Rudness of others

I went to see a mental health nurse yesterday, in fact I’ve seen 2 separate ones. Due to the fact there is lack of grief help in my area.

The first MHN asked if I had any beliefs. I said not religious ones no but I feel Elva is with me. She quickly interrupted and said no you’re wrong. Those in heaven can’t see those left behind. The nature of being with God is they can’t experience suffering so therefore they can’t see you upset and sad. You will go to her when your time comes and she will be waiting. But she’s not with you.

Now I’ve never considered myself particularity strong but for me belief is what you make of it and not everyone needs the same belief. I don’t believe there is ONE thing we need to have faith in. I nodded politely whilst silently tell her SHE was wrong. Elva is with me in my heart everywhere I go and no matter what she says that won’t change. I know MY belief is true because physically I can feel her there.

Yesterday when waiting for my appointment with Daddy & Leif, someone we knew entered. She said hello then rudely went into prying questions. Whose appointment is it? Daddy answered it was mine.

She said oh you have depression too…. erm no we’re here because we lost a baby and need to talk it through with someone.

OOOHH so are you having another one then.. at this point I stepped in and stated that was a rude question a long with the others and was none of anyone’s business. Then an unhelpful woman also waiting said Oh ones enough anyway isn’t it. Maybe she was trying to help point out the other woman’s comment was out of line but that was not the best choice of words.

I was annoyed one is enough yes but I have THREE children and 2 will never be enough because my third will always be missing! Four will never be enough because my third again will still be missing. I’m all for people are unsure what to say but I would hope I’d have the sense to know that is not the right thing to say.

To suggest because I’ve one child the other doesn’t matter as much like my upset would be more valid if Elva was my first and only child? To suggest another child would replace the one I lost. Just no, no and a bit more no.

Unfortunately it’s common to be treated like it’s ok because you’ve other children repeatedly. Maybe I should be over it twice as quick because I’ve two others….. if only.

tracy

 

Christmas

It’s 26 full days till Christmas. Meaning its 27 till Elva’s original due date and 36 full days till her amended due date.

I’m told to enjoy Christmas, relax then see what the new year brings. Another baby basically.

There are SOOOOO many things wrong with just that sentence. Enjoy?! It’s not even 7 weeks since I gave birth to my stillborn child. Enjoy doesn’t feature much at the moment as much as we wish it did. Every breath, every activity has an undercurrent of someone missing.

And I should still have been pregnant yes I’m thinking of another baby but its not for someone else to suggest at all like its the answer to my problems!

Christmas was her due time. The time she would join us. I planned to pop her under the tree the morning after she was born for the boys to find. (not quite under but you get idea). Maybe be a little mean and pop a bow on her clothed belly. Christmas is the time 3 years ago we already did the whole lose a baby get on with it thing. Another Christmas without another child it’s wearing.

It send panic and grief through me to see pictures of santa claus, christmas trees and the excitement. I LOVE this time of year from September through to December it’s my favourite time of year… or it was till this year.

I used to love the changes of the trees. The crisps autumn weather filed with colour. Now I’m only reminded I had an autumn baby who looked beautiful amongst the golden colours.

November brings  the boys birthdays. Time to celebrate when the best 2 things occurred in our lives the best 2 out of 3 things. Yet now it’s bitter sweet. Every year we will included Elva by visiting her grave. Taking her cake she can’t eat, lighting a candle she can’t blow out and setting a party popper off she can’t hear.

Then December. It no longer holds any magic or joy for me. December is the month I fell pregnant and lost the baby within the same time period. December is the time I sat in pain grieving for a baby I never saw or felt. December is  the month my first daughter was due. The month she will never know and never come. It symbolises her first  Christmas. A first, we weren’t sure if she would have this year or next.

So please don’t tell me to enjoy it for my kids I need to enjoy it for me too but I won’t. However after 7 years of being a mum I’m perfectly capable of knowing I need to put a face on for the kids, pretend its all great, grit my teeth and get through. I don’t need telling that.

