#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.

 

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#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”.

 

The Writing Vaults: Part I

The Writing Vaults: Part I

I thought it may be interesting to post some historic blog work, that has not seen the light of day for nearly a year and a half. I wrote with such hope and about the struggle to conceive and the sheer happiness (laced in fear) of my first pregnancy.


29.05.2017

Sometimes it is hard to get through a normal day if your cup isn’t full… Historically I have always worn my heart on my sleeve… Now I find myself doing this… growing a tiny, version of myself and it is an entirely alternate experience. It makes you acutely aware of the new,minuscule universe throbbing inside that has come together, possibly fallen together.

The tiny pieces of me and The Father. Our best and worst bits. Since the beginning of this journey I have learnt so much more about myself. I have found that I can be much stronger than I ever envisaged.

The beginnings were uncertain and almost hopeless. I had argued with my old GP’s that my body was not nourished- you know your body. After spending over 25 years with it in tow I had come to learn the nuances, the subtle and not so subtle changes that shape the essence of you… They made me feel like I was clueless and sent me out in a cloak of disgrace time and time again.

Maybe I was creating this fiction in my head…

Fast forward almost a decade… to the waiting room of the new surgery and sadly vindication but plunging into the depths of utter despair. It was like a part of me died a little bit that day. My internal world imploded and crumbled and I felt a punch of anguish that paralysed me.

My body shut down and as I processed the life-shattering prognosis.

My throat tightened and I swear then I could not breathe.

I don’t know if it was maybe because part of me didn’t want to.

I felt like a failure.

I was diagnosed officially with PCOS and I ran scenarios over and over in my head where I could never be a life giver, a protected, the centre of another persons world, and how cruel I thought it was that this could have been the only thing I could ever be truly be good at and that chance was extinguished. That potential lost. Those innate skills wasted.

I wanted to add so much to another human beings life. I was a shadowed version of what I could have been and in that moment in time I had never felt so alone. And then guilt. Because why should I even feel like that as my partner sat alongside me also processing the news and squeezing my hand as if to let me know he was feeling all the things I felt during that internal collapse.

It shook me to the core and was a wake up call I needed. It made me confront the demons inside me and look at myself objectively from all sorts of angles… and yes… uncomfortable ones too… but how can you ever grow if you don’t dissect that internal battle between the light and the darkness within?

I changed to be healthy and strong and prepared. Though; admittedly, nothing prepares you for the challenge yet to come. I found myself again.

I had thrown myself into turning the cogs in the corporate machine because I thought that’s what my focus should be if I couldn’t do anything for myself. And the more I shone a light on it…the more I realised that it was not making me happy. I changed my lifestyle and read self help articles on Self Love and meditated and made sure my body was given attention to be able to function at its highest level.

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I can not put into words the light which radiated out of my partners face as we looked at the stick and it told us that we had beaten the odds and done the thing I had been told was almost impossible. It was a defining moment in my life and I wondered

“heck! Why haven’t I ever cared about myself enough before?”

and that set into motion the powerful belief that helps me stumble and drag myself through each day, because I am a Life-Giver and a Warrior.

My body is housing a life force. The unmistakable movements inside make me feel lucky to be alive each day… I am living… I have a reason to strive and do more than just survive each day. I would battle to the ends of the Earth to be the best incubator of life for this child that grows inside me.

It has been a scary journey because it makes you realise that life should not be taken for granted. From humble beginnings… a mere sesame seed to the whole 10 inches and 314g of life I carry with me today… and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I grow outwards… but I also grow spiritually.

I feel so connected to the life within and wonder if it will feel empty once the child comes into the world… but then I feel foolish because my energy will be refocused on to that bundle that I can finally hold in my arms.

I am still working on myself… and I am still working ten hours a day!! It is indeed exhausting and I sometimes feel as if the male-dominated office don’t recognise my ongoing internal struggle as I remain calm (ish!!!) on the outside.

I know they don’t mean to cause me pain when they say “but you’re not even that pregnant” when I tell them I am exhausted and can’t deal with our clients any more today because I am emotionally and physically drained.

