Posted in parenting

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020

For 5 years I have supported BLAW, or tried to. I have a habit of getting very overwhelmed with the things others do to raise awareness and end up feeling like I haven’t done enough, like once again I’ve failed Jason for not doing “more” and I end up giving up and really only remembering to do the Wave of Light.

This year I took a step back, reminded myself that by taking part in BLAW and sharing our story that is enough, I know Jason would be proud of his Mum for talking about him and making sure the world knows he existed. I know I do “enough” because living through this hell is enough. I jotted down some ideas, planned my social media content and I survived the week sharing my story and getting people to talk about a topic that nobody wants to talk about let alone have to survive through.

I then decided I would share the posts here, in one post, for myself to look back upon but also for anyone trying to navigate the world of baby loss and wanting to know they are not alone. If this is you, I promise you, you are not alone and you will “survive” you will feel happiness again and sometimes you will still cry. Remember, my inbox is ALWAYS open!

Day 1

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
Today marks the beginning of baby loss awareness week – something I knew absolutely nothing about. This week I’d like to share our journey, Jason and the love I have for the boy who made me a Mummy. I appreciate that for a lot of people the thought of losing their baby/child is one they don’t want to imagine but for me and thousands more it’s a reality we live with every day. I talk about Jason because he existed, he grew inside me, he was born and he lived. He deserves to be remembered, loved and shared with the world. I hope you stick around and please be kind. There will be lots of mums grieving this week, some openly, some in secret.

If you’re thinking of a baby gone too soon, whether it’s your own or a loved one – please share their name below ❤️

Day 2

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝑃𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑦
I found out I was pregnant just a few weeks after we’d got married – meaning I was already pregnant when we got married. It came as a huge shock as we hadn’t planned on trying so soon but was over the moon to be starting our family. Honestly, my pregnancy was pretty standard, no morning sickness, no health issues and little man was growing perfectly (or so we were led to believe). Looking back, I can see things were so perfect and wish I wasn’t so naive. This picture was taken hours before Jason was born – the last bump pic, a very spontaneous one just because but I’m so glad I did as this was the last moment everything felt perfect 💕

Day 3

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐵𝑖𝑟𝑡ℎ
I’ve written Jason’s birth story down so many times but it doesn’t get any easier. Jason was born during an unexpected homebirth at 35 weeks. I was under the impression that we’d made it through the danger zone and at 35 weeks it would all be okay. Of cause it wasn’t. There is no safe zone in pregnancy no matter what you are told. My boy lived for 37 minutes and I am so proud of how much of a fighter he was. Jason’s story is written in full on my blog if anyone wants to read it – it’s too much to write on a caption but I also wouldn’t want to upset anyone or trigger anyones grief.

Day 4

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐹𝑢𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙
We weren’t prepared for planning a funeral. Wed prepared ourselves for dirty nappies, sleepless nights and bottle making. We didn’t know the first thing about planning a funeral.

We didn’t allow people to attend, close family was it. I knew it would be hard for me not to put on a brave face if others were there. It was a simple ceremony, no words were spoken – how do you talk about someone whose life barely began? Standing watching his tiny coffin disappear behind the curtain, wondering whether we made the right choice, wondering whether any choice was the right choice. Those who have always been the strongest crumbled, I hated that I couldn’t protect them from the pain. I hated that I couldn’t just pick him up and take him away from it all. I felt so helpless.

Day 5

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐿𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠
I’m sure you can imagine, our lives changed so much after Jason’s death. We couldn’t stay in the house we loved so much, it was tarnished by his death, the room where all his things were kept was empty and echoed with the loss we faced. We moved; we adopted Luke’s nans cat in the move and I hated the thought of having a pet – I was meant to have a baby not a pet. However that little ginger furball saved me more than I ever thought he would. He gave me a reason to get up and function and without that I’m not sure I’d have “coped” through the first year without Jason. Misty became part of our family and was so protective over my Ellie bump before he died. Ellie’s birth gave us so much happiness, I feel so privileged to be her mummy and I don’t take any moment with her for granted. I know how short life can be and I know the way I parent has been tainted by the thought that anything could happen and I could still lose her. That’s how a grieving parents mind works. Life after loss seems fairly “normal” to the outside world, we function just like we would if Jason hadn’t have died or if he hadn’t existed but inside we are still grieving and will always grieve for the boy he should have been.

