Tag Archives: Baby loss

melody and me

New Questions. Siblings Love.

light up lettering, siblings

Losing Melody

We’re open about the death of Melody, we don’t hide the fact that she has died; especially to her older siblings. They met her and spent five weeks with her. Five years on, it is still the case. We can go weeks even months without talking about her, but can also go weeks where we talk about her daily.

It is something we have come to be comfortable with in our family unit. My son struggled just recently, saying how he didn’t want to talk about her; to me I am glad he was open and we as a family respected that. He went on to say that he didn’t want to get bullied about the situation and it wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk about her. We have spoken through this; and he has since brought her up of his own say so.

I would never force her on the children; we have right from the very beginning been led by the children, often even before our own feelings.  I know people choose to believe otherwise – but unless you have been through losing Melody (not baby loss as a whole), but Melody then judging has no place in our home.

When I say “losing Melody”, I say this because each and every person’s loss is individual it is personal to them. Baby bereavement is incredibly complex without the need to judge how anyone glues themselves back together.

Siblings Lessons

Being open has played a huge part in our healing process. When you have a baby it is parent’s job to teach that growing baby about life, from walking and talking to colours of the rainbow, everything has to be taught.

For Melody’s younger siblings that is the case, to them Melody is nothing but a fairy tale; a picture in the frame, a name or a letter we include to remember her; headstone that needs to be decorated. The older two siblings however between them they made the decision to not hide Melody from the younger ones, to be open with them, to teach them about the sister they will never meet.

The older out of the two youngest, is 4, she was born 11 months after Melody had died.

She has started mentioning her, when we see garden ornaments or flowers; her sister will say “Aw that would be lovely for Melody.” She is very sweet.

She knows about her, or at least as much as we can explain to her. The painful thing is that her older brother had already learned about baby death at her age now. It wasn’t something we could hide from him.

Questions

Today she started asking questions; right from the very first Halloween after loss, we have always included her, we always decorate her grave; this year we haven’t, we haven’t been up for several weeks now – I know I should; but I just find it hard. The children were doing their pumpkins; we always do one for Melody.

“Did she laugh?”

“Was Melody in your tummy?”

“Did she say Daddy?”

“Did she say your name Mummy?”

I had to stop her there.

“No; because you have the biggest giggles now.” I replied.

I always knew what to say before, but now I am not so sure. These are the same questions but they are new. They are new to them.

Answers

I don’t understand myself why we never got to hear her laugh or hear her say Mummy and Daddy. I am stumped. My older children knew she didn’t laugh, her siblings knew she never spoke a word. We as her parents have slowly come to terms with never hearing her voice.

Now, these new questions, although I guess expected have caught me off guard. I will be as honest as I can be.

How can I say to her that no, your sister born before you never had the chance to say a word, never felt the first belly laugh from deep within. She never got to leave the hospital, despite the odds being in her favour.

I never got her hear her say “Mama.”

We know that we will answer them in a gentle way, that Melody was here for a little time, but she had to go and live in the clouds (where she thinks she is). I know it will pacify her enough for now, and for a little while longer. At least until she’s older, until they’re all older we get the real questions on why she died.

We don’t know, I don’t think we will ever understand.

Little girls sat on a headstone, belonging to their sister.

If you have missed my recent posts here is the last one I shared…

baby loss awareness

Baby Loss – Jordanna’s Story

Our Story

Our story began on October 25th 2016..we had been trying for a baby for 6 months when we found out I was pregnant.. I had all the symptoms up until about 5 weeks when everything eased off and I felt good, I just put it down to every pregnancy being different that I’d lost all my pregnancy symptoms but it turned out that was when our baby stopped growing… it was another 4 weeks before we found out…

The Long Few Weeks

Those weeks were plagued with no sleep I couldn’t settle or relax in my head I knew something wasn’t right. On November the 17th the bleeding started a small amount getting heavier.. I rang 111 in a panic then they referred me to the doctors who gave me a appointment for the early pregnancy unit at Musgrove the next days. The next 24 hours were torture..

Knowing that the outcome wasn’t going to be good but hanging onto to that tiny bit of hope. We arrived at the hospital sat in a waiting room with expectant mum’s all glowing and excited. I knew we had lost the baby. I was took into a room and scanned I was told my baby had stopped growing weeks ago and that it wasn’t growing where it should be. I was asked if I wanted to see I declined if I didn’t look it wouldn’t be real.

