Friday, 24 May 2013

Katy: Is it your first? When are you due? I'd love to have twins!

One of our guest posters, Katy, has recently started her own blog to share her twin boys' story and also her journey in her rainbow pregnancy, where she has again been blessed with twins. You can read more about Katy at her new blog 1 in 10 Thousand.


I wanted to write about something that I find really hard especially on two occasions recently.

My pregnancy has been pretty obvious to all from quite early on (as you can probably imagine, being pregnant with twins twice in a year does nothing for your abs/figure!) So, in the past month I've been looking pregnant enough for people that I don't really know to start commenting and asking questions... innocent enough.. but sometimes hard to answer.

Is "it" your first?
I know many bereaved mothers who are pregnant again find this one hard, in fact I nicked my stock response from a friend from university whose baby boy was stillborn. I usually say "We lost our first twins, but we are really hopeful about these ones." I cannot ever bring myself to say "yes they are" because I feel like I always have to honour Oliver and Matthew's existence... They are my boys and I'll always be proud of them! People tend to react in one of three ways - all of which are totally fine: Mumble and not ask anything else, share with you their own/ their friends'/parents' stories of loss/fertility issues or (my favourite!) just say something along the lines of "I'm really sorry, I wish you all the best!"

When are they due?
For me that is the million dollar question. Matthew and  Oliver were born in October and due in January! Technically these 2 are due in October but will be induced by mid-September if I get that far. Usually I say "Oh late summer early Autumn." I feel that should cover it hopefully!

I'd love to have twins!
Tricky one. It is an amazing gift to have twins, it is wonderful to see two little ones kicking each other on a scan. Seeing your 2 babies and how alike (or not) they are to each other is fascinating but twins are risky! A not very helpful consultant (not mine, mine is lovely!) said to someone I know "The womb is not built for 2." Very true but when 2 have ended up in there naturally there isn't much you can do about it! The risk of stillbirth is 3 times higher in multiple pregnancies than single ones.. the risk of complications much higher. Having twins is wonderful, but it is also scary!

Recently, these questions have come up twice in different situations.

Firstly, we went to a friend's wedding. It was great and we had a fab time but plenty of people there didn't really know us so there were lots of the normal pregnancy type questions. Someone said "Twins, eh, that will change your life!" "In ways you can't even start to imagine," I thought.

We also started our twins antenatal classes. This was a a tricky one because everyone introduced themselves and mentioned other children they had or if their twins were their first pregnancy or they had had IVF etc. When it got to me I had to mention Oliver and Matthew. I felt a bit guilty. I didn't really want to freak out a big bunch of couples expecting twins. But they are our sons, I gave birth to them and I feel that they are too big a part of our lives to be missed out. Also, if nothing else, our story lets people expecting twins know to listen to their bodies and be hyper vigilant! Fortunately, I think it was received well. I had spoken to the midwife who runs it at the start and she thought I was very brave. Clearly she couldn't see the sweat on my brow!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Clara: Mother's Day Name Event

This May I signed up to take part in a Mother's Day Name Event run by Catherine via her Twinkle of Light blog. (Catherine is also the mum behind Gabriel's Garden and The Sacred Seashore.)

Although May doesn't play host to Mother's Day in the UK, I felt this would be a good project to be involved as it coincided with the girls' birthdays and anniversaries. It also inspired me because I know just how much I love to see my girls' names written in a myriad of ways and in a myriad of places and I felt it would be therapeutic to be able to do this for others.

Basically, you signed up to write names of other little ones gone too soon in any way you could think of. You were then sent a list of names to write along with the contact details to send them to their mummies. For every name you wrote, you would receive  something for your own little ones.

Grace's 1st birthday and anniversary on 4th May saw me at a beach on the East coast of Scotland with butterfly and heart stones writing 10 names in the sand. Little ones from all over the world, who now play in the same garden as my girls.

As the month of May goes on, I have been receiving  the girls' names in my inbox from all corners of the globe... Australia, USA, Canada...

This has been a fantastic project to have been involved in and I would like to thank Catherine for coming up with the idea and hosting such an inspiring and comforting event for bereaved mothers all over the world. I am hoping that the event will take place again next year so if anyone is interested, please follow Catherine's Twinkle of Light blog.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Claire: The Sparrow

The 4th May marks the last of the firsts for our family. The 4th May 2012 was the day we held a funeral for our baby Laura. The day for us started with hopeful thoughts of seeing our little girl once more, and ended with the utter devastation that this was it... this was the last time we would see her, stroke her beautifully silky hair or kiss her soft cheek. The last time we would feel her cold hand or gaze on her pink fingernails with wonder. It was the realisation that she had gone; that she had no life.

The days that followed the funeral were hard. We had family staying at our house, so the three of us (along with Laura’s empty cot that I hadn’t had the heart to dismantle yet), me, my husband and my older daughter Georgia were all sleeping in the same bedroom – our bedroom at the front of our house.

A few days after Laura’s funeral, I walked into the bedroom with a heavy heart and was happily surprised by a little visitor at the bedroom window. Sitting there, looking in at me was a little sparrow. It gazed at me and I gazed at it, but it didn’t fly away. It stayed there for a few minutes and then flew away to a nearby holly bush. The next time I walked into the room, there it was again... the little sparrow just sitting there looking in at me. I called Georgia to take a look and there it stayed looking in at her. My husband came to see the little sparrow and what he said surprised me. Out of the mouth of such a rational, logical, believer in science, he said, “It’s little Laura coming to say hello.”

Over the next few weeks, the sparrow appeared on almost a daily basis. We started to leave robin food out for the little bird and it chirped away and fed only centimetres away from our hands. I began to do a little research about sparrows. It turns out that our little “Laura” was actually a male house sparrow and his arrival at the window was probably his attempt to see off the little bird he saw as a rival (his own reflection in our window). Still, in my research about little sparrows I found the following tale. According to ancient Egyptians, sparrows caught the soul of a recently deceased person.

Following Laura’s death I found it hard to reconcile my previous thoughts about spirituality, luck, karma and the like to the situation we found ourselves in. How could such a cruel thing happen to an innocent little baby? How could such a bad thing happen to me when I strive to be a good person? How could any God allow this to happen? Why? I have become more like my husband in the year since Laura died. I struggle to believe that things happen for a reason. I feel more that the universe is made from chaos. I could not control what happened to Laura, so I have to stop torturing myself with these questions. And yet, despite all this, the little superstition about a little bird touched me. As if by design, the little bird came back to sit in our gutter above the windowsill on 20th April this year, the day that should have been little Laura’s first birthday. I stood and looked at it with my husband and Georgia as we prepared to visit Laura’s grave. If there is such a thing as a soul, and if the little sparrow came to let us know that Laura was still with us, then we would welcome it and smile at each appearance.

June 2013:
I just wanted to add a quick post script...
My mother-in-law died last week quite suddenly although she had a terminal illness. About 20 mins after she was buried I was back at her house preparing tea/coffee etc for the family that were coming back to her house. The front door was open and I went towards it to see if anyone was arriving yet, when I came across a little robin almost at the threshold to her kitchen (it must have hopped in around 3m to get there through the open door). It stopped, cocked it's head, looked at me and then hopped out of the front door again - really warmed my heart :)