They do not understand the scary tightrope I traversed to get to this point. I didn’t tell them about my utter fear and how this was a medical impossibility. It is exhausting and I salute all the women in the world who have brought life into the world. It is by no means easy… I am tired most days. I go to sleep then wake up tired. But there are pockets of such delight that I can’t help but live 100% for it!!!

I am only halfway through. I wouldn’t change this for the world. From utter chaos has spring my tiny oasis of happiness, and I shall grow it, and cultivate it and be able to wonder at what we have created.


5 days later we lost Mylo…

 

I still question why it had to be me and us. We were so happy. I was enjoying everything about pregnancy. This was the change in myself that I had been seeking and it is clear to me the utter joy within me. After we lost Mylo I lost this for a while and now I was a Mother this was the identity I craved.

To see these hopes for the future and affirmations of greatness written down it just puts into perspective the sheer scope of loss.

I re read this painful dossier and held Bea that little bit closer because life is so precious guys! But you shouldn’t need a blog to remind you that! Please do one thing that makes you happy a day because life is fragile.

My wish is for Bea to understand the importance of living and not just existing. It makes me sad to the core that we do not get to live the life that could have been with Mylo, but on the other hand I stopped wishing our circumstances different as soon as we conceived again, as we now have another life to enhance and forge.

There are could and should have been’s galore but now I feel the possibilities are endless and we can always love our little boy, but not put expectations or limits on Bea. I will always remind her she can be anything she wants to be and I think that is a fitting tribute to her Big Brother.

Did you enjoy this piece of pregnancy writing? I hope it captures all the feelings that come with it. I love this share all things Mylo related because 2016 will always be the time I became a Mum and perhaps the best version of myself.

Would you like to see my other pregnancy post?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

How to Deal with Parents of Childloss. (From an Angel Parent.)

How to Deal with Parents of Childloss. (From an Angel Parent.)

Of course every situation differs but I write this from my perspective having lost our boy at 21 + 3.

This piece comes from the depths of a shattered heart. I think loss is a very taboo thing and very rarely airs itself in the public consciousness. I must admit the thought of burying our child never once entered my head through pregnancy. And why should it? Pregnancy should be as stress free time as possible. Dare I venture that the majority of people in one sense take a smooth pregnancy for granted?! It is almost as if the joyous outcome is predicted and expected.

Its one of those things that you seem to not think about until your world crashes down around you and those months of planning for this little persons life to come becomes obsolete. And you know that your child existed but it is difficult for those parents who held their children in life to comprehend the “what could have been- now ceases to exist” and in your opinion value your “parentage” in the same way as there’s. Life is so fragile and can cruelty be snatched away for no reason.

The worst thing in my personal experience was the blame you attach to yourself. As the person carrying this life inside you feel like you should have done better. You have failed them. Your body destroyed what it had made. I hated my body and questioned whether it would work properly again.

I questioned whether it was my diagnosis of PCOS which contributed to my inability to carry my child to full term. The GPs words echoed in my head and through my entire body like shock waves of an earthquake. “The chances of you having a baby are unlikely”. Yet there I was defying medical odds. Sadly three quarters of women who suffer with PCOS are unable to realise their dream of bringing a child into the world and despite there being fertility treatments available the success rate of pregnancy across 5 menstrual cycles is only 30%!!!

I had changed my lifestyle to kick PCOS’s butt and was living with health and wellness in mind. I was doing everything for this child within me and I couldn’t help but feel that my body had betrayed me as my child lay lifeless beside me.

It was just a horrible chance occurrence. I could never have changed the outcome. I found that when talking about my loss many people did not acknowledge that this was an actual baby I had given birth too. He wasn’t just a blood clot. This was a fully formed person, with limbs, otherwise perfect organs and most importantly a name!!!

I soon realised that talking of Mylo made many people feel awkward. I could see that look of horror etched on faces. When I made it back to work I had very little support (mainly I think because I worked in a very male dominated environment! How is a dude expected to understand that tie you have to child from carrying them for any amount of days. No uterus- no opinion on pregnancy!!!!) They often left me alone to cry. They would skilfully dodge the subject when I offered to show pictures of Mylo. I just wanted people to acknowledge him.

