A thread between here and there.

A thread between here and there, one that can’t be seen.
but its connected through a love so strong, stronger and more powerful than anything.

At times Henry I look at your sisters smiling blue eyes and wonder would you have smiled through your eyes the way she does? It’s not to compare, but a wonder, an aching thought that will always be there. I’ll always wonder who you would’ve been, your thoughts, looks, personality I think about it all, I did before your little sister and still do now. I guess watching her grow seeing all she does sometimes it makes me wonder more.

I’ve had some heavy days Henry, ones where the ache for you has been so strong, all I have wanted is to be with you. Days where I feel like the pull is so strong, like I’m being held by one single thread between here and there and that thread at any moment may break.

I know some people won’t get it Henry, that having your little sister here should be enough to stop that but it’s never going to stop those days, the ache that rises heavily in my chest, that I feel all through my body, the incomplete feeling of not being able to watch both my children grow and cuddle them both within my arms. Some days seeing Charlie upset is enough to make me feel heavier as I wonder whether you ever need me and I can’t be there for you.

To those people Henry that think having Charlie here should have ‘cured’ us that we shouldn’t still miss you, I ask which one of your children could you live without? Yet live each day without you we do.

Charlie, Henry, she is just full of life, determination and that smile the one that brightens up the whole room, lights up her whole face and you can see her smile through her bright blue eyes. I enjoy watching her grow, master new skills, find her hands, rolling, pushing with her feet, attempting to sit up. Watch her as she grabs my finger for more and won’t let it go when offering her a taste of food, laughing as she farts in the mornings and chats our ears off with new sounds or as she responds to us with her own laugh.

I read to her, feed her as she beats me up by scratching me, pulling at me, sometimes now biting down 🤣 I get down on the floor encouraging her to move, rock her to sleep as she needs, I research, I read, implement things I already know to help her continue to develop and grow.. and at times I get frustrated too, tired and just wait for the moments she goes to sleep to have five minutes to sit down.

It’s so many mixed emotions of motherhood. I have trouble at times expressing or saying how I truly am going or feeling as I don’t want anyone to think my grief, thoughts and missing you mean I can’t look after or parent Charlie well, if anything Henry it makes me harder on myself and more determined to want to do the best job I can as I know you don’t know what tomorrow brings and I know what it’s like not to have those opportunities with your child.

It’s very exhausting, the constant challenges within my mind, the way I am to myself, wanting to do better for Charlie, for you for our whole family, a delicate juggling act. I think at times I have too many balls in the air and there’s moments where the music gets faster and the rhythm I juggle to becomes too much, the balls fall on to the floor and roll, I’m left searching the room to pick them all up again and try and start juggling at a slower pace.

Taking your sister to the beach, dipping her feet in the water, watching her reaction, taking her on a picnic on the headland, sitting under the shade of a tree eating hot chips, while she chatters away, taking pictures, doing all the things we had talked about and planned to do with you. Your Dad and I smile we laugh at Charlie’s reactions, we enjoy listening to her chatter what almost sounds like she’s trying to sing, we breathe in the fresh air loving the moment with her as a family but with it comes a tinge, it’s a paradox of enjoying everything about that moment but then knowing we had ‘planned’ to do that with you while you grew safely in my belly and now we do those things without you.

It’s opposing emotions clashing against one another consistently, such is the lives now we are still learning to live. Sometimes Henry I do wish just for a minute we got to be someone else, just for a moment be that family, the one that has their children here in their arms doing their thing. I want for it, to not feel what we do. But Henry that means we wouldn’t be us, we wouldn’t be yours or Charlotte’s Mum or Dad and that in itself I can’t bear that thought either as I’m proud to be your Mum, I’m so blessed to have grown you.

How does one get their head around such complexities? I know Henry living with so much rawness now leaves me feeling very confused.

Recently Henry we had to make the very hard decision to let your big fur sister go to be with you, I had always hoped at almost 16 she would go on her own, that we wouldn’t have to make that decision but it wasn’t to be, such a headstrong puppy with a determination and active mind and a body that was failing her and just couldn’t keep up. I know you wanted her there with you, to run free, so you can have her by your side and play. I can picture her being your absolute best friend, you running on the beach together, her sleeping by your side. It brings a little comfort and softened the blow a little. It was still so tough to say goodbye.

I know we made the right decision for her but to let her go, after you dying, she was here for all the ups and downs during most of my adult life. There when we had to make the hardest walk through the door without you, she was there as I cried so many tears and many more, she sat by my side offered comfort wanting nothing but love in return. I know she held on longer, she sensed we needed her here with us until after your sister arrived. She kept holding on probably longer than she should have.

Her last day Henry we tried to do all of her favourite things that we could manage, I hand fed her strawberries, let her snuggle up to me on the lounge, we helped her rummage through the lemongrass and your Dad walked her around the garden for one final lizard patrol, she got fed beef mince, spent time with us all and most importantly got to go peacefully in our arms at home surrounded by those who loved her the most.

I still miss her daily Henry, I miss her stubborn bark when she got put outside and wanted to be in, watching her chase lizzards, I miss her demanding to be fed st the same time each day, her growling and playing with Snikkers. The house certainly has felt emptier without her and seeing Snikkers go through the grieving process too has been tough as well. Your Dad and I know all to well our grief for you so to try and imagine how Snikkers feels about her main companion not being by her side anymore, it’s been tough.

We have tried to include her more Henry, taking her on walks more often and to your beach, taking her with us on visits and that she’s loved, but I’ve seen the tough days too, the ones where she doesn’t want to live and they break my heart, as I remember and still have days like that with you.

Every night as I go out to the stars to say goodnight it’s not only to you and our little puggles but also now to Missy too. One more bright star in our sky and a boy finally with his puppy dog in his arms, you look after her Henry she is incredibly special as are you.

As we continue in to this year Henry, the looming thought of knowing we are going to approach your second birthday is there, I used to think Henry that the grief with its changes would get softer with time, but I’m not sure softer is the right word or that any word can describe it. It changes but some days the wound is as raw as it was the day you died, like a hot knife straight in to your skin piercing it’s there suddenly, you are bleeding and reminded this is a wound that won’t heal. How we do, what we do for your second birthday I don’t know. I do know as always I’ll try and find the strength still to celebrate you and the love you gave us rather than just your death but I know the lead up will always be so bloody hard have I mentioned I feel exhausted from climbing mountains yet? But there’s still so many more to climb.

I can’t believe you would be two this year, where would we have been? What would we be doing with you? Would we have been travelling with you by now? Would you have loved the water? See there’s that wonder again, it’s there, it’ll always be there.

Milestones, moments, we make the most of all we can, yet some days, I can’t, some days the most I can do is the day, another one without you and I’m slowly learning to say to myself Henry that, that is ok too.

Beautiful boy just know, know in the busyness of it all, of us raising your little sister, navigating life you are still so present for us, present in all we do and on our minds. Know as I wake each day, as I go about my day, as I get in to bed each night you are there. The world keeps going, things keep moving, others forget or don’t say your name anymore, but us Henry we always will. You are so loved. I like to think that thread that you are and that you are holding on to the other end, the invisible thread keeping us connected and knowing when my time does come, if it ever breaks it will lead me straight to you.

As I type this now I watch your sister stir and wake from her sleep and I think to myself what a joy it is that I get to experience that moment, see as she opens those beautiful eyes, watch as she takes in her surroundings, her world again adjusting between the worlds of awake and sleep. I get to see as she reaches out, I get to place my hand in hers to let her know I’m here, offer comfort. I wait I watch as she either talks or cries and I hope that others realise what a privilege it is to be able to have these moments with your child.

As I sit feeding her now and typing one handed (more juggling) I hope both my children know how loved and what gifts they are. Love you baby boy.

Forever between moments.

Forever between moments,
existing between two worlds.
A whirlwind of emotions,
but so much love for you both.

Henry, it’s been too long since I have sat down to write to you, it’s not that I have not wanted to, because in my mind daily I have written to you, I have talked to you and told you so many things but life has been so incredibly busy it’s been difficult to get the time to actually sit down and write out the words.

This has then led to guilt, oh so much Mother’s guilt, as you are my baby boy and I want to be able to devote time just for you.

As you know your beautiful little sister is finally here safely in our arms, oh gosh Henry she has been this little ray of sunshine into our lives with her bright blue eyes, her alertness and wonder of the world around her. You my darling boy are our brightest star in the night sky, always there above.

So here I am parenting two babies one in our arms the other always oh so present in our hearts, minds and love each and every day. How very conflicting it is and comes with so many emotions which coexist together and change from one moment to the next. From that first moment of hearing your little sisters cries as she was born and remembering that was the sound we missed out on hearing with you, that sound we had expected we would hear when we first entered the hospital to have you, the sound I prayed, begged, pleaded would still somehow happen when you were born even though by then you had died, the sound we listened to echo through the halls from the rooms around us as we cried and held you in silence, one of the most sweetest sounds in the world and we didn’t get that with you.

Every day from the moment of your little sisters’ arrival has been filled with all the bittersweet of now knowing exactly what we have been missing out on with you.

Your Dad and I like to think you had a hand in your sisters arrival we certainly know you are always present with us and that you were there in those moments, we had your photograph and blue bear there in the labour room with us when she was born.

What a day it was Henry, an unexpected arrival date. We went in for a routine appointment with the obstetrician at 37 weeks and 2 days along, I had always said to your Dad that your little sister was stubborn and determined and that she would choose her own date to arrive, just as I said to him that you would arrive around Anzac Day and there we were Anzac Day in the hospital the last day you were alive in my belly.

I had mentioned to your Dad that your sister would arrive before our induction date and probably on his last day of work before leave and sure enough this is the exact day she chose.

We had been booked in for an induction on the Sunday Henry, I had spoken with the obstetrician at a previous appointment he had asked us to come in on the Saturday night he would check if anything was happening if not he would look at how to start the induction to then plan to have Charlotte on the Sunday. This was discussed at my 36-week appointment, our obstetrician has suggested your dad who was working that day try and come to the next appointment at 37 weeks just so he could hear the details of how the induction would work.

He was meant to be at work but swapped his shift so he could start later and attend the appointment with me. The whole day before I felt sick and just ‘off’ but then again as you know Henry that is nothing new when it comes to pregnancy and me, so I didn’t think much of it and charged through the day still vacuuming the house and cooking up meals your dad had asked if I could cook. Missy followed me everywhere that day, all around the house even while I was vacuuming and she hates the vacuum cleaner, it is this that should have made me pick up on it as she did the same thing when I was in labour with you.

That night I barely slept and I had a bad early morning with flashbacks from your birth and struggled with a range of feelings, I ended up writing them out at 4am to try and get rid of them, on not much sleep I got up so we could get ready to go to our appointment, I hadn’t even had the chance to wash up but thought I would do it when we got back while your Dad went to work. I remember asking him to stop on the way to the appointment for me to get some take away breakfast, not something I normally would do but lucky I did as little did I know it would be the last thing I would eat until much later that night.

We travelled the hour to our appointment, got there and didn’t have to wait long before we went in, as usual I got on the bed so the obstetrician would be able to scan, take measurements and we would see your sister, who had been incredibly active that morning. As he tried to scan she kept pushing back and kicking the ultrasound wand off my belly, he could not get one accurate picture at all each time he placed it down no matter where she pushed and bumped it off, he managed to start to try and measure the fluid “I think you have lost a little bit of fluid” he said I am just going to check you, upon doing an internal for what seemed like only seconds he said “You are already 4-5cm dilated we are going downstairs you are having this baby today”

That was it Henry, our obstetrician printed my card, tears formed in your Dads eyes as I thought to myself this is it; this is the day we meet your little sister. “I need to text work” your Dad said to me “Shouldn’t you call?” I asked “I can’t” he said in tears… “Do you want me to call for you?” I asked and he looked at me “You’re in labour” was his reply, we both laugh at this now the thought he couldn’t phone work due to his emotions, but I was halfway through labour and was prepared to phone and speak with them. I made a quick call to a friend of mine who we had asked to be there and support us and then before we knew it, our Ob was walking us to the elevator to go downstairs to the labour ward, it was really happening.

Our Ob checked us in, we settled in the room, he broke my waters I changed into a hospital gown and looked at your Dad who was still in tears. Your Dad went to the car and got our bags, the ones I had insisted we pack at the beginning of the week and put in the car, your dad being stubborn hadn’t wanted to as he didn’t want to think of the possibility your little sister would arrive before our induction date(insert eye roll here Henry), he wanted to feel we had some control over the situation and given what we had been through with you, I could totally understand. Although there’s no control so here we were.

The midwife who was with us was fantastic, she was so lovely Henry we couldn’t have asked for anyone better, she knew about you, She asked me straight away what I wanted for the birth, my reply ‘I just want to get her here safely” I said and we discussed some other details. Not long after this my friend arrived,  the room was calm as I sat on the fit ball bouncing up and down, the midwife kept checking in, asking how I was feeling I said ok, I was smiling and excited about the thought your sister would be with us. “Can you feel those contractions?” she asked me “a little just like period pain” I had replied “You are hard to read” she said “You are still smiling I have women next door who are 3cm dilated and screaming you are going to have to let me know” she said to me.

She showed me the ctg and how they could see this from the front desk as well as this went to our obstetrician’s phone, so he was monitoring from his office upstairs. More reassurance we were in the best hands we could be, being listened to and cared for. Our Ob kept popping in to check and assured us he was only minutes away when going to lunch, As the pain increased slightly, I moved to leaning over the bed, your dad holding my hands but unable to look at me. I remember hearing the woman next door and saying to your dad “I need quiet I am in the zone” later feeling bad that I felt that way as I became noisy too.

I don’t know how long passed but my legs began to feel heavy so to give them some relief I got on to the bed knelling and leaning over the top, the pains got more intense, I didn’t put my head up much at this point to look at anyone just feeling the pain increase go through my body attempting to breathe through it until the relief for a moment of the contraction stopping but then the next one very quickly starting. They tried to give me gas but I found trying to have that in my mouth and breathe was too distracting I remember as the pain increased turning to your Dad saying “I can’t do this” I don’t remember now what he replied back, eventually at the midwives suggestion I moved on to my back.

It didn’t seem like long after moving on my back I was being encouraged to push, as I was doing so they were trying to tell me to put my chin on to my chest and well the stupid tickle in my throat came back Henry and I started to cough after three people telling me and then getting to your Dad saying it to me I lost it at him “I can’t it keeps making me cough” I said to him crankily as I had already tried to explain to everyone else who said it. Your poor Dad wondering why he was the only one I lost it at, It seemed like only minutes after this Dr W tapped me on the knee “ok Kristy no more noise I just need you to push” and I did, had anyone else said it I would have lost it at them but I had so much trust in this man to deliver your little sister safely so I pushed without groaning and it was then she chose to make her entrance, I briefly heard my friend say to Tim to get up and look his little girl was here, but I didn’t look yet, the next moment I knew she was out and I heard her cry, that sweet little newborn cry Henry, the sound we missed with you “she’s crying, she’s crying” was all I could repeat over and over again as she was placed in to my arms and I held on to her tightly looking at her and then over at your Dad telling him ‘She’s crying” as he had so many tears streaming down his face and he looked at her and took it all in.

