My best and worst year.

Holidays Henry, Christmas holidays, New Years, the season to be joyous, to celebrate to give each other gifts, see family and friends. Christmas cheer. New Years where we all reflect on the year we’ve had and often make resolutions to make the year ahead a better one or better ourselves. Yet how do you reflect on a year that was both the best and most awful year of your life, how do you find joy in Christmas when your child is gone, how do you even begin to process a year in which you started the most happiest of your life, full of dreams for what would be ahead, all the fun, laughter and thoughts of how we’d watch you grow and it finished with you knocked so far down to the very bottom and its been the biggest fight of our lives life to try to get back up and continue.

How do I Henry? How can I look at this past year, full of the joy and thought as we walked in to that hospital of thinking we were bringing you home, of listening to your heart beat on those first two days when they did check and then nothing on that third day I was there, of the very moment my own heart felt like it shattered in to pieces and can never be repaired, of reliving the look on your Dads face as he arrived back that morning to be told you weren’t coming home. How Henry? how? This year I became a mum, this year you were born, meeting you was something else, my words are not even enough to describe the immense amount of pure love I felt seeing you, of how much I had dreamed of that moment and to finally be here, this, You, made it the best year of my entire life, yet the absolute heart wrenching aching, shattering pain of losing you made it the absolute worst… the best and worst year of my life.

My beliefs have been challenged to the very core Henry, the everyday platitudes we tell ourselves as we go through life, well they don’t apply, I can’t believe them anymore. I guess they have their place in life for other situations and are good for some to help them ‘make meaning’ of what’s happened in their life, after all we all seem to need meaning, to make some sort of sense of things, but there’s no sense in this Henry none at all.

“Something good will come of this, it always does with these things” I had someone say to me recently and while I smiled politely in reply and bit my tongue as I knew they meant well and did not want to offend them by arguing that point. There’s nothing good that comes of this, it’s not the way it goes… I sat and repeated this to my psychologist during a session, she turned to me and agreed, then she said “There is a reaction to every action” I stopped and thought about it, I liked that because its true, there is a reaction to every action. This didn’t ‘happen for a reason’, This wasn’t sent to us because something ‘good’ will come from it’, there will however be a reaction to every action. So as your Dad and I wander further down this road and navigate it, if we choose to do things to honour you further Henry, there’ll be a reaction to these things good or bad… It doesn’t mean though ‘it was meant to be’ because we choose to take action that creates something good.

“God only does this to the strong ones” I had someone else say to me, “Because I couldn’t handle it, losing a baby, a child full term” they said again another moment where I didn’t want to upset them, not the place to say otherwise.. This isn’t something I ever imagined that I would ‘handle’ it isn’t ever something I thought that I would have too, but losing a baby at any gestation or a child at any age, isn’t something that anyone is ‘chosen’ for and it’s not for a ‘select few’ of super humans who have this inner strength where they can handle it, it is something you (anyone) are just thrown into, you are not super human, you do not have any more strength than anyone else that makes you have the ability to ‘handle’ something like this, you just find yourself completely lost in this dark world of pain, grief, hurt, anger and shock and you somehow in a haze make your way through each dark day and night, trying to find what may get you through the next minute or hour and you look for others who may have travelled this path before to know that you can keep going. You look for support from family and friends for them to listen or make you a meal, to be there on your bad days and the good. There are plenty of moments where you find yourself drowning in water so deep you don’t think you’ll make it out alive and yet somehow you do.

I used to believe those platitudes Henry and goodness knows I probably have said to others in the past “Everything happens for a reason”, I know I have said it to myself but the truth is Henry life is life, There’s no reason behind this or a reason why it’s happened to us. So all my beliefs about ‘you bring about what you think about’, ‘you choose happiness’ and other things that got me through what I thought were hard times in the past. These are not my beliefs anymore, that is not to say I don’t think you can’t do things in your life to make positive changes. I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t ever think this up or imagine it to make it happen, but it’s where we find ourselves Henry, navigating this world without you in our loving arms, I can only do things like see my psychologist to help myself and my mental health, to get coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety and panic attacks I now get, to talk about what I need to and discuss ways to help myself when flashbacks and PTSD kick in, to continue going to the gym and my PT sessions to help myself physically which contributes to my overall health and to on the days where I fall to the floor sobbing, when I sit in the bottom of the shower with the water running over me, tears streaming down my face and feel as though I can’t face another day, in those moments where the anger is so raw or I wake from nightmares crying softly in to my pillow, allow myself to feel that too as it’s all a part of it. These are the ‘positive’ things I can do to help myself.

I can continue to write my letters to you, to help let others know ‘it’s ok’ to speak your name, to talk about death and grief, I can offer others an insight in to this monstrous ever-changing mountain we constantly climb in the hope that maybe, these words might help someone else or change someones reaction to what they say or how they care for a loved one or friend who loses a child. I can attempt to with many others I know break the culture and stigma around grief and loss, so that we might Henry and others be able to grieve openly and honestly without any shame or guilt in a society that can become very uncomfortable around those who have lost a child.

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Its been a big lead up to Christmas and the holidays Henry, there’s been anxiety of not knowing how we will be, what we should do, yet there’s no right or wrong way to be, I have noticed so many ways in which others have chosen to honour their children, ways in which they have included them in to the season. Everyone does this differently and I respect this so much.

We didn’t decorate the house this year as neither of us ‘felt ‘like it, I am glad we were able to in our ways honour and what we needed and that our families could give us the space and understanding we asked for. Christmas Eve we had your Dad’s family over for dinner, we prepared most of the day, cooked, cleaned, I made a baked cheesecake, Pavlova and two salads while your Dad prepared pork, brisket and roast veggies. Everyone came it was like a whirlwind, watching your cousins run around the house I found myself having to rescue your urn and a few other times placing them up higher this didn’t annoy me it made me giggle, they ran outside and waited for Santa to drive past in the fire truck, laughter and smiles it was so good to see. I watched as I moved back and forth to the kitchen everyone sit outside and talk, run after the kids play, laugh and I almost felt as though without you here we somehow weren’t a part of it. That’s not to anyones fault, they didn’t do anything to make us feel that way, I just felt a distance we couldn’t join in talk about you as a child and where you were at, we couldn’t play with you like we could with the other children, as I lifted one of them up and held him upside down and tickled his belly as he laughed. As we ate Henry there were small conversations but missing for us was any talk of you. What can others say though Henry?, thinking of it now I should have perhaps cheers to you, everyone sat so quikly and staggered to serve themselves to eat, I am not sure we even did a cheers this year.

After dinner and dessert everyone rushed off so quickly, I understand there were kids to get to bed, and routines and things people wanted to do, there also is not a lot of toys at our place for the kids to play with, but it was so quick, one minute so much noise, then just quiet and your Dad and I left standing looking at one another, I felt as though because we were preparing the food we barely got the time to actually talk to anyone and then they were gone. I wondered how different it may have been if you were here, if they maybe would have stayed longer, felt more comfortable, I wondered if you were here would we be rushing off from somewhere to put you to bed, how would it have been? very different that’s for sure.

Christmas Day as I woke I reflected on the silence, it wasn’t a silence we thought we would have, last Christmas we talked about the next one with excitement about all of our plans, about how it might go about what we would do… Yet we were finally here and none of it would ever be, we woke to the same silence we do each morning and hate, we woke to that silence and I moved in to your Dads arms and tears fell from my eyes so slowly down my cheeks and on to his bare chest, he held me tighter until I finally suggested we go to your beach Henry and we got up and got ready.

I took with us your little blue bear and a paper daisy I had dried out from a bunch I was given, we got their early and not many people were out yet, as your Dad and I stepped in to the cool refreshing water and waves washed over me as always it was like a relief from the pain I always feel just for a moment, as we got out far enough I released the flower in to the water and your Dad and I watched as it floated about, staying near us for quite some time, your Dad captured some images as he had his camera to take photos in the surf. We held on to one another and watched it gently float in the water until a large wave came and took it away and we stood after the wave and saw it float further and further away from us. I do wonder if anyone found that flower on the sand that day Henry, and wondered where it came from? Without knowing it, by their wondering they would be thinking of you.

After we left the water we came home and cleaned, so much for Christmas, spending Christmas Day cleaning but we needed the distraction as we cleaned your Dad got a message something was left on our doorstep. I went out later to get it and bring it inside, three boxes high one on top of the other wrapped carefully with ribbons. The card had a not to open last, so your Dad stood close by as I opened the first box labelled ‘for Henry’ inside was the most beautiful blue bauble with silver writing ‘Henry’s 1st Christmas’ instantly I couldn’t even lift it out of the box as tears started in my eyes I looked up at your Dad tears in his eyes too, we both laughed a little at the tears the other had like ‘we knew it would happen’ we wouldn’t be able to open this without tears It was so very thoughtful and beautiful seeing your name.

The next box as opened it on top a wrapped present for Missy and Snikkers, even your fur sisters were remembered with some treats, next was some wine for me, some young Henry’s beers for your Dad, chocolate and other treats. As we opened the next box a candle that smells like the ocean, cook books full of healthy recipes, and some other small treats, we could tell it was all picked out with us in mind, thoughtful gifts, a candle like the ocean to light for you, treats and recipes of good food as we love to cook. I opened the card and the incredibly heartfelt words inside brought tears to both of our eyes once more, talk of lighting the candle as I cook so that I can think of you while doing something I love. it reminded me a little more of the me I have not seen a lot of, of the me that makes a rare appearance these days and of how I do need to when I feel I can do more of what I love to do.

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing monopoly, your Dad got a head start buying some of the more expensive properties and put houses on them quickly my finances got low and I found myself bargaining prices giving your Dad money and other properties to help me pay the rent I owed. We left the game to go back to your beach to watch the sunset while I held your bear in my hands.

Since Christmas Henry we have had some good and some bad days, we’ve been swimming in secret creeks to keep out of the heat with friends, we’ve swam in the ocean and floated down another creek in the current. Yesterday the though of you and my physical ache that I feel to hold you, to want you here was too much, I spent the day in sadness with lots of tears, I had flashbacks which brought panic and found it hard to breathe your Dad holding me as he encouraged me to breathe and I could eventually talk through it with him. I still remember what it was like to hold you, your weight against me as I held you close what you felt like, I long for that so often, my arms they ache to hold you close.

Since our miscarriage Henry, we have seen the obstetrician, I was having blood test every couple of days to follow my HCG levels back down to zero, the last time we saw him, he really didn’t have to see us but we wanted to keep the appointment with him, I needed something, some advice, a plan….. We sat in his office ” What can I do for you Kristy?” he asked compassionately I sat and I looked at him “Well I am an organised person” I said to him “I need to know where to from here, I need a plan” I almost pleaded with him he looked at me and smiled “You go home and you have sex Kristy that’s your plan, have lots of sex and drink some wine to help relax but not too much” your Dad and I laughed at that “See” your Dad said as though he thought he were right “Here I am telling him he shouldn’t drink too much as it’s not good and your telling him to drink” I said to our Ob, “Well he doesn’t want to much so as not to perform” he laughed “You have a job to do” I said to your Dad jokingly. We talked a little more and I said to Dr W, “How long do we try for though, considering with Henry it took so long”, “give it three months” he replied “I was going to do some tests and give you some medication to ovulate but you are showing you are so just give it a bit more time”. We left there feeling listened to and heard at least which was nice. As we walked to the car I said to your Dad “Never advice I thought I would hear from the Dr drink wine” we laughed.

