Tag Archives: grief

baby loss

More Than Statistics

Statistics hit right where it hurts, sometimes facts, numbers figures are heard better than the stories behind them.

But while we concentrate and fascinate ourselves with numbers – maybe even obsess with them. It is forgotten that there are real life people behind them.

For the first couple of years I searched high and low for a statistic of where I would fit in; where our story fitted in; this has led to countless of thoughts of did any of my losses matter?

Five miscarriages, how can I be 1 in 4, when I have watched five positive pregnancy tests return to negative. Heartbeat for my first baby as a young Mum, stop because the sonographer hadn’t turned the monitor around – when just one week before a heartbeat flickered on the screen. In that instant, as I went from a naïve young mum-to-be, I became a number.

Repeatedly told that these things just happen, that it probably wouldn’t happen again, because the numbers tell us so. You’ve had healthy children the odds of baby loss are less now – you know you can do it.

So, when our baby died at five weeks old, after being told she had an 80% chance of survival when she was born rising to 100% when she was given a discharge date. All we heard was numbers, high numbers of odds, of how great these micro premature babies do out of the womb.

Some numbers aren’t as easily recognisable, as others. Not all figures include all losses. The 1 in 4 mostly misses out the babies who live and die.

Our daughter isn’t a number, I don’t trust the statistics. Babies, the children the lives which are cut short are more than numbers and odds which are for or against their tiny lives.

1 in 4 seems like an avoidable number, accept when it is not, accept when miscarriages go unreported, because they were too soon to be registered for booking. My last miscarriage in early 2018 was merely down to one of those things – “go home and rest, your body has done this before”.”you didn’t want another baby anyway.” (I was sterilised four years ago)

Statistics are important but lets not forget the names behind the numbers.

I am not 1 in 4, I am not a number. Our daughter is more than a statistic. She is a person who died. Please remember that.

baby loss

On This Day

I’ve reached the stage of heavy, few days to go until her birthday.
I re-enter the days as if it were yesterday.
I know many people will wonder why I still struggle all these years on, or why I still speak about her, about where we’ve come from.
About her.
Because I love her.
Because she is my daughter. She may not have been here for long but she was ours. It is hard to miss someone, who we barely got to know. But I do miss her. Of course I miss who she would have become.

I cannot imagine never being able to speak about any of my children, their school day, their activities, their loves, their hates…..so to not speak about Melody, for me is just not an option. I don’t talk about her as often as I did in the beginning, more because I worry about everyone else. But because there are still times where it hurts like hell. I’m in a place where I can enjoy life, but this of course doesn’t mean I am over her, or time has healed me…I’ve just learned to live with what has been dealt to me.

I love social media, I love the “On This Day” Function, reminds me of so many wonderful things we have done as a family. But then it hits me with memories of our girl.

Today for instance..

Another trip to the ward for monitoring, I was hoping I would be in and out in no time! I’d been advised that I would need to allow half a day for the appointment, however when I arrived the HCA said that it wouldn’t take that long and would only be more like an hour. So I text mother who had given me a lift to say I wouldn’t be long and could she turn back round.
I sat waited while my BP, urine and bloods were done. When a doctor came and stood in front of me to tell me there would be a possibility of delivery in two weeks!!!
TWO WEEKS????? WHAT THE HELL!!
A lovely midwife walks in where I burst into tears, she pulls the curtains around to explain that I would need two steroid injections 24 hours apart to help mature baby girl’s lungs for early delivery. Even the lovely midwife began to cry…bless her…..
 
(Excerpt from Mayflower’s Rainbow)
 
With a Social Media update…
One steroid jab down another to go, relieved it was in one’s leg and not me arse! Though have a dead leg now! Fingers Crossed they’ll work nicely! X
 
Comments showed how scared we were. We were desperate for those two weeks, we wanted longer.
But there was no way I was leaving that hospital…
I am scared I am going to forget her.
The “bad” days are now very few and far between. I speak about her not as often as I did.
I am scared that the memory of her is so distant, I wonder at times, whether she did happen. Whether she did exist?
For me to speak about her, helps me to feel less scared, that one day I’ll wake up and won’t remember her whole life.
 
 
little daffodils

Together For Yellow – Molly and Grace

Molly and Grace’s Stories.
Massive Perivillous Fibrinoid Deposition (MPFD).

