The best thing you can give someone is your time!

You don’t get over it, you get through it.
It doesn’t get better it gets different.
Everyday, like me,
Grief puts on a new face.

Yesterday Henry I went out walking, walking with a friend. She messaged me at the beggining of the week and suggested this to me. It was so nice to get out, in the fresh air-breathing in the clean air of the rainforest, to walk, talk and be! We sat in the sunshine for a coffee afterwards, no rush, no thoughts of ‘I need to go do this’ or ‘I should be…’ just took our time… Before we knew it, the time was already 1pm. This friend although she only has a few days off, kids to look after and I am sure a lot to do… She gave up her time, most of her day to spend it with me, to listen to me say whatever I needed to say, let me talk of you, of your dad, of anything. I was so very grateful and it really reinforced for me the best most precious thing you can give to someone is your time. Whether that is time in person, on the phone through messages, just time! I will certainly now be giving others more of my time.

Yesterday morning your dad and I drove so we could park his van in a more visible spot to advertise it for sale, I was following behind him in my car… I kept changing radio stations, trying to find music I wanted to listen to.. I couldn’t find anything, truth is I just wanted you close, I wanted to know you were near. So here I am I find myself saying out loud to you ‘Come on buddy just give me something just give me a sign to know your close’, next moment the song changes just like that and one of your songs comes on, that was it! I asked, you delivered and here I found myself crying… tears streaming down my face, over my cheeks, falling on to my lap. When your dad parked his van and got in the car he asked if I was ok. It took me a few minutes but I said to him “I did it to myself it was my fault” and explained to him how I had asked you for a sign and it changed and your song came on straight away… Your Dad tears streamed down his cheeks “Now you’ve done it to me too” he said to me as we drove back home. Thank you for letting me know you are close.

I wondered yesterday afternoon as I thought of you and a few tears appeared, as I looked at the time…. Is 3pm a suitable lunch time? I am not sure maybe? maybe not? but I guess at the moment I need to stop questioning, wondering or worrying about it… as long as I move, as long as I eat, each day just needs to be spent however it is, there are no rules to grief, there is not a written guide that sets out you must grieve like this, nothing that can set out how a day should be spent. I need to stop doing that to myself. I mean what would that daily timetable look like anyway, I imagine Henry it goes something like this:

  • 6:30am: wake up, realise whats happened is still reality – cry
  • 7:00am: get up make coffee and take it back to bed
  • 7:30am: write, possibly cry while typing
  • 7:45am: be interrupted by two puppies who think it is still unacceptable to be in bed so begin nudging, trying to jump on the bed, growling and barking at you.
  • 8:00am: get up and shower reluctantly
  • 8:30am: lost – this time could be spent upset, angry.
  • 9:00am: maybe you should eat? just a suggestion…. jam on toast is totally a food group right?
  • 9:30am: three options… you could cry, you could find something to do or you could sit on the lounge blankly staring at nothing in particular (this last one can last hours surprisingly)
  • 10:00am: If you did manage to do something you may still be doing this, if you spent your time crying now find something to do, if you are staring blankly well keep going.
  • 11:00am: sit down, talk to Tim, talk of how much you miss Henry, how you wish he was here to cuddle.
  • 12:00pm: it could be fun to clean right? or not.
  • 1:00pm: Research online things for taste trip, browse through social media
  • 2:00pm: hmmmmmmmmm???
  • 3:00pm: some days you may want lunch others not so much
  • 3:30pm you still haven’t eaten lunch?
  • 3:45pm: you could over think things a little, put your mind in to overdrive, wonder what you could have done even though there’s nothing you could do, but hey why not drive yourself crazy with that?…. although just before bed is also a great time to do this!
  • 4:30pm: Think about what you could cook for dinner
  • 6:00pm: You still have not cooked dinner and are still not motivated too
  • 7:00pm: Go to the freezer and get out something frozen to heat for dinner
  • 7:30pm: Masterchef may distract you for a little while as you cuddle Henry’s cushion
  • 8:00pm: tears, tears, sadness, over thinking
  • 9:00pm: go to bed, toss and turn most of the night thinking.