As we walked to the bedroom one night Henry I held a phone charger in my hand I walked up behind your Dad and poked him cheekily in the bum with it “It’d be a shit charge” he said to me laughing at his own joke I shook my head and laughed a little too as we climbed in to bed I moved closer to him, after all I had drunk my wine, now comes the other part right… “What happens if I plug it in the front” I said to your Dad my hand moving further down “Woah woah” said you Dad “You can’t use all the charge at once” I moved my hand slower “There that better” I asked laughing and poked my tongue out at him “How am I supposed to know when its ready to go” I asked jokingly “bdp” your dad makes the noise our phones make when you place them on charge and we both laughed and laughed and laughed at least we don’t take ourselves to seriously”

Oh we continue our game of monopoly Henry and I finally got some houses and hotels, Your Dad began landing on them and the money came my way, he eventually began a tab owing me, it kept happening at one stage he rolled a double landed on my property with hotels, rolled another double of two ones and landed on my next property I tried but couldn’t contain my laughter as how could that happen “Oh go ahead laugh at the poor boy, this is just my life” he said sarcastically and playfully “Naw sore loser” I said “you had all the money now your losing it’s not as fun” we continued to play until your Dad worked up a tab of $5000 and gave up I jokingly kissed the Monopoly money and threw it in the air, ever gracious winner.. I can tell your Dad is already planning the next game and how he will win.

As 2018 draws to a close Henry, as many make their resolution, put up statuses reflecting on the year that’s been, the highs, the lows and how they will take all of their positivity in to 2019 and leave the old things behind and they have every right to do so, as they celebrate their achievements and the year thats been. For some of us it’s not a celebration, it’s not about leaving things behind, some things won’t magically change or be able to be different because the clock strikes midnight. We can however as we move in to 2019 continuing to carry our grief and love in whatever way we need too, we can continue to speak of you and say your name as you are ours and we are yours, we might not be able to say things such as ‘New year, new me’ or make resolutions for the year ahead to be our best and better as we know how precious life is and that it can all just change in an instant.

We can however Henry go in to 2019 continuing to honour you, continuing to recognise and learn about how we grieve, to allow ourselves to grieve, we can say we are still going when we thought we wouldn’t be, we may not be able to ‘choose happiness’ as some would think, as the trauma we have been through took away that choice… it’s not as simple as just put on a smile and be happy when you have been through what we have. We can though recognise the bravery we have found in ourselves, how loving you has forever changed us and continue to support one another through. We can take what hope we have to keep us holding on in to the year ahead and know

I don’t know what 2019 will bring, I have no expectations, I know there will still be days I hurt so badly and my whole body will ache for you, I know there’ll be days I can get up and go about my day ok too, I know there’ll be further firsts and challenges to face as memories of my pregnancy, baby shower, start of maternity leave and then your first birthday approach , I still wonder how we do those days too. Maybe there’ll be small joys to be found, maybe we will face the challenges and hurdles of another pregnancy after loss and wondering if it will all be ok. Maybe we will find more hope and hold on more to the love we have for you everyday.

I won’t go in to the New Year with the same outlook I had last year, I won’t go in to the New year wanting to celebrate, I’m not going in to the New year the same person I was, I will go in to the new Year as a mother, your mother, I will go in to the New Year knowing your Dad and I will always speak your name, I will go in to the New year knowing there are so many lives you have touched this year and how incredible this is and I will go in to the New year with all the love we hold for you forever. We love you to the moon and back Henry, forever and always.

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When there’s nothing left

My words escape me recently Henry, I feel like I have no words to describe how I feel, what is going on, all that is sitting with me right now. I am on this kind of auto pilot where I go out in to the world I do what we need to do, I work my days that I am working, I go to the gym on the days I have PT, I go to the shops as we need to buy food, I eat, I cook sometimes, but it is meaningless, I just do it because. I put on a ‘brave’ face to everyone Henry as it’s what I ‘need’ to do or am ‘expected’ too, no one wants to see the sad person especially around such a festive time of year.. I mean “isn’t she finished being sad yet?”

I have no fight left in me, I am the bird that’s lost the ability to fly, the boxer who can’t get back up in the ring, the horse with the badly broken leg, I am the woman who no one knows what to say to anymore as it just seems like the ‘bad luck’ if that is what we can call it keeps following me. Henry what do you say to the person who has lost their child and then their next awaited baby they wanted all within the one year, I feel like I am too broken for this world.

Any hope I had has just completely gone, weeks away from Christmas and no hope in sight, not an ounce and I just can’t get my head around how we do this, I said to my psychologist “I don’t know what to do” but really what can we do but feel what we are feeling and try to talk ourselves in to getting through another day.

The big wound that losing you left Henry the one that is like a big gaping hole inside me, its had the scab ripped right back off again, any parts that were beginning to slowly heal to repair a little, the skins been torn off and its opened right up again bleeding and raw. Having this miscarriage has brought me right back to where I was when I came home without you. I knew repairing would take time, I knew this wound was way to big, take time to repair and would always leave pain and a massive scar as losing a child doesn’t ever leave you, there’ll be triggers, reminders, memories and moments for the rest of our lives. I didn’t expect though that anything else could happen to take what little part had began to repair and rip it right back open again.

I have been thinking about how? how we get through Christmas, what do we do, I said to your Dad the other day I know I would have already been organised for Christmas with you, I would’ve had it all ready as that is me it’s what I like to do. I decided that we should put together a gift to donate to charity for a boy who would be your age, one that wouldn’t normally be fortunate enough to get a gift this Christmas.. fortunate what a funny word in a situation like ours, we are fortunate enough to have good jobs, a roof over our head, your fur sisters money for food yet we are not fortunate enough to have you our beautiful baby boy here with us and to watch you grow as we should be.. I saw a saying that said ‘Dont confuse my grief with ingratitude’ and it’s so true… While I am grateful Henry for our home, food on the table etc I am still a grieving mother who just wants more than anything in the world the one thing she can’t have and that’s you.

So the other day I searched for a romper I had bought for you while I was pregnant, I remember the day I bought it, I had walked in to this store to get a gift for a friend who had just had her baby boy, I looked and looked at all the things, I picked out a romper I really liked for her boy and another gift as I took it to the counter the lady said to me, that particular brand is buy one get a percentage off a second item, I was going to say no but I thought to myself I liked the romper so much I could get one for you… I picked the next size up though as it was a summer one and the organised me thought I would need one that would have fit you for the summer. So I found the size and bought it.

I looked and looked through your room as I know I had placed it somewhere your Dad came home to find me crying in your room as I searched he asked what was wrong I explained to him what I was looking for, he helped me find it, I held it in my hands looking at it as the tears streamed down my face the material was so incredibly soft it took me straight back to that day and the joy I had felt choosing it out for you. The smile had thinking about when you would wear it. Yet you never got too. I placed it aside and thought that would be the start of my gift to donate.

The reason for choosing that Henry is that your Dad and I had planned a four gift rule, not something we made up but something I had seen and we liked the idea of ‘Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read’ We had also planned you would get to open a book every Christmas Eve and that we would all sit on the lounge together with some chocolate and to read books to you. So I thought why not do the same for another little boy, and hopefully bring some joy to him and his family.

I picked a book that I had already bought for you too, there’s a set of books called ‘Thats not my’ they are a set of simple hard cover books that have lots of different textures through them perfect for little fingers and to explore with the senses. I picked one of them off the shelf and thought to myself they would have been so good for your age at Christmas eight months and you would still be setting teeth and like to chew on and hold things so it would have been great for you.

I spoke with your Dad the next day and we made our way to the shops to pick out the ‘something you want and something you need’ this shopping trip ended up a lot harder than I thought it may Henry I didn’t realise how incredibly hard it would be standing there, looking at seeing the toys all the things we could have bought for you but never get the chance too, Your Dad and I looked together I thought about what you may have wanted, something I will never actually know I would have loved to get you something for the beach but this store didn’t have that so instead I looked at the beautifully crafted wooden toys picking up a tractor your Dad nodded, a wooden tractor I imagine you would have picked up in your hands, you might have thrown it on to the ground to hear the sound it made, we would have gently sat with you on the floor showing you how to push it along, you may have smiled you may have tried to take it back from us. I know your Dad would’ve made sound effects to go with it to make you giggle.

I stood looking for something you need not quite being able to find the right thing, Your Dad then said to me “can you hurry up” I instantly became upset thinking he was getting impatient I walked to the counter with just the tractor and paid so we could go, we walked outside I began to walk faster than your Dad as I was upset. He pulled me back I can’t even remember the words he said I argued with him that I was just trying to do something nice, just trying to do something to try to somehow help us but help someone else too, to make it feel like we had done something for you for Christmas in honour of you… it was in this moment I actually looked up at your Dads face and saw the tears in his eyes. I saw the sadness the hurt and he gently said to me “I just couldn’t look at all those things anymore” It was in this moment Henry that I realised I can’t….. No matter what I do how hard I try I cat in any way protect your Dad or I from the hurt, from the pain, from what feelings Christmas and the many days ahead will bring.. none of it, it’s there and we can not hide from it, nor can we be sheltered from it either.

I quickly went and got a teether for the something you need and we left to come home, once there I got out the special wrapping paper I had ordered with palm leaves on it as it reminds me of you and I carefully in the best way I could wrapped all the items in to a gift, As I did so I thought about how you probably would have at the age you would have been enjoyed the wrapping paper more, I thought about how you may have laughed as we helped you tear it open, I thought I wonder how your giggle would have sounded, I wonder who you would have been growing to look like. I still wonder everyday and probably will for the rest of my life. I hope this gift brings joy to a little boy, and that without knowing they may talk about where it came from and thats almost as good as talking about you.

The thought of your sibling Henry had given us some hope for Christmas, now I don’t even want Christmas at all.

I’m so exhausted every day Henry, I still travelled for work last week for a meeting and after that I came home absolutely wrecked, I was still bleeding from the miscarriage, I had to face people in my team that I had not seen yet and wonder about how they might be with me how they may react… That was a really difficult task and I know people do not know what to say, but there was only two people who actually acknowledged you and that was on the second day. The rest probably thought it may upset me I guess, but truth is it hurt more that they didn’t acknowledge you. I am not blaming them they are not to know what’s right or wrong, but it’s just how I feel. I did have one person say to me “Oh well you are looking very tanned and relaxed” …. 😦 ‘really’ I thought to myself in my head… ‘what do you think I have been doing been on a 6 month holiday?’ I didn’t respond like that though I just said “well that’s not how I feel”

After we finished out first day of the meeting I rang your Dad, instantly I began to cry “I can’t do this” I said to him “how can I keep up, remember all that’s gone on all the changes and do my job when I am like this” he gently reminded me “One day at a time just do what you can and communicate when you can’t” easier said the done though Henry for someone who likes to be seen as doing their job well, who likes to get it done I am so reluctant to say “I can’t” I don’t want to be that person who cant.

I went to dinner with my colleagues that night and everyone’s dinner but mine started to come out, I sat I waited and when it didn’t come out one of the girls went up to enquire about it, I went up when she wasn’t returning to find they had lost the docket with my order on it ‘No dinner for you Kristy’ I just thought to myself ‘this is your life’ one thing as simple as diner order not being placed but it had to be me.

After dinner I eventually walked back to my the hotel as I was exhausted one of the girls had asked me to text her to tell her I got back ok. I did so and she later text to ask if I was ok I told her how I felt, I told her how I had no confidence in myself and my abilities anymore, How I worried I wasn’t capable as I once was, how I was concerned about what happens if I need to come back full-time or do visits I am not ready for. She texted me back to tell me to go easy on myself that it was massive step I had taken coming to this meeting and being away from home let alone everything else, she said how much she saw me in the meeting that day the way I spoke that I knew what I was talking about and that me was still there, we chatted some more before I went to sleep.

On Sunday afternoon Henry we had been invited to Jerrymara estate for Christmas Drinks, Your Nanny and poppy know the owners and they were kind enough to invite us all along for the afternoon with their other guests, it was such a beautiful place Henry, the scenery, the gardens so good to sit outdoors and be able to enjoy it all. Everyone there was so very nice and I must admit just sitting back and listening to others stories was a little bit needed.. They didn’t all know us so not everyone there knew about you. Later in the afternoon we did get asked if we had any children and Henry one thing I have decided recently is that I can’t not acknowledge you so I was honest and I said “We had a little boy Henry who passed away” the people who had asked were kind, they were sympathetic and although its hard I felt happy that I had acknowledged you and your existence your Dad was too.

