Monday, 26 October 2009

Beautiful Bickerton

I've not been on to write my blog in a while. I've been to stay with my family for a few days (which I could write a whole other blog about, it ranged from the ridiculous to the depressing but I guess that's families for you!) and then I guess I haven't needed to write on my blog because I've been...OK. Not amazing, but not really awful. Just OK. And it was really nice to be OK for a little bit. When I think back to how I felt a few weeks ago I'm amazed. I guess time is a healer, or you just find ways of coping. John is going back to work tomorrow after 4 weeks, so we'll see how I fare when I'm on my own with my thoughts.

We went for a walk today, it was a lovely Autumn afternoon:


Just gorgeous. It was so nice to walk with John and Marley (the dog) and just be alone with our thoughts.

I'm also in a positive mood because Aunt Flo showed up bang on 28 days after having Lucy. I wasn't sure at first if it was just my post natal bleeding starting again as it's been on and off over the last 2 weeks but it got really heavy and I was a bit concerned. The hospital asked to check me over to make sure all was OK and I didn't have any retained tissue, so I've had a scan and everything looks really good so it looks like my body has done me a small favour at least and has 'snapped' back into its cycle again. For now anyway. So that means I can now officially TTC! Hurray! Hold onto your hats everyone!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Lucy's Necklace

This morning the necklace and keyring arrived that we bought in memory of Lucy. I love them! I have been waiting for them for agesssssssssss. John is to have the keyring. We have also booked to have a memorial tattoo done, we will both be indelibly inked on Friday 13th November...dur dur durrrrrr! It's a good job I'm not superstitious or I think I'd have to chicken out. The lady at the tattoo parlour is busy drawing up our design so I hope to have it soon to see what I think.
I have been messing with my blog page, I wanted to make it personal to me and Lucy but I have been trying to create my own background and not doing a very good job. So I settled for this one for now, I liked the colours and the butterflies.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Heartache, heartache, heartache

Today I am so very sad. My heart aches. The days are too long and there are too many days between now and where I want to be. I am tired of getting my hopes up only to have them not just smashed, but really crushed, splintered into lots of irrepairable pieces and then stomped on some more.

Two long years of trying for a family, and three pregnancies in those two years.

And also three losses in those two years.

'You are lucky' people tell me, 'At least you know you can get pregnant' or 'Two years is not that long in the grand scheme of things'. And I find myself agreeing with them, yes we are lucky that we know we can conceive naturally, and yes two years is a short time indeed - my Mum took six years to conceive my Sister and seven years then to conceive me. But this does not make these losses any easier. I am sorry to say I find it very hard to consider myself 'lucky' when I have lost all three sucessive pregnancies, what positives can I possibly be expected to see in this desolate situation? Three times of hopes and dreams being destroyed. I have no living child to spur me on, to remind me that there can be a reward at the end of this misery. All I have known is death and pain and that is all I now associate with pregnancy. Getting pregnant = loss. I cannot imagine my path being any different now. Will it ever be any different?

I am desperate for another baby, we have been 'doing the deed' now my stitches are healed and my bleeding has stopped. We are not using any contraception, yes it is going against the advice of my Doctor to wait for my first period before TTC but I don't want to waste any opportunity to catch that egg. If I had my way I'd like to genetically engineer the female reproductive system so it ovulated at least every week. Let's not waste time with this 28 day cycle thing (or 24 day, or 38 day - depends on what mood my body is in). Let's get jiggy with it. I bet John can't wait to get back to the purely functional sex stage again. Me barking at him that we need, MUST have sex tonight, I am ovulating, I can tell by my EWCM and temperature. It's enough to give anyone a hard on! And then after the main event, lying with my gigantic, white arse in the air for half an hour so I don't spill a drop, instead of cuddling and falling asleep in each others arms. And they say romance is dead.
Writing it down really brings it home. I cannot believe two years down the line all I have to show for my pregnancies is an empty nusery and some vouchers for Mothercare. Thanks a bunch Mother Nature.

