Sunday, 27 July 2014

Miriam: Right Where I Am 2014: 9 months 3 weeks 2 days

Well it has been quite a year. We lost our second child and my big sister in the space of just 5 days. Two grieving mummies in one family, trying to find that new normal. One grieving those lost hopes and dreams and the other with a huge hole where a life's dedication, love and care were centred.

However, my journey to here all began last summer. Such a happy time. A June holiday, followed by a special souvenir, a BFP. This time last year as family gathered for a BBQ party, we celebrated our son George's first birthday and we also announced to the family that a little brother or sister was expected to arrive in February. I have a picture on my wall of that day. Happy, because it was George's birthday of course, but also because I had everything I ever wanted.

Now, with hindsight this day, also carries a few shadows. Shadows of that moment of happiness for our second child and also, I wasn't to know at the time, but it would be the last time I would see my sister. I often reflect how lucky I am that she shared so many special days with us - our wedding day and George's christening as well as his birthday. So I guess it is right that this happy day be the last one I remember with her.

As the next couple of months lead up to Gabriel's angelversary, it is difficult not to dwell on the 'this time last years'. I threw out my diary, but etched in my memory are the dates of the scans and consultant appointments I went to. I miss him so much and he is never far from my thoughts. Little things - seeing a butterfly will always have me whispering hello and his song (Ellie Goulding's "How long will you need me?") seems to be constantly on the radio. Painful but also comforting reminders of my own little angel, Gabriel.

And so George is rapidly approaching his second birthday as Gabriel's big brother. He has been my rock this year. It is for him that I've carried on, for he deserves to have his mummy, a smiley mummy, who can laugh and share his joy. So whilst I have those happy and now sad memories from last year, I have to put those aside and celebrate him. The happy, funny, chatty little boy that he is becoming. Where I am exactly, right now? Filling party bags, blowing up balloons, making sandwiches and baking a cake.

Looking forward to next year, I turn 40 in January, so that clock is ticking loudly I suppose. Will we have a rainbow, a much wanted third child, a sibling for George? Only time will tell.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Coral: Right Where I Am 2014: 4 months 28 days

I feel that I’m being forced to live. Everything surrounding me keeps on moving like nothing happened. We have returned to work, we socialise with friends and follow our normal routine prior the baby. We continue enjoying our company like nobody is missing. I can no longer describe my feelings exactly, but feeling NUMB gets close to it.
Our baby was born on February 26 this year. She never made it home, passing quickly after birth. I never got to hold her. The only memory that I have of her, alive, is hearing her crying after giving birth to her. I got to kiss her hello and goodbye at the same time without knowing. She was perfect. What makes more difficult to understand the reasons of her passing. The memories of the nurse coming to the room with teary eyes prompting my husband and I to go down to the NICU, after only 30 minutes of bringing my little girl into the world, haunts me everyday. The only pictures that we carry are of a baby that was not alive. The only time spent with our daughter was the time when her heart stopped beating. Unfortunately those memories replace the only good memory that I have of her, alive.

I can only think about not having a baby to hold, a reason to wake up everyday. I feel lost and lonely. Although my husband is supportive I still feel empty. Nobody talks about her… Why is so difficult to talk about my baby? It’s hard to be surrounded by people that put on an act to avoid conversations. It's tough to see how others decide to walk the other way due to not knowing what to say. It is harsh to be THAT girl, the one who lost a baby. Coping with grief is hard enough without worrying about these kind of things. But somehow those are things that I keep on experiencing and the things that I have to deal with, besides my grief. I only wish people can understand how to be gentle and ignoring the fact that my baby died is not being gentle.

4 months and 28 days after my loss feels like the very first day. The NUMBNESS of not feeling but yet, living with a roller coaster of emotions only makes me think that IT DOESN’T GET BETTER. Some days I’m sad, some days I’m mad. Every end of the month I can’t even stand myself. Anger… let’s not talk about it. Confusion is something that I learned to live with. Pretending to be happy gets easier but on the inside I now I’m lying to myself. I have mastered the answer to everyone’s favourite question; by faking a smile while responding “I’m ok”. The truth is that most of the time I don’t even know how I’m feeling. I just know that something is missing.

I feel stuck in time, while life just happens around me. I struggle to live. 4 months and 28 days of survival on a world that don’t make sense anymore.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hannah: Right Where I Am 2014: 4 months 9 days

So where are we? It is now over 4 months since we had Leela and in a week’s time we have to face what would have been her due date. But things seem to be looking a little bit brighter. There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, some days it looks dimmer than others, but it is there.

We miss Leela yes, I think about her daily, not obsessively, just as much as any parent thinks of their child daily. I still cry yes, but it doesn't bring me down. The guilt is easing away, I no longer feel guilty for continuing on in life without her. I can face what I feel should be scary situations, such as holding a new born baby, and talking to other new/expectant parents without feeling spikes of jealously and anger. I can joke about how big I would have been now a week from my due date, without becoming choked up with tears. I can look at pictures of Leela with a smile and feel proud of my beautiful daughter born at only 19 weeks. Generally I would say I am calmer, happier and more at peace with this hand that fate has dealt us and accept it for what it is.

I have stopped searching for answers, feeling angry at the universe for taking my daughter for no apparent reason. Instead of focusing on what I don't have, I've chosen to look at what I do have, I have a daughter, she may not be here but she exists. I can speak her name and talk about her, it always feel so good to say her name aloud. I have amazing support all around me and a life which which is constantly evolving with the new knocks and turns.

So right where I am now isn't perfect but I don't think life ever is, we can get hung up on what we want or what we don't have and miss all that we do have. So in this moment I am thankful for everything in my life. Admittedly if I could wish things were different I would. I wish I could be proudly walking around with my full term bump, but getting hung up on wishes I fear will only hurt me further. Instead I am accepting life without her here, and learning that just because I don't get to see her grow up and live her life, it doesn't mean I love her any less. She is and always will be my first born child. I will always be proud to be here mummy and proud that I have an angel in sky my little Leela Jayde.

