Bea’s Joyful Gathering! (Jenny South Photography, Plymouth.)

Bea’s Joyful Gathering! (Jenny South Photography, Plymouth.)

This time of year is always somewhat of a whirlwind and never is this truer than with a sassy six month old. I feel that I have neglected my duty to this blog, but Bea and I have just been having too much fun for me to be tied down at a keyboard!

Last Monday it was a girly day with my Mini, Mother and Little Sister; all very civilised. A morning beverage down at the beautiful and historic Royal William Yard in Plymouth which is certainly one of our #HotSpots (great food, culture, events and businesses by the sea) then a photography shoot with Jenny South Photography to experience her #JoyfulGatherings sessions she is offering throughout October and November… perfect to get those Glad Tidings underway. Yes… I am “one of those people” that start celebrating *Christmas* (ah there I said it in October!!!!) as early as possible, and unapologetically in fashion, so what better way to involve our little Bea?!

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The studio is tucked away in a beautiful courtyard on the Royal William Yard site in the old Cooperage Building. You ascend an old stone staircase and a quaint studio awaits, set up for the session ahead. There was so much gold I imagine for us it was like when Howard Carter discovered the Tutankhamun Tomb! We love glitter and we love gold so Bea was ready to dazzle in her mini sequined romper (quite the miniature Kylie Minogue we thought!)

Jenny is so creative (you can literally see the ideas flying around her head!) and she works with her client to create memorable photographs. She is a storyteller and clearly loves everything she does. She certainly had a special way with Bea who was more than happy to pose happily in front of the lens. The relationship that Jenny takes the time to set up with you as her client is priceless and the pre photography work that she conducts ensures maximum client satisfaction. You have a pre-session consultation to discuss your requirements, and that time certainly assists you to narrow down your theme as Jenny can facilitate whimsical through to elegant and more. It really is a case of your imagination is your only limit as Jenny will work meticulously to deliver results that you can be proud of and share for years to come.

I think one of the words I use frequently to describe Bea is a little Diva so the shoot outfit was spot on to shine alongside her cheeky character. Jenny allowed Bea to get comfortable on the set and made sure she was at ease. It was honestly a laugh a minute and I was really relaxed as a parent on the sidelines watching my little girl pose and have a great time. I think it helps that Jenny has such great credentials and is part of BANPAS (which is the association for newborn and baby photographers) so peace of mind for the parents!

The communication is so easy with Jenny who makes herself available to answer any questions and does a wonderful job of keeping you in the loop. I was impressed that despite it coming up to the busiest period the editing of the images was done and full set of photos available within a week! I am a sucker for punctuality so this was a big plus of the entire experience.

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Click to book your very own #JoyfulGathering and quote BGBR01 for your discount!

The photos are just delightful! There is certainly an air of celebration and jubilation. I would say the images are classic, clean and just adorable! I feel that Bea connected with Jenny’s direction, care and photography style. I also appreciate the fact that Jenny is working with other local businesses in partnership to offer additional Seasonal goodies including personalised tree decorations and cards of the photos from her sessions with Faithful Designs. I love that you can keep your Christmas offerings so local and I will certainly be ordering in our cards this year!

I am thrilled to have experienced the full Joyful Package but there are so many options and Jenny works on such a bespoke basis you are sure to have your expectations met and exceeded.

Please feel free to use Bea’s Joyful Code: BGBR01 for your own experience.

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Here are the pictures. They just melted my heart and gosh darn if I wasn’t all a flutter for Crimbo and good tidings already I well and truly am now! Thanks for your time and kindness Jenny. May your sessions be full of joy! Get yours booked as they will be booked up very soon and I can assure you, you do not want to miss out on the fun.

To see the photo’s in their full glory please visit: Bea & Me: The Bea-Utiful Life Blog page.

Beas Mummy.

Jenny offered Bea and I a shoot free of charge in exchange for our honest review and Bea being a Brand Representative for Jenny South Photography, All view are my own. All rights to photography belong to Jenny South Photography.

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Combi Feeding For Sanity & Beyond!

Combi Feeding For Sanity & Beyond!

This post contains an affiliate link so at no extra cost to you, if you purchase the Tommee Tippee 6 pack of Closer to Nature bottles through this link I may earn comission. I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme. I only add links of products that I have personally used and would recommend.

It has been just over two months since Bea and I took to combination feeding with great trepidation and lots of misinformation and a huge dollop of “Mum Guilt” on my part!

Have a read of my first post about combination feeding here!

Luckily I haven’t had physiological issues that have prevented me from breastfeeding; though I know my supply is drying up as more time passes and my time feeding is split breast to bottle (most days it is more bottle now!) but I am attempting to ignore any pressure to “do more” to remedy my dwindling supply.

Naively, throughout pregnancy I had believed that it was some kind of inherent eventuality that I would be a Milky Goddess and sustain my child with my own elixir of life alone. Pumping took its toll on me. It is no life, or at least not the life for me. (I have so much respect for those Momma’s that are able to express breast milk feed their babies on the daily! It is such a beautiful thing and you should be so proud of yourself and your body for being able to do this!) I however started to lose my identity and feel more and more like a dairy cow, day by day… pump by pump…

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A beautiful black and white snap.

My decision to incorporate formula into our feeding routine was mostly a shove by  a rather stoney-faced and judgmental woman (who I actually found out recently was not a health visitor but a nurse) at my local Weigh In clinic. “So you’re still only breastfeeding?” “She hasn’t put on that much weight”… it all of a sudden made me distrust my ability to feed my child “naturally” and I realised that for their records and because Bea was moving forward at a slower pace than other babies (baring in mind she arrived seven weeks early so was going to be much smaller than an average baby), they were keen to push a formula agenda.

(Edit: when I mention that the lady is a nurse this is not to belittle her profession or rank health care professionals in any sort of order. It is to express my surprise that I have not had not had access to Health Visitors at weigh ins who may have different advice to offer and other experience that informs said advice. It felt like this woman was not going by my baby as an individual… more a set of new guidelines.)

I promised myself that I would maybe introduce a few bottles to “beef her up a bit” because I knew it would artificially lay down some weight at speed; then the “health professionals” would leave me alone if I got Bea performing in the growth department and charting those darn centiles! I knew that for my sins I wanted to continue breastfeeding. This week I made it to 6 months breastfeeding in some form! So I am part of the Sapphire Boobs Club #boobieawards!B35DCAD6-FA6D-40EB-9761-10EE028B67C4

I feel that combination feeding has actually ensured that I have continued breastfeeding for longer! We have recently been combating 4 Month Sleep Regression which has turned the house upside-down. In my desperate search for the answer to sleep, the exhaustion of which I had not experienced since newborn stage in the hospital I thought “is formula the magic bullet for my sleep solace and sanity?” So I started making up more formula bottles around her fussy times and the early evening.

I don’t know why I felt so guilty… I just wanted to make sure my baby was the healthiest she could be, but I couldn’t help but think of myself from the perspective of the crazy, militant Boobing Momma I had created as part of my Mum-Identity and I felt like a phoney for all those times on social media I had really pushed breastfeeding as the right decision for me and better for babies! For better or worse there is such an emphasis on doing more, trying harder, buying this, that and the other to enhance the breastfeeding experience. I trawled the online forums and found a chorus of “have you tried this?“have you tried that?” “Buy these supplements/lactation teas/ all singing all dancing electric pumps”. In all honesty sometimes the breastfeeding culture really does ask a little too much of us Mumma’s.

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(Edit: Looking back at the pictures of Bea breastfeeding I wish I had taken more photos along the way, but I felt very discouraged to do so after some negativity on Social Media.)

At my most exhausted and my breaking point I didn’t feel like I could physically DO MORE. And I finally gave in to making things less taxing on my body that is still trying to heal itself after a traumatic loss, followed closely by a daunting premature birth. I felt like I had literally given everything I had to my babies. And I would never begrudge that. They do after all deserve the very best, but I started to feel like I could not be at the top of my game if all I ever did was put so much pressure on my mind and body.

Breastfeeding will always put an extra burden on you as a Momma, no matter how supportive your Husband/partner may be. In the exclusive breastfeeding period as I prepped Bea and I for a feed in the early hours of the morning (I have been a member of the 2am Club since the start of this parenting journey!) I would look over at my peacefully snoozing Husband and curse him for his useless nipples! I was so jealous of his extra slumber. The saying is incorrect about sleeping like a baby… it should be revised to “Sleeping like a Daddy”… there have been countless occasions where my Hubby innocently looks over in the morning and mentions how well Bea slept through the night. He had no idea that I had been up every hour Boobing. My nights were super active and exhausting… especially the Cluster Feeds.

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Grab your “Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Clear Bottles, 260 ml, 6 Count ” for a bargain price of £12.99 today!

For over a month I was in constant fear of  my supply drying up. There is nothing more demoralising than completing a 40 minute pumping sesh then only have 3oz to show for this labour of love. I can’t even count the amount of time I had Mom Tantrums & threw my metaphorical toys out the pram or more accurately the pump down the stairs in a fit of rage. There were days I was literally crying over spilt milk. “That’s it I am giving up!” I would threaten… often three or four times a day at the most challenging points and my poor Husband would dutifully remind me how fantastically I had done to get this far. And I would carry on and detest the hard times but truly love the good times with all my heart. There is nothing quite like a Sleepy Boob Feed.

But I would become overcome with the utter fear of losing my supply and pushed through almost 2 whole challenging months with no support because you are made to feel like the breastfeeding experience is all or nothing and that sucks in my opinion. No middle ground is offered and I found that combi feeding has done wonders for my sanity and relationship with my daughter. It is nice to not just feel like a snack bar 24/7. We can spend beautiful moments just snuggling under the covers and me not just having to be her source of sustenance. She loves me for the comfort I can provide in spite of my own milk (or not!)

Initially it was so hard to take on “doing less” and I was terrified of judgement. There seemed to be a huge amount of kudos to be found when other Mums at the baby groups would say how well Bea was looking then instantly follow up with “are you breastfeeding?” For those exclusive breastfeeding months I would say yes and the response would always be so positive “you go Mamma!” … but what now of combi feeding? Would the response still be the same?! I think that’s what I was afraid of at first as I started experiencing a new kind of freedom… but could this be seen as lazy? Would it be detrimental to my child to give her formula?

Whatever you seem to do as a Momma you will feel judged, but I think it is about going confidently in your own direction and trusting your body, decisions and baby. I am slowly learning to do this. Bea is thriving day by day and it makes me trust my own inner voice much more. I think we should be doing more to empower each other as Mothers, Care Givers & Goddesses on Earth.

Combi Feeding has given me a new feeling of freedom. I am not locked away behind closed doors prepping lactation smoothies and power pumping every 20 minutes to up my supply between feeds. I am not judging this way of feeding and routine, but I am far too unorganised to maintain anything that resembles this kind of structure. If you can I truly commend you. Combi Feeding has meant that I can hand a bottle over to my Husband to take off some of the pressure on me after a twelve hour day of caring for our little whirlwind (she is intense!!!) or I have the utter freedom that so many of my Fully Boobing friends don’t have where their little one will not take a bottle so can not spend extended periods of time with other family members. I am always thankful that I can pack up her bits and bobs and quite happily send Bea off to her Nannies’ for the day; safe in the knowledge she will be well fed.

I guess my message is, if you choose to not exclusively breastfeed it is of no detriment to your baby. Combi Feeding has meant there has been (a bit) less pressure on my body so there is more enjoyment when we breastfeed. It means that out session is much more casual and I am not highly strung about whether I have been able to produce enough milk. I just “go with the flow”… or more precisely my milk flow. Having the option to bottle feed has meant that I am not worrying about creating a crazy “milk stash”! Sometimes with freezing your milk the high lipase levels turn the taste utterly disgusting for your baby! After hospital I never had the patience again to pump and freeze ounces and ounces of milk. I usually only found myself ahead two or three bottles of expressed milk at the most. I quickly regulated to this output and found that if I pumped in between it would suck me dry and make for a distressed Bea when it came to feeds as she gets easily upset when she has to work harder to get her milk. (In terms of Combi Feeding I have personally not found there to be any nipple/teat confusion; more a case of different preferences on different days! Obviously the bottle flow is faster. Bea never took kindly to the slow flow teats we put on her bottles!)

I have found that Combi Feeding offered me some much needed rest. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing so is not another reason to question your ability as a Mum! I continue to breastfeed Bea in harmony with bottle feeding.

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This little Sass Pot likes to feed herself now!

I don’t know how much longer I will be breastfeeding. Initially it seemed like an improbable future for Bea and I so every day longer that we breastfeed is an utter bonus! I feel like I gave Bea the best start in life. I sacrificed a lot to get is both to this point now. As it currently stands, Feeding is the least of my worries at the moment! There are other issues that we are working on but at least I know when all is said she done, Bea WILL have a full belly every day. It doesn’t matter how it is done provided I get to see her beautiful smiles each day!

Have you chosen to Combi Feed? Are you finding it beneficial to your relationship with your child and self? Have you felt pressure from The Breastfeeding Community?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

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Dear Bea…

Dear Bea…

Dear Bea,

Our bundle of energy, joy, distraction from all the shit in this world…

Today is your half birthday.

What an adventure it has been so far! I never could have imagined that you would fill up all my little cracks and help me feel alive again.684E7048-8183-479C-9754-71819C4BE675

You came along when I needed you.

Like a gift. To me. To your Father. To our family. And dare I say it; to the world.

You are destined for great things. Until then I will hold you, and love you and teach you how to make the most of this world. I wanted to teach you about the world but so far you have really taught the world about you!

You tumbled into our lives- chaotically. In true Bea fashion… you did it “Your Way!” I wasn’t ready, as you made me double over with what I thought was “just back pain!” at first… but you were announcing that you were ready to BE! I was always so connected to you from the start. Your cord was not just a biological structure, it has joined us together and bound us for the rest of my life.

I always wondered why you punished my body throughout my pregnancy. My body had never been tested to the limits as much as the seven months I carried you. Some days it was almost impossible to get out of bed. I think only other Mothers will understand this. It is exhausting incubating and cultivating a tiny life force inside you on the daily!

I was scared every…day…. 99DD2D41-AAAE-4E6C-9E93-AF82F2BBDE1BScared that I wouldn’t get to meet you. Scared that my body would fail you. I was terrified every scan appointment that I wouldn’t see that flicker of a heartbeat on screen or hear your response to my call. “Are you there little one” “Yes I am!” you would triumphantly announce. And I could breathe again… and tick off another calendar day. Counting down to “V Day” (or your viability day at 24 weeks!)

I was sick more than I care to remember. Morning….elevens’s…afternoon…evening sick! The sickness was indiscriminate and it came whenever it felt like it!