I cannot even type all this now without tears in my eyes Henry, the absolute most bittersweet moment of our entire lives, hearing her cry, missing that with you, wondering if your cry would have sounded the same, I just held her and looked at all her features as I had done with you when you had been placed on my chest after being born. I watched as she moved her little hands about, as she was breathing on my chest and thought about all the love I have for her, exactly as I had thought about with you.

It wasn’t long after your Dad helped to cut the cord, Our Ob delivered the placenta, he then turned to us with tears in his eyes “you did a great job” he said to me “seeing you guys and hearing you, you have given me a new appreciation for those first cries as we often just take them for granted” he replied and then said “I’m going now before I get emotional” and he got up to leave. The midwife congratulated us to and left us to have some time on our own, not long after this my friend also kissed me on the forehead and said she wanted to leave us alone too. Here we were your Dad and I with your little sister holding her in my arms and your picture and bear right beside me. A family of four.

As I held her Henry she made her way to feed, the emotions I felt as she tried to latch on and very noisily fed your Dad and I laughed and cried, I only ever got to hold you, I never got to feed you, so much, so bloody much we missed with you and already within an hour of your sister being born we were realising how much.

Charlotte Elizabeth Maggs born 14/08/2019, 3:47pm, weighing 3.36 kilo and 51 cm long, only 1cm difference between the two of you. The poor little thing she was in such a rush to exit Henry, she was quite swollen, bruised and a little jaundiced.

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Our hospital stay this time Henry was fantastic, you were there the whole time, your photo beside my bed, your blue bear there beside me or in my hands or Charlotte’s, everyone was incredibly caring. With our Ob coming to check on us each and every morning and night, even on his day off he was there, asking how we were both doing, admiring Charlie. Such a different experience Henry one we should have and I wish we had of had with you, in-fact the whole care throughout the pregnancy was completely different and I reflect back on it often wishing it could have been so different with you.

 

That even comes with its own challenges, comes with such mixed feelings, its often taken me back there to the whole experience with you, the hospital stay your birth and reminds me of how unfair it was, unfair people didn’t do their job, I wonder did they not care enough? were they understaffed? was someone sleeping? Were they tired? Was the midwife who ignored me and rude to me under pressure? I will never know, but it goes to show that proper care can be provided and should always be.

We had the beautiful photographer who captured our maternity shoot with your sister visit the hospital to capture some special photos of her at two days old. Rachael Tagg Photography  such beautiful images Henry as you know we will cherish them always. Here is a few

 

Bringing your sister home was so surreal, I am not sure it all really sunk in until that point Henry, apart from giving birth and not hearing your cries the next hardest thing was facing getting in the car and seeing the car seat we had fitted for you remain empty, knowing we didn’t get to put our baby boy in there to take home, so again doing this with  your sister I think your Dad and I cried for at least half the journey home and oh boy did we feel incredibly scared, and we cried again once we arrived home.

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Your fur sisters were so excited when I walked in the door after being away five nights, they jumped and were so inquisitive about what I had in my arms, your Dad videoed their reaction, one that within days changed from excitement to ‘what the? what is this hairless puppy and why is it still here making noise’ although they are used to her now.

So we live in this constant state Henry of just absolute awe and love for your sister, combined with love and heartbreak for you. It is an ever-changing tide and some days I am drowning, others I am staying afloat and other days I swim so well. I said to someone recently that I am allowed to find joy in and love your little sister and all she brings to our lives and I can miss and grieve for you too, I am unsure that some people realise these emotions can co-exist and that I don’t have to be one or the other.

A whirwind of emotions experienced daily, sometimes hourly or within minutes, I live between two worlds, the one where we are and the one with you. It is a delicate balancing act, of juggling all it brings our way, but if you ask if I would change it by not having you my baby boy… I could never say I would change a thing.

Forever between moments, existing between two worlds.
A whirlwind of emotions,
but so much love for you both.

I cry sometimes especially during the early hours up with your sister as that is often when I think of you most, Christmas this year brought its own challenges and I felt was even harder than the last. Last year your Dad and I could ignore the day, this year we couldn’t as we wanted it to be special for Charlie, so we tried to make it that way, despite not feeling festive, of missing you, wanting you here. The wonder of how you would have been for your second Christmas was there, watching your sister open presents even though she doesn’t quite understand, brought us joy as she studied them and sorrow as we wished we got to see you do the same. We found ourselves following our tradition of going to the beach where we had your service, where we scattered some of your ashes amongst the waves, this brought back memories of doing this the year before, it brought back happy memories of the amount of times I swam there when pregnant with you, the way you would react to the water when I got in, of the happiness your Dad and I felt and the excitement… All the memories Henry came flooding back and I was overcome with so much emotion and also love.

We finally got to show Charlie the place we love to be with you, the place we go to be close to you, she got to see the waves rolling in and she watched them with interest as they swirled up over my feet, that feeling of letting the water hit my feet and just thinking of you, the wonder in her face Henry, the smile she bought to ours while still tears in our eyes. Thank you Henry for your little sister, Thank you for you. The both of you have made me want to make the most of life.

The climb is still tough, being a second first time parent is tough Henry, you made us parents, but we didn’t get the traditional experience of parenting a baby at home in our arms. So daily we navigate what it means to parent a baby in our arms, from nappy changes, feeds and sleep to play, reading, watching her grow and change and master new skills before our eyes. Wondering if you would have been the same or a different baby, wondering what you would have looked like as you grew.

Then we navigate not being able to parent you as we have always done, I can’t just sit and type out my words to you when they come, I can’t just go tend to your garden when I want to as I used to as I am often interrupted by a feed, Charlie waking from a sleep or choosing between eating and sleeping myself. I am not complaining about it Henry just finding it challenging when those overwhelming emotions come, these were my ways of spending time with you, I suppose if you were here and your little sister came along I would be dealing with a similar challenges of how I divide my time between the two of you. so I will take it and work with it as I can.

Your little sister Henry, Charlotte Elizabeth Maggs, she will always know of you, I have already spoken about you to her so many times, I have shown her your picture, talked about how she looked exactly like you when she was born, the fact you both have one ear that is like a little pixie ear at the top on the right side. I have told her all about the big brother who came before her and showed us that love a child can bring and that because of him we show her even more love as time is precious. As she grows we will read stories that help her understand, she will be a part of traditions that honour you, She will grow in to her own little person, never being compared to or feeling like she is second, but knowing that you are both loved equally and that just because you aren’t here doesn’t mean you are not a part of our family.

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Seeing Charlie giggle and smile I cannot even describe how much joy she brings, hearing her chat to us with sounds, watching as she takes the world in, oh Henry she is just wonderful, even at 1am sometimes when she wants to party and I am tired, even when she manages to get herself so upset she can’t be consoled. I won’t say there aren’t frustrations, I won’t say that some days I do wish for a bit more time to myself, as any parent would. But I will say I appreciate and am so grateful for this little girl shining light back into our lives, and all she brings, never a replacement but a beautiful addition to our family. She is our Sunshine; you are our brightest star in the sky. I could never choose between the two of you and I should not have too.

There’s one part of a song Henry that we play for your sister:

‘She can make you feel good,
She can make you feel that it’s all worthwhile,
Only by her smile, only by her smile’

she certainly does, that smile every morning as she wakes makes me feel it’s all worthwhile, it makes those hard feelings of not wanting to feel the hurt anymore go away in those moments and to remind myself you would want me to be with her as much as there’s parts of me who still long just to be with you.

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I hope Henry, I just hope I can make you proud, proud of the mother I am to you and also to your sister, that I can show her so much of what life has to offer, meaningful experiences and that we will always be here for her and support her in everything. That I will continue our fight for you and also raising awareness as you my boy are so incredibly worth fighting for. My first born, forever our baby boy, always in our hearts, Henry I always hope you know how loved you are.

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Photo credit: Rachael Tagg photography

The bittersweetness of a rainbow

So many times Henry I searched in the sky for a sign, every time I saw a rainbow I wondered is that you, is that you telling me your sending a sibling our way? That’s what they call a baby who is conceived and born after losing a child, a rainbow baby.. The idea behind it Henry is that you’ve lived through the storm and here is the beautiful rainbow. It’s a term Henry I have struggled with at times, you certainly weren’t a storm but the grief and aftermath afterwards is, and I wouldn’t argue for a second your sibling will add colour and beauty in our lives… the storm of grief doesn’t end though because they are here and you my boy are a beautiful light, our sun, our moon and all our stars that brings so much brightness to our life too amongst the darkness of you dying and the terrible cloud, our love for you is always there and bright.

 

Here we are I’m pregnant your little brother or sister is growing away in there, in the same womb which you grew, and we are so incredibly grateful for this little life the one that’s growing inside me, but Henry pregnancy after you dying, it’s hard, losing you brought me down to the ground feeling like I’d never be able to move, stand or live again… this journey now comes with so many mixed emotions I can’t even begin to explain the mess within my mind.

Hopeful yet so scared, grateful yet anxious, happy yet sad, joyful yet angry and that’s only some of what we feel… we are hopeful of bringing this baby home safely yet scared as we thought we were bringing you home too, grateful to be pregnant yet anxious that might end at anytime, happy this new little life is on the way yet sad we don’t get to have you here, joyful this is happening yet so angry about what happened with you.

It hasn’t been an easy ride Henry as you know, we’ve overcome a range of hurdles already, we had bleeding which was unexplained from about weeks 6-8, scaring us wondering were we miscarrying another of your siblings, I remember with you the terrible sickness I get HG (hyperemisis gravidarum) it started at 6 weeks, with your first sibling I miscarried I didn’t get it at all, so your dad and I counted the weeks wondering would I? Would I be sick if I was we would see it as a good sign, sure enough the sickness kicked in, the first time I vomited, after flushing the toilet washing my hands and emerging from the bathroom your Dad high fives me, he was so excited.. I must admit I was put a little at ease by this too “yay you vomited” seriously how many people are happy about that… that happiness soon turned to tears and lots of other emotions though when the sickness became worse than what it was with you, I didn’t think that possible Henry but early days not even the medication worked to help it… at least that helped with you… so I spent many miserable days unable to move much from the lounge except to be sick, keeping absolutely nothing down not even water, in fact water made it worse and after days and days like this it was off to hospital to be admitted and placed on IV fluids.. as my body was so dehydrated it was becoming a risk for me and this little bubs.

We’ve lived with the fears between every appointment, every scan ‘will there be a heartbeat’. At every appointment we have heard it there giving our minds a rest for maybe that hour or maybe that day, but back to the next day the many mixed emotions, thoughts and anxieties that can enter my mind daily.

Then at 26 weeks while away in Sydney for work for a couple of days experienced a fall, As I fell hard back on to the concrete my tail bone hitting hard first, I felt a gush of fluid and the back of my dress was soaked, it took me back to that feeling of my waters breaking with you, I thought that was what had happened, In so much panic trying to phone Tim my colleagues who I was travelling with rushed to help me “I think my waters have broken” I managed to get out, I then couldn’t fight the fears that came with the thought os that “I can’t loose this baby too” I kept saying to my colleague as she tried to calm me down and others called an ambulance. The paramedics were great and tried their best to put me at ease but as we travelled to the hospital they asked have you felt the baby move and I hadn’t panic set in more.

We arrived at the hospital and eventually I was taken to maternity greeted by the lady in charge “Whats happened?” she asked as I explained how I had fallen, where I landed the fluid, “So why are you sad?” she asked and I started again to cry “Because we lost our little boy at 39 weeks during labour and I can’t loose this baby too” I said, she was on to it straight away they whelped me to a room, monitor on, and there was the heartbeat. Monitored for four hours, examined to see about the fluid, our poor dad driving over two hours and getting lost. We finally got the all clear that all was ok and we could go home.

Recently Henry we found out my iron was way to low, something that happened with you too, so it was off for an iron infusion. It hasn’t been an easy road at all. I took this picture the day I had the infusion, the two bandaids on my hand are because the canal went in initially and then I could feel the very long needle going in every bit of my vein and it didn’t work, so had to be pulled out and we had to try the next vein that afternoon I thought I better capture how my belly was growing.

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Then there’s other fears Henry, the ones my anxiety likes to conjure up out of no where and hold on too, my anxiety likes to tell me stories, it likes to in detail come up all the what if’s, could be, may happen. It starts off the stories small and quietly almost like a whisper but at times by the end it’s almost like a loud thundering voice.

Worry joins in eagerly, it’s just captivated and waiting there… as soon as it hears what if, it’s attached itself so tightly and makes itself really comfy right in the spot you don’t want it to be and stays.

I work hard on these, I work hard to quieten them down, try and put them back in their place, but they are regular visitors, you know the type come unannounced all the time, unwelcome, at times they don’t even knock just let themselves in. It’s like they waltz through the door helping themselves to all that’s available, raiding the fridge, taking the remote and settling in on the couch, then when it’s time for bed…. instead of going home they make their own decision to stay the night…

3am this morning and I’m wide awake Henry, nothing new, the very thought that enters my mind this morning after I’m up and sick is… “how are you and Tim going to do this?” “You don’t even know how to parent a living baby” that thought stings but it’s true Henry, we don’t and I start to wonder, to worry ‘how will we do it?’ In amongst all the feelings and intensity of navigating a baby in our arms at home, knowing we never got that with you, ‘who will you call Kristy?’ My mind asks, ‘seriously who will you call for advice, how will you know what to do?, what if you have problems feeding?, you’ve never done that part, and how will you do it all amongst those absolutely intense feelings of grief and loss, especially the ones that are going to hit harder than before’…

It overwhelmed me Henry, all things that I’ll have no control over, that shouldn’t worry me and yet they do, here we are your Dad and I ‘Parents’ yet we have no idea how to ‘parent’ and look after a baby that gets to come home.

At least your entertaining the idea this baby will come home, I say to myself… true.. but as you know Henry that’s something I sometimes won’t even entertain that thought at all as I try and protect myself, my heart. I love your sibling so much, yet they miss so much of the wonderful things I did in my pregnancy for you.

I can’t read to them most nights like I did to you in there, or play them music like I did for you, I’ve tried, I’ve actually tried really hard Henry, but it triggers a lot for me and so I try and protect my heart instead.

I think of how unfair this seems, I want this little one to know how loved they are Henry, I do. I want them to know how wanted they are just like you, but I wonder if I express that enough and how.. one minute I want to buy things for them the next I can’t, I want to hide away as the thought of buying them something then possibly not getting to use it, is so incredibly hard to bear. Talks like your Dad and I talked about with you don’t occur. Your dad and I used to chat for ages when you were growing in my belly, so often about who you’d be, what we’d do, we had planned picnics, travel, coffee dates, summers swimming, days by the ocean and LEGO nights at home. We had shared our dreams of cooking with you, teaching you to build new things, days spent in the garden, nights spent snuggling on the lounge with books. All that was then lost, I can’t talk like that this time. It’s so different this time Henry, but the love is the same.

