Miscarriage Awareness

I used to think that pregnancy was the straight and exciting road from sex to motherhood, 2013 showed me that that wasn’t always the case.

I’ve always assumed that as soon as I took a positive test I just had to wait another 8 months and out would come a bouncing baby, and in the majority of cases that does happen, but I didn’t even consider that it wasn’t going to happen to me. Infact you don’t really learn about miscarriage until it happens to you and you go looking. It was never announced to me when I walked into my midwife office at 8 weeks, not to get too excited as 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and that actually, statistically, if I was that 1 in 4, that this would more than likely happen before my fist scan so I would never get to see my baby move… Luckily for me I had both my scans and everything was perfect at both, surely then, when everyone had said everything was fine NOTHING could go wrong. Indeed, the risks are significantly lower after 12 weeks – I didn’t do anything strenuous, hadn’t been in an accident so my baby would be ok, right? Wrong. I lost my baby at 21 weeks. She just stopped moving and her heart stopped beating. Three days later I was induced and did become a mum, but not to a bouncing baby – to a sleeping one who would never open her eyes or say Mummy. I am still a mummy today, just without a child to read bedtime stories to or to rock to sleep. I am still a mum, along with countless other mums who expected to bring home their baby but instead had to leave them at the hospital and return home with empty arms.

Miscarriage is a closely guarded secret by those it has happened to. There are those mums who have gone through it who are trying to get their stories out into the public but they tend to be the later miscarriages and people don’t listen because they don’t think it would ever affect them. I was probably one of those people and the stories passed so far over my head that I don’t even remember them, however every single one now stabs me in the chest and I feel all the pain of being told I had lost her all over again.
Early miscarriages are still as heartbreaking but people hide them, not announcing they are pregnant until 12 weeks so they don’t have to tell people that the little miracle growing inside of them no longer is (Not that you ever believe that you won’t get to announce). I had to. I had announced my baby girl to everyone. I had scan photos all over Facebook and I had to tell everyone what had happened. It was the hardest status I had ever written. I hope that in a way it has made my Facebook friends realise this could happen to them. I don’t know why my daughters heart stopped beating. It could happen to anyone at any time.

Since I lost her I have found places for people to go to learn about and talk about miscarriage. I read all their stories, and miscarriage and stillbirth aren’t as one in a million as you would like to think, as you would expect them to be, with the lack of public knowledge. I now walk down the street wondering who else is a little dead inside because they’ve lost a child. Some of your friends might have and you don’t even know because they lost them before 12 weeks and didn’t want to say. I’ve since talked to people who have lost their babies early on in pregnancy and as soon as they hear I lost my little girl at 21 weeks they backtrack and say it must have been worse for me. I’ll agree, it was terrible, giving birth to my lifeless daughter, but having heard the hurt in their stories, I will never say my pain was more.

Each pregnancy has it’s story, be it one with a happy ending or be a short one. Please don’t hide it away. If everyone told their story miscarriage would no longer be a surprise left to be dealt with by those who have been through it. If everyone talked about it more and made it more socially acceptable then maybe, just maybe, one mother walking out of that hospital with the crushing grief won’t feel quite so alone.


Knitting Project and Contemplating Grief

I decided I would allow myself to get a little bit excited and bought myself a Sirdar knitting pattern for a cuddly rabbit. I settled down to start, and like always happens I couldn’t stop, so I managed to make it in three days.  It turned out positively adorable! Obviously as of yet I don’t know if I am having a boy or a girl so I had to pick a wool that would suit both, I picked Sirdar Baby Crofter 158 and I think it fitted the brief perfectly. I absolutely love how it has turned out!


I find knitting very therapeutic, but it gives you a LOT of time to think. I didn’t allow myself to think much about the baby I would be giving the toy to – be they born now, silently,  or at full term and screaming. They all deserve a toy. This pregnancy is turning into a mind exercise, training myself to be able to see and do things without allowing my mind to wonder and imagine.

To stop the inevitable problems arising from endless free thinking, I set myself something to consider, something that made me think about both of my children and it also answered some questions I was silently wondering.