The first trimester was the hardest. The fatigue gripped my whole body. Your vessel. At your whim. Everything was controlled by you. But I lived for those times you would pummel me. I felt you roll and respond to hot drinks, changing my body position to (try and) get comfy or when I slowed down enough to make sure you were still okay if I had encountered a stressful day at work. You were there.

I loved getting in the bath and watching you wriggle. I loved calling myself a Human Submarine. It made me chuckle every time. I am sure it wore thin with Mr G. It was almost like an alien creature was inside… ready to burst out! You whirled and flipped. You were a night owl. I felt you most between The Witching  Hours… you woke me up every morning between 2&4am!

I hated the times I had to rush into the triage unit because you were having a “lazy moment”. We practically lived in the hospital for the last few weeks that you were in my tummy!! I knew that you would come early. You were ready to meet me. You were ready to explore the world. I don’t think I was ready for you though.

I have never known such a strong yet tiny person. You refused to stay put for your second set of steroid injections! But your body was more developed than we could have imagined. You were a medical marvel and the junior doctors would visit you on their rounds every morning. You were quite the star on the ward! They even wrote a medical case study on you!

The moment you were placed on my chest  I fell in the deepest love I have ever known. You were tiny but fierce. You were a perfectly formed human in a more condensed space. 4lbs 8.5oz! You let out your battle cry to prove that you were a little warrior and you would take on this world. I was lucky that we were able to do delayed cord clamping (which would have been on the birth plan I never got the chance to write for you) so we were connected just that little bit longer…

It was hard to let you go… metaphorically and physically.IMG_2879

You were whisked away to the NICU after twenty minutes. I was greedy and wanted MORE time with you. I was so worried that you wouldn’t love me if you couldn’t be with me straight away. It was the hardest thing to be wheeled off to the Transitional Care Ward without you.

I was a Mother with no baby in my arms. Instead you were being held by the nurses  in NICU. And you were connected to machines with wires to help your underdeveloped lA833B9D8-50B4-49AA-B686-B9C45EAFC846ungs.

Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.

I hated seeing you in your tiny incubator. Your see through box. Like a tiny doll kept in a toy box. You were under phototherapy lights to treat your jaundice so you wore a tiny blindfold to protect your eyes. You were connected to an IV drip. They wedged a cannula in your fragile arm. It looked so painful. I winced for you. Our poorly little Bubba. And all we could do was watch you from the outside.

You surprised us all by how fast you sped out of NICU and Special Care. There was nothing wrong with the inside of your body. Luckily the X-ray didn’t come back with anything unnerving after there was a grey spot found on a scan. It was a tense time. All I thought about were all the horrible eventualities of a preterm body that was just too little to survive. But you did. You thrived!

18 days trapped in the hospital was tough… but you were tougher and you pulled me through my biggest trials and tribulations. It made me realise that I was cut out to be a Mummy and a bloody good one at that!

These 6 months have been the hardest but the best times (so far!) and I have learnt so much about myself. I had just no idea how overwhelming it would all be especially as I had never factored in such a premature birth. As well as learning to “Mum” I also had to learn how to be a NICU Mum. I had to learn how to feed you through your tube which was very daunting. So many things could have gone wrong (especially in my sleep deprived state)… but they didn’t. And we worked together to get each other home!

Your early days were not easy. No version of Motherhood is easy. It is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure! But our sense of “nornal” was particularly peculiar. We muddled through. On one hand I couldn’t enjoy the guilty pleasures of newborn time where Mummies may ordinarily have time to catch up on terrible day time TV because I was on crazy pump/feed/care schedule for YOU. Everything I did was for you. I learnt true altruism during our hospital stay. I no longer mattered.9C32A726-162C-4146-BD5E-F880C37B3E1C.jpeg

The start our my journey as a Mother didn’t go quite to plan. It was hard. I cried, and cried and cried. For nearly 3 weeks there were times I didn’t know what day it was. Was it 1,3 or 5am? It didn’t really matter because for three torturous days I was without you. I couldn’t hold you and rock you. Go cheek to cheek with you. Blow raspberries on your soft belly skin. All I could do was watch you and pump milk for you. I hoped that you knew I was sat there, up all night just looking at you and loving you into full health.

I didn’t want to put clothes on you for those early days because I was scared that I would break you. Your limbs could have easily snapped- or at least it looked that way!

You grew and you continued to develop your hilarious personality. It has not been easy but it has been worth it. You have been difficult. Those developmental leaps have knocked me flying on several occasions. On those cluster feeds I literally thought my body could give you no more. But we started to get comfortable in a routine of no-routine. I wanted to spend as much time with you in the way you chose to do so because there are years to enforce an adult regime. I am not disciplined enough to stick to a routine nor would I expect you to be a little robot. You are my sassy, switched-on, funny and loving little girl. I respect you as your own person, and what a person you are becoming.

6 months in and I am exhausted yet overjoyed. Overwhelmed but not just in a negative way…. overwhelmed with feelings of bliss and love. Some days are good, some days are great, some days are bad and some are normal, but ordinary days are little blessings and times to take stock of all I now have as a Mummy.

You make me proud every day. You keep me on my toes. You drive me crazy. I want to spend every minute of the day with you but sometimes I want to run away, but then I feel so guilty because you flash me your gummy smile and it turns me to mush. Your laughs fill up my soul and I realise that I was meant for this life and we will navigate this journey together. You are mine and I am yours!

You are certainly my daughter. You are stubborn, you are wild and you love life. It wasn’t the easiest start kid but I wouldn’t have changed anything (well maybe I would kept you in a bit longer to cook if my body would allow it!) it would have meant you wouldn’t have had to experience the discomfort of a NICU start. I hope you don’t remember the beginning and the trauma hasn’t lasted. It doesn’t seem like this is the case.

I feel so lucky because your default setting is “smiles”!

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Other Mums have said their little ones do not smile like you. You were a smiler from the start. (I knew it wasn’t just gas!!!)

I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring. More love. More laughter. More milestones. I will support you and make each day a happy one as best I can. You are the centre of my universe. I revolve around you. I hope you know. I hope one day you will look back and appreciate what I have done for you or at least just know I loved you with my whole being.

You made me a Mummy again, and you made me a better person. Thank you for the memories so far.

Happy half birthday Darling. My pocket rocket! My reason to get up and attack every day with gusto and love in my heart.

I love you to the moon and back.

Your Momma Bear x

#SAYTHEIRNAMES: VOICES OF LOSS- THE COLLECTIVE (Part 3)

#SAYTHEIRNAMES: VOICES OF LOSS- THE COLLECTIVE (Part 3)

On the fifteenth day of October Parents of Loss join in a collective consciousness for “Wave Of Light” proceedings to remember each and every baby or child who grew their wings too soon. This day is often a cornerstone for remembering our babies as an Angel Parent and at 7pm tonight we light our candles, speak our child/children’s name into the Universe and spread Love and Light in remembrance. Please feel free to do the same and honour the little souls that never walked this earth in life but live on through memories and a heart full of love.

By the previous post I had reached unlucky number 13, so will be surpassing the numbers of stories I set out to tell. But every life is important so I feel it is now my duty to continue to tell these tragic tales from the mouths of bereaved Mothers & Fathers (I have far fewer stories from the perspective of the Daddies though. Perhaps this relates to my previous post about feelings of being forgotten about in loss.)

Here is the next wave of tributes to lost little ones and aptly so, as part of The Wave Of Light. I hope that any bereaved parent finds their own way to grieve today but to also remember their truly loved and never-forgotten angel.

Tobias Hayes

“I found out I was pregnant on the 23rd September 2017. My partner, Jamie and I had only been together 8 months so I was scared to tell him. However I plucked up the courage and he was over the moon. I organised my midwife appointment and we had 43124917_309164136337446_9222762048419528704_nworked out I was about 7 weeks. I’d had a really difficult year, fell out massively with my dad, was in the process of moving house so had put down missed periods to stress. Two weeks later we had our first scan. I was nervous. I didn’t feel pregnant. I didn’t feel any different however once that little wriggle popped up on the screen all those worries left.

We were so happy. Everything was well, baby was healthy and then the woman said ‘you said you were about 9 weeks? It’s a big baby. I’d say you were about 20 weeks. You’re having a boy’. I was in fact 5 months pregnant. The next week I started to feel movements and knew I was definitely carrying the perfect little boy. We instantly named him Tobias.

The 4 months I had left were a breeze, no problems apart from some back pain and hip pain. On Sunday 11th February 2018, 6 days before my due date, I woke up, went for a wee like normal. Walked to the bedroom and suddenly felt a gush of water. I shouted to my partner and suddenly panicked. Knowing that at any point from then I was going to have to push out a baby. We went to the hospital who confirmed my waters had started to go and booked me in two days later to be induced. We went to bed as normal, I couldn’t sleep, worrying about what was going to come. At 1am I had a twinge. I knew this was it. I fell asleep and we both woke up at 8am and I told Jamie that I think I’d been having contractions. At this point they were closer and more painful. He played xbox all morning as I sat there internally thinking ‘HOW THE HELL CAN YOU BE PLAYING FALLOUT RIGHT NOW I’M ABOUT TO SHIT OUT A BABY’. I didn’t say it but I thought it.

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At 2pm we made our way to the hospital. They checked me over and monitored Tobias’ heart rate etc. I had a sweep and then the pain was indescribable. After a long 9 hours it was finally time to bring my little man into the world. With Jamie, my mum and Jamie’s mum by my side, a perfect 7lb5oz little bundle entered the world. He’d spent a lot of time in the birth canal and his heart rate dropped however with 10 minutes under a uv light and some checking over he was absolutely fine. The next 6 months were simply perfect. He was happy and healthy. Never cried, never whinged. Just perfection. The most content little boy. We watched him learn to smile, laugh, roll over and start to sit all on his own. He loved his food. By 6 months he weighed 19lbs.

Toby the Tank. He knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it with his cheeky little grin and his beaming blue eyes. He was everyone’s golden boy. On the 19th August we set off on our first family holiday. Me, Jamie, Toby, Jamie’s sister and cousin. A canal boat holiday near Manchester. We had the best week. However what started as out first family holiday turned into our last family holiday. On the second to last night, we put Toby to bed at 8pm. He was grizzly from teething but otherwise absolutely fine. We stayed up and played card games. Jamie checked on Toby at 10:30 and he was just going off to sleep. We decided to go to bed at about 00:20, Jamie made sure the boat was locked up and I headed to the bedroom unaware that my life was about to come crumbling down. I noticed Toby was sleeping strangely. I instantly panicked. I picked him up on worry, he was floppy and grey. The smallest little breath left his lips.

I screamed to Jamie. Screaming ‘he’s not breathing’. We quickly rang 999 and started cpr. We were on a canal boat. In the middle of nowhere. Luckily we knew we were near a 43090000_945364665647698_3229362455045996544_npub. Within 10 minutes paramedics were jumping onto the boat, defibrillator was out and oxygen being administrated. I begged for them to save my baby. He was rushed onto the ambulance and I went with them. Jamie following behind with the police. That 15 minute journey felt like forever. We finally got the the hospital and he was rushed into resus. Me and Jamie sat at the end of the bed as nurses and doctors rushed around Toby.

There faces speaking a thousand words. They told us there was a faint pulse but he wasnt breathing. I watched as the machine went round in a circle ‘no breath found, no breath found, slight vibration, no breath found’. At 2:20am a doctor walked towards us and said the words that crushed us ‘we’ve done everything we can and I’m sorry there’s no more we can do.’ our perfect little boy, who had only 8 hours before been giggling his head off and smiling with his daddy, had been so cruelly taken from us.” – India Emily-Rose Gibson.

Grace Woods

“I was so happy to find out I was pregnant with my first baby, I always knew I wanted to be a mum from a young age. I went to my first scan and everything was as it should, I was so excited and kept buying things (who wouldn’t with their first?!) At my 20 week scan I was told my baby would be a girl but one of her kidneys had an issue but was reassured it was normally even though more likely to be found with boys, I had to have extra 2 weekly scans and tests one of those would be a check for gestational diabetes.

 

I had the test booked for my 28th week and on my 27th week I had a midwife appointment but the midwife couldn’t find my babies heartbeat, she said it could be because baby had moved and she couldn’t tell how she was laying so sent me to the hospital. So that’s what I did and again they couldn’t find it, I think in my heart I knew exactly what had happened I knew my baby had gone.

I went into a room and a consultant came to scan me and told me yes my babies heartbeat had stopped, I think my heart stopped too, I cried a little but think I was in shock, luckily my mum was with me she was my rock. I had to take some tablets to induce labour and to come back in 2 days time. I don’t even remember those 2 days.

I couldn’t go home I had a bedroom full of baby things so I stayed at my mum’s. The Thursday I went into hospital and had more tablets and lots of blood taken. I went into labour but again I don’t remember much as I had a morphine pump attached to me (that stuff is amazing!) I finally gave birth to Grace Friday 15th December 2006 at 04.55 and 42996821_2260147914026511_5460573690162839552_nshe weighed 4lb 3.5oz I couldn’t hold her after the midwife washed her and dressed her, I knew I wouldn’t be able to give her back. I regretted this for such a long time but I believe I did what was best for me at the time.

I can’t tell you how wonderful my consultant and the midwife were, so kind and caring towards me and Grace. I’ll never forget the love they gave us. Grace had to go to London for a post mortem along with my bloods etc after waiting all over Christmas we finally laid her to rest mid January 2007. I’ve never been through anything as painful in my life and I hope I never have to again I physically felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, how could I go on with out her? Why do I want to? But some how I did!

Grace had been very poorly it came back that 1 kidney didn’t work at all, 1 didn’t work properly, she had a hole in her heart, no ear canals, placenta was overly large and vessels missing from the umbilical cord, she drowned in her own amniotic fluid plus I did have gestational diabetes but was too late to find out I never did get the test in time. The guilt ate away at me I’m her mum why couldn’t I protect her? What did I do wrong? Should I have pushed for more tests and sooner?

I had a bit of a break down sometime after and was diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD but…….. I was pregnant again so I refused medication and has a nurse come and visit me every few weeks to talk, again I was excited to have another baby but the worry was at the front of my head and my heart. I had extra scans and tests the whole way through, they took great care of me it was amazing. I didn’t want to find out what sex I was having this time and I think my mum worried in case I couldn’t carry girls full term like others I know of but guess what!? I had a beautiful healthy little girl!

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My rainbow Caitlin the 21 months later I had my rainbow boy Aiden. Grace will always be my first, she will always be in my heart, she is my baby and she did exist, the kids always talk about her, we visit the baby garden and we have her memory box that we add to all the time. I will always tell people I have 3 children just that 1 of them was too special for earth.” –Lisa Elaine Keeling.

