Monday, 30 June 2014

Julz: Right Where I Am 2014: 2 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days

Today you should have been 28 months..

Where Do I begin?

I was always under the strange illusion that once our rainbow had arrived, as time progressed forward, that although Melody was missing, I would return to normal. The person I was before Melody was born.

I could return to my old job, the old giggles, even the old friends.

The old me, because time is a healer, a rainbow makes life perfect again.


It is a strange thing having a rainbow baby close to your ‘lost’ baby, we should have had two toddlers in the house, and some days I forget that rainbow is only 15 months and not 2.

I’ve searched for a part of me that is lost, the part I used to know well.

Warmth, the caring isn’t as predominant any more…

Lost, to the point of no return.

Watching helplessly as your child loses their fight does that to you.

Knowing that there is something not quite right with the world, that not only can you not protect your children from death, but protect your living children from the awful truth.

Children die. To have them talk and touch their sister, to be told she was coming home one day to the next she had died. No heaven, no hell.

Just gone.

All hope shattered.

“At least we have other children” Is comfort for nothing.

Why us? Why them?

Time, I’m not for one to believe, that time heals all wounds.

Time has made it hard to comprehend that we’ve moved away from her, a year or so lost in tremendously dark days. The further away in time we go the more I feel she’s fast becoming a distant memory, a memory that in this point in time, I’m finding hard to keep alive.

Nobody wants to hear of the lost girl all the time.

Those who have no way of understanding, wondering why I am STILL saying her name.

I will say I have begun to find a slightly comfortable way to where this new skin.

It does dig in and pinch a little at times, but with a pulling and tugging, it fits reasonably well again.

The imperfections make it more accustomed to me.

There are certainly days when it becomes nothing but unbearable to wear, but these days are few and far between.

The smiles certainly doesn’t mean I am over her or forgotten her, just adjusted the skin a bit, so as not to feel so heavy.

I completed the 100 happy days challenge in Melody’s memory, beginning on her 2nd birthday it was something that has helped, with February through to May being terribly exhausting.

So right where I am, I’m still unsure of who I am, I know I am not the same.

I’m not the same as normal parents, but that I can live with.

I miss her, I miss her so much, she may have only been here for 5 weeks,

She was our beautiful daughter.

I am a lot more sensitive, and take a lot more things to heart which I am trying to work on.

At times I do dislike who I have become. But the people around me, who genuinely love me understands this.

I’ve learned to smile and not feel as guilty about it anymore.

Being a bereaved parent isn’t about being brave, strong or amazing.

It’s learning to live, to breathe without it hurting so much,

Simply because I have no choice.

Miss you Melody

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You can read Julz’s post from 2013 here:

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Natalie: Right Where I Am 2014: 59 weeks 5 days

Wow, what can I say, after re-reading my blog on 9/7/13 I can say I have come a long way.

I am now 59 weeks and 5 days since my loss. I'd like to say it gets easier and whilst most days it does seem that way I do have days when it hits me like a ton of bricks and I'm grieving all over again.

Where I am today...I am half way through my final placement of my first year of nursing I managed to return!

I am with someone new after the split with my ex; Angelica's sperm donor, he doesn't deserve the name dad. He is a great guy, makes me realise how I should be treated and I feel really lucky to have found him. I have managed to tell him about my BT which I was dreading and he has taken it really well so when the time comes for IVF PGD I know that should we still be together I will have great support from him!

I am planning on travelling to Australia this time next year to gain nursing experience hopefully in genetics or IVF nursing which should be really exciting.

I can finally tolerate being around other babies that would have been a similar age to Angelica and can finally feel happy for people who are pregnant.

The monsoon has finished and the sun is bursting through the clouds finally and I can even make out a rainbow.

There is a life after loss and I am finally living it!

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You can read Natalie's post from 2013 here:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 17 to 20

This is the fifth in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:

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17 weeks

I have my second anomaly scan this week, I am not as frightened about it as the last one as we know that the brain looks normal but I am still a bit anxious. I have been finding it really hard to get through each two week wait for the NHS scans and have been finding it easier breaking it up with private scans and my midwife appointment but this time I promised myself I would try and go the entire 15 days with nothing and just wait for this scan to try and be ‘normal’. It has been hard at times but I do feel strangely proud that I have managed to fully achieve the entire 15 day wait. I have, however, suffered in another way; I am becoming increasingly anxious of late term miscarriage and still birth. As we move through this pregnancy and the scans are beginning to give us slightly more confidence that this baby does not have the same abnormalities I am getting into a panic about what could be round the corner. Just when we think we might be in a ‘safe zone’ there could always be something else waiting to strike. To try and combat these fears I have found myself increasing my usage of my Doppler; some days I have been using it up to 4 times. I am only using it for about 30seconds at a time as I do find it very easy to find the heartbeat and it gives me reassurance but I am sure that it is not good for my mental health to be thinking up to 4 times a day that the babies’ heart has stopped. I have read opinions online that using a home Doppler isn’t good for the baby but to be honest nor is the huge amount of stress I would go through if I didn’t use it, I guess it is the lesser of two evils. I am hoping that soon I will have strong, regular movements which will reassure me that all is okay.

