The monthly ‘gift’

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Usually it is met with tears, anger and fear. Every time I visit the toilet or feel a sensation, panic sets in. This month I wasn’t going to be caught out. I wasn’t going to let my brain fool me into thinking I was pregnant again. I’ve had 2 phantom pregnancies since my losses and you literally feel as though you are losing your mind. Because PMS and early pregnancy symptoms are so alike, it’s easy to get the two confused based on the desperate need and overwhelming longing for a baby! This time I was determined to not be fooled. So I tracked my symptoms and tuned in without thinking ‘I could be pregnant’. Yet it was very possible based on regularity and timing, but wouldn’t it be better to be surprised instead of disappointed?

The last week my boobs have swelled, I’ve had a lot of tummy pain and bloating. I looked 10 weeks pregnant on Monday! (The downside to having had a pregnancy is that the uterus swells back to a similar size every month- a painful reminder). This time I told myself that it was ‘aunty flo’ and expected it. So therefore today when she paid a ‘visit’ I wasn’t too upset or surprised. Yes it’s crap but at least my head is listening to my body now. At least I can figure it all out again. At least I am regular and at least I can (well based on previous attempts) I can get pregnant. It just needs to happen again and stick!

We’re at the 6 month mark now šŸ˜¦

The longest of stretches, but there is nothing medically we can do until it’s another 6 months! So we wait.

I’m now focusing my attention to planning 2017 in absence of a baby (unless it happens in the next 2 months I am unlikely to give birth this year!) We have a city break booked for our 3rd wedding anniversary which should be fun and hopefully if money allows we can go away in the summer too, somewhere hot! My focus is starting to shift now to trying to be happy regardless. It’s always hard, as I feel so ‘behind’. People don’t realise that at almost 33 yrs old I should have a 9 month old. But all they see is ‘just us 2’. I try and rationalise that in many ways nothings changed (I know that’s a lie but it helps me). So I try to erase the past year and imagine I am 31 again and just trying to conceive for the first time. I am naive, I am hopeful.

And still I am…

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I’m sorry I haven’t written in what is almost a year, the need comes and goes in sweeps and right now I have an hour to kill before yoga and a few things to express….

Looking back my last post was Charlie’s due date! Wow! It’s now 5th Jan and since then we have celebrated/mourned her 1st birthday/death day and 2nd xmas without her. I miscarried again (July @ 6weeks) and very little has moved forward as I so much wanted and needed it to.

Family feuds simmer and smoulder, the hurtful comments remain without apology and it seems thatĀ nothing will be the same again. I continue to be angry…so so ANGRY. Angry about her death, how crap our family have been, the hurtful things people have said and angry that my size 8/10 figure is back replacing a bump with abs! (For once in my life I don’t care about my abs, I want a baby in my belly!!)

A year on from her death and life is not what I expected. I’m not pregnant, I have no baby and I haven’t healed. Since the 2nd loss in July life has been TOUGH. We took a break from TTC (trying to conceive) for a while and now were back on ‘it’ but it’s taking so much longer than the last 2 times, we are frustrated and we are tired.

I am tired sometimes talking about her, our little girl. That sounds harsh, but I don’t want to be the lady whose baby died, but I guess I always will be. I hate that almost 14 months have passed and I still have dark days, like wanting to not get out of bed or wanting toĀ drive my car into a wall, dark days! I am finally receiving counselling (after a rocky start) so fingers crossed that will help but it’s draining and I’m so bored. Bored of talking about my feelings, bored of crying, bored of the pain. I’m bored that yet ANOTHER person has gotten pregnant AND had a healthy living actual baby and I’m still here with NOTHING.

It’s so hard not to keep these thoughts with me. But I am trying.

I now practise yoga almost daily. I’ve started Yin Yoga classes which apparently heal (I’ve cried a lot in them!) I’m meditating. I read a weird but kind of cool book about ‘spirit babies’, I’ve reconnected with old friends who have gone through similar experiences and I’m learning to say ‘no’ to work and relax. Christmas was actually good. My hubby and I just chilled. And I don’t do that! 2 weeks of nothing was just what I needed to reset myself. I can do this!

