Thursday, 19 July 2018

Julia: Right Where I Am 2018: 2 years 5 months 19 days

2 years, 5 months, 19 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes... I remember in the early days after losing Caius being told it would get easier, that time was a healer; and I wanted to scream, because every day, every hour and every second felt like I was getting further away from him, from the strength of his kicks and the excitement before his arrival, from the warmth of his body in the moments after he was born to the cool weight of him just the next day.

Nearly 2 1/2 years on and I know what they mean when they say that, but easier isn’t quite the word. The overwhelming cruelty of losing a baby does slightly subside as an inkling of acceptance starts to nudge its way in, but when I really think about it, the raw pain is still there.

But through the pain there is pride. I’m proud that I am able to function, that I can continue to be present for my eldest son Reuben, now 5 1/2, and not just present, I know I’m doing right by him, and while he still yearns for a sibling, it’s not as all encompassing as it once was. We are creeping towards acceptance that we will not have another baby.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about selling the pram. It wasn’t bought for Caius, it was Reuben’s, but Caius was to use it, so it’s been hard to let it go, and equally difficult to let someone else use it, especially if there were a chance of me seeing them using it, that would be painful; Caius should just be outgrowing that pram now.

I am now approaching my 36th birthday and will be glad to put 35 behind me. We always said that we would try for a sibling for Reuben until I was 35, because statistically, pregnancy is harder and more complicated after the age of 35. Of course we said that long before we knew what a journey our family would be on. As a result, turning 35 was a bit of a trigger for me, possibly also because Caius was born 1 day short of 35 weeks gestation.

After 4 early losses, a 5th, Elliot at 14+2 weeks, losing Caius at 34+6, then another loss at just 6 weeks, the thought of getting to the end of our attempts at growing our family was overwhelming, heartbreaking, too much to bear. So as an epic distraction, I decided to set myself 35 ‘challenges’ to complete throughout the year, particularly challenges that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I been pregnant. I haven’t yet achieved all 35, in fact I’ve managed ‘only’ 15 so far, and with 4 weeks to go, I know I won’t manage within my set time, but I will complete them regardless, and it’s been an amazing experience, to do things I would never have dreamed of, and especially in memory of my baby boy. His legacy is very much alive and well and I’m proud of myself. I never imagined I would be brave enough to attempt a bungee jump or to climb to the top of Ben Nevis!

Sadly, I have lost friends within the last year, I guess as a result of my loss, an inevitable reality it would seem. I’m such a sentimental person, so each and every secondary loss I have felt deeply and I carry in my heart. Self care is so important though. Many friendships have been strengthened by the compassion they have shown, and I have a good network of friends and family, including fellow loss mamas, who are all amazing and who I would be lost without.

So here we are. What amazes me sometimes is that I am still standing, that my little family of three living souls has survived so far. Sometimes it’s important to recognise the journey, how far I have travelled, and recognise that, while in those early days I felt further and further from Caius, I know that he is now with us, in our hearts, in our souls, in our very essence, and in every positive action every day.

Caius Jonah Hale, born 30th January 2016, 6lb 6oz, 53cm long, forever in our hearts.

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