I read something online recently asking whether it is possible to grieve for one child while celebrating another.
I gave this a lot of thought and came to the conclusion I was managing to do both.
Every time I celebrate something for Shrimp, a small hurdle, eg. I heard a heartbeat, I also think about my little girl. At the moment I’m thinking that at the same stage of pregnancy she was doing the same thing, that at 15 weeks I heard her heartbeat at the Midwife too. I’m subconsciously trying to compare the pregnancies and revelling in the similarities and excited about the differences.
In the future every milestone will be in my head that my daughter should have already celebrated this. That Shrimps first cry shouldn’t be the first I’ve heard, that the first birthday cake i make, I should have made one 10 months earlier. For every celebration there is also going to be a mourning, but I am not going to let that stop me celebrating. That wouldn’t be fair. I chose to get pregnant again, I decided I was ready for this mish-mash of joy and grief, I can’t take it out on my baby and I can’t make them miss out on things, celebrations etc. I can’t hate every moment of this pregnancy as I would only end up resenting this poor baby.
That said, I worried earlier in the pregnancy that I was forgetting to think about my little girl and getting too wrapped up in this pregnancy – there are so many doctors visits and things going on it would be easy to do, but I soon realised that my mind wanders to my little girl everytime it has a chance. My subconscious is keeping her with me even if my conscious mind has to be occupied with other things.
Effy-Mae will always be my first born, my first daughter, and any children I have now will know about her as their big sister. She may have only been in my life for 21weeks, but im not going to pretend those 21weeks didn’t happen, nor am I going to let the grief I still feel from that time affect my future.
I think there is a fine line between letting go and letting the grief overwhelm you. I have moments, many, in fact where I wonder why what happened, happened, whether it was preventable, whether it was my fault, and i feel totally overwhelmed and sure that this pregnancy will end the same. Its a crushing feeling knowing that all too easily this journey could be over too, that I could be visiting both my children in graves, but I will not let it affect Shrimp. Shrimp is, of course, my number one priority, I will do all I can to protect Shrimp from my grief and make sure I enjoy every second of this pregnancy, but I don’t think I will ever live a day where I don’t also think of my little girl.


My baby girl, our future was to be
ever so bright and very happy.
I loved you from the moment I took that test
and I knew you were there, my little guest.
I did everything doctors said I should
and I was told everything was going good.
At 15 weeks I was allowed
to hear your heart beat – gosh it was loud!
Very soon I started to feel
you moving around, and that made it real.
Gentle tappings from your little feet,
from then I counted the days ’til we’d meet.
At every scan they said you were perfect,
and that is the word, I came to expect.
You refused to show us if you were a boy or girl,
hard as they tried you wouldn’t let your legs unfurl.
Little did I know I wouldn’t have long to wait,
or that hearing you were a girl wouldn’t be so great,
for a week later I stopped feeling those little feet
and on the ultrasound there was no heartbeat.
The rest of that day is a total blur,
I asked again if you were a him, or her.
The doctor couldn’t tell, but he told me
that when I gave birth I would get to see.
I was given a tablet and that night sent home,
though I couldn’t bring myself to be alone.
The next few days were a flurry of faces,
getting things sorted and breaking in places.
My heart had shattered into a million pieces,
I spent my time wondering if the pain ever ceases.
And then it was time,
I had to face natures crime.
I had to deliver you, my beautiful daughter,
my child who had been taken, purer than water.
All my life I’d pictured labour with thoughts of my child
occupying my mind to keep the pain mild.
I’d never have guessed that I would know I’d not see
a breath on your lips and feel a moment of glee.
Despite all this, from the moment I saw you,
I knew above certainty one thing was true,
that my love for you could be no stronger,
it was a mother’s love, and nothing lasts longer.
Your beautiful lips, your little nose,
your perfect fingers and your tiny toes.
I spent hours just taking them in,
my face plastered with a ridiculous grin.
For although you were born sleeping,
and I knew I should be weeping,
I was just so proud of you, my little girl,
I knew you would never grow a curl,
or look at me with a beautiful smile,
you’d been in my world only a little while,
but you’ll always be my first born child.
For though my life plans will be restyled,
and I’ll never get to push you on the swings in the park,
or protect you from the monsters that you see in the dark,
I can’t take you for walks in your new pushchair,
or even brush the tangles out of your hair,
I won’t ever take you to school,
or watch you swim your first length of the pool,
in-spite of it all, I have to admit
my life is better for having you in it.
You have made me see that when life gets tough,
you stick it out, even though it seems rough.
I can celebrate your life that should have been,
as long as I have people on which to lean.
Life will never get that bad,
I can never be as sad,
so I take each day as it comes,
I don’t make a fanfare or sound the drums.
I just aim to honour you in all I do,
I want to make you as proud of me, as I am of you.