The one thing about Sunday for your Dad was the helicopter there, I have already told you Henry how much he loves helicopters and to see him smile from ear to ear as he looked at the helicopter was so nice to see, I think it made his day to be up close to one and look inside. I am actually surprised we managed to get him home to be honest and didn’t find him later in the afternoon asleep inside or pretending to fly. Our hosts for the afternoon were so beautiful and have incredibly kind heart, Kate regularly donates to a range of charities and is a woman after my own heart as she loves animals like I do. The highlight for your Dad may have been the helicopter, the highlight for me was their beautiful dog called Jet, he was so very lovely and got lots of pats from us.. He was a rescue and a little overwhelmed by all the people there at one stage, which meant I got to take him for a walk, and spend some time with him.

Such a beautiful afternoon with lovely people Henry. It was nice to listen to what people did and find out all about them. One young couple with some beautiful children have just started a business making and selling mead, Joel who had started this had brought some along and allowed us to try it, it was beautiful to drink, they have named the business Hunter and the Harp which is after two of their children, they now have a third but I know they’ll include them somehow, its nice to see people who are trying new things and to listen to Joel talk about the business with passion, he was humble and also you could just tell he loved the adventure they were embarking upon, it’s so wonderful to see people try new things, we also spoke to the owners of Charc & Cheese who create gourmet platters boxes and grazing tables and a lady I didn’t get to talk to much from South Coast Experiences who offer planned and unique experiences for your visit on the south coast.

Yesterday marked a big day in parliament Henry, well its big for some of us. Yesterday evening the report from the national inquiry in to stillbirth was tabled to parliament with a range of recommendations to help reduce the rate in Australia, the report identifies how the rate has not changed in over 20 years, it identifies that in cases families have been failed by systems and health professionals, we certainly were… There is so much in this report discussing the impact that this has on families, the fact families are not at times supported through the trauma of losing their child. As Kristina Keanelly addressed the parliament one thing she said stuck out to me greatly, “It’s a particular sadness a singular grief one so hard to fathom that I can understand that collectively as a country we have considered stillbirth to sad to talk about as a public health problem” its time for that to change, as these families need more support and we need to work on ways to prevent this from happening, six families a day is way to many and so many cases it should never occur.

I am so glad that by putting in a submission Henry we could contribute and help to identify the some of the problems which exist and help to form a part of the solution too, nothing can stop it from happening completely, but there are plenty of measures identified within the report which can assist to help reduce rates, which can also support families who do go through the pain, There are stories Henry of families losing their job as they were expected to return to work straight away, I am so blessed I could still take maternity leave at half-pay, not all have that option, though we had our own circumstances, medical negligence, no follow-up bereavement care and support as we should have received and a range of other problems identified, it’s not good enough.

I have seen this morning the government has committed 7 million to stillbirth research, campaigns and for the government to be able to start implementing some of the recommendations in the report this is a great start, to help see families not have to go through the same trauma we are. The report talks about the lasting impact on parents psychologically.

Intangible costs

3.24 The intangible costs of stillbirth are more difficult to quantify, and as such have tended to receive less attention from policymakers. However, it is clear from research that they play a major role in families’ circumstances and have a rippling effect across communities.

Stillbirth exacts an enormous psychological and social toll on mothers, fathers, families and society. It is estimated that 60−70% of affected women will experience grief-related depressive symptoms at clinically significant levels one year after their baby’s death. These symptoms will endure for at least four years after the loss in about half of those women.24

3.25 Researchers have noted that intangible costs contribute to the longer-term economic burden of stillbirth as a result of the higher level of anxiety and depression in families experiencing stillbirth compared to other families.25

3.26 The PwC study analysed five intangible costs associated with stillbirth in Australia: the impact on mental well-being; relationship with partner; relationship with others (family and extended family); other children; and the effect of financial loss. It found that stillbirth had a profound psychological impact on parents.

Many suffer from grief and anxiety, the effects often lasting long periods of time. Experiencing a stillbirth caused stress and anxiety in subsequent pregnancies and some parents received counselling to deal with this increased level of stress. Stillbirth put considerable strain on marital or partner relationships. Different grieving patterns between men and women, blame, anger and resentment were often cited. Some couples separated after the experience.26

3.27 Other flow-on effects for families may include increased fear and anxiety amongst other children, and social isolation.27 These psychological effects may adversely impact on their daily health, functioning, relationships and employment.28

Costs can no doubt be attributed to each of the above issues by economists, but how do you quantify the impact of a stillborn baby on its family? Without wanting to be overly dramatic, Joshua’s death traumatised me in ways I cannot always describe, and impacted on the mothering of my other two children. I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years after Joshua’s birth, and although there is no evidence, I strongly believe the grief I experienced after Joshua, and the stress of my subsequent pregnancies played a role in this. I was 36 at the time of diagnosis.

3.28 In addition to the emotional grief and trauma of stillbirth, bereaved families are often faced with longer-term financial burdens that extend well beyond 12 months after the loss.30

…I keep needing to see new specialists for things that we’re still trying to find answers for. Now I’m struggling with infertility, so I’m going through IVF, which is partially Medicare rebated. Counselling is another thing that I’ve utilised. It has been very helpful to have access to the mental healthcare plan, but I don’t think it’s enough to subsidise 10 sessions a year for something that’s as profound and ongoing as this.

 

Reading just these lines in the report alone, for this to be acknowledged the effect it can have, to read these words helped me to feel a little less alone. To look at this to want to address this to no longer sweep it under the rug as its to sad or awkward to talk about will improve things for families in the future. I know how incredibly hard it was to write a submission to share your story and address the terms of reference, I think it’s so incredibly brave of all the families who did this to do so, I also can’t thank enough the professionals who also placed in submissions and who recognise there needs to be change.

I am battling Henry, I am battling so many conflicting feelings right now, It is so incredibly hard and its hard to allow myself to feel them as they are feelings that are not me, they are ones I struggle with as they are not in my nature. I find myself feeling so incredibly envious of my pregnant friends, of the ones with little babies, of women I see walking the street with their prams, or babies in their arms, I feel jealous of the friends who get to announce their pregnancies with all that happiness.. I said to my psychologist today I am so incredibly happy for them but then I feel this too and its so hard, “It’s because those feelings are not normally in your nature” she replied “But they are perfectly normal in a situation such as yours it’s not like you are jealous of that they have a fancy car or more money they have worked harder for and you haven’t it’s entirely different and ok for you to feel how you do” “But I hate feeling that way” I said to her “I absolutely hate it” the things is Henry I can feel happy for them and sad for us, for what we’ve lost, for what we are missing out on and I just have to let those feelings co-exist. But I hate myself for it Henry even if it’s natural to feel that way, I have never been one to be an envious or jealous person at all.

I am just existing, here I am existing, trying to do my best, trying to maintain contact with others the best I can, trying to work, grieve, tend to the house and do ‘normal’ things when really our lives are far from normal. We use so much energy Henry extra energy getting ourselves up and out of bed and doing these things that I just feel tired all of the damn time, I feel bad when I can’t message someone back straight away, when I don’t have it in me, as I want to still be that friend… you know the one that is there for others that they can rely on. I feel like I’m failing at everything at the moment as I am not living up to my own expectations of who I think I should be. That includes being your Mum, I feel like if I don’t get myself together and do something great for you that I am failing you too.

I have had people say “I bet you can’t wait until this year is over” but it makes no difference Henry, I wish the magical strike of midnight on that clock on New Years Eve would mean that it would all somehow be better but it wont, whats happened follows us in to next year too, there wont be a day we wont miss you and next year takes us to all sorts of places such as your first birthday… Thats a day I am not sure I can do or get through.

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Shattered.

Oh Henry, I have nothing left in me, I feel like I’ve got nothing left to give.. I don’t know what to do with myself, how to keep taking steps forward, you see I thought there was hope but any hope we had well it’s been shattered in to tiny pieces like a window shattering in an explosion and the pieces fly everywhere all over the place and Henry I don’t have the energy to pick them up, I can’t clean up those pieces so now I just sit in amongst them in the dark feeling like there’s no point.

The last few weeks have taken a toll, my heart can’t take any more, my soul is tired, I feel so incredibly heavy like I can’t even crawl.

Weeks ago Henry the day after your six month anniversary the unimaginable happened, I had some spotting on your six month anniversary and I had dissolved in to tears thinking my period was arriving I sought comfort in your Dad and went through all the usual emotions that come along with that anger, sadness, despair, all of it.

The next day though nothing….. no bleeding ‘do I even dare to allow myself to hope’ I thought to myself, I got up went to the bathroom opening the draw with all the pee sticks and took one. I waited and waited it was only a cheap bulk test I had bought so after waiting I thought I saw a line a very faint line… I held it upside down, up to the light, squinted, held it against white paper all the crazy things we do while trying to conceive, I still couldn’t tell if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if it were real ‘can I really hope’ I thought to myself’

I had to meet your aunty in Kiama that morning so I left a bit earlier, marching in to Woolworths I bought a pack of three tests and then went off to the public bathroom 😬 ‘how lovely’ I thought to myself sarcastically but I had to know was your little brother or sister coming our way?? I peed on the stick put the cap back on and waited anxiously for what seemed ages but would’ve only been a couple of minutes AND that second line appeared 😮 I must be dreaming I thought to myself blinking and looking again but no there it was…

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I was shocked, what do I do.. I felt this instant urge just to run home to your Dad so I could tell him but I’d made a commitment to meet your Aunty, so instead after washing my hands and leaving the bathroom I ran to the car to ring your Dad “hey babe” he said as he answered the phone “hey” I said “whats up?” He asked “I’m pregnant” I blurted out “nice way to tell me” your Dad laughed “well I wanted you to know now” I said “and last time I tried to do it nicely I shocked you so it’s straight out saying it this time besides I couldn’t wait until I get home” he laughed a little more “I get it” he said “I’ll see you later on”

I quickly after this phone call phoned a really good friend and told her, then it was off to meet your Aunty and hold it all in and hope for the day to go quickly so I could get home to your Dad.. we had brunch, looked around the shops and talked the whole time my mind was racing, so many thoughts so many feelings…

We finished up and she went to drive home, I drove home to your Dad, once I pulled in the driveway running inside to show him the test, we looked at those two lines together then he looked at me and he began to cry, tears, tears of happiness, sadness, of being scared all of it rolled in to one. “I’m happy but I’m sad at the same time” I said to him “me too” he replied.

You see Henry pregnancy after losing you was never going to be the same, once we lost you, we realised that there’s so much that can go wrong, no guarantees, no safe periods, nothing.. it also comes with the sadness of you not being here, the mixed emotions of if you were we wouldn’t have been thinking about a sibling for you yet and of being absolutely anxious and shit scared that we wouldn’t get to take this baby home either.

The next few days afterwards Henry became hard days to get through, It was like climbing one of the steepest parts of the mountain, finding it difficult, thoughts raced and raced through my mind “what if” … all the what if’s, what if we lose this baby, what if something happens then there were the questions I asked myself over and over “is it ok to feel happy about this when we don’t have you here?” , “how will we cope when this baby is born what will it bring up for us birthing full term as I did with you?” , “will I get post natal depression?” “How in the hell if I’m this anxious now do we get through nine months”

Oh Henry my mind was a mess, it’s so hard, once you know one baby can be lost you can’t relax, we were happy though, there were moments of joy, we even started to discuss over the weeks how we might tell family and friends… we still wanted to try to make this so special and enjoy this little soul too, your little sibling we wanted them to know they were so loved and wanted as well despite the confusion, the ache, the way it was hard.