Maybe spare a thought for how I feel. Imagine your day without one of your kids who do you chose to not be there? Difficult to put that face on now isn’t it. The sad fact is 17 people somewhere in the UK will have a worse Christmas cos they will have a stillbirth on that day. For 17 people Christmas will be ruined forever like it has every year before it.

tracy

7 weeks on

Today marks 7 weeks since I found out. Not quite give it 2 hours and I would have known.

I still can’t think of that day much it’s too hard. The time before I knew makes me feel sick and desperate for some sort of escape. You could say that day haunts me because it truly does.

Knowing Elva had died and carrying her was physically hard but emotionally not so. It didn’t bother me carrying her because I could still have her close and with me. The pregnancy had ended but hadn’t at the same time. Once I knew I was carrying a dead baby it was comforting to have last unique cuddles with her.

Emotionally that day is hard for me. I acted as normal carried on with my typical Friday. Tea was made and decision for Jem to miss kung fu was made ‘just in case’ I needed to go to hospital. But things were said and fact remains I carried her round that day not knowing. It hurts I was right and not believed. The person closest to her and the one whose meant to have an instinct and understands the incoherent babble of her own toddler didn’t know her baby was not ok.

That bothers me I held a friends baby that morning and she’s not even thought about it but it haunts me that I held another baby not knowing mine was too late to save. My nightmare had started and I didn’t know.

Blocking out that day helps separate the day I was pregnant to the day I wasn’t. There was no death day just pregnant then not like we always knew this was the way it needed to be. In time I’ll face it when I handle the sick feeling the fear and the desperation it creates. Thinking of the day scares me for the next time. What if I don’t know again I have to believe it can’t happen again by blocking out the day I carried on as if all was well.

Today we ordered her headstone. It was a good moment to have her bed complete, well the final stage to getting it complete. However I never thought I’d see our family name on a headstone, on a coffin. The name Elva we had since Leif. We’ve wanted a girl called Elva for over 2 years. To see that name on a plaque because our daughter isn’t here is hard to bear.

She is missed so much each day and in many ways each day gets harder. Each day it becomes more normal that she isn’t here and each day it gets harder she isn’t. Every day my head repeats: it was never meant to be this way. At no point did I ever think I would be 1 of 17 who lose a baby to stillbirth EVERY DAY!! Now I’m part of a world you need exclusive entry fee to access. A fee so high that no-one chooses to join no-one willing to pay.

Yet 17 families every day join this exclusive club that no-one wants to join. Stillbirth is more common than cot death yet there’s no campaign in place to reduce it?! probably because it costs more to prevent stillbirth than educate parents on cot death.

We’re currently waiting for the follow up to tell us the exact cause of death. Till then I’ve said very little about it on my blog but I hope to tell the full details soon.

tracy

Wishes

I’ve quickly adapted to Elva not being in my tum or in my arms. I don’t like it and I’m struggling to accept it, but I’ve adapted.

I know I’ve adapted because amongst the I want her back I need her back I often wish I could go back to her labour. The days before when she had gone but I still had her close. They say the brain is the last thing to shut down my heart was last thing she ever knew of this world.

The pain of labour was horrendous worse than anything I’ve had before because I knew my pain wouldn’t end with delivery. But it was a feeling something that connected me to my baby. An experience that was uniquely mine and hers, no-one else’s.

I want to go back to the delivery the magical moment I got to meet my baby girl. The circumstance weren’t how we wished them but I still got to meet my little companion. My womb dweller.

I want to go back to the days I could touch her, feel her. Stroke her fuzzy head, kiss her little squidgy nose, rub her high cheek bones and just stare at her. Imagining those skinny legs kicking me, trying to picture her moving around crying saying mummy.

Those days were the easiest. She wasn’t with me but she was right by my side where I could take her in with every sense I possess. It seems so daft to think I would have know but I look at her and I wonder how did I not sense she was the perfect autumn baby.

She would have looked divine amongst the autumn leaves with pretty curls and lightening smile. Dark hair and eyes against the vivid red and orange leaves. Those days were the hardest but the best. They were the easiest too. The days get harder so at the time they were the hardest but continuing to live without her is a lot harder every day.

