Category Archives: I AM

Melody and Me

A Photograph. Infant Loss

In parenting there is such constant competition.  
My baby took their steps before yours.  
My child read a whole book before yours. 
I’ve done so much more as a parent than you. 

 

It is hard to know that even in the devastating community of baby and child loss that even then there is some kind of competition.
There shouldn’t be.

I remember feeling particularly bad because all other baby loss mums had a shelf or something in their home to remember their babies with, I didn’t.. But now I have and I don’t really like it.
Over the course of the years there’s been a lot of mention about the quantity of photographs I have for our daughter, the clothes, the memories we were able to build.
How I’m lucky I got to spend time with her.
How lucky to have a “million” photographs of her.
(of course it isn’t a million, maybe just about 50).
I know it is 50 more than other parents, but it also 50 less than others too.
I feel sad that I am made to feel less because I have these photographs, these photos like I said others may not have.
When the first photograph was taken, not by me but some random nurse, I’d not even met her, I didn’t know that the photograph that arrived in my room was the only photograph I would have knowing she was alive at that point.
I was stuck to the bed on drips, body still numb, still really poorly and I was desperate to see her, to know she was OK.
John went to see her, midwives went to see her EVERYONE went to see her, they returned with photographs and even a video.
They’re precious to me.  The first few photographs at that point were the only things keeping me going.
Once she’d come off the ventilation, I knew then I needed to document everything about her journey.
Her life, because at one point, she was coming home, these photographs were meant to be her story to tell her at her 18th birthday.  They were never meant to be.

“In Memory of.. “

I have empty folders of days I’d not photographed or days where I wasn’t allowed to visit.  To me now that kills me that I don’t have every single day of her short life.
She was not meant to die.
I don’t have cuddle cot photos, or bed sharing photographs, we didn’t get chance to spend extra time after she died, we didn’t get that option.
So when I share the photos I have it isn’t to hurt anyone else, for attention,  it is because it is all I have, I don’t expect other people to comment on “how lucky I am to have these photographs”.
I hear this often, as well as “at least you got time to with her”.  Same with everyone else it was never enough.
Well because if I had a choice, the same choice anyone in our situation would have, I’d swap the photographs for her any day.

Every single baby/child loss parent is in this shitty time together. Nobody’s journey is worth less than someone else’s because of how different the situation is.
I’m not lucky I got to spend time with her.
I’m lucky because I GET to be Melody’s Mum, no matter how long she lived.
This photo is her second photograph, (her first she is completely naked flat out in her incubator).
Here she is Two Hours and Fifteen Minutes old. There are a few taken close together.
At these moments I did not know how many more pictures I’d get.
Whether this would be the only way I’d have seen her alive,
I didn’t know a thing, apart from she was stable.
But to me it could have meant anything.

 

 melody and me
This is her second from last alive, (her last is with the three of us broken beyond repair, watching the vent being removed from our precious daughter).
When this photograph was taken, she was 34 days One Hour and Ten minutes old.
We had no idea that she would die.
We had no idea that this photograph was going to be the final one of our then normality.
We had no idea that this photograph would turn into a part of a memorial.
We had no idea that LESS than 24 hours after this photograph was taken she’d be dead.
We have photos of her after her heart stopped beating, and in the chapel of rest, only but a few have seen that one (the hospital ones only myself and John have seen those).
I cannot bear to look at them, this may sound particularly ungrateful to anyone who hasn’t got photographs,
I can’t imagine that loss, that feeling.
But to me Melody is so like her sisters, and even her brother at times, seeing her in such a devastating way, only reminds me, not just of the loss of Melody, but the unimaginable anxieties that come with being a bereaved parent.
I don’t just see her, I see them too.
I cannot imagine ever not having photos, or for the parents that couldn’t have a footprint…because there are footprints just too small.
But please don’t make my memories, my pain any less because I do have the photos.
Because if I could choose to have any of this shit, I’d have chosen not photos and no footprints just to give her one last cuddle and one last kiss.
I’d have never let go.

#captureyourgrief I AM

Today we are given the task to finish these five sentences.