*disclaimer and while all of this is happening, those thoughts, that longing, that pain – well it won’t leave its right there behind the whole day.

But no two days are the same, sometimes no two minutes are the same, so we just have to take this ride as it comes. Some days I will be cruising along on this bicycle and a hill may appear where I have to pedal that little bit harder to get over it, other times the road may be flat, sometimes I may be going really fast down a hill having no control over the pedals… Other times it is like the road ends and I need to navigate over rocks, or grass, some moments I’m walking alongside pushing the bike as I am unable to pedal any longer and well some days I think the bike crashes all together and I fall off on to the ground unable to get up.

Last night the bicycle crashed for both of us, last night we cried together, we talked about how tough it is, we talked about how we just wanted you. Sometimes I wonder will the bike survive all the crashes? Or are wel only on the bike until we can confeidently walk again on our own?

I didn’t sleep much last night neither did you Dad we both tossed and turned despite going to bed early, I slept a little and woke he would sleep a little and woke, its like we almost take turns, he messaged me at 12:30pm about ebola, I suppose ebola could be a good distraction thought….. maybe? Many years ago I came to stay at your dads place, we were sitting in the sun one afternoon and he looked so deep in thought. I remember asking him “what are you thinking about?” he looked at me and replied “Actually I was just thinking about ebola” I laughed so so hard I couldn’t believe this young man who lived in such a beautiful place, was so often so laid beack and here he was sitting in the sun seriously thinking about ebola. Now I still laughed a little when I got that message from him, but I can see how sometimes that thought is better than the alternative. Especially the alterbatives that would enter your head around 12:30am… the thoughts when we can’t sleep at night tend to be the darkest.

Your Dad told me a story last night, he told me how when he jumped in the surf yesterday to take photographs he got sucked in by a very strong wave, how he got disoriented and thought this would be it, trying to reach for the bottom to find where he was…. He said to me how he almost thought you wanted him there with you instead, but how he thought of me and said he needed to stay, he eventually washed up and made his way to the shore where he actually coughed up blood. Henry please leave your dad here with me at the moment we really need each other.

Talking with one another Henry we both admitted some of the harder thoughts we have had, it was good to get them out though and know our thoughts were similar, the next step this morning for me is to make contact and sort out some counselling, I really feel like I need to talk with someone as my next step.

This morning dear Henry, your dad is up and making us breakfast, which won’t be jam on toast.. He just brought in to me a warm lemon water to start our day, I can smell the food from the kitchen cooking, I feel so blessed to have your dad that we have one another and while I feel sadness this morning but I also feel so very grateful to have been blessed with you, blessed to have held you, you my beautiful boy, our ‘little Timmy’.

So today after we’ve eaten something other than jam on toast, we will get ourselves going, and I think spend time in the garden, planting some seeds in our veggie patch, working on your corner and taking in the sunshine. We will do it for you, for us, because as hard as it is life keeps going, so we will do our best to live it, to live it and think of and honour you.

P_180426_RRayner_Henry_ (21)

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.

32591530_10155549011677006_3176240474167967744_n

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.

IMG_5672

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.

180426_RRayner_Henry_ (69)

 

 

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.

27164652_10155281456207006_4920360224500101972_o

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.

P_180426_RRayner_Henry_ (57)

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.

180426_RRayner_Henry_ (51)

I don’t recognise that girl in the photograph.

‘It’s not just what happened then, its the things in life that are going to happen that they don’t get to be a part of’

Mothers day was tough, it was bittersweet Henry as I am your mum, but it was not how I imagined it would be, we drove to get a coffee then visited you at the beach, despite the weather and as we pulled up we watched as an eagle soared low and close to the beach it was quite magnificent so large it wings spread out so long and I said to your dad I remembered a friend mentioned at your service how an eagle had flown over for the last song we played.