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You can read more about Hannah and her life after losing Leela on her blog:

Life after Leela

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Zoe: Right Where I Am 2014: 3 days

(Written 3 days following her loss, published at 1 week)

I suppose the true beginning of my story is back in a consultant's office in January 2005; I was 20 years old, in my final year at university, and just diagnosed with insulin dependent (type 1) diabetes.  Lots of things must have been said at that appointment, but the thing that stuck with me was when the consultant advised me "don't worry - this shouldn't affect your ability to have children”.

I'd always imagined I'd have children at some point in the nebulous future, but aged 20 with dreams of adventure and a successful career, and being in a fairly recent relationship, it seemed a distant future, however that was the moment that I realised how desperately important it was to me to have children one day.

Six years later that boyfriend and I became husband and wife; another few months on and after only three months of trying we had the news that we were pregnant. I was cautious, knowing the complications that could be caused by diabetes; I took folic acid, managed my blood sugars, attended all the clinic appointments, and eventually rejoiced in the smooth progress of my pregnancy.  I would have been induced, but my waters went the day I was due to attend for a sweep; labour progressed in a text book fashion, I managed with just gas and air and our perfect baby girl was delivered on 1st July 2011. She was, and remains, perfect. I cherished every exhausting milestone, and cried with relief and happiness that I felt so lucky to have her.

After our daughter turned two we decided to try for our second. After six months of trying without success my routine diabetic blood tests showed that I now also had an under-active thyroid; I was started on medication, and advised to stop trying until my thyroid levels were stable.  I thought that I was mourning a loss then.

After another two weeks I had to check my diary ... surely not ... yes! I was pregnant! Again we tried to be cautious, but everything seemed fine. I had an early viability scan at 7 weeks, and there it was, a little heart beat in exactly the right place.  12 weeks; low risk blood results and scan looked perfect. 20 weeks; growth and development looked perfect, I even had an extra, specialist fetal heart scan which had not been offered when I was expecting my daughter, but was now routine for all diabetic patients; again they confirmed that his heart was perfect. His: we were having a boy! Of course we would have been equally ecstatic to have another daughter, but a boy - the first on either side of our family for 25 years - was so exciting. We passed the lauded 24 weeks 'viability stage'; honestly, we thought we were home and dry.

I put our daughter to bed on the evening of her third birthday; she kissed the baby brother bump, and asked if he was kicking. No, I realised, actually I hadn't noticed him moving all day. I didn't feel him moving overnight, and the next day was sufficiently concerned to call into the Maternity Assessment Unit at the hospital - reassuring myself that it was better to appear paranoid about nothing, than to ignore something potentially serious. The MAU found his heartbeat, but offered a reassurance scan if I hadn't felt him move by the end of the day.  I didn't, so the scan was arranged for two days later. On the Friday morning we went for the scan; it was mostly fine - he had changed position and was now head down with his feet cushioned by my anterior placenta, so this was probably why I couldn't feel movement any more. The sonographer however was mildly concerned about a 'bright bowel' so she made a referral for a further specialist scan at another hospital on Tuesday 9th July.

We were so sufficiently reassured by the Friday scan that my husband almost didn't come to the Tuesday one, just a short bus ride away from both of our places of work.  I left my office with a cheery 'see you in a couple of hours', and didn't even turn my computer off.  With hindsight I should have realised that something was wrong by the way the midwife behind the receptionist said 'we're expecting you' and ushered me through, for a scan conducted by the consultant.  Almost immediately the consultant pronounced that our baby boy was 'very unwell' and needed treatment.  She suspected anaemia, causing a build up of fluid inside our baby boy's body - 'hydrops'.  She suspected the cause to be the parvo virus, commonly known as slapped cheek, although we cannot account for any exposure to this virus.

Seven hours later I was flat on my back, trying not to move and gritting my teeth as the consultant inserted a needle through my abdomen, and into my uterus, in order to perform an 'intrauterine fetal blood transfusion'. My husband was at my side, and he counted a total of 10 medical staff in the room, including 'the professor' - head of the department.  They confirmed anaemia, and the that the transfusion was successful and the anaemia had been treated.  We left that evening, slightly bruised, but incredibly grateful for the medical expertise and technology that had treated our baby boy, who we were assured would start to show signs of improvement quickly, and would hopefully be well again in a week.

The next day I was convinced that he was moving more, naturally we took this as a good sign. Over night I didn't feel movement, so in the morning, just to be cautious, we popped back to our local hospital. It was then that we were given the devastating news that our baby boy's heart had stopped beating.

How we have got through the days since then I really don't know.  We had to tell our family; who all immediately dropped what they were doing and rushed to be by our sides. Including my little sister; 22 weeks pregnant with her first to my 27 weeks with my second - but what kind of example was I setting here; when we embraced in tears over our bumps, inside my bump my baby boy had died.

The induction started just after 10am on Saturday morning. At first I occupied myself by knitting a blanket, we listened to music, and even laughed along to comedy on 'netflix'. The evening wore on and my sister brought in a coloured lamp from home, so that we would't have to have the harsh strip lamp on, plus left over takeaway for my husband, who ate in spurts whilst my sister took over supporting me through worsening labour pains. As the pains worsened I couldn't complete the blanket; my mum sat outside in the family room and completed the final few rows for me, when the blanket was done, she and my sister left us to it, as we wished.

I struggled with the pain; I was moaning in pain through contractions, and in between wailing with the emotional pain of knowing that there was to be no happy ending. The anaesthetist was called, I didn't have to worry about whether the drugs would cause the baby to be drowsy on delivery, he was already gone, but the anaesthetist didn't make it.

Our baby boy, Benjamin Alexander, was delivered at 9.55pm on Saturday 12th July 2014. He weighed 1.25kg and was 39cm long. He had a perfect button nose and rosebud lips just like his sister. He was dark haired whereas she is strawberry blonde. She was a perfectly average 3.5kg and cried as newborns should. He was also perfect, just small, and very still.

I don't really know how to process the events of the last week. I have moments of composure when I can think clearly and rationally, and there are moments when the the overwhelming devastation takes over my body like a contraction and my whole being shakes with sobbing. Yesterday the after pains physically hurt, today the after pains have lessened, causing a different kind of hurt as without a baby to hold and nurse, even just the pains and the bleeding feels like a connection to my baby boy that will soon be gone.