Baby Loss

The sonographer handed me a leaflet on miscarriage but I declined as our baby was still there it hadn’t happened yet they might have got it wrong.. we had to return in a week to check that it happened naturally. I broke down leaving the hospital after that I went into shut down it was only months later it hit me like a ton of bricks,crying day in day out; blocking pregnant people and baby’s from my Facebook news feed,crying at other people’s pregnancy announcements; angry that everyone had moved on but you haven’t.

Why is no-one else mourning but I am..a year on I’m still feeling that way but the tears are less and some days are better than others..now we are crossing our fingers for a rainbow baby..it’s the hope of one in the future that keeps us going.

 

Thank you Jordanna, for sharing your story.

melody and me

Charity Awareness – PAIL Awareness

charity towards tomorrow logo

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Week

This week remembers and spreads awareness about the babies and children who have passed away. I have always been open and honest about my grief journey; my thoughts after Melody died. I don’t really need this single week to do so; however it gets people thinking, it gets people talking, it brings the taboo to the forefront of people’s minds. In the hope that one day the taboo will be a distant memory. We have a long way to go.

When we walked out of the hospital after Melody had died; it became apparent form very early on that the support as a whole for bereaved parents really is few and far between; even more so with Melody’s death. Leaflets, awareness, even charities concentrated on a few scenarios; which of course is amazing, the more awareness the more chances women and professionals will be able to reduce the rate of death. But it can leave parents like us feel alone, pushed out and even more isolated.

Charity

From the first few days I took to online support; but knew I wanted to help more; there’s so much more I want to do. I decided that I would like to try and get a group together. It was something I felt was missing. I ended up contacting Mel Scott of Towards Tomorrow Together, a charity who supports families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, babies with poor prognosis in utero and they included us. So essentially all losses, nobody gets excluded.

Little Daffodils was born; although it was originally named Melody’s Voices I came away from a prestigious baby loss event in 2016 – The Butterfly Awards and knew that giving support and making a difference was so much more than doing something in her name, and in her memory. Daffodils are the flowers for us who represent Melody but they give so much colour, but only live for a short time. I really want to make a difference; sometimes it can feel like I am hitting a brick wall; others when people message for support and then say thank you, I know something must be doing.

Towards Tomorrow Together provide Butterfly Boxes to hospitals to help families create memories in the short time after a baby or child has died. Unfortunately it isn’t something we personally received (back to the lack of support), but they do bring comfort to families who have to leave without their beloved children.

Little Daffodils

 

 

Education

Through the death of her own baby, Mel has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, put together educational sessions – I have even spoken at one; and in the midst of putting one together myself, with the help of Mel.

It is difficult to get across to professionals the real thoughts and emotions behind losing a baby; through textbooks there should be a time limit. There isn’t.

This Somerset run charity works a lot from fundraising, this year Little Daffodils as a team has made £1900 with various fundraisers.

There is so much more to do within the baby loss community, especially for infant loss awareness; it will take more than a week out of a year to achieve it, but we do need to keep talking, keep listening most importantly to not let any parents – Mums and Dads feel alone and unsupported. Their – our babies mattered.

She wasn’t “just” a baby. She is ours; she was here for five weeks. She is Melody.

 

Julz.

 

Neonatal Loss Awareness

Neonatal Loss Series – Marisa’s Story

12 Days – That Is All I Got

(By no means am I trying to discredit miscarriages or stillbirths.)

My loss matters too.

My son was not a miscarriage.

My son was not a stillbirth.

My son was a neonatal death.

My son lived for 12 days.

My son died in my arms.

My son should be here.

My son is gone due to medical error. I can’t believe I finally said it and wrote it.

Medical error.

Here is his story. Here is how my son became a statistic for neonatal death.

 

The year – 2010.

The emotions/ feelings – joy, happiness, love.

We were expecting our first child. A boy. A son we named Drake.

We did everything first time parents do; we enjoyed every moment of the pregnancy, we imagined which one of us he would look like, we had baby showers, we painted his room, we decorated his room, we went to every appointment together with our group of doctors, we told the doctors any concerns we had (such as my high pain tolerance and the chance of having fast labor – family history), we looked forward to seeing our son, holding our son, loving our son.