Grief is a riddle. You make no sense whilst making perfect sense. You contradict your own words whilst not. It’s a confusing world not many understand but too many belong in

tracy

 

Brighter Future

I’ve talked a lot about needing hope and struggling to look ahead due to the knowledge it never seems to happen that way.

There are a lot of ups and downs with grief. You almost feel like you need locking up one minute you’re happy smiling laughing the next you’re broken down in tears inconsolable not making any sense.

Meltdowns are a frequent occurrence during grief. Being happy and smiling makes guilt appear. You feel your baby should be here with you, you feel you should be sad all the time and never feel good again.

In a bid to help me relax I decided to do the following :

  • write in a notebook: when I’m frustrated I write. Unlike this blog those thoughts will be kept private for the time being
  • meditation/hypnosis: these are things you can do at home, either google some ideas or look on youtube for relaxing ideas. The hypnosis is simply a deep relaxation technique and for me it does work to send me off a little
  • keep busy: Leif has recently been diagnosed with asthma so in a bid to keep busy and stop him feeling ill I clean every other day now instead of couple times a week. instead of folding clothes en-mass and putting away I do in small bursts. I’ve started a scrapbook for Elva, I crochet & of course I write.
  • help others: I’m very good at being positive for others, offering advice and giving out help. Shame I can’t help myself as successfully. Thinking of others will help keep you busy and distracted too and you may learn some techniques to be more positive.
  • be positive: I find this extremely difficult. Before Elva I was a pessimist. After Elva I had a time of being positive saying when instead of if. The I crashed and I’m worse than ever. I try be positive and that’s were the other techniques come in to stop the stronger negative thoughts taking over
  • donating: I am aiming to have nappies & blankets for tiny ones in full force to hopefully donate to my local hospital regularly. This makes something worthwhile come from Elva’s death and my experience. It also keeps me busy & distracted. It is also a positive action.
  • read: anything to keep you busy I can easily waste a few hours reading it takes you to a different world with other peoples problems, other peoples highs and lows.

Small steps is the key and one thing I’m struggling to accept is it will take time. I need to be patient and allow my feelings to take over from time to time. No matter how much I don’t want to the more I fight the worse I feel. Grief is about learning lessons about yourself and allowing others to learn with you. Help yourself and others then let others help you it’s the only way.

tracy

 

The girl who never came

Elva you have broken my heart more than any man could ever wish to do. You have left me broken in more pieces than I thought possible to be shattered into.

I feel like you always knew you couldn’t stay and as your mummy I try not be mad at you I try love you for you but some days I fail. Some days I’m very mad not often and never for long but I do wonder if you could have known.

Other days I feel blessed and lucky, these happen a LOT more than the angry days. It’s like you knew I was the mummy for the job. I was the only mummy you needed for those short 6 months we had you and you felt so happy you made the right choice you left us early.

I find myself looking you thinking wow what a stunner. You simply are breathtaking you really are. As your mummy I’m biased but your brothers and you daddy feel the same so at least we’re together being so biased. You have taken so much from us but brought so much more for us.

You’ve brought belief, love, beauty to us. You’ve taught us all the fragility of life. How rapid it can change, how nothing is ever guaranteed. You’ve shown me a future I never knew would happen you’ve shown me a self I never knew I was.

In some ways life got easier but in so many it became so much harder so much more complicated. There’s not hope any more last time I had hope you left you took it with you. You stole a little piece of each of us and you took it with you on your journey. You only stole my hope no-one else.

What is my role here now. I always wanted to do more but never had the motivation or support to just get it done. Now I feel I HAVE to do something now I have the motivation and I feel guilty I didn’t have it before. How did I not know I should help others like me, why did I not consider parents needed more help. I’m not to blame everyone is the same. You don’t know till it happens but you still feel bad. I replay everything I ever said to people hoping I never said something so hurtful to them but so innocent to me.