We found out we were pregnant with Molly in mid-December 2010. We were delighted but couldn’t help worry as we had miscarried just 2 months earlier. A scan at 6 weeks showed a little bean, with a flickering heartbeat. We were in love! I spent the next few weeks mostly being sick.
The ‘morning’ sickness continued morning, noon and night. At 16 weeks I had a small bleed. A trip to the maternity unit showed I had a cervical erosion which we were told was nothing to worry about.

We also had the chance to hear baby’s heartbeat through the doppler. In the next few weeks, I started feeling movement. Just before 20 weeks, I had another bleed. Again a trip to the hospital confirmed the erosion was the cause of the bleeding and we had another opportunity to hear the heartbeat.
At 21 weeks, we headed to the hospital for our routine scan. We were shown into the usual room but this time the sonographer did not turn the screen round. All was quiet and I knew something was wrong. She took my hand and said ‘I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat’. I will never forget that
moment. She went to get someone to come and confirm that our baby had died. The next couple of days are a blur. I was given tablets to take and told to come back in 2 days to be induced.
We arrived back at the hospital a couple of days later and were given a side room in the labour ward.
All around us we could hear the cries of healthy newborns. I was given medication to induce labour and the contractions started soon after. That whole day is a blur to me.
Molly was born at 21 weeks on 14th April 2011 at 9:04pm after 11 hours of labour. I didn’t look straight away. The midwife took her away and brought her back to us all clean and wrapped up. I was scared to hold her, scared to touch her. But she was perfection in miniature and so beautiful.


We held her and spoke to her. I was scared to unwrap her and look at her properly. We spent a few hours with her then the midwife took her away. I was in complete shock. I don’t think I would have survived had it not been for my husband. Leaving the hospital the next day, without Molly, was one
of the hardest and most horrendous things I have ever done. Walking away that day was the worst part of the whole experience. We buried our beautiful girl 2 weeks later on a warm, sunny morning.
I have regrets…
…that I didn’t look at her feet, that I didn’t hold her for long enough… I just didn’t know what we were allowed to do and I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask. I look at her footprints and I wish I had looked at her tiny, perfect feet.
July brought results of the tests carried out on my placenta. Molly had been perfect, my body let her down. Placental results showed that she had died due to a very rare condition called Massive Perivillous Fibrinoid Deposition (MPFD). This basically meant that fibroids and clots had formed on
the placenta, gradually taking over until it was no longer fit for purpose and unable to support a growing baby. Consultants put in place a plan for the future: daily aspirin tablets and daily self-administered heparin injections. It was hoped that this combination would stop clots forming and
keep the blood moving through the cord.


We went on to have another early miscarriage at the end of July 2011 and then a pregnancy test on New Year’s Eve confirmed that we were pregnant for the fourth time and, with a treatment plan in place, we were hoping that finally this pregnancy would give us our take home baby. At night, I was
taking my aspirin, folic acid and vitamin D. Also I began injecting the heparin. After a small bleed, we were scanned at 10 weeks for reassurance and all was well. The 12 week scan came around quickly and we were relieved to see our baby waving at us and measuring perfectly for dates.