I read an article recently that said if I just focus on the end outcome then it is a desperate need and therefore I am thinking about a lack of pregnancy and how I am NOT PREGNANT! If I switch my thinking to the journey and let go (I’m glad it said ‘let go’ and not DON’T THINK ABOUT IT…I swear if one more person says this….). So….I WILL BE PREGNANT. My baby WILL LIVE. I am a step closer to my baby with every period that passes. I have my baby already. They are already here. My order to the universe is being processed. I WILL be a mum to a living child. It WILL HAPPEN. The journey is important and I must engage with it instead of becoming frustrated. (Harder said then done).

I am trying hard to not ‘think too much’ about it, instead I will try and shift the thinking to already having it and see if the laws of attraction can pick up some speed (please). I have a new business idea and I am on a savings mission so those 2 things can be my distractions for now.

For whatever reason, this is the journey I HAVE to persevere with. It will be defining me. For what for, I have no idea. But one day it will happen and all will be clear. My next baby WILL SURVIVE.

Now where’s that million pound cheque I ordered????

I survived!

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Today was my due date. I’ve been dreading this day since we lost our daughter. I didn’t expect to return to work until after this date and I expected to relive the pain all over again. Expectations as I have so cruelly learned do not always live up to themselves.

As it happens I quit the job I had when pregnant, the job that left me stressed and wondering for months if they were to blame! I was lucky enough to be ‘let go’ early so that I could pursue a better opportunity. I have been ‘back at work’ in my new workplace for 3 weeks and so far so good. It has been a good distraction and the ladies I work with have been a great tower of strength.

I found Monday very hard. I kept thinking ‘I should be on maternity leave, my waters should be breaking any day now’. I felt pain when I looked at my flat stomach, empty! I managed to hold it together at work and then cried and cried the second I got into my car. I needed to be kind to myself and cry those tears. I had to teach for 1 hour that evening. I peeled myself off the floor, where I had been clutching Charlie’s teddy blanket and managed to fake ‘normality’ once again. Luckily the next day was my ‘admin day’. I spent the morning just lying there staring into space and crying. Then I felt exhausted and began to work to distract myself. By Thursday I felt fine. Friday came. I had made it. I had forced on a smile and got through the working week. 2 days to go!

Easter day came. I awoke. I didn’t cry like I expected to. I just got up. I felt numb. I didn’t know how to act. I let out some tears at her grave alongside my husband, my hand in his. We watched the ‘It’s a girl’ balloons sail into the sky! Swirling in the rough wind above our heads! I then felt relieved. It was over. No more counting down the weeks. I had already accepted her death months ago, I was moving forward. I was hoping for child number 2. I was looking forward with hope, so much hope.

I sat in her nursery and saw the tiny Tupperware sized crib inside the crib we had bought for her off a friend months before. The tiny hand sized box with pink knitted wool covers and a blanket looked swamped inside her baby sized Moses basket. But that’s our reality. That’s how small she was! Because she died and was born too soon.

I miss her terribly and will always wonder who she would have been. But I too know her purpose was to be free. We were meant to create this spirit, her body didn’t work and for her that was fine as she only needed her spirit. I like to think that when people pass over Charlie my baby angel is there leading the way…..

Due date week…

I am not really sure what to write. It’s almost here! The before so eagerly anticipated date is now a harsh reminder of what I lost and how it is now so final. Easter day Sunday 27th March 2016 is my due date. It is permanently etched into my brain (and how could it not be especially as it ties in with a calendar event). However instead of being excited about my waters breaking and the glee that any day now we would meet our boy/girl we will instead be visiting her grave and crying….so many tears!

I went back to work 3 weeks ago. It wasn’t planned. I decided to quit my job (maybe one day I’ll have the Ā strength to share what they did to me and my reasons for leaving) and within 2 weeks a great opportunity presented itself and it’s part time, which really suits me right now. So I took it and I have really surprised myself. I have coped. I have functioned. People have no idea! Yet as soon Ā as I got into my car yesterday the tears began to fall and continued until bed time. I dread the next 3 days of work and wonder how I will survive…but of course I will.