I am grateful for many things that are not making my pain any worse; that I did not ignore my own concerns but went to the hospital; that we had the opportunity to have the blood transfusion that could have saved my baby boy; that the cause of his death appears to be completely unrelated to my own medical conditions; and that we had a couple of days notice before he was stillborn, which at least helped us prepare; and that we have our wonderful daughter and the support of our family and friends.  These things cannot take away or even lessen my pain and grief, but at least they are not reasons to feel worse.

Right now, having sat up late and written down my story I am having a composed and rational moment; I think these moments come when I am working towards some objective that is related to Benjamin. But soon there won't be anything else left to do, apart from get on with grieving, but somehow still continuing to live.

I know I'll have to get there someday.  One day in the future there is no reason why we can't have another one or even two more babies - a wonderful option to have that I know simply isn't available to others in this situation. However for now I need to grieve, and I need to grieve hard, for my baby boy who will always not be here.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Emily: Lightning Never Strikes Twice

They say lighting never strikes twice but for me it has, more than twice.

My journey to motherhood and through it has not been easy. You see, everyone else falling pregnant and having children so easily with none of the heartache and pain along the way, makes that jealousy just rise up from within me. From a badly managed missed miscarriage, years of infertility to the devastating loss of my 2 boys at 21 and 16 weeks 9 months apart.

I was promised that after losing my little boy Georgie it was just very bad luck, no definite reason found so was completely reassured to go ahead and try again as the odds were in my favour already having 2 living children my body knows how to do it. Lighting never strikes twice, right?


At least I'm falling pregnant fairly quickly, it only took 6 months this time. No need to involve the infertility department at the hospital and it all seemed to be going better than last time. Less bleeding, more scans and midwife appointments, every appointment showing a healthy baby growing.

Why, then, at 16 weeks then did my little boys heart just stop? Why am I having to go through this agony again? What have I done to deserve this pain again?

My head is just full of why me, why again.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 21 to 24

This is the sixth 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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21 weeks

This is the gestation I have been dreading the whole way along. Regardless of how scans and tests went I knew that at some point I would have to deal with being 21 weeks pregnant again and knowing that the new baby I am growing is the same size as Maisie. Being able to really have a true concept of a 21 week baby’s size, their tiny hands, toes, fingernails, eyebrows, legs, weight, the way they feel in your arms. No one should know those things, the baby should still be safe inside the mother, but some of us do know this harsh reality. Whatever the gestation that a baby is lost at having to go through that milestone again is not easy! The build up to 21+2  has been hard and I have been relieving a lot of the days and weeks leading up to Maisie’s birth. In someways it has been a lot like the one year anniversary as it has brought all the memories back.  When the day was finally over and I reached 21+3 I felt very sad that this new baby would always be bigger, stronger and older than Maisie. That I would no longer have an understanding of what my baby looked like inside of me anymore and they would continue to develop and grow beyond anything she ever did. It has been a very tough week. There have been a few moments of happiness as I have really started to feel movement now, normally it is only at night for a couple of hours after my dinner but it is lovely to feel and a nice reassurance that baby is growing well.

22 weeks

Busy week this week! To being with we had Fathers Day, I booked a private gender scan as a surprise for my husband. I had always said that I didn’t want to know the gender for two reasons that it wasn’t important and I wasn’t sure how I would react whatever the outcome. But I know that this pregnancy has been all about me so far so I decided that the one thing I could give my Husband to make him feel included is for him to know if he is having a son or a daughter.

That morning I gave him a card which told him that we were going to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl. He had a huge grin on his face and was so excited especially when I told him that we would get to see the baby in 4d as well.

When we arrived the waiting room was very busy (should have thought with it being Fathers Day!) and we didn’t have much privacy to talk to the receptionist to give them an idea of our history and that I would be a very nervous patient. Luckily when we went through to be scanned we recognised the sonographer as someone who scanned us with Maisie (our private 8 week scan) she was lovely and asked about all Maisie; not just her condition but actually about her. It turned out that sadly she had also lost 4 babies as well. It’s so sad how common baby loss seems to be and yet no one would ever know by just looking at you what you had been through. She started the scan and we got some amazing views but the baby wouldn’t stay still so it was quite difficult to find out the gender; I rolled from side to side just like I had with the anomaly scans and finally we got the right view. It’s another girl! I don’t think this came as a surprise to my Husband or I as we had both felt that it might be another girl, luckily both of us were quite happy with the outcome and all of my worries about how I might react to the gender seemed to disappear. We got loads of pictures of her and went to buy her ‘coming home’ outfit after the scan the same way we did for Maisie (now in her memory box).

We also had a midwife appointment this week (I booked an extra one as I had been so concerned about not seeing her for 10 weeks) which I hadn’t been particularly worried about until I was sat in the waiting room. I am trying to not use my home Doppler anymore and to rely only one movement but the baby is very quiet in the mornings so I was panicking that I hadn’t felt her move and didn’t know if she was still alive. Would the midwife be able to find her heartbeat and what if she couldn’t? Why didn’t I just listen to it at home? I ended up getting very worked up before going in and was very tense. Everything was clear (blood pressure and urine sample), I got my Matb1 form for work, some more calcium tablets and we talked about monitoring babies’ movement. My midwife was brilliant I had prepared myself to hear a lot of old advice about 10 movements a day and to take it all with a pinch of salt knowing that the new advice is whatever your babies normal pattern is but she knew all the new advice and was very strongly encouraging me not to stay at home worrying but to call labour ward and get checked out if I am ever worried about movement. Finally we listened to the babies heartbeat. My palms were sweating, my shoulders were so tense they were up by my ears and my heart was pounding in my chest. The midwife started by pressing lightly on my tummy to find babies position but couldn’t find her as I was so tense my tummy had gone really hard. I tried to relax and finally we heard a nice strong heart beat and I felt her kicking! All that stress for no reason at all! I know the advice is to not use home Doppler’s but I think on mornings where I have appointments have haven’t felt movement I might listen as at least I can say I couldn’t find the heartbeat today rather than I haven’t had movement yet today but that’s normal for her and I just come across as an overly paranoid idiot!