We were delighted but still very apprehensive. Our next scan was booked in for 15 weeks. At this point, the baby was measuring slightly behind but the sonographer wasn’t worried and said it was normal to be out by a couple of days. We went round to see the consultant to make sure all was
going well with the medication. He offered extra scans for reassurance and we went 2 days later for the first of those scans. A registrar scanned us on a very old machine. She was concerned about the fluid level but, after looking at our scan photos from the hospital she said they were the same and
not to worry about it if the hospital hadn’t mentioned it.
A few days later, I had a major bleed. We went to the hospital. A doppler let us hear a nice strong heartbeat and put my mind at rest a bit. A scan was also arranged for the coming Wednesday when I would be 16 weeks. This was when our world started to crumble all over again.
The scan on Wednesday showed that there was no amniotic fluid and the blood flow through the cord (EDF) was absent. We were devastated and could not believe that it was happening all over again. The doctors advised us that our baby would die within days and that they would scan us
weekly until the inevitable happened. We met with our consultant the following day. He thought it was the same thing again and told us that this was the first time the hospital had dealt with anyone with MPFD. In fact, they hadn’t heard of it before and the treatment we were on had been their best guess.
The 17 week scan showed baby still had a strong heartbeat although growth had majorly slowed down. However, some small pockets of fluid had appeared and EDF was present. This gave us a tiny sliver of hope and the doctors doubled the amount of clexane I was taking. I also began taking
steroids to see if it would help halt the damage to the placenta. It looked like the condition which had taken Molly from us had returned with a vengeance.
By 18 weeks, my bump was popping out and growing well, I was still being sick. The scan showed
our little star was continuing to fight hard. At 20 weeks our little one was still fighting. EDF was present but growth was minimal. We spent the weekend on the coast, remembering Molly on her first birthday and anniversary. We had such a horrendous sense of déjà vu as it was all happening at the same time of year again.
At 21 weeks the heartbeat was still there but the EDF was now absent again. I was advised to stop all the medication.
I woke up a few days later on the 2nd of May and knew our little one was gone. I had movement the night before but I knew when I woke up that something was wrong. A scan later that morning confirmed our little one had died. I was booked in for induction 2 days later.

4th May 2012, 22 weeks pregnant: after 6 hours of labour, Grace came silently into the world at 3:15pm in the same room where Molly had been born. She weighed exactly the same as Molly, perfection in miniature. She looked so serious and deep in thought. She would have been our little
thinker. I wasn’t so scared this time. I held her. I looked at every part of her, including her tiny feet. I didn’t want the same regrets as I had the last time. We cuddled her for hours. The next day, we said our goodbyes. It took us a long time to walk away. Once again, I found this the hardest thing to do. There is nothing worse than walking away and leaving your child behind. It is the most horrendous thing I have ever experienced.


Tests on the placenta confirmed that, like Molly, the placenta was again attacked due to the condition Massive Perivillous Fibrinoid Deposition. They were still not 100% certain of what causes the MPFD to happen, possibly an alloimmune response, possibly an as-yet undiagnosed
thrombophilia issue. They did not commit to either school of thought. What they did say was that the condition was aggressive and recurrent and they were struggling to find anyone else with as severe a condition. We were a unique oddity.

So… they agreed to the treatment plan we had researched that had been successful for people with a similar condition as long as we went into it with eyes open and accept that we were now sailing in unchartered waters with no guarantees. The treatment would include aspirin, high dose folic acid, heparin, steroids and Intralipids.

I became pregnant for the 5th time in Autumn 2012. All was going well. Various early scans had shown a little bean, with a heartbeat, developing well. A scan at 11 weeks showed the heartbeat had stopped. This had been so completely unexpected and I felt completely numb. If anything, I expected the bad news to come as we approached 20 weeks and beyond. I had been taking all my myriad of medications, focusing on getting to that point and then taking it from there. I had injected myself with heparin over 100 times. I had taken over 200 steroid tablets as well as the daily aspirin tablets. I had two intralipid infusions. Folic acid tablets, vitamin D tablets, pregnancy multi-vitamins. All to no avail.
Placental tests came back to show that MPFD had returned with a vengeance despite the extensive treatment plan. Even if the pregnancy had continued beyond 11 weeks, the placenta would never have lasted. We were told that I would highly likely never carry a living child to term and we should start to look into other ways of having a family.