Click here to read the full story.

Early Morning Confusion

I woke up early for some reason this morning, the cat was probably banging around, but like normal, I checked my morning Facebook to see it anything exciting had happened and saw something that would stop me going back to sleep.
It wasn’t news, it wasn’t anything tragic, it wasn’t anything exciting, just a picture of a face I knew holding a baby. Now I should probably explain, i knew this person for about a year just under a year ago, I am not Facebook friends with this person but we have a lot of mutual friends and therefore when one of them liked the photo it popped up in my newsfeed.
A little bit of detective work told me this baby was born sometime at the end of November/beginning of December – A couple of months after my Effy should have been born.
I don’t know why this stirred such ridiculous emotions in me, that she was pregnant at the same time as I had been, that when I announced, she was also pregnant but too early on to tell anyone, or when I lost Effy, she had probably just announced. One of the happiest moments of her life at the same time as the worst of mine.
I found myself flicking through her photos, not looking at what her baby was like, how her family was together, but looking at her baby and seeing what mine should have been like, how big she would have been at three months, how I should have pictures of us in the park, with her in a Christmas suit, with her winter coat on to keep her warm.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent this lady having her baby at all, she deserves it, but I think it must have been the shock of not knowing she was pregnant at all to seeing her with a three month old. I suppose I should expect it, having shut myself out of the pregnancy world for so long, scrolling past any Facebook post that mentioned babies, scans or pregnancy. So long infact, someone could have got pregnant and given birth in the time!

Losing a baby has made me change my views, I now walk down the street and flinch when I see a pregnant person. I find myself wondering if it’s their first, whether they have ever lost a child or whether they have 6 kids at home all waiting for tea. I can’t just admire pregnancy for the wonderful gift it is, my brain wants to know everything, but at the same time nothing.
But my brain has also become paranoid. When I catch another woman looking at my bump, I don’t think that they’re just guessing how far along I am, or that they’re disapproving because I’m a bit young, I instantly wonder if maybe they’re silently hating me for being pregnant when they’re not, just as I felt in the months after I lost her. I want to walk round with a sign over my head telling people what has happened. Screaming that I deserve this.

I’m sure that my head will calm down, that maybe when I have given birth and the raging hormones have settled down a bit, maybe when I have my rainbow baby I’ll be able to look at the world rationally again, but until then every pregnancy is either a mockery at my loss or a challenge, and I hate feeling like that.
Every pregnancy is different, faces different challenges and every pregnancy deserves a positive outcome. I don’t once wish that someone else went through what I did instead of me, that wouldn’t be fair, I just spend my days wondering how life would be different if it hadn’t happened to me.

Hospital Heartache

Last night on channel 4 there was a half hour Dispatches program that sent my twitter feed into a frenzy. Admittedly my twitter feed is made up of an equal split between pregnant people and people who have experienced pregnancy loss, therefore both have been or could be affected by the issues raised, so it was likely to cause quite a stir.
The program was presented by Amanda Holden and looked at the way that babies bodies were dealt with following miscarriage. They discovered that, before 13weeks especially, many hospitals found it acceptable to have the babies incinerated with the days waste, without giving the parents any other options. A practice that, because of the program, is not happening any more. They also touched upon hospital organised burials and how the plots can be shared, and removal of tissues for postmortem, and how some hospitals keep these without parents permission.

This program however, got me thinking about my own experience, and how although those areas of my care was dealt with better, there were other parts of my care that left a lot to be desired.

