Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, Baby loss awareness week, Blaw2018, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss

Dear Jason

Jason Phillips 💙

You are in my thoughts every hour of every day. I wish I remembered what it felt like holding you, I wish I remembered what you smelt like. I wish I knew what colour eyes you had or whether you had any birth marks. I wish I had taken more pictures, I wish I had one of us. I wish I had dressed you in one of those outfits I spent hours deciding on but would have been far too big for your tiny 3lbs 6ozs body. I wish I had a cast of your hands and toes to hold when I miss you a little too much. I wish you got to meet your little sister and I was able to have pictures of you both together, of our family complete. We will never be complete with you gone. I wish she knew her big brother is the best big brother ever.

 

Most of all I wish I didnt know about baby loss awareness week or that babies die even though everything seems fine because that would mean you were still here.

I would give my own life in a heartbeat so that you could live yours.

Posted in A Life Without Down Syndrome, baby loss, baby loss awareness, Baby loss awareness week, Blaw2018, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, Pregnancy, pregnancy after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss, stillbirth, telford, Wave of light, Waveoflight

BLAW 2018

Wow what a whirlwind week of emotions it has been. It has been amazing to see so many people raising awareness as much as they possibly can, especially when some of those people are ones who have supported me and welcomed me talking about Jason.

This week there has been so much discussion around baby loss, in parliment, social media, radio and on TV and it has been a long time coming! There is still so much taboo around baby loss however I do still feel like most of the conversation has been around stillbirth and miscarraige and once again neonatal loss is widely overlooked. Jason lived, he was not stillborn and there is still so many unanswered questions about how babies suddenly die after being born alive that isnt researched and I feel strongly that the baby loss community can be very split in terms of how babies die.

Ive not felt like I can join in with this year blaw as much as I would have liked, ive been amazingly busy with work and life in general which has meant my mental health has taken quite a hit; which has meant grief has come along for the ride and I have found myself feeling much lower than usual. As a result I have had to take a step back and think about what is important for me and my family at this time and knowing I am going through another wave of guilt and grief is enough without trying to support everyone else too.

Tonight is #waveoflight and I have lit my candle for Jason, my tiny little twinny bean and all the other babies who sadly are no longer with us.

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Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, Uncategorized

My Journey To Elsie with an Incompetent Cervix

I am so incredibly honoured to share a post written by a wonderful Mummy to her two children. Lauren is one of the Mummy’s I found over on IG who unfortunately is part of our baby loss community. Lauren reached out to me as she felt that sharing her story may help others who might find themselves in the same situation she did.

October is Elsie’s month and to start off her celebrations here is her story ❤

Elsie was born sleeping at 23 weeks. I was told the reason for her being born early was because I have “an incompetent cervix.” And that’s exactly how I felt “incompetent.” My body couldnt even keep my own child safe. Elsie was growing perfectly she had beautiful blonde hairs and even though she weighed just over a pound she was fully formed.

Incompetent cervix means that your cervix has started to efface and dilate too soon. This can cause you to give birth too early, typically between 16 and 24 weeks.

Where did that diagnosis leave me? Feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt that she was growing perfectly but it was my body that had let her down, my body that had pushed her out when she wasn’t ready, my body was the reason she wasn’t here and it was the reason I was watching Karl, my partner and best friend fall apart.

I became pregnant with Elsie in May 2015, my pregnancy was straight forward except for hypermeresis gravidrum an extreme form of sickness. At 23 weeks and 4 days on the 29th October 2015 I had just had dinner and settled down to watch tv. I started having period like cramps, within an hour I was on my hands and knees in agony. We rang the maternity ward and they said to come straight down. I managed to get into the back of karls car to lay down and that’s when I knew she was on her way as i felt the over whelming urge to push. I knew it was 3 days too soon to try and save her, I knew that was it.
We were seen straight away at the maternity assessment ward, at first the consultant told us I wasnt in labour, Karl and I looked at each in complete relief. Seconds later she examined me for the second time and she said the words which replay in my mind ever since ” I’m so sorry shes on her way, and she’s 3 days too soon for us to try and save her, we will let the delivery bereavement suite know we are coming.” I couldn’t believe I was being told I had to give birth to my daughter who I could still feel moving and kicking safe inside me, but I knew she would die during labour or soon after.