Following our 5th loss, our consultant mentioned surrogacy to us. He felt it would be a good idea for us as our babies were perfectly healthy, it was just my body that was the issue. My sister offered to be our surrogate and kept offering until we decided we would give it a go. We used our own embryos
and my sister was the oven! We became parents to a healthy baby girl in Spring 2014 and we feel so blessed.

MPFD did not make an appearance at all. Surrogacy was such a positive experience for us.
My sister was amazing – she would phone us to come up when baby was moving around so that we could feel her moving. We did worry about how she would feel when baby arrived but the fact that the baby was biologically ours and not hers made that easier for her. We there in theatre when our little one arrived by c-section at 37 weeks. We all cried. My sister felt it was such a different experience to having her own. She said she loved her immediately but didn’t feel the rush of intense love she had experienced when her own daughter had been born. I think this was a relief for us both as we had both been worrying about it. Cara knows she grew in her auntie’s tummy because mine didn’t work. It’s just the way it is. What a fab auntie she has!
So MPFD is a condition I still research and blog about. It is so rare, it is important to me that others find some support. When I initially googled it, all that appeared was a bunch of medical papers that made no sense to me. I want others to be able to find a human face to this and also so have instant
access to research and treatment plans which I have collated along with another mum who has the same condition. I also volunteer with SANDS Lothians – a fantastic charity who were a light for us during very dark times.
Despite everything, we are blessed. Every day our little girl brings us such joy – we are so lucky to have her.


MPFD

You can read more about Massive Perivillous Fibrinoid Deposition here if you are interested:


http://lossthroughthelookingglass.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/clara-massive-perivillous-fibrinoid.html

Turn Yellow For Little Daffodils Week

little daffodils

 

Little Daffodils is a pregnancy and infant loss service, which provides group and online support, as well as face to face to anyone who finds a group environment difficult. We also supply sibling memory boxes and offer a stay and play session for children who have lost a sibling, so parents can gain support with those who understand.

Little Daffodils Awareness

This year we have decided to give Little Daffodils a much-needed boost, with various fundraising events to help extend the services which we provide. With this in mind, we are launching a week-long campaign to raise much-needed awareness for our fantastic network, by introducing a “Turn yellow for Little Daffodils” week.

This will run from the 19th February to 26th February, with a wave of light on the 26th.

We will be raising awareness of all losses, including various stories of loss and hope; sharing their precious babies.

We will share the services we provide; as well as information to help prevent women from the heartahe of losing their beloved baby. Plus signpost information about what happens when your baby dies, and what there is to offer. Small things, which can hopefully make a huge difference.

We would love to include your story; whether it is one of your babies who couldn’t stay, or how you come to meet the baby after. Sometimes the greatest power is knowledge; knowing about the conditions which take them from us can empower us to ask more questions.

This will be shared across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

You can find pictures here, should you wish to turn yellow in suport of our first campaign.

I hope you can join us. Stronger together.

#togetherforyellow

#littledaffodilsawareness

baby loss, grief

Burning Out and Healing

I’m not entirely sure where I am heading with this; so please bear with me. I am fully aware that to some this is probably not a problem and that people are going through worse things right now. But I am struggling.

Burnt Out, tired, heavy-hearted – nothing is ever the same.

Christmas 2018, the turning point for me. I love Christmas, even the first year as being a bereaved mother I still wanted to soak up the magic, savour every beautiful moment. But this last Christmas, I was there but felt nowhere near there. It was the first Christmas for many, many years that we had social plans I was able to spoil the children a little; to anyone looking in – to me, it looked perfect.

But I also felt numb, I don’t even know why; I began to feel heavier and heavier until I guess I had lost all feeling and was just going through the motions.

After the new year, days into the new year resolutions are thought of; plans being put together for another wonderful year of memories. One thing on my list is to be happy. Then I was hit, hit with the sadness stick, that sadness stick I get every bloody year as January hits because February is her birthday, the countdown begins. It was this that made me tearful, as I do every January, grumpy as I do every January “another year without her.”

