Being a voice for you.

My beautiful boy Henry, I still sometimes am in disbelief that this is where we are, that your Dad and I are on this awful journey without you, some days I wonder if I will actually wake up from this, wake up and it will have all been a really bad dream.

We found out Monday Henry, that my submission for the parliamentary enquiry in to stillbirth got accepted, when I saw the email I wept, I just wept… It was such a hard thing to complete, it was hard to tell our story, the story of you while it is still so raw… so much so I started it and stopped it so many times… I started and stopped it to the point that I ended up completing it right at the very last-minute on the night it was due. I didn’t think it would get accepted. I reread over it yesterday to find I had a few small errors in it, only because our Mac likes to auto correct some words.. I also upon rereading it realised I left out many key things I wished I had put in to the terms of reference, things I have mentioned previously but didn’t write in a notebook nearby the Mac so I would remember to place them in… You see amongst all this grief Henry my brain only seems to work at half capacity sometimes. I know many others completed submissions though and would have covered the things I would have forgotten to add. Our submission is yet to be uploaded but it will be in a few days time.

The important thing is Henry, I became a voice, a voice for you, your dad and I, and many other babies who didn’t get to have a voice and I got our story out there, I am still working on  some other steps,  hard but important ones to address our story too.. I will continue to do it for you and for others too as you are so worth it.

I later cried Henry, pain engulfed me and tears poured out, tears because while I am proud I managed to complete a submission and it was accepted, while I will continue to do these things and advocate where I can. It’s not what I want to be doing, it’s not what I should be doing. I would give up so much to have you with us, I would give anything to have you here. I cried so many tears whispering about how much I love you and how I wish I wasn’t completing these things, about how I wished to be a ‘normal’ mum just looking after her baby boy.

Sunday Henry, sunday I participated in a walk, I went with a beautiful friend who had lost her little boy, we went and we walked… Taking the steps you couldn’t and of the many other babies who didn’t get to take those steps. We walked to raise awareness, awareness and funds towards miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal and infant death. I was feeling a little anxious about going to this walk, but I did it and I am pleased I did. There was a cake there Henry, with over 50 names, names of babies gone too soon. It was so sad to see that many names on the cake, at first I didn’t want to bring myself to look at it, ‘that’s too many names’ I thought to myself, but then I wanted to see, I wanted to honour those little lives by looking at and seeing their names and the truth is Henry, there may have been 50 names but that is only a small amount, a small number of how many are affected by these losses.

One in six babies a day to stillbirth, one in four miscarriages a day, 689 deaths of infants within the first 28 days of birth in a year…. That is a lot of losses a lot of families left so broken-hearted… in 2016 there were 2,160 stillbirths, a lot of research shows many full term stillbirths could have been prevented, I know ours is not the only story where it should not have occurred, I have connected with and heard from many others about mothers not being listened too, about medical professionals dismissing concerns.

I met another couple who had lost their little boy only a month before you Henry, I saw the same hesitation in his mothers eyes about being there, I saw the same sadness I know exists in mine, a sadness no one would see unless they knew unless they too experienced this life. A life Henry I never wanted to experience, a life I never thought I would, yet here I am, here we are your dad and I and here were this couple who are trying to find their way. I talked to them, it made me feel understood to hear some of the things they said, to hear they too had these feelings and emotions, to hear they too struggle through the days and knowing how to now live.

Monday Henry, Monday your Dad was on a day off, we had a slow start to the morning, due to the cold and there’s always that heaviness each day that we wake, the heaviness and the aching that we don’t have you here, that it’s another day we know we need to keep going, keep moving but that can be so incredibly hard to want to do.

We finally got ourselves going after we had breakfast your dad suggested we go out in to the sunshine and play tennis, now this is something your Dad and I haven’t done together before Henry and not something either of us regularly do. When we arrived at the court a family were on the second court, we watched as the kids hit the ball perfectly to one another with speed… Your Dad and I walked on to the court next to them and well we started our game, We very unsuccessfully hit the ball to each other several times, with it going close to the net, into the net, out of the lines, really high up in the air and any other which way, often having to run off the court to get the ball…. The kids on the court next to us looked over every so often, I can only imagine what they were thinking Henry, but you know what… your Dad and I got out, we enjoyed the sunshine, we laughed at one another, especially at your dad as he pulled a pose he somehow thought imitated the nike symbol, I am a little unsure it imitated anything other than a really bad dance move in a nightclub at 2am as everyone is making their way out…  but it was good to get the exercise, it was good to be in the sun, it was good to be together and to laugh.