The scan went well the baby was in the exact same position so back to back and breech; this baby ain’t for turning! Got scanned twice just to see if baby would move after a walk but nothing. My consultant is pretty happy but wants to look at the whole of the spine which she cannot do if baby is lying on it. The next scan is in 11days at 19+1 but back in ultrasound as my consultant is going on holiday for a month, she has told me to stress to them we must see the whole spine. She wants them to call me back at 21 weeks if they cannot see it. If they cannot see it then she will scan me at 24 weeks she will deal with a care plan after that but she wants to tick this box first. I am fairly happy with everything but obviously I would like the baby to move to be scanned! At the end the baby did this cute river dance type thing with its legs and feet and was having a little party in there.

18 weeks

This week I have been quite poorly, my blood pressure has always been a bit low but nothing to cause concern. However, I had a funny turn in the afternoon after a very early shift at work. I had barely eaten any food that day as I couldn’t stomach anything and I started to get very dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. I decided to go and get some sleep and hoped that would help. Unfortunately it didn’t and despite getting over 16hours sleep I still felt very ill the next day. I tried to get an emergency appointment with my doctor to get my blood pressure checked and to see if I should go to the hospital but my doctor was less than helpful. Fortunately it seems that all is ok and that I have been doing too much, stressed and not eating enough. I weighed myself to see if this was true and sure enough in 2 weeks I have lost 3lbs. I am shocked by this and feel very guilty that I could have been putting my baby at risk by doing too much and not eating enough. My goal now is to eat at least a small something every few hours even if it is just a few grapes. My manager has also arranged for me to have a few days off to rest which has really helped.

We have also taken a huge step in doing something normal in this pregnancy and went to the Baby Show, we had tickets when we were pregnant with Maisie but unfortunately we could not go as she died a few weeks before. It was very scary going and trying to be normal but I am glad we went as it strangely helped to heal a very bitter wound.

19 weeks

This week I have what may be my final anomaly scan, I have been trying to prepare for it by doing everything possible to get the baby to move. One thing in particular is a yoga position called downward dog which is leaning against a chair and working your way down to the ground so your hands are on the floor and your bum is in the air. I definitely felt something was different after doing this my tummy felt different and my bump seemed to be in an odd position.

My scan was at 11am but they were running really late so I kept pacing the corridor to try and get baby to move. We were finally called in and began the long walk down the corridor, I explained how nervous I was as it was at the 20week scan in ultrasound at time that things went wrong. As soon as the heartbeat was confirmed I looked at the screen and could see that the baby had changed position luckily the baby was spine facing out which was exactly what we wanted so we got great views of the spine which looks healthy! But then she wanted to look at the babies face so we needed baby to go back to back again (poor baby doesn’t know if it is coming or going!) so I nipped to the loo and the baby moved so we got to look at everything. There was a scary moment at the end when she was looking at the heart and went completely silent, I wanted to scream what’s wrong, but it was all ok.

We have decided not to find out the gender yet as I am not ready to start bonding with this baby as a boy or a girl with their own identity but we are officially past the anomaly scans and are now going into the unknown.

I have 2 more weeks until I will be the most pregnant I have ever been and I thought I would feel more excited and outwardly happy but I feel a bit flat. Like we have climbed to what we thought was the top of the mountain only to discover the clouds and that we actually had only climbed a small hill and the mountain is still in front of us. I guess I just feel like we still have a long way to go but I am grateful that everything looks good.

20 weeks

This week we have gone on what may be our last holiday as a couple rather than a family with a living child. We took both our dogs to Cornwall camping for the week and have had a great time. I took my pregnancy notes and Doppler just in case (used my Doppler everyday!). I have had a lot more movement this week, mostly at night or in the morning when I am lying on my side, which is not comfy on an airbed. We have also worked on some picture ideas for a pregnancy announcement which we have decided to do if we make it to 24 weeks (pictures to follow if we make it!). The whole time writing this blog and being pregnant I have been every aware that this could all be over at any stage but I feel that this blog is important to write as I hope it can help others understand how traumatic and emotionally tough being pregnant after loss is and for those who are pregnant after loss to not feel so alone. I have been able to mostly ignore the pregnancy this week and try to just enjoy the holiday but it is slowly dawning on me that in just a few days’ time I will be the same gestation that I was when I had Maisie and then I will be the most pregnant I have ever been.

Here is a snap my husband took of me at the beach enjoying the view at 20 weeks and 2 days.

