2 week’s on and life is going on!

The world and it’s sister has decided to procreate! Everywhere I turn, I see or hear of someone who will be welcoming a new life into the world, and the stark reality that I will not hits me all over again.

It has been two weeks since we said goodbye to our little one. I am finding it more and more difficult to say I lost our baby. I lose my keys, I lose my phone, I feel like I am losing my mind occasionally but to say I lost our baby still does not sit well with me. I didn’t put it some where and forget. Our baby died.

I have come to the realisation that it is OK to put it in those terms. I had for a time, felt bad for thinking of it like that. I felt bad for saying our baby died. As if, because it had not been born, I had no right to say that it had died. That only people who have reached a certain point, a certain number of weeks or even given birth could say their baby died. That someone like me could not use that term. For the most part, nobody even knew we were having a baby. How could I now say our baby died!

Well, I can. I have decided that I can. I feel like it makes it real. That it wasn’t some secret event. I feel like I can own my story now. I feel like talking about it and saying it out loud actually validates, that for a point in time our baby existed.

I want to shout about it. To tell the world what has happened. That by talking and telling I am somehow giving life to our child. That if I talk about it, I am giving it a place in this world. That we won’t forget about it. That others won’t forget about it. I feel like I am dealing with it……. until I am reminded that this doesn’t happen to everyone.

It feels like every day I am seeing someone announce they are expecting. It feels like taking a bullet every time. I see their scan pictures on social media. I see their cute announcement photo’s. I see smiling girls hugging tiny bumps. I see myself in all of them. We had not talked about how we would tell people our news. We had no big plan about how we would make our lovely announcement. But now that I see it happening for everyone else, I see that I should be doing the same thing. I should be hugging a tiny bump.

And for every announcement and scan I see, my heart stops for a second. I feel envy! I shouldn’t. I feel scared for them. I shouldn’t. I feel angry. I shouldn’t. I feel happy. Above all I feel sad. Sad because it should be me. Sad because our babies would be around the same age. Sad because nobody would know my little baby. Not even me.

Over the past weeks it really hit home how miscarriage is such an off topic conversation. A sort of don’t ask don’t tell subject. We live in a society where we keep our pregnancies secret until it’s “safe to tell” We don’t talk about it before a certain number of weeks “just in case something happens”…….. Well ya know what? I think we are wrong!

What happens if we don’t tell and something does go wrong? Where do we turn? Who do we look to for advice? Who can we speak to for a comforting ear? If nobody knows, how can we ask the people we love for support? The death of a baby, in my opinion, feels the same whether it is at 5 weeks or 35 weeks. So why not talk about it. Why keep it to whispers?

Let’s change the conversation……….Let’s talk to all mothers. To the mothers who are posting bump and scan pics. And let’s talk to the mothers who wish they were.

 

 

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.

 

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth……..

This morning, rather unexpectedly I was transported back to that faithful morning my lovely daughter was born……….

My sister saw a rather funny article on Facebook and knowing that we had both had our children via c-section she tagged me in it to remind me of the things people don’t tell you about having a cesarean. However yet again, it was missing one glaring piece of information. Information that is so precious, I have had no problem sharing with any woman who asks me “what was the section like” because ya know what? They should know!

My sister had 3 babies before me, all via cesarean. My sister in law had 2 babies before me, both via cesarean. Two of my friends had children before me, both via cesarean and guess how many filled me in on the full experience? ZERO! Yep that’s right, I heard all about the planned ones, and the emergency ones. I heard about getting the spinal, getting the catheter, the no eating, no drinking, no getting out of bed. To be fair I think some woman feel what you don’t know wont hurt you. Or its better to just go with the flow, however that is not me. You see I wanted the in’s and out’s. I feel like if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The idea that I may not deliver my daughter myself was thrown about by the team in the hospital around week 32. It was a gradual conversation that got more and more concrete as my final weeks crept in. By week 38 I knew that my faith was sealed and by week 39 I knew my c-section date. Now having heard whispers of what it was all about I felt quietly confident about what would happen on the day. In fact my nerves were somewhat kept at bay by knowing just about every step that would happen. I was wrong. Putting aside the fact I had complications with my spinal, which resulted in my planned c-section becoming an emergency, it still fit the bill of everything I expected. Now don’t get me wrong, you can hear all about it but until you are there living it you don’t know! The only beauty is you don’t care. For me it was so easy to get swept up in awe of my little girl, it was easy to ignore the cold hands of the midwife fondling my boobies while attaching my little darling to what were once my pride and joy’s. It was simple to forget that my husband was on the phone to his mother telling her what a miracle it was, as he held what looked like a Chinese take-away carton up to my face so I could throw up into it without having to sit up! It was a breeze to be only able to hold my baby when someone handed her to me, as I couldn’t lift her myself. In fact because of the pain killers that first day, I forgot that what I had gone through was major abdominal surgery. And ya know what? I had prepared myself for it all. Thanks to the wise guidance of my friends and family nothing that day phased me. The next day however….. well that phased me!