When I lost my little girl I was 21 weeks along, by which point I think they realise that incineration isn’t an option. I was given a few options, which were discussed with me by a very flustered hospital chaplain who, after making us wait for her all day and being chased up by the nurses multiple times, burst in at 5pm announcing she had had a busy day and hadn’t had a chance to look at my notes yet so if I could just tell her why I was there… After I’d explained, feeling incredibly awkward and not sure how much she needed to know, she started to fill in the paperwork, asking me whether I’d like a communal burial or cremation, where you never get told when or where your baby is buried apart from that it would be in this one burial woodland, an individual burial or cremation where you don’t want to know when it is, or where you want to know the time and place but not come, or finally, the option I went for, attending. We chose a burial. We then asked where there are cemeterys, not having had anyone die and need to be buried, grandparents not living this way and all being cremated. She then told us she didn’t live in the area but travelled a long way to the hospital for work so she basically told us she didn’t know. She told us that most people go for the big city centre one, but then she promptly told us that the children’s area is “tacky” with lots of wind chimes and pinwheels and that she would recommend us going and having a look first. That left us with the woodland burial which we had already looked round and discounted as it was all a bit too natural, plots weren’t permanently marked, or even in rows, so I have no idea how they keep exact track of the plots. She looked at us a bit blankly at this point, clearly she didn’t have a clue what to say about where we should try, until thankfully mum remembered our local parish cemetery, the chaplain didn’t look sure at all, filling me with so much confidence that I went online and looked up the phone number for the parish myself once she’d gone, writing it down for the nurses to pass on to her.
When I was being discharged a nurse asked if we had sorted everything to do with the funeral and we explained we were less than impressed with the chaplains conduct and professionalism, and the nurse did infact switch our care to a different chaplain, who atleast when I talked to her on the phone started with I’m sorry for your loss. Words the other chaplain never even uttered. However, it wasn’t until I met a third chaplain, when I turned up to pick up the footprints and photos the hospital had taken, that he mentioned the baby remembrance book that is at the back of the hospital chapel, he also told us about remembrance services they hold there for babies who are lost, facts that although entirely relevant, were not even touched upon by the previous two chaplains.
Having said all this I was incredibly grateful for what the hospital did sort out. They organised for my daughter to be taken to a funeral director and the funeral director, completely funded by the hospital, organised the funeral that we wanted in the cemetery we wanted and the lady, again, was very sympathetic.
On the whole, though they clearly have things in place, I didn’t feel like anyone was aware of everything, I think I may have finally got to the bottom of what was available to me, but on the day I needed things spelt out simply and I needed words of sympathy, I got a bumbling chaplain who didn’t fill me with any confidence that I would be able to get what I wanted for my daughter.

My experience of labour was just as confusing and isolating. I was told they always induce patients at the weekend, I found out I’d lost the baby on the Wednesday and was given a tablet and told to come back on the Saturday, by which point, she had been dead inside me for a week. I can understand that that was how they guarantee a room is available on the gynaecology ward, however, there are less staff at the weekend, leading, as I found out, to care that was pretty much non existant. I turned up on the Saturday and was greeted by a lovely nurse who, though clearly didn’t know what to say, put an arm around me and explained what would happen. She then put a tablet inside me and left. Apart from the nurses occasionally popping their heads round the door to see if my waters had broken yet, or coming in every 6 hours to give me another tablet, I didn’t see anyone all day.
Baring in mind that at 21weeks, with my first child I had never been to an antenatal class in my life, I had no idea about breathing through contractions, apart from what I’d watched on One Born Every Minute, which honestly just sounds like a lot of mooing to me. I had been told to hold off painkillers until I really needed them as the pain would get a lot worse, I have a relatively high pain threshold so waited until past midnight when the contractions were really bad, and I was throwing myself around the room not knowing what to do, the pain was so bad, we asked for something for the pain and were told they’d get a doctor to come and give me an injection. No doctor showed up. We asked again and the doctor had been called to an emergency and there was only one doctor on that night. So I was left, on my own, in agony. I tried to walk to the toilet, my fiancé supported my entire body weight the entire way and I passed out on the bathroom floor from the pain. The crash button was pressed and they got me back on my bed, a nurse talked me through the next contraction, which was better, then she left. The next contraction was just as bad, then the gas and air turned up, after 3 breaths on it I passed out and within seconds of coming round I told them baby was coming. No one had even thought to check. I had been in labour for over 12hours and apart from putting the tablet in once in that time, no one was checking what was happening down there. I delivered her in her sack and she was instantly taken away to be cleaned up and she was brought back. At which time everyone left and no one came back until 9am the next morning. The whole experience was so traumatic and it was like I was renting a room from the hospital. When you go into labour with a live baby they will keep an eye on you, but to me atleast, it seemed like they just wanted me to deliver and leave, as if it wasn’t a birth, as if it wasn’t painful, as if I didn’t have all the maternal hormones running around me and no baby to take home, as if I didn’t need more emotional support than a mother with a happy ending.