'You are already a Mum, you are Lucy's Mummy' people tell me. Yes, true. Well on paper anyway. I have given birth, I carried a baby and birthed her into the world, she is my daughter and I am her Mummy. But let's be realistic. I'm not actually a Mummy. Not in practice. I still have not had the opportuniy to learn and do all of the nurturing things that Mummies do. I have never heard my darling babies call me by this term. I am still none the wiser how to bathe a baby, make a bottle up, wind and change a little one. If this bitch of a life ever decides to let me keep one of my offspring then I will be a second time Mummy who still has no clue.
I am suffering from a bad case of square peg round hole syndrome. Where is my place amongst my friends and family? I am forever changed, and not in the way I wanted to be. I have no desire to return to my former life, the desicion to have children spoke volumes - no more party girl anymore. Enough was enough. Time to be a grown up. But I haven't quite reached grown up status yet. I am not allowed into the exclusive Mothers club. Perhaps I am not dressed correctly. Or maybe they just didn't like the cut of my jib.

Please can I have a pregnancy that = baby (live baby, to just clarify that Mother Nature. You old bag. I think I'm entitled to call you that now).

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Dear Lucy, I hope you are having fun in Heaven. Mummy is sad....

Today started so well, I was in a very happy mood, very positive. A sunny day on earth and in spirit.

So why am I sat here, choked up, tears ready to spill down my cheeks? What has made me sad?

Was it looking at your pictures, Lucy? I sat and looked at them today, I wish I had more. I wish I had more of you with your mouth shut, I don't like the pictures where your lips hang open. It makes you look even more lifeless, rather than like a sleeping angel. I wish I had picures of your feet! Those gigantic feet, outsized on such a tiny baby, but so perfect. I can't remember what you looked like in person. I am worried I will forget.

Was it going into the beautiful nursery we had prepared for you? Jungle animals all over the walls, Fisher price mobile hanging on the cot, changing mat ready and stacks of different size nappies. Rocking chair in the corner where I sat so many times and imagined holding you to my breast and nursing you in the early hours. I imagined rocking you back to sleep and John coming in to see where I was - how we would both stand at the end of the cot and gaze lovingly at you, proud of our little family.

Was it visiting my two little nieces for the eldests' birthday? Did you see my tears Lucy? I cried as I watched them play and open presents, knowing I would never see you play or sit amidst piles of presents, never see you parade in a princess dress, or climb onto your Daddies lap to plant a cake-crumbed kiss on his face.

Was it going to the Baby and child memorial service at the hospital? Was it sitting amongst the heartbroken parents, Grandparents, Brothers and Sisters? Was it seeing all those candles lit, knowing that each tiny flame represented a little soul, a tiny person that was no longer here?

Was it coming home again to my empty house? That should now be filled with baby cries and coos, nappies, toys and bibs strewn around, me smelling of baby wipes and milky baby sick. But instead it's filled with dying bouquets of flowers and sympathy cards. And sadness. And two heartbroken parents of a baby they can't cuddle and whisper their love to.

It was all of these things that has made me sad, my darling baby girl. And a million more besides. How can you not be here? Why were you taken from us when we were so close to holding you in our arms? What the hell have we done to deserve this?

We didn't just lose you, we also lost all our dreams and hopes for you too. There will always be a massive hole in our family where you should be, Lucy. You were so, so wanted and loved. So very loved, even from when you were a tiny little speck on that scan. Your poor Mummy and Daddy are breaking their hearts for you, every day. 

I just wanted to be your Mummy.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Feeling uplifted

