Posted in baby loss, motherhood, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Pregnancy Announcements After Loss…

Everyone deals with loss differently. Everyone deals with social situations differently. For me, when a pregnancy announcement has been made I feel a stab in my chest, I have to catch my breath and I feel anger. Not anger towards the person making the announcement, don’t misread what I type, I am usually genuinely happy for said person, however I am angry that I know their baby will not die, they will get their happily ever after and I didn’t. This is what makes me angry.

Since losing Jason, I have been lucky that most of the announcements made have been subtle and easy-going, close friends who know my situation and are thoughtful enough to not throw it in my face. This linked with my deactivating my Facebook account has meant I have been able to avoid the happy comments, scan photos etc. This doesn’t stop me from snooping. I love to torture myself, I must enjoy looking for signs as this is what I do, I snoop. I delete people who I know are expecting a child to stop myself. It doesn’t work.

Today I found out an old friend (who used to be a very close friend) has had her baby. A little girl. I don’t know whether her having a girl is easier or harder. Nothing about hearing another person’s announcement is easy. I convinced myself she’d have a boy and everything would be fine and she’d get exactly what I deserved. You see, her story was similar to mine. Got married, got caught with her first pregnancy straight away and was expecting her baby before her first wedding anniversary. A fairy tale. That should have been my life. It should be me who got my fairy tale ending. I’m not bitter and I don’t wish this on ANYONE but why didn’t I deserve it? Why does she get her baby and I don’t? Even knowing I’ve been so blessed with our rainbow and she’s wriggling inside me as I type this, she isn’t my first, she isn’t my son, she’s our second child and she should have her big brother here to protect her when she’s older. I will never forgive myself for not doing more to save Jason and bring him home, I can’t.

Grief doesn’t stop just because you’re having another baby, despite what people think. Unless you have been in my situation you won’t ever understand and I hope you never do. Time might distance me from the moment I gave birth, held, kissed and said goodbye to my son but grief doesn’t work in a specific time period it will be with me forever, until I can see Jason again and hold him in my arms.

I just hope that the next pregnancy announcement I read is my own, telling the world my daughter is here and she is safe. I long for that day so much.

A x

Posted in baby loss, Uncategorized

What if…

“What” and “if” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.

On this journey of grief it is easy to get lost, in yourself, in your surroundings, in your mind. I find myself lost most of the time, I forget what I am doing constantly as my mind wanders to thinking of what if. Sometimes I don’t even know I am doing it. I get so engrossed in my own thoughts that I don’t even hear when people are talking to me. It doesn’t matter whether your grief is through losing a grandparent, a parent, a sibling or a child, these are things grief does to you without you even noticing. I find that even when I’m having one of my “good” days I still often drift in and out of conversations and goings on to think about my own what ifs.

What if Jason were alive?
What if I’d have tried harder to protect him?
What if I’d have been a better person before him?

None of these questions have answers, the truth is, I’m not a bad person, actually i’m probably as “good” as anyone gets, I’ve never smoked, done drugs, can count on my hand how many times I’ve drank alcohol and can honestly say I’ve only ever been drunk once so there is no reason for this punishment. As with all bereaved parents, nobody deserves to lose their child.

I found the quote above completely true with regards to my grief, I constantly ask what if but never get the answers i desire. I never will. What and if are two words that bereaved parents ask themselves regularly, yet it doesn’t make the process or the journey any easier. Without answers the questions are invalid, yet we ask them anyway. Even now, I find my mind has wandered so much focused on my own “what ifs” that I’ve written absolute gobbledy-gook and haven’t the foggiest how I’ve come to type these words.

A year on, I’m finding it easier to hide when i’m in my own world, to hide when I haven’t really listened to what people are telling me but answer them as if I had, people seem unaware of it as it happens so much they probably just think it’s me. It isn’t. I was always so switched on and would take everything in before my loss, now all I want to do is go in to my own little dream world and be with Jason. It’s a lovely place I’ve made up in my head, where it’s always night-time and the stars shine as bright as the northern lights and I cuddle my little boy to sleep and listen to his breathing, I imagine it sounds very similar to my husband’s own breath at night when he’s dozing off to sleep. We silently sit there together, taking in every part of him…until I’m dragged away in to reality where I never got the chance to do any of those things and I remember that life really did throw me a shit hand to play.