Teleri–Dior Cluskey

“On the 30th January 2016 we found out we were pregnant. excitement filled us for the next few weeks as we planned for our baby and brought all the things. We had regular scans; our girl was doing well and growing beautifully. I got to 37 weeks and felt a warmth of excitement knowing I would soon have my baby in my arms.. looking forward to all the night feeds and becoming a mummy again.

Nothing could prepare me for what was just about to happen. Wednesday the 14th of September my little girl was moving lots I fell asleep that night to constant kicks I’d watch my belly all the time. The love I felt for her was overwhelming I couldn’t wait to meet her.

Thursday morning I did all the usual mummy things get the kids to school came home cleaned and thought Teleri hadn’t moved yet. So I went for a bath drank a cold drink, did everything I could to get her to move. Nothing happened… although I wasn’t too worried. I thought she was having a lazy day! Then tea time came and still nothing.

Me and my partner drove to hospital to get checked over. We waited a while then finally the midwife came and she could tell by the look on my face I was worried, so she said for me to come and listen for the baby to put my mind at rest. She tried for what felt like ages to find a heart beat. I cried my eyes out because deep down I new but still hoped my baby was ok.

A second midwife came in and she tried still couldn’t find it. I had a scan and it was confirmed. The words will stay with me forever “I’M SORRY I’m so sorry…..” Our little girl went to sleep forever. It was all a blur but I remember I just screamed. The whole hospital went quiet I just screamed “No No No!”

I held onto Shaun asking him why, not us we had nothing but love to give why did god pick us?!! l never forget that day; a part of me died that day and ever since half of me is still dead. I’m here but I’m not. I’m a walking zombie that’s just doing what I need to but deep down I don’t want to be here…….

When I was told I’d be sent home for 2 days I just couldn’t believe it I didn’t want to go home. I wanted a c section there and then! Why are the making me do this making me go through labour?!!! All that pain for what?… NOTHING! I felt they were being really cruel and unfair….We sat for ages in disbelief.We were offered a tablet but decided not to take it. We needed time so we went home that night and just cried held each other.We were booked in to hospital the following night at 8 o’clock. We had that Friday to tell the other children- it was so so hard they didn’t really understand….

We set off for hospital at 7pm Friday night. I had the first tablet. My sister Leeanne was with us and we all stayed at the hospital all numb, all sat there planning her funeral, picking songs. My head felt like it wasn’t me doing this it was someone else.

Sunday morning came and I was given the next lot of tablets. I knew after having them I was to deliver my daughter that day. Around 2 in the afternoon the back ache started. Me, Shaun,my sister and my midwife Karen all sat; talking, crying and smiling. I was tugging hard on the gas and air as I felt each contraction, knowing with each contraction I was one step closer to having my little girl. I was so worried about seeing her but excited too.

Then 7.15 came and I felt like pushing but I didn’t tell my midwife that I was trying to hold my little girl inside me. I didn’t want her to come out because I knew I’d hear no cry I wouldn’t see her eyes open, see her move, feed her- that was something I wasn’t sure I could deal with, but at 7.30pm my little girl was born and I’m so so glad I felt every little bit of pain when I was in labour. I’m so so glad I did it naturally why shouldn’t I? I had done it naturally all my others, so why would I have wanted to have done it differently just because Teleri wasn’t alive? She’s still mine and I’ll never, ever regret anything about it!!!!

We were all crying, even Karen. She took my hand and said “Angie. Look at her… she’s beautiful!” I couldn’t look at Teleri straight away. I was so so scared. Shaun then said “Angie she’s beautiful look at her!” so I turned around and there was my beautiful little girl, there on the bed. Laying there waiting for mummy to pick her up and cuddle her.

So that’s what I did…the pain was unreal. She was perfect, absolutely perfect. My perfect little girl, my angel my everything!

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I took her in my arms and cried why you Teleri? WHY!!!! Daddy cut her cord and we both just sat and hugged and kissed her. We werr told we could have as long as we want with Teleri but that wasn’t true. I wanted forever. I even thought about taking my own life just to be with her. We had our own bathroom  in our room, on many occasions I thought about taking Teleri in there with me, locking the door and going To heaven with her.

I’m her mummy she will need me. How could I let her go on her own? I felt so guilty about not being with her I even thought about taking her in the car and just going and running away with her – how could I let her go on her own?!!!

We stayed in hospital until Wednesday. We knew with each hour, we had her she was ready to be put at rest. We decided we would be taking her home for Teleri to be picked up from there.

I put her under my top and carried her out the hospital and drove home with her I walked in the doors carrying her in my belly there was no way I wasn’t going to leave the  hospital without carrying her in my arms! So that’s what I did. I carried her out and we drove home with her kissing the top of her head and promising her I would be strong. Be strong for her brother and sisters,deep down wondering if I could keep that promise.

I told her I loved her and told her I’d be seeing her again. We got home and spent about an hour with her. We walked her around and showed her each room. We talked to her none stop. Then the undertaker knocked on my door and my body froze because I knew it was time.

He was a lovely,tall man. He took my hand and I asked him one thing “Please look after my little girl!” I’ll never forget the look in his eye, and he said I’m honoured to take her. I’ll look after her and I knew he meant it.

I sat with Leeanne on the sofa crying cuddling my little girl. Shaun came over and said babe it’s time I couldn’t let go. He cried and said babe it’s time let me have her. My arms just held on tighter to her. I kissed her head and I told her I loved her and then I gave her to her daddy who cried his eyes out as he took her from me and out to the car.

I will never ever forget that me and Leeanne just sat holding each other crying uncontrollably… holding each other so so tight. That was it… my little girl was gone I knew I’d never see her again, I knew I’d never kiss,cuddle and touch her ever again.

How am I meant to live without her? Each day I live, and feel guilty because she’s on her own. Every day I think about what I did wrong… why did my body not do it’s job properly? Why did God pick Teleri? Why did God take her and left me and her daddy hurting to the point where we don’t want to live? Why is life so cruel? Why my perfect girl? They are all answers I’ll never know, but I’ll hold her in my heart forever.

I feel like I’m now just existing, not living. I’m actually looking forward to dieing because I know I’ll see her again. But for now my children at home need me too. I see the whole world carrying on; people laughing, people just doing normal things. I hated it – why are people laughing and smiling? My daughter is dead and people are laughing… surely they shouldn’t be!!!!

But life does go on.. people move on. They never forget but things move on! Death doesn’t scare me anymore because I know she’s waiting for me. Waiting for our cuddles and kisses I cannot wait for that day!

TELERI-DIOR CLUSKEY MY 6lbs 6oz OF PURE PERFECTION OUR HEAD AND HEARTS ARE ALWAYS WITH YOU. THERES NOT A MINUTE THAT PASSES WHERE YOU ARE NOT ON OUR MIND. I LOVE U MILLIONS AND I’LL BE SEEING YOU AGAIN! SLEEP TIGHT PRINCESS YOU ARE OUR EVERYTHING XXX” – Angela Teleri Owen

Ella Grace Ward

“After suffering a missed miscarriage in October 2016 with our first pregnancy, all we wanted was to try again for another baby. So after all checks were clear and my womb was checked over we decided to start trying straight away. We had heard that after a miscarriage you’re more fertile, so used that as an advantage. To our amazement it worked. November 30th 2016 we found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon, we were given a second chance to have a baby.

My symptoms were high, and we were trying to stay positive. It’s always difficult after a loss to try and keep calm and not stress about having another loss. We waited until the 12 weeks scan to tell everyone we were expecting. After everything we’d been through we didn’t want to risk telling anyone before. After all they say you’re “safe” after 12 weeks. So when the scan came, we were so nervous. I didn’t want to look at the screen when I first got scanned, but as soon as I did there was our baby wiggling away. Moving so much I had to go on 3 walks to get her moving.

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I was beyond happy that everything was okay, and that our baby was growing. I couldn’t wait to start shopping for our little wriggler. Everything was going so well. We got to the 20 week scan and everything was perfect. We also found out that our baby was a little girl. At that stage I wasn’t bothered at all what the gender was as long as she was healthy. Around 20-21 weeks I started feeling little kicks, as if someone was poking me from inside. The feeling was somewhat different but just incredible. We were buying so many little outfits for our princess. We had pretty much everything apart from a few small items.

At 25 weeks I went for my midwife appointment. This is when she checked the heartbeat. … although she couldn’t find it! As I had an anterior placenta, they said that could be the reason why and the positioning could just be awkward. So she arranged for me to go for a scan to check everything was okay. So all the way to the hospital I was thinking the worst. My boyfriend was trying to reassure me that everything was okay, and that our little girl was a fighter. When we got to the hospital and in for the scan, that unfortunately was not the case.

We heard those heartbreaking words for the second time “I’m sorry, you’re baby doesn’t have a heartbeat”. We were devastated. All this dreaming we’d been doing about our little family, had just shattered into a million pieces. I didn’t know what to do apart from break down in tears. The consultant went through the process with us, I was given a tablet to stop hormones and an anti d injection. Then on Saturday 29th April 2017, we went into hospital to have our baby delivered.

I remember asking when she was born, what she looked like. The midwife had described our little girl, and what her skin looked like. She was the most beautiful little angel I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Although after such a traumatic experience, I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with my daughter. The memories I got the make, just seeing and holding her. Never a day goes by where I won’t think of her. I just hope she’s as proud of me as I am of her.” – Megan Sharman.

 

Baby Cross 1 & Baby Cross 2

I first fell pregnant at 18 years old. It may seem young but we had tried and tried for our baby. We were over the moon. The pregnancy went fairly normal. I had had some bad cramping but had been told it was normal. Everything changed when I was 12 and half weeks pregnant. I started spotting brown blood. Again, I was told this was normal. It wasn’t till I lost a tiny clot that I knew. My worst fears were coming true.

We went to A&E where they checked my cervix, it was open. I was miscarrying. I ran to the toilet and in there I passed a big red clot. The size of my hand. In my hysterical state I flushed it down the toilet. I’m sure it was my baby, it’s something I’ve told no one and something I regret so so much. We were sent home. Told to rest.

3am the next morning and the pain was to much. I was in agony. I couldn’t take it and an ambulance was called. I had to have morphine just to get me into the ambulance. 10pm the next night after having an ultrasound which showed retained products but no baby I had a D&C. I was alone, my partner had to leave. I remember crying and crying, even as I was put under in theatre. And then when I was awake I was still crying. My baby was gone. We were devastated. Rip my little baby 04-09-16

Unfortunately that wasn’t the end. The beginning of December the same year we found out I was pregnant again. As you can imagine we were petrified of losing another baby. I had a little spotting and some cramping so requested a scan. There we saw a tiny little bean with a heartbeat! We were so relieved. There were concerns of the sac being to small so we were told to come back for another scan in 2 weeks.

We did and our baby had grown. We let out a breath of relief. Our baby still had a heartbeat. However there were still concerns about the sac. We went back for one last scan at 10 weeks and heard those devastating words ‘there’s no heartbeat’. It crushed us. I chose to have surgery but I had to wait 5 days. 5 days of knowing I was carrying around our dead baby inside me. The surgery happened and I was back home. No baby, just a broken heart and an empty uterus. Rip my little angel 24-01-17

I fell pregnant with my rainbow end of April, gave birth to him 5th January. He is amazing and the most precious thing. But my angels won’t be forgotten.” – Charlie Mason.

Alfie James Tooby

“I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd baby on the 3rd of June 2014. I was excited but scared as I wasn’t in a relationship with Alfies dad, and I already had my 2 boys from a previous relationship. So I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope; my other boys were only 2 and 4 but we would make it work.

I had my 12 week scan on 24th July and there he was this perfect little baby. We guessed and questioned if we were going to get a girl this time the pregnancy was so different? But all was going well as far as we were aware.43604342_248371099143435_3550296133823627264_n

20 weeks came and I went for my scan on the 23rd September. There he was with his beautiful strong heart. I cried when she told me I was having another boy. I was a little gutted but happy just to see him healthy. The sonographer struggled to measure 3cm of Alfies spine so she told me to go empty my bladder and jump up and down. She was rolling me over and was being quite rough but I presumed she knew what she was doing. She still couldn’t get these measurements so she sent me home with another appointment the next week. Little did I know I would never get to that scan.

On 26th September at around 8pm I starting getting slight pains. I put them down to braxton hicks and grabbed my hot water bottle and went up to bed. I managed to sleep through my pain which I kick myself for now. The next morning I got up with the boys still in pain so I rang the midwife she said any pain go to hospital. It was a Friday and the boys were due to go to their dad’s for the weekend at dinnertime so I said I’d go get checked then. My friend had come around to help with the boys for an hour or 2 until it was time to go. At 10.25 I was sitting in the kitchen and I felt a pop and my waters had gone. I knew what was to come so my friend rang an ambulance. I had started bleeding by then so I just sat on the floor crying.

My friend took the boys to their dad’s and I went to hospital on my own. Before I had even got to the lift I had the urge to push. At 11.36am on 27th September my perfect little boy was born too beautiful for this earth. There was No reason for him coming early so I still have no answers. I didn’t know what to do for the hours that followed just sat looking at my perfect boy just us 2 in our own little world for a short time. I didn’t take many photos of Alfie in fact if the hospital hadn’t taken a few I would only have the one so I’m grateful for that.

The hospital asked if I wanted to arrange his funeral or if I wanted them too but I needed to do just one last thing for Alfie.

We had his funeral on the 6th October. It was beautiful I had Jack Johnson better together playing as I carried his tiny coffin, it was a small service only 6 people attended. Makes me sad my family didn’t come but makes it more special for me.

The months that followed were a blur I decided not to tell the boys about Alfie I felt they were too young and needed protecting. Which only made my grieving process harder.”- Nicole Louise Tooby.

Luna Belle

“October- more known in the loss community as Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month -has made me feel really reflective on our journey to get here today and the importance of sharing that story. The story of my little baby, Luna Belle.

For those of you who don’t know much about Luna, on the 21st December 2016 at 8:30 am I went into labour at 41 weeks pregnant. A further 18 hours passed and my waters broke, 23 hours after that she was finally born at 1:32 am on 23rd December. After a traumatic back to back labour spanning two days she was finally here! Born alive but not crying, already dying of congenital pneumonia. Her death or even illness were totally unforeseen and we were unaware until she was here.

Luna was worked on for 55 gruelling minutes at my bedside given blood transfusions and various effort to help her breathe unassisted whilst we remained totally unaware if she would make it, watching her heart rate elevate and thinking we were finally in the clear. Before being told that IF she made it, at this point she would be severely brain damaged. Ok I thought. As long as she lives we can deal with anything.

Off Luna and her dad went, whisked to NICU, for her to fight for another 45 minutes before I was finished up in our delivery room to join them. Wishfully thinking everything would be fine, but soon as I got up there the look on Ryan’s face was enough to know.

Just after 3 am Luna was handed to me to pass away in her mummy’s arms peacefully and everything else turned into a blur.