That is my first and probably most fundamental piece of advice in your first interactions with a parent following loss. Ask them their child’s name. Validate them as you would any other child. You don’t have to look at the pictures as that I realise is a very “triggered” topic. I am not sure myself that before my own loss I would have opted to view a friends dead child, but as I say going through the event personally it certainly changes your persiective on a lot of things.

I have always been fascinated by the Mexican respect for death. It is not feared which I think is something very engrained  into the Western psyche! We fear the unknown. I guess it comes from our cultural privelidge of not having to witness death on a more frequent basis. We don’t confront it. We hide away from it. We painfully acknowledge it,  maybe send a bunch of flowers then refuse to bring it up in conversation again.

I am more inclined to celebrate that I grew a person and he existed. There was life (don’t try and tell me there wasn’t when I felt him pummeling my stomach just hours before he fell asleep forever!) and there certainly was love.

In conversation with regular parents who haven’t experienced loss they don’t seem to ‘get’ why Angel Parents collect so many “things” for their lost children. I was extremely lucky that our hospital has a deep routed understanding of dealing with childloss and they did everything possible over our three day stay to make me aware that on a personal level they recognised my boy as a person. Sadly, babies under the 24 weeks gestation (or viability marker) are not medically/legally recognised as a baby. They are still technically a late miscarriage or worse still “spontaneous abortion” – medical terminology still haunts me. Because of this parents of loss do not get to legally register their child so in the wider world there is no evidence of them even existing.

I think for parents of loss there is the overhanging feeling that their child was never recognised and that hurts the soul. Parents of Loss tend to collate pieces in their child’s memory as many children never had the opportunity to be clothed for their dignity. There are wonderful people who create memorial packs for the loss of children at any gestation. Please see “Neverland Packs” (even better why not sponsor a pack for £5 to keep an angels name spoken loud and proud.)

Because there are no regular memories to be made, parents of loss will dedicate areas of their home to their sleeping child. It certainly helped me to have physical objects that were tangiable to remember our Son. Candles hold deep symbolic meaning. I, for example, brought Mylo’s funeral candle home with us of which I light on special occasions such as his birthday, due date, days for remembering our lost children, Christmas and New Year. Luckily my family and close friends were all really supportive and understood my affinity with candles so joined in their glowing lights to remember their family member too.

Be kind to parents of loss. I know it is hard to find the words but here are a few phrases not to say:

“Time will heal the wounds…”

– no it is a suffering for your whole life. Time may “ease” the pain and you learn to live in a different sort of way to put yourself back together as best as possible… Those around you will move on but a parent of loss is stuck in a perpetual cycle of grief. It is not linear and on any day the sadness hits you in waves that ebs and pulls you down into the depths of despair. Also don’t ever imply that the parent of grief should move on. We can only move forward but it will takes years to do so. But stick with us and maybe say something along the lines of “How can I help you carry your burden? What do you need today? Remember I am always a text/phonecall away.”

Dont even go there with the prefix “at least”… nothing that follows this will be useful because there is no at least in childloss.

One of my biggest bugbears personally was when faith/Religion/God was brought into the equation. Grief is not indicative of lack of faith and it almost makes it sound as if this bereaved parent in some way deserved this loss for a past indiscretion. No one deserves to lose a child. It is honestly the most aweful feeling in the entire world. Faith should not be mixed with something so emotive… great your faith comforts you but it is not part of my life. I happily accept people’s prayers because ultimately this is just people sending well wishes and good vibes out of a secular setting so I welcome them as such BUT playing the faith card in your discourse of religion that is not relevant to me really alienates me because faith does not negate the ultimate human suffering.

Some days are bad… some days are worse… please understand that we will never be the people we once were ever again. Only the happiest versions of a shadow of our former self. This is not to sound ungrateful because my life is beautiful and I find things to be grateful for everyday and my beautiful daughter has coloured my life happy. We learn to live again in other ways but do not expect this over night. I found that I made plans with people but crippling guilt and anxiety would kick in and it would feel like the world had caved in around me or I had finally fallen into the abyss. I often had to project happiness #FakeItUntilYouMakeIt! I would force myself out. It was a time however that I made some very true friends who tried to understand what I was going through even if they had not experienced loss personally, but in this period I found that so many stories were similar to ours. People came out of the woodwork to say “me too”!!! And it broke my heart more that life can be so bullshit!