As we sat first in the car watching this sight, the rain it stopped and a small small ray of sun through the clouds I said to your Dad “let’s go” we got out of the car and walked down to the beach, to the spot we scattered your ashes, we stood in the cold looking over this spot and cuddling while thinking of you, there were tears and tears, you Dad went and stood back I kept looking out to the ocean and thinking of you. Then the wind started wildly again, the rain began it was almost like it was you saying “What are you doing go home where its warm, we ran to the car and as we sat back down a slight rainbow appeared we looked at one another it was a rainbow leading us home.

The rest of that day was hard, I struggled I did however manage to bake some cookies, I told your dad I needed to do it and that you would be proud of me, I love to cook and bake and I know Henry you’d want me to continue to do the things I love… except at the moment it’s really hard to do those things as my thoughts, my mind its constantly filled with you and well I just really miss you, I really long for you so very much. those feelings are so intense my words can not even describe how intense they are and how much they hurt.

IMG_5599

Yesterday was the first day I didn’t blog, your dad and I had to go and get a new computer as this old laptop I sit and type on now, it’s old, slow and its days are numbered. So we did that, the time I did spend writing was to record down information and questions I have, I also realised when doing this how ill-equipped the hospital is to support families through such situations… If it wasn’t for the caring midwives, especially one particular midwife who stayed long past her shift after your labour to be with us and who also of her own accord days later messaged me to see how we were and offered to be there, there was little support. I thought back to the social worker who came and sat in our room, she sat beside the bed and looked at us, it was like she was waiting for us to speak first….. what did she want us to say, we were traumatized, grieving, trying to process the fact we weren’t going to take you home… I remember looking at her going there’s not much I can say. She said a few words and said she’d leave us for now and come back later….. she never actually came back, I know of social workers in other hospitals after speaking to others about their experiences who stayed in touch, sought out counselling services… It just seems like it’s not good enough! the midwives gave us some sands brochures, forms for registering you as a stillbirth, a little pack with a book, candle, some butterflies, information on a couple of things…. but is this adequate for families in this situation…. your baby has died here are some brochures before you go home… It’s no fault of the staff at that hospital but I think there needs to be more education and support for them to support families through this. Even when the Dr came and spoke to us the next day it was brief, awkward and they couldn’t wait to leave the room, if it wasn’t for that beautiful midwife, for her words, for offering to be with us, for organising so we could bathe you Henry… I don’t know what we would have done.

Yesterday my close friend and PT came over to see me, she is so beautiful Henry and you would know her voice from many times you heard it while growing in my belly… She knew about you from the very start, she was there right from the beginning and as the severe morning sickness increased, she was so good, she rearranged sessions, appointments around the sickness and times I managed to feel good, she kept me going with being as active as I could, giving me tips and she checked in on me often. It was good to see her and just talk easily all about you.. It’s good to have people listen and who I can see genuinely feel sad that you aren’t with us today too.

Yesterday we received your photos via email from heartfelt, your Dad didn’t want to look at them until last night, we sat together on the lounge as soon as we opened up the images on the screen, tears…. I had happy tears to finally get the photos I was so eagerly waiting for, but then sad tears as photos are all we have. We looked through them tears streaming down both of our faces and also some smiles as we saw the images she captured of your ears, your hair, of us all together, they will be so treasured and cherished for all of our lives.

Last night, I stood in the kitchen and I stared, I stared at all the photographs we have on the fridge of your dad and I and your fur sisters, I stared at our large smiles and I felt like I didn’t recognise the girl in the photographs…. I don’t know her anymore, I don’t know that I will smile in that way again, as that smile seemed carefree, I feel like now when I smile its masking this pain that I feel, its masking the grief that I feel will never end, I’m changed now because of you Henry, and while I will never be the same I could never wish to be either because if I did that would mean you wouldn’t have existed and I can not imagine a life without having had you in it…. So much love and yet so much hurt. All I can say is Henry, you my beautiful boy have definitely made us reevaluate and think about all that is important in life and while we have changed, we will also be making changes to take more time to stop, slow down and make life even more meaningful.