Days into the new year I find myself telling my husband, the father of our dead daughter, that I no longer want HER in my life. I don’t want or care for being a “bereaved” mother. It’s shit, it more than sucks – sucks every bit of life out of me. A life sentence, I guess. (If you question the need for that sentence, you may not fully understand this post).

I am more than a bereaved mother – I am a Mother, a wife, a friend, a student and employee.

What kind of mother doesn’t want their daughter in their life anymore?

It’s the constant battle of guilt, love, and pain. Trying relentlessly to keep her memory alive, but who for? Sometimes it feels like nobody is listening anymore.

Fundraising right from her death, now a support group, which the group is a wonderful achievement, but sometimes – just sometimes I wish I didn’t do it alone or feel I must try and compete. It wasn’t what it was meant to be about.

And I am just causing myself pain.

I’ve never been in a coma; nor do I know much about them. But watching an episode of a TV show of a guy who had been in a coma for 16 years, to wake up and his family had moved on, nothing is the same.

Since I spoke to my husband and a friend who understands; it is like I have awoken. I don’t have this crazy amount of energy, but it feels like I have been asleep for nearly seven years and woken to change, family changes; different friends, old friends are gone, making new friends. Kids which have grown, but I feel like I have missed so much. Everything seems unfamiliar, not knowing entirely who I am.

We never asked for any of this. I never wanted her out of my life, my own child. But she is, the painful thing, the painful truth is that no matter what I do – there is NOTHING I can do to bring her back or stop being her mum. I need to live, not survive – I’m not a victim. I need a life.

Now I must rebuild and heal.

Relationships have I understand broken, moved on. But that also means I need to stop questioning people’s choices, stop blaming myself for every little mistake when relationships break down.

I need people to know that I really am not a bitch, that I am working on rebuilding the person I was before – okay maybe that is optimistic, as I can’t fully remember our life before; but I was a newlywed. I married my soulmate, I am so lucky that he is the ONE person to not walk away or expected anything other than love from me.

Most importantly it is bringing the fun back to motherhood, I always wanted to be a mother. That is what I am.

I am a Mum first. Melody is just a part of my story; I miss her – but I miss living that little bit more. (Don’t judge me). I’m afraid of being miserable for the rest of my life.

I will always love her because she will always be my daughter, she will always have a birthday and an anniversary. I will still say her name.

But I have to LIVE the weeks before those dates, and not simply exist.

 

I know I have pissed people off and hurt others, I am not the person I was; I probably never will be. I am sorry for that. I am trying.

As they say, you can’t sip from an empty cup.

Just be patient with me, I don’t expect it to be easy, sit with me in the dark, while I find the light. Because this past year I have laughed and lived so much, that I know there is so much more to me than pure darkness.

That is all I ever wanted, love, laughter, and happiness.

 

guest post

Guest Post Submissions

Once again I am opening up a corner here for October Guest  Post Submissions. I am running a series of posts throughout October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

Last year I opened it just for Neo and post-neonatal deaths.

This year I would like to open it up to anyone who has lost an infant; included during and shortly after birth. You may not want to specifically share your baby, your story but maybe raising awareness of how you come to lose your little one. I, for one never knew babies could die of sepsis even before leaving the hospital; I had always thought it was an infection you pick up going about your daily business.

Maybe you have a letter to your little one or something you want to say to the world.

I would like to run a mini-series to run alongside to include grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings of children lost. Looking at a different perspective of losing such a young relative; or watching your family member go through such pain and maybe feeling helpless.

 

Special Information

  • Submissions are open from 14th August 2018 – 14th September 2018.
  • Posts should be a minimum of 300 words
  • You can add a photo if you wish
  • All gestations welcome
  • All ages welcome
  • I will link back to any blog if requested.
  • I will share on my social media outlets
  • If you wish to stay anonymous then please let me know.
  • I will schedule the posts from October 1st

Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Siblings, Aunts/Uncles who have lost a child, grandchild, brother/sister, niece/nephew.

