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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