Now here we are another week closer, another week of this little one growing, moving, now kicking under my ribs and well, it doesn’t end. With you I used to worry, I worried about how I would make it through the days being so sick all the time, about how I might look after pregnancy with the way my body was changing, I worried about stretch marks and how I didn’t sleep well and how would I cope once you arrived if I wasn’t getting enough sleep before hand, I worried about having your room set up, having all that we needed for you, making sure your room looked peaceful and I worried about whether you would like to feed from both the breast and bottle, because well what if I needed a break?.

How I wish those were my worries now Henry, but now the worries are more complex, and the worries stem from your death during labour and all I now know about the death of babies, about how common it is about all the things that can go wrong. People could tell me not to worry, but that worry and anxiety is based on our actual experience with you, not something made up, it happened. People could say it can’t happen twice, but there’s no magical rule in the universe that says once it’s happened once it won’t happen again, nothing excludes anyone from having gone through one trauma to not experiencing another. Theres no guarantee, no magic thinking, nothing.

So now I worry about what labour will look like for us this time and how that can be different, I worry about whether each day I will wake up and will this baby still be alive, I worry about whether I feel enough movement or sometimes is it too much, I worry about how my worrying affects this baby, I get anxious about whether I will be able to birth this baby with all the emotions and flashbacks from your birth.

I tell myself different baby, different experience and the medical team we have around us this time I do have a lot of trust in, but ‘what if’. Then Henry there is the days the guilt takes over for thinking things like, ‘If you were here I wouldn’t be pregnant with this baby’ and the complexities of that thought itself, the guilt that I am pregnant with this baby and feeling how I feel and that you aren’t here vs feeling bad that I think that they wouldn’t exist if you were… how does anyone even wrap their head around those very thoughts.

This means taking some big steps, there’s a never ending staircase we are climbing at the moment and the steps are huge, sometimes we need those climbing that staircase with us to reach out a hand and help pull us on to the next one. It’s having to have and develop trust in those we’ve surrounded us with to support us through this journey of wanting to bring your little sibling safe in to the world.

Today Henry while washing the dishes I began to think about the fact I probably should pack my hospital bag in a few weeks time, I started to think about what I might need to pack, our stay in the private hospital will be up to five days so I need to have enough for that time. As my thoughts went over things like toiletries and then what clothes I will need. I then thought to myself ‘how do I pack clothes when I am limited in what clothes I have to wear at the moment’ You see Henry being pregnant through winter this time has meant different clothing and so I have been trying to limit how much I buy and just have enough to get me through, but with the one pair of tights and maternity jeans I seem to be re-wearing and washing every second day, how do I pack them in a bag when I will be wearing them right up until the day.

“Maybe bag over your head?” your Dad suggests to me when he texts from work and I tell him my thoughts, I know he has said this to make me laugh and for the moment it worked, then my next thought went to the fact with our experience with you I didn’t get to know what I would need or use or whether my bags were packed right, so how was I supposed to know now, tears started streaming down my face. Your dad messages again, ‘comfy clothes, your pj’s, toiletries and maybe sneak in a chocolate’. I smile at the chocolate reference but tell him ‘but I am still wearing all my comfy clothes I cant pack them in a bag I will have nothing to wear’, ‘There’s yellow pages in the cupboard?’ he suggests Oh how grateful I am for your Dad and making me laugh.

These things can seem small to someone else Henry but to us, these are the types of smaller hurdles and thoughts we have on top of everything else, when in Hospital with your baby who died you aren’t worrying about what you’ve packed and have to wear, what you’ll need, so when it then comes to the thought of having a baby who is living you even though you have given birth before, you still have no real ideas of what you’ll need. apart from a whole lot of tissues Henry, I think I may email Kleenex for a supply as it’s going to be one emotional rollercoaster.

Sometimes when tears hit Henry it can be hard to distinguish whether they are coming from my ever changing hormones or the sadness I still feel you are not here, I cried over dinner I had cooked last night that didn’t turn out, ‘hormones’ most might say but then I feel like there may have been more brewing behind it and that was just what set it off, allowed me some permission to cry.

I’m having so many dreams Henry some take me back to what happened with you, I found myself this morning waking up in a sweat after dreaming about that, in others I have given birth to your sibling, I think my mind is spending the nights trying to make sense of and sort all my thoughts which then play out in dreams.. Good luck mind, I am surprised it hasn’t upped stumps and tried to run away leaving a monkey playing the symbols in there because its all too much, The thought of the monkey with symbols is appealing as a break.

Your Dad is exhausted too, I know he worries daily as well, each day he puts his hand on my belly and asks “how is the hatchling today?” as his hand lingers there, I have come to realise this is his subtle way of asking ‘have you felt movements today’ and hoping in that moment he might feel one to reassure himself. Each appointment we attend I see the anxiousness in his eyes until we hear the heartbeat and I see his shoulders drop in relief. I see him quickly ask “Are you ok where is the pain?” If I hold myself differently or show any signs of discomfort, which is happening more and more the bigger my belly grows as my belly is growing much larger than it did with you, so the aches, pains and pressures have begun. So Henry your Dad his mind never stops too, I don’t think either of us have ever wished time away so much. So much we are grateful for, yet so much we are fearful of, this Henry is the bittersweetness of a rainbow.

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I had a moment the other night Henry, sitting on the lounge with your Dad as I sat there, quite unexpectedly I passed wind, as I did so though and it kept going…. I could feel this little baby pushing on something inside, I could literally feel the pressure they were placing and that was what was making me fart. Your Dad started at me and then we both laughed, what else could I do “Sorry” I said and then was explaining to him what I felt. it took me back to a moment with you, I remember I was heavily pregnant and we had decided to go on a walk after dinner, as your Dad and I walked down the street I farted then too, they kept going as I walked each step. Your Dad had joked with me about how I could power myself along my walk, he had me laughing so much I had to stop in the middle of the road and cross my legs as the laughing and you put more pressure on my bladder and I then felt like I was going to pee my pants which made us both laugh more. Such funny memories only your Dad and I share with you, yet so bittersweet.

Between working full time Henry and feeling exhausted I can not say we have been doing a lot. I had a beautiful friend visit me the other Saturday, she drove a long way to have breakfast with me which was so incredibly lovely, and left me with a gift of some outfits and books for your sibling, what was eve more special is she had remembered the books I had already bought for you, so made sure not to by the same. It was so good to see her and so lovely the thought that had gone in to it. We also that same weekend received two funny books we didn’t have yet either for your sibling from the beautiful hair dresser who does your Dad’s hair. She is someone who came in to our lives because of you Henry, initially because after we came home without you and your dad needed his first haircut and he wasn’t up to going out he messaged a friend to ask if they could recommend someone who may come to the house, she organised for this beautiful lady to come and its remained that way, she has even become a lovely friend.

As I want to type more I better go Henry, your oldest fur sister is whining, barking and carrying on as she is set on having her dinner at the same time each night. This has set your other fur sister off to come to the keyboard and nudge my arm expectedly and then bark at your other fur sister. Which the noise is now causing me to be kicked hard under the ribs and to feel lots of rolling behind my belly button, and I feel like my chest and throat are now on fire with heartburn too. Life doesn’t stop.

Life may not stop, we may be finding it hard and exhausting, but one thing always remains. We have so much love for you Henry and that love is forever and always.

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20 weeks pregnant with you Henry.

 

 

Thank you

On Mothers Day I can think of no mother more deserving than a Mother who had to give one back.

My Beautiful Henry, thank you, thank you for making me a Mum, and not just anyone’s Mum, your mum.. it is an absolute honour that you chose me… out of all the women out there, you chose to come in to my life, for me to carry you, have you grow for those 39 weeks. You chose me and I’m forever grateful.

As we approach my second Mother’s Day without you, my second Mother’s Day as a Mum but without her baby in her arms.. I’m not sure some days exactly how that feels. I know in the lead up I’ve been sad, angry and confused.. I almost feel like this second one hurts more as you were born so close to Mother’s Day last year, after I had given birth, after we lost you, we were still somewhat in shock… That shock has well and truly worn off a year down the track and here we are left with the raw pain and that stuck in our face reality that, you are not here in our arms and never will be again.

Mother’s Day last year, I was in shock, deep grief, my body was physically still healing from giving birth to you, I was still sore, bleeding, producing milk, my body still thought there was a baby there to look after. I just spent the day in an absolute haze really, of tears because you weren’t in my arms, tiredness because grieving your baby keeps you awake at all hours and I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I just went along with what others thought should be done.

The last couple of months Henry have been incredibly tough, physically and mentally. I have your sibling who continues to grow, My belly feels like it is getting bigger daily, I’m uncomfortable, am still vomiting daily and am so incredibly tired alllllll of the time. My iron is low, the list goes on, but I am so incredibly grateful to be carrying your sibling, of this little one growing, moving, kicking and oh boy do they kick!!

In this last month, we’ve passed some big firsts, the day last year I went in to hospital with you, the days following, the day we last heard your heartbeat knowing you were alive, and then the day you were born, your birthday, we passed what would have been your first birthday, the day we said our final farewell and celebrated your life. Some big moments.

The weeks leading up to that, so much emotion, the build up like a volcano that could erupt at any time and it did on several occasions, tears, sobs, wailing, anger it was all there.. silent tears lying beside your Dad in bed not wanting to wake him, sobs in to his chest when he did wake, and he’d realise so he’d pull me in to his arms and I’d just let it all go.. wailing as I said to him “I just want my baby boy, that’s all I want” and your Dad would reply “I know” as his tears would then silently fall while he held me.

Two days before your birthday we had an obstetrician appointment, to check on your little brother or sister…. as soon as we sat down in his office I couldn’t help it the tears just started to fall “I make all the girls cry” Dr W joked with us and I cracked half a smile between tears, then with so much compassion and understanding he said “I know it’s a hard time, do you have any plans for his birthday?” He asked, I can’t even explain Henry what it was like, to have someone, a medical professional stop one to acknowledge how hard it was but then to sit, not rush the appointment or anything but he sat and he listened genuinely listened as we told him of the picnic we had planned and what we were going to do.

“It’s with you for the rest of your lives” he said to us, “you’ll always carry it and there’ll always be moments where its heavier than others” such a simple acknowledgment and one that helps ease our anxiety and build a trustful relationship with the professional who we need to trust as he will deliver your baby brother or sister in to this world.

After this I hopped up on to the table for a scan, Dr W took measurements of this little bubs, as he measured bubs stomach which was measuring a day or two ahead of most other body parts I turned to your Dad “Bubs has your big belly” I joked “That’s not nice” Dr W responds “I thought I had lost weight” your Dad and I both laughed.

Off the table and then on to the bathroom to get a urine sample, after that I came back to get on the scales. As I stood on the scales facing the wall and looked down I watched it start to climb up, all of a sudden it began climbing rapidly 85, 95 ‘what the’ I thought to myself, I mean I know my belly is bigger this time round Henry but I didn’t think it was that big…. Dr W stood behind me watching the numbers “ohh 90, 82 oh” he remarked as it continued to go haywire, up and down in numbers but not stopping, finally it scaled back down and settled on my weight. Somewhat confused as I read it out and stood off the scale I turned to Dr W “I was standing on the back of it Kristy” he laughed “got to stick up for Tim somehow” he said and I began to laugh so much as I realised what had happened and was thankful for the fact he was able to have that joke and make our morning and appointment a little lighter… (Lighter, see what I said there Henry, your Dad would be proud of my bad Dad joke attempt).

The day before your Birthday Henry, Anzac Day, it was incredibly tough, I was at home to bake and decorate a cake for you. The tears they hit so hard at times throughout the day ‘This time last year’ I thought to myself, ‘this time last year we knew you were still alive’, ‘this time last year we walked up and down outside the hospital as I got contractions on and off’, ‘this time last year the Doctor did not come back in the morning as he said he would, but later and chose not to induce me like he had said the night before even though my waters had broken’, ‘this time last year later that night when I pressed the buzzer for help, I was met with rudeness and abruptness of someone who didn’t want to acknowledge what I was saying, who sent your Dad home, who for some reason I will never know didn’t want to know, ignored what I was saying I got given a sleeping tablet and told “get to bed I don’t want to hear you have been up and down all night, we’ll deal with this in the morning”, ‘this time last year I didn’t sleep even with the tablet, my contractions continued, I buzzed again an hour later, to be met with the same rude attitude a roll of the eyes and told again to stay in bed and was given a heat pack’, ‘this time last year I laboured all night on my own in that room and no one checked on me for over 9 hours’, I was supposed to be checked on every three to four hours, we found out the actual midwife who had been allocated to me that night, I didn’t even see at all, the one who was rude to me wasn’t even supposed to be the one to attend to my buzzer, we found out this time last year that the midwife who should have checked on me that night when asked why she didn’t attend said “I assumed the patient was sleeping” 😦 That’s only part of it Henry we live with the lack of duty of care, decisions made and people who did not want to actively listen when I said the contractions were getting worse, when I said they were consistent, when I said we were timing them, when I said I didn’t feel right…. We live with the lack of care and negligence everyday now. Anzac Day all that trauma hit hard.

Remembering finally being checked on the next morning and taken to the labour room and then hearing nothing as they put the monitor on my belly, silence where there should have been the sound of your heartbeat, silence where there had been a heartbeat the day before. Silence that will forever be with me, being alone in that room without support and being told you were no longer alive, waiting on your Dad to arrive to have to tell him.

So much more we know now Henry, of me researching and realising policies weren’t followed, of knowing the tablet I had been given shouldn’t have even been available on that ward and had been banned. A tablet that certainly should not be given to a woman in labour. Policies of monitoring a woman who has had pre rupture of membranes not followed, general procedures of patient monitoring every four hours not followed and so much more we haven’t disclosed, yet had it all been done, we could have had you here in our lives, you would have been delivered safely in to our arms, we would have taken you home and be caring for you now.

I relive all that trauma daily Henry, but on the days leading up to your birthday, well even more so it was like it had just happened yesterday.

After spending the whole day baking and decorating your cake, crying tears, your Dad joking before he had to go out ‘just don’t get any snot in the cake no one needs to be eating a salty oyster’….. (insert eye roll here, but at least he made me laugh)…. At about 6pm I finally sat down for a drink of water and something to eat, your little sibling kicked me as if to let me know I had waited way too long to eat and feed them too. As I sat I thought about what I needed to do next, balloons I thought, I had bought foil balloons, a number 1 for your first birthday and some stars and a moon as you are ‘our sun, our moon and all our stars’. So after eating I got out the balloons and thought ok I will blow them up, I blew one up and sat it on the table, as I sat it there, I looked and thought ‘hmmm it’s not going to float’ you need helium for that… Then somehow I thought oh they might be ok in the wind, call it tiredness, call it grief, call it pregnancy brain, but I still somehow even though I had come to this realisation, I sat there and blew up allllll of the balloons I had bought. The moon and some of the stars weren’t small Henry and anyone that’s experienced pregnancy knows all that pushing on organs can leave you easily out of breath and yet I sat and blew them all up, once I had done them all I looked at them on the table in front of me and just thought to myself ‘Kristy you idiot what have you done, none of them are going to float it wasn’t going to work why did you waste all of them, now you have no balloons for Henry’s birthday tomorrow’ it was at about this moment your Dad walked in the door.