This morning, I woke really early and could not get back to sleep, this morning images, playbacks of your birth replayed in my mind, I will just never forget the moment you entered this world, so perfect, yet so much silence, so incredibly beautiful, but yet so much sadness, I’ll always remember looking down at you then the overwhelm that came and the cries out of my mouth of “why, why why why” a question that will never be answered. Tears then out of my eyes as they do every morning.

I sit now, listening to your dad and Snikkers snore, I sit in this quiet room hearing only my fingers tap on the keyboard, I try not to let those questions fill my mind, I try to think of how I might fill the day. It’s so hard to want to fill the day to keep distracted, yet at times I find myself paralysed and stuck and I can’t move, my body doesn’t want me to do anything at times… I know there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, but this grief is so overwhelming like no grief I have ever experienced in my life and I have had grief, your grandfather who I have no doubt is reading you that book we left you with, he passed when I was 16, I have missed him everyday since, I grieved when I went through a marriage break up, as I wasn’t expecting it and thought that I was meant to spend the rest of my life with that person… But this grief, this pain it really is something else.

I sit now and I remind myself, be gentle, you just need to be… You don’t have to have a plan, you don’t need to know what you’ll do in an hour or even five minutes, just be and take the day as it comes.

Something I did want to make mention of this morning and bring to others attention is the stillbirth foundation and the research projects they have going and that are in place, I look at the world and all the funding which is put in to different cancer research and the publicity it gets and rightly so, your grandfather passed from cancer Henry so those organisations and research are close to my heart, but I do have to ask why something as important as stillbirth does not receive the same funding an attention, when there are six babies a day in such a developed country, why isn’t more happening to look in to and prevent this. The stillbirth foundation partnered with others in universities etc are working on projects to assist, but these can not come to life without more support. When does this happen. I have read countless stories now on families who have gone through the same thing as we have with you Henry, too many families who have had textbook pregnancies, no concerns yet didn’t get to take their babies home in their arms… so I really have to ask do we monitor pregnant women enough? should there be more scans? if we have good enough systems in place how does this occur? I have to ask should pregnant women have the same midwife the whole way through to see them through their pregnancy, to really develop a relationship and get to know them?

I found this article online, stigma around stillbirth it talks about how stillbirth is not talked about, nor is it even addressed in pregnancy, I don’t want to scare pregnant women, but I say to your dad daily…. I didn’t know this could happen to us, I didn’t know this was a possibility. So maybe that calls for more information to go out to new parents.

180426_RRayner_Henry_ (74)

What makes a mother?

Some may say I didn’t even know you.
But I carried you.
Felt you grow.
Longed for the day we’d meet.
Dreamed of your future.
Not only did I know you, I fell in love with you.

This morning our Henry, this morning its mothers day, my first one just over two weeks after you are born, although not how I imagined it, not how I pictured it so many times when you were growing and my belly got bigger…. I thought about mother’s day, I thought about what your dad might plan and how finally by everyone I would be recognised as a Mum.

This morning I cried so hard on my own, I put my hand on my stomach as I had so many times when I was pregnant, only now that stomach is almost flat, there’s no big bump there as there used to be, no movement, nothing…  As your dad realised he came to surround me with his arms laying beside me. Tears poured out as I sobbed and said to your dad “I just want him back, I want him back…. I want him back in my belly safe, but then I couldn’t even keep him safe in there” it broke me.

I have always struggled with mother’s day, what many wouldn’t know is unfortunately I grew up with a mum who suffered lots of mental health issues but didn’t seek help so it became a very toxic and abusive environment physically and mentally. Suffering some pretty bad beatings, I chose to leave home at the age of 16 as the physical abuse became too much to bear. I still finished school  and went on to get a job and have built my life always vowing Henry that when I had my own children I would never be the mother my mum was. Which really upon reflection she wasn’t a mum at all.

I did try after leaving home to build some sort of relationship with my mum, I tried many times, it wasn’t until I first rang her one day about something important happening in my life and she changed the subject and flat-out ignored it that I released she would never be the mum I was after as she wasn’t interested in being a mum. I made the decision for my own well being to stop trying to chase the mum I was after as I was only going to cause myself hurt trying to get that and I haven’t really spoken to her since.

