Feeling gratitude and sadness.

Gratitude, Henry your dad and I have so much gratitude for everyone in our lives, we have been blessed with so many great people in our lives who send us lots of love. While I wish so very much I was sharing photos of our lives and adventures with you growing, I can not express the gratitude we have for every message, for phone calls, for people just letting us know we are thought of. I wanted to thank everyone who takes the time to let us know they are thinking of us or is there when we need and I hope they are all reading along so they see this thank you.

Yesterday was a little easier than the day before, we started off our day Henry having coffee with a friend of your dads who he works with, the sunshine was nice and it’s almost healing in some ways. Your dads friend had restored a very old oven for us that your great grandparents would have cooked on, your dad proudly placed it in the backyard and last night lit the first fire in the stove… soon we will be cooking in it, testing new recipes and experimenting with how it cooks… Hopefully getting back to some of the things we love to do.

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We went with your Nanny and Poppy about an hour north to pick up a weight bench for your poppy and uncle to use, your dad thinks they won’t use it.. I think he’d like to bet on it. only time will tell… At least there’s the thought there just as your dad and I have had thoughts of getting healthier again, this week a positive change in that area, we have started with good breakfast Monday and a healthy Harissa spiced chicken with kale and leek hash cooked by your dad tonight… I know your dad cooking kale (insert shocked look here) I thought the same.

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Yesterday afternoon Henry a small hill on the bike once more, then some reflection as well as your dad got some sad news. It made me think, think of others affected by this news. So many people fighting battles we know nothing about, how others have their own grief in different ways, for different things and the thought of always being kind. I hope that everyone affected by this news has some support and comfort at this time, I know your dad is going to possibly get together with a group of his colleagues to talk, I think it is great that they do this to support one another as it’s so important to talk.

I didn’t achieve my challenge last night Henry, it kind of got put off the night went a different direction, so it’s on tonight’s list a healthy dessert… I’ve been thinking so can’t wait to get stuck in to it.

Sleep still evades me Henry, thoughts cloud my mind, the clouds form…… dark dark grey clouds build up coming closer and closer together until they are so close together a storm starts… bolts of lightning, loud thunder the thoughts crowd together more and more sometimes the same ones, sometimes the storm calms for a while but then starts again, other times it continues for a long time and even when it does calm the grey clouds are still there in the morning and some days I pray for sunshine for some relief.

I remembered this morning Henry about the birth class you dad and I attended with you,  I remember your dads reaction to the birthing videos which we are sure are from 1975, how when we finally stopped for lunch your dad said to me “if they show any more videos we are going home we are just going home” I laughed… they didn’t show any more videos. I remember how I felt when your dad wasn’t scared to practice wrapping a doll or putting a nappy on the doll so he could learn how he would do this with you, the love I felt for him in that moment and just admiration… as he was always willing to learn those things and take them seriously so he could do everything with you, he is such a great dad Henry which I am sure you know. I hope he has the opportunity to do all that with a sibling for you one day.

This morning when I first woke, the thoughts of you of wanting to be holding you looking after you became too much to bear, my stomach that pit in my stomach it ached so badly. I sit here typing and crying silent tears as your dad is still asleep and I don’t want to wake him up, I don’t want him to have to comfort me this morning as I know he is tired, he’s hurting and he’s trying to process yesterdays news too. So as my pain this morning takes hold of me, as it consumes me I cry silently, tears flowing so fast, so intesnly down my cheeks because I want you close, I want my baby boy…. and I don’t understand why we could not have you here, why this had to happen. I wanted you so much.

I remember conversations between your dad and I, we talked about you so often… Even when he had moments at work to stop and text. Messages about you, who you might be, who you would look like. All we wanted was to love and care for you and see you grow. Oh Henry this morning it hurts so badly. Last night I came across these messages in my phone, between your dad and I talking about you, who you might look like, it’s the last message I sent to him that catches my eye ‘oh well he’s going to be very loved anyway by all four of us’ that love for you was already there.

Gratitude as I mentioned at the start of my letter Henry, gratitude for messages, thoughts people send we are so grateful Henry, and I am also grateful for being your mum, for having carried you, to have held you I am so thankful. I’m grateful for you having blessed us with your presence. Then I have all this sadness of missing you, of wanting you here as you should have been, pain, despair and then the love for you I have it all…. So many emotions!

I’m wondering how this morning we will get ourselves going, it may be a cancel our plans day today, a day to maybe hide from the world? who knows… All I know is this morning Henry my bike has crashed, the storm clouds are in my head and I just don’t know how to settle it all, as all I want is you.

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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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Our Sun, Our Moon and all our stars..

I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

You Henry, we look at the stars and think of you, we say goodnight, every night standing out on the back deck we look up at the bright starry sky and say goodnight to you, we think of you we take a breath, we hug one another…. Well you certainly are a star Henry, four in fact, we have beautiful people in our lives and we have ended up with four official stars named after you, it makes us laugh and we are so appreciative. You dad and I say to one another that you are taking over the universe one star at a time.

One beautiful friend drew the picture in the frame which we keep in the lounge room, I love that saying ‘Our sun, our moon and all our stars’.

Your Dad he keeps insisting its a planet next, I think maybe the Moon for you… as the song goes ‘I love you to the moon and back my little winter bear, I know you know how much this is cause you’re already there’ You are there, you are everywhere with us, I miss you our star!

 

Saturday night was tough Henry, lots of tears throughout the night while sitting on the lounge… Your dad and I watched a documentary on a group of four women who rowed the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Australia, during the documentary one of the women commented about when you get to a point where you question those things in life you have always been about, you lose yourself and need to find yourself again. I said to your dad it’s a little like us at the moment lost, we don’t quite know our identity right now as he had been planning to be a Dad, I had been planning to be a Mum and we are but without you, so now its hard sometimes navigating forward as we are questioning our identity. Who am I as a mum? my idea of a mum is being at home looking after you…. so where does that leave my identity now?

At the end of the documentary one of the women commented on how everyone in life has their own pacific to cross… I feel like this is ours.

Yesterday Henry was a good day, yesterday the bike was just cruising on flat ground… it didn’t start off that way, this morning when I first woke there was a big hill to pedal up, with lots of tears and I didn’t want to get up, then I didn’t want to leave your Dad I think just out of comfort but I had planned to catch up for a coffee and breakfast with a friend, the beautiful midwife who was there for your birth.

We caught up at a small cafe sitting outdoors, she showed up with her two puppies who are just adorable, they are so cute! so lots of pats, as we had breakfast we discussed the different logistics of setting up a support group in the area to help others who have been through stillbirth, pregnancy and infant loss. It was a nice morning and just what I needed I felt a little lighter. There is still a way to go with some plans but I think the discussions and planning are important, looking at ways to support and help others.

Afterwards Henry I headed home feeling ok, I picked up your dad and took him to a car show with mainly old school cars, it was great as he was able to get an idea on what colours he may like to paint your car Henry, we have already decided on some number plates for the car so it is for you. We then headed to the pub with some people your Dad knows from work, I felt a little reluctant to know whether I wanted to go as I was tired from not having slept the night before, but I was glad I went sometimes its easier around those you don’t know too well, conversation was kept light, there were laughs… only one time was I close to tears talking of the things at home that were reminders, triggers of you…. In my mind though you are there, right there I am thinking of you, you never leave my thoughts my beautiful boy and then we got home after an afternoon of holding back the emotions a little moment and hug with your Dad.

Some people have asked me questions about how we are feeling, it is so hard to describe.. I came across this article and on explaining perinatal grief, one sentence stood out, it stood out after I remembered something someone said to me the other day… they meant well with their comment so I did not take it the wrong way… the line said ‘Firstly, many of their family and friends may expect them to be ‘better’ or to find ‘closure’ now that they have a live baby, but this expectation fails to understand the lifelong nature of perinatal grief.’ 

We don’t have a brother or sister on the way for you Henry, but that line stood out it stood out the part where people expect you to be ‘better‘ or to find ‘closure’ We will keep moving forward, we will learn and implement strategies to work with the grief and we will get to our ‘new normal’ but you can never have closure on something like this, I guess the only way I could get anyone to imagine Henry is to say to parents imagine not having one of your children here but that feels so wrong to say. Here is the link to the article for those who wish to read. Perinatal Grief . Another blog post had this line ‘Stillbirth is different to other deaths. No one is going to sit down with you and laugh and talk about the good old times. You can’t. There is nothing to reminisce but the kicks and activity inside your own body. There’s nothing good that can come out of stillbirth, there’s no upside. It’s too difficult. And this is the reason that we don’t talk about it.’

Last night Henry, I think your fur sisters know we need distractions or maybe they feel we are not paying enough attention to them as they should. Missy decided it was her dinner time, but instead of just whining like she normally does she decided she needed to use her voice, she barked loudly random barks, Snikkers joined in, it was a noisy affair, one bark, another bark… Snikkers barked, Missy barked, they looked at us they walked around the room barking. Your Dad and I laughed and laughed. I know you would have liked hearing our laugh, I wish just once we could have heard yours.

 

This morning Henry, I woke, I woke up with the anguish you are not here, I woke up with  my mind thinking again back to your birth, the night before, the midwife who did not listen to me, it all replays in my head so often, the wondering? I feel blame, I feel guilt towards others, towards myself and I know this does me no good, I know it doesn’t bring you back to us, it will never fill our empty arms but I feel it all anyway! The bike it crashes each morning before the days ride even starts. But after each crash we get up, we keep going.

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You dad Henry today he is not feeling 100% he has a sore throat stuffy nose and I know I have a challenge ahead of me today as he is stubborn and so am I… I’m pretty sure with both of us having this trait you would have been too… but my challenge is to keep him resting as much as I can! Difficult to say the least as he never likes to sit still. So today I will anchor him to the lounge (possibly with some rope?) I am kidding, but I will try to get him to rest and take the controls peddling for both of us today. I will finish planning out your garden as the soil is almost ready for planting, finish bookings for our trip and I will try and move forward today as I know you would want us too, and I want to for you, for us.

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Some of us only get the memories and thoughts of what could have been.

‘Like the tide in the ocean it sucks you out and the worst thing you can do is fight against it.
You swim with it. Grief is love and longing swimming together’ Meg Loch.

Oh Henry, how much we are missing you, it almost feels like the shock of it has somewhat worn off and it’s really starting to hit even more.

Yesterday we had trouble getting ourselves going, we got there, we went to the beach and I sat watching your Dad in the waves, as he jumped under as they surrounded him as they washed over him and he took photographs, I watched on as one particularly large wave seemed to pick him right up and swallow him and then push him back down towards the sand. He takes on most of these waves even the big ones with ease, he knows not to fight it, unlike me I have been trying to fight some of these big waves that are washing over me, and well when I do that….. I will only drown.

Yesterday we had lunch near where we laid you to rest we stood and we watched as we munched on hot chips, not something I normally eat but they were my go to in early pregnancy with you… They were one of the things some days that I could actually keep down, they always remind me of you now. As we stood watching the waves dolphins appeared about 20 of them such a large group and they played riding in on many of the waves such a magnificent sight to watch and wishing we could share it with you, but then I heard your dad utter a thank you to you, you were there just not as we wished.

Yesterday I felt anger, the reason for that anger is as I mentioned I am going to seek some counselling, well I had a really good friend of mine make contact with a social worker she knew at the hospital for me, I then was given her number to contact myself… she made contact with the counsellors for me.. who rang me to make an appointment. The reason for my anger was that well the social worker who saw us in the hospital barely said anything to us, she sat and looked at us waiting for us to start the conversation and then when I said I didn’t know what to say she said a few words and said she would leave us and come back later! She never came back and never followed up with us. I then was left to chase up counselling myself, I was asked by the counsellor if we saw a social worker in the hospital I said yes and explained what happened, and that she never came back to see us. The counsellor explained that normally they would receive a referral for us and that she had not received anything and that when receiving that she would prioritise appointments but as she had not received anything she couldn’t fit me in for another two weeks. I felt anger that the system had failed us. As I have mentioned previously if it had not been for particular caring midwives the whole experience would have been even more awful than it was.