We had decided we would tell your Dad’s family on Christmas Eve, we would invite them all over for dinner… I had planned I would make Christmas crackers, with riddles in them to make them guess, we had worked them out, googled, sorted through and come up with the right ones.. ‘what gets a shower but doesn’t get wet’, ‘what grows without sunshine’, ‘what does a chef have when baking a roll’ and lastly ‘what’s easy to make but impossible to keep forever’… I even ordered cracker snaps, special wrapping paper with palm leaves to include you..

We also purchased a little onesie with a rainbow too… I made a call to our obstetrician to book in “ok how far along are you?” His receptionist asked, she booked us an appointment for when I would be 7 weeks as he likes to do a dating scan.

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Ok it was all getting in to place, but the fear was there Henry the weeks until our scan were too long and I needed to know all was ok “what if it’s not?” I thought to myself and over those weeks Henry the nightmares I have, the ones that always occur, they became more frequent, showing up more often, they always involve a hospital bed its the common theme, sometimes the nightmares are in the hospital itself and present as what happened other times the setting is different but always a hospital bed and I am in it. over the past few weeks I have had a number of nightmares where I have woken up crying without realising or with my heart nearly beating out of my chest. One particular nightmare I was in a hospital bed in the middle of no where, nothing but dirt and dead tress surrounding me I was stuck in the bed the drip in my arm nothing surrounding me, no one there at all I couldn’t call out, I had nothing to contact anyone, I felt scared, alone when suddenly the bed started to move it spun one way and another I couldn’t stop it, it all happened so fast I had to just hold on to the bed I didn’t know what to do, it became faster and faster no control I became incredibly frightened crying out with no one to hear me. Eventually when I woke I woke up while trying to call out, my mouth and throat were dry, as my eyes opened to our dark room and I realised it was not real I dissolved in to tears putting my head in to the pillow trying to let the pillow muffle my sobs so I wouldn’t wake your Dad.

I wasn’t the only one Henry, with everything on our minds, with taking all this in, a new little life, a sibling for you, a baby we so desperately wanted to make sure came home.. I got home from the gym one morning to find your Dad sitting on the lounge under the blanket he didn’t look good “I’m not going to work today” he said to me, “okay” I said sitting quietly beside him and taking his hand…”I’m not coping, I’m not having a good day” he said to me “that’s ok” I said, he then told me about how he had woken up from a dream, he had woken in a sweat and burst in to tears “The hospital stuffed up again” he said to me “in my dream and it seemed so real and I woke up so upset” I just hugged him, I hugged your Dad so tight. 

In between all of this going on over the last few weeks I also returned to work a decision I made before I knew I was pregnant again. I started back part-time, I had to give it a go and I need to financially too, I have always felt this guilt and pressure that your Dad had to go back to work much sooner, he had to step back in to that space for us financially even though I know he wasn’t ready, even though I know he has struggled and I know he battles every single day.. Between paying for psychologist visits, having to up our health insurance and pay over double what we were before include pregnancy and birth for your siblings. Some may say we didn’t need to do that but for us we did. I could never go back to the same hospital, I could never go public and feel supported in that process again, with what happened the anxiety that it would cause has caused is huge, the trauma we experienced at the hands of those who we are supposed to trust, I couldn’t do it. So with all these extra costs and getting to the point we would have no income from myself I have had to step back in to that work space.

The afternoon and evening before I was due to start back I could feel my anxiety building, like someone slowly and steadily playing jenga taking pieces out and placing them on top of the other just waiting for it to all fall, I could feel myself getting worked up, it came out in different ways, with me being unable to think properly, my heart racing at times my breath becoming faster. I think I snapped a couple of times when Tim asked me questions as my head hurt, I got a headache.

The morning of as I prepared my things Henry as they were ready on the desk to go, I looked at them I looked at my work phone, tears instantly formed in my eyes, I felt my heart race so fast, my palms become sweaty ‘How do I do this?’ I thought to myself Henry, ‘How do I do this when I won’t be able to do what I did before?’ doubts then crept in further, it was like slowly being constricted by a large python, with each doubt it was like it would curl tighter and tighter around me, making it harder to breathe ‘what if I can’t remember?’ ‘what if they expect more from me than I can do?’ ‘what if people think I can’t do my job properly?’ all of my confidence in my abilities Henry both professionally and personally is gone, I feel as though I can not even trust myself with what happened to you. I had tears streaming down my face without even realising, once I finally snapped out of that moment I don’t know how long later and realised I wiped them away and tried to get started.

Throughout the day working with a colleague, I had to rely on her more than I thought I would, there was time spent trying to resolve IT issues and updates and I was so glad she was there as the thought of having to initiate contact and explain to some people scared me, it was so daunting. It had been bad enough for weeks before returning I had been trying to sort out my leave, I had been trying to withdraw the application for leave without pay and apply to come back part-time, but came across hurdle after hurdle Henry, first there was a freeze on the system… no ones fault, once the freeze ended I tried again, each time I did an error would occur, hours spent on the phone to our HR support for the system, sending them screen shots, by my first day at work it still wasn’t rectified, I phoned them again the morning before… You need to fill out a manual form and get your manager to sign it and email it, ok no problems…. as I asked a few more questions about the process and when it might be rectified and explained I was worried I wouldn’t get paid, they asked again exactly what I wanted to do, I explained I needed to withdraw my leave without pay on the system but was unable to do so as I wanted to apply to come back part time from maternity leave… When was the leave until they asked “May” I replied ‘well why are you coming back now?” the question sounded abrupt as if they were annoyed with having to try to fix the situation and my questions… the question took my breath away I paused for a second I didn’t know what to say, I honestly wish I could’ve just been so abrupt back Henry and said “Because my baby died” see what the reaction was then, maybe then they would’ve been a little more helpful and less annoyed who knows but I couldn’t say it I just repeated that I needed to return part time now from leave and needed to get it sorted so that I would be payed. 

All this happening, all the thoughts, work, visiting my psychologist we talked about it all, my fears about the pregnancy, my thoughts about planning ahead, my anxiety about going to my first team meeting for work in a few weeks and seeing everyone for the first time together. I don’t know how they would react? what might they say? what will they think? we discussed about sending them an article available on the SIDS website about your colleague returning to work after the death of their child. We discussed how I was feeling about being pregnant, I talked to her about how I felt guilty, I felt guilty that Henry wasn’t here and that we were already pregnant as if he were here we wouldn’t be, I talked to her about how we both wanted this baby so much and just wanted to know we would bring them home, I talked about how scared I was an anxious to get to the first appointment that first scan to know it would be ok.

At the 6 week mark Henry I was worried, “I am not sick” I commented to your Dad, I tried in my head to tell myself different pregnancy, I had been so sick with you I had HG, and when you have it there’s an 80% chance you’ll have it again, ‘maybe I’m in the 20%’ I thought to myself “I don’t feel pregnant” I had said to my friend.. Yet I still had hope, there it was that hope, the hope that allowed me to plan, to get excited, to think about names even.. I still let that in as I wanted too, I wanted to let this little sibling know I loved them. 

We finally got to the day of the scan, I had to work that day I kept myself busy with my work, yet it was still sitting there in the back of my mind, We finally got to the afternoon I finished work and off we drove the hour drive to our obstetrician’s office. We finally got there all the way there your Dad and I talked about how we would feel, I had your blue bear, I wanted to take a photo of us with it “Afterwards” your Dad said and now I am glad he did, it was a reminder everything might not be ok.

We sat in the waiting room, your dad looked at magazine I just couldn’t, I sat waiting our obstetrician walked out in to the waiting room and smiled at us “You don’t waste any time do you?” he said as we had only been in to see him the month before as we were worried about the fact we couldn’t fall pregnant. “Hop up on the table” he said, I stepped up and lay down “How far along are we?” he asked “seven weeks” I said smiling as he put the gel on my stomach “It’ll be a little cold” he said and squirted it on, he placed down the ultrasound wand and began to move it around after a few moments of moving it around he found something, I looked at the screen, having had an early ultrasound with you Henry at 8 weeks I knew what I was seeing wasn’t right, I knew it wasn’t big enough. “I’m not seeing a lot I may have to do an internal ultrasound” he said “Are you sure of your dates” “Yes I am” I said, I was able to tell him the date we got the positive pregnancy test, the date of my last period, when I had positive ovulation tests. He used the machine to measure 5 weeks 4 days the little sac in there measured. “It’s way to early to see much” he said to me, “I will send you for bloods today to check your levels and get you back in two weeks to scan” I nodded “It’s not very reassuring as I am sure of my dates” I said “I can’t give you that today” he said to me and we discussed the what if it wasn’t ok. He gave me paperwork to get bloods done that afternoon and then again on the Wednesday “We will see if they are doubling as they should” he said.

He didn’t charge us for the visit and we walked out, we went downstairs I had bloods taken and we walked to the car feeling deflated “I know it’s not right” I said to your Dad, “I know my dates” your Dad looked at me he still tried to have hope, “lets just see” he said to me, we got in the car and I cried, I cried all the way home, once home I climbed in to bed sobbing, we didn’t get the reassurance we were after, we were just left with questions and doubt. I tried to tell myself Henry it was ok, I googled and it had happened that people had measured behind and it was ok, I spoke to you, begged you that it would all be alright.

Tuesday I had to go to Goulburn for work, I don’t even know how I drove after the lack of sleep, anxiety and worry but I got there to have a meeting with my manager, after the meeting the long drive home. I got home with just enough time to see your Dad before he went off to work. I cooked myself dinner even though I couldn’t concentrate, I had a shower and sat down on the lounge, I sat there blankly, I sat trying to ease all the racing thoughts running in my mind, round and round like a whirlwind they swirled, Suddenly I was snapped out of my thoughts I felt something ‘what was that?’ I thought to myself I jumped up from the lounge to look down at my shorts and see blood “no no-no no no my mind screamed this can’t be happening no, no no…. I ran to the bathroom and look at them bright red blood I then wiped there was more.. I managed to clean up and change, I phoned your Dads number my heart racing when he answered that was it tears poured down my face “Hey babe” he said I couldn’t answer straight away between tears I managed a “hey”, “Whats wrong?” he asked “Babe whats wrong”… “I’m bleeding” I managed between sobs “I’m leaving work now” he said hanging up I put my head in to my hands and sobbed.

One you dad arrived home he came straight to me and just held me as I sobbed “Why why why why” I screamed and your Dad cried, he held on to me and just cried as I sobbed unable to breathe properly… There it was Henry the shattering of the glass the pieces on the floor all my hope gone.

Finally later sleeping out of exhaustion, I woke up the next morning crying the bleeding had stopped, I phoned the obstetrician he managed to fit us in for an emergency appointment at 10:45 we showered and left, when we got in there “Lets look at whats going on” he said he had to do an internal, as he looked around the sac, you little sibling still in there still measuring the same as Monday, he looked around to rule out an ectopic pregnancy explaining that a sac would still develop in the uterus in that case as the body is still developing for a pregnancy. It looked ok, “It’s all going to depend on todays bloods” he said back to us “but it does look like a missed miscarriage, in rare cases there can be the odd bleed and I have seen it in twin pregnancies where one doesn’t develop but that is rare” we left his office ‘do we dare hope it still might be ok somehow in someway’ I thought to myself, we went to get the bloods done which he had marked urgent.

Driving home our heads full of worry, we had a whole day ahead of us to wait, I don’t even remember how we killed the time, finally late that afternoon I spoke to him on the phone “I’m so sorry” he said “The levels are not doubling and going up as they should” we discussed where to from here, he didn’t want to resort straight to a procedure to remove it as there is the risk of scar tissue in the uterus, so it’s all a waiting game Henry, waiting for the inevitable to happen. He discussed with me that he would be away for the weekend but that if I had severe pain or really heavy bleeding to present to emergency. otherwise any other concerns there was another obstetrician I could contact.