Finally this week I had my consultant appointment. My appointment was at 10.30am but the car park was very full so we were running late. We got to the antenatal clinic to find it was very busy and they were running very far behind, we weren’t concerned about it as we thought we were just there to see the consultant and then would leave but I kept getting called in by midwives to have my weight, blood pressure and babies heart beta listened to. I was getting very stressed about everything as I was concerned about being signed off by my consultant and by this point we had already been waiting 2 and a half hours! My blood pressure had rocketed in just 24 hours from 110/70 to 133/67! When we finally saw the consultant she was lovely, very positive about my weight gain but concerned about my blood pressure until I explained I was just a bit stressed and yesterdays (and every other time) blood pressure check was normal. She reassured me that she would not be signing me off and would be seeing me throughout the entire pregnancy. She offered me growth scans at 28 and 34 weeks which I am very grateful for. There is also an open door policy for me to call her secretary any time I think I might need another scan.  So the next scan is in 6 weeks and my delivery plan will be talked about in 12 weeks!

23 weeks

This week has been very tough emotionally and mentally. I am trying to monitor movement and not use my Doppler which is hard as she can be really quiet in the mornings and some days I don’t feel movement for many hours. I have lovely days where she moves loads and I feel really reassured and then I have nightmare days where I am really busy at work forget to monitor her and then spend the whole evening wound up that I haven’t felt her move much. I am also aware that until 24 weeks she is not truly a person in her own right and that the chances of a decision being made to save her is low and the chance of her surviving should she be born now is very low. I desperately want to get to 24 weeks when I know that she will have some basic rights. I know I can register her birth and death (or stillbirth) and that I can take my maternity leave and not need to go back to work 3 weeks after my baby dying like I did with Maisie. I don’t think my anxieties have been helped this week by the number of nightmares I have been having. I dream about this baby dying, about the people I know who have sadly gone through child loss more than once, about having to decide to put this baby in their own grave or in with Maisie. I knew that pregnancy after loss would be hard but I never imagined the constant, everyday anxieties. There seems to be no respite from it I go to bed finally feeling reassured that she is moving only to wake up the next day and start all over again wondering if she has died during the night.

24 weeks

We made it finally! This baby is now legally a person in her own right, she will have a birth and death certificate (or stillbirth certificate), I will get fully maternity rights and if she is born with ‘good signs of life’ attempts will be made to save her. This date means so much and is such a big milestone to finally reach. I feel like now in the eyes of medical professionals I am carrying a baby and not ‘just a foetus’ and that now they are aware that they are taking care of two people and not just one. We also decided that this week we would announce the pregnancy. After living like a hermit for the last 6 months afraid to leave the house in case I get ‘caught’ by anyone I wasn’t ready to know it feels good to have everyone know but also very scary. It terrifies me that now people know they will be gossiping about us, Maisie and this baby it seems that you become ‘public property’ and everyone likes to speculate about the baby who died. However, we have also had lots of support from some amazing friends and colleagues and we are incredibly grateful for all their support. This is our announcement picture which features some of the pictures we took whilst on holiday at 20 weeks and a picture of me at 24 weeks exactly.

Unfortunately this week the anxiety became too much for me to deal with alone. Despite having lots of regular movement the feeling that something wasn’t right kept increasing. I text my midwife to ask if I could see her to listen to the heartbeat. I felt terrible thinking I was wasting her time as she has been moving fine but she asked me to go straight in and was lovely about it. Checked me over and listened to the heartbeat for ages which has helped me to calm down a lot.

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

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Emily: Right Where I Am 2014: 56 weeks 2 days followed by 14 weeks 5 days

As I sit here and write this I still have this disbelief that I have buried my 2 little boys in just over a year. I have had to go through the painful process twice of giving birth to my sleeping babies. Second time I've not been dealing with all the emotions of my loss again, it's been easier to put my emotions away in a little compartment in my heart. It has been 14 weeks since I said hello to Finnley and a very painful goodbye all in 1 very horrific day. It was worse knowing what the process was and what was to come which is why it has made me numb and and not deal with this grief again, it just hurts far too much.

I've had post mortem results and a meeting with my consultant and it was all positive so I'm opening that little place were I've put my grief in order to be the Mum I need to be to my living children and move forward to the future. I try and reflect on my boys once a day by writing, crafting, running or listen to some music. It's just space each day to either feel sad, angry, guilty or simply reflect on how far I have come on this journey.

I sometimes wish I'd never suffered unexplained infertility and spent many months, years trying to get pregnant with my living children but then I'd never have been blessed with having Georgie and his short time that I was able to carry him in my tummy I still remember being so happy to have have fallen pregnant with out any fertility tests and was actually enjoying my pregnancy, and we would never been blessed with Finnley.

Through losing them both they have shown how strong I can be. To have gone through the immense pain of leaving with empty arms from a hospital where I have already walked out with my both my living children is so hard a constant reminder of what should be. June is bitter sweet: we had Georgie's birthday and 11 and 13 days later I have my dd and ds and I thought this year would be different from last year but I still find myself reflecting and grieving what should of been and find it so hard to be truly happy, I should have a 5yr old a 2 yr old and an 8 month old but instead I'm deep in my grief and missing 2 baby boys and not really sure of the future.

I have met some amazing women on my journey and am very proud to now call them friends but it is such a shame that we have all had to endure this journey of losing a child, but without their help I would not be as strong if I had not had their support, they understand the pain like no one else and know just what to say at the right time and don't question why you do certain things. They totally get the burring desire to have a rainbow and put yourself through the hell again of another pregnancy and don't tell you at least you you already have a boy and girl why are trying again.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Claire: Right Where I Am 2014: 2 years 2 months 3 weeks

It's been 2 years, 2 months and 3 weeks since we lost Laura. My life has changed immeasurably. As I wrote my entry last year I knew I was pregnant again but daren't mention it as I felt that something bad would happen yet again. Losing a baby does that to you... it makes you feel very vulnerable, like anything could happen. But the same is true for good things, and as I write this I'm nursing one of my 6 month old twin boys. The one that reminds me so much of his two big sisters (one here, one not).