Day 6

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝐽𝑎𝑠𝑜𝑛’𝑠 𝐿𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑐𝑦
That is your legacy on this Earth when you leave this Earth: how many hearts you touched. To date we have raised nearly £4000 for different baby loss charities, all in Jason’s memory and created a library in our local hospital bereavement suite full of books and stories relating to loss and specifically baby loss which has already helped so many families in the early stages of loss. I feel incredibly proud to be the mummy of a boy who has touched so many lives without ever meeting anyone. In December we take part in #adventtoremember which is such a wonderful way of remembering loved ones throughout December in any way you see fit – we do family trips, Christmas themed activities and raok, I share Jason in as many ways as I can.
𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐨𝐧, 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬.

Day 7

💙𝘽𝙖𝙗𝙮 𝙇𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠💙
𝑊𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡
For my son, the little fighter who made me a Mummy. The Little man who I was so lucky to have held and love with every part of my heart. For all the babies who have gone too soon, for all the ones we didn’t get to bring home.
I light my candle because I am 1 in 4.

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, life after loss, Neonatal Loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss, stillbirth

Day of Hope

One definition of Hope: to want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might

19th August in the baby loss community is A Day of Hope. A day to remember all those babies and children who died. A day where people are encouraged to break the silence around baby loss. Whether that is a miscarriage, a stillbirth, neonatal or infant loss, they all matter.

Hope is a strange emotion after loss, for me I found it hard to hope for anything that couldn’t be guaranteed. I didn’t want to feel excited about things if they weren’t going to happen. The hope of meeting your baby during pregnancy is the best feeling in the world but once my eyes were opened to the fact that babies can and do die, having hope wasn’t something I found easy to do. I hoped for my Son, I was so excited to meet the little person growing inside me and although I did meet him, it certainly wasn’t in the way I was expecting and all my hopes were shattered.

Today, I hope that someone is given the courage to talk about their loss, their baby or child. I hope that someone reading this knows that their children matter.

I am not afraid to openly talk about my son who was born, lived and died on the same day nor am I afraid to talk about my loss. Jason’s story is still one of my favourite stories to tell, the ending isn’t happy but, as most of us know, not all stories have a happy ending. I will say his name and share his story for as long as I live. I will break down those barriers that stop parents and others talking about the loss of their own babies.

#saytheirnames
Posted in Aching Arms, baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, Jason, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting after loss, stillbirth

Primary School Offer Day

In an ideal world I’d have been one of those nervous parents waiting to find out what school my boy had gotten in to. In an ideal world he’d have been accepted to the primary school where I work! In an ideal world I’d already have his uniform, or parts of it in preparation and be excitedly making him try it on for pictures. In an ideal world we probably would have had to put Jason in to the special needs school because that is where he’d have the support he needed. In a less ideal world we’d have to settle or appeal the decision.

I would give so much to be able to take that less ideal world. To be one of those excired/nervous parents dying to know.

Things like this shouldn’t cause me grief, I probably wouldn’t even acknowledge it if I didn’t work in a school however when September comes and I see all those parents and little reception newbies on their first day I know it should be me there too. I will see their anxiousness and wonder whether I’d have felt the same or whether we would both be ready for him to start school. I feel like Ellie is ready to start nursery so I know she will be fine but I will never know what Jason would have been like.

My life with him seems further and further away with every milestone that we don’t hit together. I’ve missed his first words, first steps, first hug, first smile and now ill be missing his first day at school too.

Of cause I miss him constantly and the ache I have to have both of my children here is never ending but sometimes days are harder to deal with than others and there are some days where you just can’t help but think how fucking cruel the world is.

Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, Pregnancy Loss, Rainbow Mummy, stillbirth

Being A Mummy

I have been a mummy for 3 years, 11 months and 15 days and I am learning something new every day.

At first being a Mummy meant I had to adjust to being on my own, with no bump, no little flutters, no life growing inside me and no baby in my arms either. It felt very weird considering myself to be a Mum, even though my body grew a fully-formed 35 week baby. 4 years ago today was Mother’s Day, my first being pregnant and my first as a “mummy”. I remember being completely shocked that hubby had gone to the trouble of getting me a card from my bump and a mother’s day present. I wasn’t expecting anything as even then I didn’t really feel like a Mum yet.  I still have my present from that mothers day; a Playstation Messenger bag, it’s tatty, ripped in places and looking rather old but I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to part with it. It is my only proof that I had a Mother’s Day with Jason alive even if he was still cooking away.