A great tip would be to put together a Care Package for your family member/friend because in the days following my return from the hospital I could not move for the bouquets around our home. It was beautiful but flowers soon wilt. It is important to tackle straight away a persons mental health so find little things that would make that person you know smile like motivational quotes, their favourite choccie bar & things to make them feel human again like a lovely pair of cosy socks or a nice piece of jewellery.

I remember coming out of the hospital and I felt that I had gained this new body that should have yielded a little life, but I had nothing to show for the transformation.

I had a #MomBod but no Mom Purpose. I sobbed when I had lost my Bump. There was nothing left of my legacy of pregnancy- just stretched skin, extra weight to shift and a broken heart. I clutched at my stomach in the shower the day after I lost Mylo and let the water wash my tears away and watched pools of blood trickle into the plug hole.

The worst thing is that your body still acts post partum so you experience the yucky biological bits. My boobs were swollen and producing colostrum. My husband and I tried to make light of the changes as I leaked from all sorts of body parts but I was in so much physical pain it was difficult to find as amusing as milky titty-patches may have looked from the outside!

Parents of loss could do with being picked up because they have reached the lowest point of their lives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their child: “Tell me about your Son/Daughter” / “What’s your favourite memory of your child?” “What makes you feel close to your child when you miss them?” – more often than not your family member/friend will delight in sharing their story because to us our little lost ones are just as much a part of our family as any previous children or children to come.

I know this is a very emotive topic. If reading this blog has effected you personally there are great charities you can talk to who will help you through your bereavment journey:

I hope you can take from this post that things do get better and loss is not the end. There are so many ways to remember your child so do whatever is right for you. As a person on the outside just know that we need you there (even if we are angry, rude or distant.) This is when we need you the most!

 

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

Bea & I: The Buzz.

Bea & I: The Buzz.

There is nothing better in life than seeing those big, blue eyes stare up at me full of wonder and love. You wonder how you could love this little person more each day, but somehow you can and it defies all laws of nature, space and the universe. With every ounce of my being I am in utter love with this little girl. She is a gift!

No really she is. I do not hyperbolise (yet!) The things my mind and body have had to endure (how can nature be both so amazing and cruel in one swift blow?) on this journey toward Motherhood. I will not beat about the bush. Like 1 in 4 pregnancies our first son came into the corporeal world as a sleeping child. It was traumatic and shattered my heart into a million shards. “But why me?” I questioned everything about myself as I had failed to carry our little boy safely into the world. I blamed my body, every little thing I had done, and did so until the pathology results came back with the conclusion of Placenta Abruption.

I went into spontaneous labour with our little Mylo on 3rd June 2017 and I honestly have never felt so much pain in my life, as I delivered our boy in our bathroom, the only reason I think I survived was because of the support of my husband who held my shaking body until the paramedics arrived.

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Mylo Patrick Raymond Goddard was 21 weeks gestation and he was beautiful. So fragile, so tiny. I cradled him like any other child but I would never hear his cries, watch him take his first breath (and all those first moments disappeared from my life which is quite a big thing to get your head around- especially on a cocktail of meds to keep you alive & heal the physical trauma!) and I would never see his beautiful eyes full of wonder at the world around him. I do always wonder what colour his eyes would have been and whether they would be as brilliant blue as Bea’s. (If you would like to read my guest blog about Mylo and childloss click here.)

Needless to say when we had our BFP (Big fat positive) in October of 2017 we were terrified to go through it all again but ever the optimist, I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy and celebrate each day as a day closer to welcoming Mylo’s sibling into the world. 24 weeks seemed so far away – this being the point at which a child is “viable” (urrrggghh such a clinical world) and their personage is medically recognised. After everything that had previously happened I had learnt the sobering lesson that there is no “safe point” in pregnancy.

Unlike my first pregnancy I was hit with terrible Morning (elevenses, afternoon, supper & nighttime) sickness!! Some days it was crippling. My body had not been my own for half a year and after the loss it had taken longer than I expected to heal. I was always exhausted and the fear stuck in my throat like microscopic but deadly daggers or a thousand Crunchy Nature Valley bars!!