Putting everything away that was yours but somehow never yours was my way of accepting. Accepting you weren’t coming home, you weren’t going to grow up alongside your brothers. Accepting I was no longer pregnant. No longer counting down the weeks now I’m counting the weeks since that dreadful day because I still can’t quite believe it happened.

Looking round my house it was quicker erasing the evidence of an impending baby than it was setting up for one. You wouldn’t know to visit that I ever expecting a baby next month. You wouldn’t know the pictures on my wall were only taken a matter of weeks ago, only hung a matter of days ago. Only the red face, dark bags and dead eyes tell you its still so raw.

There’s no sign we ever had the space to accommodate you. I needed the spare space to be filled. To lose you was to gain emptiness, to put your things away was to create space, to accept you won’t come home is to carry on. The house feels tidier, more open, cleaner. It’s a high price to pay for a bit of space and cleanliness. What I would give to trip over your play mat, to be woken all hours of the night to your screeching for food, to have my nostrils and stomach filled with your putrid stench. Instead my days are quieter, the nights almost deafening & my house is like an open living apartment.

How we long for the days till we trip over a playmat, a bouncy chair, go sliding across the floor on a rattle and have to take some deep breaths after a nappy change. How I long for sore cracked nipples, headaches caused by vast tiredness. How I long to just want one nights sleep and how I long for those sweet satisfying cuddles, those happy sounds, the warmth knowing you’re there with me. Mine to keep. Except it never be you.

That is the hardest thing to come to terms with. No matter how much healing I go through, no matter if I get a rainbow or not, no matter how much happiness creeps back in my heart will remain broken, a part of my heart missing and empty.  Your pictures will age but you never will. My sweet forever baby you will never be with me until we meet in death.

To know my life must end for our reunion to begin is bittersweet. It’s a day to look forward to but a day I’m lost, a day I leave behind those whose hearts will now break from the space I create by going. But it’s a day that will come no matter how slowly it will arrive and I will see you my beautiful girl and our story can start.

It’s true we want what we can’t have. I will love your brothers for all of time, I will never chose to leave them or give them up to anyone. I will forever chose them over myself and sacrifice myself if the need ever arose. But I will live forever only wanting you. You are my goal you are my prize and nothing will ever compare.

I will learn to live again I will learn to be happy again and I will know my life is great. But it will never be the same again no matter how I try it will be a new life from this day forth. A new kind of same a strange kind of same.

tracy

My heart is forever broken

I hope you never have to feel how I feel. I hope your heart never breaks to a state it can’t be repaired fully.

The pain that is created from that broken heart is something not even time can fix. The only way to fix a broken heart is for it to stop beating. To rest from the ache.

I don’t know if I believe I will return to Elva but I like to think I will. This image made me have that hope that one day I will never need to leave her behind or let her go.

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Imagine leaving behind something you’ve always wanted something you never knew you would have then it got taken from you just as easily as it was given. Imagine the women who don’t find it so easy the ones who have paid out a lot to achieve what they once thought impossible. Imagine telling them they have to give it back but they get to keep the pain. If you could read my thoughts and the thousands of families who have lost children you would be in tears. You would be less inclined to judge, offer advice and try ignore it.

You can’t ever know how this feels I understand that I know because I’ve been on the ‘other’ side. The side of knowing stillbirth happens, having friends who have been through and never truly knowing how they felt. The side of not knowing what to say but having deep empathy for them. Now I’m the other side I know how they felt, still feel and I know I never could have imagine the pain they endure. I could never have know because I didn’t know how I would feel until it happened to me.

Most days I feel I can’t breathe. Its an effort to breathe, it causes me pain. I simply don’t know how I’m meant to survive another second let alone the rest of my life. Despite having so much in my life my world has been rocked. No earthquake could match how much my world has crumpled around me.

They say a child changes you. It turns your world upside down. It’s a joke about how they empty your wallet and fill you heart. But that’s not just how children change you or your world. They still empty your wallet as you collect memories and still buy for them. They fill your heart to bursting not just love but hurt deep hurt that consists of so many emotions.