The days since Henry I have struggled, I have only had spotting but no actual bleeding, we don’t know how long it will take and the longer it takes the more it messes with my head and my heart. I had more bloods this morning and will again on Monday to see how far the levels have dropped. As I sit amongst the shattered glass, I don’t want to move, I have nothing left to give, there’s nothing in me and I just sit and wait. and the pain of that waiting Henry is excruciating, it’s like being slowly tortured and just wanting to die. I wait knowing that I am still technically pregnant but that its all going to end, I know I am pregnant but it’s not growing, so I still can’t bring myself to drink, while part of me wants to just drown my sorrows. I sit and wait for the pain, but that physical pain Henry doesn’t even compare to the pain and sorrow in my heart.

Why? How? how can this happen? why us Henry? why us? All we ever wanted, all we ever wanted was to be the best parents we could be to look after you, provide you with the most loving home we could, then the worst possible thing happened.. then we finally had a small ray of hope, a tiny bit of light in all the darkness a chance we would get to do that with your sibling, yet that’s been cruelly ripped away from us already and I don’t know how to go on now.

How do two people get through so much heartache and hurt, how do we ever trust that life will be good to us, I said to your dad if this is all life has for us then I don’t want to be here, I can’t continue to live with so much pain. In the days I am spending waiting I have found I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to get out of bed, I feel like I have gone right back to where we were coming home from the hospital without you, not only do I look at your room full of things we never got to use with you, I now look at the added piece of clothing I bought out of hope, hope that we’d dress this sibling in that outfit, hope this was the baby we’d bring home, instead my hope is gone and Henry I’m not sure I’ll find it or my way out of the darkness. 

I feel so stupid for having had that hope Henry, I feel so stupid I allowed myself to get excited, to plan ahead, I feel so incredibly stupid I even puschsed that onesie that I somehow at that stage thought it would be ok, that we would get to go through a pregnancy and bring your sibling home, I just feel so incredibly stupid that I let myself think that early that I could do that and where does that ever leave us for the future. 

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You exist….

Henry its been a while since I have written my words to you, it’s not been out of not wanting too, it has not been out of not trying, I have sat and started and typed an ongoing letter, I have left it open to continue but if I am honest Henry, completely and utterly honest my anxiety has got the better of me, its got the better of me to the point I doubted myself, I doubted my words, I over thought, I thought no one wants to hear it, no one wants you to write, everyone thinks you should be getting on with things etc etc the thoughts, the doubt, the lack of confidence all of it just over took me.

We passed your 6 month mark, six months of you gone, six months from when we were supposed to be looking at introducing you to the world and bringing you home, not trying to work out how we tell everyone you weren’t coming home, not trying to get our heads around the shock of this and how it all happened, how it shouldn’t have happened. On the day we reached six months Henry I struggled your Dad and I both did. That day I said to your dad “I don’t want to be here anymore I can’t do this I just want to be with our little boy”. On that day I meant it.

I also cried that day Henry, I cried as I started spotting and thought to myself “here we are another month, another month missing you incredibly, aching for you to be with you, to not wanting to carry this heavy load we bear and then knowing another month has passed, another month of trying so incredibly hard and yet no siblings for you. It just adds another hurt on top of the pain we already experience. It often comes with mixed feelings of knowing if you were here as you should be we wouldn’t even be thinking of trying yet which then causes a whole other feeling of guilt that we are.

Henry I am often reluctant to write about how this journey affects our mental health, I have done though and will continue too, I have poured out my feelings, I have said when it has all been too much, I have talked a bit about panic attacks and nightmares, about sobbing in the bottom of the shower and not wanting to get up. At times Henry I find it difficult to put this all in to words as I worry, I worry about what others may think, that they think I won’t be capable, that they think I won’t want to do things, so they won’t ask me, I worry they won’t still rely on me to be a friend when they need something as they think I can’t do it, I can still do these things and I always recognise when I need to look after me,  it’s often these distractions that provide some relief. All the worry the nerves, the toughts its a part of the toll this trauma has taken, I lack confidence where I had it before, I question so much and feel like my brain is a steam train that has lost control and the brakes are broken.

I am learning Henry there is such a stigma around, grief, mental illness and the death of a baby of a child. it makes others uncomfortable, they don’t know what to say and that is ok, but sometimes its difficult because as a society it means they shy away from it rather than face that uncomfortable feeling which is what helps people in these situations through. There can be such a stigma that mental illness means you shouldn’t be able to function and some days I don’t feel I can, but for the majority of people suffering these illnesses you wouldn’t know, a bit like we never know whats happening for anyone Henry, in our culture we are all so good at hiding these things from the world. Maybe its time we talked more.

I listened to a Ted talk Henry on grief and the end of life, one line in that talk stuck out to me, the speaker said “That’s how we make it ok, even when it’s not, by saying it out loud by helping each other through” and its so true Henry, how do others know unless you say it out loud. How can they know unless we open up conversations and share.

Last weekend Henry your Dad and I dealt with a few things, we did some stuff we needed to do, lately we have found lots of mixed and confusing emotions. I think its been about recognising we can love you and grieve you, we can be grateful for you having blessed our lives and we can feel pain of not having you here, we can smile and be sad. It is trying to balance this, the fact that you will never be here in our arms and we carry that for the rest of our lives, always it will be with us, it’s trying to get to the point of wanting to live a good life for us and for you, while still dealing with the storms of grief as they pass over us. There will always be storms.

Then there’s the more complex layer, the layer of dealing with the damage the trauma has caused, the flashbacks that haunt me sometimes during the day almost always at night, these lead to my heart racing, me getting out of breath, of feeling like I can’t breath of ending up either in absolute sobs or in absolute panic. Theres the days where I still struggle, to leave the house to be around other people out in public to do the simple things such as order a coffee, to run to my car and breakdown as the simple tasks I used to do so easily some days are so difficult. Theres dealing with the days I can not move from bed of the depression sinking in, of not wanting to go on with life of not being able to pick myself up. There is so much more to it, I am doing what I need too, I am seeking help, I see my psychologist Henry, I talk to her mostly weekly, I do everything I can to help myself, exercise, I am trying meditation, however it takes a lot of time to work through those more complex things and they affect our lives.

A couple of weeks ago Henry I finally made a decision, one I had been putting off, I had been putting this decision off for many reasons, one in the beginning it had been one that had been too hard to think about, I couldn’t imagine myself going back to work, to doing what I do as it wasn’t what was meant to be, it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, I am supposed to be looking after you… Then as a little time went on I procrastinated, I didn’t want to make the decision, I was anxious about it, I kept saying I will just wait for… There were many wait for things that I thought may help me make that decision, I will just wait until it gets to the end of the month and I will see if I am pregnant, I will just wait and see the outcome of certain things we were following up, I will just wait until after we get through Christmas. Plus Henry I didn’t want to make that phone call, the thought of that call made me incredibly nervous, I didn’t want to make the phone call as it made this reality even more real, I didn’t want to cry on the phone, I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what choice was right, for me, for us.

I finally one day sat there, with tears in my eyes I sat there gearing myself up to make that call, I can not put this off any longer, I need to make a decision I said to myself, getting more and more worked up, my heart beating faster my eyes filling with tears. I phoned a work colleague and good friend first to try to calm myself, I told her how I wanted to call my manager to discuss things but that I was feeling so anxious about it that I felt like crying that my heart was racing. After speaking with her and gaining some reassurance I rang, the phone rang and rang and rang and…… no answer it went to message bank I let out the breath I had been holding in I left a message and sighed. All this work up to finally make the call and no answer.

Later that afternoon Henry I got the return call, tears started in my eyes as I spoke with my manager, I spoke with her about the decision I had made and what I was thinking Henry, no more procrastination, Next week I will return to work, I know it will be a really difficult transition, I know it’s not going to be an easy task at all, but it is what I have to do for me and for us, I will start off part-time. I spoke with your Dad after the call I spoke to him about his first day back at work months ago, he told me, he told me how that morning he got up filled with dread and anxiety, about how hard it was and that when he got to work he sat in a room and cried, he spoke to me about how that’s ok and its normal and about how hard it still is some days. I know Henry, your Dad thinks I don’t but I do, I have seen the tears in his eyes some days before he leaves for work, he thinks I don’t know, but I know he cries, I am so incredibly proud of your Dad Henry for doing all that he does, I hope I can make him proud of me by trying.

That night Henry a sense of relief I had finally made that call and a decision, is it the right decision? we don’t know, but do I have to try, yes! I need to try. I felt proud of myself that night Henry for the first time in such a long time I was actually proud of me for having done it, considering I had put it off, considering nothing made the decision from like I had hoped and considering that weeks ago talking on the phone was something I found difficult and yet that day I did all of those things.

On friday night Henry we had dinner with some friends at their place, it was nice and a welcome relief from all of my thoughts, it was great to be with friends to share food to listen to stories and what others have been doing. Later in the evening another of their friends arrived to pop in, I had only met him once but your Dad knew him, he lives in Victoria and because he’s not someone we have seen often or that I don’t know well, he didn’t know. “Whats been happening for you guys?” he turned and asked us I stumbled I couldn’t get words out I didn’t know what to say, not the place to say it, not the time I didn’t want to ruin the evening. “Not much” your Dad replied, I felt so bad, I felt rude he was being so polite trying to make conversation and either of us could barely say anything, “It would be about 12 months since you got married?” he questioned us “I don’t go on Facebook anymore” he said, “two years” I answered again keeping conversation short as I just didn’t want to ruin anyones night.

Its moments like that I still get so unsure how to navigate, or later that evening when your dad and I went to leave and were giving another couple a lift home, we still have your car seat in the car, neither of us wanting to take it out so when they went to get in there it is and you just don’t know if anything will be said, if it is I am always happy to answer but it’s again worrying what people think, or how it may make them feel.

While your Dad was out the other day Henry I decided to finally put your hand and feet casts up on the wall, they had been sitting in your room, we had been waiting until we felt we could, that day I finally thought to myself, we could never put them up we could leave the beautiful framed casts away in the fear, the fear of the emotion that comes along with seeing them, the fear of it upsetting us of making us sad, of reminding us, making us cry… but you know what Henry we do those things anyway, they don’t remind us as we never forget, the emotions the sadness, the tears well that arrived whether they are visible or not, so I set about placing them up in the lounge room to acknowledge, remember and honour you, Henry our beautiful son. I stood back after with some tears but proud that they are up that they are there. Your Dad noticed them a little later after getting home “You put them up” he commented “I did” I replied I looked at the tears in his eyes “Its hard but good” he replied and hugged me.

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One thing that has happened in this last week Henry is that I won an instargram competition, I couldn’t believe when I saw they had tagged me in a post to say I had won. It was a competition four accounts had run for bereaved parents, my name was there. I have won some beautiful gifts to help remember and honour you. Some lovely affirmation cards for pregnancy and baby loss by Aila and Lion Megan created these beautiful cards after her own losses, c.l.keepsakes Charlotte and Lilly’s keepsakes Kellie named this after her two beautiful angels she creates a beautiful range of personalised keepsakes such as keepsake boxes, frames and other pieces, she is able to custom design and there are beautiful boxes you can purchase personalised for your child’s Christmas presents, treasure boxes to keep things for their 18th birthday and other lovely items. A beautiful album made by the talented Jenny McGregor her album love and let go has been created for bereaved parents as Jenny and her husband Ben have lost a child themselves all proceeds of her album go to red nose charity to support families through these times and a lovely remembering me book from Hapermartinau Shaela creates beautiful keepsake books to document the most precious memories, she worked with a number of bereaved mums to include their thoughts to create the remembering me book for parents who have experienced loss. I feel so humbled Henry that this community has come together, they came together to honour bereaved parents and create awareness and I feel grateful to be the one to receive these items even though there are so many deserving parents out there.