Having an understanding of such a complex type of grief can be so difficult, leading to feelings of loneliness.

For one month, I am aiming to bring not only awareness of baby loss in general, but to bring people together in their grief. It is incredibly hard to understand something when you’ve not been through it.

 

If you would like to add something then please email me

melodyandme35@gmail.com

We’re in this together.

little daffodils pregnancy and infant loss support service

Little Daffodils – In Memory

Little Daffodils
When we first lost our daughter, there was virtually nothing to support us. Cruse came out and were brilliant – but only for me.
Other places, we found had set policies and how people are supported. Which meant that her age put a barrier, too old, too young or didn’t die the “right way”.
It made us all the more isolated, which is the opposite of how we should have been treated.

Setting up little daffodils was my way of trying to bring awareness that all losses needed to be supported in the way they deserve.

Now it is the last thing I have to do with Melody. The last thing I can do to change things in her memory. I’ve thought many times of giving up, doing this sort of thing alone is bloody hard work

The thing I find incredibly difficult is that I have to fight to get melody recognised, she’s official in the eyes of the law; birth and death certificates, but when it comes to baby loss awareness Post-Neonatal gets lost. It feels like a fight to get little-daffodils out there. It wasn’t meant to be this hard. That said, I can’t just give up little-daffodils, it is literally the only thing I have left to remind me that she existed. It is the only thing that I HAVE to do.

The blog I can take a break from whenever I want to, but the group is something I need to keep going to. It is incredibly painful when her type of death doesn’t get mentioned, over and over I have to wonder about her being as important as all the other babies who die. She mattered too. It’s the last thing I can do for her.

I started this in 2015 to make sure she and other babies are recognised and their families get the support we never did. I can’t turn my back on that, I can’t let her fade away if I stop little daffodils I think that is what will happen. Because I fear I may just forget. That is not what I want. In her memory, I wanted to raise awareness, and change the way families are treated. Nobody should ever be left in the dark…

ALL BABIES MATTER.

baby loss, grief

End of the school year

The further away from the initial death you go, the less milestones you think you will come across. But truth be told, I think there will always be something which will connect your baby and the things they should have been doing. September 2016 should have been the year she started school, out of all the milestones to reach; I had assumed that would have been the last one – at least until secondary school starts. But there will always be something.

Sports Day

These next few weeks up and down the country (UK), parents are heading out to watch sports days, or eagerly waiting for the day to finish learning how the day went. The children from Reception classes excitedly taking to the field; looking out for their Mummies and Daddies, in the hope to catch a wave.  Fresh yellow P.E kits, tiny bean bags and hoops are spread around the area, ready for the games to begin, lines painted perfectly ready for the young runners to begin their races.
Children’s names being called around the field, cheers echoing across as their child nears the finishing line, louder squeals for the ones who come first, encouraging voices for the ones who come last.
It dawns on me, that some of these children are at the age of which Melody should have been, the friends she could have made, the Sports Day she was meant to be at.
Another ‘first’ that she has not done; another event from which she is missing.
Another day where life just goes on, a day for quiet reflection, thoughts to how she would have been during the day.
Would she have been sporty? Which part would she have enjoyed? She was feisty during her time she was with us; would that have led her to be a determined winner in the field?
Would she have struggled with the courses?
Would she have been embarrassed by her parents calling her name?
Or would she have loved the attention?

Another missed photo opportunity, as she would have returned to her class room all wet from sweat, hair falling out of her hair band, happy to have finished or happy to have competed.

I never thought it would be such a big deal.

 

School Report

As the school year draws to a close, parents evenings are to be had, school plays performed, end of term parties, new teachers to be met, school work brought home, reports to read.

I have kept all of their reports and as many of their pictures as I have space for, there have been a lot over the years. No use to anyone but sentimental, in the hope that one day when they get to adulthood, they can giggle over the work they produced during their childhood, you know the pictures of their parents with huge heads and stick men bodies.