Then my previous partner and I decided one day we would like to start a family, years went on and on with no pregnancy, no baby that I longed for Mothers day brought with it another sting, as so many went by without me becoming a ‘mum’ we tried, we investigated, I had surgeries and still to no baby, I had waited so long for you Henry so very long, however I am so very grateful and happy you waited too as you were just waiting for me to find your dad, I’m so glad this journey is with him.

we have your fur sisters, Missy and Snikkers and consider them family and have always looked after them like they are! I always considered myself their mum and your dad Henry, he has too… Because from the moment I met him each year on mother’s day he has always typed me a small note and got me a chocolate bar from the puppies, he usually each year on mothers day leaves it somewhere for me to find. He is amazing your dad.

So Mothers day for me, has always brought with it a sting, but nothing compares to the pain I feel today, of the anticipation of celebrating my first mothers day with you, only you are not here in my arms like we had pictured and imagined, my first mothers day only to have you watching over us.

To cheer me up this morning your Dad lifted Snikkers on to the bed, he lifted her up she licked some tears and she snuggled in to me wagging her tail, she knows, your big fur sister knows and she would have been amazing with you.

It’s all led me to think about as I often have before but with more conviction today, what makes a mother? and you know what it isn’t just being a mum to human children. I know some may disagree, but I have had mother figures in my life who showed me more love like a mum than my own mother ever did. So they to me are mums, anyone who shows that type of love, has that love in their hearts they are mums, that desire to be a mum, those who show that mothers compassion to others, who reach out… They are all mums.

Today Henry your dad is up cooking me breakfast as I type this, I sit in the bed with the puppies here… He brought in to me a deconstructed coffee as he calls it, that’s probably his one and only downfall, he can’t make coffee Henry as I am sure you would have heard discussions about while in my belly!!!!! So he brought in all the components for me to make it myself, and he did so with a kit kat taped to his head to make me laugh… and he succeeded, he’s ticked that off his list for today… Your Dad Henry even if he can’t make good coffee he is truly amazing.

IMG_5575

Your dad cooked me a very yummy breakfast and after I got out of the shower he had Missy deliver me a gift, tucked inside her flannelette jacket…. A card, a card from you…. and your fur sisters too, so meaningful, so beautifully written… we hugged, we cried, we also smiled. It is truly beautiful and a special meaningful gift, a beautiful pendant marked with a H, a H for you Henry! I’ll forever wear it around my neck in your honour… I know your dad didn’t completely do this all on his own and I have to send out a mention to a beautiful friend who I know assisted in this, You are so amazing and I know Henry sees you as his aunt, you know those special aunts who are friends but become family xx

IMG_5578

So today Henry, as much as this mothers day is hard, as much as it hurts, as much as I am not celebrating it with you here, I wouldn’t change the fact that I am your mum, I am so honoured to be your mum, to have held you, to have had you grow, for you being… I am so very grateful for you. So I will get up, I will make what I can of today with your dad and Missy and Snikkers, we will spend time at the beach in the rain thinking of you. Thinking of your sweet face, of your ears (your dads ears), of your hair, oh so much hair and thinking of how soft it was as we washed it…. Just of you and the preciousness of you and all the love you have brought to our aching hearts. Love you beautiful Henry x

31870306_10155523568132006_2654283153203527680_o

 

What happens when they all forget about you?

It’s like losing your breath and never catching it again.
It’s a forever panic attack as your soul is screaming for them.
It’s feeling your heart dying as you continue to loose your mind.

Yesterday, yesterday once I was up and showered, I felt optimistic about the day, I felt like it would be a good day.. I started by cleaning, recutting and putting fresh water in some of the vases for flowers… I wish I could show you all the beautiful flowers people took the time to send to us Henry, we are so very grateful, one thing this whole situation has brought in to my life is a deeper sense of gratitude for everything in my life, not that I wasn’t grateful before as I was but now every bunch of flowers sent, every card with heartfelt words to comfort us, every gift, every message I am really ever so grateful for as it means others are thinking of us, it shows the great amount of people who care, that feel too.

