It was real for us…….

It was the strangest thing. Nothing had really changed. People went to work, took their children to school, met with friends, cleaned their homes, went to the cinema, drank wine the list was never ending. And there I was going about my day as if nothing had changed for me either. But it had. I had the most profound feeling of loss. But it was not a loss I felt or even feel I can really share. Was it even real to anyone else? I couldn’t see that it was. They went about their day’s. They went about their lives. They had kind words for us. They made phone calls, and checked in. But was it real for them?

It was real for me……. it was real for us. We had discussed names and gender. I had thought about hair colour, eye colour what features they would have. I imagined having one toddler, one baby. I imagined school runs and lazy days in the garden. I pictured Christmas and trips away. I imagined telling our friends, maternity clothes, sleeping arrangements, child care. It was happening. It was all real, until it wasn’t.

I became a little confident. I had one child. She was here, alive, healthy. I had done it before. The second would be just the same. Of course I knew the percentages and statistics. Of course I did, but I had a child. Bad things happen to other people. Even writing it down I see how naive I was to imagine that I could be immune. But in those early day’s of tiredness and nausea and sore boobs and hunger you place any doubt to the back of your mind, remove the thought that you are as vulnerable as any other woman. We had started to trickle our news out to those who were closest to us. We felt safe. We were happy to share with our nearest and dearest knowing they would be as pleased for us as we were for ourselves.

I was one of the first appointments that morning. This made us happy. It meant that my husband could be there before going to work. It meant no long waits as the day pushed on and appointments ran over. It meant we got to see our little baby sooner. It is a very strange thing a “booking appointment.” Before you even meet a doctor you have had conversations about breast feeding and 20 week appointments. You have signed forms and taken blood. Its real. Its happening…….. and then the scan. I wish I wasn’t so shocked. I wished I could have asked more questions. I wish I could remember every single detail and word that she used, but I cant. What I remember are the words “I can’t find a heartbeat” looking at the screen, I knew. There was no blinking dot. My baby did not have a heartbeat. I was not having this baby. I did not cry. In fact, I am not sure I had any reaction. I was cold.

I left the hospital and it was the strangest thing, I felt as though I could hear sound for the first time. It was as if I could hear in HD. Every sound was sharp and clear. Car horns, doors closing, children laughing, the pedestrian crossing, the sound of the church bell. I felt as though my body was empty and was filling up on sound. I wanted my mam. I was a child again. Something was going wrong and I was hurt and I wanted my mam. I cant remember what I said, I cant remember how I told her, I cant remember what she said to me. I just know I needed to tell my mam. I needed her to tell others so I would not have to. I wanted my bed. I wanted to go to bed and pull the covers over my head and stay there for all eternity. I wanted to cry…….. but I couldn’t.

I am a mam. It was lunchtime and I had a hungry toddler. I needed to make lunch. I needed to be a mam. I set about my day, doing what I knew needed to be done. I put on a wash. I made lunch. I filled the dishwasher. These jobs were all I had. These jobs are still all I have. My mobile rang, his mobile rang, the landline rang. All noise and sympathy. Offers to look after our daughter, offers to come and visit. Offers and noise and sympathy. I didn’t want any of them. I wanted my daughter here. In fact I never want her to be anywhere else again. I didn’t want sympathy, I wanted a baby. I didn’t want noise, I wanted silence to match what I felt inside. I wanted my day before. I wanted it to be Monday again. On Monday I had a husband at work and a daughter who spent her morning painting and I was having a baby. I wanted to rewind and for it to be Monday again and again and again.

Nothing looked different. I looked the same. I know I looked the same because I checked. I looked in the mirror to see if I looked different. I didn’t. I was the same. There is something very quite about losing a baby, without losing a baby. I had no pain. I felt well. I felt the same. I just had to wait. Wait for the inevitable. Wait one week to confirm what we knew. What they left us in no doubt over. Just wait. So we waited a week. And our phones got quieter, and the offers were less and the sympathetic words were already said and people lived. They went shopping, and went to dinner and cleaned their homes, and worked and all the while we stayed waiting. Was it ever real to them?

By day 7 I knew all I had to know about the next steps. “Dr Google” is great for information that others are too afraid or too sensitive to discuss with you. By day 7 I sat in the waiting room again. Waiting on a plan.What would happen now. What would be the next steps. I didn’t have to wait long. By day 7 my body had stepped in with its own plan. After confirmation scans and more information, we started out with 2. Only 1 ever grew. More heartache. I was again sent home to wait. This wait was different. I had pain. I was glad. Something physical to mirror how I felt. I waited and 12 days after our booking appointment I was back in the maternity ward. Walking into that lift I was reminded it would have been the same route I would have taken if I was dealt a different hand. The same lift that day after day mothers take full of apprehension and excitement. I was taking it full of fear and dread.