At 38 weeks pregnant that all that changed. At 38 weeks, I went in for my normal weekly appointment. At 38 weeks, we found out our son was in the Frank Breech position. At 38 weeks, I was scheduled for my C-section for 4 days before my due date. At 38 weeks I still trusted my group of doctors.

At 39 weeks, 2 days – I went into labor at home in the early morning hours. We timed my contractions for 20 minutes and upon realizing they were less than 5 minutes apart, we called the doctor’s office and spoke with the nurse who said she would have the doctor call me (the same doctor on-call was the one who was to be doing my C-section in 2 days’ time).

My biggest mistake.

The doctor called, listened to what we said and decided that we should continue to monitor my contractions for another hour. Well as new parents, we listened. The biggest mistake ever because you see – 45 minutes into that hour my water broke and my son’s feet came out. (During this time, we called the nurse to have the doctor call us and we never got a return call until several hours later.)

Naturally once his feet came out, our next call was to 911, by the time they arrived my contractions (with no help from me) had pushed him out to his ribcage. The EMTs decided to try and help us finish delivering him on our bathroom floor – so we got the rest of his chest and his shoulders out. We could not get my son’s head out, so we were loaded on a gurney with his head still inside and taken to the hospital where with the ER doctor we finally got my son’s head out – but by now he was no longer breathing.

One of the EMTs was able to resuscitate him long enough to be placed on a ventilator.

Neonatal Unit

Within a couple of hours, he was transported to another hospital where there was a NICU. I had to stay at the hospital I was at, they finally released me after 15 hours and we made the 45-minute trip to see him.

You know your son is truly hurt when you walk into your son’s NICU room, surrounded by other babies, and the night head nurse tells you:

“Out of all the babies here in the NICU, your son is the worst one.”

Drake spent the next 12 days in that room. I could go on about the tests he had, the meetings with doctors we had, the talks with the nurses, the meeting with a local organ donation company (my husband and I are organ donations and we wanted information in case Drake did not make it).

No matter the tests, the meetings, the discussion – the tears, the anger, the silent screams; the end result would never change.

You see our son was

BRAIN DEAD.

Goodbye

The lack of oxygen he endured while he was stuck inside me caused brain damage, he would never breathe on his own, the doctors gave us 2 options:

  • Allow him to stay on the ventilator and allow his body to deteriorate and die.
  • Pull him off life support and allow him to die in our arms surrounded by love.

My husband and I talked for many hours – we made our decision out of love. Love for our son. We had no idea what pain he may have been experiencing.

We chose to say goodbye, to allow him to go, to relieve him of pain.

At 12 days, 12 hours old, we pulled Drake from life support. He lived another 4 hours before he finally passed away in my arms.

This was 7 years ago and I think about him every day.

 

Thank you to Marisa of Life by the Dreams for sharing Drake’s story.

neonatal

Baby Drake

Capture Your Grief

For The First Time – Capture Your Grief

first time. the letter M

First

Today is the first time I have lived the 7th October 2017. I have never lived this day before. I won’t be trying anything in particularly new today. It is an ordinary day for us. The children are displaying in a carnival and we’re on a constant time watch to be ready to go. Things to get ready, helping to get 30 children ready today. So for me to physically go and try something new today would not happen.

I woke up this morning after a lovely evening out for the first time in what seems like ages, I laughed and felt on top of the world. I went to see a show, I never thought I would ever go and see. It was hilarious. Of an adult content, but it was so funny.

The first time I saw Melody I was strapped to the bed, wires and leads every where, she had been taken out via c-section, there was this giant green screen dividing my head from the working end. The room was hot, it made me feel faint, there were people everywhere, there wasn’t space to move in the room or add any more people. We could tell the operation had begin because the room had fallen silent. I remember begging the midwife stood next to me to tell me that she was alive.

“Is she sleeping? Has she been born sleeping?”

The midwife would take a second, which felt like hours to peer, I knew she was concentrating, but I needed to know. Her heartbeat was on the CTG moments before, but we knew she was fighting.

