I sometimes wonder do they know?

‘We talk about them, not because we’re stuck or we haven’t moved on, but we talk about them because we are theirs and they are ours, and no passage of time will ever change that’

Yesterday, yesterday Henry I felt together most of the day of course there were moments as always, your dad and I we planted another hedge out in the front yard, albeit even if it is to hide from the world. I researched information on a trip to Tasmania as we may plan a little getaway for a couple of weeks in June, after I have had my 6 week check up, just to have some time exploring, creating and spending time with just one another just the two of us, I plan to take your little blue bear, I’ve decided this bear is going on all our trips with us, I know you are with us regardless but this is a little momentum we can take to share our journeys with you.

When I think of journeys and places we took so many together just you and I while I was pregnant, you were well travelled in that belly of mine, trips to Mildura, Broken Hill, Wagga Wagga, Eden and other places for work and then Byron Bay and Melbourne with your dad and I. Anywhere I had to go you had no choice but to be there too. given the choice today I would choose to stay where we live for the rest of our lives if it meant you could be here too.

Work is a hard subject, it’s tough to think about, not that I need to yet… But when I was planning twelve months with you Henry, well how do I think of work, of going back? It’s like a lost identity, I am your mum but not able to look after you, so where does that leave me? who am I now?

Over coffee yesterday your Dad was discussing with me again the fact he wants 18 children now (insert shocked face here) I tell him he better find another wife then. He tells me ok maybe just two children and then he will just adopt a school bus…… Is adopting a school bus even an option? and how does this work exactly? As always he managed to make me smile and laugh a little ticked that off his list for the day. As for two others well no one knows what the future holds for us, I never thought you were a possibility and you surprised us. So maybe you’ll assist in providing more surprises. All I do know my dear Henry is that we could have 1 or 18 surprises but none replace you, they would be siblings for you but could never replace you, our first baby, our little boy.

We talked yesterday your dad and I about the updates I used to give him every week, I used to track your progress on an app that explained about your development and as you grew in the womb, I remembered yesterday about when I told him at one stage that you would be able to start to hear our voices and sounds inside the womb “Oh great” he said “It’s like the house is bugged with a listening device 24/7” it was all a part of him making me laugh.

What I wouldn’t give to go back to you in my belly, to take you swimming in the ocean again.

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I would message your dad while he was at work “little Timmy is awake” at 4:30 in the morning as you kicked away, your Dad would reply it’s like he’s saying ‘c’mon mum lets play’ eventually your dad would arrive home from work, I would snuggle in to him my tummy against his back and you would kick again. Such beautiful memories…. but you were supposed to be here to make more memories with.

Yesterday in the car while I was driving to an appointment a song came on that reminded me of you and I cried, I cried while singing to the words and stopped at the road works stop sign. I have never appreciated sunglasses more in my life than I currently do right now! So good for hiding tears behind.

Last night I spent a lot of time researching and putting together something important, I won’t go in to detail but I spent hours on it, and it was for you Henry, for you, for us, to help us with this journey and also to pose some important questions to ensure that this may not happen to someone else, this left my mind thinking a lot…

Last night it was hard to rest and sleep, my mind wouldn’t quiet from the questions, my mind was like a storm, a whirlwind, a tornado as questions bombarded it one after the other, thoughts, questions, blame, memories, times….. I tossed, I turned but it doesn’t change a thing.

Last night I received a message from a person whom I have always looked up to and respected, I used to work with/under this special lady a long time ago, we have a message to one another every so often. She messaged me to tell me about how she when looking at the sunrise spoke to you, and how she thought of you during her morning and the sunrise, how she talked with you and she hopes I didn’t mind…. and I didn’t mind at all, it actually offered me some comfort to know others wanted to talk with you and that they thought of you too.

She shared with me how she shared our story with her daughters, one who was studying to be a midwife and another who was trying for a baby, her daughter who is studying to be a midwife wanted to know more she wanted to ask about my opinion on when I thought during a pregnancy might the right time to share with pregnant women about the possibility of stillbirth from an education perspective. This is a hard one, as I know as a pregnant woman and new mother I am not sure it’s something I would want to hear, but I now know as I am in my position that there is not enough information and education out there. I think if it can be incorporated somehow in to talks around the 20 week mark or after then at least some information and awareness is out there, even if they put it in to the discussion and talked about movements in a pregnancy and reduced movement and the importance of seeking help and monitoring, perhaps this is a way to go. It really made me realise though Henry the importance of my writing and how it actually has reached more people than I would have ever realised.