I was doing all this when your dad bought me back a coffee, we talked about different things and smiled ready to tackle the day. Your uncle and Nanny popped over, your uncle helped your dad chop up the tree he’d cut down out the back with a chainsaw while your nanny and I talked, we talked of you, we talked of loss, you Nanny asking herself the very same questions I had asked myself a thousand times, I got it, I understood as she was so very excited about you too and is grieving the loss of you her grandson and of seeing your dad her own son and his wife in immense pain, it makes me wish I could help her pain too.

When they left, I found my head swimming, drowning in thoughts, unable to focus. I decided to get out of the house and go to the supermarket to get some tea as we were out… something I couldn’t drink while pregnant with you… no tea at all it’s funny what pregnancy can do.

Yesterday, I couldn’t catch my breath, yesterday panic arose in my mind, I felt it in my chest…. I thought what happens when they all forget about you? what happens when they stop asking about you?.. It was all too much…. as the days go on as we try to move, as we make our way through this fog we are stuck in. If you were alive people would ask of you often and come for cuddles and to see you, but you are not and when this fog eventually starts to clear a little bit, the world has to keep turning and going and there’s only so much one can ask about you when you are gone. I can’t even describe how I began to feel as I realised that one day we may be the only ones that speak your name.

Yesterday afternoon, your dad cried, he posted a picture he had taken in the waves, he posted words to you about how the ocean was now there to wash away his tears for you and how each time he was out there you’d be there with him. He cried I hugged him, your uncle hugged him, we all cried and then joked about the dust in the house that must be causing sinus problems, but it really makes me think about how hard it must be for your dad, he has cried but he has also been so strong, he’s sent difficult messages and had difficult conversations, faced people for me when I haven’t been able to. I found this and I think it is fitting.

IMG_E5551

‘He lost his baby too’ we both lost you Henry, we are both grieving, we are both missing you oh so much! I try to think of what I can do for your dad but all I can do is be there for him as he is for me as nothing I can do will make the pain any easier. it’s all a process.

I watched your Dad last night, I watched him as we sat at your nanny and poppy’s house, your two uncles, your aunt and nephews and nieces were there, I sat and I watched your Dad as he played, he played with your Nephews chasing them, making voices, catching and tickling them and making them laugh and laugh and laugh, I watched on smiling he’s always so good with them never afraid to get in there… I watched smiling but with a heavy sadness in my heart, I watched as I thought about how wonderful your dad would have been with you Henry, as I thought about how I know he would have come home from work and you would have been the first one he cuddled, he would have pulled faces at you to make you laugh, he would have taken you out in the water and held you in his arms to keep you safe and it absolutely breaks my heart all over again that he can not do that with you.

We sat on our lounge last night, we sat and I thought about your room.

Your room remains untouched

Our arms are empty

Our hearts are full of love, yet broken at the same time

I look at your room and I curse myself, I curse myself for being so organised, I wish to myself I could be one of those last-minute people who wasn’t prepared, then I wouldn’t have packets and packets of wipes and nappies ready to go.

Bath products, I opened the bathroom cupboard last night to get another toilet paper roll and tears stung my eyes once more as all the natural organic products I was going to use to bathe you in live there.

I stare at the books on the shelf in your room, books I so carefully selected for you, stories from our own childhoods I wanted to share with you

I stare, I look at the empty chair in the corner of the room, the chair I planned to snuggle with you in as I would feed you, the chair I planned to rock you in, the chair where I would have sat with you for hours taking in the sweetness of your little face, kissing your hands, toes, your cheeks and nose. The chair that remains empty now.

Wraps, clothes, bibs all there, toys for when you got bigger, we were so prepared.

A brand new pram!

Your car seat still remains in my car, I can’t bring myself to take it out.

I thought of all these things in my overcrowded mind, I cried and your Dad cried too.