Our healthy perfect little girl lost her life to an infection after a complication free, seemingly perfect pregnancy. She was overdue and a healthy chunky weight of 7 lb 11 oz. We as her parents were only 19 & 21 and totally healthy ourselves. It has always been our belief that with better care, the outcome could have been totally different and today we’d have a crazy very almost 2 year old. Yet we spent our Christmas Eve having to tell people about the news of our little girls arrival and departure from this life.

We thought nothing could happen after 12 weeks, let alone so close to the finish line. When I finally went into labour we thought she was safe, we were safe. We thought this was rare and that it would never be us.

We weren’t safe and this is not rare.

As we now know, we are one in four.” – Lauren Wilkinson.

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Logan Frederick Whittington

“ I found out I was expecting Logan in October 2016, it had taken some time to decide to extend our family as our twin boys were 5 and our eldest was 10.
Everything was amazing, I paid for a private scan at 16 weeks on xmas eve and we found out we were having another little boy, amazing! Couldn’t wait to bring him home to our family, our boys all couldn’t wait to be big brother’s.

At the 20 week scan our world came crashing down, we had a really horrible sonographer who asked me to go out and go for a wee before trying to scan some more as she couldn’t see that clearly. I put this down to being a bigger girl anyway but did as she asked. We went back in the scan room and she scanned for less than a minute before slamming down the probe and refusing to scan any longer, basically telling me that she couldn’t see parts of baby’s brain, his chest and heart weren’t formed properly and was pear shaped, he has rocker bottom feet, a 2 vessel umbilical cord, and very low amniotic fluid round him. She then told me she was taking us upstairs to discuss termination with the consultants….hang on what?! I came in to see my baby now I was being told how to end the pregnancy at 20+6…the consultants and screening team went through the process and explained everything to me, but I still wasn’t sure and discussed being seen at a better hospital to confirm what was wrong, if anything with my baby boy, they sent me up to London to St George’s the following day to be seen by doctors on machines far superior to the ones I’d been on already.18198389_10154611978383660_1199828485869990547_n

I left the hospital not knowing what was going on, I’d been feeling my baby move since 17 weeks, how could I not be bringing him home?

The following day we went to London and were up there all day, I had bloods done and scans where they found the only issues were the 2 vessel cord and the low amniotic fluid, I had a cardiac scan on baby and his heart was perfect and he looked perfect! The consultants were convinced I had been slow leaking since 16 weeks approx but never knew about it as such a small amount. I traveled to and from London 4 or 5 times more and had tests including a cvs test where they inserted a needle to test the placenta for any chromosomal issues, of which there were none, what a relief!! I was then told to go to and from my local hospital to just keep an eye on things.

At 27+3 I woke up around 4am, and went to the bathroom as thought I needed to pee, but it wasn’t pee, it was bloody waters, something was wrong! I screamed to my husband Nick and he called my friend to come and sit with our older boys before an ambulance collected us and took us to hospital, I was hooked up to iv antibiotics and tested for infection, I wasn’t labouring and the consultant swore my waters hadn’t broken, even on following morning when I got up to use the loo before I was due to go home and my jeans and the floor was covered in a huge amount of blood and waters the midwives and me all knew it was waters but the consultant didn’t agree!! At handover the new day team took over and sent me to a hospital in Brighton as they have the special care unit for babies from 23 weeks whereas my local hospital only took from 32.

I was transported via ambulance and put in a room there, it was so hot and on the 13th floor. I was hooked up to more iv lines and had magnesium sulphate, it assists in protecting babys brain from cerebral palsey, I’ve never known pain like it, it burns as it go in your arm, I felt like I was on fire and had to wrap my arm in freezing wet towels to reduce the pain. After 3 days there I was allowed home, I was still leaking waters but it meant my baby was regenerating waters himself which was a good sign. I had to go into the local hospital twice a week for blood tests and scans to keep an eye on things.
A week later I was back in as I started labouring, but it stopped and I was allowed home the same day.18951253_10154704540458660_3898586373048066517_n

After that I was in hospital twice weekly and all was looking great, baby had tiny pools of fluid round him and was growing good, I found support from groups and spoke to others who had experienced the same as me, at varying gestations and with varying outcomes. It gave me hope.

We booked our c section for 34+4 on the 2nd May 2017, as guidelines don’t like you going further than 34/35 weeks. I had a date, I just had to get there.
The weekend before my section I was in hospital, steroids to help boost his lungs, a scan which showed him practice breathing, and bloods to prep for the section all done. My infection marker (crp level) was 7, that was the lowest it had been the entire time since my waters broke, amazing!!

The night before my section I went to my friends and stole use of their shower, I wasn’t allowed to bath since my waters broke so shower it was in prep for the section the following morning. I went home and had meatballs and spaghetti and just felt exhausted so took my pre-meds and went to bed about 10:30pm.

I woke up just after midnight in the early hours of the 2nd May in agony and screamed for Nick, he ran in and called the hospital. I’d never been in proper labour before so didn’t know contractions or what they felt like. Hospital got us to go in, again we called my friend and she came to us for the boys, with the plan to take them to school as normal for them.

We got to hospital and I immediately threw up over the midwife, it was so embarrassing I needed to go to the loo and then found meconium, I knew something was really wrong.
I was still in agony and it was getting worse, the theatre team were prepping for me in case my section had to be done earlier than the planned time of 8am.18274885_10154620683153660_4844315649631396936_n

I managed to get onto the bed and they tried to find a heartbeat with the doppler, he’d always hidden but I think deep down I knew, they then got the scan machine and another midwife came in who was trained to use it. He placed the probe on my tummy and I couldn’t stay still due to the pain so I kept moving, eventually he managed to find our little man clearly, he was laying there, so still…nothing…no heartbeat…
He said he was sorry and that my baby had no heartbeat.he left the room to get a consultant to confirm he was gone, I turned to Nick and said I was sorry for letting him down, I felt to blame, it’s my job to keep him safe and I failed.

Before the midwife came back I said to the other two midwives that something was down below I could feel it, the midwife asked my consent for her to check and when she checked it was my baby’s bum, he was breech and he had decided it was time to arrive. I was given a shot of diamorphine and told it takes 15 mins to kick in, I made the comment we didn’t have that time…

With that I had to push, my body took over and did what it needed to do. 3 pushes and my gorgeous boy was born…silence…nothing…
I was asked if I wanted to see him, of course I did, he’s my son, I needed him in my arms. He was passed to me and he looked identical to one of my twin boys. He had the thickest black hair I’d ever seen! He looked like he was sleeping, come on little man wake up…nothing…

I went into shock and became ill with sepsis, I had so many lines in me i didn’t know what was going on. I was moved to a bigger room with him and midwives helped me bath him, and take prints of his hands and feet, as well as give him a haircut. We dressed him and cuddled him and they gave us a cuddle cot to use with him.
Tests came back showing group b strep had been on him, me and the placenta, and they believe this caused sepsis and took my son and nearly me too.
My gorgeous boy Logan Frederick Whittington, 5lb 4oz.

After 4 days of being in hospital we were able to take Logan and spend more time at a local hospice, our older boys came too and met their little brother, and made memories together, walks in the woods, and storytimes etc. They were supported by trained therapists to help them process things and it helped them a lot, and they still have that support to this day.

On the following Tuesday when Logan was due to have been a week old we moved again, it was time to come home. We drove Logan to the funeral directors and placed him in a moses basket with teddies and presents from us and family. We visited daily both with and without our boys and spent time with him, made plans for his funeral, cuddled him and read him stories, I didn’t want the days to go by, I didn’t want the funeral to come.
The morning of his funeral we visited him, the boys had decided they didn’t want to come which we understood, and I organised his casket and placed him in it with letters and pictures from his brothers, teddies and blankets, I didn’t want the last person to touch him to be a stranger. It was my job to make sure he was safe and comfortable. They picked us up from home with Logan and we sat in the car with our boy on route to the chapel.18893286_10154704540463660_2598566996101718447_n

When there I was amazed so many people turned out for our boy. I carried him into the chapel to Colleen McMahon “Beautiful Boy”, I still don’t know how I did it, the service was beautiful, we had Ed Sheeran “small bump” play in the middle to take time to reflect before the car took him to the children’s section. We walked up the hill with family before Nick carried our boy to the graveside. I couldn’t do this…I panicked I didn’t want him going in the ground.

We placed sunflowers in the ground on his casket from me and his dad, and both sets of grandparents before releasing mint green balloons for him.
Our boy is always with us, but I so wish I’d been able to bring him home, I wish I’d been able to save him.”- Gemma Whittington.

With heartfelt thanks to these courageous and beautiful Warrior Goddesses who have bravely shared their stories and year after year ensure their beautiful babies are remembered and loved.

At 7pm tonight I will be lighting my candle and #RememberingMylo. Our shining star and the biggest piece of my heart that went missing on 03.06.2017. I send all Angel Parents strength and hope that tonight is a healing process for you. I know that I will undoubtedly shed a tear, but I will lift my tealight proudly and say his name.

I hope that so far this series for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 has inspired you to tell your story. There will always be ears for listening and hearts open for support. Sadly we are not alone in our grief but my biggest hope is that one day I will not hurt as much as I do now.

#StaySweet and be Kind to One Another.

 

My inbox is still open and I will continue to share these stories for as long as parents are happy to say their babies names and share. Please contact me if you would like for your Angel to appear in an upcoming post.

 

Are Men forgotten about in loss?

Are Men forgotten about in loss?

When I lost Mylo I think the over riding emotion (if you can even call it that) was shock. My body went through the motion of giving birth to our child in our bathroom. I remember fuzzy parts of the experience (which probably protected me from a full fledged breakdown following the trauma), but I look back now and can not even imagine the lasting pain of watching the experience from the outside and not being able to do much apart from cradle your wife and lifeless child (excuse the graphic imagery but my poor Husband had to retrieve our son from our toilet to wrap him up to take to the hospital as I wailed down the phone to the call handler “It’s a boy! He’s gone! Our boy is dead!”)

In a sense because it was happening to me, I was in the middle of it so had instantaneous support and was also on a cocktail of medication/drugs to keep me alive after the spontaneous placenta abruption and birth of our son. Being highly medicated, I personally believe, softened the blow slightly for me because I was in my own headspace for a good eight to ten hours after my surgery. My poor husband lost his first Son and there was a high possibility that he could have lost me that evening too. Once I had come around and was safely recovering in The Snowdrop Suite at the hospital Josh opened up to me and said how he was “terrified that I wasn’t coming out of that operating theatre” and that he wouldn’t know what to do if he had to say goodbye to me too. My Mother later confirmed that he was so anxious as I hadn’t come out of surgery for way over the expected time frame medical staff had advised, and did nothing but pace up and down that lonely corridor.

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Graphics provided by Daddy’s With Angels (with thanks to Warren Morris.)

I think his pain is different to mine but equal and I hate to think about him having to be strong for me when probably all he wanted to do was grieve for his son too. I think the Fathers believe that they have to be emotionless and never cry the tears that they may want to because they want to protect their partners from further pain. But they have lost their child too and I think it is a damaging expectation to put on them. They should be allowed to cry openly and deeply for their child and experience the full range of emotions. I have only ever seen Josh cry a handful of times (one time being at Mylo’s funeral too so this preceded his birth), but for the four days we stayed in the hospital I only caught him silently crying twice. Again, I missed a whole chunk of time because I was on a high dose of Oramorph and I forget quite a lot of the experience as a whole (which is probably a good thing.) I wonder how much stays with Josh. He doesn’t really talk about our loss. Not in the same candid way as I do. I am sure he thinks about his Son as much as I do, but I think the whole experience will torment his soul for the rest of his life. I am never sure whether he has fully come to terms with it by allowing himself a full grieving experience like I did. In some ways I healed myself. I don’t think he has. He has never been the same, but he never articulates how and why.

I got thinking about this post after the coverage of Gary Barlow’s stillborn Daughter Poppy and that there wasn’t that much written about how he felt-

“It was a very strange time but as the man in the middle of all of this, it was very heartbreaking watching the person that you love walking around the room with their dead baby.”

(Notice how he almost makes it seem as if his dead daughter belongs to his wife and the distance he seems to put between himself and the situation.)

Refreshingly, he does admit to still grieving and that he was “devastated” but it breaks my heart that he continued his 2012 tour with Take That, and felt like he had to keep working through his pain. As in regular life; it would seem, Barlow felt like he had to carry on working. Having spoken to many Fathers of loss it is just diabolical the level of support (or lack there of) they get from their employers.

For my pieces over #BLAW18 (Baby Loss Awareness Week) coupled with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in October, I thought it was very important to talk to the other half of the partnership and get a feel for their true emotions and to find out what more needs to be done towards support for men following loss.

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Are men forgotten about in loss? I believe so. Do they ask for help? Not so much. Do they feel like they have support outside their home/family? Again no. So it would seem that there is this vicious circle of feeling alienated from support, struggling to deal with emotions and perhaps the fear of asking for help when they need it too.

I reached out to Fathers in two Facebook support groups I am part of: “Angel Parents, Mums and Dads. Rainbows & TTC” and “Daddy’s With Angels”. I had an idea of the answers I would get back but some of the additional information shocked me and made me really question the current provision for men following the loss of their baby.

“Calling all MEN in the group!

For October I will be writing several blog posts about childloss and wanted to write something from the perspective of Fathers of loss.

Please answer the following questions – feel free to PM me:

– Do you feel that you got enough emotional support from your hospital/health professionals following your loss?

– Did you try not to cry in front of your partner/family/friends following your loss?

– How often do you talk about your angel (vs how often do you think about your angel?)

– Did you get any support at work (were you given any bereavement leave?)

– Do you think the level of support for men after loss is available? If so is it adequate? Other than this group have you joined any other groups for loss or attended any childloss events ie: SANDS events?

– If you are happy to do so please share the story of your angel (this is entirely optional).

Thank you for your time. I am intrigued to see if men feel forgotten about when couples experience child loss.”

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I was pleasantly surprised with the flurry of inbox messages I received and answered returned directly on the posts.

(I have been given permission to directly share the following answers but some gentlemen wish to remain anonymous so I have not included their names if they weren’t happy to post their identities.)

As I had expected many of the answers were repeated time and time again for the first question of whether the Fathers felt they were given adequate support following their loss. It was a resounding chorus of “no”! It was certainly a mixed bag regarding support from their employer from the extreme of being offered unlimited leave to “fuck all support” and many variations in between. In some sense I think that for both genders a lot is left to be desired in terms of the support from work. In my case I was “given” my holiday days back, as if that was some kind of amazing gesture. Oh yeah, I was really having a “holiday” and whale of a time burying our Sleeping Son… *eye roll*

It was encouraging to feel that the men who are part of the Facebook support group that I am Admin for (Angel Parents, Mums and Dads, Rainbows & TTC) feel that the group has personally offered them enough support- “I came to grieve but now I stay for the friends I’ve made.”Lee Patrick Jones.