Monday afternoon your Dad and I went with your Nanny and poppy for hot chips and sat looking over the beach as we ate them, seagulls arrived within a minute some even hovering right above our heads 😮 we sat in the sunshine eating hot chips, then went for gelato. Yesterday was an ok day Henry and by ok, I guess I mean we did ok, there were tears as there always is, the anguish I feel was no less, but we navigated our way through it all in some sort of way, a way that felt ok.

When we got home Henry your Dad and I both tired decided to try to nap, but then one thing led to another and well your siblings won’t magically appear… so we had a job to do! I have been doing ovulation tests too, peeing on a stick to know when my body says its time to go for it… We are trying whatever we can to make sure it happens, heck Henry if someone guaranteed me that by throwing my underwear on the roof, dancing naked in the front yard under the full moon, then completing ten cartwheels would make it happen…. I would do it, if it could be guaranteed, but it can’t.

Sometimes its hard looking at the ovulation tests as they alway show a second line, they are meant too, you just have to wait for it to get as dark as the control line to know your body is about to release that egg….  I look at that second line thinking of the moment that second line appeared on that pregnancy test with you, I remember that day so cleary still, I remember the feelings that come along with that second line and the start of you.

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Monday night Henry, last night I messaged a lady to wish her peace for the next day, I did it as Tuesday would have been her little boys actual due date, a little boy who was taken from her too soon, another mum left with this sorrow every day, I knew it would be a difficult day for her and wanted her to know I was thinking of her. I know Tuesday that ache she feels daily would have been more.

As I said goodnight to you Monday night looking at the stars as I do every night, I stood in the cold air and looked up and I also said goodnight to many others I have come to know who are there with you too. I wish they weren’t Henry, I wish there wasn’t other hurting the way we are.

Tuesday Henry your Dad left for work, I struggled to get out of bed, I struggled to want to get up, I didn’t want to do the day without you, I did some reading and preparation for a couple of things, then I got myself up and going, moving, going out to rearrange an appointment, I then came home and I cleaned both our bathrooms in the house, I scrubbed and scrubbed the bathrooms, I think I was taking out some of my anxiousness and frustrations, I kept going until they were both sparkly clean, then two loads of washing, changing sheets, washing up, preparing dinner, vacuuming I kept going… Tuesday Henry I needed to be busy.

I changed our cover with our health insurance, we will be paying a lot more but I want to ensure when you send us that sibling or siblings, as your dad is still set on Arthur and Martha, I wanted to ensure we had the best care, even though it will cost us a lot more, I can not put any cost on ensuring we bring home your siblings healthy and happy… a price can not be put on that. It shouldn’t be that way, I know many who have been through the public system with no problems and I dealt with some beautiful midwives during my stay in hospital when in Labour with you, but it remains that what happened did so we will do all we can to ensure that does not happen again.

Once I finally stopped for the day Henry the tears started, once I let myself be they started for you, I didn’t fight these tears and I let them fall, I let myself stop and feel what I was feeling. I lay down on the bed for a moment and in that moment I thought of what you mean to us, of how much you have forever changed us, of how much love we have for you.

I went outside barefoot and sat down on the grass in the sunshine letting the blades of grass touch my feet, I lay down, instantly I thought of the last time I lay on the grass like this I was pregnant with you, in my view there was that belly I remember that time so Cleary as your Dad had been watching afternoon football and became quite loud, and Snikkers had become a little unsure of his yelling at the TV so I had taken her and Missy outside and the three of us, well four of us spent time resting on the grass, I had allowed the sun to hit my belly and I enjoyed just relaxing in that moment, enjoyed you… where is time travel when you need it, as I need to travel back in time to you.