Your Dad Henry he has a habit of talking in his sleep, last week he woke me up during the night with his sleep talking, I then in turn end up waking him up as I reply thinking he is awake, we spoke about it the next morning “You woke me up” your dad said to me “I woke you up because you were talking in your sleep and I thought you were awake” I replied to him. He looked at me “If I ever want to talk to you during the night I will tap you” he said to me “ok” I replied. Well Henry that night then went something like this, I was drifting in and out of sleep your Dad taps me on the shoulder “Ask them do they want to move there” he says to me, confused by this comment and still half asleep trying to get my brain to work out what he was on about “What who?” I asked him “The emojis to the Almafi coast” “Huh what Almafi, emojis what emojis” I asked so damn confused “The thoughts in my mind like the Almafi coast” your dad replied, it was at this point Henry I realised that even though he had tapped me he was sleep talking, Oh dear…. It was funny telling him this story once he woke up.

I participated in an online support group this past week Henry, one of the things that came up during this was sharing, sharing about our children and how we do that, there was talk about how sometimes we all felt ‘were we sharing too much?’ the facilitator of the group spoke with us about this “If your children were here with you, you would be sharing with people, you would be sharing about milestones, funny moments, smiles, family holidays many events so why should a bereaved parent share any less, we still have children we still hold a parents love”. It is so true Henry I share because you are our beautiful son and you existed and we want to share you with our family and friends as any parent would. We just share in a different way.

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I remember being pregnant with you, I remember walking in a store about a week before I ended up going in to labour.. We had walked in to get cake!! 😋 but there were also other items in the store, I stopped as I noticed your dad looking at a sign.. Boy noise with dirt on it, the sign said… see also little rascal.. I looked at your Dad in wonder “Do you want to get it?” I asked “yeah” he said and smiled, I remember in that moment smiling too as your Dad hadn’t actually chosen anything for you himself, I always asked his opinion on the items and set up for your room, but this was the first thing he chose specifically for you, it made my heart melt.

We recently finally completed one whole section of the screen for your garden Henry, your Dad and I have cut, screwed and placed together piece by piece to create it, it looks good. We are now just trying to source some more old fence pailings to complete the other part of the screen. We decided that seeing as Christmas is going to be tricky and really tough that we will spend the day finishing your garden together, that can be our project to keep ourselves busy and it is something for you. So I am hoping to find those pailings soon to have the screen done so we can on Christmas plant and put together your garden and hopefully by the end of the day we can sit together there to take some time to look at what we have achieved, our greatest achievement will always be you.

Sunday morning as we drove to the beach with the sun shining, such perfect weather an instant thought of ‘we would have been taking you to the beach today’ I felt sadness wash over me at that thought, we would have packed up all the extra things required to have a baby at the beach including the shade tent and taken you, I would have sat with you under the shade of the tent listening to the water while your Dad jumped in to capture photos, when he come out we may have taken you in the water together to at least feel it on your toes, to see your reaction, although I feel by six months we would have had you used to the feel of the water, we will never know if you would have liked it or not. All the never know, all the wondering, all the never will be, I let the tears fall silently down my cheeks as I thought of how it shouldn’t be this way, we shouldn’t be going to the beach to remember you, we should be there with you.

Your Dad and I Henry have some other plans, other ways to honour you while doing things that are important to us, we are taking our time slowly, to put it together, to create it, sharing ideas, thoughts. It has been a process and still will for some time, It will be good when we can share our ideas with all our family, friends and the world.

I have been making a habit most mornings now Henry of getting up to go walk on the beach here, it started because one morning I was having a really bad morning the thoughts started but I managed to catch them early enough ‘get up and walk’ I said to myself, so I did now I am going to try to do it everyday even before work, there’s always something calming about the ocean, the sound, the waves, the feel of the sand between my toes, the water when it rushes over my feet.. and I feel a closeness with you. This morning as I walked along the beach with a coffee in hand two whales a mother and calf kept breaching it is such an amazing sight to watch, their big bodies propel out of the water, I stood letting the water rush over my feet taking in the magnificent sight… it’s those simple moments Henry that mean so much in the days. The moments that help to ground me a little that help to ease the burden if only for that short time.

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After I got home this morning after having some breakfast, and doing some things I lay on the bed in your dads arms knowing he soon had to get ready for work “Don’t go today” I said “I don’t want you to go” “I have too” he replied “So we can have money to pay the bills” “I know” I replied “I’m just feeling really sad” I said some tears falling from my eyes your Dad looked down at me “Me too” he said his eyes watery as he said it we just lay there together until he had to get ready for work.  I stopped him from getting up. “You need to write a blog post” your Dad said to me, I explained to him my fears how I had been feeling, what I had been thinking…. “You need to do it for you” he replied and as I have been typing Henry I realise he is right. I’m not sure I admit that your Dad is right often, so I am lucky he still doesn’t read.

This evening Henry the sadness is the there, I feel the familiar ache right down to my bones, I feel the tears wanting to sting my eyes, I feel a heaviness in my heart. All I ever wanted was to show you a world of love, all I ever wanted was to give you the best I could be as your mum, to take you out, show you nature, enjoy our time with you, to support you as you grow. All we ever wanted was not to be the perfect parents as they don’t exist but to do what we could to make your life a meaningful one.. now we have to try to work out how we make it meaningful while remembering you.

As the rain pours outside and I hear the sound, I look for you but you can not be found

Not physically, no you are not here, but as I hear the rain I listen as it whispers you are near

When I see the waves crashing at the beach, as they travel up the sand over my feet, I am reminded of you

On days the sun shines, and I see a sunset or sunrise, the beauty of it it’s like you sent it just for us to see

At night as I look at the stars and say goodnight, as they shine so brightly, I look in wonder at all those stars and feel as though you are surrounding me

As I feel the wind hit my face as it blows my hair over my shoulder, I know it was you

You are all around me, in everything I do, You are in the rain, the sunshine, the waves, the stars and the wind.

You are in the beauty I see in a flower that has started to grow, you are in the bird which comes to sit by us, you are in the strange sounds we sometimes hear at night.

You are…. You may not be here physically but you exist, you exist in every aspect of my life awake and asleep when I dream of you.

You exist as you are a part of us both, a part of our DNA, you exist as I grew you, you were born and now you are not here in my arms, you exist in all of me, in everything. 

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Milestones and Meaning.

Making meaning when life feels meaningless Henry, We have had a tough couple of weeks Henry with so many ups and downs. This week I find myself experiencing so many thoughts, so many questions, confusion it has all been there.

Confusion when you wake up in the morning feeling somewhat ok then realising you feel ok, then questioning how I could be ok in that moment  when you are not here, then bursting in to tears because you don’t know how that is supposed to work and how you navigate that.

Thoughts and questions, thoughts and questions of how do we make life more meaningful again, how do we keep moving in a way which honours you and is good for our souls. How do we feel like it will get lighter when some days are still so bad, there’s still days the ache of not having you in our arms overtakes everything and I can barely get myself to get out of bed on those days.

The past couple of weeks we have had our wedding anniversary Henry, two years since we eloped to Hawaii not telling our friends and family and getting married, two years since we shared so much special laughter and joy on that day, two years since we stood on that beach reading the heartfelt words we had written for one another, talk of continuing to build a life together, of your dad saying to me ‘he wanted to create and support a family with me in a household filled with laughter’. We really wanted to make sure we laughed with you everyday Henry, now we find laughter is a rare thing.

We received lots of beautiful wishes for our anniversary Henry, and we spent that morning driving over an hour to an appointment, an appointment we shouldn’t have had to be looking at again, if you were here, yet here we were faced with that appointment. We spent that appointment going over again the circumstances of what happened, we spent that appointment with me explaining and your Dad crying, I then spent the next hour answering question after question about my health, my history, different diagnosis, my family history all painting a picture.

I then got the fun of enduring some invasive women’s things  and then a blood test, poked, prodded, happy anniversary…. thanks… now what is wrong with me and how come we can’t seem to fall pregnant 😦 its working on ways to move forward with some things, but we shouldn’t be moving forward Henry because we should have you.

Happy Anniversary indeed Henry…. not so much happy about it at all. Your Dad and I did go to dinner that night, we did enjoy some nice food and drinks together, we discussed though how if you were here we probably would have been looking for someone to look after you for a few hours while we went to dinner, we would probably be looking forward to the break as our role from parents to you and for that few hours being Tim and Kristy not mum and dad… Yet here we both were desperately wishing it was the other way around.

Emotions have run high since that day Henry, I have had phone calls to update me of the progress of certain things I have in place, hard discussions, Last Saturday I went to an event to try to connect with some others, I was able to last Sunday have coffee with a beautiful lady I had connected with online, then we got to the Monday ‘Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day’ and a wave of light at 7pm that night, the wave of light starts at 7pm in each different time zones and candles stay lit for an hour to acknowledge and remember the precious babies and infants gone too soon. The wave of light continues across the world for 24 hours, as we were blowing out candles at 8pm another person was lighting theirs. Your Dad and I felt it important to acknowledge, we felt it important to participate.

I explained to your Dad what I wanted to do, I explained to him that I had the night before written the names of the many babies I know gone too soon, the names of beautiful babies who I knew their parents in real life or had connected with them online, I explained to your Dad I wanted to have a candle for each name, to set them up in a heart shape with Henry’s name in the middle. As we began to set it up, as I placed each name down with a candle beside it, your Dad and I looked at one another tears in our eyes “There is too many names” I said to him “it’s so sad” he nodded unable to speak, too many families hurting Henry why is life so unfair?

Once the heart shape was set up I placed a special candle in the middle with your name and a white rose for you, as 7pm approached I lit each candle one by one tears streaming down my face and your Dad close by and then helping, as all the candles we used to create the heart were alight we stopped took a deep breath and I lit your special candle the candle for you, your Dad and I cried and cried together next to each other as we looked at your name and the many names around yours honouring you, honouring all of these little babies and the sad thing is Henry we know there are so many more names out there.

I need to thank our many friends Henry, friends who also took the time to light candles in your honour, they sent us pics, tagged us in posts it was so beautiful to see you so thought of, I spent the evening sending photos to those who’s children’s names I had included to let them know they were in our thoughts too. Neither your Dad or I slept well that night, neither of us could sleep at all and I haven’t much since then.

The next day we both found ourselves drained, physically and emotionally, I still went to my PT session on little sleep and made it through.

Your Dad had a really flat and bad day Thursday Henry, he woke up in tears, I had a few appointments to get to but the moments when I was home with him, he just lay on the lounge trying not to let the tears come to the surface, we talked a little its been hard on him too Henry, well its been hard on both of us but especially with his work at times, I know in the past few shifts he has had to deal with a lot of children at risk, seeing that, doing that takes its toll, he says he feels fine at the time but its later when the thoughts are allowed in and there is just so much injustice, so much unfairness of how we would have provided such a loving and warm home for you yet that was stolen from us and then to see other children in a situation where they are not cared for.. that can be a hard pill to swallow. It seems so unfair they get their children only to not care for them and well we, we don’t get to love and look after you as we would have. I can understand why your Dad was feeling flat, why it was all too much.

Thursday night Henry we both didn’t sleep, we tried and couldn’t, I even made jokes with your dad as I have bought a special light to try to assist my sleep it has certain colours and different settings which I have to do some more reading up on, but it has a green glow to it which I had on last night, your Dad got up to go the bathroom when he returned to the room I asked “Are you ok?” “yeah” he responded “Are you sure?” I asked “yeah why?” he asked back with a puzzled look “Cause you are looking a bit green” I said to him joking about the dim green light that lit the room, he shook his head at me hopped in to bed and cuddled me as we laughed at the bad joke.

Friday I just missed you, I just wanted you here and I always will really. Not much sleep combined with emotion and the grief meant I woke up crying, your Dad held me close, we decided to go down the beach then when we got back showered but as we got back home the tears started again as I had flashbacks from the hospital of the pain, of the different interactions of being ignored, of being on my own when I was told your heart wasn’t beating anymore, I got into the shower and sobbed and sobbed as the hot water ran over me, I couldn’t stop, I don’t know how long I was in that shower Henry, but I know it took every ounce of my strength to get myself together to get out.