Elsies labour was 27 hours from that point so i had alot of time to think of the outcome, and guilt was a strong factor throughout. When the time came to push, how could i? How could i push my daughter out knowing when i did it would mean she would take her last breath and my world would end?
The guilt when Elsie was born went through every part of my body. I pushed and screamed and screamed for someone to take her away as I felt I didn’t deserve to hold her, I didnt deserve to be called her Mummy, I couldn’t bare to look at her knowing she would never grow up because of me. I felt like it was all was my fault. After a while I decided it was time to see her, and at that minute I knew i would go through the last 27 hours of torture to see her again. My beautiful little girl, dressed in a lilac knitted dress, a colour that would always remain as hers. For two days we got to hold her, read to her, tell her all about her family and our friends and that we loved her very much.

I struggled for a long time blaming myself, I researched incompetent cervix again and again trying to find something that could have pre warned me or find something that meant I could blame this on. I had so much anger inside.

Planning a funeral brought more feelings of guilt. Planning a funeral for my little girl was something I never imagined I would ever have to do. All the little worries you’ve ever had in your life seem so irrelevant when your handed over the ” children and baby coffin guide” when just the week before you were picking out your push chair. The day we went to the funeral home to say our final goodbyes was the the day when I cried like I have never cried before, a sound I didn’t even know your body could produce, a sound that actually scared me. It’s as if your entire body and soul have been utterly broken, shattered and you can’t see any way that this heartbreak can ever feel better. Your completly stripped of everything you once were and everything you have ever known. Your facing a reality that is most peoples worse nightmare. I remember begging for someone to take me with her, what was life now if I didnt have her with me? For the weeks and months after life became so hard. Both myself and Karl couldn’t listen to the radio in the car, couldn’t watch TV, how can life go on when this has happened? How can I listen to happy music? We had to sleep with a lamp on as the darkness reminded us that out little girl was buried in complete darkness. Was she scared? Every feeling and thought we had was so raw and hurt like hell.

After a while we attended counselling together at a centre which specialises in parents losing babies/children at any gestation or age. We worked through how we both felt and slowly I began to realise this wasnt my fault, it was my body but I couldn’t have ever predicated this would happen and I couldn’t have done anything to stop it. It all happened so fast.

We now have Elsies brother with us, who to us is a miracle from his sister. The feelings of guilt have slowly come back this year whilst I’ve watched Finley grow up, watching all the things he can do that Elsie never can. Watching Finley watch other siblings play together at the park, knowing he has no idea his sister should be there beside him holding his hand.

We try and think that Elsies purpose of life was to bring her little brother safely into the world, we speak about her because we love her just as much as we love Finley.

With Finley I had a cervical stitch placed at 15 weeks and removed at 36 weeks. It wasn’t straight forward at all, my anxiety and panic attacks were pretty much constant all throughout my pregnancy and even now some days when hes poorly I really believe he will be taken from me but this is something I have recently started working on with counselling again.

For anyone who’s going through a diagnoses of incompetent cervix I would say keep going, its not your fault, there’s help out there and in future pregnancies keep pushing to be seen by a premature consultant as without ours I dont know if I ever could have gone through pregnancy again! Make your voice heard as to what you want.

Finley has healed our hearts in so many ways and taken away so many very dark days, but Elsie left a hole that will never ever be filled, her absence is felt in everything we do and I will never stop wishing that my babies were here together doing all the things a brother and sister should do. xx

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, telford

.com

This week has been super exciting and super busy! While planning our christmas gift guide has taken up quite a large part of my spare time lately it has also urged me on to do something I have been unsure of for quite some time.

Many people know I started blogging for me; to find a way to control and rationalise my own grief but also to shout Jasons story as far as I could. I promised my boy I would love him forever and always keep his memory alive and I will always do that.

I also wanted a space to offload, share my experiences not only on life after loss but also on parenting, specifically after loss as this is something not well spoken of. I say it all the time; being a parent is the best and the hardest job in the world but parenting after the loss of your own baby/child makes it much more difficult. You have all those feelings and emotions that come alongside being a parent but also the guilt too. Every negative/sad thought you get is enwrapped with guilt. Its a tough life!

I am so proud of where my little space has taken me, I have already worked alongside some fantastic brands/small businesses and hope to continue to do so in the future. I love being able to honestly share our views on these products too.