The nurse came in to discharge me within half an hour of taking my daughter away. She gave me a weeks worth of tablets to stop infection, and told me not to have sex for four weeks and to avoid swimming pools. I was then sent on my merry way. In the weeks that followed I picked up on a few things I reckon she should have warned me about, that the bleeding didn’t stop any time soon, that it was heavy for weeks, then got lighter to only get heavier again. I didn’t return to normal for months. Then there was the fact I started lactating. Obviously my body had been pumped full of labour hormones and my body thought I had a baby to feed. It all made sense, but being only halfway through my pregnancy I didn’t even consider it. When my boobs started to leak, and hurt like bees were constantly stinging them I worked out for myself what was happening, but I had had no warning. Surely these simple things should be mentioned before a patient leaves?

When I left the hospital having delivered my daughter and had to let a nurse take her away from me, for me to never hold again, I was given nothing about what to do now. I had noticed when I read the leaflet about post-mortems that there were support numbers in the back, but the leaflet was taken away with my forms, never to be seen again. I left that hospital with empty arms and no one told me there was anywhere for me to turn. I spent weeks and months getting through it slowly, feeling completely on my own. Hating everyone who was pregnant, turning the radio and TV off when the royal babies birth was mentioned and still to this day I cannot watch One Born Every Minute. I felt like an awful person for feeling like that. I spent months not knowing where to talk to people or where to find others. I didn’t want to google it incase something I didn’t want to read popped up. I didn’t want to have to search for help. All I wanted was a list of safe places that I could turn to. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my rainbow baby that the answer popped up on my Facebook news feed. A group called “Sweet Dreams Our Angels” a group for mothers like me. A group where everyone understood, where they shared their stories and where people admitted they were jealous of pregnant people too. Suddenly, after six months of feeling completely isolated, I knew I was normal, that I was hurting, but that it was NORMAL. I don’t know if it is hospital policy to give leaflets and they forgot or maybe ran out when it came to me, but it’s a dangerous place to leave someone. Grieving like they’ve never grieved before and completely isolated. If I hadn’t had my family around me I wouldn’t have got through it.

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is my first Mother’s Day as a member of the mummy’s club. The fact I won’t be spending the day with my daughter doesn’t make it any less of an important day for me.

My fiancé bought me a bunch of flowers for the day – I can’t help thinking that had my daughter been here that would have been a box of chocolates or a necklace that he would have presented to me on Sunday morning with my 6 month old smiling daughter there, on my bed opening the present with me, along with breakfast in bed.
Instead I am going to take the roses out of the bunch of flowers I was given and take them down to the graveyard for her, something I always do when there are pink roses in a bunch of flowers I am given.


Mother’s Day isn’t going to be a sad day for me though, it will be hard going to the graveyard, but I will spend the rest of the day with my own mum, Effy-Mae’s grandmother, spoiling her and making her feel as special as I should be feeling – as I am feeling, with my son in my belly kicking away I feel like every day he kicks is Mother’s Day.

We didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day last year when I was pregnant with Effy-Mae, we figured we would have plenty of time for that in the years to come, and to keep it fair we won’t celebrate it for Jackson until next year, when he is in my arms and can celebrate it with me, but I know in my heart I’m already a mum to two children.

Just because my daughter isn’t here to celebrate the day with me doesn’t make me any less of a mother, and that makes tomorrow just as much about me as it is about those lucky mums who get to kiss their children goodnight.

Legally She Didn’t Exist

In the eyes of the law my daughter didn’t exist.
There is no birth certificate, no death certificate, no pieces of paper to say that I gave birth to a little human and that she had been on this earth for 21 weeks filling her parents and our families with hope and excitement. If she had held on for another 3 weeks she would have been classed as stillborn meaning that she was a viable baby, but my little girl was, in the eyes of the law, a foetus.

When I have doctors appointments now, my daughter, those 21 weeks, that hope, those dreams, is ‘my last pregnancy’ or IUD (intrauterine death) never a name. Occasionally the doctor will ask if she was a girl or boy, but that is as close as they come to acknowledging that she was a tiny human. She has been lumped into my old medical records and that’s where she will stay forever. She is part of my past, but to them she wasn’t her own person. The fact that her brief appearance in this world has changed my life forever is nothing. I cannot believe that doctors who have seen babies miscarried late can still class them as foetuses. They look like tiny humans, with hands and feet and fingers and toes and even a tiny nose. Just because if she had been born alive she wouldn’t have survived in the world doesn’t mean she didn’t exist.