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To read Stacey’s next post, please click on the link below:

Friday, 6 June 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 13 to 16

This is the fourth in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:

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13 weeks

The screening results are in. I told my boss I was waiting for the phone call and had my phone out on the desk all morning and still managed to miss the call. They sent me a text message saying there is nothing to worry about but please call before 1pm as no one will be in the office after then. So I called straight back and was very relieved to hear that it is low risk, 1 in 17,000. But naturally, as it’s a rainbow, nothing will ever be simple. I started thinking about Maisie’s results which were 1 in 40,000 and wondering why this baby is more than double the risk even though it is still a very low risk. I don’t think I will ever know for sure but it has really worried me and is something I am going to talk to my consultant about.

Towards the end of this week I began to get very stressed and emotional thinking about the next scan. It is the ‘big’ one, the early anomaly scan with my consultant. As the last scan was not the best I felt like I had no reassurance or confidence to get through the next two weeks. I began to get very upset looking at the scan picture we had been given at 13 weeks and not being able to see the nasal bone, I managed to convince myself that there wasn’t one, that there was too much fluid in the skull and that the face was too flat which I believed could be anencephaly. So my husband and I decided that the best thing to do was to book a private reassurance scan. 11pm on the Sunday night we looked at their website and saw an opening two days later on the Tuesday night when I would be 14+1. We booked it and I instantly felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to wait another 12 days for the next scan and that we were taking control of this pregnancy.

This picture is me at 14 weeks exactly.

14 weeks

This week we had our private scan. I got so wound up during the day I was so ill and constantly sick, it carried on all day and I did begin to worry that I may have to go onto the medication I have been prescribed in case I get Hyperemesis again. Luckily the sickness did calm down and wasn’t a problem in the days after the scan.

We got there early at 7.15pm the scan was not until 7.30pm but we were called in straight away, the sonographer recognised us from our 10 week scan. I got into a state explaining about the 13 week scan and how the sonographer had refused to tell me the NT measurement, that she wouldn’t explain or show me anything and that I had convinced myself that the baby had no nasal bone, hydrocephalus and anencephaly. She smiled and said ok well lie down and lets have a look.

When we first saw baby they were lying with their back to us so we had a beautiful view of the spine and it looked normal!! I have an anterior placenta so won’t feel movement early although I think I am getting a little bit. She showed us the head (10cm circumference already!) explained about the brain, there doesn’t seem to be excess fluid or hydro and the cerebellum is in the so again looking normal! She also showed us the stomach and the bladder to show that baby is swallowing and releasing fluid. Everything looks normal at this gestation and we got to see so much.

The scan we booked came with 3 photos and was 10minutes long, well we got nearly half an hour and 8 pictures the sonographer was amazing and went through so much in very clear detail with us. I feel so relieved although I know we have a long way to go and it’s still very early I am finally starting to think that maybe this baby could be normal! I feel so much better and am so glad we booked the scan!!

I also had a reply about the student medical examinations this week. The original response was that there were looking for pregnant women in their third trimester and being second trimester I would be too early. But a few days later I got another email to say actually the Obstetricians had all talked and would like to have me go. I called them for more information and was told it was for final year students’ exams and that I would be involved in 4 students final exams. That one by one they would spend some time talking to me in front of the examiners (leading consultants and doctors) about my pregnancy, my conception, lifestyle and any previous pregnancies. They would then perform a small examination to try and find my uterus and lastly would spend 10 minutes explaining about a scan or a screening test to me to see how they communicate their medical knowledge to those receiving the care but who do not have the same level of knowledge. I have agreed to go for an entire afternoon and although I am nervous about talking about my previous pregnancy and history I am hoping that this will be a chance to teach those who are about to qualify how to care for someone in my position. That they should be kind, reassure me, let me ask any questions no matter how stupid and take their time with me. I feel like it could be my chance to give back from my experience.

15 weeks

A big week this week with both a midwife appointment and the early anomaly scan with my consultant that we have been focused on and building up to this whole pregnancy. I have started to get very scared about how fast this pregnancy has gone already and how my days with this baby may be limited if we get bad news at the scan. I have had increased sickness and headaches this week which I think maybe linked to the stress I am feeling about the scan.

