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 Aching Arms, baby loss, grief, Jason, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss

27th March

I can’t help but wonder whether that day was when everything started going wrong.

Illness had struck, I worked in a nursery at the time and the sickness bug had hit the kids. The day I was due to finish for my maternity I ended up having off as I was being sick and I felt so bad for not working my last day.

I hadn’t thought much of being sick, other than being grateful I didn’t suffer from morning sickness as I just wouldn’t have coped. I’m not a good sick person at all. I spent the day on the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket feeling baby kicks (or so I thought… More like flutters with him being so tiny!) and generally feeling dreadful. I had a constant smell of cigarette smoke around me which was odd as I have never smoked and no one was near the house. To this day I wonder whether someone was trying to tell me something was wrong. That in just 2 days my baby would be gone.

I have since learnt that being sick can be a sign of labour starting and I wonder whether I had signs but was too naive to recognise them. I had just turned 35 weeks pregnant and was innocent in thinking I had 5 weeks to go before we’d meet him. I was unaware that babies were born so early and it’s not something midwives tell you is a possibility either. I feel that the information you are given is just what they think you want to hear not what you should actually know.

The next day I felt perfectly fine, I’d cancelled plans with friends because I had been ill but actually thought about uncancelling due to how much better I felt. I’d taken a picture of my growing bump in a summery dress, we took a stroll to Tesco for pizza as it was what “baby wanted” and while walking around I had started to feel some pains in my tummy that felt a bit like constipation pains… Of cause I know now that they weren’t at all and I should have taken them more seriously and got checked out. Maybe if I had have been checked we’d have been able to save him, we’d have had a chance of saving him.

I think every grieving parent goes through life finding ways to blame themselves for the loss of their baby/child. Those “what ifs” haunt me 4 years later and they always will. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel like I should have known something was wrong and done something.

Posted in baby loss, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby

Weekends

This weekend has been a tough one. The one before Jason’s birthday. The one where we were meant to make some family memories. The one where Ellie had the most epic tantrum of all time. The one where Mummy cried far more than I would like to admit.

The one where it all went tits up basically.

I have found that making plans spontaneously means those plans can get broken very quickly. We decided to “celebrate” Jason’s birthday early this year as we aren’t sure how I am going to feel with Mother’s Day following his birthday this weekend and wanted to take Ellie to the Zoo. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Zoo as by 8:30 Ellie had multiple trips to “the step” and I was defeated.

The day didn’t seem to get any better and it just felt wrong. I so badly needed to spend time together as a family that I think it made it harder to deal with Ellie’s tantrums. It’s hard being a parent after baby loss. It’s hard being a parent.

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.