We got ourselves together and went to get some breakfast, then headed off to go see some gardens for a garden show, hoping that it might give us some inspiration for your garden, but as we walked around these gardens, as the sun became hotter and it became more muggy, I found myself although we were taking in these beautiful gardens, I was hot, bothered, tired and just missed you. We completed the gardens where I then got home and the tears hit once more, they poured down my face as I talked to your Dad about how lost I felt, about how I found it hard to make decisions, about how pregnancies of friends we found out during the week were hard news, not that we weren’t happy for them but it just happened so quickly for them and here we are still struggling with having had struggles to fall pregnant with you, then now to not having you here and still desperately trying to fall pregnant with siblings for you, none of it seems fair, I feel like the world hates me at times.. my mind runs away with me wondering what did I do to deserve this… But the thing is Henry there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it is what it is and it sucks.

As I sat at the table editing a photo for your Dad tears streamed down my face a knock at the door, your Nanny and Poppy dropped by. I quickly tried to wipe the tears from my eyes and put on a smile, made tea as we all talked. After they left your Dad and I worked on your garden some more, though the hot sun, me being extremely tired and emotional and feeling just generally overwhelmed, after a couple of hours I just had to give in, let my body just sit on the lounge and maybe even try to sleep… I had a big drink of water then another knock at the door interrupted those thoughts.

Friday night Henry, more tears because the ache is heavy and I felt overwhelmed, unable to bear the burden, unable to carry the weight, Feeling like I was stuck underneath it almost crushed to the ground and I couldn’t lift it off to move to get up. It was crushing me, I could barely breathe. I sat wondering how do we keep going, keep moving when it feels as though that feeling will last forever.

Sunday I battled through another day, I went out to do some things and found a moment of anxiety, a moment so intense Henry, that I found myself unable to do simple tasks I would normally do, I lost my confidence not that it really exists anymore, doubting myself and retreating to the car where I just burst in to tears and cried in to my hands. I spent all that afternoon being so hard on myself for that moment, I spent the afternoon getting frustrated and annoyed as I thought why can’t I do what I normally do, but Henry since losing you I don’t have any faith in myself, it’s trying to build that back up but not knowing how, speaking with my PT about it this morning she said “I hate that its like this for you Kristy I hate seeing you like this as I know what an independent person you normally are, it must be so hard to feel that way” and it is Henry its such an internal battle every single day, everyday I have parts of me that hold frustration, that I battle with that say you should be able to do all you normally do and do it well.

I discussed with my psychologist today that the thought of returning to my job scared me, It scared me because I always liked to try to do my job really well, I had a strong work ethic and I worry when I return that I won’t be capable of doing my job as I used too, then that will create an extra stress that I don’t need, more anxiety, I feel as though I may break.

Then there’s the lead up to Christmas to realising that all the plans we had discussed last Christmas while I was pregnant with you will never happen, we had talked about how every Christmas Eve we had wanted to give you a book and that Christmas eves every year would be spent cuddling up together on the couch to read you a story and eat some chocolate, you would have been too little for chocolate this year but we still would have read to you. We had talked about how Christmas Day we wanted to start a tradition with you of waking up to watch the sunrise on the beach with you and come home and make pancakes for breakfast, at Christmas time you would have been 8 months old, old enough for us to let you try pancakes and share that with you, we had talked about how we would only buy you four gifts, one being the book, one being something you want (although you would’ve been too little to choose for a while) the other being something you needed and then an outfit too.

So many plans Henry, so many discussions so much we had looked forward too, and it will never be, we won’t have that Christmas this year, we won’t have that any year with you, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, as I tell you about those plans we had for you, and I don’t know how we navigate Christmas Henry, but I guess I don’t know how we do any day. But to sit and watch nephews and nieces open presents and run around, to watch the joy on faces, to see the family photos, I’m not sure Henry if it is something that I feel strong enough to face.

We have a hard day ahead on Thursday Henry with something we have to do, I know it will lead to a follow through of emotions on Friday and I know I’ll struggle through them as we do. Then another milestone, Friday marks the day you would’ve been 6 months old, half a year, Half a year has passed already, six months without you being here in our arms, 6 months of navigating this journey of trying, and yet it feels like the whole world has gone on but stood still for us.

You are whats missing, you are what is missing from everything, from my camera roll, I shouldn’t be posting blogs and quotes, instead it should be a thousand pictures of you. Instead I come across quotes or type words that try to explain how I feel, so this is what I share. But words are not enough I want you. You can never be replaced, words will never be enough.

All my love every day it goes to you, it goes to you in the way you are my first thought every morning, in the way I remember you as I make breakfast, in the way that I continue on working on the garden we are creating for you, in the way I tend to your room, my love it goes to you as I speak your name, it goes to you each night as I look up at the stars and say goodnight, it goes to you as I settle in to bed and tears fall, it goes to you as I dream of you. All my love goes to you.

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I opened that drawer.

I will love you until the moment I pass from this existence to the next, and then I will find you again and love you some more.

‘Wyatt’

I opened ‘that’ drawer last night Henry well there’s more than one of ‘those’ drawers in our house this drawer is in the kitchen it’s one of our large pot drawers, I absent-mindedly went to look for something in there that used to be there, forgetting that before I had you in those last couple of weeks I’d cleaned it out. I cleaned it out to create a space in the kitchen for your things.. I opened that drawer without thinking Henry and there staring back at me, more reminders of the plans, the life we thought we’d have but don’t, the one where you’d be here. A drawer with bottles, a breast pump, breast milk bags to freeze milk I was going to feed you with, bottle cleaners, containers planning ahead for when I would make purée food for you, the one special bottle I had included in your dad’s gift basket I had put together for him, with items for you and him, with the tag I’d attached saying ‘so we can be drinking buddies’.

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I’d known how much he’d wanted to be involved and be able to feed you too, so I had the plan if it worked out to pump and freeze, so he’d be able to give you a bottle here and there I know that plan may not have worked but we were so keen to try. I opened that drawer Henry I saw all of that stuff and my heart ached, I froze stopped in time I saw that one tag on that bottle I’d got and put in the basket for your dad and I broke, closing the draw I broke down right there, falling and sitting on the kitchen floor in tears.

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There’s other drawers in our house Henry… they are there, there’s one in the loungeroom which contains precious things like your tags from the hospital the card which says how much you weighed the hand and footprint stamps, the cards we got from people sending love and condolences instead of congratulations, photos of you we have that drawer too. Then there’s the drawers in your room with all those tiny clothes we lovingly washed before you arrived I’d sorted the drawers too, the first two had 0-3 months clothes the third contained the 3-6 months and I’d put the few 6-12 month items we had in a container aside planning to change and rotate the drawers as needed.. We were prepared so prepared for you. Who knew we’d only need one draw would hold all we had left of you, who knew the other drawers wouldn’t be needed. Who knew those plans would never happen not us.

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Yesterday Henry, the casts we had organised to get done of your hands and feet arrived, we had organised this within days of leaving the hospital and over 5 months later they arrived, we had forgotten they would be coming, it was so bittersweet. As I stared down at those precious casts of your hands and feet, as I stared down they were in exactly the same position as we had left them that day, exactly as I remember them. I looked at the hands and feet in the frame so incredibly perfect, so beautiful, so heartbreaking tears streamed down my face so very quickly I couldn’t stop them “I’m sorry” I apologised for crying to the lady who had done the casts and handed them to me, “It’s ok” she said sitting next to me. She handed me a little wooden box with your name on it, she handed it to me underneath your name the words, ‘Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart’ I saw those words and more tears its true, you have all of my heart Henry always.

Inside that little box she explained were the original casts she took “So you can hold them” she said to me and she had done replicas for the frame, I ever so carefully unwrapped the tissue paper from one of them holding the little hand in mine, it’s exactly the size I remember your hands to be, I remember holding your hands in mine, I remember looking at your long fingers in awe, I remember the feel of your soft soft skin in my hands, it took me back to a place I wish I could still be those moments with you. I was taken right back to those moments I got to hold, cuddle, kiss and take you in. Tears just kept pouring out “thank you” I said “Thank you so very much you have no idea how grateful we are and how much these mean to us” I said between tears “and thank you for delivering them” … “It’s my absolute honour to be able to do these and I can not even begin to imagine” she said back to me. As she stood to leave “can I hug you?” I asked “Yes she said I gave her the biggest thankful hug I could. Amber has a Facebook page for her casting business and has done some beautiful work. Cast a memory Shoalhaven 

After she left Henry I realised your Dad had disappeared ‘where are you?’ I messaged him, he reappeared minutes later tears streaming down his face his eyes red, we sat on the lounge hugging each other and just crying and crying together “they are really special” he said to me rubbing my back “They are” we just sat looking and crying. So damn hard Henry as I wish you were here, I wish with everything you were here and we didn’t need casts of your hands and feet but you are not and these little casts mean so very much.

Last night Henry, last night I couldn’t sleep, your Dad snored beside me, I tried reading, I tried all sorts of things, the first ultrasound we had with you came to my mind, I remember we had an early one as I had, had some bleeding and was so sick, The first ultrasound “We may need to do an internal if we can’t see with this one” she had said but no that wasn’t needed she put the gel on my stomach and then started moving the wand around and there you were, there you were to me you looked like the shape of a frog at that stage. “There’s your baby” she had said “all looking good” , “there’s only one in there?” I asked her as I had been so sick already I wondered if maybe there were two “only one” she confirmed your Dad and I looked at each other and we smiled. We got ready she printed a picture for us and we left to go home. I remember all those moments Henry, the milestones, moments we saw you on-screen, all of it sticks so vividly in my mind.

Thoughts of you swirled in my head and I couldn’t sleep at all, I decided to get up, I walked to the bathroom after this I went to sit down on the lounge your Dad woke up “Where are you?” he called out “I can’t sleep” I said to him “come back” he said I instantly got frustrated and upset “but I can’t sleep” I replied “whats the use”.. “come lay down with me” he replied as I made my way to do so Henry I could hear Snikkers wag her tail it making a noise against her bed I bent down to pat her, she is my follower Henry and it that moment I started to cry as I pet her because I knew, I knew that if you were here she would have been by my feet any time I would’ve gotten up to feed you, she would have moved with us and stayed with us and I know she would’ve been protective of you. I held on to her and cried and cried until moving to the bed with your Dad as I got in he pulled me close I put my head in to his chest and broke even more “I don’t want to do this anymore” I said to him as I sobbed “We can do this together” he said to me, but the hurt Henry the pain I don’t want to do it anymore.

As we lay there and I couldn’t stop the tears that feel so fast and so furiously down my face your Dad tried to calm me, trying to get me to breathe “Follow my breath” he said breathing deeply in and out “I’ll be your app” he said as I have been trying to listen to a sleep app lately to help with sleep. Your Dad breathed in and out slowly then all of a sudden he said “Allen’s lollies eat redskins special 2 for $5” I slightly laughed “pay for premium access without the ads” he then said “I am being the app” I laughed a little more he then continued to breathe for a few more moments “berry donut van delicious donuts eat responsibly” I laughed a little bit more and hugged your Dad tighter “I’m tired and I am tired of fighting with myself day after day after day” .. “We will get there” he said to me “We will do it together picking up each others pieces”

We talked some more until your Dad fell back asleep and I lay there for some time still awake, until finally somewhere in the early hours of the morning my exhaustion allowed me to fall asleep.

This past week I have struggled with some days Henry, I have fought hard with myself on the days where I haven’t felt like doing much at all, I’ve had a change basket arrive this week I ordered it before you were born and it got put on back order, I had forgotten and it arrived, and that was hard, seeing it opening it and then putting it in your room, where it just looked perfect, it went perfectly and I felt all the emotions at once, so fucking sad that I didn’t get to be using it with you, angry I was placing it in there and you aren’t here, pain as I wondered will we ever get to use it for siblings with you and just that complete and utter love that I have for you.