I tried to explain my dilemma and what I had done and how I was now upset we didn’t have balloons for the picnic and how I just wanted them on the table for you, I just wanted it to be special and now look, Your Dad could see how upset I was getting, the panic I was in, “We will get some helium” he said and we were both googling, until we made a call to Kmart, so off we went 8pm at night for a drive in to town to go to Kmart. “Well” I said to your Dad “We are well and truly doing what any parent would be doing the night before their kids birthday party, rushing around last minute to get something” we both laughed a little at the irony of that as your Dad also cried.

Helium, new balloons in hand we drove back home, I used the helium to fill the new balloons, I managed to burst one, I filled the rest as they drifted to the ceiling and then I had to get your dad to pull them down so I could tie string to them and tie them to the weight. The funny thing is I said to your Dad for your service we couldn’t release balloons as they would be bad for the environment. well turns out for your actual birthday Henry you wanted balloons released as the next morning we lost one out the back door, one on the way to the car, even though they were tied, the next one your Dad lost as we got them out of the car at the beach, all that effort, all that time and all but two balloons remained, I had to just laugh… You got your balloon release little man.

The day of your birthday was actually really beautiful, the sun shone as we set up a small table on your beach (with the two balloons, except the wind got so strong they just tangled themselves under the table) We had the cake I baked and decorated for you, some photographs of when I was pregnant with you and of you after you were born, we had butterflies to release. A gathering of family and a small amount of friends, we all sat in the sunshine together, Your Dad and I released butterflies, we cut your cake as your Dad tried to hide tears from behind his sunglasses and I said some words, we shared your cake with those close to us and genuinely enjoyed a beautiful picnic at the beach in your honour, it was so special Henry and I am so glad we were able to take the time to celebrate you.

That evening more friends popped over, we had company and sat around a fire, I got everyone pizza for dinner. I barely sat down but I was glad we could honour you.

The next day Henry I was absolutely wrecked, I awoke in tears, I was so incredibly tired, I slept for 3 hours in the middle of the day, but your Dad and I both agreed your special day couldn’t have gone better than it did. I am so proud to call you my son Henry and we will always celebrate you and all the love you have brought in to our lives.

Last week Henry your Dad and I decided we would go out to dinner, we planned it at the beginning of the week, for the first time in a long time Henry, I found myself looking actually looking forward to it, to the thought of going out, of having a date night with your Dad. We got ready that night and just before we left the house, I asked your Dad “Can you get a photo of me?” I asked your Dad, even this one simple question Henry was a big deal, your Dad and I don’t really take many photos since we lost you and I find part of it is because of how we feel about ourselves, I have lost my confidence in everything, in my work, myself, my looks. I often feel like we’ve aged so much, and I often don’t like to look at myself in the mirror, anxiety is like that it likes to focus on and tell you things that are not true about yourself. So I stood and got your Dad to take the photos, the only problem was I was trying to pose and not smile because when I smile you can see the extra lines I now have around my eyes and some on my forehead when make-up isn’t hiding them. As I ‘tried’ to look ok for the photo I failed, I failed as one of my eyebrows kept lifting on its own and well I just looked ridiculous and as much as your Dad tried not to laugh he couldn’t help it which then made me laugh too, but as we laughed your Dad continued to snap pictures. I wasn’t even going to post this pics Henry, but the next day I thought you know what, this is me, this is me now, this is how I look and who I am and that’s it. Grief, worry, anxiety all of it may have aged me, it may have taken my confidence but it’s time in the moments I can to try and get some of that back.

Last Saturday Henry, another milestone to pass, it was exactly 12 months since the day we held your celebration of life, since we scattered some of your ashes in the ocean, since we stood on the beach with friends and I read out our words for you, since we played you some songs and released butterflies in your honour. Waking up to that was hard and I cuddled in to your Dad’s chest and sobbed “It’s been 12 months yesterday since we last got to hold him” I sobbed to your dad through all the tears “We never ever get to do that again” at that moment your Dad dissolved in to tears to and we lay holding one another, it hurt so bad Henry, “I just want my little boy I want him in my arms I don’t want to do this” I managed to get out somehow “We have to” your Dad said quietly “for Henry and for this little hatchling we have to” and he held my tighter I couldn’t help it my cries became louder as the pain filled my heart just that knowing of the one last time we held you, knowing I never ever get to hold you in my arms again at all, well not in this lifetime.

I still remember the last time I held you, your sweet nose, your little hands, your long fingers, I remember the sweet smell of a newborn, I remember the thousands of kisses I placed on to your face, your cheeks, I remember leaving you with a letter we wrote for you, of leaving you with a photo of your Dad and I on our wedding day, one I had planned to have in your room, of giving you the Koala toy I had bought for you while I was pregnant with you and away in Broken Hill for work, of leaving you with the book I had bought especially for your Dad to read to you, placing the blue booties your Nanny had knitted for you when she found out you existed, of before we left you for the last time wrapping your little fingers around a clean hanky of your Dad’s as he always insists you should never leave without one and then we wrapped you up for the very last time we would ever get to, placed you back in to the bassinet and kissed you once more, I tried to take in all I could in those moments, everything about you because I never wanted to forget and I hope over the years I never do forget what it felt like to hold you that day.

Once the tears finally ran out and your Dad felt like a storm had left a puddle on his chest, we lay there. Your Dad was going to an event called ‘Meatstock’ the next day with a friend, all about meat, different types of BBQ, slow cooked, Brazilian and other types of meat and beer of course and also some butcher wars “So do you need to do anything to prepare for tomorrow?” I asked him “Just bathe myself in salt and pepper before bed” was his reply, I laughed a little. “Oh I thought you’d have to dance under the moon tonight making extra manly noises” I said then giving my best attempt at a man grunt, Your Dad laughed at me “Well then I need to do this” he said and grunted as he showed me a picture of a man shaving with a chainsaw “and then this” he said showing me another picture “and we all stand there tomorrow grunting the loudest drinking beer, growing beards and the weakest link gets put in the smoker and we eat them” your Dad continued. He does anything he can to make me laugh Henry, and I love him for it.

So this morning at 2:30am the time your sibling wakes me every morning, the time I am sick and then suddenly urgently have to eat afterwards, the time I spend getting kicked, and poked from the inside as your sibling has a little party in there, I sat and started to type this letter to you. I typed it with Mother’s Day on my mind. Unsure how I am feeling, apprehensive about what the day will bring, unsure about what emotions I will be left feeling and I know Henry, I am not alone, I am so not alone. There are so many more Mothers out there Henry who are missing a child on Mother’s Day, there’s ones who desperately try and want to become a Mother and can’t, there’s those who are missing their own mothers, or who’s mothers aren’t there for them.

I reflect and I have been there Henry in almost all of those, Mother’s Day has always been a hard one for me anyway, having a mother who is abusive and doesn’t really want to be a Mum, then years of infertility of trying absolutely everything to fall pregnant and it failing, so Mother’s day always brought with it a sting to my heart and was a heavy day full of emotion. I remember two years ago I thought to myself in a bid to make the day more positive, I went out and bought a few bunches of flowers leaving them anonymously by the doors of women in my life who I admired for the way mothers they were to their children. Last year in the late stages of my pregnancy I remember feeling some excitement at the thought of Mother’s Day as I knew we’d have you a newborn at home and looked forward to how your Dad might choose to celebrate it.

Then that was all shattered too, so I go in to tomorrow, a Mum but not the way I thought I would be, I go in to the day thinking about all that should have been and isn’t, I go in to the day pregnant with your sibling which isn’t where I thought I would be.

If you know anyone who has lost a child, all I can say is although they will be feeling mixed emotions about the day, one of the best things you can do is still acknowledge them as a Mother, as by doing that you acknowledge that they are, you acknowledge that their child existed, that their child matters and that means so much to all the bereaved Mothers I now know.

Mother’s Day, although it may come with mixed and varied emotions, I still want to celebrate the fact I am your Mum Henry, I am a Mother, I am your Mum and I am filled with so much love and pride for you as any mother has for their living child, I feel the same love they do, I feel the same in wanting to share about you as they do wanting to share about their children and their achievements, I feel the same in that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. My motherhood although very different, in the way I parent, in how I share about you, it still exists, you existed, you died, but you existed, and you were here, so therefore my motherhood exists. Some look at me Henry and very well-meaningly as they don’t see you, they call me a ‘Mother to be’ but I am not I am already a Mum and for that my beautiful boy, I thank you.

All my love forever and always.

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ONE.

If I had ONE wish,
it would be for you to be here
and it will always be that wish,
ALWAYS..

ONE! One Henry, one, a number, a word, an age…… When people ask “How old is your little one?” a question I had recently from someone I didn’t know I should be saying “Almost one” yet my answer was “he passed away”. I cannot believe that it has been almost 12 months since we said our hello and goodbyes all at once. How can it be that we are here, at a time when I should be planning what presents to buy, how to spoil you, I am trying to work out how we still celebrate you, your day while feeling so many emotions all at once.

One, a number that goes through my mind, one can be applied to so many things, how I wish we had one more day with you, one more moment, one minute, hour, month, year….. One..

I haven’t written for almost one month, not because I have not wanted to, but as you know little Henry your little brother or sister is on the way… You are going to be a big brother, not our only baby and while that makes me so incredibly happy, just typing that right now brings tears that sting straight to my eyes as the overwhelm and sadness that I feel that your little brother or sister will never get to hold your hand, they will never learn to walk by pushing you around, they’ll never have to fight us for your attention, they’ll never have you here to confide in, plan with, play, they will never argue with you, steal your things, all those moments we experience with our siblings they don’t get too. That just absolutely breaks my heart all over again when I didn’t think it could break anymore.

This pregnancy like yours hasn’t been easy Henry, I have been so incredibly sick again, hospitalised for fluids after days of keeping nothing down, trying to juggle grief, feelings of a new pregnancy, sickness and others not knowing as we were too scared to say anything, its made it incredibly hard, that’s why it has been hard to write, to put down words when you are trying to just get through a work day without vomiting, trying to eat something in the hope you’ll keep it down all while between each appointment, each scan wondering will everything be ok, will it or will this little one be taken from us too, and then trying to allow the emotions that come along with missing you.

Plus each day that edges closer to April, to the month when you were born, I feel like I have been taken back, I feel like this all happened yesterday, the emotions have surfaced, they have come right out and are spilling over like a volcano erupting, I have dreams all the time, dreams of being left alone, dreams of being in the dark of wanting help and no one there. When I wake as soon as I do every day right now I am taken back to that moment of finally being checked on and them finally putting the monitor on and there being nothing, no sound, silence where there should have been the strong beat of your heart like there was the day before, I am reliving that moment every morning so vividly in my mind as soon as I wake it is there.

I find myself Henry feeling more like I did some early days, unable to always respond to texts and messages, more and more it’s so much effort to get out of bed in the morning to want to do the day, I’ve had moments small things that I wouldn’t normally react to have affected me. My anxiety has been high.

I want to bake a cake for your birthday, I want to make it chocolate as you loved chocolate when I was pregnant, whenever I ate it without fail you would always react, there would be movement or a kick that would make both your Dad and I laugh, we always joked when I was pregnant that you had your Dads taste in foods and not mine. So I want the cake to be chocolate, I have been ok with thinking about your cake so far until yesterday. I couldn’t decide what I would do with the cake how I would decorate it, so I started looking for ideas, I started to develop one in my mind of how it may look of what it may be and then as I did so I thought ‘How do I choose a cake to decorate for you when all I want is you here?’ ‘what will represent you or be good enough’ I should be planning this cake with you here, for your 1st birthday party with our family and friends, I should be looking at doing a cake that represents the traits and little personality you have developed with us caring for you over the past twelve months, how do I do the perfect cake for you when we don’t have all that where the time we held you in our arms was limited, when you never got to come home. I texted a friend and said to her “How do you decide on a ‘1st birthday’ cake when all you really want is them here.

One that number wont leave me right now. The thing is every year there’ll be a number, we still have lots of firsts to get through, not only your birthday but then the day we said until we meet again, that is another one of those firsts, but soon we start the seconds too. There’ll be my second mothers day without you and so on and I am not sure having been through it once makes it any easier, my first mothers day was within weeks of you being born, I was still in so much shock over what had happened, does that mean my reaction will be worse this year or just different I guess, the fact is we will face the years and they will bring their own challenges, one, two, three, four, five etc you would have started school at five, there’ll always be a milestone we are missing out on.

“This is just what you need” I have had some people say to me about this pregnancy, like they think us having your sibling will somehow replace you, like having your sibling may ‘fix’ us. No other child no matter how many siblings we have could ever replace you, it’s not what ‘we need’ as what we need is you. I do say however that a sibling of course is going to bring us joy as parents. It will add to the love we have and feel just as they would if you were here. It will bring with it challenges of feeling all we will seeing this little one grow and change and realising more of what we missed with you, of trying to be good parents to both of you the one in our arms and the one in our heart.

As I sat in a psychologist session the other day she asked me Henry if your Dad and I had begun to talk about what we might be looking forward to with this baby, I instantly felt so much sadness, just absolute pure sadness as I answered her “No” I told her why I felt sad, I felt sad we hadn’t been able to do that as we can’t focus past day by day sometimes and knowing if we get to take this baby home. All we say is we look forward to is having them safely in our arms, we haven’t been able to talk past that and it makes me so incredibly sad as with you we talked of the future all the time, we talked about the adventures we wanted to take with you, how we would first take you to the beach, where we wanted to take you away too, how we wanted to once you were older travel with you around Australia, we talked about Friday nights at home snuggling together and playing Lego as you grew, about days spent having picnics in the sunshine, about summer nights spent walking to see the sunset, we talked about how we wanted you to experience the outdoors, about what foods you might like, we talked about the things we would buy you as your grew, about how we’d be as parents we really talked about it all and now I find it hard to imagine that we might get to do any of that with this little one, so we have been unable to talk about any of it at all.

She discussed with me how that’s ok, how it’s completely ok to feel how we were feeling, how valid that was and to acknowledge that, but it still made me so sad we can’t see that, we cant talk about that or have those same feelings and excitement that we did with you.

The days feel like months Henry when it comes to even thinking we are getting close to your sibling being here, each day I battle between feeling hope and feeling helpless, feeling happy and feeling sad, feeling grateful and angry, I am getting used to so many emotions coexisting as they always will now. In a way I feel like I live in two separate worlds at the exact same time. Then there is the guilt that bears down on me so heavily, one where I feel bad we can not seem to get excited like we had with you, as doesn’t this baby deserve that too, I have moments where this little one moves and kicks and your Dad and I look in awe still, then we go to scans and while we are always happy to see a heartbeat the scans often come with tears too as we remember our scans with you. We go between these moments.

If I am honest Henry pregnancy after losing you is even tougher than I ever imagined it to be, I wish some days we could go back to the naivety we had in our pregnancy with you of thinking we get to take this baby home too, but that’s no longer our reality, we wont fully believe that until it happens, we can’t look at it that way as we have experienced what we didn’t think was possible. It is a juggling act and if I am honest I never really learnt to juggle Henry, yet here we are we throw the balls in the air trying to catch them and keep them going but then they all fall and hit the ground as we aren’t quick enough each time we turn a corner a new ball is added, a different emotion, a memory, something to do with this pregnancy will trigger an emotion from the trauma we have experienced. I could never be a clown in the circus Henry, I never feel like I will ever learn to juggle, perhaps I’d be better suited to being the one who gets dunked in the water, although I am not great at keeping my head above the water either.

