Posted in parenting

Breaking the Silence at Christmas

I am 1 in 4.

I found out I was pregnant with my first child in August 2014, it was a complete surprise but one my husband and I were so very excited about. We hadn’t been trying, it just happened and honestly I had a very easy pregnancy; no morning sickness, no cravings and no worries. I was in a blissful naivety that after 40 weeks we’d be welcoming our first child in to the world and our family would start. We’d flown past the worrying 12 weeks and everything was going so well. I wasn’t aware that babies died; of cause I’d heard of families going through miscarriages and even of family and older friends whose babies had either been stillborn or died from SIDS but that was years ago and I certainly didn’t think it could happen to me.

I was wrong.

At 35 weeks my Son, Jason, entered the world after a very quick and traumatic labour he was born breathing after an unplanned home birth. He was taken straight away and we were told there was a very small chance he would make it. I remember thinking “he’s only 5 weeks early, babies are born and survive at 28 weeks, he’ll be fine”. I didn’t get to hold him alive, he didn’t get to feel my heartbeat from the outside or hear my voice.

My “nearly full term” baby had died. There wasn’t anything I could do and 6 years later the pain, the hurt and the grief hasn’t gone away. You don’t stop grieving for the child you love or for the life you never got to know.

Christmas is a really difficult time for me especially. I love Christmas, always have done but knowing he isn’t here makes it very hard. Christmas is a time for family but when a family member is missing it feels wrong to celebrate. As the years have passed my grief feels different; the first Christmas after Jason died was really tough but we survived by ignoring it as much as we could. Now Jason’s sister is here; it is obvious that Christmas is about family time but the grief is harder to deal with. I long to have presents with Jason’s name on. I know he’d have been so excited to see Santa had been and I long for the Christmas’ I had as a child with my brother. I can’t make plans for Christmas Day – I don’t want to be around anyone other than the three of us because I never know how I’m going to be. I never know if the wave of grief will cause me to shut down. I found writing Christmas cards and not knowing whether to even include him at all tough, it took a long time for me to find a way of including him. Even now, I am constantly wondering whether including him is the right thing to do or not so I choose very carefully who is worthy of seeing his name or his star drawn.

I carried him for 35 weeks, I birthed him, I held him, talked to him, urged him to wake up but to the outside world he is gone and in some ways “forgotten” which hurts all the more at a time when family is at the centre of the celebrations. 

The death of a baby affects 1 in 4 pregnancies that’s around 60,000 babies a year in the UK. I never thought my family would be one of those and I’ll never get that innocence back.

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, grief, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, stillbirth, telford

Goodbye February

Goodbye February, this month has been a mixed month. I started off feeling very low and depressed and finished the month off feeling grateful and full of love. As a family we have made so many memories and spent a whole week together having lots of fun.

With the end of February comes March, a month I literally dread. We have lukes birthday on the 4th which I love as I’ve always loved being able to spoil him and show him how much I love him. We’ve always celebrated his birthday with a meal out with his family and we are going to a local favourite place of ours (I may post about it after) on Sunday for Sunday lunch which I am looking forward to.

The rest of the month is a countdown. Reliving the days and weeks before Jason’s death, trying to come up with a reason it happened or something we have all missed. Blaming myself because I was naive to think I deserved to have my baby and that babies were safe! I actually hate the person I was because I was ignorant to the fact that this has happened for thousands of years and it still happens today.

4 years ago I was blissfully unaware that in just 29 days my whole world would collapse. I was hoping my unborn baby would arrive early, impatient to meet him1her and moaning about my pregnancy aches and pains. 4 years ago I wasnt at all scared about being pregnant or that something bad would happen.

In 29 days my son SHOULD be 4. I SHOULD be planning his 4th birthday party and inviting all of his friends from nursery. I SHOULD be spending my money on a few more presents because he deserves it and buying the best birthday cake because if he was like his Mummy and Little Sister he’d have loved cake. I SHOULD be deciding on the theme of his party and writing lists of the food I would need to buy.

Those things were stolen from me. Taken. Gone.

All the things I dreamed of doing as a parent, as a first time mummy, were taken from me the day we were told Jason only lived 37 minutes.

His whole life was spent looking at doctors, nurses, paramedics trying to save him. He never got to be with his parents, the people who love him. I never got to hold him alive.

With March comes a whole lot of memories of that day, one’s I try to suppress partly because it hurts so God damn much and partly because after 4 years you are expected to just get on with it. Jason’s birthday I will have to get up, go to work, pretend that 4 years ago I didn’t have to say goodbye to my son and I’d never see him again. Pretend that everything is okay even when it isn’t.

March is the month that gave me my son and I will Always be grateful for the short time I had with him but it is also the month that took my son away and I can’t wait for it to be over.

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.