If only the whole of society could make men feel as if they are allowed to grieve too and feel part of a community surrounding a loss. It is so important not to alienate the Fathers and it seems that healthcare professionals are completely missing a whole level of care… the duty of care to the Fathers who are crying out for more emotional support.

“I got no support from our hospital or health professionals after any of our losses.
I never cried about any of them as I was doing my best to support my partner through the losses (I grieved in my own way when not with her.)
Had no support from work.
I don’t think there is a good level of support for me after a loss, most people that offered any help only offered my partner support”Mark Leggat.

The following was posted anonymously-

“Everything seems to be focused around Mums, Midwives, Drs, Nurses, are all concentrated on the female side of it.

Dads hurt too, we grieve, we feel loss, we also have to support our partners whilst going through the same thing.”

In the “Daddy’s With Angels” Group I was shocked to see that many of the Fathers were actually turned away in terms of support from both SANDS and The Miscarriage Association.*

 

(* This is by no means a full picture of the support offered by these charities, just a snapshot of experiences from a group that I am part of and helped myself and my Husband following our loss. This piece is about the Perspective of Men so it is an opinion based piece. Every situation is different.)

A lovely chap from the DWA’s group has a beautiful way of talking about what it means to lose a child from a Daddies perspective and it is so refreshing. “Big boys DO Cry” and other encouraging emotional responses to loss that I believe is a great starting point for understanding a males loss. Please take the time to read Warren Morris’s truthful and warming portrayal in his piece “The Loss of a Child, A Dad’s Perspective”.

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Many of the Fathers that I have had the pleasure of talking to admit that they still do not cry because they feel that they need to be strong for their partners “even though a piece of (them) is missing” and that they do not talk about their Angels as much as they should. I truly believe this is a symptom of our society and the danger of labeling people with simplistic categories but not taking into account that we are all just humans and when times are tough, we all need and deserve a lot more help than we both ask for and are given.

Its worrying that when people are asking for support the system is failing us as a society. Why are we refusing to listen to cries of help? To put it bluntly no one ever fully recovers from loss because it is an absence of something that will never exist again!

“I did go to doctors and ask for help. All they offered me was sleeping pills.” – Jamie Fallick-Wicks.

I hope that one day Fathers feel that they get equal support following a loss, but in all honesty the ball is still being dropped in a Mother’s Care throughout pregnancy and labour and the aftercare (which in my opinion was very inconsistent in the case of my Rainbow Babies birth.)  Nine babies are stillborn every, single day in the UK and there are no answers as to why the numbers are so high compared to other European counterparts figures surrounding Childloss. Is it the very British mentality of “Keep Calm and Carry on”?! Do we have that stiff upper lip as a society on the whole? I feel like this IS in fact echoed in the answers I found in my very unscientific thought experiment!

Despite the fact that one in 100 couples will suffer three or MORE Losses, there are just not the resources in place to deal with these tragic eventualities so it is no wonder Fathers feel like they have no support. I feel eternally lucky that there was such a keen focus on my care following my loss. I truly feel like our hospital is amazing at caring for families of loss. I felt nothing but respect from all the staff who cared for me after Mylo grew his wings.

The same sadly can not be said for triage who have let me down I feel during both of my pregnancies. I will never forget being told to “just take a paracetamol” when I called them when my contractions began with Mylo. Sadly they do not seem to care when your pregnancy is not at a viable stage. This needs to change!

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Tommy’s Charity funded the UK’s first National Research Centre for Miscarriage at Birmingham’s Woman’s Hospital Just last year and it seems that there may be answers for half the miscarriages that currently have no explanation-

“Until now, everybody has thought, after the man has got the lady pregnant, that’s the end of his role. And if she loses the child, that’s something that’s wrong with her. Our research is really starting to turn that on its head. Now we think around half the time we can’t find an answer about miscarriage, it may be down to sperm DNA,” – Dr Jackson Kirkman-Brown.

If there is potential to believe that 10,000 miscarriages could potentially be prevented a year due to a male factor in loss more support certainly needs to be  in place for the Fathers that feel the system has forgotten about them! No one should feel like they can not grieve, especially if it is over the loss of their child.

With thanks to all the gentlemen who provided me their side of the story. The level of care for males and females is just NOT available so I do wonder if it is a case of a Mother/Father divide or just a lack of resources in this field which has been confirmed by Prof Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Right now male support is just seen as not essential within a cash-strapped NHS…. hopefully one day this may be revised. Until such time Fathers should be reminded to take the appropriate time to grieve for themselves too and know they are not alone. The support IS out there… you just have to reach out to find it.

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

(With thanks to Warren Morris/Daddy’s with Angels for their amazing support and providing the majority of graphics I have used in this piece.)

 

 

 

#SayTheirNames: Voices of Loss- The Collective (Part 2).

#SayTheirNames: Voices of Loss- The Collective (Part 2).

I think we can all agree that one of the greatest injustices in the world is that a child is buried before their parents, grandparents. Excuse the bleak prelude for this post, but that is the stark reality for fifteen families a day in the UK (when will these numbers decrease?! There needs to be a much keener focus on preventing these needless deaths- often many are avertible but best practices are failing to be implemented due to the pressure that our NHS is under.)

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of Mothers who have been reaching out, a chorus of “I want to share my story!” and my inbox is filling up with different situations, but sadly the same wrathful and heartbreaking conclusion. It seems that the bitter blow of childloss is so indiscriminate and there are so many ways in which it is so cruel. On one hand the human body is an incredible piece of kit that supports our every day living, on the other it is so fragile and proves that it is can fail us, and does so for so many women.

My aim was to collate fifteen stories as part of my awareness campaign to represent the fifteen families lives that fall apart on just one day. But, it would seem, many more women are keen to speak their children’s names. The stories are so personal, yet have been made so accessible which I think is very important.

I want to honour these lives that played out too soon and these courageous Angel Parents. Loss changes us in so many ways. It is often hard to articulate. I know for a fact all these ladies have found it to be painful but healing. It does take its toll penning the full circumstances surrounding our losses. These stories often have to be told over a period of time because as we search ourselves for the words to say and then see them appear physically in front of our eyes everything comes back. These aren’t just throw away words for us. Every last one hits us like a freight train and we remember why little pieces of us are missing and how the old versions of ourselves died too the day our babies left our bodies.

As per last post these stories are word for word the parents’ and they belong to them. They have also been brave and shared pictures of their babies to break the taboo of childloss. Each time a child has been lost and with it a full life of possibility.

Charlie Smith

I found out I was pregnant on the 7th April 2018, me and my husband were TTC since January 2018. We were over the moon. I bloated early so looked like I had a lovely early bump, we told everyone because we were so naive thinking nothing would go wrong.

June 6th we had our 12 weeks scan and the first thing the lady said was he had a good strong heartbeat. We were chuffed. But then when he turned around she saw a white ball above his stomach. He had Omphalocele. We were told his rate of survival was low because of how bad his condition was, but also told his neck measurements were low too- so it would be either Down’s syndrome or Edwards Syndrome- so I was tested.

We had to wait a week to see a consultation to see what the next step was. 4 days after the scan I felt a massive sharp pain in my lower belly but thought nothing of it. A week of deciding what to do for best- wait until 40 weeks knowing he would have a 0% chance of survival or terminate straight away. Its a decision no parent should face. Me and my husband cried for the entire week. It was so painful, but also we knew it was the last week or so we’d ever have with our baby, so it was very bittersweet.

We went to the scan and I could see the consultation looking confused. He ended up saying that our Charlie had already gained his wings. I believe the massive pain was him telling me he was letting go.

I was booked into a surgical ward for 2 days time to have him. I was only 13 weeks. But it was so horrible. He came at 17:26 on the 17th June 2018. His stomach and intestines were outside his body and he was also diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18).

He was beautiful. He had 10 toes and 10 little fingers. He looked like a normal baby, but very very tiny. My husband fell into depression and drunk heavily to deal with it, and I got distant from everybody because they didn’t know how to deal with it. 4 months on and I’m still grieving. He never breathed or never opened his eyes, but he is still my beautiful 2nd son. He will never be forgotten. – Heidi Smith.

Flynn Fairbairn

On the 25th May 2017 I was involved in a serious car crash caused by an elderly mans dangerous driving. I was 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant at the time driving home from visiting the nursery my son would be attending and initially, scans showed everything was okay with him but later that evening I received the devastating news that his heart had stopped beating. 3 days later on the 28th May 2017 after being induced I gave birth to my beautiful son, Flynn weighing just 1lb 6oz at 24 weeks and 1 day gestation. As I had a healthy pregnancy, no complications and everything was on the right track, there was no other explanation as to why his heart had stopped other than the crash and this is now been medically confirmed that I had suffered complete placental abruption caused from the hard impact of the crash on my bump. As I gave birth to Flynn after the 24 week mark he has a birth certificate and a stillbirth(death) certificate and his cause of death is down as ‘road traffic accident’ and was signed by medical professionals.

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Even though Flynn was killed by this man he will never get justice as the law ‘causing death’ in driving offences does not include babies in the womb. This is absolutely outrageous and needs to change! He was a living person, with a heart beat, perfectly formed with his whole life ahead of him and the law doesn’t class him as a person!! I know I will never get justice for him because this is the law at the time of the crash but for future pregnant woman and babies this needs to change! Not only is it just wrong in so many ways it adds to the hurt and grieving. Please sign and share this petition!

If Flynn was 1 day old or 1 week old or 1 year old there would be no questions asked and he would be charged with his death as he’s admitted responsibility and has since been charged with driving without due care and attention which meant he got off with 6 points and a £100 fine for ending my sons life! – Emma Fairbairn.

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Please sign the petition here to revise laws concerning the death of babies in car accidents.

Baby Noad. 

My story; “I’m sorry, the pregnancy is still in your womb” those words from the sonographer I will never forget, it’s not just a “pregnancy” it’s a baby, MY baby.

My baby that had been passed inside of me for 3 weeks, and had been holding on with no life left for those 3 weeks, I was 10 weeks in, and my baby passed at 7 weeks, how dare they refer to my baby as a “pregnancy” it was a life, a life that had been lost, I will never forget those heartbreaking 3 days, from Monday the 15th of September 2014, I went into hospital with heavy bleeding, and loosing all my pregnancy tissue until the D&C operation on the Wednesday the 17th of September 2014, the operation that had removed my baby from me, loosing a baby, no matter how far gone is devastating.

All the plans of the future, wondering what he/she would have looked like, preparing to be a mother – gone. All gone in a matter of days, “why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” People say “it happens for a reason” what reason? What fucking reason is there for a life to be taken away? Answer me that. Being stuck in hospital for 3 days, nurses looking at you feeling sorry for you, don’t get me wrong they were lovely, and made me feel so comfortable, but it didn’t make it any easier, walking out the hospital feeling empty and numb, looking at the clear blue sticks I kept in a draw at home still with two violently blue lines, made me feel sick.

Days/ weeks passed, everything reminding me of my loss, pregnancy announcements, births, life went on, but for me it stopped, anger pain and hurt filled my body. A month on something was niggling at me, telling me I was pregnant again, but I didn’t believe it, I was just grieving.

I was on my way to work one day and I popped and got a test and took it on the way to work, I didn’t even wait to see what it said, I wrapped it back up and put it in my bag thinking I’m just being silly, I finished my shift at work and as I went to leave I popped to the bathroom before my walk home, remembering I took a test I unwrapped it again and I saw two pink lines, very faint lines.

My heart sank. I was pregnant again, I conceived 2 weeks after my loss, I felt a mix of emotions, I felt guilt,happiness, sadness, but I felt blessed… And my collapsed word started slowly building day by day, my pregnancy progressed, I couldn’t enjoy it so most days I just ignored it, I was scared… So fucking scared my baby will be whipped away from me like my first.

Weeks/months went by, I was having a little boy, a healthy little boy. My heart filled the moment I saw him, I will always look at him as my second child, I’m a mum of 2 and I always will be, I’ve had 2 children. People would say, “at least you can get pregnant, and at least you have a child” (because I got told at 16 that I couldn’t have children) yes I have a gorgeous healthy little boy (now 3 years old) and I’m beyond grateful and blessed to have him but it doesn’t make my pain any easier, I still long for my other baby.

Everything I do with my little boy I should be doing with 2 children, he will always know he’s a little brother, and I love my babies dearly, despite everything I am so grateful, I look at him and I try and imagine what my other baby would have looked like, but I know he/she still lives on in my son, and always will. I’d like to share my story because miscarriage does matter, no matter how far gone you are, it’s still a life, a beating heart, I hope more people speak up and raise awareness, it’s hard to deal with on your own, luckily I wasn’t on my own, I had an amazing supportive partner, and it’s hard for them too, more than people realise, but there are people who have unfortunately been through the same pain of loosing a child, how big or small, you’re never alone, our baby’s will always be remembered. – Holly Mcmillan

Renae Elodie Lynch

I found out I was pregnant after a miscarriage at 10 weeks.
I had a few bleeds with this new pregnancy so I was sent for a early scan which showed a nice healthy heartbeat we were so excited!

They said they couldn’t see where the bleed was coming from so good news! A week later more bleeding but alot heavier so we were a bit worried we got sent for another scan to be told I had a hematoma it was nothing to worry about and there was still a strong heartbeat.

They said I measured 9 weeks this couldn’t be true,  I got pregnant a month before. I’d been 9 weeks… I should have been 12 weeks but I just dismissed it as I was just so happy we saw the heartbeat and to me that means our baby was okay.19659B93-FCC0-4939-B355-4C9D8E534C6E

Fast forward to my scan sitting in the waiting room I was extremely anxious as I had been bleeding ever since my early scan but I was told I could bleed all the way through my pregnancy due to the hematoma and it be totally fine no harm to baby.

But I still couldn’t believe it.. I lay down on the bed and the lady put the scanner to my tummy the 1st thing that came into view where a little set of legs kicking away I was so happy so see baby was alive and kicking but then as she got our whole babies body into view her face dropped and I knew something was up ….

I looked at the screen and I thought she was probably not pressing hard enough on my tummy to show babies full profile (top of head) but she pressed and no more of babies head was shown.. she placed the scanner back on the machine and took my hand I was shaking so badly .. she said “I’m so sorry but it looks like your babies brain and skull hasn’t fully developed.”

 

I asked what does this mean ? She said “unfortunately that means baby is incompatible with life she has anencephaly a fatal birth defect”. My world just crashed around me. I couldn’t say anything. I was in total shock how this baby was still alive inside me but wasn’t compatible with life.