Hours past and Saturday night turned into Sunday morning and Pethidine took the edge off. We sat mostly in silence and waited. By mid Sunday morning it was all over. It was over and I was relieved. I didn’t want to feel relieved but I did. The wait was over. And then the reality was there. We had nothing. We walked away from the hospital with nothing. All the pain, for nothing. I had nothing to hold. I would never know what our baby looked like, how it smelled. How its skin felt. I would never feel the weight of our baby in my arms. Instead I felt the weight of a baby that never was.

And back home, life was going on. I logged on to social media and saw that nothing had changed. They were sharing jokes and posts about dinner. They were making plans and taking pictures of family days out and again I was reminded that it was only real for us.

We will always remember the 12th as the day we didn’t hear a heartbeat. We will always remember 12 days of waiting, the last 12 days I carried my baby. We will always remember that on the 12th day we said goodbye without really saying hello. 12 weeks that allowed us blissful highs and the darkest lows. Only a few would know about our baby that couldn’t be. Only a few would ever remember that for a few moments in time our baby existed. They would remember but they would forget too. They continue unchanged. Was it ever really real for them?

We will remember. We will never forget. We will be forever changed. It was real for us.



When you need to become his Mammy too!

The struggle between being a loving wife and being a realist is very much a real one! It has the ability to make you feel like you are lacking in any sort of empathy, while also clapping yourself on the back at how good you are at being an adult and getting stuff done! I yet again had another dose of this internal struggle last week when my husband came down with something! I call it “something” because the jury is still out on its actual diagnosis.

It really started to engulf my man around the midweek mark and by Wednesday afternoon I had an idea of what was in store. He went to work, which he always does, credit where it is due, he doesn’t take a sick day often. It was after he arrived home that evening that I knew I was in for a couple of days of what I like to call “Heisdyingosis” Now I am not sure you have ever met a man with “Heisdyingosis” but its like a new strain of Man Flu which has mutated into a flu/cold/sniffle that will wipe a man out with one sneeze. Or so is the case in my home. Now I like to play by the hard and fast rule of paracetamol, hot water and lemon and bed early, but my man has a different approach to “Heisdyingosis” (insert cold/flu for those with normal mindset) The main difference being, complaining!

Now to really understand “Heisdyingosis” you first need to know some of the symptoms:

  • Slow shuffle rather then normal walking pace
  • An adverse reaction to any hint of sarcasm
  • Downcast eye’s (think Droopy the cartoon hound)
  • A craving for affection
  • Over exaggerated sneezing/coughing

There is also a symptom which becomes ever more present if you have married an Irish Male who has an Irish Mother. You see in my experience they get the worst form of “Heisdyingosis” This is largely due to the fact that even at 35 years old, when Irish Son’s get sick, they want their Irish Mammy! Now having Mammy there herself is not essential, just so long as someone is there to play Mammy in his time of need. This is where my lovely husband looses out!

You see my husband is a “Mammy’s Boy” on the best of days. And to be fair, the woman is a saint! If he (I should say we!) needed anything, even at 2am, even if it meant her driving to the other side of the country the woman would do it! As all mothers would do I assume. The only difference is, my husband really likes being a “Mammy’s Boy” and really relishes the fact that she happily stands on her head for him whenever we pay a visit. But for me, I feel it has set a rather unfair expectation of what should be supplied when taking on the role of comforting him in his hour of need. (she says rolling her eyes!)