I sit in a dilemma when a form or questionnaire asks if this pregnancy is my first. The logical part of my brain says that it is – I never got to buy baby food for her, there isn’t another child running around my house, and if I answer with no, they will probably ask about her, ask how old she is and what nappies I buy for her, ask me questions I cannot answer, but the defiant part of my brain says that no he isn’t my first child. She is and always will have that title, and he will always have a big sister. Maybe I’d feel better about answering yes if I had been able to register her as having existed. Maybe if the law acknowledged her existence I could then be more defiant about it. As it goes I say he isn’t my first, unless that changes the next question to be about her, then I go back and change my answer.

I’m in no way saying that the pain would have been any less if I had a piece of paper to say she existed, but I have a box of memories, and a heart full of love for my daughter who no family tree will know existed, who, if someone in the future looks up their ancestors, she won’t be there. I will, of course, keep her memory alive. Her little brother will know all about her, will visit her grave with us, she will become part of him as much as she is part of us. She is his big sister and I will never let anyone forget about her, but after I’m gone who’s to say my children will keep her memory alive? Will she just fade into the past? A part of his childhood that didn’t really exist? She will have a gravestone, her name hewn into granite, and that will last, but people won’t know who she was, that she was loved so deeply. They can’t trace her anywhere, her gravestone will be a dead end, not a key to her life. That thought terrifies me, but I don’t know how to stop her memory fading away from the world.


Knitting, 24 Week Growth Scan and Turning 24 Weeks

I had been slacking a little bit on my knitting – I knew the pattern I wanted to do and had even bought the wool, I just hadn’t got round to starting it, however, once I’d started it came together very quickly and in about three evenings I had managed to knit my first ever piece of clothing – a very cute newborn cardigan. I am so proud of it – it took just over 2 50g balls of wool, which price wise puts it at about £6 which isn’t too bad.

‘Newborn Set’ from the DK book ‘Baby and Toddler Knits Made Easy’

I’m not sure what to knit next. I have a few patterns in mind that I want to knit, but I either need to buy different wool for them or get other bits and pieces in. I shall keep scouring the internet for patterns that make me squeal with cuteness!

Yesterday I went for my 24 week scan – because the particular clinic I attend is on a Thursday and my weeks change on a Friday I was only 23 weeks 6 days meaning that  they couldn’t plot sizes on the graph which annoyingly starts at 24 weeks!
The scan itself was very quick, she quickly found him, took some photos then proceeded to measure his head circumference, abdomen circumference and femur length, she told me my placenta is high anterior and that the fluid levels are normal. I asked how he was laying and she told me that his head was in my pelvis, but not to worry he had plenty of room to move around.

After the scan I was sent to wait to see the consultant and this took a good hour! Basically she just told us what the sonographer had already said, that baby was measuring well, and she also told us that she was going to put a note on my file that baby needs to be checked for an overactive thyroid as soon as he is born, as unfortunately it’s possible it will have been passed on and there is nothing I can do to prevent it. Worryingly the note says “NICU” hopefully that’s just routine and not as scary as it sounds!
After this she asked if we had any questions, which we didn’t, and then that she would sort out so I could book my next scan (which I assumed would be in 4 weeks). When I turned up at reception she booked me in for two weeks, which we only realised when I noticed my name was already in the book at a different time (for my clinic only endocrinology appointment). I told her that the scan should be in another two weeks after that and she told me the form she had been given said scan in 2 weeks! She went to check and the consultant confirmed that she wanted another scan in 2 weeks. She hadn’t mentioned this to us so I’m assuming there isn’t a particular reason for halving the gap between these scans – I’m not complaining, they can check on him as much as they like, but I’m just hoping they didn’t find something they’re not telling me about. So that should be interesting on May 1st to see what happens!