Becoming a parent again has obviously shifted my focus. With twins I'm lucky to brush my hair on a daily basis let alone do much else, but one thing I always have time for in my thoughts is Laura.

I think of her often. Every day in fact, throughout the day. When I feed my boys I watch them and feel such sadness for her. She didn't have a chance to be tickled by us, be smothered in kisses, be smiled at and cuddled, but she is adored. I'm determined to tell my boys about their other big sister.

My older daughter (as I knew she would) is the best big sister to the boys. She dotes on them. We often talk about Laura and how it would be nice if she were here too running around and playing with the babies but the reality is that if she hadn't died, these two would most probably not be here. That's hard to reconcile in my mind. I hate the thought of being without them, I love them so dearly, but I also would love to have my girl here.

After all the heartache of the past four years (losing my Mum, my Father in Law, aunts, Mother in Law & my Dad's descent into Alzheimer's as well as losing Laura) I know I'm lucky to be here. I'm lucky to have my husband & a strong marriage, to have my older daughter & most of all to have these twin boys.

It was a difficult pregnancy that so very nearly ended badly at the last hurdle so I feel truly blessed to have them. I just miss Laura though. As much as anyone thinks or hopes that I will 'move on' from grieving her, I know I won't and nor would I want to. I don't ever want to forget her or stop talking about her. She was far too precious.

When you have a rainbow baby, people are relieved for you. Some even think that it fixes the pain of grief. I could see it in peoples faces when they saw I was pregnant. These babies are not Laura's 'replacements' though. No baby will ever take her place.

2 years, 2 months and 3 weeks ago my heart was smashed apart, now it's covered in scars but beating again.

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You can read Claire’s post from 2013 here:

Monday, 14 July 2014

Clara: Right Where I Am 2014: 3 years 3 months followed by 2 years 2 months 1 week

I am in a very different place from last year, a place I never thought I would be. After 5 losses, I am a mummy to a living child.

This time last year I had decided enough was enough. It felt like massive perivillous fibrinoid deposition had us beaten. I had tried every treatment plan available including treatments that had not been used at my hospital before. I had put my body and soul through hell. All to no avail. We had buried 2 little girls and lost 3 more in early pregnancy.

There was the tiniest sliver of hope though…

Because the girls were perfect and it was just my body that had let them down, our consultant suggested surrogacy. We could still have our own biological child if we could find someone to carry them for us. I knew of a friend with the same condition who was going down this route and all was going extremely well so I was hopeful. However, I felt I couldn't ask anyone to do this for me.

And here was where my little sister stepped in. She offered, she offered again, she kept offering... and we decided to give it a go. We transferred one embryo to my sister and our little miracle was born 2 months ago.

She is such a blessing and I still cannot believe she is here to stay. She has brought us such healing and she reminds us so much of her big sisters. I am in love.

The arrival of this little miracle has also brought to the fore a whole new set of feelings. I now KNOW what I am missing out on with Molly and Grace. I grieve for all the little things I'll never get to do for them that I get to do for their little sister. I grieve for the fact that Cara will never know her big sisters. I wonder what our life would have been like with 3 little girls running around! I also grieve for the fact that I will never carry a healthy baby to term - my body just won't do it. I always felt there would be something healing about being able to give birth to a live baby but I have accepted now that this will never happen and I am so grateful that my sister was able to keep my little lady safe for 9 months.

Mostly, I feel so very blessed to have Cara. I miss her big sisters every day but I would not change a thing. Having Molly and Grace has blessed my life in more ways than I could count. The people I have met, the relationships with family and friends that have been cemented, the legacy they have left to us…

I look at my little miracle and she reminds me of her sisters in so many ways. She has 'piano fingers' just like Molly had, she furrows her wee brow just the way Grace's was. I love that I can see them in her but she is still her own wee person. A little bundle of healing.

And we are healing. We will never be 'better', we will never 'get over it'. At the end of the day, two little girls are always going to be missing from our family but Cara has returned happiness and hope to our lives and for that I am so very grateful.

Right where I am... so bloody glad that I did not give up.

You can read my previous Right Where I Am posts by clicking on the links below:

You can read more about my condition and my story here:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Abii: Right Where I Am 2014: 51 weeks

Where am I right now? Right now, I sit on my sofa in my freshly decorated flat typing away. In front of me, my newborn daughter lies snugly on her bean bag chair. At the foot of the bean bag lies one of the pair of black fluffy cats that we have, curled up in a ball and purring away. To the left of me, on the arm of the sofa, sits the other cat, protectively gazing at my newborn daughter at she snoozes. My wonderful husband is out at the shops stocking up on the things we're running low on; pampers, tomato sauce, chocolate, the usual.

On the dining table, next to a vase of white roses, there's a Chinese lantern, a handful of poems, a candle and a small teddy. On the wall in the kitchen there's a calendar open at the month of July 2014. On the calendar, there's a date that jumps out of me every time I walk into the kitchen. It doesn't jump out at me because it's ringed or underlined or marked- in fact- it's one of the only boxes on the calendar for July that doesn't have anything written on it.

It doesn't have anything written on it because it doesn't need to be marked for me to remember that date; that date is branded on my memory forever more without the need of a reminder, plus what word would I write to mark the occasion anyway? Birthday, anniversary, death? None sound right when they come out of mouth, probably because all of them apply.

The date on the calendar is the 16th July and that day is Harry's day; the day my first baby- my son- was born, lived and died. This year- 2014- is the first anniversary of "Harry's day"... And all I have to offer him is that small collection of stuff on my dining table.

Today is the 8th July and it has been 50 weeks, 6 days, 15 hours and 32 minutes since I had my first baby Harry. That means it has been 50 weeks, 6 days, 13 hours and 27 minutes since my son died.

A lot has happened in that time. I have gone through post-mortems, organising a funeral I couldn't bring myself to attend, my birthday, finding out I was pregnant again, Harry's due date, Christmas, my first wedding anniversary and giving birth to my perfect little rainbow.