You see, the information that my family and friends had given me, while good, was lacking in a vital piece of the picture. The same information had any of those woman decided to share, would have been most welcome and my “morning after” may not have been cloaked in shock, disappointment and horror. Information that I have shared with every woman who has asked me about the experience since. Information that if I have another child the same way, I will have prepared myself for and be ready to meet it next time round without being completely horrified!

I was awoken the day after the birth of my daughter by two older women pulling back the curtain screen with large smiles on their faces and “oohhs” and “aahhs” at my little bundle all wrapped up in the cot next to me. These “oohhs” and “aahhs” didn’t last long. In a matter of seconds they had pushed that little cot aside and each taken a spot either side of my bed. “Now dear, its time to get you up and freshen up” Having spent the last 17 hours lying down in this bed the words “get up” and “freshen up” were music to my ears. I began thinking about where my body wash was, where I had left my towels, where was that new facecloth and sponge that I bought special for just this moment, but those thoughts did not last long…….. It was back down to earth with a bang! One of the ladies began pulling away the bed sheets while the other rooted around in a tray they had taken into the room with them. Then they were in, all guns blazing, from the waist down, they were in business. Now I still haven’t been able to decide what they used but if I could describe it in very simplistic terms, I would say imagine a Lucozade sport bottle! Take a minute and picture it. Now fill it with water!………. Now imagine some sort of cloth on a stick!…… Is the experience becoming any clearer? While one sprayed with the “Lucozade bottle” the other gave a little rub around and a little pat down to dry me with paper towels. Then came the realisation that I had a child the day before. And only at this point did I remember that I did not have the ability to tend to myself, so something else must have taken care of that for me for the last 17 hours. Something else had taken care of it. Now I am not sure if anyone has ever house trained a puppy. If you have, you may have come across what you and I may know as Puppy Training Mats. Well let me tell you, these are clearly a very versatile invention, because just as they finished with the Lucozade bottle and the rag on a stick they began to roll me side to side and remove yesterday’s training mats for new ones! Does anyone remember a program on TV, The Chuckle Brothers, “to you, to me, to you, to me” you get the idea anyway, until I was back in the same position that I started, albeit with my pillows propped behind me. I was then handed my toothbrush, a small plastic cup of water and another of these Chinese take-away foil cartons and told to brush. After a half hearted attempt at running the toothbrush around my mouth they took it back off me, pulled the nightdress over my head and replaced it with a new one, tucked the blankets back around me and here’s the kicker……. One of these nice women looked me dead in the face and said “now, do ya feel lovely”

Did I feel lovely? Lovely is not a word to describe it. Shocked? Maybe. Embarrassed? Possibly. Lovely? Nope! You see nobody had told me to expect this. Not one person told me to expect what I have come to name “The vajayjay car wash” Had I have known about this vajayjay car wash I would have taken the words “freshen up” very loosely when that nice woman said it to me. I would have mentally prepared myself for the indignation of two 50 something year old woman scrubbing my lower regions. But I didn’t know. Because not one woman I have met who has had a c-section has mentioned it to me. Alas that is not me. I have been sure to mention it to them. In fact they have been known to laugh uncontrollably when I do mention it. None of them can tell me why they didn’t talk about it after. Just that they didn’t. Some have said, they blocked it from their minds, others have said they are embarrassed. Some have even said they didn’t know if it happened to everyone so were afraid to say. What do I say to these woman…….. Have no fear, I will sing the song of our people for you. I will put to rest those section’s are handy comments. I will ward off those too posh to push sayings. I will remind these woman that while they took showers and ate tea and toast, you were in fact lying there oblivious to what was to come the next morning.

So there you have it. The c-section information that people “forget” to mention. Now some might say “so what” some may even think I am being dramatic, but to those people I ask……. Have you had The Vajayjay Cash Wash? Because let me tell you, you will never look at a Lucozade Sport bottle the same way again!