Today I turned 24 weeks and Jackson is now viable. Phew! It’s a milestone that in reality probably means nothing as I didn’t deliver Effy-Mae alive, she passed inside me, so if a similar situation arose it wouldn’t matter that Jackson can now survive outside, but in my head it’s a time I’ve been waiting for. Hopefully I get to carry my little man up to 40 weeks, and every week he stays alive we are another week closer to that, but atleast if he were to pass now he would be recognised as having lived. He would be classed as stillborn rather than a miscarriage, and that small distinction instantly (wrongly) changes how people see your loss. A miscarriage is often heard by doctors and people on the street and it’s just a late period, doctors all assume when they haven’t read my notes that it was an early miscarriage and that nothing changed, when infact my whole world did, but stillbirth means something different. People start seeing stillbirth as a baby who died rather than a foetus, an idea of a baby, even though in reality there could be as little as a day difference between a miscarriage at 23 weeks 6 days and a stillbirth at 24 weeks.
ANYWAY, enough of this cheerful subject – Jackson is kicking away inside me reminding me he is still here and fighting so I should stop dwelling on what ifs and concentrate on the little man growing inside me.

A Year On

It’s been a whole year since the worst day of my life and I can still remember every detail of it like it was yesterday.

I have come a long way since then, I am now pregnant with Effy-Maes little brother, Jackson Theo, and the pregnancy is going well, but there are days where I wake up and feel a kick in my tummy and I am back to a year ago, still pregnant with my first baby, excited, innocent, and I can almost forget the whole last year has happened. That is, until I open my eyes and suddenly it all comes flooding back.

My pregnancy with Effy-Mae was perfect. I had morning sickness – ok a lot of  morning sickness, and that prevented me enjoying the pregnancy as I should have, I even gave up my job I was feeling so terrible with it. But all the midwife appointments and scans showed everything was progressing normally. I was a normal first time mum, excited and wanted to set up my nursery. I was desperate for a little girl, and when she kept her legs crossed for the 20 week scan we booked in for a private scan so we could find out what we were having so I could go on a shopping spree and deck out the nursery in either pink or blue. But a year ago today, at 21 weeks pregnant, I was told my baby had no heartbeat. I wouldn’t need a nursery, I wouldn’t need that private scan, I would be meeting my sleeping baby in a few days time.

Since that day I have never known how to write her dates down. More down to not knowing than anything else, the date I have chosen to use is that she was born sleeping on 02/06/13. I had infact lost her a few days before I found out, but was completely unaware at the time, still out shopping for a sensible 5 door family car, which I purchased the day before I found out. I found out I had lost her on 29th May 2013, and delivered her on 2nd of June 2013. Her death date is before her birth date, and I don’t even know her exact death date. Her movements weren’t very defined and it took me a few days to realise something was wrong, I thought to start with maybe I hadn’t actually been feeling her move at all (the movements still felt like gas bubbles at this point) but only when I hadn’t felt anything for a few days did I realise that they had infact been her moving and that I hadn’t been feeling them for a few days. At that point my maternal instinct had kicked in and I knew there was something wrong – I couldn’t sleep the night before I found out.

And that brings me on to how to mark her birthday this year which is coming up in a few days time. I shall of course take flowers to her, but I don’t know if I should be doing more than that. On her first birthday I should be making a cake and dressing her in a pretty party dress and having a little gathering of friends and giving her presents, but that’s a life that could have – should have been. I’m not sure I want to make her a cake to be eaten without her, and her grave doesn’t need any more ornaments. Really she needs a headstone, but I cannot decide what to write on it. It seems wrong to be celebrating her birthday without her, but it’s not like I have much choice.

Even though her birthday technically is 2nd June, she wasn’t due until 8th October, and I judge how old she should be by her due date, for example, when Jackson is due on 8th August she would be 10 months old, sitting up, smiling, however she will have been born and buried for a year and 2 months.

I have felt my mood slipping, from what was a fairly optimistic and hopeful, positive pregnancy glow, pretty much since the beginning of May. I’m trying not to let it get me down too much, I’m trying to enjoy this pregnancy, as well as keeping Effy-Maes memory alive, but May and June will always be hard months for me. May, the month I lost her, June the month I gave birth and buried her.

“Make it through the hardest storm and bad weather”

“She took the light and left me in the dark, she left me with a broken heart, now I’m on my own, if anybody sees her, shine a light on her.”

We Didn’t Cope, Our Relationship Didn’t Survive.

Losing a child has to be one of the hardest things for a couple to go through. Someone that was part of each of them and that was to be part of both of their lives has gone so suddenly and they each grieve differently for the same loss.
From my observations this can do one of two things to a couple, it can either bring them closer together, a shared experience, a need to protect each other and look after one another, or it can drive them apart, fuelled by misunderstanding and fear of the future.