I am so addicted to reading blogs. Every story breaks my heart. I am shocked and distressed by the sadness and tragedy that stalks our world. But I am comforted from the support shown from other women and families in this community, and the knowledge that I am not on my own - the support available is amazing.
I was thinking this morning about how my posts so far have been so bleak and negative. I seem to only type into this keyboard when I am feeling low, cranky, and sad and my posts become an massive outpouring of anger and sadness. Because I guess that is generally how I feel a lot of the time, even if I am not showing it outwardly, all of those sad thoughts are churning up behind my eyes.
But I am not always like that. I am not always this miserable, moaning, heartbroken soul. This has not always been me. There are moments every day when a little bit of me, the 'old' me, shines through. And maybe that little bit is even more improved than before because I have known the joy of carrying a child in your belly, the achievement you feel when you have birthed your child into the world, the unconditional love you feel when you look at the beautiful baby that the love between you and your partner has created.
Today (I wrote this on Mon 12th) has been a good day in so many small ways and I just wanted to document the good things - even though I have so much to feel sad about, there is also a lot to feel glad about.
We took the dog for a walk, it was glowing sunshine. The colours were amazing; the leaves, sky, trees, fields. The dog made us laugh chasing after the squirrels (he really believes he will catch one someday). I want a family so much, I miss my baby girl but I also don't want to be blindsided by this desire and not be thankful I have such a loving, supportive Husband. We two (and the dog) were very happy before our decision to have a family. I want to add to the numbers (and then some!) but I don't want to forget it was just us that started this journey, our love for each other.
Through this horrific experience I have been touched by people across the miles that I would never have had the chance to meet, or have had their support and love. They have been sharing their support, love and wisdom with me even though they have never met me. Kindness that really amazes me, and makes me question how I present myself to the world. I need to do more RAOK. Chicken soup for the soul and all that.

Our existing family and friends have been amazing. There are a few amongst those that have been outstanding. One lady - who is 20 years my Senior - has been wonderful. We have been best friends since we met at work. She is funny, compassionate, spirted and kind hearted. I see her as a Sister, best friend and a second Mother. She is not afraid to tell me when she thinks I am wrong, she is my confidante and I can swear and shout in front of her until I am blue in the face. A 'mother hen' figure, I don't know of anyone that has met her and not warmed to her. Yet in another of Mother Nature's cruelest blows, she is unable to have children. I have never met a woman more suited to being a mother, more capable, more maternal, and she can't have children. So there is this amazing lady with so much love, who wants a child so much, and cannot have them. Even before this happened this mystery baffled me entirely, why can't she have her hearts desire when there are cretins popping them out left, right and centre? Her and her partner have been mine and Johns rocks throughout all this. Step up to the plate? They've stepped up, smashed it and bought us another. They have been invaluable and have proved what fantastic human beings they are. Maybe one day we can repay them and be there the way they have for us, I hope so. They are special people, not only because they were some of the priviliged few to have actually met Lucy, but because of how they have helped us, supported us, loved us. So I am thankful indeed that I have them in my life.

I lit a candle yesterday and I thought about Lucy. And then I thought about all the other Mothers making the same gesture for their little ones all over the world. There are so many of us. Too many of us, but I'm not covering new ground with this observation. There were 'Baby loss' Mothers before me, there are BL Mothers walking the path beside me, and there will be Baby Loss Mothers walking this sad, devastating path behind me. I want so much to sew up this big, gaping wound that fills that joyful expectant Mum-to-be sky. I wish I could stitch it and no one would ever have to feel this awful pain again. But I can't stop this pain. That really pisses me off.


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wave of light

Our candle for Lucy and all of the other innocents. Thinking of them all and sending lots of love xxx

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Balloons and hormones

My thought when I woke up: I miss my big fat tummy. My baby bump. I stroked it from when it was just a wee pot belly until it was an enormous, gallumphing globe of a stomach, lined with purple stretch marks and shiny skin stretched tightly. I just have a saggy, loose ,flabby tummy now. I feel weird being able to sleep on my stomach again.

I think I have now entered the hormonal stage of post natal fun. I am so damn cranky at the minute, I have been having fits of rage at everything. Well, mainly about the in-laws and about my parents. I am sick and tired of being told how strong I am, I am tired of people asking when John and I are going back to work, I am irritated how people seem to think they can stake some claim in our grief.
Like my Mum telling me (yet again) how Dad keeps seeing buggies and prams and saying "We should be doing that, pushing a pram around with our Grandaughter in". I have heard it so many times and yes, I know they are allowed to grieve as well but MY GOD it has just really started to piss me right off. So I told her yesterday that I'd rather she didn't say these things.