I have toyed with the idea of buying my own domain name for a while and this week I finally did it! There is something so exciting about having a space on the internet that it completely mine! I know this will open up a whole new world for me and my little blog and hopefully means I am able to share Jasons story to a far greater audience too.

 

I hope you will continue to follow me and read, it means so much to me that people have viewed my posts and I hope you are as excited by my upcoming gift guide as I am ❤

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss

How You Know You’re A Parent…

I read an article this morning on how you know you are a parent and I realised how insensitive these types of articles can be. There are so many posts similar to this and I have read a few over the last few months and although the intention of these is never to cause upset for those parents without their babies it really is like a kick in the teeth.

Yes, it is quite obvious that there are certain things that happen when you are a conventional parent that makes you realise you are responsible for a small child; yes you usually end up leaving the house with food/sick/bodily fluids over your clothes and you are so tired you forget to put coffee in your coffee but these arent the signs of parenting a baby from afar. Those signs are very different.

Before Ellie my way of parenting was so different to the average parent. Instead of walking around with a pushchair I watched my sons coffin being carried into the crematoriam for a funeral I had to plan. Instead of registering his birth we sat in a waiting room waiting to register his death. Parenting comes in many different forms and there is no rule book, especially in regards to baby loss. Nobody can tell you the right way to parent a child who isnt with you because it shouldnt happen.

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, Uncategorized

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1258 days. Thats how long I have had to go on without you. I can’t say ive lived each day but I am surviving although I have no idea how.

I think for the majority of the time I am able to control my grief, I have blips where I get upset, days where I have no motivation because whats the point when you have gone and constant times when i think of you and wonder who you would have been. There is no doubt you are always in the front of my mind and my heart still hurts because I miss you so much.

But how do I cope when the pain just feels too bad, when the wave of grief feels too raw? How do I stay strong when realisation hits and suddenly I am thrown back to hearing those words that killed me inside “we did everything we could but im sorry…”

Jason, losing you meant I lost so many other parts of being your mum and that pain in my heart wont ever go away. While others excitedly shared their first born in their new uniform on their first day of school it hit me that I wont ever get to do that with you. I knew this year wouldn’t be your first day at school but it is the year we should have been applying for your school place, I already know you’d have needed to go to a special needs school and I would have loved sending you to the same school your uncle went to. I already know you’d have loved school so much just like me. I know I would have been THAT mum sharing her proud pictures and getting involved as much as I could. I know it would have been difficult but I know we could have got you there. You would have looked so cute in your nursery uniform this year (assuming you could attend a nursery) and if you are anything like your sister youd be showing off your cheekiness by the end of the week.

Now that the realisation has hit I am dreading next September already, working in a school and seeing those tiny reception children on their first day im not sure im going to be able to do it. Im not strong enough for that, i dont want to be strong enough.

I want you. Every day. I want to be your mum and give you hugs and make everything okay.

My shining star, I love you x

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby, Somewhere After The Rainbow

Frankie’s Story

Please welcome Frankie to the Somewhere After The Rainbow Guest Series.

You can find Frankie over on Instagram or her website.

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“It’s fine to talk about them

You can talk to them too

In your heart they can always be right there with you.”

  • These Precious Little People, by Frankie Brunker

I’m Frankie, mum to three beautiful children. We lost our first baby to unexplained stillbirth at full term nearly five years ago. Esme gave us the strength to try for another baby, and we were relieved beyond belief to welcome her little brother Jago into the world alive & well 13 months later. It took a lot of courage to embark on another pregnancy, but the hope outweighed the fear once again, and we were very fortunate to take home a living daughter too, Ayla, who is now 17 months old.

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Parenting after loss has been a total headf*** at times – filled with emotional challenges because of my ever-present grief & the overwhelmingly bittersweet joys that come with making precious memories with your living children – but also more guilt, isolation and self-doubt than I ever realised was possible. Counselling, the love of (and for) my family, and peer support have all got me through some very dark days, and I now feel I have a much better handle on my depression & anxiety but I try to never take for granted all the blessings in my life.

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I’ve experienced a deep desire to reach out & support others going through similar as a result. Part of that has been volunteering for JOEL TCP, and they have been incredibly supportive of a long-held dream of mine to create a bereavement support resource for families.

My son has already started asking questions about his the sister he will never get to meet & having the book These Precious Little People will, I hope, prove to be something that reinforces her place within our family & gives us ways in which to think about & honour her memory. I hope it helps many other families as well.