People say the build up is worse then the due date as you are unclear about how that day will feel. We have made plans to visit her grave, sew seeds and release a balloon. But the sense that it’s so final keeps grabbing me. That’s the end. The end of the 40 weeks. I can no longer say ‘I should be x weeks pregnant’. I also can not say I have an x aged daughter. I now say ‘My daughter died during pregnancy’. It seems so long ago some days and like yesterday other days. I am proud of myself for moving forward but everyday it is hard. I am always thinking of her and when I meet new people that dread creeps in…do I tell them? What will I say if they ask ‘do you have kids?’ As someone who works with children what will my reply be if they ask? I can’t lie! So far they haven’t asked.

We are looking to book a holiday soon which is something we can look forward to and then we can from there talk about ‘trying again’ but as exciting as that is it also fills me with dread and right now I know I’m not mentally ready. I am scared that if I caught now I would end up depressed and anxious. I need to feel positive and feel fiercely with every ounce that next time will be different. That next time s/he will survive. That the next 20 week scan and beyond will be a happy period and not one where we mourn.

4 months have passed, its almost the same length as my pregnancy. Time, it keeps going and so must I..

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A poem by Nanny

By my mum Janet who also lost her 1st born around 14 weeks.

Please visit her online shop where she sells her poems on candles and framed.

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She was our love, our hopes, our dreams

She was our dream come true.

She was our baby, we loved so much

Our one and special you.

We counted the days, weeks and months

We so longed and waited for you

Our Darling, our baby, we loved so much

You wereĀ our dream come true.

We watched her develop and progress each day

We could not wait to see her play

So excited to see her first ever scan

Everything ready and going to plan,

To feel her grow inside of me

My first ever baby bump to be

So proud to feel now I am a mum

My baby is growing inside my tum.

To know we had lost her

Became such a shock

It felt like our lives had come to a stop,

Our baby, our loved one

Who was not yet born

Left usĀ broken hearted

Yet unable to mourn.

To lose her before, we could

Hear her first cry

Left us so devastated

And wondering why?

Now the tears have stopped falling

Our hearts left broken and numb

Will we never get over this loss

Of our darling, our dear little one.

Softly sleep our little one

Forever in our hearts,

Our Angel up in heaven above

Safe forever in ourĀ love.

Waiting for us to meet you there

Now the stars shine brightly

Up in heaven above,

One little star shines out for us

Our Darling, our Baby, our Love.

-JANET LYON 23-2-16

The Awakening

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Not everyone will agree with these statements. I used to. I didn’t, but now I do again.

When I had a car accident aged 23 I was left with a visible scar to my forehead. I suffered PTSD. I learned who my real friends (and family!) were, I stopped auditioning Ā and took a new job teaching GCSE dance x2 days a week. Because of that car accident I refocused my life. It was forced into another direction. Not one I had anticipated, but it ended up being the right path because 2 years later I decided to leave London and train to be a teacher, 1 year later I met my now husband and the rest as they say ‘is history’. Had that awful event not occurred, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Despite the pain I endured I 100% believe that.

I now believe that this too has happened for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong. I was angry, I still am. I found it hard to find any kind of logic in all of this, not just my loss but also the loss of relationships both in the workplace and in my extended family. Everything comes in threes they say. My hasn’t it just! For family member have showed their true colours. Pretending they care on the surface ‘for show’ but thinking it’s perfectly acceptable to drive a wedge between my husband and I, to admit that actually we have an issue with you and now seems like the best time to tell you! Wow! Work colleagues stabbing the dagger in so deep my back bleeds.Both stories I won’t divulge on here but I too won’t pretend they haven’t existed, haven’t adversely affected me because they have. I had days when I honestly though the only way out was to kill myself. Saying that now seems so silly and dramatic but until you FEEL that pain, you will never understand the thought process. I felt the only way to stop the pain was to stop me. Thank god I had enough support and self belief to know that with time and only time would things pass, not heal 100% but settle.

Despite this traumatic experience (and believe me the term ‘traumatic’ is too tame) I now believe it HAD to happen. Yes I was happy, yes our relationship was perfect, yes financially we were fine, yes work was stressful but I enjoyed it and yes we were excited beyond belief to be parents but now I know.

Like the quote above says

‘people change so you can learn to let go’.