I never imagined that my life would be like this, that I would carry on with work, relationships, life in general and act like everything is okay. As a child I never wanted this life, I never wanted to be married, have kids, I wanted to be a singer and travel the world on tour. In my adult life all i’ve ever wanted was to be Luke’s wife, have his children, watch them grow up and show them how much I love their dad. I will always want this, even while I’m carrying our second child I desperately want this pregnancy to end happier because Luke deserves to watch his children grow up, he deserves to be shown an everlasting love that you only get from your kids. My whole life is now dictated by my need to make him a father to living children and watch our family grow, yet in all of this I would never change anything about Jason, he was perfect, always will be and our family will always know and talk about him as if he was here.

My life will never change, I will always have those “what if” questions spinning around my head, I will probably always ramble on and make no sense at all to those who don’t understand. But I know there are a lot of people who will make sense of this post and will get where I’m coming from (even if I don’t right now).

A x

Posted in baby loss, Uncategorized

Fathers Hurt Too…

Sunday 19th June 2016 is Fathers Day in the UK. A day i’ve always celebrated as my own dad isn’t one for emotions like me so I like to make an extra effort to spend time with him on Fathers Day.

Since losing Jason, Fathers Day has been boycotted for my husband, it hurts him too much to remember he isn’t able to celebrate like he should. He can’t look at cards/gifts for his own dad due to the overwhelming sadness that he feels when he does. On Mother’s Day women are celebrated whether they have living children or not, my own Great Aunt who has never been able to have children is celebrated on Mother’s Day as she has been like a Mum to so many people. Men don’t have that luxury, it is assumed that they don’t think, they aren’t sensitive creatures who feel and love just like us women do. My own husband is an extremely sensitive man and isn’t afraid to show his emotions to me and he hates Fathers Day. He won’t let me buy him a card, he doesn’t want to celebrate a day that should be different. And I get that. I understand that it is hard, having to put myself through Mother’s Day shows how much I understand, however this is where we are different, I AM a mother, I have a baby, he may not be here but he made me a mum and I would have liked to have been remembered with a card or even just a “Happy Mothers Day” to show people remember Jason. I badly want to show my husband he is still a Dad regardless of whether Jason is here or not, at the end of the day he did more than most fathers by helping deliver Jason and bringing him in to the world. That made him a father, the day we found out we were expecting him made him a father.

People forget about the men who are grieving too, they show how strong they are on the outside to outsiders so that people don’t think they are weak. They are expected to “look after” the bereaved mum who is going through so much. But who actually stops and thinks about how the dad is feeling? No one. It’s harsh but it is true. I have never once thought what I am going through is different to my husband because Jason grow inside me. That has nothing to do with it. The fact is he lost his son too, he just doesn’t talk about or feel comfortable talking about it like I do so people stopped asking how he was. A year later he gets asked “How’s Amy doing?” “Is Amy okay?” “Is Amy coping as best as she can?” They don’t ask about him, they don’t think.

This father’s day try and think about those men who are suffering and not celebrating, there are more than you think and closer than you think. Men don’t talk like Women do, they don’t share their feelings to the outside world so outsiders don’t know. Since I started on the path of the bereaved parent I realised just how many men I KNOW who have known the same loss and have never spoken about it and I admire all of these men.

This Father’s Day be gentle, support your partners, friends anyone you know who is unable to celebrate this day because their children cannot be with them.

Don’t forget, A Dad Hurts Too.

A x

Posted in baby loss, down syndrome, Uncategorized

Post Mortem

The following months after Jason’s death was excruciating, I didn’t want to wake up let alone face the world and so many people wanted to offer their sympathies. I had to stay strong for my husband and my family, I was never forced to be the stronger person, I wanted to be. I’ve always wanted to protect and care for those I love and this way I could maintain that.

We planned Jason’s funeral, deciding to have him cremated with a very small service only asking our parents and grandparents to come if they wished. I’m not someone who is openly emotional and knew with others there I would have remained stone-faced and unable to grieve for my son properly. With that said, I also decided I did not want my brother there as again, I would not have been able to grieve. Selfish? Probably but it was MY son’s funeral and I wanted to show him how loved he was. I remember the day as clear as anything, yet I can not remember the date, nor do I particularly want to.

I felt like the support we received since our loss was awful. I heard  from no services and when I went for my 6 week check up I was told that I didn’t need it seeing as my baby was not alive. I gave birth, why is my right less than anyone with a living child? I was shocked and appalled but carried on surviving (not living) until the date for our post mortem results came through the post. We chose to have a post mortem done as we knew it would help find closure in some way and hopefully give us the answers we desperately needed. This was not the case.