I have mourned, bargained, cried, smiled, been angry- very angry, cried, laughed, panicked, smiled and cried some more. But more than any of those, I have spent most of my first year as "the girl who had a baby that died" in the most horrific state swaying between gut wrenching guilt and vomit inducing panic.

Guilt because I couldn't keep him safe. Guilt because I was pregnant again. Guilt because I wasn't there for him. Because, you see, once my little man was born and doctors tried and failed to help him, he was placed in my arms for a cuddle and I reacted in a strange way. I barely looked at him, I didn't cry and after all of 2 minutes I passed him back to husband. And that was the first, last and only time I saw and held the baby I adored from the moment the test turned positive.

Why? I couldn't really tell you. I'd like to say it was because I felt the bond so strongly once I held him that I knew the longer I held him the worse it would be when he was gone because his going was inevitable, we knew at that point. I loved him so much. He looked just like my husband, he already had hair, he was beautiful... but I let him die alone, motherless, without a cuddle. I couldn't even bring myself to attend his funeral to say goodbye- what sort of mother am I?

I punish myself with the choices I made every day. If I had that time again, if I knew how much my arms would ache for him and how I would spend weeks screaming and crying into my pillow I would have held him and never let him go. I would have attended his funeral and held my husbands hand and said a proper goodbye to my little baby. But that's not possible and I have to carry the ramifications of that with me forever.

Which leads me to the vomit inducing panic. Panic because I was pregnant again, panic because I failed my first child, panic because I didn't want him forgotten. I've lost count of the times I've been hunched over the toilet in a cold sweat, hyperventilating and vomiting. I have no idea how many times I've laid awake at night, angry at some flimsy brush offish comment someone has made about Harry now I was pregnant again. The panic hasn't really stopped since my rainbow arrived, neither has the guilt which I imagine will be with me forever, etched into my heart.

I don't think I will ever be the person I was before. It feels like my heart has been ripped apart and sewed back up clumsily, the scars are big and thick and ache every now and then. Not a day goes by where I don't think of my son. My daughter has the same shaped eyes he had. I've learnt that time does not heal you but it gives you context. You can get up again, you can still live, but rather like a broken bone that never truly heals it aches in cold weather, a constant reminder.

My daughter smiled her first proper smile the other day. Me and my husband were talking away to her and she looked me right in the eye and smiled the most beautiful, glorious smile. Every morning since, when I look into her Moses basket and she catches sight of me, she smiles the same wonderful smile. It fills me with the most amount of joy, happiness and sadness it's unbelievable. Joy and happiness because I have never felt a love so strong, sadness because Harry never had his first smile.

So, at this moment, this is right where I am; I'm sat on my sofa in my freshly decorated flat typing away. My newborn daughter is lying on my chest, supported with my left hand while I awkwardly type with my right hand because I can't bear to put her down for longer than 5 minutes. The cats are now both fighting over their food bowl and my husband is having a nap.

On the dining table, next to a vase of white roses, there's a Chinese lantern, a handful of poems, a candle and a small teddy. In 8 days time, my husband and I will go up to the place we scattered my sons ashes, let off the Chinese lantern, light the candle, read the poems and think of him. I will cry and a part of my heart will break again.

My daughter is 4 weeks, 3 days, 18 hours and 57 minutes old. As I look down at her perfect face with eyes like her brother, I cry tears of happiness and sadness. The small teddy on the table is for my daughter from her big brother; so she will grow up knowing that she has a big brother who is now an angel in the sky and he sent her the teddy as a present from up in heaven, where he is loving and protecting her forever.

Right where I am now is here, trapped in this bubble of mixed sadness and happiness.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Nicole: Right Where I Am 2014: 2 years 10 months and 25 days

Where am I right now?  I am happy. My life, day to day, is amazing.  I have a wonderful husband, and fabulous son, both who make me laugh all the time.  We do fun, silly and normal stuff together, our little family of three.  But, of course, we aren’t a family of three really.  There’s that missing one.  You know.  That cardboard cut-out, that silhouette.  We don’t know what he would look like – can’t imagine much beyond an outline, a rough amalgamation of what we remember of him, and what we see of his brother.  It pains me that I can’t picture him.  Our first born, our little ray of light that never got to be.  Xander. 

We don’t say his name a lot, my husband and I.  We talk about him a great deal, but we call him ‘macho baby’, as we did while I was pregnant with him.  He never really got to be Xander - that crying baby, that toddler wobbly on his feet, that little boy off to school, that teenager in love or that adult making foolish and wise decisions.  He never got to do fun, silly and normal stuff with his family.  And sometimes it just hits me, the weight of all that never was.  I’m playing with Barney, or out with Jim, or working, or washing up… and out of nowhere, it hits.  My fun, silly, normal life is rocked by the absence of him.

I’ve written before about how I love my boys differently.   Barney will always be part of me, but he’s also his own person. He’s stubborn, and funny, and cheeky, and fearless.  He’ll change over time too, and become a whole host of other things.  But my other boy… well, he was only ever alive when he was part of me.  When he was our macho baby.  And so he remains. 

I’ve told Jim that when I die, I want to be mixed with my first boy’s ashes, and scattered somewhere.  I don’t believe in a god, or an afterlife, so it feels right that we’d be reunited physically, be part of one another like we once were.  Lately I’ve been reminded of this by these beautiful lyrics from ‘Fade Into You’, as sung by Claire Bowen and Sam Palladio in Nashville:

‘If I was just ashes and you were the ground

 And under your willow they laid me down

 There’ll be no trace that one was once two

 After I fade into you.’  

Right now I am happy.  I am no longer filled with thoughts of being with my macho baby now, as I once was.  I want to live a fun, silly, normal life with the family I have here with me.   But one day, when my life is done, I will fade into my lovely first boy again, and we will be how we were when he lived. Together.  And that makes me happy too. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Lauren: Right Where I Am 2014: 3 years 8 months

Gosh has it really been that long since I held my baby girl. On some days it feels like an eternity since those long never ending days of darkness. On others it feels like yesterday, the emotions and the hurt still raw and unforgiving.