I Wish
I Remember
I Could Not Believe
If Only 
I Am 

I WISH  I had held her longer, once she died. I felt like as her mum I had abandoned her, I was too scared to hold her, too scared to bath her. Once she was returned to us after her bath, I didn’t pick her up, I didn’t know if I was allowed to disturb her, would I hurt her. Of course I wouldn’t have hurt her. That we had spent more time with just me, her and her dad, nobody else. We thought we did the right thing by inviting people to say goodbye, but it should have been just us.  That we had co-slept with her, or had the equipment to have allowed us more time. I know I sound ungrateful, as we had longer than most, we had her whole life. But we didn’t know it was going to be her whole life, we weren’t supposed to say goodbye. I wish I’d sung her a lullaby, or read her a story.
I wish she hadn’t died, she should have been still here.

I REMEMBER Wanting the pain to stop, I cannot even describe what it felt like to have the doctor tell us that she wouldn’t survive. The same woman only five weeks before had told us she was doing well in the NICU. She’d wheeled her away after showing her her beautiful pink warm face.
How I couldn’t control any of it. Her birth, her life, her death. My knees were weak from the sickening blow. I remember not knowing how the hell I was going to breathe again, how we were going to move forward in life. The Pain has never gone away, it still remains, but I can live with it. I have to live with it.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE It happened to  us. That not only could I not save our beautiful girl, but I could not save my children from the heartache of having their baby sister die. I admit when I’d had my miscarriages in earlier years, I never mentioned them, I needed to protect them, I still haven’t told them. I didn’t want them to know that babies can die.
I still feel like a shit mum for being unable to protect any of them, my one job..

IF ONLY Things were different, not my life, we may have had five living children, but the day she died everything the surrounds her death, the lead up to it. If only things were done differently, there was a chance there could have been a better outcome. I do go over and over, I know I shouldn’t, but the strength that baby had, the hope we were given, the babies after her with less chances who have survived, it pinches. If Only.

I AM a Mum to FIVE children. A Mum who makes mistakes, who finds things hard, who laughs hard, screams the loudest, and cry until I can no longer breathe.

I AM HUMAN.

(Google)


I cannot believe that sometimes; I wish I didn’t have to remember who I am. 
If Only 
melody and me

Right Where I Am 2013

My Guest Blog

Right where I am…..
Right where I am.
I have simply lost my words…
Why has this gotten harder?
I would like to jump off this hideous awful ride
But I can’t… It’s no good telling me to move on…
Imagine moving on without your child?
You can’t imagine? Then don’t tell me the impossible…
Dear Melody,
It’s been 15 months since that dreadful day.
Right where I am…
Where the hell is that?
Still wondering, still wishing.
Why?
What exactly did we do to have you taken?
To have us meet you, love you then ripped away from us.
5 weeks so precious, at least that can’t be taken away.
15 months we had to say goodbye to you.
The top of my things to tell you is how sorry I am we don’t come to visit, as much anymore, it’s not because we don’t love you, it’s because we DO love you, the pain every time I visit you is paralysing, the sick deep in the pit of my stomach, knowing how cold you must be how you’re there but I can’t touch you, makes me feel sick. I know this will be full of judgement, but I really hope you understand.
Because you know I’ll always feel guilty.
I hate this is how it is with you.
I’m sorry…
Happier note
We are though making a start in making you a pretty garden in our new back garden, a place where we can give you pretty toys without the fear of them being destroyed and your brother and sisters getting upset as they love to spoil you!
A way you can be part of their outdoor play.
I’ve found a way to live like this, to laugh and giggle.
Though I wish people wouldn’t use your name, or our story for their personal gain…sad.
Mummy has just signed up to raise money in your memory for an amazing charity to help families just like us, to help get the support they need.
I can’t change your clothes or buy you toys so this is what I have to do, for you.
I want to make a difference.
I miss you Melody, why couldn’t things have been different?
Thank you
Thank you for guiding your new baby sister, to help bring her home, to not only put a smile on mummy and daddy’s faces but your brother and sister’s too, so amazing.
I wish you could have met your sister…
After a hurricane comes a rainbow.
I’m having a moment where I am having a good couple of days, it’s difficult but I am grateful to you to helping me be a better person, albeit I need more confidence.
The bad days are few and far between now, but I need to control them, but I know it is only you giving mummy a poke to say
“Don’t forget me”
Love you darling…
Mummy
xx
I truly am so stumped for words at the moment, there are no understandable sentences out there to explain exactly where I am…
For now
I exist
xxx
(A post included on the inspirational blog Loss through the looking glass.
Some amazing work by inspirational parents).