The following Mother’s Day was a strange one. I had to “celebrate” it for my own mum, but really didn’t feel like it at all. Luke ended up needing to work and so I was pretty much on my own. No card, no gifts, no recollection of me being a mother at all. Yes people remembered it was going to be a difficult day but once again, I didn’t feel like a Mum. The day after that Mother’s Day I actually found out we were expecting another baby (our rainbow) and realised that Jason had sent me my gift, my second chance of being the Mum I always wanted to be.

My first Mother’s Day with Ellie was a pretty normal day, I didn’t feel like celebrating however this year I did get a card and some daffodils which was perfect. It felt odd for me to celebrate just because Ellie was here, I miss Jason so much that anything where he should be included just feels wrong to carry on with.

We do “celebrate” Mothers Day/Fathers Day but only because I know as Ellie grows up and goes to school things will be made and cards with her handprints will be produced and Ellie will want us to be happy, like all the other parents. I WILL be so eternally happy with anything she makes and brings home because they will be from her but it will always be mixed with a tinge of sadness that I’ll never get anything like this from Jason.

This year’s Mothers Day (UK) falls just 2 days after Jason’s 4th birthday/day he died and I’m not sure how I’m going to manage it. We haven’t planned anything because in all honesty I don’t think I want to do anything. I can’t celebrate being a mum to my children when I never got the chance to celebrate being Jason’s mum or to throw him the 4th birthday party he would have had with his nursery friends.

This year feels very different to previous years, although I don’t want to celebrate it, I feel more like a Mummy to BOTH my children than I ever have before. Ellie is taking an interest in Jason’s picture and saying his name occasionally and that alone is a healthy reminder that he will always be my baby and I will always be his Mummy…just from afar…until one day I can be reunited with him, wherever that may be in the afterlife.

The point I am trying to make from my waffling on is that there is no right or wrong way to deal with these celebrations. Mothers Day can have as much impact on your lives as you want it to. You can ignore it completely like I chose to do in previous years or choose to celebrate the fact that regardless of how many “living” or “dead” children you have, they are yours and you are and will always be their Mum/Dad.

Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, mental health, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, Positive Wellbeing

Positive Failure

A while back I shared the struggle I was having with myself. My mental health was taking a right beating and I was finding it hard getting it back to a healthy balance.

It took a while and a complete breakdown for me to realise that I wasn’t failing. I have spent days, weeks, months feeling like I am a failure. Failing at being a mum, a wife and a friend. Basically failing at being a human being. But the truth is I wasn’t failing at all, I was having a hard time and that is okay. Positive failure.

Admitting things arent perfect is okay. It doesn’t mean you aren’t the best person you can be at that particular time.

Since my “breakdown” I’ve felt better. Something in me may have snapped but I’ve found I can make it even stronger. Positive failure.

I’ve made an effort to be calmer, I’ve made an effort to do more things with friends, simple things like talking more but it’s a start and I celebrated my birthday with the most amazing people I could wish for and it reminded me of how lucky I am to have people who care enough to tell me Im not myself.

That was a hard one to hear, I could sense it in myself but no one has ever said it so plainly as someone I have known pretty much my whole life. I’ve spent so long pretending I am okay, smiling as is I’m not broken inside and hoping others accept it that actually I’d forgotten how to show my true feelings when I needed help.

In the past few weeks I really have noticed a huge change in the way I feel. I feel happier, I’m not as stressed out over slight things. Ellie’s tantrums aren’t taking me to breaking point when actually they aren’t that bad and in return Ellie has been happier. We’ve had more good days than bad days and was able to enjoy our half term off as a family. We made memories that I hope I will never forget and my heart is full of complete love and happiness.

I know this feeling may not last as long as I would like, saying Goodbye to a lovely February means saying Hello to March. To a month that starts off so happy with Hubby’s birthday celebrations but once the 4th is over it turns in to a countdown until Jason’s birthday. The day we should be celebrating his 4th birthday and yet a day where I am reminded of everything I gained and lost within moments. The day he died and I had to say goodbye.

Please be mindful that if I seem distant and off, it is not intentional. I am just grieving for the life of my son who I can’t hug and who I miss so much every day. My heart breaks with every memory we make as a family because he will always be missing but I am also grateful we can make these memories with Ellie, she saved me in ways she will never know and I will always try to be better for her. She is the reason I breathe and for her I will try and make March as gentle as I can.

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, 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.