My midwife appointment was first thing in the morning at 15+1 it all went well but I don’t feel I was properly listened to. She did all her bits tested my urine sample, took my blood pressure, felt my uterus and listened to babies heartbeat. She found it almost straight away but said she could hardly hear it over the placenta, I agreed with her as I have an anterior placenta I also find it hard to get a good clear listen. Where she found the heartbeat is exactly where I have been feeling what I thought was movement so I guess it is actually movement!  I did get a bit of a telling off for having my own Doppler she said (what I already know) to never, ever to rely on it if I have reduced movement or a change in babies movement but to always go to labour ward. I said I won’t use it once I am getting regular, defined movement but for now it helps me to know at least the baby is still alive. Then she started doing all the blood forms for 28 weeks and I started to panic I don’t want them I cannot think that far ahead! I tried to explain how I needed to get past 21+2 when I lost Maisie before I could think any further ahead but she wasn’t listening. I asked about having a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) and having it as soon as possible but she said no that there’s no point before 26 weeks. I am concerned as I have a high bmi and I know it can be done early as I know many people pregnant after loss who have had it done as early as 16 weeks. Again I was not listened to. Then she went to book my next appointment at 25 weeks which is in 10 weeks’ time; this seems like a very long time to me especially as I am meant to hand my MatB1 form in by 25 weeks but won’t even see her to get one until 25 weeks. I didn’t want to book it as I need to get through Thursday at least first but I again didn’t really get much choice. At the end she gave me some calcium tablets to take each day but the packet only contains 56 days’ worth which is 8 weeks this again makes me think that I should be seen every 8 weeks. Overall I wasn’t particularly pleased with the ‘care’ I received at this appointment.

After a lot of tears, nightmares, fear and anxiety the scan has finally arrived. I am now 15+3 and today I will find out my fate. I took this picture this morning knowing it could be my last ever.

I arranged with work to leave slightly early to make sure I would be on time (3pm) I arrived at 2.50 in the most horrendous rain by the time I had run through the car park I was soaked. Surprisingly my consultant was ready for me I panicked as my husband wasn’t there yet but they said they would wait. Finally, after what felt like hours, he arrived and in we went. My consultant asked me how I was feeling and if I have been having movement, I replied I wasn’t sure about movement and that I was very anxious about today. We got started with the scan, I couldn’t look, I stared at the ceiling, she asked if I wanted to look I replied that I wasn’t sure maybe in a minute. I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter trying to hold back the tears, I had decided that morning not to put any makeup on, I knew whatever the outcome it would only be cried off. She asked if we wanted to listen to the heartbeat which I said yes (at least I now knew there was a heartbeat!).

Then I somehow managed to start looking and saw that she had started to look through the skull from the top of the head and into the brain. She said that the cerebellum was in a really good position and looked really normal 'figure of 8' she said that this means that it is 99.99% sure that the abnormalities that Maisie had are not present in this baby. At this point I couldn’t hold the tears back anymore and started crying the big, loud, heavy, unable to breathe and talk sobs. I couldn’t stop, my consultant, the midwife and my husband were all crowding round me to check I was alright I just couldn’t believe what she was saying; that this baby might actually be healthy. She then looked further at the brain and was pleased with what she saw. She looked at the stomach, briefly at the heart (still early) and all the femurs. She took loads of measurements (each one twice) and was pleased with what she saw. She wanted to look at the spine but couldn’t get a clear view as baby is breech, back to back with an anterior placenta. She got me to move onto both sides and tilted the bed so my legs were up in the air but still the baby did not change position.

She asked me to go and have a walk and to have a hot sweet drink to try and get baby to move. I emptied my bladder (twice!) had a 10minute walk and a hot chocolate before going back to be rescanned. I think the midwife thought I was crazy as I was pacing back and forth in the waiting room trying to get the baby to move, luckily there was no-one else in there.

My consultant then rescanned me but the baby still hadn’t changed position, again she got me to roll onto both sides and tilted the bed but no joy. She said that she didn’t think that baby would change position today but she was very pleased with everything she could see she just wanted to get a really good look at the spine to be 100%. She has asked me to go back for a rescan with her in 2 weeks’ time to look closer at the spine (hopefully if the baby has moved) and to do a more in-depth anomaly scan.

She then asked me if the dates I had been given were correct to what I thought I said no I think I am 4 day less than what I have been dated at, she agreed as baby was measuring small (within the 15% centile) on everything except its tummy (fatty!). We then spent some time looking at baby in a more sort of fun way and got some amazing views of babies’ feet, toes, fingers and even its knuckles! It was amazing to experience something fun in this pregnancy and for a few minutes to feel like normal people.

I cannot believe I can actually write this but I think my baby might be ok this time!

16 weeks

Time is flying I cannot believe we are here already! The joy of last weeks scan has enabled us to get a bit excited about this baby and to start telling a few, select people. I have now told all my colleagues whom I have been hiding it from, some of them had already guessed but were shocked at how far gone I am and how big I am when I unfolded my jacket to show them. We have also brought something this week! I have been eyeing this up for weeks and promised myself we would get it if we got through the scan.

I hope to get the matching baby grow if we get through the next scan with good news!

This week I was meant to take part in final year student examinations, unfortunately it got cancelled the night before as all the students had already completed their exams. I am a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to it but also very relieved that I don’t have to relieve everything with Maisie 4 times over in front of strangers.

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To read Stacey’s next post, please click on the link below: