Tag Archives: Melody

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.

 

photograph
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.

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 logo

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.

 

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 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.

A Line of school shoes, with an obvious gap.

A Missing Future, An Empty Shoe Box

Back to school

As the whole nation prepares for the return to school, including myself. There remains the large hole of a missing child.

Helping Melody’s little sister get ready for her new adventures in big school; the preparation of shoes, and uniform; making sure book bags and P.E bags are ready.

Missing

When we missed reception in 2016, I thought it would have been one of the last big milestones. But it isn’t, not really. It is never going to be about losing “just” a baby. You lose not only yourself, but a future, dreams. There’s a personality missing, a child whose name will never get called in a register, a child who is never spoke of by another child, or wanting them to come to play. These children who stand in the playground, who sit in the classroom, will never know that there is a girl who should have been there. A girl who should have been friends with them. To them, to their parents she never existed. Our daughter to the class of 2028 will never have existed. In the playground I’ll never be Melody’s Mum.

The Shoe Box

A show box with the letter M in it.

There’s one extra thing we’re having to sort for the first few days of school, a shoe box to fill with memories their favourite things to let their class learn a little bit about them outside of school.

Melody lived in a box, she sleeps in a box, and has two memory boxes full of things to help us remember her.

She doesn’t have a box of her favourite things, of her hobbies. It has nothing inside. No stories to tell of her family members, no adventures to share. Photos of her growing from a tiny baby to a girl entering into year 1 are missing, they will always be…missing. I don’t know her.

 

As if she never existed

I’ll fight to keep her memory alive, continually retelling the one story I have, the short story of her life. It’s all I have but for the children and parents going into year one this week, for the children who become the students of the class of 2028. To the men (or women) she could have met to one day marry. An aisle she once stood at, will never be the aisle she could have chosen as a step towards her future.  To the adults of the future. Melody never existed.

Not just the baby

She is not just the baby we have lost, we lost her whole life. Everything she could have been – gone.

 

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 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.
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…