We have made some progress on your garden, which has brought me some joy, it seems to be one of the only times I don’t think too much these days when I am there creating this space for you. Your Dad finished the screen something I had been to unwell to assist with. We recently added soil, I fixed the dry creek bed, we added some native grass and then your Dad and I built something special for your little sibling, we went and got special sand crushed terracotta and some other stuff I can’t remember the name of right now (cue my mum/pregnancy brain) and we created a little tonic truck park, something I hope you would have loved and something your sibling can play with when they are old enough. It is looking great, we just need to add some turf, some other plants and something to sit on.. I hope we get it done within the month.

As I sat for a moment the other day Henry, I remembered taking that pregnancy test with you, how clearly the line showed up straight away, the way I was in shock as it was so unexpected, my panic about trying to make it special for your Dad, I remember the exact date, all the different thoughts, of the things that went through my mind, it made me smile to think about how we went from shock and not knowing to how we talked so fondly about wanting to be your Mum and Dad and how we wanted to raise you. I only hope we can be even better parents than we imagined to you and your sibling.

As we approach the next month and all that comes with it, as we get closer to that one day! Your 1st Birthday. Whatever surfaces, whatever we are feeling, I want you to know this. I’m so incredibly grateful for you, I’m so incredibly blessed to have carried you, to be chosen as your Mum. I wouldn’t change that experience and all the joy and how you have changed us for anything in the world. I may struggle, I may fall, I may feel things that are hard and tough to feel and I do at times miss the people your Dad and I were, but you beautiful boy have also brought so much to us and our lives. I promise to live mine for you. Always loving you.

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I don’t fit

Where do I fit Henry? As a mother I mean, I’m not sure I do. In our day to day lives, I don’t fit, I’m the square peg trying to be placed in to the round hole. We have so many friends that had their babies around the same time either a little before or a little after you, I see them Henry as they tag each other in the funny memes on Facebook about how they kept their children alive today or about the funny conversations you have at playgroup, that will never be me Henry not now as your mum and not even if we have siblings for you.

I can’t joke about ‘at least I kept the kids alive’ as you died, I won’t be able to join in all those funny awkward conversations about labour and birth at a playgroup when your sibling is here as the near mention of the fact you died people instantly freeze, they don’t know what to say and I stick out like a sore thumb that people then avoid talking too.

I see our friends all sit around and talk about how hard it was they haven’t been getting any sleep at night due to their babies not settling, teething or crying, they don’t know I lose sleep too, I don’t sleep because of the thoughts of what happened with you come creeping in, I lose sleep because missing you just hurts so much sometimes, I lose sleep because my body still physically after 10 months doesn’t compute and looks for the baby it’s supposed to be nurturing and looking after, but I can’t join in the conversation with that. They have every right to be able to talk about these things Henry don’t get me wrong I am not saying that, I just wonder how do I fit? when I can’t join in.

We run in to our friends with children around your age, they are polite and smile I ask about their little ones ‘how are they going?’, ‘how was their first birthday party’ you see their eyes light up as they talk about the joy of their lives, they tell us about how they enjoyed their party or are now walking, we listen I comment on what they have to say, what they don’t know is I long to talk about you too, about how much I love you, about how incredibly beautiful you are to us, about how when we first saw your face, about anything…. after they finish talking though there’s usually silence for a second and then they quickly say they think of us and you all the time and make an excuse about how they quickly need to go. I don’t fit Henry, as a mother, I’m the puzzle on the shelf that’s always missing a piece and will never be complete.

I have wondered if I’ll ever fit? The truth is I won’t, when we have a sibling for you yes for the first time I’ll be able to join in conversations about nappy rashes, about teething and breastfeeding, but the fact will still remain, they’ll ask ‘is this your first?’ And I’ll reply no and talk about you, they’ll ask ‘how many children do you have?’ and even if I said ‘two’ it leads to ‘how old is your other child?’ Or ‘where are they today?’ and I’ll answer honestly and watch for a reaction hoping it won’t end the conversation.

I’ll never be able to post a meme about ‘keeping children alive’ I know it’s meant as harmless fun and I don’t want to take that away from anyone, but to me I can’t see the humour in that when my baby, when you died Henry. I won’t be able to say how much your sibling is like you as I never got to watch you grow to see what you were like. I will never completely fit Henry, it’s like trying to squeeze in to the jeans a size too small, the button no matter how much I pull will never be able to be done up.

So here I am your mum, but not seen as a mother. Here I am wanting to talk about you but in person, but not many are able to, ask about you or want to listen and I feel awkward just bringing you up as I don’t want to make others feel out-of-place so I don’t. I save it all in my thoughts you are on my mind every second of the day.

Your Dad and I recently Henry, we were out and about doing some things we needed to do and decided to go get some rice paper rolls for lunch, we ordered them and well I’ve never seen anything like it Henry, what we got wasn’t a rice paper roll it was a rice paper log, they were huge!!! We took them in the car to go sit by the river to eat… as we drove along we both commented on the size of them.. “I didn’t order a hipanonymous” your Dad said to me and I started to laugh “A hipanonymous?” I asked “don’t you mean hippopotamus” your Dad laughed and then looked over at me “no-no I meant hipanonymous its an anonymous hippo, no one knows that hippo” he said “you do know it’s anonymous that doesn’t mean it’s invisible” I replied, “it’s the hippo with no name at hippo school it can’t get it to trouble as it’s anonymous so the teacher doesn’t know its name” your Dad said so matter of factly “I’d be the naughty hippo he said “that’s always getting in to trouble with no name, they won’t write books about me” I laughed and laughed Henry as we continued the most ridiculous conversation, but we were both laughing which was so nice to share that laughter together in that moment.

Days have been busy with work, house stuff and a few other things. Your Dad has had a little time off so he’s been getting out photographing the water and people.. it’s so good to see him doing what he enjoys. He just needs to learn a bit more about the business side of things, it’s still being set up but at the moment he’s had a few orders lately and hasn’t asked for deposits so we’ve been left funding it from our savings to get orders printed and framed then, still yet to be paid…. but you live and learn Henry, deposits from now on to at least cover costs of printing so we aren’t stuck funding it all ourselves. Either way I’m proud of your Dad Henry for giving it a go, as I know you would be proud of him too.

4am I woke the other morning Henry not feeling the best. After getting up with stomach pains I got back in to bed, my mind wandered to you, it wandered to how I wished I was getting up at 4am to feed you, how I wondered what you’d be like at almost ten months old “who would you be more like?”, “what would be your favourite things?”, I wondered if you would have kept your blue eyes and dark hair or would it have changed? I wondered whether you would have said Dad or Mum first?, would you like food or have been really fussy, I thought about it all. All the things we never get to know and my whole body felt this familiar ache and longing for a child it knows it should be holding, my eyes began to cry those familiar tears and quietly so I didn’t wake your Dad, my heart was full of love for you but mixed with the sadness that we don’t get to know.

I’ve felt it so much physically lately Henry, my physical body searches for you, it does so when I still at times get a hormone surge and even after ten months milk still leaks a little. It does so as my arms feel so incredibly empty and long to hold you, it does in a way my brain can’t comprehend still looks for you who as it knows you should be here. I didn’t know it could be this physical, I never knew a mother’s body has the capacity to respond in such a way that the physical body separates from the rest and looks for the child it’s supposed to have while the mind knows what’s happened the body doesn’t comprehend.

I remember being pregnant with you I think about 8 months along so my belly was quite big, it’s amazing what a woman’s body can do Henry, how all your organs on the inside move up to create space for the little human growing inside, well with everything moving and being squished it creates its own problems, your Dad and I were on an evening walk one night when unexpectedly I farted, all that pressure!!! I instantly felt embarrassed and apologised, your Dad being your Dad made a joke out of it and I laughed but then these small farts just kept coming in a row one after the other as we walked along, “geez” said your dad “you are going to power off in a minute you’ll be ahead of me down the street with so much power pushing you along” I started to laugh so much it was all too much I had to stop walking as the laughter caused more pressure I almost peed my pants which made me laugh even more, we stood in the middle of the street, me standing with my legs awkwardly pressed together, the more I laughed the more pressure but we couldn’t sop laughing, both so happy laughing about my farting and almost peeing my pants.  Pregnancy, it certainly changes your body physically Henry but you are worth all of those changes, it’s just my body now expects to have you still here.

I get annoyed at myself Henry, I get annoyed that we still haven’t finished your garden, but we’ve been working, I’ve been unwell and our lives don’t stop like we would want them too at times. We have made a promise to you though, this will be done by the time your first birthday is here! So your Dad and I have decided we need to write a list. First thing on that list is to source the remaining old fence palings we need to finish the screen. I can’t wait to have it finished Henry to have the beautiful space created just for you.

Today Henry, today I don’t know what the day will bring, I know the sun is out shining, I also know your fur sisters need a bath, I know we need to go grocery shopping, but something I also know is your Dad and I need so more fun together too, the last few days we’ve both been snappy and it’s taken me by surprise, as we honestly are never usually that way with one another, we have both had a lot on our minds though, both had a lot going on, we’ve had letters to confirm action taken for complaints we made about circumstances surrounding you, and other things pop up. Things we don’t share and it’s occurred to me that with all that going on it brings up a lot of emotion for us both. So today Henry, your Dad and I need to have some fun! I hope you’ll be right there with us as we do.

We love you Henry, we say it everyday.

Sometimes….

This emptiness of being without you kills me everyday.

Sometimes I feel, Sometimes Henry I feel like no one wants to read these words I write, so I delete them in front of me, Sometimes I feel like by writing about it that people are asking “Isn’t she over it yet?”, but it’s not something you ‘get over’, Sometimes I feel offended by the well-meaning clichés people say “Something good will come from this” “Everything happens for a reason” the types of clichés that can’t be applied to the loss of a child, but then I realise they mean well and what is worse saying the wrong thing or the silence when someone says nothing at all.

Sometimes Henry I feel so angry about so many things, about how unfair this seems and I have had to start to acknowledge that anger is ok. Sometimes I miss the woman I was before we lost you, but then I wouldn’t trade being your mum for the world, sometimes Henry I have offended people too, without meaning it, its something we all do as humans. I remember the day after I had miscarried one of your Dad’s friends showed up, just messaged said he was coming over didn’t wait for an answer then was at the door, I got so upset, he wasn’t to know although we had been open about our miscarriage, he wasn’t to know that from the day I started bleeding it actually took five days before I actually miscarried, seeing the little sac with the baby come out, feeling the pains, the placenta making its way out. So when he turned up I was angry, upset I couldn’t do company, then later he went for a drink with your Dad when your Dad and I had already had a bake dinner in the oven, so I got even more angry when they showed back up late and didn’t talk to either of them.. So without your Dad’s friend knowing why I was rude.

Sometimes Henry I am so heavy under the weight of this grief, of how much I miss you, of wanting you here, yet sometimes I smile too and have lighter days. I had a friend message the other day to say she hopes it is hurting less everyday, I said to her I am not sure that it hurts less, but that we learn to live with this hurt, we incorporate it in to our lives to sit alongside joy and all the other emotions life brings, you learn to let it co-exist and get used to the fact it’s forever a part of you, at times it comes right to the surface demanding your attention taking up the biggest parts of you and then it shrinks back down again and allows you to be, to do, to smile and laugh. As hard as it is getting used to it Henry and living that way, I wouldn’t have changed having you my baby boy, so it’s the way it has to be.

Some Sunday mornings Henry –  how I just long for the Sunday mornings we thought we would have – the ones where you might have woken early but I would have changed and fed you and maybe we would have spent a lazy morning on the couch until we all got ourselves to shower and ready and walked with you to go get a coffee together as a family. Maybe, maybe it wouldn’t have gone that way every Sunday, maybe there might have been Sundays where you were unwell and cried and screamed where we didn’t know how to comfort you, or ones where your Dad was working and it was just us or where I may have been unwell and still trying to look after you. I know it wouldn’t have always been like roses, it wouldn’t always be the amazing way I had imagined, but oh how I would give anything for any of those Sundays, anyone one of them… the ones with lazy mornings of smiles and coffee or the ones with screams and unsettled pulling my hair out not knowing what to do, just the ones with you here are all I want.

Instead our Sundays start off the same as many others and every other morning, in silence and sometimes I feel just takes us a day further away from you, a day more where someone else may not mention your name anymore, another day where others have now moved on with life as they should, another day of getting ourselves up, of doing, of living of doing what we need to do.

Dont get me wrong Henry there are days where we are out having lunches with friends, your dad is taking photographs, we are at the beach, shopping, we don’t just grieve you, but my oh my how your presence is missed from everything we do.

As I sat working  the other day Henry, I was fairly busy with a lot to get done and suddenly it just hit, I just missed you, it hit like a ton of bricks and I crumbled underneath, I mean I know it, you’ll never be here with us. Yet I sat in that moment like I had been so busy and my energy had been going in to work for the year and lists of bills to be paid, everyday life and there it was the reality, our reality right in my face. You won’t ever be here in our arms again you’ll always be gone, no matter how many months pass or even years eventually, the seasons will change, we may add to our family with siblings for you, but nothing will change the fact you will never be here to be a part of it all.

The tears just streamed down my face over my cheeks and on to my keyboard and I just had to let them, there was no point in fighting it, this, our reality.

Then there’s Facebook memories… There they are a reminder ‘you have memories with Tim to look back on’ its like this enticing treat, like that cupcake that sits in the store window when you are hungry and says ‘eat me’ so you click on the memory to find its bittersweet, a picture of your fur sisters exploring your room as we begin to set it up, of my little round belly with you in at 25 weeks before I am about to pop out for work, I love these memories because they are of you, but then they come with the pain of  the fact you are not in our arms, they come with the tinge of in that picture knowing how blissfully unaware I was of what the future would hold. We loved you so much already and had so many plans and in those pictures you see the happiness, the excitement.

Along with that Henry comes all the wonderful comments on those pictures, because well people were excited about you, they commented, conversations, they talked about their excitement too… Then what happened, happened, afterwards people comment to show their condolences, show their sadness, then the comments become less and people like a post, then the likes become less as life goes on and people don’t know what to do or say anymore, so you start to look like you are moving on as you should and you are but you still live it everyday. Once in a while you might share a memory but what can anyone say, they don’t want to upset you, its easy to comment on something happy, harder when its sad.

Sometimes Henry, sometimes I sob in the shower as I might get a flashback from what happened with you, sometimes I smile thinking of a memory of you like kicking your dad in the back always from my belly, sometimes I feel like I want to scream out, sometimes silence is deafening, sometimes I am out in public and feel tears sting my eyes, sometimes I sing one of your songs in my car, sometimes I stand in the water to feel closer to you, sometimes I can never feel close enough, sometimes I wonder how we keep on going, sometimes I am determined to keep going for you, sometimes life is so unfair, sometimes I am so grateful for what we have. So many variables, this life of ups and downs like the rollercoaster grief is.