Time has moved on for me as with everyone else. I'm happily married, have two boys, a new home, a thriving business. To the outsider who didn't know me, my life would be perfect. But it isn't. The deep, bottomless hole she left behind when she left us will never be filled. Although now I'm not afraid to look at the emptiness, into the abyss and think of what life might have been. I've become stronger. Those dark weeks became dark days and finally dark hours. They never stop completely but fewer and further between. I can have a quick cry in the kitchen while DH is weeding the garden and the boys are eating their dinner and no one need know. No one notices, I wipe my face and carry on.

We've been talking about getting her a head stone. My husband made her a cross that on the morning before her funeral he went to put in place. It is starting to wear now; time marks it. I know we won't be able to for a while. I shower my boys with love and possessions knowing the only thing I will ever buy her now is her head stone so I want to do it right and not skimp.  My eldest boy will start to ask soon why we go to the cemetery. I have no idea what to say when he does.

I wonder what my daughter would have been like as a toddler. How would she have got on at nursery? The love that my three children would have shared. My youngest was the spitting image of her when he was born, maybe they would always have been alike?

I think my husband would like to try again but unless I'm convinced that he wants a baby and not just a girl I refuse to contemplate it. Some stupid individual asked that now I've had two boys, 'Am I done? Or would I like a girl?' I ALREADY HAVE A GIRL. I wanted to shriek but as this person knew I'd lost my daughter so I couldn't be bothered with her insensitivity. I am expected to 'get over it'. Some family and many friends have the attitude of 'oh well, you have the boys now'. Or worse at the time 'better luck next time' or 'at least you know you can conceive'. Like that gives a grieving mother comfort. She was supposed to be my rainbow after having 2 miscarriages the year before.  She was supposed to transform us from a couple to a family. Instead her pregnancy lasted 35 weeks and 5 days and she died because the placenta had avascular villi. Sounds so clinical. I felt so much guilt at the time. It was my placenta, the support system from me that failed her. I failed her, I should have known. I have almost come to terms with that or at least as much as I ever will.

You don't get over it, you never do. But you adapt. Almost like finding a new way to draw breath. You find ways to cope and in my case find pleasure in my boys and family. I watch my boys play and wonder what their sister would be like. There is always one missing, a child down. I could have many more children and still not be complete.

So right where I am now 3 years and 8 months later; I'm still grieving but found a new way to cope and live.

This part of a poem summed up how I will always feel and I thought I would share it.

A million times we’ve wanted you.
A million times we cried.
If love could only have saved you,
you never would have died.
It broke our hearts to lose you.
But you didn’t go alone.
For a part of us went with you…
the day God called you Home.

Goodnight and God bless my Angel x x x

Friday, 4 July 2014

Stacey: Right Where I Am 2014: 1 year 13 weeks 6 days

This life is like a dream; you are merrily walking through your wonderful life with all its colour and small annoyances, that you make far too big a deal out of, when all of a sudden out of nowhere everything changes. There’s no more colour, your world goes black and grey, a hurricane that you never even noticed before rips through your life destroying everything in its path. It picks you up, violently throws you about, hurts you in every single way possible before it spits you out and disappears off to do the same to someone else.

You’re left dazed not understanding what just happened, you have no idea where you are, who you are or what is going on around you. You recognise nothing, you’re frightened and vulnerable. Bit by bit you realise you need to find your way back to your old life, you cannot stay here, so you start to look around at what your life is now. It resembles a desert wasteland, there’s no one else around and everything is lifeless and colourless. You slowly stand up physically your injured, you’re bleeding, you’re sick, you have a high temperature and you’re tired but you need to find your old life. You left something there you don’t know what it was but you know you need it back. You stumble around trying to stand properly only to realise you have no idea where you are going to go. There is nothing all around you for as far as you can see. You don’t know whether to go forwards, backwards or side to side, when you begin to move you’re not even sure which way is up or down. You have no concept of anything. You try to run, you’re running and running as fast as you can physically manage your feet are aching your heart is pounding in your chest but you need to keep going; you need to find what you left behind, but your too weak. The journey is too long and you don’t even know the way.

You give up, you fall down crying, screaming and begging this to be a nightmare that you can wake up from. Maybe you stay down for a few hours, days, weeks, months or years but eventually everyone gets back up again. You start to walk, a numbness takes over as long as you put one foot in front of the other; you keep going, you keep breathing. You fall back down again, not once, but many, many times. Sometimes you get up quickly other times it takes you longer. You physically begin to recover, you’ve stopped bleeding, your body resumes the shape you remember before this all happened but you are hurt far beyond the physical pain. There is something much deeper, you carry it in your eyes. It’s so raw and desperate that no one else can bare to look at you, they flinch at the pain they can see inside.

Eventually you begin to notice that you are not alone, there are others around you. Men, women and even children. They have all been caught in the hurricane, it hurt them in a different way to you, everyone has a different story to tell about the damage the hurricane did to their worlds. But you are all on the same path, you are all trying to find what you left behind, some have been on this journey for much longer than you. You all help each other to walk, when one person falls everyone else will help to carry them. These people want nothing from you but are willing to support you and give you all they have. Some people say that they have seen colour since the hurricane; they call it a rainbow. They tell you that maybe you will see this colour as well, maybe you won’t always see just black and grey. You don’t believe them, you can’t believe them because until you get back to your old world, full of colour, how could you possibly see any other colours? You believe that this will always be your life now stumbling through the empty, desert wasteland with no colours trying to find what the hurricane stole from you.

Last year I wrote about the raw anger, grief and emptiness I felt having given birth to my first and only child just 15 weeks before. In the short time I had been a bereaved parent I felt I had learnt so much about society and how simply many people just do not care. No one cares that your baby is dead. No one cares that your heart is broken and that your every waking moment is a nightmare that you wish would end. Since writing that blog I have sadly had this knowledge cemented in many ways. People have flinched when I talk about my daughter, they have ignored her, changed the subject and told me to move on. They are too busy to even remember the special days like her first birthday. But I have also learnt that some people do care, there is a wonderful side to some people that I have never noticed before and that life does not have to be the black, emptiness of nothing that I once felt it always would. I have discovered many beautiful, incredible things since Maisie died that I never thought would be possible. My life has changed in so many ways, mostly for the better, it is thanks to her and the gift she gave me of becoming a mother.