This has been another thing that has dawned on me. A missing school report; a document to prove that she would have been at school this year, a story of who she would have been at school. Information about what subjects she may have been good at, or ones that maybe she’d not really enjoyed. To know how much the prematurity would have affected her. As with all very premature babies there’s a risk of slow development, at least slower than their peers, but she never did follow any text book.

All the reports and meetings with professionals; a bit like parents evenings I guess but in the NICU were all great; she was doing above and beyond expectations. I’ll always wonder, or at least this time of year, whether her school reports would have followed suit.

“Melody is a lovely addition to the class; a little headstrong.”

As I wrote about my living children in their fantastic reports and end of term plans, I realise the only new photos of her I can share are of a headstone with new flowers; with the words.

Nothing to report.

Lost celebratory words.
No acknowledgement of a girl who should have been here.
Of a girl who should have almost completed her year in Primary School.

 

Absent – Unauthorised. 
tommys together for change

Coping And Sharing

I think we all cope differently, we can empathise with each other’s stories but the way react can be completely different to the next person. I think that is why child loss is so difficult to understand.

 

When Did You Tell People?

Death was no longer in our daughter’s plan, we had been given a discharge date to go home – we were given hope. So, the morning of her death when we phoned over to them, as we did every day we were told to make our way over to the hospital as she wasn’t feeling very well; we assumed they were considering transferring her to a bigger hospital. We never expected what we walked into that morning.

I used Facebook a lot throughout her pregnancy, I was poorly they helped, so we placed a status asking for positive vibes as they were putting her back on a ventilator. When she died at 9:30 we came outside to inform our close friends and family, but were still receiving get well soon messages; so by 11:30 we decided to announce our daughter’s death on Facebook – basically hit and run just to stop the positive messages coming through.

 

How To Deal With The Return To Work?

I chose not to. I chose to completely walk away from the profession that I had done since I had left school. I couldn’t face doing that job any more, I knew this quite early on; I loved the profession but I was done.

Unfortunately employers aren’t always very sympathetic when it comes to needing time to grieve the loss of a baby, especially if you’re outside of the maternity timescales (either too soon or too late); even more so for Fathers.

Ideally having good communication is a must with management, to ensure that you aren’t rushed back to work or that you lose wages, being in debt can be the final straw when something so devastating happens. Going back too soon could have an effect on your mental health and being able to concentrate on your job role. But also leaving it too late can have the same effect, through avoidance. It is trying to find the right balance, or like me it could be the step to make a big change, for me was to change my career.

 

How To Talk To Family And Friends After Loss

As hard as it is, try to lead them through it. Let them know how much or how little you want to talk. Showing them that crying is okay; that you’re not sick that you are grieving. And at the same time, if you don’t talk or want to show emotion that is perfectly okay too. The people close to you often fear of making your pain worse by mentioning your loss, but often by not mentioning can hurt just as much.

Friends and family can both find it incredibly difficult, and often leave you feeling alone. This often ends up being a secondary loss and can be just as difficult to deal with as the actual loss of a loved one; leaving you questioning whether you’ve done something wrong.

But finding that right support network, will come to mean everything to you, it’ll be something you’ll not forget.

 

What Part Did Social Media Play?

As mentioned before, we announced her death via Facebook. But afterwards the online support for me became invaluable. There is no way I would have gotten to where I am today without them. Finding the right support has been unbelievably difficult because of our situation not fitting the right criteria for the right support. So, turning to online forums (one being a pregnancy and parenting forum) was for me the next best thing. I could avoid people’s avoidances in the street, I made friends.

But at the same time, as much as the online network played a massive part in the healing process, it can make you feel incredibly lonely in your own home community that can slow things down.

 

How Do You Cope With Announcements From Friends And Family Who Are Expecting?

In the very early days, I shut myself away, hiding any pregnancy announcements and updates that I came across, it often felt painful. There were days where I found people expecting girls harder, often boys going home was equally as difficult, as we had been told that because she was a girl, she had a better chance.