Maggs-101

We are getting closer to that 12 month mark, your first birthday and its something that can be so hard to comprehend, I sit and ask myself is this really our life? This is what happened? how? and how have we gotten to the point we are almost 12 months down the track. I wonder what that day will bring with it, what we do, how we celebrate you?  As I want to celebrate you, I want to acknowledge your little life, You are our baby. So I begin to try to think of what that looks like, how we do that I want it to be meaningful for you, I want to really honour you.

Part of me thinks do we just drink all the wine to get through the pain, but that’s not honouring you, that’s drowning our pain, numbing it out and while its going to be so incredibly hard that pain needs to be felt. So now my thoughts drift to what we do for you.

I wondered last night Henry as I sobbed by myself in bed, I wondered do you know? do you know how wanted you were?, do you know?, do you know how loved you are?, do you know?, do you know how much we had planned with you?, do you know?, do you know how we set up a beautiful room for you?, do you know? do you know we thought we’d have a lifetime of memories to make with you? do you know? Do you Henry? do you know?

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Shattered.

Oh Henry, I have nothing left in me, I feel like I’ve got nothing left to give.. I don’t know what to do with myself, how to keep taking steps forward, you see I thought there was hope but any hope we had well it’s been shattered in to tiny pieces like a window shattering in an explosion and the pieces fly everywhere all over the place and Henry I don’t have the energy to pick them up, I can’t clean up those pieces so now I just sit in amongst them in the dark feeling like there’s no point.

The last few weeks have taken a toll, my heart can’t take any more, my soul is tired, I feel so incredibly heavy like I can’t even crawl.

Weeks ago Henry the day after your six month anniversary the unimaginable happened, I had some spotting on your six month anniversary and I had dissolved in to tears thinking my period was arriving I sought comfort in your Dad and went through all the usual emotions that come along with that anger, sadness, despair, all of it.

The next day though nothing….. no bleeding ‘do I even dare to allow myself to hope’ I thought to myself, I got up went to the bathroom opening the draw with all the pee sticks and took one. I waited and waited it was only a cheap bulk test I had bought so after waiting I thought I saw a line a very faint line… I held it upside down, up to the light, squinted, held it against white paper all the crazy things we do while trying to conceive, I still couldn’t tell if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if it were real ‘can I really hope’ I thought to myself’

I had to meet your aunty in Kiama that morning so I left a bit earlier, marching in to Woolworths I bought a pack of three tests and then went off to the public bathroom 😬 ‘how lovely’ I thought to myself sarcastically but I had to know was your little brother or sister coming our way?? I peed on the stick put the cap back on and waited anxiously for what seemed ages but would’ve only been a couple of minutes AND that second line appeared 😮 I must be dreaming I thought to myself blinking and looking again but no there it was…

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I was shocked, what do I do.. I felt this instant urge just to run home to your Dad so I could tell him but I’d made a commitment to meet your Aunty, so instead after washing my hands and leaving the bathroom I ran to the car to ring your Dad “hey babe” he said as he answered the phone “hey” I said “whats up?” He asked “I’m pregnant” I blurted out “nice way to tell me” your Dad laughed “well I wanted you to know now” I said “and last time I tried to do it nicely I shocked you so it’s straight out saying it this time besides I couldn’t wait until I get home” he laughed a little more “I get it” he said “I’ll see you later on”

I quickly after this phone call phoned a really good friend and told her, then it was off to meet your Aunty and hold it all in and hope for the day to go quickly so I could get home to your Dad.. we had brunch, looked around the shops and talked the whole time my mind was racing, so many thoughts so many feelings…

We finished up and she went to drive home, I drove home to your Dad, once I pulled in the driveway running inside to show him the test, we looked at those two lines together then he looked at me and he began to cry, tears, tears of happiness, sadness, of being scared all of it rolled in to one. “I’m happy but I’m sad at the same time” I said to him “me too” he replied.

You see Henry pregnancy after losing you was never going to be the same, once we lost you, we realised that there’s so much that can go wrong, no guarantees, no safe periods, nothing.. it also comes with the sadness of you not being here, the mixed emotions of if you were we wouldn’t have been thinking about a sibling for you yet and of being absolutely anxious and shit scared that we wouldn’t get to take this baby home either.

The next few days afterwards Henry became hard days to get through, It was like climbing one of the steepest parts of the mountain, finding it difficult, thoughts raced and raced through my mind “what if” … all the what if’s, what if we lose this baby, what if something happens then there were the questions I asked myself over and over “is it ok to feel happy about this when we don’t have you here?” , “how will we cope when this baby is born what will it bring up for us birthing full term as I did with you?” , “will I get post natal depression?” “How in the hell if I’m this anxious now do we get through nine months”

Oh Henry my mind was a mess, it’s so hard, once you know one baby can be lost you can’t relax, we were happy though, there were moments of joy, we even started to discuss over the weeks how we might tell family and friends… we still wanted to try to make this so special and enjoy this little soul too, your little sibling we wanted them to know they were so loved and wanted as well despite the confusion, the ache, the way it was hard.

We had decided we would tell your Dad’s family on Christmas Eve, we would invite them all over for dinner… I had planned I would make Christmas crackers, with riddles in them to make them guess, we had worked them out, googled, sorted through and come up with the right ones.. ‘what gets a shower but doesn’t get wet’, ‘what grows without sunshine’, ‘what does a chef have when baking a roll’ and lastly ‘what’s easy to make but impossible to keep forever’… I even ordered cracker snaps, special wrapping paper with palm leaves to include you..

We also purchased a little onesie with a rainbow too… I made a call to our obstetrician to book in “ok how far along are you?” His receptionist asked, she booked us an appointment for when I would be 7 weeks as he likes to do a dating scan.

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Ok it was all getting in to place, but the fear was there Henry the weeks until our scan were too long and I needed to know all was ok “what if it’s not?” I thought to myself and over those weeks Henry the nightmares I have, the ones that always occur, they became more frequent, showing up more often, they always involve a hospital bed its the common theme, sometimes the nightmares are in the hospital itself and present as what happened other times the setting is different but always a hospital bed and I am in it. over the past few weeks I have had a number of nightmares where I have woken up crying without realising or with my heart nearly beating out of my chest. One particular nightmare I was in a hospital bed in the middle of no where, nothing but dirt and dead tress surrounding me I was stuck in the bed the drip in my arm nothing surrounding me, no one there at all I couldn’t call out, I had nothing to contact anyone, I felt scared, alone when suddenly the bed started to move it spun one way and another I couldn’t stop it, it all happened so fast I had to just hold on to the bed I didn’t know what to do, it became faster and faster no control I became incredibly frightened crying out with no one to hear me. Eventually when I woke I woke up while trying to call out, my mouth and throat were dry, as my eyes opened to our dark room and I realised it was not real I dissolved in to tears putting my head in to the pillow trying to let the pillow muffle my sobs so I wouldn’t wake your Dad.

I wasn’t the only one Henry, with everything on our minds, with taking all this in, a new little life, a sibling for you, a baby we so desperately wanted to make sure came home.. I got home from the gym one morning to find your Dad sitting on the lounge under the blanket he didn’t look good “I’m not going to work today” he said to me, “okay” I said sitting quietly beside him and taking his hand…”I’m not coping, I’m not having a good day” he said to me “that’s ok” I said, he then told me about how he had woken up from a dream, he had woken in a sweat and burst in to tears “The hospital stuffed up again” he said to me “in my dream and it seemed so real and I woke up so upset” I just hugged him, I hugged your Dad so tight. 

In between all of this going on over the last few weeks I also returned to work a decision I made before I knew I was pregnant again. I started back part-time, I had to give it a go and I need to financially too, I have always felt this guilt and pressure that your Dad had to go back to work much sooner, he had to step back in to that space for us financially even though I know he wasn’t ready, even though I know he has struggled and I know he battles every single day.. Between paying for psychologist visits, having to up our health insurance and pay over double what we were before include pregnancy and birth for your siblings. Some may say we didn’t need to do that but for us we did. I could never go back to the same hospital, I could never go public and feel supported in that process again, with what happened the anxiety that it would cause has caused is huge, the trauma we experienced at the hands of those who we are supposed to trust, I couldn’t do it. So with all these extra costs and getting to the point we would have no income from myself I have had to step back in to that work space.

The afternoon and evening before I was due to start back I could feel my anxiety building, like someone slowly and steadily playing jenga taking pieces out and placing them on top of the other just waiting for it to all fall, I could feel myself getting worked up, it came out in different ways, with me being unable to think properly, my heart racing at times my breath becoming faster. I think I snapped a couple of times when Tim asked me questions as my head hurt, I got a headache.

The morning of as I prepared my things Henry as they were ready on the desk to go, I looked at them I looked at my work phone, tears instantly formed in my eyes, I felt my heart race so fast, my palms become sweaty ‘How do I do this?’ I thought to myself Henry, ‘How do I do this when I won’t be able to do what I did before?’ doubts then crept in further, it was like slowly being constricted by a large python, with each doubt it was like it would curl tighter and tighter around me, making it harder to breathe ‘what if I can’t remember?’ ‘what if they expect more from me than I can do?’ ‘what if people think I can’t do my job properly?’ all of my confidence in my abilities Henry both professionally and personally is gone, I feel as though I can not even trust myself with what happened to you. I had tears streaming down my face without even realising, once I finally snapped out of that moment I don’t know how long later and realised I wiped them away and tried to get started.

Throughout the day working with a colleague, I had to rely on her more than I thought I would, there was time spent trying to resolve IT issues and updates and I was so glad she was there as the thought of having to initiate contact and explain to some people scared me, it was so daunting. It had been bad enough for weeks before returning I had been trying to sort out my leave, I had been trying to withdraw the application for leave without pay and apply to come back part-time, but came across hurdle after hurdle Henry, first there was a freeze on the system… no ones fault, once the freeze ended I tried again, each time I did an error would occur, hours spent on the phone to our HR support for the system, sending them screen shots, by my first day at work it still wasn’t rectified, I phoned them again the morning before… You need to fill out a manual form and get your manager to sign it and email it, ok no problems…. as I asked a few more questions about the process and when it might be rectified and explained I was worried I wouldn’t get paid, they asked again exactly what I wanted to do, I explained I needed to withdraw my leave without pay on the system but was unable to do so as I wanted to apply to come back part time from maternity leave… When was the leave until they asked “May” I replied ‘well why are you coming back now?” the question sounded abrupt as if they were annoyed with having to try to fix the situation and my questions… the question took my breath away I paused for a second I didn’t know what to say, I honestly wish I could’ve just been so abrupt back Henry and said “Because my baby died” see what the reaction was then, maybe then they would’ve been a little more helpful and less annoyed who knows but I couldn’t say it I just repeated that I needed to return part time now from leave and needed to get it sorted so that I would be payed. 

All this happening, all the thoughts, work, visiting my psychologist we talked about it all, my fears about the pregnancy, my thoughts about planning ahead, my anxiety about going to my first team meeting for work in a few weeks and seeing everyone for the first time together. I don’t know how they would react? what might they say? what will they think? we discussed about sending them an article available on the SIDS website about your colleague returning to work after the death of their child. We discussed how I was feeling about being pregnant, I talked to her about how I felt guilty, I felt guilty that Henry wasn’t here and that we were already pregnant as if he were here we wouldn’t be, I talked to her about how we both wanted this baby so much and just wanted to know we would bring them home, I talked about how scared I was an anxious to get to the first appointment that first scan to know it would be ok.

At the 6 week mark Henry I was worried, “I am not sick” I commented to your Dad, I tried in my head to tell myself different pregnancy, I had been so sick with you I had HG, and when you have it there’s an 80% chance you’ll have it again, ‘maybe I’m in the 20%’ I thought to myself “I don’t feel pregnant” I had said to my friend.. Yet I still had hope, there it was that hope, the hope that allowed me to plan, to get excited, to think about names even.. I still let that in as I wanted too, I wanted to let this little sibling know I loved them. 

We finally got to the day of the scan, I had to work that day I kept myself busy with my work, yet it was still sitting there in the back of my mind, We finally got to the afternoon I finished work and off we drove the hour drive to our obstetrician’s office. We finally got there all the way there your Dad and I talked about how we would feel, I had your blue bear, I wanted to take a photo of us with it “Afterwards” your Dad said and now I am glad he did, it was a reminder everything might not be ok.

We sat in the waiting room, your dad looked at magazine I just couldn’t, I sat waiting our obstetrician walked out in to the waiting room and smiled at us “You don’t waste any time do you?” he said as we had only been in to see him the month before as we were worried about the fact we couldn’t fall pregnant. “Hop up on the table” he said, I stepped up and lay down “How far along are we?” he asked “seven weeks” I said smiling as he put the gel on my stomach “It’ll be a little cold” he said and squirted it on, he placed down the ultrasound wand and began to move it around after a few moments of moving it around he found something, I looked at the screen, having had an early ultrasound with you Henry at 8 weeks I knew what I was seeing wasn’t right, I knew it wasn’t big enough. “I’m not seeing a lot I may have to do an internal ultrasound” he said “Are you sure of your dates” “Yes I am” I said, I was able to tell him the date we got the positive pregnancy test, the date of my last period, when I had positive ovulation tests. He used the machine to measure 5 weeks 4 days the little sac in there measured. “It’s way to early to see much” he said to me, “I will send you for bloods today to check your levels and get you back in two weeks to scan” I nodded “It’s not very reassuring as I am sure of my dates” I said “I can’t give you that today” he said to me and we discussed the what if it wasn’t ok. He gave me paperwork to get bloods done that afternoon and then again on the Wednesday “We will see if they are doubling as they should” he said.

He didn’t charge us for the visit and we walked out, we went downstairs I had bloods taken and we walked to the car feeling deflated “I know it’s not right” I said to your Dad, “I know my dates” your Dad looked at me he still tried to have hope, “lets just see” he said to me, we got in the car and I cried, I cried all the way home, once home I climbed in to bed sobbing, we didn’t get the reassurance we were after, we were just left with questions and doubt. I tried to tell myself Henry it was ok, I googled and it had happened that people had measured behind and it was ok, I spoke to you, begged you that it would all be alright.

Tuesday I had to go to Goulburn for work, I don’t even know how I drove after the lack of sleep, anxiety and worry but I got there to have a meeting with my manager, after the meeting the long drive home. I got home with just enough time to see your Dad before he went off to work. I cooked myself dinner even though I couldn’t concentrate, I had a shower and sat down on the lounge, I sat there blankly, I sat trying to ease all the racing thoughts running in my mind, round and round like a whirlwind they swirled, Suddenly I was snapped out of my thoughts I felt something ‘what was that?’ I thought to myself I jumped up from the lounge to look down at my shorts and see blood “no no-no no no my mind screamed this can’t be happening no, no no…. I ran to the bathroom and look at them bright red blood I then wiped there was more.. I managed to clean up and change, I phoned your Dads number my heart racing when he answered that was it tears poured down my face “Hey babe” he said I couldn’t answer straight away between tears I managed a “hey”, “Whats wrong?” he asked “Babe whats wrong”… “I’m bleeding” I managed between sobs “I’m leaving work now” he said hanging up I put my head in to my hands and sobbed.