I am more of a “get on with it” kinda gal! And I relish a good sarcastic tone. These two things alone do not fair well with sick husband. And so after complaining and moaning and more complaining about his ailments he woke on Thursday morning with the overwhelming feeling that he MUST see a doctor! Overnight he had acquired a degree in medicine and insisted that it was now a chest infection, throat infection (I believe strep throat was thrown about) an ear infection and sinusitis. A visit to the Doctor was a must! I had to think fast! I had to really get creative with this one because I knew going to a doctor for “Heisdyingosis” was a waste of time and money and so I decided to jump into the role he had wanted me to play since last night………. Irish Mammy Mode. I summoned my best “Ah Pet” and sent him into the sitting room to have a sit down while I got him a nice hot drink. He bit the line, he really went for this new found mothering role I had adopted and I think he was delighted I was now giving him the attention he deserved! He shuffled off into the sitting room and gave a “I’m freezing” for good measure. It took every ounce of my strength to not point out to him that he was wearing only a t-shirt. Instead I decided to incorporate this comment into my plan. I produced the one thing every Irish Mammy has to hand…… the thermometer! “Do you mind if I take your temp, because you could have a fever” Sur he was only delighted! Knowing that the thermometer is the first thing I reach for when my child is sick, made him feel validated! He was right where I wanted him. No temperature (surprise surprise) but that didn’t matter, I took it. And I gave him a jumper to put on, and i gave him a hot drink! Plan firmly in motion. I mentioned about calling the doctor. He was all over it. I then slipped in that it would be tomorrow before they would be able to see him, but sur, I’d call anyway. He had not expected that. He was of the thought process that once you called the doctor you were in! I could see he was disappointed but it just ment I could put the next phase of my plan in gear! The pharmacist!

Let me state now, anyone who is living with someone who has “Heisdyingosis” THE PHARMACIST IS YOUR FRIEND! In fact you don’t even really have to speak to the pharmacist yourself, although it helps if you tell victim of “Heisdyingosis” that you did. I suggested, that because he would have to wait until tomorrow to see a doctor, I should try and comfort his suffering by going to the pharmacist and getting something to tide him over. Again, this pleased him. Before leaving the house I was coached in everything I had to tell the pharmacist. Every symptom, every ailment, every cough and sneeze and heaven forbid I forget to say “it might be getting into his chest” Armed with the information, I took myself off to Tesco, passed all the things I would normally stop to browse over, magazines, body lotions, new pjs…… there was no time today, I was on a mission. A lovely girl was stood waiting to chat with me (not the pharmacist) but that didn’t matter. “How can I help you?” without a second thought I said “I need a big bag of placebo for my husband who has a head cold or possibly a flu”

It was that easy. I decided to ask for things that I knew would come in handy filling up my medicine cabinet. Bottle of Exputex, Cold and Flu tabs and just as chance would have it, I spotted a packet of Tyrozets. They actually say on the box “antibiotic to help fight throat infection” They were made for “Heisdyingosis” Delighted with my purchases I turned on my heel and started to make my way out of the shop when I passed the vitamins! Chewable Throat Soothing Tablets……. “helps to support the immune system” RESULT! Combined them with a tub of ice-cream (for the throat) and I was out of there. 15 minutes and €24 later and I was on my way home. Now here is where you have to really push the final sell. Walking back into the house I summoned my best sympathetic face and produced my hoard to himself. Well he was only thrilled…… Thrilled to hear that “THE PHARMACIST” said that taking the Exputex would clear his chest, thrilled to hear that I had told them all about his symptoms and “THE PHARMACIST” said that if he didn’t have a fever he didn’t have an infection. Delighted with his cold and flu tabs because he couldn’t take one of them until bedtime because they make you drowsy (must be good then) and the Chewable Throat Soothing Tablets? Well “THE PHARMACIST” says that they will build up your immune system and have you right as rain in two days. But the icing on the cake the Tyrozets. I handed these over to him pointing out the word antibiotic on the box and that was the final ingredient needed in this stew of deceit. “THE PHARMACIST” said they would clear up any infection that was lingering. I felt I needed to throw in a last little bit of encouragement and went for “they said, two days is all it will take to have you back on your feet, and if not then see a doctor.” Now I knew that it was only Thursday. I also knew that the best cure for “Heisdyingosis” was a little placebo and I also knew that my lovely husband would recover from his cold within two days.

I was not wrong! By Friday afternoon he coming round and by Saturday it was business as usual. And not a moment too soon as my desire to play the role of “Mammy” was wearing thin and if I’m completely honest was abandoned totally by Thursday night. Now I don’t want to take away from the fact that he may have been poorly, and that he was not having the best of days but lets be honest anyone who has lived with a man who has ever had Man Flu or in my house “Heisdyingosis” knows, that if it was anyone else in the house with the same thing it would be called a head cold.

For anyone who might be wondering he has made a full recovery. And as a side note, if you are wondering about the ice-cream for his sore throat, I would suggest buying two tubs. Lord knows you will need your fill of the sweet stuff too!

disclaimer: All cases of Man Flu/Heisdyingosis must be assessed on a needs basis. All attempts to deceive victim of said conditions, as set out above, are done so at your own risk of being found out!