Last night, last night Henry I felt angry, I saw a news story online about a mother, a mother who had neglected her children so badly, only the law couldn’t punish her with jail time as they were only fineable offences, how she was fined, but these are fines due to her circumstances she can never pay back and never will. She let her children live in conditions with faeces covering the walls, rubbish, conditions almost uninhabitable was how it was described by officers who attended to check on the children, I got angry because she can have her children, she doesn’t look after them and yet we have this oh so lovingly set room and home and so much love, but yet don’t get to have you. For the first time I felt so so angry over the unfairness the injustice of it all.

This morning, lying in bed this morning listening to the rain, I wondered if I went and stood in it to wash my tears would it wash some of the pain. Water seems to be our place for both your dad and I to use as an escape to sit to stand to cry.

But I found myself this morning also unable to move as the tears softly rolled down my cheeks this morning I couldn’t bring myself to even sit up, I wondered if I could just lay in bed all day. I wondered if perhaps the big quilt could just cover me up, if I lay here long enough would it all go away, but it won’t.

This morning I listen to the pouring rain as I type, I wonder how your dad and I will distract ourselves today, it’s harder with the rain as we can’t be outside, I wonder what we will do to try to keep our minds busy, how will we get through today. I question I ask myself everyday, but then I think of tomorrow and it stings, it hurts even more, tomorrow was supposed to be my first mothers day with you in my arms, I was so excited about that and seeing what your dad might plan, now I hurt, now I don’t know how to feel about that day, yes I am your mum but you are not here with me in my arms, I ache, it hurts it aches in every part of my body. No handmade gifts of handprints for me, no cards, no gifts of pasta made necklaces or handmade boxes from you as you grow. I am a mother, I am your mum, but I don’t get to mother you, I don’t get to look after you…. Instead I hurt, I cry, I get angry, I question why, I grieve. I think of your little face and tiny fingers I think of the 39 weeks I spent growing you inside me, I think of the sound of your heartbeat, I wonder how it all went wrong. I think of what I can do in your honour, I think of how new parents are not educated on so many things, I think of how shocked I am that this could happen, I didn’t know this could happen to us and then I break again, I break and the pieces seem to heavy to even try to put back together again and I know as I try to lift each individual piece it will never fit back the same.

 

Feeling like the ocean could swallow me whole.

‘The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one you will learn to live with it. you will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you want to’

Morning our Henry :), yesterday! yesterday once we got ourselves going we went for a walk, it was nice to walk in nature, taking in all the beauty around us, the sounds, the sights, the sunshine, we would stop, look take in the beauty of a newly opened flower, tread carefully near the small lizard basking in the sunshine and just be.

We got to a big cliff face as we stood staring over the ocean, I watched, I watched the power of the ocean as it swept up along rock faces as the force of it drew water swishing and swirling it in to one area then it dragged back out to sea again… In that moment as I saw the depth of the water and took it in, I felt as though the ocean may come up and swallow my heavy body whole. I wondered if your dad felt the same.

I held your dad a little tighter “Don’t ever leave me” I said feeling overwhelmed, sometimes it was hard to read him and I didn’t know how he was feeling… “Why would you say that?” he asked “I am disappointed you would think that and I am not leaving” was his response… I guess I get some anxiety now thinking if you had to leave Henry, how do I know everyone else won’t.

We kept climbing, exploring, watching, we even got some beautiful photos to share, we crawled through a very narrow tunnel called Gosangs tunnel, to see the spectacular view on the other side. We laughed, we watched from above the tunnel three fisherman scream ‘yahoo’ as they got a big catch for the day.

As we moved on we next walked to a shipwreck from 1923, as I looked at the large and smaller pieces of the shipwreck scattered everywhere in all different places I said to your dad “that ship wreck represents me all broken with my pieces scattered everywhere”, “that’s a good analogy” he replied then adding “I am like that my pieces scattered but they are being built back together” I can’t tell you how much I love your dad Henry, he is absolutely amazing.