As I asked one more time, a squeak came. It was loud enough to fill the deafening silence; it was loud enough to be heard to fill my heart with love.

“No she hasn’t been birn sleeping.” The midwife said to us in her really soft voice; the Dr deliviering her confirmed so when she said the Melody had given her a kick as they lifted her out.

For the first time in days I felt relieved that she was born. That she had been born alive; we had no idea on how long we’d keep her, being a micro premature baby; nobody knew how well she would do.

The Doctors brought her to me, I could see her tiny pink face, she really was that tiny. 9inches of her…23cm.

The first time I saw her, I had no idea whether it would be the last time I saw her alive. I had to cherish it; I have had to keep that safe. She wasn’t meant to die.

 

Carly Marie Capture Your Grief

Day Six

Melody and Me.

Capture Your Grief

Belonging – Capture Your Grief 2017

 

Stranded

I never really felt like I belong anywhere; at least not until I met my husband and our family life became as complete as it’ll ever be.

There were friendships in school, but they weren’t always what they seemed; I have always found it particularly hard to make and then keep friends. I am shy;  sometimes people mistake that for rudeness; but I try not to be. With this in mind it has caused low confidence-low self-esteem. I really shouldn’t let this define me, but I do.

When Melody died we were faced with people crossing the street, people telling us they didn’t know what to say; family being unsupportive; it leaves you stranded and alone.

Community

 

Truth be told I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one to have lost a baby, and I began to find other lost souls. Mums and Dads who were broken. They weren’t by my side but they were there, to listen, I could listen we could understand a little of what each of us were going through.

The online community became my safe place, my saviour I guess. It allowed me to be free; it allowed me to speak without judgement, the empty pities and with some understanding of what was going through my mind.

There have been things I have spoken about over these past few years, which I could never say to people outside of this community. I guess it is because just sometimes the things which leave my mouth can be so raw, that to anyone else, I could be seen as being crazy. But I am not.

Belonging

As well as this community, I am grateful to the people who have stuck around every step of the way, and even more so to the people I have met since she died, these people have listened or read about our story, yet they choose to stick around and be my friends. There aren’t many of them, but I value them. If it is yacking on a Friday night, or a trip to the park or shops, I am eternally grateful to them.

 

It is a lifelong thing, she’ll always be my baby; and I guess I will always grieve. But to have the few who remind me to keep going are really worth their weights in gold.

 

Thank you

 

belonging

Capture Your Grief

Capture Your Grief 2017 – Meaningful Mantra

Life

Finding my Mantra. I haven’t been well mentally recently, life has felt quite overwhelming. I end up being in tears, and there hasn’t been a week recently where I have seen it through without a tear or two.

Not because of Melody, but because there have been times where I feel that I am failing everyone around me, making me feel less about myself. I want to achieve so much; I wanted to pay an interest in my children’s activities, so I became a committee member. The need to help people and raise awareness in memory of our daughter to make sure other people felt supported and less alone like we did.

As I fail to take care of myself I end up letting people upset me, in ridiculous ways, ways where I wanted to leave the job I have fallen in love with. Walk away from volunteering with the children’s activities, to the point of crying and not wanting to leave the house.

Why?

Then it takes me to get to this point and question; how can I get upset by these insignificant people, when I have managed to carry on breathing after our daughter died? That is what they are to me they’re insignificant; yet I still let them get to me. I have made mistakes in the past, and I am only human but I deserve to be happy and loved too. I certainly don’t deserve to be hurt the way people think it is acceptable to do so.

 

So, I need to choose to not give up. To take better care of me emotionally, step away from these people, but it is hard. I don’t want to change who I am and become rude or nasty; I swear a lot but I am not a fan of confrontation; but I do need to stop letting them make me feel this way, because let’s face it if they thought twice about how much they upset people they’d not do it. Much more about them than me.

My Meaningful Mantra

So, I guess my Mantra should be to breathe for me. Not to waste any more tears on anyone who doesn’t deserve them. Most definitely DO NOT GIVE UP

 

meaningful Mantra. Keep going

Keep Going.

Melody and Me.

Capture Your Grief

Capture Your Grief 2017 – Rise And Shine Rituals

Rise and Shine Mourning Ritual.

Living with grief. All I ever wanted to do was to live; I wanted to be able to be free to grieve the way I felt comfortable with, to be allowed to talk about this little girl who lived.

