held her longer.
Kissed her more.

Taken in her tiny hands, her warm soft skin.

We didn’t know she was going to die.
Amongst the wires (monitors not vents), and aside from missing my eldest’s presence.
It was perfect.
The Sun was shining, it was warm.
31st March 2012 is where I’d like to visit.
We went to bed that night happy and excited that she’d be home soon.

It’s that time of year again daffodils are out a lot earlier this year, even earlier than their early arrival back in 2012.
Sad they may not last until her birthday this year. I don’t like it. The daffodils are disappearing, a lot like people’s memories.
But unlike daffodils and short-lived friendships, my memory and love for her will always grow.

Memories, with daffodils pictured through a tear drop

I would still choose her.

 

baby loss, grief

Ten Things Aside From Grief

Being “The Baby Loss Mum” it separates you from normal parents, not just physically being seen “she’s the one who lost a child”
But for me being an outsider looking in, “Why aren’t people wanting full term births?” “Why aren’t they taking proper care of themselves?”
You can only raise awareness to those who want to be aware.
Being a bereaved parent you kind of forget who you are.
Should I smile, should I cry?
So, I need to remind people that I am more than the Mum who lost a baby, I am a Mum, wife and friend. Also a student
10 Things About You
 
1.Where were you born and where do you live?
Well, I live in South Somerset in the UK and I was born in Exeter Devon.
2. What is your favourite food?
This I cannot decide so easily, ask anyone who truly knows me, they will tell you I like revolting combinations, Cauliflower Cheese and Custard!
But officially I would have to say Roast Lunch.
3. What is a strange fact about me?
I have slightly webbed toes!
4. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Aside from the obviously family and friends, would either be Hugh Laurie or JK Rowling!
I would love to know how she writes and have a family, where my head turns to mush in no time at all!!
5. What are you reading now?
Bohemian Rhapsody
6. What is your favourite Colour?
Pink! Although I am also drawn to yellow for our spring baby.
7. Your Favourite Book?
Alice In Wonderland, love everything to do with this book.
8.Dream Job?
Writer, I have found a love in writing, something I can get lost in.
9. Most amazing day of your life?
Aside from the children being born, it would be my husband proposing to me, torrential rain, was the most romantic thing I felt so amazing.
10. Favourite Music?
James Bay – Hold Back The River
I Am Still Standing in Memory of Melody Caitlyn
26.2.12-1.4.12
melody and me logo

Capture Your Grief 2013 Day Twenty Six Community

Day Twenty Six of Capture Your Grief 2013 – Community.
The baby loss community is so important to me,
I feel so proud to know such inspirational families.
To get up in the mornings and smile, is inspirational enough.
and have mentioned before the support I have found within it.
So today I am going to share a piece I wrote for a blog
lossthroughthelookingglass.blogspot.co.uk
I felt this is our community all over

The Secret Superheroes 

I don’t remember chasing a funny white rabbit, 
Neither did I fall down a magical hole;
Entering a dream that is undoubtedly never ending.
The Muggles versus the Wizards.
Superman and Clark Kent.
Bruce Wayne and Batman.
The Mother versus the Bereaved Mother. 
Only the final one didn’t give me Super Powers,
Our poison isn’t as simple as Kryptonite.
And we certainly can’t hide behind a cape and costume.
Like The Superheroes we have to be careful who we reveal our secrets to.
 
We’re not deadly.
But somehow we come across as terrifying
Though we don’t get given a wand 
Or even lessons on how to use our “powers” 
But we’re expected to know how to use them.
Our magical powers is living
With child sized hole in our hearts.
Expected to read minds,
To know who we can speak to, 
How far we can take the conversation. 
Is it easier to say 3 or 4?
Who am I trying to save?
Save people “normals” from the entirety of a pain,
But saving them by raising awareness so they never have to 
Endure this journey.
 
You could say we’re The Avengers 
No two parents’ loss is the same
But we all have the power to save
The strength to break the thick wall of silence
Our magical power is
Breathing
 
xxxxx
community

Source: Google

Thank you for reading.
baby loss

My Very First Blog Post

This is my very first blog post; please bear with me.
To cut a long story short. A little background.
After trying to conceive for just one month, I began to grow our Melody, until 26+6 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia, where I was extremely close to fitting, we didn’t know this until after her birth; she weighed just 1lb 5oz!!! She was born a feisty little monkey, keeping us and the nurses on their toes on a daily basis. Our miniature hero! Coming on in leaps and bounds, the roller-coaster slowly climbing high, reaching a discharge date that we could hope for….
Until at 5 weeks old, being told before our arrival she would be put on a ventilator to give her a rest, we walked into her unit to hear the haunting words she would not survive. Pain ripping through our bodies. Being told her heart had been restarted 5 times, entering the screens to see her having chest compressions-an image no parent should ever see.
While still being ventilated she was passed to us, I felt too scared so John (my husband) held her, both begging her to stay and play. Willing the nurses to say it was a mistake and that she was having her usual apnoea or a bad day. She was baptised in a few minutes.
Her ventilator was removed, I knew I had to hold her.
09:30 1st April our perfect miniature hero became too tired-forever sleeping.
I have written a full journal of our journey, “Butterflies and Snowdrops” though “not ready” to share.
The weeks have passed, not sure if slowly or far too quickly. An obsession with the time has become a thing for me.
Learning she had passed away from an infection close to meningitis; meant for me wishing I could blame myself, will always blame myself. Having stopped growing at 23 weeks, our time spent with her was precious.
We’re now learning to deal with people’s ignorance and avoidance, so far time is not a healer.
Words though thought of as helpful, some are just unkind.
And so the next “chapter” albeit unwritten awaits……