I was consultant lead due to my previous circumstances so I was lucky to see our baby grow and move and live within me a few extra times. These moments were previous to me. We got to the 12 week scan and I couldn’t help but think how similar it looked to our precious little Mylo… then my next thought was “oh god this baby is going to be the spitting image of their Father again!!!”  (When Mylo was born all I saw in his features was Daddy. Only my pouty lips bore genetic resemblence to me, of which I was pretty pissed about having been the one to carry him and didn’t really feel like there was a 50/50 aesthetic split!!!)

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This pregnancy we decided that we would find out the gender of our Baby Rainbow 🌈- I think in part this was so that I could feel as much atratchment to this little person as possible because one of my most nagging worries was that following a loss I would struggle to love this tiny human being as much as I loved our son (it sounds very silly but parents of loss definitely think very differently – see my post on How to Deal with Parents of Childloss).

The way that my body felt that it had done the rounds with Mike Tyson on the daily and the all too often debilitating heart burn I was 100% certain that we had a little lady on the way.

Loss takes its toll on all those close family members that surround you (they lose a nephew & grandson too!) so my Mother in particular having lost her FIRST grandchild wanted to throw her whole being into the lead up of welcoming our little Rainbow. At 16 weeks we had gone in for a growth scan and the sonographer asked whether we wanted her to reveal the gender. It was decided that Daddy Bear and I would not be informed but Nannie H would be the first to learn the gender so she could throw us a Gender Reveal event (see post on My Favourite Moments of Pregnancy.)

Turns out a Mummy Bear is super in sync with their baby and body and I was right. A little girl!!! I knew she would lift up our lives and as the term Rainbow Baby suggests would add the colour back into our grey, stormy worlds. I vowed though that I would love this little lady not just as the sister to her Angel Brother but inspite of that as her own person; never in the shadow of Mylo.

Piece by piece & Bump Photo by Bump Photo she filled up my world and I planned (though not fast enough it would seem!) in between moments of serious panic. Remember when the whole of Britain came to a snowy standstill in March?! I had faux contractions and was sure that I was going into early labour again!! “Not now!” I willed my body as 1) I was only 26 weeks pregnant and b) I wasn’t sure we would have even been able to safely make the journey to the hospital. I wasn’t! I breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated my body for managing to keep this little lady in place.

The calm was short lived as just two weeks later I was back at the hospital Triage Ward having lost my plug!!! I was terrified and on countdown to D-Day (Delivery Day!!!) as I was all too aware that our child could be making her appearance in a matter of weeks.

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The nursery was not complete and we threw my Baby Shower at the end of March. I knew my body was coming closer to birth. I practiced my pelvic floor exercises and ate healthily to nourish myself and the baby until the end. I knew that I was unlikely to make it to Week 38 (where they had said I would need to be induced because of my gestational diabetes- oh yes all the fun!) but I don’t think anyone would have predicted the Birth Day commencing in week 33!!!

Just the previous day I had been hooked up to a machine because of reduced movements (ALWAYS GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU NOTICE REDUCED MOVEMENTS. IT IS A MISNOMER THAT THE BABIES MOVEMENTS SLOW DOWN TOWARDS BIRTH – THEY SHOULD HOLD TO THE PATTERN THAT YOU HAVE NOTED ALL ALONG!) My hospital had been so patient with me. I had been in with reduced movements twice before. I practically lived at the hospital during my very short lived third trimester! But they always echoed “If you ever feel that something is different/wrong come up to the hospital. You can come up every day”.

So there I was starting to show signs of contractions on the 16th April… not that they told me that. All I knew was that the baby had a strong heartbeat so I just continued on as normal. I was back at work the next day and smashing our targets and providing the best customer service all whilst in labour! I never realised that I had such a high pain threshold. I thought I just had a bad back. But all of a sudden I felt the internal workings which echoed my delivery of Mylo. That’s when we hot footed to the hospital. I was 33 + 3 and foolishly had not even packed my hospital bag in preparation for an early labour. She was seven weeks early!!!