Last night Henry when your Dad got home he messaged for me to come out the front, we stood silently on the varendah watching a rabbit in our front yard, we watched and the rabbit stayed in the same spot and looked back at us, we walked inside and your Dad hugged me so tight, he held me, we hug for longer when he gets home from work these days, we hold each other tighter more often… we miss each other much more, I think because we know how much the other hurts, I think it’s because we know how fragile life can be. We hugged and then made dinner… we talked about our days, we talked about siblings, I told your Dad more juice less beer to create siblings for you, he reminded me he was having weekly beers when we conceived you… I suppose I said, how could I argue with that Henry as to us you are perfect, so I know your siblings will be too. Don’t wait too long to send them as I can’t wait to share stories with them about their big brother, their beautiful big brother who watches over them. Thier beautiful big brother, you!

Last night Henry as your Dad and I got in to bed, well siblings don’t make themselves, except your Dad he grabbed me on the boob and made a horn noise, he then decided that this was hilarious and grabbed them in different ways making all sorts of horn noises, he then grabbed the other and roared “What was that meant to be?” I asked “A lion” he laughed at himself, “how did we get from horns to animals?” I asked laughing, “Ones animal noises the other horns” he replied continuing with his different noises so I decided to sing the Arthur and Martha song to him “Oh dont start singing that” he said “Its ok guys” he said looking down “mums says she wont scare you with her singing anymore” we both couldn’t stop laughing and laughing “Well” I said to your Dad “I have to say this is the strangest foreplay ever” ….. “We have to keep each other laughing where we can” he said “As it doesn’t happen as often these days” and he’s right Henry it may be a really bad time to make each other laugh but if we can make light of at least that well its something.

This morning I awoke in the early hours of the morning, I awoke missing you so very badly, this morning at 2am the whys crept in, why us? I thought to myself, I don’t understand….. I have always tried to live a good life Henry, to be kind, to be nice, to help others, I haven’t had the easiest of lives either but have tried never to let that hold me back or get me down… I grew up in a physically abusive household and left home at age 16 but still worked hard to make something of myself, to finish school and work hard, I lost my Dad at age 16, I married young and devoted my life to that person, did all I could possibly do for them was supportive, did everything at home while working full-time and for part of that studying part-time, supported them to study and get to their dream career, went through years of infertility of disappointments…. and then only to have them once they got there to go and find someone else and have an affair… so found myself rebuilding my life, determined not to let it still hold me back or get me down, then I met your dad Henry finding so much happiness, feeling like for once in my life that someone was there for me… then this, in the early hours of this morning while the tears came out I questioned why, I questioned hadn’t this life already thrown enough my way… why, why did we have to lose you? why didn’t people do what they were supposed too? Henry I will never understand why life is so cruel… and I know I am not the only one. I know I am not alone, shitty things happen to good people all the time… I just wish it didn’t and I feel like I can’t take much more, compared to anything that’s happened in my life this by far is the hardest Henry…. and I cant help but ask why?

I don’t want to focus on all those wrong things, on all that has happened to me Henry, but I am tired, I am weary and I do feel like life can be so incredibly unfair. This has made me question so much about my beliefs about life and its shaken our world up to the very core.

This morning I lay in bed, I lay there with the tears once more, I talked myself in to getting up, getting going for the day… I got up, I showered, I got dressed, I washed up, I then went out to meet a friend for lunch, I met up with her she is such a kind soul… It was so good to see her, as we talked she showed so much compassion, we talked about other things too, not long before I went to leave Henry, she shared with me, she shared with me about her little boy… I only thought she had her two girls, but it turns out 14 years ago she lost her little boy 😦 I cried with her Henry as she shared with me about what had happened. Another beautiful soul, another beautiful person one of the most caring people I know… That makes 7… 7 just at the small service we had for you that have been through this, been through the heartache, the agony that we are facing…. 😦

I went to a psychologist appointment afterwards and then after that made some important phone calls. Knowing so many who have been through this, who live with this,   it makes me more determined Henry, to continue to speak up, to work, to be a voice and to help where I can, to raise awareness, to try and help others to feel comfortable to speak out and hopefully it will all help in some way, in some ways make a difference. You Henry will be my drive and I hope will guide me along the way. I love you to the moon and back x

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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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