During Jason’s post mortem we found that the main reason for his death was the birth itself. To this day this haunts me knowing I should have been able to save him and bring him in to the world. His breech delivery along with a home birth and lack of oxygen meant my beautiful boy died. We also found out that Jason had a hole in the heart which prevented the doctors from getting his heartbeat strong enough to survive without support and he had tissue on his brain that shouldn’t have been there. To look at him you’d have never guessed such a tiny, gorgeous baby would have so many health problems. We don’t know the damage the tissue on the brain would have caused him and I want to believe that him dying prevented him from being unable to live his life to the full like he deserved. Would I have wished for him to carry on living to ease my desire and my selfishness if his health would have caused him so much pain? Never. I would give ANYTHING to bring him back but not like that, seeing him suffer would inevitably kill me.

We also found out that Jason had Down Syndrome, which came as a complete surprise to myself and my husband. I did not see the signs on his face, the eyes, the mouth. Nothing told me that he had Down Syndrome. Now, you see, I have a brother who also has Downs and he is my world, I would never change him and I love the man he has become so Jason having DS meant nothing to us. We had the quad-test while pregnant which came back as low risk and was unlikely our unborn child would carry the disorder. To show just how special Jason was, his form of Downs Syndrome was extremely rare, and is known to be passed down through genetics unlike regular DS such as Trisomy 21 which is not genetic. Jason had Translocation Down Syndrome meaning one chromosome attached itself to another pair. I was convinced that due to my brother having a type of DS I was obviously the carrier and I’d passed this on to Jason. I never imagined that the gene had come from my husband but we both had to have a blood test to see whether we were carriers. If a parent is a carrier of Translocation DS it means there is a higher chance of passing it on to future children and having trouble getting pregnant. I spent the next few weeks doing lots of research in to ways I could help us in future pregnancies and how this would have affected Jason and our family. It changed nothing, my boy was perfect and nothing the doctors could tell us would change that and still hasn’t to this day. When I look at pictures I don’t see the DS I see him, the double of my husband, his hair, nose. He looked so much like his Daddy that it makes me love his Daddy more than I could ever have imagined.

When the results came back I was positive I already knew the answer, what were the chances of my brother and my son having DS if it wasn’t though genetics? Yet the results were in and neither myself or hubby were carriers of the gene and Jason’s DS was just one of those things, there were no answers or reasons why, it just was. In a way I love that my first born shared something with his uncle that none of us would understand, I like to imagine what they’d have both been like while he grew up, would he have been like Zack or would he have been different? These are questions I ask myself regularly but will never find out the answers. I just hope that he never knew any suffering while he was growing inside me or while he was fighting for his life for those short 37 minutes after he was born.

I want to spread the word and tell people about DS, the different types and how it can affect people, families, those that care for them. There are so many varities of the disorder and while my brother is a huge success story, along with so many others, Jason unfortunately didn’t get to live to find out how his DS would affect him. I will spend the rest of my life correcting peoples ignorance, raising awareness and sharing my love for my son, my first child every moment that I am alive.

Posted in baby loss, Uncategorized

Jason <3

Right, now, here goes. This post is by far the hardest one I will ever write, yet it is the one I am most sure about.

I felt like Jason’s story needed to be shared with the world. Whether anyone ever reads it or not, it is just nice to feel like someone, somewhere might feel something when they hear of him.

Jason was born on the 29th March 2015 at 35 weeks and 3 days. It was a traumatic birth and one that I was not expecting, especially as it was my first pregnancy and everything had gone so well previously. We had no inclination that on that Sunday morning we would have to go through what we did to bring him in to this world. I had been ill on the previous Friday and had the day off work, which I assumed was just a stomach bug as it only lasted 24 hours and I was pretty much better the next day. Throughout the Saturday night and early Sunday morning I awoke regularly every hour with a few niggling pains which I again put down to constipation however by 6:45am Sunday morning these pains got worse and my husband decided we should get checked out. He rang the hospital but whilst dialling the number I started to give birth (very quickly). It seems that the pains were in fact contractions but nothing as painful as I’d imagined so I didn’t think it would be with 5 weeks left to go in our pregnancy. This meant Jason was to be born at home, my waters did not break, there was no show, nothing. Zilch. Nada. The first sign that I was in labour was seeing my boys legs hanging. This is where the story becomes traumatic. My husband (who has a major blood phobia) had to try and deliver our baby whilst we waited for the ambulance to arrive. It took a long time for me to deliver Jason’s head as he was breech (unknown to us that he had turned before his birth). Jason was born at 7:36am and quickly rushed to our local hospital while I followed a few minutes later in another ambulance.
While we waited I was told there would be a very small chance that my baby would survive but I didn’t/couldn’t process this, I just gave birth and I didn’t even know if I had a girl or a boy! My husband was amazing throughout everything, supporting me in ways I never imagined he could.