Maybe this has happened to finally show to me who really doesn’t care about me or my husband. I now know there has been bad energy around us for years and it was losing Charlie which led to us both discovering this. As awful as it was, now we know. And now we won’t waste our time and energy on these people. We will protect ourselves from further repercussions.

‘things go wrong so you can learn to appreciate them’

I’m sure this will become more clear as the years go by. Hopefully when we do have a child we will love them all the more and smile through their teenage angst knowing we are blessed.

‘you believe less so eventually you trust no one but yourself’

This seems quite negative but at the same time quite empowering. If I only trust myself am I too guarded? Yet by doing so I can be fearless. The jury is out on this one still…..

‘good things fall apart so better things can fall together’

This is beautiful. Charlie was the good, the future will be better.

My work and previous lifestyle and relationships were good but the future holds better.

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@35 weeks

So instead of this being a chronological week by week account of events surrounding my loss it is instead a sporadic outpouring, where random events from the past and present mingle together and are written at times I feel able to express them.

So a lot has happened since we ‘lost’ Charlie.

It is 3 months on. It is 5 weeks till her due date.

I’m still not back at work (that’s a whole other story!) But I’m not ‘moping’ about either. I keep myself busy with the many hospital and doctors appointments, gym, seeing friends and family, looking for a new job and putting my time and energy into my party business.

My husband and I have been tested so much and there are times when we still argue, yet other times we smile together, it’s still hard to feel like ‘a normal couple’ but we are getting there.

3 months on the tears are less. In fact last week I didn’t cry once, not even on my weekly grave visit did I cry. So I guess the not crying is a good thing. It’s finally becoming ‘normal’ to say ‘my baby died’.

3 months on I can finally say ‘I’ve stopped bleeding and the pregnancy is over’. I was admitted to hospital for an operation last week to remove retained placenta following many trips back and forth to the hospital. I am relieved beyond belief to see the small glimmer of hope pointing towards some kind of normality. I am looking forward to my body finally returning to normal again. I wish I had bought shares in sanitary towels, maybe I will now!

And finally we have an answer. WE KNOW WHY SHE DIED!

I didn’t expect to know. In fact I was so convinced we would be told ‘oh it’s just one of those things’ that I researched private facilities and had even paid to reserve an appointment with a private miscarriage specialist. I had paid for and requested my medical records ready for scrutiny and we together were prepared for the unknown and many more tests. As it happens we no longer need that appointment. I cancelled it today and they kindly reimbursed us the deposit. Our daughter died because she had a chromosomal issue, possibly Downs or Turners. The NHS do not perform genetic testing till the 3rd loss so we are currently unsure which aneuploidy it was but based on her features (long tongue, low set ears, slanting eyes, sloped forehead and space between her toes) it could have been severe Downs/Turners/Edwards syndrome. She also had anĀ Atrioventricular septal defect of the heartĀ plus the cord snapped and the placenta failed. The poor mite had no chance. We chose not to have Ā ‘the Downs’ test at 12 weeks looking back the Doctors could see no sign of any of these issues at her 12 week scan. The scan I will also remember of her dancing around like a crazy person.

Strangely we feel ‘at peace’ now we have answers. I can reason that she ‘is better off’. I hate that phrase as of course I would have loved her no matter what but I want my child to have the best start in life and it seemed she had so much against her, she did well to make it to 15/16 weeks!

I have seen several psychics since she passed and I know she is there with my ‘mamma’, safe and beautiful. I know she did not want this body and that she is waiting for the ‘next train’. The next vessel to bring her to me. I dreamt she will be a boy next time. Several people have also predicted the same…… so watch this space. However for now we’re ‘sticking a pin in it’. We’re right now too damaged, too bruised, too scared to venture down that path. We want to work on ‘us’ again and focus 100% on rebuilding ourselves emotionally and physically. I intend to start new flexi jobs to support my expanding business. I intend to return to dancing and yoga again. We would like to spend more time together again reigniting that passion and love for one another that has been on hold because we have been encased in an amour, too scared to be vulnerable, too guilty to be happy and too insecure to try. We won’t be waiting years but right now it’s not right.