I threw myself into needing to help others, I needed to give the support which we lacked, to make sure no one else felt as alone as we did, it was fairly high in my priorities to do this.

But I think my most important ritual was to keep living, to do more things with the children; to allow them to grieve and share their feelings about the death of their sister. As much as my head wanted to stay in bed for days on end, my heart wanted to keep beating to get me out of bed and live for Melody. She had died her heart had stopped beating; I would have to try and find a way of carrying her in mine.

It has been a difficult process; I have never believed she is with me all of the time, or that she is flying around having fun. I watched as they lowered her in to the ground, no amount of fairy tales for me can ever change that. At least it is like that for the children.

 

Grief

I know now five years six months and one day in, that I do need to take care of myself, I do need to work on my grief. I worried too much about how others were feeling, about protecting their feelings; my early mourning was taken away, I watched as friends needed to have help because THEY couldn’t cope with her death, how family were tired of receiving cards and sympathy messages about the loss of OUR daughter.

The person that I am tried to help mend hearts that were broken, I needed to be strong; I always thought if I was strong then the people around me would know that it is okay to now be okay.

I cried, of course I cried, but I apologised for it too; maybe that is the “British Way”. Who knows?

But I do know that the grief I have for Melody is an incredible learning curve; yet no matter what I do, or how I behave there is no right or wrong answer.

This month I will be a little mindful of myself; adopt new rituals which will help me and my little family.

 

Today, my regular ritual is keeping my heart beating; making the best memories I can for my beautiful children.

 

Melody and Me

 

Day One

Capture Your Grief 2017 – Sunrise

Capture Your Grief

 

cyg

Capture Your Grief Project 2017 By Carly Marie

 

Here we are again, with this annual Capture your grief project; once which I first joined back in 2012.

A project which helps bring the taboo of baby loss to the front of people’s minds, how many of us are effected by the loss of a baby or child.

My project is in memory of Melody, but I will also be mentioning my pregnancy losses too.

Sunrise

There isn’t much of a pretty Sunrise where I am today; there rarely ever is. It is grey and miserable looking out there.

The day she was born, back in February 2012 the sun shone, it was a beautiful spring day from what I could see from my bed. From that day onwards the sun remained until not long after her death; once her “celebration” had finished it rained for pretty much days afterwards.

When we spent days in the town in which her hospital was, we’d walk to the shops I would get sun burnt in March, I was wearing vest tops and flip flops. It seemed bizarre that we had this glorious weather so early on in the year.

 

Days

We have had 2009 sunrises without her, 2009 days where we haven’t kissed her warm face, touched her warm skin, given her a cuddle. Seeing it written down as days, it seems such a long time ago; today it is five years and six months since we walked into the hospital and left different people, yet we hadn’t had surgery or an accident. We had watched our daughter die.

Different

 

Nothing was going to be the same again. Though we didn’t expect how different we would be, how different people would be too. Meeting new friends, losing old friends, this tiny five week old baby had changed everything.

 

Capture Your Grief Sunrise

 

Melody and Me

 

Capture Your Grief 2017.

baby loss awareness

The Butterfly Awards, a shortlisting.

For the second year running I have been nominated and shortlisted for a Butterfly Award.

The Butterfly Awards are a prestigious evening to celebrate the work which individuals and groups do to support families of babies and infants who died.

I have been shortlisted in the blogger category.

It is strange to want to try and win such an award, because really it isn’t about winning this item, because my baby died; but for me it is to get her recognised as a person. To get her story told.

Awareness

During our time we hit many things, Hyperemesis, Antenatal Depression, Early Pre-Eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, premature birth, IUGR,  life in the NICU, her death the Sepsis, the protocols in which should have been in place, which weren’t All of these things I can raise awareness for.

So for me it isn’t the award itself, by her name coming to the surface, Neonatal Death and Post Neonatal death getting a mention.  My work as an author and her Mum; I can bring awareness to these things. To help support others going through any of the above and of course the loss of their precious babies.

Please find The Butterfly Awards section on my blog, to take a look at my profile and video.

Thank you

Melody’s Life mattered. She was here; she lived. She just couldn’t stay.

The Butterfly Awards]