One you dad arrived home he came straight to me and just held me as I sobbed “Why why why why” I screamed and your Dad cried, he held on to me and just cried as I sobbed unable to breathe properly… There it was Henry the shattering of the glass the pieces on the floor all my hope gone.

Finally later sleeping out of exhaustion, I woke up the next morning crying the bleeding had stopped, I phoned the obstetrician he managed to fit us in for an emergency appointment at 10:45 we showered and left, when we got in there “Lets look at whats going on” he said he had to do an internal, as he looked around the sac, you little sibling still in there still measuring the same as Monday, he looked around to rule out an ectopic pregnancy explaining that a sac would still develop in the uterus in that case as the body is still developing for a pregnancy. It looked ok, “It’s all going to depend on todays bloods” he said back to us “but it does look like a missed miscarriage, in rare cases there can be the odd bleed and I have seen it in twin pregnancies where one doesn’t develop but that is rare” we left his office ‘do we dare hope it still might be ok somehow in someway’ I thought to myself, we went to get the bloods done which he had marked urgent.

Driving home our heads full of worry, we had a whole day ahead of us to wait, I don’t even remember how we killed the time, finally late that afternoon I spoke to him on the phone “I’m so sorry” he said “The levels are not doubling and going up as they should” we discussed where to from here, he didn’t want to resort straight to a procedure to remove it as there is the risk of scar tissue in the uterus, so it’s all a waiting game Henry, waiting for the inevitable to happen. He discussed with me that he would be away for the weekend but that if I had severe pain or really heavy bleeding to present to emergency. otherwise any other concerns there was another obstetrician I could contact.

The days since Henry I have struggled, I have only had spotting but no actual bleeding, we don’t know how long it will take and the longer it takes the more it messes with my head and my heart. I had more bloods this morning and will again on Monday to see how far the levels have dropped. As I sit amongst the shattered glass, I don’t want to move, I have nothing left to give, there’s nothing in me and I just sit and wait. and the pain of that waiting Henry is excruciating, it’s like being slowly tortured and just wanting to die. I wait knowing that I am still technically pregnant but that its all going to end, I know I am pregnant but it’s not growing, so I still can’t bring myself to drink, while part of me wants to just drown my sorrows. I sit and wait for the pain, but that physical pain Henry doesn’t even compare to the pain and sorrow in my heart.

Why? How? how can this happen? why us Henry? why us? All we ever wanted, all we ever wanted was to be the best parents we could be to look after you, provide you with the most loving home we could, then the worst possible thing happened.. then we finally had a small ray of hope, a tiny bit of light in all the darkness a chance we would get to do that with your sibling, yet that’s been cruelly ripped away from us already and I don’t know how to go on now.

How do two people get through so much heartache and hurt, how do we ever trust that life will be good to us, I said to your dad if this is all life has for us then I don’t want to be here, I can’t continue to live with so much pain. In the days I am spending waiting I have found I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to get out of bed, I feel like I have gone right back to where we were coming home from the hospital without you, not only do I look at your room full of things we never got to use with you, I now look at the added piece of clothing I bought out of hope, hope that we’d dress this sibling in that outfit, hope this was the baby we’d bring home, instead my hope is gone and Henry I’m not sure I’ll find it or my way out of the darkness. 

I feel so stupid for having had that hope Henry, I feel so stupid I allowed myself to get excited, to plan ahead, I feel so incredibly stupid I even puschsed that onesie that I somehow at that stage thought it would be ok, that we would get to go through a pregnancy and bring your sibling home, I just feel so incredibly stupid that I let myself think that early that I could do that and where does that ever leave us for the future. 

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You exist….

Henry its been a while since I have written my words to you, it’s not been out of not wanting too, it has not been out of not trying, I have sat and started and typed an ongoing letter, I have left it open to continue but if I am honest Henry, completely and utterly honest my anxiety has got the better of me, its got the better of me to the point I doubted myself, I doubted my words, I over thought, I thought no one wants to hear it, no one wants you to write, everyone thinks you should be getting on with things etc etc the thoughts, the doubt, the lack of confidence all of it just over took me.

We passed your 6 month mark, six months of you gone, six months from when we were supposed to be looking at introducing you to the world and bringing you home, not trying to work out how we tell everyone you weren’t coming home, not trying to get our heads around the shock of this and how it all happened, how it shouldn’t have happened. On the day we reached six months Henry I struggled your Dad and I both did. That day I said to your dad “I don’t want to be here anymore I can’t do this I just want to be with our little boy”. On that day I meant it.

I also cried that day Henry, I cried as I started spotting and thought to myself “here we are another month, another month missing you incredibly, aching for you to be with you, to not wanting to carry this heavy load we bear and then knowing another month has passed, another month of trying so incredibly hard and yet no siblings for you. It just adds another hurt on top of the pain we already experience. It often comes with mixed feelings of knowing if you were here as you should be we wouldn’t even be thinking of trying yet which then causes a whole other feeling of guilt that we are.

Henry I am often reluctant to write about how this journey affects our mental health, I have done though and will continue too, I have poured out my feelings, I have said when it has all been too much, I have talked a bit about panic attacks and nightmares, about sobbing in the bottom of the shower and not wanting to get up. At times Henry I find it difficult to put this all in to words as I worry, I worry about what others may think, that they think I won’t be capable, that they think I won’t want to do things, so they won’t ask me, I worry they won’t still rely on me to be a friend when they need something as they think I can’t do it, I can still do these things and I always recognise when I need to look after me,  it’s often these distractions that provide some relief. All the worry the nerves, the toughts its a part of the toll this trauma has taken, I lack confidence where I had it before, I question so much and feel like my brain is a steam train that has lost control and the brakes are broken.

I am learning Henry there is such a stigma around, grief, mental illness and the death of a baby of a child. it makes others uncomfortable, they don’t know what to say and that is ok, but sometimes its difficult because as a society it means they shy away from it rather than face that uncomfortable feeling which is what helps people in these situations through. There can be such a stigma that mental illness means you shouldn’t be able to function and some days I don’t feel I can, but for the majority of people suffering these illnesses you wouldn’t know, a bit like we never know whats happening for anyone Henry, in our culture we are all so good at hiding these things from the world. Maybe its time we talked more.

I listened to a Ted talk Henry on grief and the end of life, one line in that talk stuck out to me, the speaker said “That’s how we make it ok, even when it’s not, by saying it out loud by helping each other through” and its so true Henry, how do others know unless you say it out loud. How can they know unless we open up conversations and share.

Last weekend Henry your Dad and I dealt with a few things, we did some stuff we needed to do, lately we have found lots of mixed and confusing emotions. I think its been about recognising we can love you and grieve you, we can be grateful for you having blessed our lives and we can feel pain of not having you here, we can smile and be sad. It is trying to balance this, the fact that you will never be here in our arms and we carry that for the rest of our lives, always it will be with us, it’s trying to get to the point of wanting to live a good life for us and for you, while still dealing with the storms of grief as they pass over us. There will always be storms.

Then there’s the more complex layer, the layer of dealing with the damage the trauma has caused, the flashbacks that haunt me sometimes during the day almost always at night, these lead to my heart racing, me getting out of breath, of feeling like I can’t breath of ending up either in absolute sobs or in absolute panic. Theres the days where I still struggle, to leave the house to be around other people out in public to do the simple things such as order a coffee, to run to my car and breakdown as the simple tasks I used to do so easily some days are so difficult. Theres dealing with the days I can not move from bed of the depression sinking in, of not wanting to go on with life of not being able to pick myself up. There is so much more to it, I am doing what I need too, I am seeking help, I see my psychologist Henry, I talk to her mostly weekly, I do everything I can to help myself, exercise, I am trying meditation, however it takes a lot of time to work through those more complex things and they affect our lives.

A couple of weeks ago Henry I finally made a decision, one I had been putting off, I had been putting this decision off for many reasons, one in the beginning it had been one that had been too hard to think about, I couldn’t imagine myself going back to work, to doing what I do as it wasn’t what was meant to be, it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, I am supposed to be looking after you… Then as a little time went on I procrastinated, I didn’t want to make the decision, I was anxious about it, I kept saying I will just wait for… There were many wait for things that I thought may help me make that decision, I will just wait until it gets to the end of the month and I will see if I am pregnant, I will just wait and see the outcome of certain things we were following up, I will just wait until after we get through Christmas. Plus Henry I didn’t want to make that phone call, the thought of that call made me incredibly nervous, I didn’t want to make the phone call as it made this reality even more real, I didn’t want to cry on the phone, I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what choice was right, for me, for us.

I finally one day sat there, with tears in my eyes I sat there gearing myself up to make that call, I can not put this off any longer, I need to make a decision I said to myself, getting more and more worked up, my heart beating faster my eyes filling with tears. I phoned a work colleague and good friend first to try to calm myself, I told her how I wanted to call my manager to discuss things but that I was feeling so anxious about it that I felt like crying that my heart was racing. After speaking with her and gaining some reassurance I rang, the phone rang and rang and rang and…… no answer it went to message bank I let out the breath I had been holding in I left a message and sighed. All this work up to finally make the call and no answer.

Later that afternoon Henry I got the return call, tears started in my eyes as I spoke with my manager, I spoke with her about the decision I had made and what I was thinking Henry, no more procrastination, Next week I will return to work, I know it will be a really difficult transition, I know it’s not going to be an easy task at all, but it is what I have to do for me and for us, I will start off part-time. I spoke with your Dad after the call I spoke to him about his first day back at work months ago, he told me, he told me how that morning he got up filled with dread and anxiety, about how hard it was and that when he got to work he sat in a room and cried, he spoke to me about how that’s ok and its normal and about how hard it still is some days. I know Henry, your Dad thinks I don’t but I do, I have seen the tears in his eyes some days before he leaves for work, he thinks I don’t know, but I know he cries, I am so incredibly proud of your Dad Henry for doing all that he does, I hope I can make him proud of me by trying.

That night Henry a sense of relief I had finally made that call and a decision, is it the right decision? we don’t know, but do I have to try, yes! I need to try. I felt proud of myself that night Henry for the first time in such a long time I was actually proud of me for having done it, considering I had put it off, considering nothing made the decision from like I had hoped and considering that weeks ago talking on the phone was something I found difficult and yet that day I did all of those things.

On friday night Henry we had dinner with some friends at their place, it was nice and a welcome relief from all of my thoughts, it was great to be with friends to share food to listen to stories and what others have been doing. Later in the evening another of their friends arrived to pop in, I had only met him once but your Dad knew him, he lives in Victoria and because he’s not someone we have seen often or that I don’t know well, he didn’t know. “Whats been happening for you guys?” he turned and asked us I stumbled I couldn’t get words out I didn’t know what to say, not the place to say it, not the time I didn’t want to ruin the evening. “Not much” your Dad replied, I felt so bad, I felt rude he was being so polite trying to make conversation and either of us could barely say anything, “It would be about 12 months since you got married?” he questioned us “I don’t go on Facebook anymore” he said, “two years” I answered again keeping conversation short as I just didn’t want to ruin anyones night.

Its moments like that I still get so unsure how to navigate, or later that evening when your dad and I went to leave and were giving another couple a lift home, we still have your car seat in the car, neither of us wanting to take it out so when they went to get in there it is and you just don’t know if anything will be said, if it is I am always happy to answer but it’s again worrying what people think, or how it may make them feel.

While your Dad was out the other day Henry I decided to finally put your hand and feet casts up on the wall, they had been sitting in your room, we had been waiting until we felt we could, that day I finally thought to myself, we could never put them up we could leave the beautiful framed casts away in the fear, the fear of the emotion that comes along with seeing them, the fear of it upsetting us of making us sad, of reminding us, making us cry… but you know what Henry we do those things anyway, they don’t remind us as we never forget, the emotions the sadness, the tears well that arrived whether they are visible or not, so I set about placing them up in the lounge room to acknowledge, remember and honour you, Henry our beautiful son. I stood back after with some tears but proud that they are up that they are there. Your Dad noticed them a little later after getting home “You put them up” he commented “I did” I replied I looked at the tears in his eyes “Its hard but good” he replied and hugged me.

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One thing that has happened in this last week Henry is that I won an instargram competition, I couldn’t believe when I saw they had tagged me in a post to say I had won. It was a competition four accounts had run for bereaved parents, my name was there. I have won some beautiful gifts to help remember and honour you. Some lovely affirmation cards for pregnancy and baby loss by Aila and Lion Megan created these beautiful cards after her own losses, c.l.keepsakes Charlotte and Lilly’s keepsakes Kellie named this after her two beautiful angels she creates a beautiful range of personalised keepsakes such as keepsake boxes, frames and other pieces, she is able to custom design and there are beautiful boxes you can purchase personalised for your child’s Christmas presents, treasure boxes to keep things for their 18th birthday and other lovely items. A beautiful album made by the talented Jenny McGregor her album love and let go has been created for bereaved parents as Jenny and her husband Ben have lost a child themselves all proceeds of her album go to red nose charity to support families through these times and a lovely remembering me book from Hapermartinau Shaela creates beautiful keepsake books to document the most precious memories, she worked with a number of bereaved mums to include their thoughts to create the remembering me book for parents who have experienced loss. I feel so humbled Henry that this community has come together, they came together to honour bereaved parents and create awareness and I feel grateful to be the one to receive these items even though there are so many deserving parents out there.

Your Dad Henry he has a habit of talking in his sleep, last week he woke me up during the night with his sleep talking, I then in turn end up waking him up as I reply thinking he is awake, we spoke about it the next morning “You woke me up” your dad said to me “I woke you up because you were talking in your sleep and I thought you were awake” I replied to him. He looked at me “If I ever want to talk to you during the night I will tap you” he said to me “ok” I replied. Well Henry that night then went something like this, I was drifting in and out of sleep your Dad taps me on the shoulder “Ask them do they want to move there” he says to me, confused by this comment and still half asleep trying to get my brain to work out what he was on about “What who?” I asked him “The emojis to the Almafi coast” “Huh what Almafi, emojis what emojis” I asked so damn confused “The thoughts in my mind like the Almafi coast” your dad replied, it was at this point Henry I realised that even though he had tapped me he was sleep talking, Oh dear…. It was funny telling him this story once he woke up.

I participated in an online support group this past week Henry, one of the things that came up during this was sharing, sharing about our children and how we do that, there was talk about how sometimes we all felt ‘were we sharing too much?’ the facilitator of the group spoke with us about this “If your children were here with you, you would be sharing with people, you would be sharing about milestones, funny moments, smiles, family holidays many events so why should a bereaved parent share any less, we still have children we still hold a parents love”. It is so true Henry I share because you are our beautiful son and you existed and we want to share you with our family and friends as any parent would. We just share in a different way.

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I remember being pregnant with you, I remember walking in a store about a week before I ended up going in to labour.. We had walked in to get cake!! 😋 but there were also other items in the store, I stopped as I noticed your dad looking at a sign.. Boy noise with dirt on it, the sign said… see also little rascal.. I looked at your Dad in wonder “Do you want to get it?” I asked “yeah” he said and smiled, I remember in that moment smiling too as your Dad hadn’t actually chosen anything for you himself, I always asked his opinion on the items and set up for your room, but this was the first thing he chose specifically for you, it made my heart melt.