Charlie’s due date is 5 weeks away-EASTER DAY 27th March 2016. That date will be forever engraved in my memory. For now the plan is to plant flowers by her grave and release a balloon and cry. I expect we will shut ourselves away that weekend and cry a great deal. I will probably write a lot that weekend. But when we open that door again, like a chrysalis we will be changed. Still ugly from the pain but too beautiful with hope.

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An Irish Blessing

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond

 

Answers?!

On the 8th it will be 3 months since I birthed baby Charlie at exactly 20 weeks gestation. Just before Christmas we were able to lay her to rest at the funeral and in 7 days we will meet with our consultant and learn (or not) what might have caused her death. Since she died I have been convinced she definitely had this and that. Each person I meet I tell them ‘I think it was this…’ each person believing I genuinely believe it. I don’t. I am just searching, searching, searching. Trying in vain to make sense of this all.

The only people to ever die before were my grandparents and father in law but they were in their 60’s/70’s so it’s partly expected and we knew exactly WHY. Here our baby hadn’t even begun her life yet and she left us, without warning. Surely there must be a reason. Since she passed I have tortured myself thinking it was because I was stressed. Thinking she had Edwards or Turners. Thinking it was a placenta issue (is it linked to my retained tissue?) Maybe I have fibroids? (I would like to think with the many scans I’ve had recently that’s now been ruled out). Did she strangle herself on her cord? Did she develop hydrops fetalis? Did my natural killer cells attack her? Of course I don’t know. I’m no medical professional, there were no signs and unfortunately there is so little research and understanding I fear it will be shrugged off as ‘just one of those things’.

I am petrified we will have no definitive answer. We have been warned such and other ladies I talk to on support forums say the same, ‘we don’t know’. I however can’t accept this.

I see poor ladies commenting that they’ve had 3 losses, 8, 10, 19!! I wanted to kill myself after losing one. One. How would I manage losing another and another……?

I saw a post on Tommy’s Facebook page for miscarriage research about a success story. A lady in a similar situation to me had a late missed miscarriage (eek that word again) and she didn’t want to face the pain of potentially more so she went private. Through this amazing Doctor who is a pioneer in his field she had every single blood test known to man and was found to have a folic acid absorption deficiency and high natural killer cells. After one loss and ‘hopefully we will see you soon with a baby’ parting remark from the NHS she finally had an answer. Turns out with steroids and oestrogen injections and aspirin she was able to carry full term and her baby survived. Wow I can imagine the euphoria!

Having discussed it at length this is what my husband and I plan to do. Money is just money. You can’t put a price on peace of mind. Hopefully one day I’ll be saying ‘No you can’t have that chocolate bar as Mummy and Daddy are still paying the credit card off that paid for you’. Ā Hopes and dreams.

 

‘The firsts’

The first sleep after you find out your child has died can hardly be called sleep. You instead weep, plead and bargain for the horror to be reversed! I’ve learned since the death of Charlie that ‘the firsts’ are hard.

I had to go to work yesterday for a ‘welfare chat’ (pah!)

I went into autopilot to cope and drove there and then thought ‘where are my keys and pass?’ Then it hit me like a brick being bashed over my head. The last time I used my work pass was 6th November. I left work at 9.30am for my 20 week scan, like every day I placed my work keys and pass into my car glove box and drove off, planning to return after lunch. Little did I know that’s where they would remain for 3 months. Hidden. Forgotten. Unimportant. Frozen in time.

I walked out of work that day and other then a horrified text sent to my boss saying ‘my baby’s died, I don’t know when I’ll be back at work’ I had no contact with the world of work. Obviously it was the least of my worries, everything that seemed vitally important was suddenly laughably trivial. My baby had died. Nothing else mattered.

Why then 2 moths later did I wake up sitting bolt up right and shout ‘store cupboard’? I suddenly remembered the day before my scan I had instructed the caretaker to move furniture which I would be using as a storage area. No one other then he and me knew about it. It was probably still there empty. And what about that report that was due, the work scrutiny, the trip and lessons to plan? Suddenly it all came rushing back, everything I would have been doing at work had I still been pregnant and working. I cried. Its so silly but I wanted more than anything in the world to be on my hands and knees 33 weeks pregnant sorting out that stupid cupboard!