Thank you Frankie for sharing your story. These Precious Little People will give other families a way to remember and hopefully help support siblings/cousins/younger children in explaining the death of a child.

If anyone would like to look in to the book more, click on the above picture.

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby, Somewhere After The Rainbow, Uncategorized

National Rainbow Baby Day

Today (22nd August) is National Rainbow Day, which follows on from Baby Loss Awareness Week and Day of Hope.

When I was pregnant with Ellie I didnt like the term rainbow baby, I didnt like the idea of Jasons life/death being thought of as “the storm” however the term is widely known in the baby loss community and becoming more known in the public eye too so it is easier to call her our Rainbow instead of explaining our story repeatedly.

A rainbow baby doesn’t take away the pain from the loss of a child. I have said before that I have grieved harder for Jason since Ellie was born I carry more guilt because she is alive and he isn’t but in other ways it does ease the pain. My arms are no longer empty, my heart is fuller than ever and my smile isnt always fake. She has given me a new reason to live when all I wanted was to die.

So today I wanted to celebrate her. I live to make my children proud and I want Ellie to grow up knowing everything I do is for her. My worry is that she will grow up feeling like she is second best or having to compete with Jason for my attention however I also want her to grow up being able to talk about her big brother and know about him, I need him to be included just as much as I need Ellie to know she is our reason for living.

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For me, Ellie has made me feel like I can be happy again, she makes me smile and feel more love than I could have possibly thought I could give. Since Ellie arrived I have been able to listen to music without crying, I can focus on the lyrics and find some happiness within the sad. I don’t drive to work with the tears flowly freely, in fact I dont cry as much as I used to at all. I want to go out and make memories but I still find celebrations and family meals etc hard. I am still reminded every day of the things we are missing out on but it is easier to handle now I have someone who gives me cuddles when I am sad.

When Jason died I thought that was my only chance of hearing anyone call me mum and it was gone; hearing Ellie call for her Mama is something I will never tire of no matter what time it is.

She reminds me of how much I love her Daddy and how much our family means to me; sometimes in the crazy life of parenting it is easy to forget about the love you had before children but when I see how much he makes Ellie laugh and how big his smile is when he is with her it makes me feel like I am 15 again and in this early stages of love.

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Ellie has filled my life with happiness, love and so much laughter that I never thought I would ever feel again. I will always be so grateful for my rainbow baby, for her beauty, for having her brothers nose, for reminding me how lucky I am to have held them both and loved them both as long as the stars shine in the night.

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I am also always reminded of those who don’t have their rainbow and my heart hurts for them so much. Our babies are our lives and for a grieving parent the longing to have their baby is intensified. Please know I share your pain and wish I could take it away and bring your beautiful babies back to you. I wish none of us knew this pain and I hope you are able to feel true happiness once more.

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Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, telford, Uncategorized

To the Mum/Dad…

To the Mum/Dad…

To the Mum/Dad who’s baby won’t stop crying in the middle of the night – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who’s fallen asleep while feeding – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who feels like they don’t know what they are doing – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who isn’t the parent she thought she was going to be – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who’s child has screamed while out in public – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who’s toddler refuses to eat their food – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who cries themselves to sleep because they don’t feel good enough – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who drinks cold tea and eats one handed while the other is feeding someone else – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who feeds their child fish fingers and chips or goes to McD’s once in a while – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who doesn’t plan out daily activities – You are not alone.
To the Mum/Dad who isn’t “Instaperfect” or a “Pintrest Mum” – You are not alone.
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Parenting is really hard, harder than I ever imagined it would be. I imagined I would have all the patience in the world yet I find myself shouting at Ellie when she’s having a meltdown rather than trying to talk her round like I would the children at work. I thought I’d be doing fine motor/sensory play all the time and making activities to build those necessary skills but I don’t. My house isn’t always tidy and I know I spend too much time scrolling on my phone, I am far too critical on myself and more often than not convince myself that Ellie would be better without me.

I often wonder if I would have been a different type of parent had Jason lived. Would I have had more patience? Would I have got annoyed as quickly? Does my guilt and grief affect my parenting in this way now that Ellie is here and Jason isn’t? I often wonder whether Ellie would be able to be without us if she had a living sibling or would she have still been as needy and therefore parenting would have been so much harder. Would I have more time for Jason knowing his needs would have been far more demanding or would I eventually lose patience with him too? I often wonder what kind of Mum I could have been. I know I am different because he isn’t here and I hate myself for not being better for Ellie.