This morning I was up, I was ready, I woke up thinking of you as I always do. I look at your  photographs, I look and I am filled with so much love for you, I look and I am filled with so much sorrow… I breath in and out deep breaths wondering how long this lasts, and I do know that it may over time get easier as we learn ways to manage our grief, but there’ll always be a part of me that carries this, carries this anguish… It’s forever.

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Those little Maggs ears, your dads ears oh and all your hair!

This morning I had coffee with a friend, she messaged came and got me and took me for a coffee. It was nice, we sat we talked, we talked of you, we talked of her little boy whom is also and angel baby, we talked of life and perspective, we laughed, there were times we were close to tears. It was good to know we are not alone, but Henry I never wish anyone was on this journey as it’s so incredibly hard and not one soul on this earth deserves to be on such a journey.

Awareness is important, if stillbirth got the same awareness and was talked about as much as SIDS even I think that the numbers would reduce, Im not trying to take away from SIDS as it is important it’s out there, it’s important that people know and is terrible that it happens. I just wish this was out there too, that it was talked about as well. To help stop, to reduce numbers to change the statistics.

There is currently a parliamentary enquiry in to stillbirth, this at least is a step! They are asking for submissions in to the enquiry on people’s experiences with stillbirth, I am going to put one together as hard as it will be I think it is important for peoples experiences to be heard, if there was ever an opportunity for people to speak up this is it, but again I only know of this enquiry through researching, through talking… so if I hadn’t I wouldn’t know, so how many others don’t know? and as with anything parliamentary enquiries can take years, and change and talk needs to happen before then.

Later today your Dad wants to go to the farmers market, while I want to go as it is what we ‘normally’ would do, I am reluctant too. As we have been going for some time and we have gotten to know stall holders I know the questions will come, the questions about you and where you are and it is so hard, so hard to answer those questions and watch as people’s faces change. Change from smiles to shock to eyes down and not knowing what to say. I can not blame them for not knowing what to say, as what do you say… But it is always so hard to try to explain, to find the right words, to try to hold back the tears you are fighting away.

I often wonder as I walk around is it obvious, can people see my grief? Is it there in my eyes, do they know? can they tell? but no….. they don’t know and they can’t tell unless they know me, as we put on a brave face if brave is what you can even call it, people look past us like we are an ordinary couple. It has certainly made me more aware of the importance of kindness as you never know behind someones smile, behind their eyes what they have going on, what they have been through.

If we did know would we treat others differently? If we all walked with that sign above our head that others could read, would we show more love? more compassion? or would we avert our eyes, looking the other way as it was too hard to look at or face someone else’s pain. Would it become a competition of who is worse off and been through more, as humans can often do? This is why we should just take the time to treat everyone with some compassion, with some respect, it’s not about who is worse off, what you have going on, it’s about being a decent human being. it’s about forgetting about our differences and realising that everyone brings something different.

So for the afternoon Henry, this afternoon, I will go to the farmers market with your dad, I will face the tough questions even though it may bring tears and pain… because I want others to know of you, about you and because well I am so very proud of you. You our greatest adventure.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

2 thoughts on “I sometimes wonder do they know?”

  1. I completely agree that there needs to be more education but in my experience as a mum, and a midwife, other than the reminder to monitor baby’s movements and call your midwife/Dr/hospital if concerned, pregnant women don’t want to talk or think about the possibility of stillbirth, especially as the majority of the time, it can not be prevented. Everything seems completely normal till suddenly, it’s not. It’s just something that sits in the back of your mind when you’re pregnant and when you birth a normal healthy baby you breathe a sigh of relief and start worrying about SIDS instead.
    There are just some things in life that we can’t control or prevent and we hate to think about them. Things like miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, childhood cancers, car accidents, meningitis… the list goes on and on. Sometimes bad things happen and it’s nobody’s fault and couldn’t have been prevented. Sadly, I think many stillbirths fall into that category. Nobody did anything wrong, it just happened.
    It’s really tragic but stillbirth has been a part of the human experience forever and it’s not going to go away. But, some of them can be prevented by monitoring movements and taking action, so we have to keep educating women about the importance of knowing what’s normal for their baby and trusting their instincts if they feel that something is wrong 💜

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    1. You are so right, they don’t want to know and I don’t know that I would have wanted to know either… but I do know now it needs to be out there more than it is… How to do that I do not know. I know they can not always be prevented and I know trying to educate parents won’t fix it all but I guess if it can help with one then that is one less… thank you xxxx I suppose if I can even begin to raise some awareness perhaps maybe more funding, more research might go in to supporting this cause as well as the many other deserving causes.

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