As far as my labour went, it was textbook. It was just the circumstances surrounding it that were unusual! The staff didn’t seem to think I was in labour as I was handling myself so well and tried to pass my labour signs off as a UTI!!! I was having none of it, but there was a ward of screaming ladies who were making it quite obvious they were in labour… (it turns out the loudest screamer actually delivered her baby hours after me!!!) After a slight pester because I now felt what I assumed were my contractions, the speculum confirmed that I was in fact in active labour, I was 5cm dilated & they could feel my babies grad behind my waters which incidentally broke naturally whilst I was on the bed. It really is one of the weirdest but best feelings in the world! I think it surprised my husband how far it shot off the end of the bed!!!

I am hopped up on Gas and Air and the staff are trying to slow my labour as I had only managed to have one of the steroid shots for the babies lungs. I remember worrying that because the second could not be administered that our baby would have terrible breathing problems.

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**** SPOILERS!**** She didn’t because after just seven pushes she entered the world and made her first war cry to the world! This fierce Warrior Girl was loud and perfect. Tiny. But perfect. She lay on my chest and I fell in love. We shared a moment of reassurance and bliss- everything was going to be okay! I needn’t  have worried that she wasn’t going to make it. She was promptly whisked off to be hooked up to machines to ensure that she made a prompt recovery from the trauma of being too early!!!

Our little Beatrice Carys Bow Goddard spent just two days in the NICU, being treated for jaundice under the phototherapy lights then moved on to Special Care for a further day before coming to me on the Transitional Ward where we stayed for a further 15 days of utter stir-crazy inducing time. It was much like a work camp with the intense routine of expressing milk, changing the babies nappy, feeding the baby, feeding myself then repeating Express/change/feed for a 4 hourly routine day and night! Through my sleep deprivation, tube feeding and tears (mainly mine!!) Bea thrived when I cared for her.

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Sadly the care on the ward was very hit or miss (mostly miss!) and there were so many contending staff agendas and very little cohesive help and frustratingly very little breastfeeding support. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention I had to feed my child mum expresses breast milk through a nose tube for 12 days which involves syringing samples from her stomach to test her ph levels to make sure her tube was able to be used for feeding. Any incorrect move, particularly in terms of feeding could have had disastrous consequences!! Couple this with caring for such a tiny baby (she was only 4lbs 8.5oz at birth then dropped after this!!!) the first few weeks of her life were quite miserable for me.

Despite the tough start she inspired me to fight on and be the best Mother I could be because she was kicking ass at Person-ing!!! It was the least I could do for her!!!

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Fast forward 5 months and our girl has thrived and brought us so much happiness! She now weighs in at 10lbs2oz at the last weight check (03.09.18) and is hitting all her milestones! It is often disconcerting for people out and about to see such a tiny baby doing all the things she is because she still only looks a few months old if that!! I am forever having people saying “oh she most be a new one?!” and then I launch into our Premmie story. There is no denying she is a bit of a special baby and of course even more special to those of us who know exactly why!

She certainly has done and continues to do things HER way! Which is fine, it keeps me on my toes and I count my blessings that she has made me the Mother I am today.

I suppose I should introduce myself a little?!! I am Bea’s Mummy as I am mostly known now. Or Amber. I have worked various jobs which have failed to rock my world quite as much as being a Mummy! This is my favourite job to date and it is something that I am now going to be doing for the rest of my life.

Other than Bea, I have a passion for writing, travelling & cooking. My love of creating saw me attain a degree in English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics and an elective in Education. Biggest waste of time and money in all honesty. People have been pestering me to take my writing further for years and years and years but I have previously been “too busy”. A terrible attitude I realise having now thrown myself into Motherhood. I am now Mum Busy… and that is the busiest I have ever been but because it is the most important part of my identity now I thought I would silence the nagging by charting mine & Bea’s Adventures together.

I refer to it as bumbling through the hoods together. By Hoods I mean Motherhood/Childhood. I hope it is something that we can both look back on and smile and for her to know that she saved my life and for that I will be eternally thankful. I loved her from the start and I will until the end.

I hope this blog will be a useful resource for other Momma Bears and plan to review relevant brands and products that will make #TheMomLife that little bit easier to navigate. We are in this together!!

If you have any ideas about what you would like to see please do contact me. As I love to put word into the world I also guest blog (see my interview with Rhubarb The Bird with whom Bea represents.)

Lets be a MumBrigade. Keep Calm! You’re a Mum and may the odds be forever in your favour!

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy.