So much love.

‘You’ll always be with me, like a handprint on my heart’

Yesterday I felt paralysed Henry, just after lunch when your Dad left to go get in the ocean I felt like I could not move… I should have gone with him, I should have went and got fresh air and sat in the sunshine, I should have but I didn’t…. Just like you should be here but you’re not! A thought that plagues my mind daily and I sat and I cried tears as the thought that you could be here won’t leave my mind and you are not, you are not here and that will not change. How do I get to that point? the point where that is not my daily thought? or will it forever be?

It’s like your dad knew I should be out of the house, as two minutes after all of this a phone call, a call Fromm him to say there was a whale just in sight and did I want him to pick me up so I could see it, I wiped away the tears and said yes, he arrived I jumped in the car getting the tissue box which remains close by to wipe my face.

Once we got to the beach I walked out on to the sand, feeling the cold and warm sand as I walked between the shade and sunny areas, your Dad still at the care getting changed, I chose a spot for my towel and I sat in the sun right by the water, I looked out far in the distance… No whale in sight ‘hmmm yeah ok a whale’ I thought as I waited for your Dad, thinking maybe he just said it to get me out, so what if he did that was good right? but I still had to for some reason be stubborn about that…. Then just as your Dad began to walk up behind me I saw it, a whale playfully jumping out of the water then the sight of the water from his spout, water in to the air “Is that it out there?” your dad asked pointing “Yes” I replied adding “I didn’t believe you” for a moment… He smiled at me knowingly, he knows what I am like and knew I would have been stubborn “Wish me luck” he said kissing me on the lips before he walked out to the water “Be safe” I replied as I always do.

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Yesterday as I sat on the beach Henry and watched the whale, I began to softly cry again, the reason for those tears is we had always talked bout how we would when whale season began take you out and sit in the sun for a picnic and watch them go by, here we were another reminder another thought of what we don’t get to do with you. It was though at that moment you knew I needed a distraction a young German shepherd and a young short-haired pointer puppy ran straight in to my lap, playing with each other licking my hand I spoke to their owner for a brief moment. Two minutes later another dog, then another, then another busy beach for 2:00pm on a Monday.

Yesterday Henry as we got home and your Dad jumped in the shower, then as he got out it was his turn, he broke… He came over to me and I hugged him so tight as tears he had been fighting came out, he had crashed his bike and I was there to help him back up again. Shit this is hard Henry and yet that word doesn’t even do this justice.

I have realised Henry, I have realised that while I can pour out emotions through my words, while I can type it all out expressively, I really have trouble actually reaching out… reaching out to others sending a message to say “hey I am having a really hard day” I have trouble showing those emotions in front of most people, of crying in front of most others except your dad, its like I feel this need to have to show people I am together, I am getting through each day, and yes I am getting through the days but I am not ok, not always why can’t I bring myself to message someone and say that?

I have been talking to your dad about whether to try the city 2 surf this year, although it is in August not September as I thought so would not leave me with much time to train, but I think I may give it a go to raise some funds for the stillbirth foundation or SANDS I have not run in a long time, but surely I might be able to run some of it right? (Insert gritted teeth here) I also heard from a beautiful friend who wants to organise a walk called Henry’s walk in September so watch this space as the details of this come to light soon.

We have worked a little more on your garden, we found as the area is quite sandy, before we can do any planting we decided to add some extra good quality soil and manure to the ground to ensure there is extra nutrients for any plants, so back on the shovel outside.

Last night Henry, your dad and I cried again, then me again when I went to bed. I had an important call yesterday which left my mind racing and well I could not calm my mind.. so again it was hard to sleep.  I lay in bed, I wished somehow maybe my tears could swallow me up, I wished somehow time might fast forward to get past the pain, I wished time might rewind and that things could be different, I wished I could hold you once more – All wishes that can never be, I felt helpless…. I am booking in with a naturopath today to try to get some assistance naturally for grief, for sleep for it all.

This week Henry, your dad and I actually have a fair bit on, I am unsure if its good or bad, I mean its good to keep busy but grief is exhausting and tiring as well so sometimes doing too much can be depleting. I have appointments one on Thursday another Friday, Thursday afternoon we need to pick your uncle up from the airport, Friday are also some family plans, today we have plans this morning, and this afternoon to help your poppy. Sadness, anger, feeling stuck, paralysed it’s all draining.

Henry I still remember the 4th of January was the first time your Dad got to feel your kicks in my belly, I remember him placing his hand on my belly and then you didn’t want to move again then he put his head there and kick! We always said you were cheeky, I remember just how often we talked about you and to you. I showed your dad one night how odd my belly looked when I tried to breathe right in, he was like “geez don’t do that poor little Timmy he’d be like what the as he gets sucked against the back wall in there” it’s so hard not to feel so many mixed emotions from happiness of nice memories to sadness of you being gone.

I sit here and think of all the love I have for you, so much love and it hurts as there is no where for that love to go right now, I still have love for your Dad, your fur sisters, family and friends but this is different a different type of love and its like because you aren’t here it’s trapped inside me, it really wants to make its way out but we don’t know how, so it stays trapped, it stays there and while it’s love it comes with suffering, it comes with sadness and it stays.

Your Dad and I have taken to giving each other missions, my mission tonight from your Dad is to cook a healthy dessert, ‘ok big Timmy’ clearly someone wants dessert and this is his way of telling me…. I will cook him something healthy for dessert… Henry you’ll need to guide me as to what I challenge him to do tomorrow (insert thoughtful face here).

Upon further reading I have found the Centre of research excellence in stillbirth are doing a research program this covers:

The Stillbirth CRE will undertake a research program addressing priorities across four major priority areas:

  1. Improving care and outcomes for women with risk factors for stillbirth.
  2. Developing new approaches for identifying women at increased risk of stillbirth (e.g. using biomarkers).
  3. Implementing best practice in care after stillbirth and in subsequent pregnancies.
  4. Improving knowledge of causes and contributors to stillbirth.

It’s great to see these things happening, but it is again down to funding, education and support… none of which stillbirth is given much attention. It is interesting area 3 of the study talks about care after still birth one part of the reading caught my eye:

  • IMPROVING IMMEDIATE CARE AFTER STILLBIRTH

    Leads: A/Prof Fran Boyle, Dr Dell Horey

    The psychosocial impact of stillbirth on mothers and families and society is substantial, yet the care received by parents in Australia is highly variable. This study aims to improve care for parents and families immediately following stillbirth. We will also explore effective strategies for how to support parents to make a decision about having an autopsy of their baby.

    It is highly variable and that needs to change all families should receive the same care after a stillbirth and the same support, something I have been looking at.

     

As I sit and type with the soft tears falling once again, as I think of you, as I miss you with every ounce of my being, I tell myself once more… I will get up, I will shower, I will try to find some good in today… Because I know that you would want that, I know you would want us to try and I know as hard as it is you would want your dad and I to keep going. So we will. I love you Henry, we both love you to the moon and back.

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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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