"Beacause it hurts me when you say that. Do you think I need to be reminded of that fact? Do you not think that I have the same exact thoughts everytime I see parents or Grandparents out with babies or toddlers? I don't need to be told this, I feel it like a knife everytime I see it around me"

I just feel very selfish with my grief at the moment. Please allow me for a moment to induldge in a little self pity. My grief is the worst, the most painful, the deepest, the most raw. No one elses can come close, not the way I see it in my head right now. Not even Johns. I grew and nurtured my daughter for nine long months, I made sacrifices, I gave up my body to be her protector and incubator. I felt her grow. I shared her first movements. I shared her last movements. I had to birth her lifeless body into the world, I went through the pain of labour knowing my greatest reward had been taken. I nearly lost my own life as a result of the birth.  I often think about how I wish I had lost my life after the birth. So please, don't fucking tell me you know how I feel. Don't tell me you understand, don't tell me stories of losing your ancient Nan or some Uncle you never saw much. Don't try and tell me how sad you are, or how much you are grieving because let me tell you it does not even COME CLOSE to this heavy heart in my chest, the sadness that drowns me every morning when I wake up, and the dark thoughts that keep me from settling off to a restful sleep every night. The very fact you think you can even pretend to know, or that you are grieving as much makes me want to slap you in the face and scream at you until I'm hoarse. How dare you presume to know this unbearable pain unless you have lived through it. How dare you.

Of course, the logical and rational part of my brain tells me I shouldn't feel like this. That sadness and loss is not some exclusive members only club, or some competitive sport. That I shouldn't sneer at other peoples feelings or experiences beacuse I consider them to be a lesser pain than my own. Whatever trials or tribulations people have to face are very important to them, as they would be to me if I had to face them, and I should not snidely dismiss them as 'lesser' worries. It's just at the minute I can't help it. I do dismiss them, all of the time. I look at what problem they are facing, and then at what I have been through and have yet to go through. And I want to laugh in their face an tell them that if they think they have issues, they should try giving birth to a dead baby. I have these nasty, spiteful thoughts. I want to shock these people into seeing their life for what it is, instead of looking at what it isn't.
John's friend came round yesterday as he was sad. His marriage of 3 years has just broken up, leaving him alone whilst she is still in the house with their 2 young children. It was partly his fault, he made no real effort in the latter months of marriage. Still, he is broken. And I would feel sad for him normally. I would hug him, make him a cup of tea, cluck and coo and say the right things, even if I thought in my head that it was his fault, I would tell him it wasn't his fault. But I am not normal anymore, at least not at the moment. So as he sat crying on the sofa about his marriage, I can feel the irritation rising in me. I think he must have known as he looks up and says "I'm sorry, I know this is nothing compared to what you two are going through". I want to say, "Yes, you are absolutely right. How dare you sit there and cry over the fact you allowed your marriage to disintegrate around you. It is your fault, you allowed it to happen. How can you cry when you have two beautiful children from the marriage? Do you know what I would give to be in your situation right now?". Except I don't say this, as I know this is not the real me speaking but this new, hormone charged stranger that has taken over. I just tell him it's OK for him to be here, and sit and angrily type into my computer.
I wanted to at least be more compassionate as a result of suffering this, but it seems I still have a long way to go before I get there yet. I am still too eaten up with jealousy and bitterness. I am less tolerant of people than I was before, and there is still the venom I have spoken about previously that is just itching to be released. I hope that time improves this situation as I feel very out of control at the minute, like some emotional drunkard.

Thursday was Lucy's funeral. I coped a lot better than I expected. I was positively jovial in the morning, joking and fussing and making sure evrything was sorted. The basket we had chosen for her was beautiful, less harsh than the normal caskets and tiny coffins. The florist had decorated it with lush green foliage and pink voile netting around the middle. It looked beautiful. It made me glad. It made me glad we could do thisone small thing for Lucy. I cried a little on the way to the crematorium. I cried during the service, which again was beautful, and gentle. Just the way we wanted it. The Reverend that blessed Lucy at the hospital held the service, a very kind and gentle man. We sang 'All things bright and beautiful' and the sun shone gloriusly through the whole thing. A poem written especially for Lucy was read out. We played Coldplays 'The Scientist' at the end. Not because it has any special link to Lucy, just that I love the song. It is my favourite Coldplay song, it has always made me feel very sad when I listen to it and I find it gives me goosbumps. I like the lyrics and when I listened to it again after we lost Lucy I felt they were poigniant in a small way. They said a little about how I was feeling. We went back to the local pub that K and J own. We had a toast drink of pink Champagne for Lucy, and then we went and released pink and white balloons for her in the garden. They went so high, and we could see them even when they were miles away.
I sent all my love to her with those balloons. I still don't feel it was enough. It hurt so much letting them go. Watching them float away felt like I was letting her soul and spirit fly away from me. It represented her death to me in a very stark manner and so rather than comforting, I actually found it quite distressing. I still do, I cannot think about that image of those ten balloons without the emotions overcoming me. I feel like I let her float out of my grasp and did nothing to stop it.