We recently finally completed one whole section of the screen for your garden Henry, your Dad and I have cut, screwed and placed together piece by piece to create it, it looks good. We are now just trying to source some more old fence pailings to complete the other part of the screen. We decided that seeing as Christmas is going to be tricky and really tough that we will spend the day finishing your garden together, that can be our project to keep ourselves busy and it is something for you. So I am hoping to find those pailings soon to have the screen done so we can on Christmas plant and put together your garden and hopefully by the end of the day we can sit together there to take some time to look at what we have achieved, our greatest achievement will always be you.

Sunday morning as we drove to the beach with the sun shining, such perfect weather an instant thought of ‘we would have been taking you to the beach today’ I felt sadness wash over me at that thought, we would have packed up all the extra things required to have a baby at the beach including the shade tent and taken you, I would have sat with you under the shade of the tent listening to the water while your Dad jumped in to capture photos, when he come out we may have taken you in the water together to at least feel it on your toes, to see your reaction, although I feel by six months we would have had you used to the feel of the water, we will never know if you would have liked it or not. All the never know, all the wondering, all the never will be, I let the tears fall silently down my cheeks as I thought of how it shouldn’t be this way, we shouldn’t be going to the beach to remember you, we should be there with you.

Your Dad and I Henry have some other plans, other ways to honour you while doing things that are important to us, we are taking our time slowly, to put it together, to create it, sharing ideas, thoughts. It has been a process and still will for some time, It will be good when we can share our ideas with all our family, friends and the world.

I have been making a habit most mornings now Henry of getting up to go walk on the beach here, it started because one morning I was having a really bad morning the thoughts started but I managed to catch them early enough ‘get up and walk’ I said to myself, so I did now I am going to try to do it everyday even before work, there’s always something calming about the ocean, the sound, the waves, the feel of the sand between my toes, the water when it rushes over my feet.. and I feel a closeness with you. This morning as I walked along the beach with a coffee in hand two whales a mother and calf kept breaching it is such an amazing sight to watch, their big bodies propel out of the water, I stood letting the water rush over my feet taking in the magnificent sight… it’s those simple moments Henry that mean so much in the days. The moments that help to ground me a little that help to ease the burden if only for that short time.

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After I got home this morning after having some breakfast, and doing some things I lay on the bed in your dads arms knowing he soon had to get ready for work “Don’t go today” I said “I don’t want you to go” “I have too” he replied “So we can have money to pay the bills” “I know” I replied “I’m just feeling really sad” I said some tears falling from my eyes your Dad looked down at me “Me too” he said his eyes watery as he said it we just lay there together until he had to get ready for work.  I stopped him from getting up. “You need to write a blog post” your Dad said to me, I explained to him my fears how I had been feeling, what I had been thinking…. “You need to do it for you” he replied and as I have been typing Henry I realise he is right. I’m not sure I admit that your Dad is right often, so I am lucky he still doesn’t read.

This evening Henry the sadness is the there, I feel the familiar ache right down to my bones, I feel the tears wanting to sting my eyes, I feel a heaviness in my heart. All I ever wanted was to show you a world of love, all I ever wanted was to give you the best I could be as your mum, to take you out, show you nature, enjoy our time with you, to support you as you grow. All we ever wanted was not to be the perfect parents as they don’t exist but to do what we could to make your life a meaningful one.. now we have to try to work out how we make it meaningful while remembering you.

As the rain pours outside and I hear the sound, I look for you but you can not be found

Not physically, no you are not here, but as I hear the rain I listen as it whispers you are near

When I see the waves crashing at the beach, as they travel up the sand over my feet, I am reminded of you

On days the sun shines, and I see a sunset or sunrise, the beauty of it it’s like you sent it just for us to see

At night as I look at the stars and say goodnight, as they shine so brightly, I look in wonder at all those stars and feel as though you are surrounding me

As I feel the wind hit my face as it blows my hair over my shoulder, I know it was you

You are all around me, in everything I do, You are in the rain, the sunshine, the waves, the stars and the wind.

You are in the beauty I see in a flower that has started to grow, you are in the bird which comes to sit by us, you are in the strange sounds we sometimes hear at night.

You are…. You may not be here physically but you exist, you exist in every aspect of my life awake and asleep when I dream of you.

You exist as you are a part of us both, a part of our DNA, you exist as I grew you, you were born and now you are not here in my arms, you exist in all of me, in everything. 

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Milestones and Meaning.

Making meaning when life feels meaningless Henry, We have had a tough couple of weeks Henry with so many ups and downs. This week I find myself experiencing so many thoughts, so many questions, confusion it has all been there.

Confusion when you wake up in the morning feeling somewhat ok then realising you feel ok, then questioning how I could be ok in that moment  when you are not here, then bursting in to tears because you don’t know how that is supposed to work and how you navigate that.

Thoughts and questions, thoughts and questions of how do we make life more meaningful again, how do we keep moving in a way which honours you and is good for our souls. How do we feel like it will get lighter when some days are still so bad, there’s still days the ache of not having you in our arms overtakes everything and I can barely get myself to get out of bed on those days.

The past couple of weeks we have had our wedding anniversary Henry, two years since we eloped to Hawaii not telling our friends and family and getting married, two years since we shared so much special laughter and joy on that day, two years since we stood on that beach reading the heartfelt words we had written for one another, talk of continuing to build a life together, of your dad saying to me ‘he wanted to create and support a family with me in a household filled with laughter’. We really wanted to make sure we laughed with you everyday Henry, now we find laughter is a rare thing.

We received lots of beautiful wishes for our anniversary Henry, and we spent that morning driving over an hour to an appointment, an appointment we shouldn’t have had to be looking at again, if you were here, yet here we were faced with that appointment. We spent that appointment going over again the circumstances of what happened, we spent that appointment with me explaining and your Dad crying, I then spent the next hour answering question after question about my health, my history, different diagnosis, my family history all painting a picture.

I then got the fun of enduring some invasive women’s things  and then a blood test, poked, prodded, happy anniversary…. thanks… now what is wrong with me and how come we can’t seem to fall pregnant 😦 its working on ways to move forward with some things, but we shouldn’t be moving forward Henry because we should have you.

Happy Anniversary indeed Henry…. not so much happy about it at all. Your Dad and I did go to dinner that night, we did enjoy some nice food and drinks together, we discussed though how if you were here we probably would have been looking for someone to look after you for a few hours while we went to dinner, we would probably be looking forward to the break as our role from parents to you and for that few hours being Tim and Kristy not mum and dad… Yet here we both were desperately wishing it was the other way around.

Emotions have run high since that day Henry, I have had phone calls to update me of the progress of certain things I have in place, hard discussions, Last Saturday I went to an event to try to connect with some others, I was able to last Sunday have coffee with a beautiful lady I had connected with online, then we got to the Monday ‘Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day’ and a wave of light at 7pm that night, the wave of light starts at 7pm in each different time zones and candles stay lit for an hour to acknowledge and remember the precious babies and infants gone too soon. The wave of light continues across the world for 24 hours, as we were blowing out candles at 8pm another person was lighting theirs. Your Dad and I felt it important to acknowledge, we felt it important to participate.

I explained to your Dad what I wanted to do, I explained to him that I had the night before written the names of the many babies I know gone too soon, the names of beautiful babies who I knew their parents in real life or had connected with them online, I explained to your Dad I wanted to have a candle for each name, to set them up in a heart shape with Henry’s name in the middle. As we began to set it up, as I placed each name down with a candle beside it, your Dad and I looked at one another tears in our eyes “There is too many names” I said to him “it’s so sad” he nodded unable to speak, too many families hurting Henry why is life so unfair?

Once the heart shape was set up I placed a special candle in the middle with your name and a white rose for you, as 7pm approached I lit each candle one by one tears streaming down my face and your Dad close by and then helping, as all the candles we used to create the heart were alight we stopped took a deep breath and I lit your special candle the candle for you, your Dad and I cried and cried together next to each other as we looked at your name and the many names around yours honouring you, honouring all of these little babies and the sad thing is Henry we know there are so many more names out there.

I need to thank our many friends Henry, friends who also took the time to light candles in your honour, they sent us pics, tagged us in posts it was so beautiful to see you so thought of, I spent the evening sending photos to those who’s children’s names I had included to let them know they were in our thoughts too. Neither your Dad or I slept well that night, neither of us could sleep at all and I haven’t much since then.

The next day we both found ourselves drained, physically and emotionally, I still went to my PT session on little sleep and made it through.

Your Dad had a really flat and bad day Thursday Henry, he woke up in tears, I had a few appointments to get to but the moments when I was home with him, he just lay on the lounge trying not to let the tears come to the surface, we talked a little its been hard on him too Henry, well its been hard on both of us but especially with his work at times, I know in the past few shifts he has had to deal with a lot of children at risk, seeing that, doing that takes its toll, he says he feels fine at the time but its later when the thoughts are allowed in and there is just so much injustice, so much unfairness of how we would have provided such a loving and warm home for you yet that was stolen from us and then to see other children in a situation where they are not cared for.. that can be a hard pill to swallow. It seems so unfair they get their children only to not care for them and well we, we don’t get to love and look after you as we would have. I can understand why your Dad was feeling flat, why it was all too much.

Thursday night Henry we both didn’t sleep, we tried and couldn’t, I even made jokes with your dad as I have bought a special light to try to assist my sleep it has certain colours and different settings which I have to do some more reading up on, but it has a green glow to it which I had on last night, your Dad got up to go the bathroom when he returned to the room I asked “Are you ok?” “yeah” he responded “Are you sure?” I asked “yeah why?” he asked back with a puzzled look “Cause you are looking a bit green” I said to him joking about the dim green light that lit the room, he shook his head at me hopped in to bed and cuddled me as we laughed at the bad joke.

Friday I just missed you, I just wanted you here and I always will really. Not much sleep combined with emotion and the grief meant I woke up crying, your Dad held me close, we decided to go down the beach then when we got back showered but as we got back home the tears started again as I had flashbacks from the hospital of the pain, of the different interactions of being ignored, of being on my own when I was told your heart wasn’t beating anymore, I got into the shower and sobbed and sobbed as the hot water ran over me, I couldn’t stop, I don’t know how long I was in that shower Henry, but I know it took every ounce of my strength to get myself together to get out.

We got ourselves together and went to get some breakfast, then headed off to go see some gardens for a garden show, hoping that it might give us some inspiration for your garden, but as we walked around these gardens, as the sun became hotter and it became more muggy, I found myself although we were taking in these beautiful gardens, I was hot, bothered, tired and just missed you. We completed the gardens where I then got home and the tears hit once more, they poured down my face as I talked to your Dad about how lost I felt, about how I found it hard to make decisions, about how pregnancies of friends we found out during the week were hard news, not that we weren’t happy for them but it just happened so quickly for them and here we are still struggling with having had struggles to fall pregnant with you, then now to not having you here and still desperately trying to fall pregnant with siblings for you, none of it seems fair, I feel like the world hates me at times.. my mind runs away with me wondering what did I do to deserve this… But the thing is Henry there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it is what it is and it sucks.

As I sat at the table editing a photo for your Dad tears streamed down my face a knock at the door, your Nanny and Poppy dropped by. I quickly tried to wipe the tears from my eyes and put on a smile, made tea as we all talked. After they left your Dad and I worked on your garden some more, though the hot sun, me being extremely tired and emotional and feeling just generally overwhelmed, after a couple of hours I just had to give in, let my body just sit on the lounge and maybe even try to sleep… I had a big drink of water then another knock at the door interrupted those thoughts.

Friday night Henry, more tears because the ache is heavy and I felt overwhelmed, unable to bear the burden, unable to carry the weight, Feeling like I was stuck underneath it almost crushed to the ground and I couldn’t lift it off to move to get up. It was crushing me, I could barely breathe. I sat wondering how do we keep going, keep moving when it feels as though that feeling will last forever.

Sunday I battled through another day, I went out to do some things and found a moment of anxiety, a moment so intense Henry, that I found myself unable to do simple tasks I would normally do, I lost my confidence not that it really exists anymore, doubting myself and retreating to the car where I just burst in to tears and cried in to my hands. I spent all that afternoon being so hard on myself for that moment, I spent the afternoon getting frustrated and annoyed as I thought why can’t I do what I normally do, but Henry since losing you I don’t have any faith in myself, it’s trying to build that back up but not knowing how, speaking with my PT about it this morning she said “I hate that its like this for you Kristy I hate seeing you like this as I know what an independent person you normally are, it must be so hard to feel that way” and it is Henry its such an internal battle every single day, everyday I have parts of me that hold frustration, that I battle with that say you should be able to do all you normally do and do it well.

I discussed with my psychologist today that the thought of returning to my job scared me, It scared me because I always liked to try to do my job really well, I had a strong work ethic and I worry when I return that I won’t be capable of doing my job as I used too, then that will create an extra stress that I don’t need, more anxiety, I feel as though I may break.

Then there’s the lead up to Christmas to realising that all the plans we had discussed last Christmas while I was pregnant with you will never happen, we had talked about how every Christmas Eve we had wanted to give you a book and that Christmas eves every year would be spent cuddling up together on the couch to read you a story and eat some chocolate, you would have been too little for chocolate this year but we still would have read to you. We had talked about how Christmas Day we wanted to start a tradition with you of waking up to watch the sunrise on the beach with you and come home and make pancakes for breakfast, at Christmas time you would have been 8 months old, old enough for us to let you try pancakes and share that with you, we had talked about how we would only buy you four gifts, one being the book, one being something you want (although you would’ve been too little to choose for a while) the other being something you needed and then an outfit too.

So many plans Henry, so many discussions so much we had looked forward too, and it will never be, we won’t have that Christmas this year, we won’t have that any year with you, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, as I tell you about those plans we had for you, and I don’t know how we navigate Christmas Henry, but I guess I don’t know how we do any day. But to sit and watch nephews and nieces open presents and run around, to watch the joy on faces, to see the family photos, I’m not sure Henry if it is something that I feel strong enough to face.

We have a hard day ahead on Thursday Henry with something we have to do, I know it will lead to a follow through of emotions on Friday and I know I’ll struggle through them as we do. Then another milestone, Friday marks the day you would’ve been 6 months old, half a year, Half a year has passed already, six months without you being here in our arms, 6 months of navigating this journey of trying, and yet it feels like the whole world has gone on but stood still for us.

You are whats missing, you are what is missing from everything, from my camera roll, I shouldn’t be posting blogs and quotes, instead it should be a thousand pictures of you. Instead I come across quotes or type words that try to explain how I feel, so this is what I share. But words are not enough I want you. You can never be replaced, words will never be enough.

All my love every day it goes to you, it goes to you in the way you are my first thought every morning, in the way I remember you as I make breakfast, in the way that I continue on working on the garden we are creating for you, in the way I tend to your room, my love it goes to you as I speak your name, it goes to you each night as I look up at the stars and say goodnight, it goes to you as I settle in to bed and tears fall, it goes to you as I dream of you. All my love goes to you.

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