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When I look at angel mum pictures I see a face I never saw before. It’s very subtle and it’s not easily recognised. But I see the same when I look at my face. You have to concentrate you have to imagine the worse thing that has happened to you then look again. You will see hurt, deep deep hurt. It’s like a permanent glaze on a person’s soul. A glaze you can’t wipe off or fix somehow. It bores down very deep in their soul but its there. Nothing is ever the same for them. Every moment of happiness is tinged with a sadness that you can’t help or control.

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Grief isn’t something you chose. How you react or feel isn’t a choice or even a conscious decision. It just occurs. You literally have to survive every event, every second. You have to put yourself ahead of others to protect your heart. Yes you lose people in your life through doing this simply because they haven’t been there they expect your grief to have an expiry date. To some degree it does expire but it only ends when your life does.

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You find yourself doing things just to feel a ray of hope. Anything to feel a little better even if its only for a second. People do judge: you shouldn’t ttc so soon you’re just replacing the baby, you need to get out, you need to be more like the old you, smile will you. It’s not your place to judge. If you find yourself judging it’s time to evaluate if you can be there for that person because this is a lifelong journey you won’t ever need to stop supporting them.

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If you ever need to question the motives, actions and strength of someone who lost a child in pregnancy, birth or infancy remember what she went through. You try imagine. Then tell yourself you can’t imagine hurt like it. Any hurt you could imagine triple it and you’re still nowhere near knowing. She did something you don’t want to imagine. Something you may find yourself actively avoiding like I did in my pregnancy with Leif & Elva. Except running from it didn’t work. Running from it made me fail to spot the signs something was going wrong. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome but you can’t hide from it because it will still find you.

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When you feel guilty for including your angel in your conversations. If there’s silence and awkwardness when you do. Like you should hide the fact you were pregnant. I sometimes feel guilty for using Elva’s pregnancy to encourage others. Just because she died doesn’t mean part of her story wasn’t a success. It was. Majority of her story was. There were parts of her story I would change but even those didn’t make her story unsuccessful. Through listening and support you could learn something that could change things for you one day.

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Never take anything for granted. You don’t know what will happen. Some believe there is a path laid out for you you just have to walk it. But there isn’t you always think things will be different to how they are. It’s life it’s not a pre destined path. Your path can be blocked at any time and you have to take a detour. Live in the moment because that’s all that is happening right now.

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These are my favourite images. Me & Elva had a bond that no-one else will ever have. No-one had our bond and love even Daddy understands that. She is the only one besides the boys who heart my heart from the inside, I’m the only one to feel her move daily reacting to her environment, one she’d never see. The only one to feel just pure love and no pain. She slept a lot she didn’t die in pain or suffering. She died with her head as close to my heart as she could get. That is the place all babies feel safe the place they remember in the womb and usually sends them off to sleep. Elva went breech just before she fell asleep forever my heart lulling her in a never ending sleep filled with love and happiness. Every second of her life she was held, carried & love by me and only me. She knew her brothers and her daddy but she only felt me.

It’s a bond that brightens the hardest of moments. It’s bitter sweet and is not consolation but it comforts me knowing I did my job as a mother. I loved her unconditionally, I cared for her better than I would care for myself. I cared for her in the same way I cared for the boys in the womb. That’s all I could give her do for her and it’s a wonderful feeling.

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Time changes nothing. It doesn’t make it better it just makes it closer to the end, further from the pain & you learn to deal with it because you chose to not because you have to. People say the opposite of living is unthinkable you HAVE to survive and live but I disagree. It’s not fair to live your life for others you need to have a degree of chose in there. You have to learn to live for yourself as well. Living for others makes that choice easier but it isn’t the whole reason. You chose to live because you want hope. You hope that you can have hope. Hope isn’t something that is just there it’s something that develops. It becomes your reason to live and survive through this for eternity.

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Grief can’t be healed, treated, solved, ended, fixed, dealt with, cured. It can be hidden, disguised, buried, masked but it never stops.

tracy