I think I am in denial about Lucy's death. The only way I seem to be able to get through every day is pretending all is normal. I find I am blanking out things to do with Lucy and the pregnancy completely. At one point I know I will stop glossing over it and have to deal with it, have to wade through this thick sludge of grief and reality. But not at the mintute.
I am trying so hard to be normal and yet I never quite enjoy things or feel normal because I know I am not, and that I am just trying. Then I get frustrated at feeling like this so I stop trying, and the sadness overwhelms me.
I read a fantastic post on another blog about the animal like wails you make whilst you are grieving an experience like this, about curling up in a ball on the floor and making these gutteral cries. When I stop pretending I feel these primal cries rising in my throat. I have never been reminded more that I am a merely a mammal than now, when I despair in this way I wail and howl like any other mother from the animal world that has suffered a loss. It is purely instinctual, and it scares anyone who happens to be with me. I think it must be the most terrifying sound ever.

Our consultant appointment is through. All test results and PM report will be ready for discussion on 14th December. We have a meeting with Mr. L (who we thought we had already been seeing throughout this pregnancy for the growth scans, except it was just one of his lackeys. We only realised this when Mr. L - possibly through guilt when he heard of the outcome and the realisation he actually hadn't consulted with us the entire time - came to see us after Lucy was born). I expect to be told it was a concealed placental abruption as this is what they suspected after the birth. When they broke my waters they were full of blood, and the placenta had an enormous retroplacental clot (about 700mls worth). Oh, and my stupid uterus wouldn't contract afterwards and I nearly bled to death. Is it wrong to say I wish I had? I wish I had just slipped away during those drug hazed hours after Lucy's birth? Probably.
I know I thought about it at the time, after they placed my dead baby on my chest and I gazed at her purple lips and lifeless hands. They were telling me that they were trying to get my uterus to contract, that I was bleeding heavily. And I started to shout at them to leave me alone. What they didn't understand was I wanted them to leave me alone to die. Let me bleed to death and be with my angel. Dark thoughts indeed, but maybe we all share them.

To be honest I don't think having those results will help at all. Even if it turns out that the cause was placental abruption, there is no magical method to guarantee me a live, squirming baby next time. I was well all through the pregnancy. I had no warning that I was bleeding, no sharp pains, I don't fit into the medically susceptible categories of people that placental abruption may happen to (Smokers, over 40s/under 20s etc) and it is not preventable. My eyes have suddenly been opened to the many opportunities to die that a baby has whilst in the womb, and indeed once they have been born.
I want the impossible. I have miscarried twice and birthed a stillborn baby and so I feel I am owed by the medical community some sort of miracle. If they find a cause of why my perfect baby died, I want them to be able to tell me that there is something they can do to stop it happening again. Like, "Mrs C. your baby died from xxx. But we can give you xxx and do procedure xxx to ensure you have a safe and happy pregnancy next time". But there is no guarantee. I am now too painfully aware, as all of us in this situation are aware.

So what do we do next? Answers on a postcard, please, to: .....

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Why us?

