Baby loss awareness week…

Ended today with the Wave of Light at 7 pm. I am currently lay in bed next to Oliver who kept trying to blow my candle out.

1 in 4 pregnancies in the uk end in loss during pregnancy or birth. And yet we don’t talk about it. Why? For me it’s because I have no words that I can say to those close to me. There’s no words they can say to me. There’s nothing that can make it feel any better really, except maybe time. I just don’t think they’d understand the pain and grief. Or maybe I do them a disservice and I don’t talk because I’m scared of going back to the dark thoughts I had then, saying it out loud would be so painful, I don’t know if I can do that.

Anyway Twitter was awash tonight with the Wave of Light. So many families going through the same things. Some were just candles, some had names, some had poems and some were written by people who haven’t experienced baby loss but wanted to show support. It made me feel less alone. I lit my candle for longer than the requested hour and joined the Twitter wave. I found everything I read made me feel so sorry for these people, their stories are heartbreaking. Much worse than mine.

I think we need to stop the silence around baby loss. This week of awareness has certainly made me aware of how isolated people become. How no one knows what to say so say nothing. How people decide how long you can grieve for or tell you it’s nothing to grieve over. Everyone is different and it’s not something everyone can get over.

Don’t ignore it if it happens to someone you know. Don’t say they can try again or “these things happen for a reason”. Use the baby’s name if they have one. Ask how dad is feeling too, he often gets overlooked. Just be there, even if you feel you aren’t doing anything helpful, it will be appreciated- so many people pretend it never happened or disappear.

If anyone reading this has experienced loss of a baby there are plenty of helplines out there and forums where you can get support. You aren’t alone. Just check out #WaveofLight on twitter and you’ll see just how many people are in the same boat as you, trying to stay afloat. I wish for you to find peace.

In memory of Virginia and Edmund, my angel babies.

P.S Please forgive the rambling nature of this post


After the first loss

So I was kept in overnight after the operation. For my birthday tea I had some iced water and a mint.

They had prescribed medication so I was still in bed the next day waiting for the drug round. The lovely surgeon called by and explained the procedure, asked how I was and offered to show me pictures. I asked to see them, then he put them back in my file. He told me the “tissue” had gone to pathology, considering the subject he was as sensitive as he could be. He was actually the nicest person I met during it all. He then went on to explain that the human body is very clever and that over time it was more likely that my left ovary would release eggs as my body would realise  it was pointless using the right side. I don’t know how true this is and I was in my late 30’s anyway so it wasn’t really going to affect me. I was done. I was heartbroken. I wasn’t going to try again.

The psychological impact was that I no longer felt like a proper woman. I couldn’t keep hold of a baby, I’d lost half my reproductive system I felt like a failure. No one understood although looking back I’m more forgiving, what do you say to someone who has been through that. “Focus on the kids you’ve got” ” some people don’t get any” “you can always try again”.

All I had to show that she’d existed was three little scars, they’d done a laparoscopy, and gone in through my c section scar and a positive pregnancy test which is in a little bag with my pregnancy notes. I couldn’t talk about it. I know people have different views on what constitutes a proper loss but I don’t judge them on their opinion. As soon as I see that positive on the wee stick I’m planning. Up to that point I never planned on not having a baby in my arms a few months later.

I also think that because so much has happened over such a short time I never get a chance to process anything before the next disaster is upon me. This year I decided to start trying to make sense and come to terms with things. It may take longer than a year but I need to find some sense somewhere or I’m going to lose myself in what if’s and why’s.

I think the ectopic pregnancy was one of the harshest things I’ve gone through. To put it into perspective for my husband, Leon, I told him that. He knows so much about my life and that statement let him know just how bad it was. “Really? Even worse than……” yes dear, even worse than all that other crap.

The first loss

I think even in todays enlightened age there are still taboo subjects we don’t discuss in polite society.   Death, feelings and mental health are just three I can think of off the top of my head. By not talking about things that affect us they stay bottled up until something gives.  Some things are too hard to talk about, sometimes we don’t have the words.  Sometimes we think no one will understand so we don’t bother even starting the conversation.  I have tried talking about this before (just a little) but I get resentful when I end up having to be the comforter instead of the comfortee.

April 2013.  We had just moved house, we had a 1 year old son and I was pregnant with my fourth.  Despite the house being filled with boxes and being all higgledy piggeldy we still managed to throw Oliver a decent first birthday bash with a cake that I had managed to turn out in time despite the chaos.  Things were looking up.

I’d just got my appointment through for my 12 week scan a couple of weeks away.  5th May I woke up feeling “funny”.  I mentioned I had a bit of abdominal pain to my husband but with the moving and a very robust 1 year old, I thought it was probably just that.  By lunch time I had shoulder pain and at dinner I couldn’t eat for feeling sick.  We decided to go to bed but lying down was painful and I couldn’t breathe.  I asked my husband to take me to A&E – he was convinced it was just muscle pain but after rolling his eyes he gave in and took me.

Our local hospital no longer has maternity services so they sent me to the next closest one.  The nurse was reassuring, the pregnancy test was showing positive, I was upright and just in a little pain and “the scan tomorrow will tell us more”.  They admitted me anyway –  it was about 4am by this point and he went home to sleep and check on the kids, after promising me everything was going to be ok. (our eldest was watching them- she still lived at home then)

Bank holiday Monday- no scan.  The doctor that came round said it was probably appendicitis.  I tried telling her it didn’t feel like my other pregnancies and that it felt wrong but she talked to her minions and told them to get a consult for appendix.  They refused to come down until a scan was done as ectopic seemed more likely.  Knowing they weren’t going to do anything I discharged myself and went home with a promise to go for a scan the next day at my local hospital.

7th May-incidentally my birthday.  Went for the scan, couldn’t see anything in the womb, didn’t bother scanning the tubes. “probable ectopic” was what she wrote on her little form.  A lovely nurse explained what was likely, what would happen next and promised to not let my car get clamped as I wasn’t allowed to drive myself to the next hospital for the procedure.  I rang my husband who had just started a new job and told him we couldn’t afford to lose his job so to come see me after work.  I was taken to A&E where they put a canular in “just in case” and I went in an ambulance to the hospital that had “appendixed” me the day before.  From when I arrived it was all stations go…..Mr Consultant consulting and taking another history, surgeon asking his questions, nurse measuring my calves for bed socks.  Hubby had been sent home from work and was there to tie my gown on (wrongly) a quick hug and I was in surgery.

And that was it.  One day I was convincing Leon that Virginia was a brilliant name for our daughter, and a few hours later she was gone.  There was no time to process anything.  Everyone had been so reassuring and he had promised me that it was going to be ok that I thought maybe it would be.  It really wasn’t though.  I told him to never make me another promise as I would never believe him again.

Time for a break