My experience is that it has driven us apart.

Initially it brought us closer together, the actual birth was a bonding experience for us, but soon after that the cracks began to show. In the days and weeks that followed I withdrew emotionally and started being practical about things, doing what needed to be done. It’s how I’ve always dealt with things – I set my mind to the funeral and what I wanted, thinking about who I needed to talk to and what I needed to get, he withdrew and didn’t want to think about it. Ignored that the funeral had to happen and preferred to pretend that it didn’t. To me that felt like he was ignoring what had happened and leaving everything to me. At that moment in time we needed each other more than ever but neither of us could be there for the other.

After the funeral we pulled ourselves together and pulled together as a couple. I moved out of my parents house into the house I had bought before we got together and had been renovating in time for our baby’s arrival, but he refused to move in until it was completely finished, so I moved into what was once meant to be my family home on my own. I found this hard to understand, I expected him to want to move in, after all it was him that wanted to get engaged a few months into our relationship, and he who wanted to have a baby with me in the first place. He had started to change even then.
Initially he spent his days off work at the house with me, this was nice, we got to see more of each other and got to know each other again. We had both changed through the experience we had been through but we seemed to get back on track, we even decided to get a cat, a fluffy baby, something to fill the silence of the house, something to pour our affections into, but soon after we got her I fell pregnant, and from here on out our relationship fell quickly and irrevocably apart.

We agreed, after the postmortem results revealed my Antiphospholipid syndrome potentially caused her death, and we had established that this was treatable, that we would try again. I was nervous, not wanting to replace my daughter and wasn’t sure how to feel about trying again, he, however pushed for it and I fell pregnant after just three months of trying. I couldn’t believe it could have happened so quickly, but asked him to bring me a test and sure enough it instantly showed up positive. I was over the moon as soon as I saw the line, all worries bubbling to the surface but well overshadowed by the sheer joy of the little life that was already growing inside me. I bounded into the lounge instantly to tell him, expecting a reaction to rival mine, to be met with stony silence. He literally didn’t react to the news. No congratulations or are you sure or even a smile. He sat. His silence hit me like a wall. I was totally shocked at his reaction. He had been the one pushing me to try. I wasn’t sure I was ready, but I was pregnant so I had to be! I left him sat there so I could ring my parents hoping someone would be excited, and they didn’t let me down, they were over the moon that they were to be grandparents again, and hopefully this time hold their grandchild. My fiancé remained sitting not saying anything.

That simple non-reaction was the beginning of the end.

From then on he stopped coming round every day off, I’d be lucky if I saw him every couple of weeks, he didn’t tell anyone, not even his best friend, I was pregnant until I was 20 weeks and even then it was a small Facebook announcement whereas I’d been putting up every scan picture everywhere I could, desperate to enjoy every minute of this pregnancy knowing all too well it could end any minute.
He didn’t seem keen with coming to early midwife appointments either and decided to leave it up to me to tell him whether he should come. I told him that wasn’t on and from then he decided to come to every one but I never felt like he was actually there, he didn’t listen and didn’t seem to care. Midwives and doctors picked up on it when they asked us questions and he had to ask them to repeat themselves or refused to ask questions.

I have now reached 7 months pregnant and we have drifted so far apart I cannot see a way back. Our two year relationship has fallen apart. On the anniversary of finding out we had lost our daughter we lost our relationship.

Miscarriage has slowly broken our relationship. Grief has festered around it slowly breaking down everything we had. How we dealt with my rainbow pregnancy was the final straw, our grief made us see it differently and that stopped us seeing eye to eye. I needed to be a mum to this life growing inside me. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I was protective of him, I wanted to shield him from his dads unexcitement. I need this little baby, not to replace my daughter but I need someone to love, he said he did too, but when faced with the reality of another baby he couldn’t cope with it. Only time will tell how he will cope when Jackson finally arrives, whether he will step up and be a dad or whether he will back right off unable to cope with the fact this child is not Effy-Mae. Either way me and my little man will cope, we will be just fine together, a continuation of how it has been the whole pregnancy.

  • An 'Angel Baby' is a baby lost during pregnancy or early childhood, who sleeps in the clouds instead of our arms.

    A 'Rainbow Baby' is a baby born following the loss of an 'Angel Baby', a beacon of hope after a storm, while not denying the storm happened.

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