Over the years the announcements have gotten easier, but I always have the (silent) niggling worries for all the negative reasons. What I do find more difficult are those who are eager to bring their pregnancies to an end; wishing for earlier babies, trying hard to bring labour on before they’re ready. Even babies who are born when they are ready can be born poorly, and need time in special care. Even after losing Melody, as quick as a few weeks later, I remember people wanting their babies before their time – for me that hurt, as although she was very early, it means her story isn’t teaching enough.

My eldest daughter was born just a few weeks early and needed to go into special care, my son born 5 days early, just about got away with going in.

 

What Advice Would You Give To Someone Who Is Finding It Difficult To Cope And Share Others News?

Find someone to talk to, even if it online. Write your feelings down, get them out that way. You are allowed to feel anger and sadness, but you are also allowed to be happy too. It doesn’t mean you are over your loss, or people see you think you’re all okay not. That balance can be found.

Definitely take one day at a time, there is no rush and it isn’t a race.

baby loss

Planning Music For A Baby’s Funeral

Music can be such an important part of life. We have a soundtrack of our childhood; remembering the moments we had with friends or the memories of songs when big things like our exams happened.

When we fall in love we have a song to remind us of our love, the songs which become the soundtrack to our weddings. Music has a way of bringing every emotion, just by sound.

I used to love rock music – I still do, but it was my go to genre of music. Marilyn Manson was one of them. In 2011 we were picking songs for our wedding, and then again for our blessing a few months later.

A year later we were deciding songs for a funeral. We decided almost straight away that we didn’t want her to have hymns; although I do wish I had sung her at least one lullaby. We felt that hymns were for older people.

Songs for her funeral

We took a little time to think and to decide; we didn’t really know what would be right, but we also knew that planning a baby’s funeral wasn’t right either. We just went with how we felt as her parents.

Amazing Grace via Bag Pipes (sadly not real ones)

My Love by Sia

Every Breath You Take – By Sting and the Police

Each were perfect for her.

 

Music Changed for Me

I still enjoy rock music, but I have opened myself up to a whole world of different genres. I deleted a lot of my Marilyn Manson collection. I won’t go into details but if you know his music, you will probably understand why.

Other songs I began to hate, while other songs reminded me of the split life – the before and the after. Like Paramore Decode; it reminded me of such an innocent time in our life. Before everything changed.

 

Songs Which Remind Me of Her

Coldplay – Yellow. ‘Her’ colour is yellow, being a spring baby and the yellow flowers.

Bruno Mars – It Will Rain. We had amazing weather during the time she was alive, glorious sunshine in March. But the afternoon of her wake it began to rain and it didn’t stop, making it one of the wettest summers on record!

Joshua Radin – Winter. This song was on a television show I was watching when I was pregnant, of course it was winter we had snow that year too.

The Wanted – Gold Forever. Back to the colour, but the lyrics too.

Ed Sheeran – Photograph.

Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill

Kate Havnevik – Grace

Ben Cocks – So Cold

Aron Wright – In the Sun

KT Tunstall – The Universe and U

Avril Lavigne – Slipped Away

Pink Floyd – Wish you were here.

 

 

 

Discovering Different Music.

Since her death, I have discovered the most amazing pieces of music. Some to bring the first smiles whilst some sends shivers through your whole body.

Lissie – Everywhere I go

Sia – Rainbow (Not because of rainbows after a storm, but community)

Adaline – Say Goodbye

Ingrid Michaelson – Without You

Anna Nalick – Breathe

One Two – Without You

Great Big World – Say Something

Ed Sheeran – Small Bump

Sia – Angel by the wings

P!nk – Beam Me Up

Nick Cave – O’ Children

Sara Jackson Holman – Freight Train

 

Finding any joy in music isn’t easy, because it has such an impact on our lives, some songs which are loved and reminded of wonderful memories can never be heard again.

Planning music for a baby’s funeral is not right. But it is one of the few things we have left to do for them.