They then sent me to fetal medicine for a 2nd opinion which I hoped was wrong but they said this condition is so clean cut it is not going to be wrong. I walked in and lay down again another scan to be told yes baby has anencephaly and that she wont survive.

I went away for a week just to come to terms with what was happening feeling her kick was amazing but sad all at once. We went into hospital to have her I was 18 weeks. I was full of nerves waiting to meet her… my waters broke and I broke down as in my eyes that meant I was closer to her arriving and closer to losing her.

January 10th 2018 at 3:30pm Renae Elodie was born. You could see her birth defect …. I always had visions I’d see a round head and they could of been wrong. but it was so so clear.

We miss her everyday and wish we got to see who she would have been. Our much loved daughter and baby sister.” – Ashleigh Paige Shannon Lynch

Baby Freddie

“After being together since 2012 myself and my partner Chavez decided that we would like to start our family in 2017 as seemed like the right time. We fell pregnant end of February which we were absolutely over the moon about.
Our pregnancy went smoothly with no concerns apart from one check up with reduced movements at around 25 weeks, Freddie was fine. Of course the relief was unreal.

Fast forward to October, moved into our new house and got everything ready in Freddie’s nursery. We’d bought everything and only needed to get a car seat to complete everything Freddie was going to need.

Thursday the 13th I had the midwife, everything was great and heard Freddie’s little heartbeat.

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Friday the 14th had a busy day at work but nothing unusual. Saturday morning I woke up at 2.30am to go the loo and realised I hadn’t felt Freddie move since I went to sleep. Normally he was active at night and would move when I did so this was unusual for him.

I got up had some toast as normally eating would wake him up, no luck.
Thought okay I’d have a bath as that always got him moving. Sitting in the bath I think I knew then he was gone. I even shaved my legs as thought I’d be going into hospital. I rang the maternity unit, they asked me to come in at 6am which I did.

My other half was fast asleep and not budging so I took myself to hospital.
When I got to the maternity unit I was met by the loveliest midwife who scanned me. I could tell by the look on her face he’d gone. The midwife went and got a doctor, I knew then it was all over. The dreaded words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat” literally shattered my heart into a millions pieces. I remember screaming, seeing the sad look on the midwives faces.

I then called Chavez and rang my mother to go and pick him up as he didn’t drive at the time. I remember ringing my Dad and just saying “Freddie’s gone”.

I was then moved into another room so I didn’t hear all the women giving birth to their live babies. Some family members came to support us while we were waiting for the consultant to come in as he was on call. The wait was a couple of hours; it dragged so much. Me being as I am was worried about work and my pony, so text my friend to look after my pony. Rang work to tell them they needed to find cover even though I was on call as I was due in on Sunday.

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I remember standing at the hospital window thinking how easy it would be to jump out and how the pain would be less than I was feeling at that moment. My baby was gone , I wanted to be gone.
I was allowed to go home when the consultant confirmed Freddie was gone and he gave us our options.

Sunday and Monday we had to come back to the hospital for medication and injections to start to induce labour etc. I felt like I was an empty shell walking around, I felt completely numb and heartbroken.

Tuesday came, the day I was being admitted to have Freddie. Had my first pessary at 11am, second at 17.30pm and delivered Freddie at 11.27pm 17/10/17 weighing 4lbs 15oz at 34+1.Freddie’s due date was 27/11/17.

I can’t explain how perfect and absolutely beautiful he was, the rush of pure love mixed with the deepest sadness I’ve ever felt was unbearable. Chavez and myself had lots of cuddles and photos with Freddie. Some family members came and met him and I’m so grateful that my Nana got to meet her first great great grandson, she is my idol and was so looking forward to Freddie arriving.

Wednesday we had to leave Freddie at the hospital, I felt numb, empty and like a walking zombie.

Chavez has never been a talker and certainly doesn’t show or talk about his feelings. Seeing him cry broke me, I could see he was hurting but felt I couldn’t help him, felt useless. I don’t think we would of got through it all without each other.
After Freddie’s Post Mortem we found out that Freddie died from sudden blood clots in the vessels to the placenta. They don’t know what caused them.

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Ever since finding out Freddie’s heart had stopped beating I have been lost, an emotional wreck, angry and heartbroken. I wanted Freddie more than anything, planning our pregnancy was amazing, I’d never felt more happy in all my life than knowing I was carrying our first beautiful baby. Now all I have are pictures ,brief memories, his ashes and my necklace with his ashes in. An empty nursery and an empty heart. Theres not a day that goes by that we don’t talk about our Angel and what should of been.

I can’t thank the midwives and my consultant enough for their amazing help and support.

We are now pregnant again due 4/4/19 which is so scary but so exciting. It’s hard to feel happy when you want something so much but know it can be taken away from you at any point. I’m now under the care of the consultant that looked after us when Freddie died, my consultant is absolutely fantastic think I’d be a nightmare without him. Chavez is my rock and I’m so glad I have him.” – Chloe Jade Williams.

Megan-Rose Suzan

“Megan-Rose was born at 36 weeks on the 8th December 2012. She weighed a perfect 7lb 3oz. She cried instantly and seemed relatively well. The next day whilst still in hospital Megan began showing signs that something wasn’t right but the nurses didn’t seem bothered. She became very jaundiced, was struggling to feed and her breathing was erratic. We were kept in hospital until she was three days old. And went home that evening.

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Despite our concerns we trusted she was well as the nurses had not aired any concerns to us. We spent day four at home adjusting to our new addition. On day 5 the health visitor came around 12pm.

Megan by this point was glowing yellow. She asked me if her dad was of a different ethnic origin I replied no shes jaundiced. I aired all my concerns regarding sleeping breathing feeding and She did her so called checks and left saying she was fine. I knew she wasn’t.

Two hours later Megan and I set off to her big brothers nativity play at his nursery. Then our worlds were torn apart. During the play I tried to feed Megan from a bottle, her head flopped backwards and the milk stayed in her mouth I knew something was seriously wrong she wasn’t breathing.

I pushed all the mums and dads out the way and called to the head that I needed to take Taylor now as Megan wasn’t breathing. She grabbed Taylor and we all rushed to the school office where they called an ambulance. Within seconds that ambulance was there. They checked Megan over who by this point was starting to make slow shallow breaths again.

Her SATs were just 64% … She was quickly rushed to resus where there were 30 + nurses and doctors all waiting for her. They stripped her down and drilled into her shin bone to get some fluid in fast. I was a mess. My 5 day old baby was being drilled into in resus and my 3 year old son was in the relative room with the ambulance crew. They were fantastic. I was torn between two rooms. My husband was at work and didn’t drive. He was miles away. An ambulance crew went out to get him from work !! Above and beyond their services for sure.F971A7D9-59E1-46B7-BA4C-DCDF6E21FADC

Back at the hospital I was told she was critically ill; she had suffered a cardiac arrest and nobody knew why. She was taken to Southampton PICU 30 miles from our home. We weren’t allowed to travel with her so we made our own way there.

We arrived at PICU at 8pm and were shown to the waiting room. We weren’t given a lot of information at this point . 5 hours later a doctor came into us and told us things were not looking good. She had suffered 4 more cardiac arrests and still noone knew why.

We were taken in to see her where another Dr approached us and explained what they were doing. Megan was on an oscillator so looked like she was fitting. This was just the machine. They were treating her head to toe with antibiotics as her lactate levels were sky high. (Normal is 0.1 Megan’s were 16)

He then explained he wasn’t confident she was going to make it through the night and asked if we wanted to have her baptised. I must have come across as rude when I responded with no shes getting christened in a church not here. His look was the look of “you’re not going to get that chance”

We were exhausted and at 2.30am they gave us a room to stay in, I couldn’t sleep. By 4.30am I had to get up and see Megan my mind couldn’t rest. I was told that she had suffered another cardiac arrest and a stroke. Due to her weight now being at 4lb and them having to use the electric shocks to revive her this resulted in her lung bursting.

Megan fought through tho and was still with us. She was labelled the sickest baby on the ward. They told us however that during her last cardiac arrest they were finally able to establish what the problem was. Coarctation of the Aorta. The main artery that sends blood around the body was shut.6753FCF2-7761-4215-9A32-7BCD76930248

At 13 days old Megan was due to undergo open heart surgery. Doctors told us sadly she was too critical and that she only had a 5% chance of survival. We owed it to Megan to at least give her that chance. We couldn’t give up on her. She survived that. And started to make a huge recovery.

After 13 weeks in hospital Megan was allowed home. This was short lived when 4 days later her oxygen started to drop again and she was back in PICU.

By the time Megan was six months old she had spent most of that time in hospital. She underwent 6 heart operations, one of which had paralysed her vocal chords, several chest drains and balloon catheters to the SVC vein. She also had two lung pleurectomys as well.

Out of 9 months and 3 weeks Megan spent a total of 70 days on and off outside of hospital.

September 2013 was the longest time we had Megan home at one time. We had her baptised at church on her dads birthday, and she got to experience a bouncy castle for her brothers 4th birthday. 6 days later Megan was struggling to breathe from a cold, we took her to hospital due to being 24/7 oxygen reliant and tube fed the tubes were getting blocked. We were exhausted we lived around ten minutes from the hospital and so told them we would go home and get some rest as all we had there was a chair to sleep in.

We never got any sleep. At 1am we received a call from the hospital asking us to come in as Megan wouldn’t settle. When I arrived her cot was surrounded with staff. I panicked. I picked Megan up in my arms and tried to sing to her to calm her down. She started fitting in my arms. They had to rush her upstairs and sedate her. Megan was taken back to Southampton PICU.

The next day my friend came to visit and sat with Megan when the consultants pulled us into the side room. As we returned we didn’t have to say anything. My friend just knew what we had just been told. There was nothing more they could do.

4 weeks prior to this Megan had a cardiac review on my 30th birthday we were told then she was deteriorating and didn’t have long left, we didn’t think it would be this soon after.9358F7FC-9AD6-49C1-83F3-0B2D1467AFA1

On the 1st October 2013, friends and family gathered round to say their final goodbyes and we were left to then tell the doctors when to turn off her life support machine. All day that day if we mentioned the surgery Megan went into cardiac arrest and we witnessed the nurses doing CPR on her. Every time we mentioned letting her go her numbers were perfect.

She was giving us a sign that she was tired now and it was her time to go. Megan’s life support was switched off at 7.30pm and at 8.05pm Megan took her last breath in my arms. My baby girl had passed away peacefully at 9 months 3 weeks old. Her heart had completely stopped and lungs had flooded.” – Mima Gidley.

Autumn Orion Dennis

“We are Hoping to get justice for her and many others like her born early as well as raise awareness on a condition I had while carrying her and help raise as much money in memory of her and our chosen charity #4louis to buy a cuddle cot and memory boxes for grieving parents like us. Here it is in my own words my story.

As a mum all you want to do is protect your children and wrap them up in cotton wool and it starts from that very first pregnancy test with a positive line and so your journey begins.

Autumn was baby number 6 for us yes I said it number 6… I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt once we got our heads round the fact we were expecting again so soon after our littlest son. I’d always wanted 6 children deep down a nice big family, so we embraced it and what was to come. As the weeks went on with all the usual pregnancy related symptoms morning sickness, fatigue to name but a few we got excited for that first early scan and there she was a little blueberry flickering away with a good healthy strong heartbeat that burst of love that would last a lifetime happened right there in that moment.927CDD00-33F7-4D8E-BB34-FE3765D504B2

Then 12 weeks came the big first all important scan at the hospital. I remember being so excited as we were all packed for going away few days later and couldn’t wait to tell the kids once away. Keeping it from them was driving me insane but I somehow did. The scan went well as we’d expected baby was absolutely perfect and measuring as expected all was good.

Two days after scan day we flew to Spain for our family holiday I remember thinking I can’t wait to tell the kids. I had planned with my husband to do some sort of revealing baby announcement on the beach but sadly that wasn’t meant to be.

On the flight coming down to land I felt ill like I was going to pass out or worse but somehow managed through it until we landed,then felt ok with just a bad head didn’t think much more of it.

Few hours passed we are all settled enjoying afternoon family time round the pool. Evening came I went shopping came back was busy sorting it away then my worst fear happened I started bleeding. That night was a long night I was so scared I was loosing our baby, all I kept doing was saying to myself how sorry sorry I somehow felt guilty like I was being punished for my initial reaction to the pregnancy in the beginning. Right in that moment I needed a lifeline a miracle I was grateful for my little person even more than ever before.

Morning came I went to the hospital to get checked. I felt so numb and was expecting the worst. But there was our baby happily bouncing around with a good strong healthy heartbeat.I was sent away with a bit of paper and two scan pictures with only a basic explanation of baby is fine take it easy we see this all the time …. don’t worry.

Well as the holiday progressed I did just that: worry until we flew back home two weeks later and still bleeding thinking I’d be reassured to be told no more information really just informed to come back for consultant appointment one week scan another and at that point getting checked via scan machine it was confirmed I had a subchronic hematoma not that I didn’t know anyway as it was on my holiday hospital form.

In the middle of all the confusion I see my baby was blissfully unawares; happy and healthy bouncing around, so I took that as a good sign and said to myself stay strong.

Downward spiral from there in really with regards to the hospital and anti natal care as weeks went on my pregnancy progressed but still bleeding it became more apparent that I might loose our baby the more I did my own research on this condition.

Everything was so uncertain even when meeting with the consultant few times by the way not one I was under either, to discuss issues regarding my pregnancy. I felt like I just wasn’t being heard. I was given no healthcare plan or advice on what I should or shouldn’t of been doing but everything I’d read suggested otherwise concerning my condition a subchronic hematoma.

I should of have been given some advice not just told to carry on as normal what will be will be, it’s out of our hands, take every day as it comes it’s out of our hands and yours , “wow” I thought coming from a healthcare professional they didn’t seem overly concerned and that apparently they see this all the time.

So I did just that, took the advice given even though I felt it was wrong I should have been advised something. I left that hospital feeling even more worried unsupported and not having clue what the outcome of our baby would be. I couldn’t really bond with the pregnancy as I’d done with previous ones which for me I found very hard.

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Weeks went by we found out we were expecting a little girl. Everyone was elated I can’t explain into words just how much.The worry was still there, but I plodded on took each day as it came and I started to let my guard down by buying stuff as you would.

In-between all this I had a few scans at 16 and 20 weeks to be told the hematoma had grown from 3.2cm to 7.2 but hospital didn’t seem as concerned as I was. I had no fresh bleeding or bad pain or felt particularly unwell that would suggest anything other then a viral picked up off the kids and a possible water infection which was never confirmed.

Baby was growing well meeting all her milestones ,but was told of the possible risks as we had throughout of what could or would or might or we just don’t know what might happen with these things your aim is to reach 24 weeks so that was my milestone; our milestone as if anything was to happen before that I was told they wouldn’t do anything.