Jason lived for 37 minutes before the doctors decided there was nothing else they could do for him. He was a tiny baby weighing in at just 3lbs 6ozs, which didn’t seem unusual as I was only 3lbs 13ozs born so I never believed he would be a big baby. There was no explanation as to what happened other than the fact that he was starved of oxygen and therefore his little heart couldn’t get its beats back up. I was lucky to spend the entire day with him, I cuddled him, looked over every speck of him, gave him kisses, spoke to him. Did all the things I always wanted to. My family got to meet him, they were able to spend time with him and we all felt strong together. I never quite grasped that my baby was no longer alive, it felt so weird to hug a baby that should be crying yet lay lifeless in my arms.

I felt useless, no longer able to protect my brother, my husband, my son. Unable to be strong, I wanted to just hear him cry, hours later I still hoped they were all wrong and he was just asleep. I wriggled him, cried on him, dared him to move just slightly. To make the nightmare just that, a nightmare, but no, this was it. My life had truly ended that day. The day I said hello and goodbye to my son. I never saw him again, 29th March 2015 was the last day I saw him, got to hold him. But I never stopped loving him from the moment we found out about him to this very day, I love him unconditionally with my whole heart, begging that he was here with us now.

Jason’s story does not end there, I made sure his memory has lived on in the past 15 months and I’m sure I will tell you all about it soon.

Always my special little boy, Jason. Mummy and Daddy love you always.

A x

Posted in baby loss, Uncategorized

I never wanted to wear these shoes…

Welcome to my first blog post.

I thought it was only fair to tell you a bit about myself, the writer, before I indulge you deep in to the story of how my life got turned upside down.

My name is Amy, I am 25 and live in Shropshire, England. I am a daughter, big sister, wife, friend, cousin, acquaintance and most recently mum. I got married in August 2014 after being with my husband for 8 years and this August we will have been together for 10 amazingly wonderful years, he is my rock and I am lucky to have him by my side. As soon as we got married I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I had only come off the pill 2 months previous and we hadn’t planned on actually trying for a baby until after our wedding, however our first had other plans and was actually already starting to take form on my wedding day. He made sure he was there to see his mummy and daddy tie the knot finally!

I’ve had a good life, my childhood was a happy one, with a loving family around me. I have grown up with a little brother who has Downs Syndrome and it has meant I have become a very strong person. He has shown me that although life can be wonderful it can also be cruel, brutal sometimes and he helped me become the person I am today. I spent my childhood looking after him, protecting him. Making sure that no harm will ever come to him while I am around. My brother, Zack (as i’m sure you’ll read lots about him in upcoming posts) has a wonderful way of thinking, of living his life to the full and making every day count. He doesn’t give up and he is such an inspiration to everyone who knows him. He makes me a very proud big sister.

When I met my husband, my brother had a huge influence on whether I pursued a relationship with this man. You see I was 15 years old and I had a Myspace account. I added a man from my town who was interested in similar music to me and we seemed to have a lot in common, we started talking regularly and quickly became friends. I would talk to him every day without fail. A few months later we decided to meet up with friends and see what would happen. To this day I do NOT condone meeting a stranger online however if I hadn’t have been so stupid myself I might not have ever met my soul mate and became his wife. We were going out for about 6 months (in secret) before I had mentioned him to my family, he was my first boyfriend and I was scared of what they would think of me dating someone older than me but I was ready to face that and deal with whatever consequences that meant. It so happened my family were welcoming and lovely however if Zack had not liked anyone I brought home they wouldn’t be around too long! Him and Zack hit it off straight away and I soon realised I was the third-wheel in our relationship. Even 10 years later, my husband and my brother have a fantastic relationship and again, I know I am lucky to find a man who would take on a brother with Down Syndrome as well as mine has ❤

3 weeks after our wedding I found out we were expecting a baby. It was completely a shock and I remember hubby having to swig some whiskey straight from the bottle as it was so soon. Our wedding day quickly became a haze while we prepared for our little player 3. On 29th March 2015, our special boy was born and unfortunately also died that day.

The day, I became a mum. The day I became a bereaved mum.
The happiest and the worst day of my whole life.
</3

A x