Yesterday afternoon, the weather turned we headed back to the house where we were staying, I made a coffee then the sadness hit once again… hitting hard I cried and I looked at your dad hugging him, “How do you have it all so together?” I asked him “You are so good and I feel like I am just a mess”, “It’s because I am just thinking of kit kat’s” was his reply, I smiled…. “there’s just a little picture in my mind of a kit kat constantly there, then when someone asks me something it turns over before I can take it in to respond, how are you today…. the kit kat picture then turns over svvvvvvop (that’s the noise he made) then I respond, oh good thank you” I laughed “Thank you” I replied “always” he said to me hugging me, one thing your dad has always said to me from day one was that his aim was to make me laugh everyday and you know what he always has, no matter what is heppning…… I so wanted to share our laughter with you I even posted some of our maternity shots on Instagram talking about how I was looking forward to that while pregnant with you.

IMG_5533

Yesterday afternoon we played connect four, we must have played 20 games, both of us not realising little things and making silly mistakes and laughing at one another. It was nice to sit and to be and to laugh.

Yesterday afternoon Henry as the weather changed outdoors more, the wind the cold all blew in we sat in a house further south with not much to do, not much at all and knowing the weather wouldn’t be good again today we sat wondering what are we doing here, if we are just going to sit inside due to the weather we can do that at home, with your older fur sisters Missy and Snikkers and where we are warm and comfy. So we packed up our things and we drove home, home to the puppies, home to be with you.

I haven’t mentioned much about your fur sisters to you, Missy is a real old person at 14 years (90 something in human years) she sooks and whines a lot at 14, she likes things her way, I only said to your dad the other day I wonder who would’ve cried more you or Missy…. We both answered missy. Snikkers is almost 11 but still energetic, she is our happiness dog and while I think she would’ve been weary of you at first, I know she would’ve become your most fierce protector and best friend. I was so looking forward to introducing them to you. Missy stayed so close to me the days before your birth and they both enjoyed exploring your room.

Last night, last night my beautiful boy, I broke down, I hugged your dad and I broke down, I then got in the hot shower and as the water ran over me I cried, I cried so hard the stream of the water hiding those tears that fell, they fell fast, they fell hard and I wished that you would come back to me, I wished I could be caring for you, I wished to hug you, I wished but they are wishes that can never come true. I then after drying and getting on my Pj’s joined your dad on the lounge and hugged your cushion. I hugged it so tight and began to think of all the things I was going to do, how I would keep going and the effort I would put in to ensuring others in this situation are somehow supported.

Last night I slept.

This morning, this morning I woke and I cried, your dad in the shower already he got out  and said “good morning beautiful” as he says to me everyday, even when the last thing I feel like at the moment with swollen eyes, and a mess is beautiful, but your dad he says it anyway, he would be the best role model for you, I know if you could be here with us growing and watching him and all he does and how well he treats me you would’ve grown in to such a respectful, fine young man…. gosh it hurts so much typing those words, and thinking about all you could have been.

This morning as the cold snap has hit, I will myself to get out of this warm bed to shower,  the one thing that makes me want to is so we can go get soil to add to the yard to prepare the area where we will plant your garden Henry.

This morning I have emailed bears of hope, wondering if they can support setting up a group in the area for bereaved parents, I offered to volunteer my time, we will await their response, I have also recorded other ideas down, I won’t share them just yet, but ideas on how to support other families in this situation and fundraising ideas to help further support the local hospital, I know with some help from some very special people these will all begin to come to life, all in honour of you my little man.

Your dad got out this morning, out in the ocean to take photographs, I am so very glad he did as he loves it, I felt a little anxious when he left to do so, I tend to worry about him at the moment… But I spoke to you and I know you our dear Henry would’ve been there right beside him and looking out for him.

I want to leave todays blog with an article a friend tagged me in this morning, hopefully it may assist someone who reads, maybe the words will resonate with them, maybe it will help others understand. As mothers day draws upon us it can be mixed with many emotions for those of us who have loved but lost… facing mothers day as a bereaved mother. 

Thinking of you our beautiful boy. x