And still no regular care plan was put into place we were just told to come back in 6 weeks but had been told previously they’d scan me and check both me and baby every 2 weeks then 4 depending on the situation, but that never happened.

Subchronic hematoma… What might happen varies from person to person

1)premature rupture of membrane
2)Preterm labour
3)Miscarriage
4)Spontaneous abortion
5)Full term pregnancy
6)Continue to bleed out or not at all
7)Clot come away (go straight to hospital) or may not
8)Clot usually absorbeds back into the body
9)usually these things correct them self and don’t cause any problems.

Unfortunately mine did and it continued to grow and I continued to bleed up until last few weeks of my pregnancy which by then I thought was a good sign and a huge weight lifted and I started to get excited again that I’d nearly reach that 24 week milestone.

16th October came I was 22 weeks 5 days pregnant it was our little lads first birthday what a great day that was until evening came we were just saying are last good byes to close friends. I started getting more pain than the usual pregnancy aches.. like labour type in my back legs and stomach even at that point I thought it was just baby resting funny on me nerve and possibly water infection didn’t really think I needed to panic but then all I remember is pressure and more pain more pressure then I passed the hematoma which I was told might happen or could etc I remember thinking am I going to loose my baby I need to get to hospital as that’s what was advertised if this happened.

We Got to hospital we were Sat waiting in MAU waiting to be seen, pains getting worse and regular me trying to think positive… this isn’t happening trying to hide my pain especially as there was a mum in ready to give birth I didn’t want to make her worry, but I burst into tears as couldn’t control the pain I remember her asking me if I was ok when my husband went to get help. I said no it’s too early. I just remember that look on their faces- my heart sank as she said I’m sorry I hope everything will be ok.

The Midwifes doctors came eventually to check me over and the baby, all seems fine minus the pains baby is perfectly unaware anything is happening moving around to then be told after a examination I’m sorry theres nothing we can do your membranes are in the birth canal she’s coming tonight! I’ll never forget that sentence or the cry I let out as I held onto my husband.

While all this was going on, we asked that all important question if our little girl will be helped. Quite simply the answer was no because she was too young and not deemed viable for her gestation at 22+1 but I was 22+5 … as they go by scan machines to determine a baby’s age I didn’t question it partly because I was in shock and I didn’t feel we had that option to fight for her, all we got from them was preaching about how fragile she is what happens to babies who are born early if they do intervene for five minutes if that, and it wouldn’t be in her best interest to help that they wouldn’t as she’s not 24 weeks, even at 24-25 at push they rarely help preterm babies.

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So we didn’t keep arguing it … that was it we knew her fate. Not God’s fate but a hospitals decision, some hours later early hours of the 17th October I give birth to a beautiful baby girl she was perfect in every way from her head to her toes. I endured a labour like any other; breathing through each contraction tear,laugh, smile with my husbands support, but wasn’t getting the end prize at the end to take home. But I embraced every moment the best I could spent with her once born.

She amazed me and her daddy she was born in her sack such a lucky little girl, she was still moving even when in her sack her daddy saw her little big feet kicking away before it was broken. Then we expected the worst but she fought like the little fighter she was from the word go. She was placed on my chest we had skin to skin We got a few hours with her like that alive breathing her little heart beating hard at work , although I and her dad were absolutely heartbroken but cherished the time spent with her knowing what was to come.

We couldn’t do anything to help our little girl but try and be strong make her feel as loved warm and comfortable as we possibly could until she passed away and in that very moment our hearts broke all over again. A Piece of my heart that night went with her I’ll never get back but she give me a piece of hers aswell. I can only hope she went feeling that love and warmth given to her by myself and her daddy that night.

Everyday spent with her after that was full of precious but heartbroken moments until we lay her to rest that will last a lifetime and so our fight for justice began.” – Sophie Marie Dennis.

Please sign the petition to allow every baby born breathing the right to medical care even if they are under “viable” gestation.

I am honoured to bring these tragic yet beautiful stories to your attention as parents also work towards changing current laws and situations that may ensure that other parents do not have to face the same heartbreaking consequences. I am in awe of these strong women. I hate that we have to tell these stories but I also recognise the importance of giving these babies the chance to be acknowledged as people, and what better time than Baby Loss Awareness Week? Each child grew inside their Mother and have left an imprint on their body, heart and soul. It is just so unfortunate that they are not their Earth Children but each will live on through memories and love and when people #SayTheirName.

If you are interested in sharing your story of loss as part of this series please feel free to get in contact with me. Please be kind to yourself and remember that grieving is not a linear process. If you have been affected by loss please do not hesitate to reach out to charities for support. (See my first #SayTheirName post or my guide on How to interact with a bereaved parent.)

#StaySweet and be a little bit kinder than you need to be. You never know how much people are suffering.

Bea’s Mummy x

 

 

 

 

 

#SayTheirNames: Voices of Loss- The Collective. (Part 1)

#SayTheirNames: Voices of Loss- The Collective. (Part 1)

Bea is lightly humming in her sleep, as we meander back from our shopping trip to retrieve the imperative red pepper for tonight’s dinner! I feel blessed (if a little sweaty from my March of the Pram). The sun beats down on my face and I can feel my freckles triumphantly dancing their way to the surface of my skin. I join in Bea’s content sigh. I love the “Ber” Months for their stunning visuals in nature & the crazy descent into holiday preparations! I will not say the C-Word yet, but just know I am “one of those” & my tree will be erected (oooh’errr!) as soon as I have finished my Samhain (Halloween) Celebrations!

But this day of the calendar also marks a period that on one hand is rather somber. You wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it had you had a blissful birth experience, and all you have known is bringing home a baby in your arms. This time of year is for the parents that form part of an exclusive club that you would never in a million years wish to join. There is no word for us. When you lose a parent/parents you become an orphan. When you lose your partner you become a widow. But because it is so unnatural to even postulate, there is no word for becoming childless that is classified. We have given ourselves the title of “Angel Parents”; a badge we wear with pride yet tremendous amounts of sadness.

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A double blow for myself and my partner as we have to pass each 12th of October (Mylo’s due date) with no milestones actualised. The worst part of loss is that there will never be the “firsts” and you forever wonder who your little person would be. Mylo would have been a one year old in just shy of two weeks time. I wonder if he would be the spitting image of his father. Would he be pulling himself around our livingroom now? Would he be boisterous like me or more reflective like Daddy? Sometimes I find myself slipping into an alternative universe of “What Could Have Been”…

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My Mylo Bump Weeks 20/21.

This piece however is not just my story. I have been granted permission by several other Angel Parents to share their babies with the world over Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We all speak together from the heart. We all feel the same surges of emotions and we all wonder why we were the statistical 1 out of 4 pregnancies that ends in loss. I hate to use the medical terminology of “miscarriage” because it does not honour our babies as the people they were. For the purposes of this piece I will try to avoid this loaded medical lexicon unless the Parent themselves have used those words as I have been granted the incredible opportunity to become mouthpiece for individuals of loss and I will be honouring their children by posting word for word. It is no longer my voice if you will. It is now a symphony of voices, each as full of pain.

These stories come from individuals in a Facebook support group that I have the utmost privileged of being an admin person for. “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC” is an army of parents who have experienced the loss of a child, during, shortly after birth or further down the line. It is a safe part of the internet where parents do not have to feel like their child/children require “Trigger Warnings” like so many other support groups. They can openly share photos of their angels with no fear of judgement so I will be doing this on their behalf of this post and will not be using a “trigger warning!” Our photos of our children are just as precious as the photos of any child at birth.

The group was created by Stacie Goddard (nope we are not related! Just a coincidence!) and she has recruited an almost 3.5k collective; all who have their own stories, and who support one another implicitly. Welcoming any new parent of loss into the fold so that we can all navigate our own feelings of grief. It is certainly not a linear process and as I have said before; some days are bad… some days are worse. We all need help sometimes and this group has been described as many wonderful things that relate to images of support, but my personal favourite continues to be likening it to a “safe port in the storm” because waves of grief can really drag you down. Nothing articulates the chaos of the tumbling feelings that combine and crash over you. They can be a riptide. You become helpless. But this group is very often a lifeline for struggling angel parents.

Please find listed below the first sets of stories of the members of the group. Firstly is Stacie’s as the owner of the group and how and why parents of loss have been brought together. Let’s #SayTheirNames!

Peter Ryan Tiberius Goddard.

I was trying for a baby for 4 years with my partner as I was told I couldn’t have kids. I finally fell pregnant I couldn’t believe it. At 6 weeks I started to bleed so I went to the hospital and had a scan and they said it was a threatened miscarriage. I thought at that point that was it ; I was losing my baby. But we proved them wrong again!

I went to the 12 week scan expecting to see nothing but there my baby was! Kicking his arms and waving at us! I had that image in my head for weeks every time I closed my eyes that’s all I could see. I was so ready to be a mum more then anything even though I was only 21. We bought everything you can imagine, planned how we were going to do the room, made a wish list for what I wanted to buy him for Christmas. Even planned matching outfits with my sister as she was also pregnant only 2 weeks ahead of me!

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I had a good 8 weeks after that 12 week scan, nothing to worry about I was past that miscarriage stage nothing can go wrong; or so I thought. The night before my 20 week scan I had a horrible gut feeling that something wasn’t right but I ignored it and just held my baby in my arms as I could feel exactly where he was I felt every kick and nudge.

It was the 20 week scan I was so excited to find out the sex I really wanted a girl but I didn’t mind either way. But the babies legs were crossed so couldn’t find out. The nurse became worried and asked if I had been leaking fluid. I replied no, to which she went and got a consultant and 3 other midwifes. I knew at that point something was wrong with my baby I couldn’t stop crying.

When the consultant came in he started scanning my baby and checking everything and he said he couldn’t find the kidneys and that I had no amniotic fluid. I didn’t know what this meant so I tried to stay positive. After the scan I had a long 2 hours wait before they explained to me what was going on.

I will never forget those words I’m sorry but your baby isn’t viable. They told me my baby that I had so longed for wouldn’t survive as he had no kidneys and was unable to produce amniotic fluid and because of this his lungs also wouldn’t  develop. I couldn’t stop crying I just held my baby and cried. I asked for a second opinion just to make sure but I had to wait a week as it was in a different hospital.

In that week I made a lot of arrangements and did a lot of research. I planned my babies outfit and every little detail of what was going to happen when he was born. I planned a photographer, a priest even a little tiny Moses basket. I went to my sisters midwife appointment as I thought it would help but I was dead inside. It happened to be my midwife. I told my midwife everything and she gave me a big hug and explained what was going to happen and how I would give birth to my baby. She then listened to my sisters babies heart beat and I just cried because I’d never hear my babies again.

She did the kindest thing and got me to record my babies heartbeat which I’ll have forever; so strong and so perfect. I had such high hopes that they were wrong, that a mistake had been made. I was now 22 weeks I made the most of my time with my baby still inside me. I spoke to it every day and sung to him. I used to play chase and tickle his feet when he stuck them up.

I went to that last scan with such hope nothing could be wrong with my baby- hes so strong and healthy. I was having my scan and they still couldn’t see anything. The consultant said the baby was suffering and that he was being crushed as there was no fluid to protect him. I knew at that point I had to do what a good mother should do and let my baby be at peace.

I will never forget the consultants words so cold and meaningless. “At least you fell pregnant, at least you can try again“. When I signed my babies life away and took that horrible tablet to get everything ready my baby was kicking me I felt like he was asking me no to do it. The next 2 days were horrible as I was constantly worried if he had all ready passed away but I was glad he didn’t when I felt him kick away.

It was Thursday the 30th June: the day I was to be induced. It was a very long process but I was having contractions all day. It came to half 2am on the Friday morning and the contractions were getting bad. The midwifes told me to start pushing and so I did. However 45 minutes later my body just gave up. I didn’t want to let my baby go I couldn’t do it. I remember holding my belly crying out “I’m so sorry baby I’m so so sorry, Mummy loves you so much” and the song I won’t give up on us was playing. I knew he was suffering. I knew it was time to let him go. So I pushed as much as I could.

There he was, my little boy was born! The first thing I asked was does he have hair to they said yes he does,its tiny but its blonde. I got them to put him straight onto my chest. I’ve never felt love like this before I also saw that he was a boy and cried my heart out my little man he was so perfect on the outside.

He was born and lived a few minutes on the 1/07/16 at 3:35am weighing a tiny 420g. We named him Peter Ryan Tiberius Goddard, named after Peter Pan: the boy who never grew up. I spent that day holding him kissing him and taking as many pictures as I could. I looked at every tiny detail and held his beautiful hands. However it was time to leave him.

The Labour Ward was getting busy and loads of women were in labour- it was breaking my heart knowing that their babies were going to be fine and I’ll never take my baby home. I walk behind the midwife’s as they took him up the ward. I looked at all the mothers holding their perfect babies and just cried. Why couldn’t that be me?

I said my final goodbye and left him in their care. When me and my partner got home I was so empty. My womb ached for my little boy. I felt like he needed me.

We had a beautiful funeral for him and my story was published in our local newspaper and it went viral – even making it to America! I have since been in the magazine Real People sharing my story raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss and also Peter’s condition BRA.I have also had my story on BBC news. What I do is my son’s legacy through my work I am keeping his memory alive. I have helped 1000s of women to cope with the loss of their babies and even helped most to go on and have their rainbows.

I myself have gone on to have 2 very healthy, special babies after losing my Peter. I am currently up for nomination at The Butterfly Awards, which is my biggest achievement yet for my son’s memory! I will carrying on raising awareness for my son’s condition and for pregnancy and infant loss until it is no longer a taboo subject. I am 1 in 4 I have a son who is in Neverland.” – Stacie Goddard.


Iris Goddard & Bow Goddard.

“My story of missed miscarriage,  miscarriage and a Rainbow. I can’t write everything that had happened but I’ll do my very best.

So my story starts with a healthy baby boy. About a year after he was born I got broody again as most do! Had been trying to convince my partner to have another for months… He finally said yes!

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We started TTC, first month wasn’t the one, second month didn’t happen… The end of month 3 we conceived!! On the 15th November 2017 I found out we were expecting our 2nd baby!

We were over the moon! I was roughly 3 weeks when I found out. Weeks passed by and the sickness started to kick in, I had suffered with Hypertensives Gravidarum previously so expected it again. At 8 weeks I was leaking a lot of milk, I thought this was normal for some women…

More weeks passed, we brought a cot for baby, I didn’t think anything of it. Yes it was before the 12 week scan but I had never lost a baby, so I would be fine right?

The sickness started to go at around 10 weeks and I started to feel normal! I was so happy that I had skipped HG and was having a healthy pregnancy…

12 Weeks came, on the day… I had a very small spotting like brown blood, I asked my sister and friends, everyone rightly said it was nothing to worry about it was old blood! Probably meant i had a bleed weeks ago that my body didn’t let out.