Back to ‘firsts’.

The first trip to the gym, the first food shop, the first trip to the GP (surrounded by babies agggh), the first friend visit, the first family function, the first holiday, the first Christmas, the first pregnancy announcement (the later I am yet to experience and dread). All firsts are hard. I often feel guilty and upset for the OTHER person, because I feel sorry for them. How stupid is that? I feel sorry for THEM! They’re not feeling my pain, they haven’t lost their child, but it’s the awkwardness, the ‘I don’t know what to say’ and the hopeless look on their faces and my knowing look back that says ‘yep it’s shit and nope there’s zero you can do to make this any better, zilch!’ But we embrace and we cry and they listen and it helps. Firsts are scary, its like a baby (ahem) taking their first steps or an injured soldier relearning to walk, everything is new and scary and different. I am trying to be kind to myself and give myself the time I need, I have many more firsts ahead of me. The next ‘first’ is Charlie’s post mortem results- a really mixed bag of feelings there. Hopefully one day my ‘first’ will be a live baby, healthy and alive! What a first that would be šŸ™‚

Don’t be silent!

I found out I was pregnant with Charlie on a Tuesday at 6.30am. I already knew I was pregnant. All weekend I was thirsty, weeing lots and insanely hungry. Throughout work on Monday I spent the day cramming crackers down my gob to stop me from throwing up. ‘I knew!’

Hubby was happy and as the weeks progressed and the tiny bump grew we felt ‘proper pregnant’. I began to wonder how people kept this secret for 3 whole months. Ok to be fair I was 4 weeks when we discovered so it was only 2 more months till the ‘safe 12 week shout it from the rooftops’ mark; but seriously HOW? I am crap at keeping my mouth shut the best of times, how was I supposed to hide my constant nausea, need for food, constant weeing and being a size 8 this bump!

I didn’t.

Minutes after telling my sleeping hubby I sent a whatsapp to my 4 bridesmaids including my little sister. On my lunch break I rang my mum. I was so excited and wanted them to be part of this journey. Luckily they were all equally excited and supportive and the 4 week mark didn’t worry them.

‘Wait 12 weeks’ the media says. ‘You might miscarry in the first 12 weeks, but you’re healthy so you should be fine’ my GP said. ‘Early miscarriage is common’ the pregnancy books said. Everywhere I looked MISCARRIAGE MISCARRIAGE MISCARRIAGE.

Don’t admit to the world you are pregnant in case it gets taken away. I still don’t get it.

Why would people want to have to explain in the same breath ‘I’ve just had a miscarriage, oh yeah I was 10 weeks pregnant?’. I didn’t want that to be me. If it was going to happen I wanted the support. I wanted people to know how excited I had been, how I had began dreaming about him/her, how I had started my nursery pininterest board and cooed over baby grows.

Society tells us we should be quiet, in case we miscarry. Where is the logic?!

I found out Charlie died at 20 weeks. It’s still a ‘miscarriage’. If the ‘law’ is you don’t talk about pregnancy till you’re out the ‘safe zone’ then surely we should be quiet the whole 9 months, after all we don’t want to upset society with a ‘just in case you miscarry/have a stillbirth/something goes wrong with your baby’.

BOLLOCKS!

We should be joyful and shouting our news from the rooftop because those 8/12/20 weeks may be all we have. The only time we are pregnant, it may be all we ever know. We shouldn’t feel ashamed and scared to tell people, we should be open and honest because as I found out it can happen at any gestation so this logic is flawed.

As it happens we paid for a private scan at 8 weeks as I am a worrier and heard Charlie’s heartbeat, after that we decided to tell everyone and then with our scan picture at 12 weeks we made it Facebook official…only 8 weeks later to post our heartbreaking news.

We need to break this silence, this taboo, this shame. We need to stand together and support one another to be brave, to say ‘Wow I’m pregnant’ and not feel like the pregnancy is void just because ‘something might happen’. I, like many ladies are proof miscarriage can occur at any point. There is no ‘safe period’ so be loud and proud and don’t let anybody make you feel ashamed to shout it from the rooftops.