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That change basket arrived on Friday and Friday night your Dad was at work, while he was at work I received a phone call regarding some things we have been looking at and doing the phone call was a really difficult one, after I finally held it together on the phone afterwards I put my head in to my hands and cried, Snikkers looked up at me concern in her eyes and I placed my had down to pet her head and I continued to let tears fall. I sat wondering whether things were worth it, was everything we were trying to do is it worth the hurt, pain everything. Sometimes I wonder, in fact I always wonder how?

We continue to work on your garden, I picked up some rocks for that this week, I continue to go to psychologist appointments to talk and help navigate my grief, I do all I can to keep going through each and everyday. Theres moments of laughter still lots of tears hurt and pain. I say to your Dad often I need direction, I feel so lost, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how I return to a job that demands travel, being away from home so often, its hard enough when your Dad is on shift work let alone being hundreds of miles away from him especially when those big waves of grief hit. Let alone being out in childcare centres all day, being around other babies all day, being reminded of what I am missing so much with you. But these are all decisions I face Henry, things I have to think about and will have to do, we need our income.

Today Henry we have taken it easy, today I have tried to rest. its been raining lightly but consistently. Today your Dad talked with me about how this day two years ago he went to watch the Bathurst race with friends at the pub and he spent the afternoon writing his wedding vows on coasters. I smile at that memory, I smile at the memory of him pulling them out that day we had eloped to Hawaii and married on the north shore. I remember his heartfelt words ‘I promise to create and support a family with you in a household filled with laughter’ some of his words, which is what we had longed to do with you ‘I will love you faithfully through the difficultly and the easy’ he has certainly proven that Henry, through this most difficult time ever your Dad has done nothing but show me love. I think about how he said those words how much we used to laugh and it just makes me sad we have lost that laughter that fun, the spark we used to have and it feels like we will never find it.

We talked about how this time last year your Dad had stayed home with me to watch the race as I was so sick with HG I had been vomiting most of the morning and was on the lounge, he stayed with me to support me through it, get me anything I needed to care for me as he always has. This time last year I was 11 weeks going on 12 weeks pregnant with you we were looking forward to our 12 week scan in the upcoming week.

So many anniversaries still happening still coming up, so many moments I remember, I want to celebrate them but at the same time they bring the pain of all we thought would be, I want to celebrate you but at the same time it brings all of the overwhelming feelings of how we have lost you, how we never get to watch the milestones we should be, how we never get to hold and watch you grow.

I look at your room and as the months pass of siblings not arriving I wonder should we keep it set up as it is or do we pack it away, I can’t bring myself to pack it up and I feel close to you in there and sometimes I have so much hope that it may one day be filled with your siblings, yet other days just seeing it, just walking past it hurts I break down. I walked past the other day and the pain, that ache it hit me hard like a hard punch to abdomen it took my breath away, taking me by complete surprise I was reminded, about how much I long for you, I just had this urge to be in your room doing something, yet there’s no point, there’s nothing to do in there, as you are not here. I can’t look after you so your room remains untouched, it remains in immaculate condition, untouched, clothes, bedding, toys, books, shoes all unused. All I can do in there is dust, vacuum and water the plant or sit and reflect on what is, how I feel and what could have been.

I was recently talking to a friend Henry and her mum reads my letters to you, she had said to my friend “Kristy much just feel like a cicada, when I met her she was lovely, so nice and smiling and at the party had a lot of fun, chirpy like a cicada, now she must just feel like the shell of herself, just like the cicada leaves a shell behind” It was one of the best ways I have heard it put Henry, I do feel like a shell of my former self no longer the happy person I was just who I am now after that one moment that changed my life.

I miss the me that laughed so much, I miss the me that would want to get out and try something new, the me that was constantly on the go and busy, the me that would plan and plan and get things done, I miss the me that would make a decision and go ok I am going to make this happen… Go back to that, do that people might say what they don’t realise is I can’t, I cant be that person as I am changed, it’s not to say that some of it wont return, but at the moment some days just getting out of bed is all I can do.

Another week almost over, another about to begin.

Another week further away from you, another week in.

Another month slowly passing, yet months have disappeared before my eyes.

Another day, hour, minute, second without you.

Henry, I love you.

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They don’t know.

Henry, Henry, Henry, hours turn in to days, days turn in to weeks, weeks have turned in to months and I am so fearful of when that turns in to a year and then many years. I just want you here, I want you back, every inch of me just wants you and that’s something I have to remind myself daily I can not have.

Days start off generally the same, with me waking up and I am instantly reminded, there’s no reprieve, no break, instantly I am reminded I have to get up and face another day without you. This is my life now, this is it, that will never change, it will always be the case and I wonder each day what that looks like? how that looks? how we keep doing it. The pain is still there, the pain of missing you, I have certainly learned to start to function better, however there are moments when the grief hits and it’s still so crippling, sometimes I can not choose when that is, where it may occur and often it is times when I quickly still need to retreat from somewhere or situations before the tears start.

Your Dad consistently over this past weekend asked several times “What do you want to do?” “What do you want to do?” he asks again, my answers are always similar either “I don’t know” or sometimes “I don’t care” …. I don’t care what do we do Henry, I want to be looking after you, if you were here I am sure we would never be bored, we would have walked with you to the park, taken you to the beach, on days where it rained we would have put a large rug out on the lounge room floor to lay and spend time playing with you, we would have danced with you in our arms in the kitchen, we might have taken you outside to see and feel the raindrops on your face, body, hands, see them fall on to your nose, watch as you may have screwed up your face as they fell on you not knowing what to think, we would have laughed, maybe you would have too.

Maybe we would have even taken you away somewhere for the long weekend, maybe we would have went camping, stayed somewhere we could take and show you something new. Walked through the bush, explored the trees, let you feel the grass and dirt under your toes. Yes Henry we could still go away, we could still go for walks, we could do all these things, but I don’t want to be doing them just or the sake of it, just to be busy. Sometimes I feel like I do not even remember what your Dad and I used to do, how we filled our days.. Perhaps it is because our lives were so busy with work, with me working away usually once a fortnight, your Dad doing shift work, it meant there was limited time together to get things done, so we were caught up doing what we needed to.

Now I get those things done and I’m not sure what else to do, I just want to escape at times, I just want to run, other times I want to hide, I do this dance between the two, I dance between thinking I am so capable and could do so much too being so overcome with grief and feeling like I can’t do anything but basic day-to-day tasks. I am so lost.

You used to SUP, garden and swim, people might say, you used to share stories and pictures of the puppies, I do know your Dad and I did things Henry, and I know we are still doing and need to do them again, what can be difficult for others to understand is that right now, those things are effort, but they are things you used to enjoy others might say, whats hard now is, well everyday is hard so even things we used to enjoy, it can be hard at times to find that joy in them.

Last night Henry, last night as we got in to bed, flashbacks from the hospital straight away, my breath got faster, my mind kept going, I felt out of control and as my heart-felt like it would beat out of my chest, sobs large loud sobs started, your Dad turned to me pulling me towards him and held on to me so tightly “Breathe, deep breaths” he tried to remind me, the sobbing continued “It hurts, it hurts” I said to him between sobs, “It does every second of the day” he replied. I couldn’t stop the tears, I couldn’t fight the pain, your Dad just held me as tight as he could “I don’t know how to do this” I said crying harder “We do it for each other, we do it for him” your Dad said to me, I cried until I fell asleep.

This morning I woke with puffy eyes, this morning I woke to my reality, this morning  Henry the same feeling that’s there, its is there everyday, my eyes as soon as they open I wish they would close, my eyes as soon as they open I wish somehow I might have slept a little longer, my eyes as soon as they open, I know you are not here where you should be.

Today we went to the beach, we went to your beach, the beach we have spent so much time, the beach your Dad and I swam at while I was pregnant with you, where I rode the SUP in on my knees, where we watched you move in my belly as I got in the cold water and where we later cried tears as we said our final goodbye to you.

Your Dad he got in the water there today to take photos, as we walked down on to the sand there were families everywhere today, being school holidays they were there on the beach, we walked past a blue tent as I went to sit down I noticed a mum with her baby sitting under the blue tent…. Trigger, I had to move….

As I sit on the sand and tears fall behind my sunglasses, they don’t know. 

The mother sitting under the blue shade tent with her baby, she doesn’t know – she doesn’t know we have a blue shade tent just like that which remains unused as we had planned to do the same with you.

The father running across the sand, running across the sand with his toddler chasing him, he doesn’t know – he doesn’t know we’d pictured this moment in our minds with you.

The grandmother holding her grandchild hand as they walk along to find the perfect place to sit their belongings, she doesn’t know – she doesn’t know that we had thought we would do this with you. 

The Dad holding his baby in the water letting the waves splash lightly on to their faces, holding his baby so closely ever so carefully and smiling, he doesn’t know – he doesn’t know your Dad and I had talked about how he would do this with you.

The Mum who’s little one wants to touch the water so she cautiously stays next to them as they run to the water’s edge, she doesn’t know – she doesn’t know I wish that was me.

The families sitting on the beach having picnics, they don’t know – they don’t know we want to be doing this too.

The families watching the waves come in as they decide to swim, they don’t know – they don’t know we scattered your ashes in that very spot, in the water, they don’t know that’s where I broke down as the last of your ashes fell from the urn.

The parents sitting in the sun watching their children build sand castles, they don’t know – they don’t know that’s where your Dad and I stood in that sunny spot on the sand releasing butterflies in your honour, one by one as the butterflies flew from my finger in to the air and away.

they don’t know, none of them know, they can’t see the tears behind my sunglasses, as I sit on the same beach as them, they can’t see our empty arms, our broken hearts, our pain, our hurt. They don’t know, all they see is a childless couple on the beach, some of them maybe even look and envy us as we walk on to the sand together, some of them may think we are ‘lucky’ to have freedom to be doing ‘what we want’, some of them may think we are carefree, they don’t know, they don’t know we would give anything to be them, to be that family with you here. 

This afternoon a little laughter Henry, some small joy and smiles in our day. We went with your Nanny to see some lambs, two sets of twins, two only two weeks old and the other two, three weeks old, I got to hold them, cuddle them, have them nuzzle in to my shoulder, they were so very cute, we also saw alpacas, baby birds, roosters and chooks. It was nice, nice to explore to see the animals to hear about their stories. It was nice to smile. As always though a piece of me wishes we had been taking you to see the animals to share that experience with you.

Today marks the start of my period, again, again Henry another month no sibling for you, another month of facing that disappointment on top of our grief, another month of wondering why? and will I ever get to hold your sibling in my arms, or will that not happen for us? Were you my one and only child? and I don’t get to have you here? can the world be that cruel? can it be that cruel to someone who has all this love to give?

Your Dad Henry, the beautiful man that he is, he recently entered a competition through a gluten free magazine called Austrlian Gluten Free Life I didn’t know he entered this competition, it was to win a hamper from Byron Bay cookie company  I didn’t know he had entered until I saw an email in our inbox to say he had won. I looked at the email wondering what is this, then Henry, then I read his entry….. Tears, tears streamed down my face as his simple entry it talked of you, it talked of how much he’d love to spoil me with some cookies on your beach, so we could sit and enjoy them together thinking of you. I cried as he is so thoughtful, I cried as he included you, I cried because it was so lovely he had done this and I cried as he won. Today that hamper arrived so we got to be at your beach at sunset to enjoy some of the really delicious cookies together, and although we wanted to eat them all at once Henry, we thought we better ration them out.

Your Dad Henry he is amazing.

Tomorrow is another day Henry, but I have to get through tonight first. Tomorrow I wake up to this reality, the one I am unsure how we survive, tomorrow I make myself get up again, to do the day, to feel however it is I find myself feeling, to fight, to battle through. Tomorrow I will still love you. The last line of my wedding vows to your Dad was ‘I swear I couldn’t love you anymore than I do now and yet I know I will tomorrow’ the same goes for you our beautiful boy.

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