Self care pfft!

‘I carried you every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine’

Last night, Last night Henry I had a bath, a bath where I tried to relax… it was nice, it was good to lay there in the soothing water, but nothing will soothe this aching soul. I got out of the bath, prepare dinner I thought to myself…. prepare something healthy and eat.. instead I got a cider out of the fridge and drank it, probably faster than I should have.

Last night I called your Dad, I called him as he went out for lunch with a friend, but by 6pm had not returned and had not returned my message, I called as I was worried, but I didn’t call until then as I wanted him to have space to do what he needed too, to get through today however he needed, he answered and went to the pub after lunch with his friend… he said he’d be home soon.

Last night thankful I was thankful for a meal a friend had cooked and dropped off as I could not bring myself to cook, so I put the frozen moussaka in the oven to heat, thankful that I had something healthy to eat that was lovingly prepared for us. I keep telling myself that we need to take care of ourselves, that we need to be healthy look after ourselves physically, but self-care at the moment has gone out the window, what does that even look like?… What does it look like when things hurt so much, you don’t want to eat, when this brings you so many thoughts and whys it’s too hard to sleep…. When your first-born baby who you longed for, who you wanted so badly, who you had pictured holding so many times in your arms for so very long has died…. a part of you dies with them!

Your Dad at 6:50 still wasn’t home, he messaged me, he ran in to one of our friends who recently had a baby and he lost it…. tears, he broke down… I offered to go pick him up but got no reply. It is so hard, we love all our friends, their children, but some days its hard, it’s so bloody hard. I saw a lady walk past our house yesterday her baby crying in the pram and I thought, that should be me, me with you! Then I thought why isn’t that me? How does this happen? Why did it happen to us?…… There’s no rhyme or reason and it’s not fair. I question, I have always tried to be a good person, I have always despite my circumstances growing up I have tried to be kind, to listen, to do what I can for others, why did this happen to me….. There are no answers, no reasons and we will never truly know why you are gone.

So last night I cried, I cried while sitting on the lounge waiting for your dad to come home, I sat and I cried, I cried over you, over this hurt, I cried knowing how much your dad was hurting too and I cried knowing that this hurt may never go, that it will always be with us, that even though it will get easier…. events such as birthday’s, Christmas, anniversaries etc it will all somehow be a reminder, a reminder that you aren’t here to celebrate with us, a reminder of how we should be holding you, a reminder of what was supposed to be but isn’t.

Last night a good friend messaged to check in, I was so thankful for that message as it just happened to come right at a time where I was a mess where I wasn’t ok and I was thankful I could be honest and say I wasn’t ok, thankful she was there. We have good friends Henry, so many beautiful people, messaging, caring… I think I need to allow myself to reach out a bit more.

I struggle, I struggle to know how to help your Dad, I know he’s hurting but I know he tries to be strong. It’s hard all I can do is let him know I am here and he will deal with it in his way as I deal with it in mine.

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I remember after the baby shower, how I didn’t want him to be left out, so I had over the weeks thought about and prepared him a gift, I placed so many things in a basket all with different meanings, beers to ease the new dad fears, prosecco  ‘for mums first meltdown administer one glass if required the whole bottle’, gloves wipes and biodegradable nappy bags for ‘when things get messy’, a bottle ‘so we can be drinking buddies’, moisturiser ‘to smooth out the rough days’ a book ‘for your dad to read to you’ and many more things from you, I put it all together in a basket for your dad, so he had something…. he cried when I gave it to him and as he looked through all the meaningful gifts. I remember his tears, the big hug he gave me and the heartfelt thank you for a gift so meaningful….. we were so excited about you. I sob I sit here and sob as I think of how we never use any of those items. We can’t even bring ourselves to look at some of them now.

I have a draw in the kitchen I can’t open as it contains all your things.

I sit here and wonder, I wonder how Australia has not looked further in to this, I wonder why when there’s official reports published on things such as the benefit of continuity of care with midwifery and guides published about this… why is this not implemented everywhere!

I sit here and look at how other countries have implemented change why haven’t we…

  • NZ had a 30% drop in unexplained late-term still birth in 3 years when they decided to educate parents further on things such as sleep position.
  • Scotland had a 20% drop in stillbirth over 4 years after the introduction of the saving babies lives program which has now been adopted across the UK.
  • The Netherlands had a greater than 30% reduction in stillbirth in 5 years after they adopted a count with me program.
  • and a 30% drop in Norway after they educated families more.

Yet here we are in Australia and our statistics have not changed in 20 years…..

  • 6 babies a day that’s one family every four hours leaving a maternity ward with empty arms and broken hearts……. the impact of this type of loss lasts a lifetime.
  • Often there is nothing wrong…. in a third of all cases at term 37+ weeks the baby’s death remains unexplained
  • A number of research studies have reported an inappropriate response by clinicians to maternal perception  of movements and other factors is a common contribution to stillbirth.

We need change, we need more research, we need more education, we need more funding, we need to remove the stigma!

This morning, your fur sisters they know… they know we need to get up each day… they are what gets us up each day… Missy bounded around the house, this 14-year-old Doberman who’s bow-legged with arthritis bounded around, running at the bed attempting to jump on it, growled at us, played with Snikkers, ran around my side of the bed nudging me and placing her head on my hands and then running to your dad’s side. She’s persistent she won’t let us lay in bed all day.

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This morning I am going on a walk, a walk in the rainforest with a friend, walking will be good, I am unable to exercise yet which is something I have always loved to do to help keep my mind healthy so walking will be a great start and if I look perhaps I will see a butterfly or something else that will link me to you and even if I don’t my beautiful boy, I know you’ll be there right beside me.

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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.

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