In actual fact, everything I do is for my children. Ellie would never be better off without her mum, fact! I spend so much time on my phone trying to find new places to go or new recipes to try (and probably still too much time on IG but I still need me time). I might shout at her but that is usually because she has spent HOURS screaming and throwing herself to the floor because I won’t let her do something dangerous or I’ve said no to watching Peppa Pig for the 100000000th time. I might lose my patience when Ellie has days where she is clinging to me from the minute she wakes up to the minute she goes to bed and that is including nap time because there are times where she won’t sleep without being near me. I might need more time to sit down and feel the need for 5 minutes of complete alone time….but Ellie probably spends at least 15 hours of her day with us (including the middle of the night) and it does drain you, emotional, physically and mentally drains you!

No parent is perfect, how can they be when we are all doing the same job to the best of our ability? I’m definitely not perfect and I haven’t met anyone who is yet but as long as Ellie is happy and feels loved I am doing a pretty good job of being her mum and she will always feel loved and wanted.

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, telford, Uncategorized

Mother of 3

I am a Mum.

To the outside world I have 1 daughter.

To people who know me I have 2 children.

Not many people know I should have 3 children in my arms not just in my heart.

I have been struggling with this for quite some time now.

I talk about Jasons death to anyone who will listen and I write about it a lot to help raise awareness and hope it can comfort other parents in some way knowing they are not alone. I know I am lucky to have Ellie, safe and here in my arms and I love being their Mummy but there is a baby who isnt spoken of, mainly because I focused on growing Ellie and making her arrive safely. Recently I have found myself grieving for the baby I dont talk about and part of this grief comes from Tommy’s new campaign; #Togetherforchange. This new campaign calls for more people to be open about their loss/losses and to challenge the stigma that is associated with all types of baby loss. As a mother whose baby died after birth I find this campaign is more relatable to those who have suffered miscarriages or stillbirth but I also know that Tommys goal is to get ALL people talking openly about all types of baby loss.

Together For Change Video

As I said above a lot of the stories linked to this campaign are miscarriage or stillbirth stories and it got me thinking about my own little baby who didnt make it. My tiny little bean who should be 20 months old and probably as mischievous as their twin sister. At 8 weeks we had an early scan due to be high risk and monitored more closely after my perfect pregnancy with Jason still resulted in his death. I was so anxious waiting for that early scan, expecting the worst because thats all I knew. It felt like hours waiting for that scan, we hadnt told anyone about the pregnancy as we knew it wasnt guaranteed but decided if everything was okay we would tell our parents. Even then I knew being pregnant again was going to be difficult, I wanted Jason more than ever, I wanted to be pregnant with him, to change the outcome and have him with us.

That was the day we found out we were expecting twins! I had always joked I would end up pregnant with twins but we were quickly told while one baby was growing well, the other had stopped growing at 7 weeks 5 days and there was no heartbeat. Its not until now that I think back to that tiny bean but at the time I just wanted the other baby to be okay and told myself they died to help the other survive, it gave our babya higher chance of living and taking them home. I do still believe that if Ellies twin had carried on growing my chances of them both surviving would have been slim.

I watch Ellie growing up and wonder what she would have been like if her twin had survived, if she had a living sibling to play with and then I feel guilty that once again my body stole any change of a living sibling from her.

 

We had  what is known as Vanishing Twin Syndrome. This basically means that the remaining twin continues to grow as it should but the fetal tissue from the non-surviving twin is partially or fully reabsorbed.

We werent given any explanation at the time, I didn’t know whether this baby would be miscarried, I didnt know whether I was going to bleed or what was going to happen and in fact nothing happened, at our 12 week scan the tiny bean had disappeared and there was just an empty sac, we may not have ever known about Ellies twin if it hadnt have been for that early scan.

As a loss mum I will always wonder what my life would have been like if all 3 of my children had lived. I find as I talk and write about my babies I want to include that little bean more and more but stop myself as its not common knowledge about our little bean and I dont think I could take the questions from people thinking I am pregnant, so that is where this post comes from, not completely random or looking for attention just trying to share the fact that I am the mother of 3 children but only ever get to hold one of them in my arms ❤

 

If anyone feels like they need to sharw their story or seek support then please head over to the Tommy’s  Support group on Facebook which is so supportive.