In just one year I have learnt that my priorities for my life were completely wrong: that money, career, status, holidays and everything financial and materialistic simply does not matter. It doesn’t matter if I am a manager or if I step down and become ‘just’ a sales person on 1/3 of my previous wage. It doesn’t matter if people that I thought were friends now want nothing to do with me, none of that matters anymore. All that matters is my family; my husband, Maisie’s memory and the future family we hope for. Last year I would have said that the worst had happened to me and nothing else could ever hurt me again, that I was not frightened of anything and that I would welcome death with open arms. But I have learnt that is not true, I have a lot to live for, to be grateful for and a lot to want to hold onto. I have learnt all of this because of Maisie, it is the legacy she has left behind. Never before have I truly understood what the saying ‘even the smallest footprints leave a mark on this world’ really means. Yes the worst thing in the world has happened to me, something really, really terrible that no one can ever put right. But, I have a wonderful life, I have so many things to be thankful for and my life is a good one. No one tells you when your baby dies about the gifts they will give you in their death, how they will forever change you not just for the bad but for the good. Maisie has made me a better person, she has opened my eyes, mind and heart to things I never would have considered before and she has made me appreciate things I once took for granted. I know that had she lived I would never have learnt these lessons or become the better person I am today.

Today I am 6 months pregnant with my rainbow, something that I never believed would happen for me. It has been and still is such a hard journey that I cannot believe will have a happy ending but I have to hope. Hope that colour will enter our world again is sometimes all we have left.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You can read Stacey's post from 2013 here:

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Charlotte: Right Where I Am 2014: 5 weeks 2 days

It’s been 5 weeks and 2 days since I lost my twin baby girls, Scarlette & Issabelle, it feels like it’s been 5 months instead of weeks. I’m in a hard place right now, I don’t cry as much and I’m not as sad but it’s not because it doesn’t hurt, it's just because I can’t physically cry any more and the sadness leaves me exhausted.

The pregnancy was exhausting and I was constantly making trips to the hospital and I was constantly worried, I guess I was always prepared for the worst, as at 16 weeks Issabelle was diagnosed with a heart condition and they told me she wasn’t going to make it. Around 20 weeks Scarlette was diagnosed with the same heart condition. Issabelle was an amazing fighter and made it to 23 weeks and Scarlette made it to 24 weeks, although I think if I hadn’t gone into early labour Scarlette may have stayed in there longer and I might still have her now, she lived for 7 minutes and then she passed away in my arms. They were both perfect and when I went back to get the forms and paperwork to register them the midwife gave me a small piece of paper that was pink and had their names on and it said ‘too beautiful for earth’ which was lovely and so true they were perfect, I couldn’t even believe I made 2 people so beautiful.

Every Wednesday I light 2 tea lights for my girls and I will sit till the tea lights go out, and this gives me some comfort, I have the blankets they were wrapped in when they were born and sometimes I just can’t let go of them.

The last time I held them was on the day of their cremation, I didn’t want to let go, and I sat with them for 3 hours and I just cried and cuddled them, it was really sad to leave them all alone, and sometimes I regret the decision to have them cremated but there is a lot of things I regret, sometimes I think if I had noticed my pains earlier and gone to the hospital they could of stopped the early labour, or sometimes I regret telling them not to help Scarlette when she was born but her heartbeat was low and slow, and it was most likely she would pass away and she needed heart surgery which she couldn’t have 'til she was 35 weeks at least and she was only 24 so I didn’t want her poked and prodded with needles and on a machine that would keep her alive, just wanted her to go in peace in my arms.

Sometimes I can’t even go to a supermarket to the shop, because I notice that everyone has a baby, and there’s always that dreaded baby aisle. I can’t even look at my best friend and I just want to snap at her when she complains about her 27 week pregnancy being hard and her back hurting, she doesn’t know how good she has it. She drinks and smokes and has a perfect unborn baby. I didn’t drink or smoke and I lost 2 of mine, not that I would ever wish her baby to be lost at all.

It feels like I lost everything at once, don’t have much to get up for in the mornings, but I’m learning to just survive and get through the day, and hopefully eventually it might start to get a little bit better. So I guess where I am now is at a stage of sadness, regret and jealousy and just missing my perfect little angels. I would do anything to just have them here even if it was just one day.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Julz: A Mayflower's Rainbow

I began writing a journal not long after Melody was born, I wanted something for her and her brother and sisters to be able to read back, our journey as a family dealing with life in the NICU and life with a premature baby, a micro preemie.

I have always loved writing for fun and since Melody passed away I have focussed my new life in using my unclear head space for imagination.

I was confident that my journal was going to have a beautiful happy ending, the journal would come out at birthdays and special occasions, on meeting Melody’s first boyfriend, show him how tiny her little bottom was, to pooing every time daddy changed her nappy. A journal of happy, wonderful memories.

And it was for the beginning days.

“That sudden rush of love you’re supposed to get in the delivery room, suddenly hit and the realisation that I didn’t know just how long we would be able to keep her but I knew how much I loved her and I wanted to do everything I could to protect her.”

The days progressed into weeks, and I really enjoyed writing in my little book, even now looking back there are little things I can’t remember, but the book is there to help me remember, how old she was, how we felt.

Then out of nowhere, she left us.

The journal became my haven; I could write the pain the shock. Admittedly it took me a long time to go back to the day before and the day after, reading through it deems as painful as living it. Of course it is its Melody’s story.

I was going to stop after her funeral, then I came to realise the funeral was really only the beginning. So with encouragement, I carried on, discovering my rainbow pregnancy, the fears that come with a rainbow pregnancy, most certainly far away from a normal pregnancy, right to her birth.

Where I paused the journey.

The grief journey will never, ever end but I felt comfortable at ending it at this point.

I want to be able to share her story and to raise awareness on parts of pregnancy that is so rare, there just is not a lot of information on.

The title come from a birth board I was on when I was pregnant with Melody.

With thanks to blogs like Loss through the looking glass.

Thank you for reading.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Julz book is available to buy on Amazon:

A Mayflower's Rainbow