Last night we got invited to a friend’s house for dinner as it got closer to the time we both became reluctant to go, hard to motivate ourselves, grief is exhausting. I am so glad we went though Henry, our friends they made it easy, they made it comfortable and we were able to talk and even laugh, we had a delicious meal and they kept the conversation light with funny stories, it was exactly what we needed last night. Their little boy before going to bed said to me “Kristy your baby he had to go to heaven and now he’s an angel in heaven” I said to him yes that s right and gave him a tight hug goodnight and smiled at the fact he mentioned our Henry.

This morning we drove home at 6am, I didn’t sleep much at all last night, so we drove home at 6am and jumped in to bed I finally slept until 10am, I think its time I try some meditations and something natural to sleep, It can be so hard with the brain on overdrive.

Today after getting a coffee I broke down in the car, your dad drove us to the beach I stood there in his arms my whole body shaking from my cries. I just thought so much about what we might have been doing today with you Henry and that’s hard, it is a hard thought to bear.

I have been trying Henry, trying to think of a way to describe this pain, a way I can put it in to words for others to understand, but there truly are no words. I know of death, I know of grief, but this is just so much more, this is so different to those times. It is the having had you grow for 39 weeks, 39 weeks of planning, of preparing, of talking, getting excited, 39 weeks of wondering how we will be as parents, how you will grow, who you will be, who you’ll be like, where we might take you, of wondering about how we would handle night feeds, nappy changes of thinking about how we would cuddle you, how Missy and snickers would react to us bringing you home and then that suddenly all those thoughts, plans, excitement, everything gets ripped from underneath you in a second and is replaced with despair, heartbreak, love and longing and that we will never get to know any of those things we thought we would.

I sat on the beach today in the sun watching your dad in the waves again, as I sat watching a Dad and his son walked along the beach their surfboards in hand, they stopped at a section the dad pointed and they talked, they put on their wet suits the dad helping the young boy, smiled and then ran in to the water together paddling out. Instantly I felt my heart just break a little more, that feeling in the pit of my stomach became deeper and I watched your dad alone in the surf. It is all those missed moments those moments we never get with you, we had imagined your dad teaching you to surf, we don’t get to see as your mouth forms in to that first smile, as you navigate and begin to crawl, those first steps, all those firsts!

We don’t get to find out who you would be, whether you would like to read like me, whether you’d like to be out and busy like your dad, whether you would have liked to surf or play soccer, whether you’d be incredibly active or not.

I know every day life is not easy, I know it’s easy to get caught up in it as I often did. I can only ask Henry that our family and friends can take a moment to think of us, to think of you and as they do so take the time to enjoy. Enjoy your children little or big, take in those small moments, take them in as much as you can.. the smiles as they do or try something new, cuddle them in those moments they show frustration, let them know you are there for them as those moments don’t come back and well some of us never even get them. I know sometimes work, bills, household stresses can get us down and overwhelm us, but despite those stresses you never get this moment in time back. Maybe the stress you have brought home from work, that extra time you sit on the computer out of work hours trying to get something done, just stop and think about is it really that important, can it not wait until tomorrow as those children won’t be young forever and they are there, some of us never get the chance to read that bedtime story, to spend that time cuddling on the lounge as you hear about their day, to kick that soccer ball around the yard, some of us only get to wonder what that would have been like… and the agony of those thoughts is all consuming.

This afternoon Henry, I sit on the lounge, I remember, I have thoughts of the time as my belly started to grow and I joked with your dad it was getting as big as his, so he stood on the deck outdoors with me and held a ruler on his belly and in front of mine to prove I wasn’t as big as him yet. I remember how when we swam in the ocean a few weeks before you were born and the water temp was cold and as I floated on my back, my belly kind of almost went square as you had moved right in to the middle like you curled up because the water was so cold and your dad and I were amazed at the shape my belly was. I remember your dad and I excited and a little scared about parenthood but messaging each other to say we were a team and we got this. Memories of the photo we got to announce you were on the way.

All we have is memories, memories of the short time you were with us, and thoughts of what could have been but never will be.

Fot this afternoon, I will sit I will take it as it comes, I will go through the waves and not fight them and I will try.

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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.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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