But me being paranoid asked my sister to take me to A&E for a check over.
We got the the hospital, all happy, giddy and not expecting anything bad. Hours were spent attempting getting bloods, I’m a terrible bleeder… the doctor finally got my bloods after over 30 attempts, scanner attempt and finally got bloods from my groin.

He got a bed side scanner after bloods were sent off, so he could have a rough look at baby… I didn’t really see the screen, I went by my sister’s reaction and expressions…

The doctor said he couldn’t see much… Stacie tried to shed some hope my way and said “it’s probably because you’ve just gone for a wee! Your bladder is empty and these scanners are rubbish”… I agreed! Everything would be OK!

He sent us off for an hour or so while we waited for bloods. Stacie took me to the hospitals chapel, I didn’t think anything of it, I wrote a note for my baby assuring things would be ok, lit a candle and sat for a while. We headed back to the doctor. This is where I would learn the truth…

“Your bloods show that you are a lot earlier than you thought” immediately I said no! Impossible! I tried for this baby I knew all the dates! When we conceived, exactly how many weeks I should be… I asked him how early, he said around 8 weeks! He also said my uterus showed the gestation size of 8 weeks but no baby was seen. I roughly took it in. I said thank you and walked away.

As soon as we left that room I broke down screaming and crying into my sister’s arms, we both held one and other, I kept saying no and she kept saying I’m so sorry

Move forward a little, I told my family and friends etc, a scan was booked for a weeks time to see what was happening. They called this a missed miscarriage, where the body doesn’t recognise it’s miscarrying and carries on telling your body you are pregnant.

Almost a week passed and I had to travel to Devon which is a 7 hour drive there and back. I hadn’t miscarried at this point, only lost some blood here and there.

On the way back from the trip when we was about half hour from my home, I had a trickle of water and urges to push… surely not? At 12 weeks? Unfortunately yes. Stacie told me this was the start of miscarrying.

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I never expected what would happen next.In the back of the car I started to hemorrhage!! Losing hand size clots and gushing blood. My friend rushed me to hospital, I got out and stumbled to the reception, clenching my tummy, holding bloody leggings trying to cover all the blood over my legs. It was obvious- they sent me straight through, cannulated me and got me a bed in the A&E department.

As it was late at night there was no one to scan me or help! So they put me on fluids, moved me to a ward and helped me onto a bed pan every time I needed to wee. Every time I moved or stood up, more blood would gush. So the nurses told me to not get out of bed. My heart rate was rocket high at 160! One point I thought I was dying, I couldn’t talk, move, everything went blury and fuzzy, I heard my mum shouting at me telling me to talk… I thought this was it. I  would leave my son motherless.

The doctors stabilised me and I was able to sleep. I was in and out of sleep due to pain. The morning came and I had a scan first thing, the scanner was so shocked at the amount of blood just pooling inside my uterus and inside the cannal. She quickly turned to the nurse and said “get this woman in for an emergency D&C now!!” She put her hand on my shoulder and said how sorry she was.

I was wheeled out of the room in my bed, taken back to the ward where the anesthetist waited to go through risks of a D&C, I signed a contract and asked all the questions I needed. Waited almost an hour and was taken through. The surgery went well I was under so didn’t feel a thing. Woke up in recovery and had a blood transfusion and strong pain meds. I was allowed to go home about 5 hours after.

I got home and started the healing process, but contacted a uterus infection also which needed meds.  It was all about healing and letting time help emotionally too. It was tough, draining,  I never thought I would ever go through anything like that.

A few months passed and we tried again, I fell pregnant again on the 26th March 2018! Was over joyed and so scared but felt something was so wrong from the start…

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I was right, a few weeks later when I was 6 weeks, they tested bloods and it wasn’t  progressing- my hcg wasn’t rising. I had a scan and all that was seen was a sac. Why was this happening again! What was I doing wrong. I was a failure in every sense.

I was booked for another D&C for a weeks time and sent home.  2 days before my d&c I miscarried at home. I was shattered. Yet again I felt my body failed me. Why did this happen again? I had a healthy baby boy, why couldn’t I do it again? I hated myself.

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I got so suicidal, self harmed a lot and had crisis team out every other day.

Just May the 23rd I found out I was expecting again?! This wasn’t planned as we swore to wait almost a year! When I found out no tears of happiness were shed. I was sure this would have another tragic ending.

Weeks passed and I got HG! a sign that hcg was progressing strong enough! 6 weeks came and I had a big bleed. I was in hospital for HG a lot and thought I was losing again.

But I wasn’t! I had scans and showed a healthy yolk sac. Weeks passed and I had another scan which showed a healthy baby and healthy heart beat! I am now 22 weeks with my rainbow, still very anxious but more positive now.

Of course I will never be able to put into words the trauma that was left, the raw emotions, nights spent crying, all the hospital stays, all the hate, all the bullying that came from social media after Iris *I chose a name for my first loss as I felt she was a girl*… The world taught me about the stigma around miscarriage and how it should be kept secret and private.

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I disagree, I believe miscarriages have just as much right to he spoken about and grieved over, in which ever way… Your baby is your baby no matter what gestation or age. – Sheila Goddard.

Logen-Lei Carter.

“I found out I was expecting my first baby July 2017 after my ex best friend persuaded me to take the test as I was 2 weeks late. I always said and still do now my Nan sent me this baby to give me some comfort as I lost my Nan in January 2017 to a heart attack, but it did also hurt a lot as one of the last things my Nan said to me is “always wanted to meet my great grandchildren but now I never will.”

I told my now ex partner I was pregnant but sadly his reaction wasn’t the same as mine and told me unless I had a termination then he was going to leave. So I quickly made the decision that I would be a single mum, that I would find a way to manage on my own. 

Everything seemed to be going well with the pregnancy, I had all the normal symptoms and my morning sickness was bad. I was booked in for my first midwife appointment around 8 weeks. At the appointment she took all my information and told me I was was a low risk pregnancy. She said I would receive a letter in the post about my dating scan. 

2 weeks later I received a letter with with a date for my dating scan so I started to count down the days as I was so excited to see my baby on the screen. The day finally arrived for the 12 week scan. I entered the scan room and the scan begun and I could see my baby wriggling on the screen.

In the side room the midwife explained that the baby had some defects- 2 club hands and possibly a club foot, fetal Hydrops and a cystic hygroma. She said it was likely she had a chromosome abnormality but they weren’t sure what one. I had no words to say, I just cried, the one person who would have supported me was gone (my nan). The midwife carried on and explained I would need to see the fetal medicine specialist, so she handed me an appointment and said to go home. 

So my baby all these complications and some of them I had never heard of, so I searched the Web for some answers and researching what different chromosome abnormalities there were. I also found a group on Facebook where  I read many survival stories on babies being born with Hydrops. 

So with my little bit of knowledge I went to my next appointment. This time the fetal medicine specialist was in the scan and was asking to see certain bits of the baby. After ten minutes the fetal specialist took me into a side room to explain the scan. He said the Hydrops was now severe and her hygroma was stopping blood getting around her head properly which meant her survival rate was extremely low. He explained to me I could a have a peaceful termination but I would have to decide in the next few days. I told him I was not giving up, so he booked me another appointment to come back at 15 + 4.  

I went home with  mixed emotions but still hoping for a miracle. I spent the next couple of weeks holding my belly and talking to baby. I hoped my baby was a fighter like my Nan. 

 So the day for the next appointment came and I entered the scan room again. This time on the screen baby was still and heartbeat was very slow. A couple of minutes passed and her heart stopped. I always say in those two minutes she was waiting for my Nan to open her arms. 

I broke down in tears and stumbled to the room  where I was given five minutes to myself before they came in and explained what was going to happen next. I was given a tablet tablet that would bring on labour and booked into labour ward for 9 am on 27th September but was told to come back sooner if needed. 

On the way home I stopped off at Asda and got baby a blanket and a comforter. Once home I layed for hours and cried, played songs to baby and talked to baby as much i could. Contractions begun the next day at 7 pm but wasn’t ready for baby to leave me yet so I stayed at home. I got the hospital the following morning at half nine where they gave another tablet and then another at half 12 and another at half three. By half 3 my contractions was was extremely close together and my waters broke at 4. My angel was born at 5 pm weighing 15 grams on 27th September 2017, with two club hands, one club foot and and her stomach outside her body.

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I didn’t get to meet her until 10 pm as I was rushed into theatre due to my placenta getting  stuck.   

My placenta was sent of for testing and it was was found Logen-Lei had Edwards.” – Sophie Carter.

John Regan-Smith

“I found out I was pregnant in February 2017 me & my fiancée were over the moon I couldn’t wait for my 1st scan, my 1st scan was on the 16th May.

I got there and they were scanning me for over an hour. The baby was wriggling around. I kept asking what’s going on is everything ok, yea I’m just struggling to find something “do u want to no the sex” I replied it’s a boy isn’t it yes it certainly is… then he told me they couldn’t see my baby’s heart attachments properly & to not worry.

I was panicking so much.. I went back on the 22nd May & it was still the same they told me I’d have to go London for a scan to check properly. I walked out the hospital crying my eyes out.. not knowing was the worst! Is my baby gonna be ok? I had this horrible feeling.

On the 3rd July 2017 I had my scan at Kings College Hospital- our world came crashing down when we heard the words no parents should ever hear…. “I’m sorry your baby has no heartbeat”. I really wasn’t expecting our baby to be gone.

On the 5th July I went into hospital to be induced to give birth to him. (21+4) I didn’t believe he had died but it was true. On the 6th July at 2.45am I gave birth to our beautiful sleeping angel John Reagan Smith weighing 240 grams. Our son had CHD – my heart aches every single day for him.” – Stacey Cahill.

Sophie Newman.

“We unfortunately lost our daughter at 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. But I haven’t shared with you all as to why. So I though I would.

The weekend before was the snow weekend, we were all having an amazing time enjoying the snow, I was mainly watching from the sidelines. That weekend I was also frantically getting things ready going into my final week at work knowing I was working past the point when I had Alfie.

The Sunday night I went to bed Sophie was kicking like crazy. I begged her to stop so I could get asleep as I knew how busy work was going to be. Went to work came home as normal Monday the 5th March at lunch time. I realised I hadn’t felt my baby move so I called the midwives, they asked me to go in at 4pm.

I messaged Jack. He said he should probably come. I didn’t think much of it. I tried lying on me left and having a drink -but nothing.

Went in at 4pm, laid in the bed when one then another midwife tried to find the heartbeat but all they said was no parental over and over again. We then drove to Bath. On the way over I was getting braxton hicks I kinda felt reassured she was ok. We arrived at the RUH at about 4:30 ish when we arrived I could tell by their faces they knew our baby had died.

We went into a room where a consultant came in to scan me. She confirmed that her heart had indeed stopped something I never thought would happen, how, why? So many questions.

We went home to try and process what was happening but again I had braxton hicks I couldn’t do this I needed our baby out. So we went back at 9pm after handover so they could prepare the room for us.

A midwife called Robyn met us and took us to the Forget Me Not suite, we were given our options for induction. It took 12 hours to start the process all seemed like such a long time.

Anyhow I delivered Sophie the following evening on the Tuesday at 8:50pm she weighed 5lb 15oz. When I delivered her the midwife told me that she had what’s called a true knot in her cord and wrapped around her neck 4 times. There was no meconium so they said she didn’t suffer. The post-mortem results came back that she was perfect no brain damage. Nothing . She was perfect – it was described like a switch one min she was all ok and the next she was gone.

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Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her one way or another. I will not be silenced about my daughter. She might not have taken a breath but she lived and she will live on.” – Natalie Newman

Stars, Precious-Mae & Neavaeh

“Sept 18th 2008 Nevaeh-Jon (14 weeks) Ruptured ectopic pregnancy, surgery to remove him and tube.

1st Nov 2009 Star (5 weeks) Early M/C.

1st Dec 2009 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.

1st Feb 2010 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.

1st Mar 2010 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.

29th May 2011 Precious-Mae (7 weeks 6 days) Missed M/C

11th Aug 2014 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.

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Nevaeh’s story:

I remember finding out I was pregnant with my first baby very quickly after I got married, I was over the moon! However, my excitement was short lived as I had started to bleed slightly and had some pains, the Drs said try not to worry as bleeding in early pregnancy can be very common. I was told that they would book me in for an early scan at the EPU at the hospital, ward 6X (a number and letter I would never forget)!

I went for my scan, the words haunting me today, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t see anything’ what did she mean? Can’t see anything?? Where is my baby? I was sent to the phlebotomist for a blood test and went home waiting for the phone call!

The results came back showed a pregnancy but they needed to repeat the blood test 2 days later to see if the numbers had gone up enough to show a viable pregnancy! The wait was agony but the day arrived and the results came back, the numbers HAD increased, I started to have some hope but they said it wasn’t quite doubled which they were hoping to see, so I had to go back again 2 days later!

That was the day my heart broke, the numbers hadn’t gone up at all, they were the same, my baby wasn’t anywhere to be seen and they told me I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy! I had to go for a lethal injection called Methotrexate (a drug used in cancer treatment) I sat in that awful ward (6X) again, in the same room as young girls waiting for abortions, this needs to be changed!

The sudden realisation hit me, they were going to take my baby, I cried, I didn’t want them to take my baby! I had no choice, I had to have that injection! After that I went home to recover, to try and get back to any form of normality, it wasn’t easy and I slowly started to feel a bit more like myself! BUT that all changed again, a couple of weeks after the injection I woke up at 5am in agony, screaming in pain and rolling around the bed!

My husband called a taxi and we went to the casualty department where I had blood tests, observations and then went up for a scan! The sonographer ran out the room and came back with about 4 consultants looking at the screen, one nodded and then the walked away, on the way out of the room I heard one of them say ‘surgery now’.

Surgery??? What surgery??? My now ex husband asked what was going on and that’s when they explained the methotrexate failed, my baby was still alive, still growing, 14 weeks gestation and he had a heartbeat, my tube had been ruptured and blood was filling in my womb, they had to do surgery to remove my tube with my baby still alive, still there!

It took a long time to recover physically and emotionally, the emotions still affect me at times but I have learned to live with it! I have lost another 6 babies due to miscarriage too, the pain doesn’t go but it gets easier to do daily things and deal with things.

This is my story and my babies existed.” – Penny Lanning.

These are just six women’s stories. Each heartbreaking. Each have an element of hope. I feel honoured to share them and to speak into existed their children that existed.

My hope is to share 15 in total if possible, to represent the fifteen babies that pass away each day. I hope that one day the stigma of sharing our children.

“A life is a life no matter how small” in the philosophical words of Dr Seuss!

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

If you have experienced child loss and are looking for a support group with a difference please feel free to join “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC”.