That's all can I think today. It has been a hard day. Thursday is creeping closer. I want to get it over and done with but after that what do I have left?
We went to town as I have asked everyone to wear something pink, even if it is just a scarf. Then I realised I don't actually have anything pink myself. So off we went. And the first thing we see at the carpark paystation? A young couple with a brand new baby, clearly their first as they everything is brand new right down to the 'baby on board' sign. And the Dad is struggling to figure out the pram, and they are laughing and I am staring at them and all I can think is how that should be us. I should not be shopping for an outfit to wear whilst I  cremate my daughter. I should be shopping for pink, girly baby clothes. It hurts like I have been hit by a truck, I feel weighted down, I can hardly walk and my eyes are full of tears. That's pretty much how the rest of the shopping trip went. Everywhere you turned there were happy couples and their babies, the same way when you break up with someone all you see is loved up couples. And I wanted to scream at all of them "Why do you get to keep your babies and not me?" and I want to tell everyone what heartbreak we are going through, as all they see is a childless couple. And we are not a childless couple, and it hurts because that is all they see when they look at us. So I cried in the car all the way home. Because I should still be pregnant now. My due date has not even passed yet, Lucy was due on October 14th. I should still be complaining of heartburn, and no sleep because my belly has grown so large, and we should still be laughing in bed about her kicking John in the back when we are spooning, and people should still be having to lean right in when they kiss me hello as my tummy precedes me so much. It should be all about Raspberry leaf tea, and pineapple, and hot curries. Instead I'm about to have my daughter cremated.
One of my best friends moved to Glasgow over a year ago. She found out she was pregnant 5 weeks behind me so all through the pregnancy we have been on the phone for hours every week, gleefully comparing notes and anticipating motherhood. Except I'm not quite ever going to graduate fully. I have the stretch marks and stitches to prove I have been there once, but empty arms and sagging breasts to show everyone I didn't quite make the grade. I am sickeningly jealous that she will probably go on to graduate (with hounours) and in a few weeks time have a newborn to tend to. I am sickened that I have this jealousy, I am mad at myself for not being able to wish her well sincerely. Because I can't, I want what she will soon have so very, very much. I don't wish her ill, not by a long shot, but I do wish her not to be pregnant because it is a bitter pill to swallow.
To make it worse she has just called to say she can't make it on Thursday. She has appointments (they are moving into a new flat soon) and only one day of holiday left...blah..blah..blah. And I am so upset and mad with her that I can't speak, she asks if she can come and see us at the weekend and I mumble some bullshit about going away or staying with my parents because I don't want to see her at the weekend. I need her to be there on Thursday, the day I cremate my Lucy, my baby girl. I don't need her at the weekend or the weekend after that but I really do need her on Thursday. I am sure she could sort something out with work if she tried. Even though seeing her enormous baby bulge would be hard, having her there to hug me on Thursday and making it feel like my daughter mattered to her would be worth it. Just penciling me in for the weekend is not the same, or maybe I am being unreasonable in my crazy, bereaved state. She also seemed to have joined the throng of people who say the most stupid, insensitive things. She asks what we've been doing and I tell her we've been making the arrangements for Thursday. And then she asks "How has that been?...I guess it's been awful?"

Well yes, it's not exactly been a pleasurable experience for us, I guess you could say preparing for my little baby girls funeral is 'awful' (FFS!).

I ended up passing the phone to John as I couldn't bear to speak another word to her (the vile tirade that's been waiting to be unleashed upon someone was about to spill out). I sent her a rather curt text to try and explain. I just told her that awful doesn't even come close to this unbearable pain we are both feeling, and that I am really sad she can't be there on Thursday. She hasn't replied yet, she may be mad at me or she may be sad. Who cares really. So I am now sat on my sofa crying, and feeling very hurt by my friend who I thought I was so close to. It feels like we were both sailing on a raft towards a beautiful desert island. And then the raft splits in two, her section of the raft has the sail and continues on towards the island. My section of the raft falters and I start to sink. I can feel that I am sinking fast, and I am trying to keep my head above the water. I can see her sailing further from me, and she is not looking back to help me - she is looking ahead to the beautiful island and all the amazing things that await her on shore. And I am thinking 'Why couldn't it have been my part of the raft that kept the sail, so I could sail to the island?'.
Jealousy, a very nasty side effect of this dead baby business.

I don't like it.

But I can't stop it.

John keeps saying to me "You can't begrudge everyone else for having babies" (hmmm, well actually I can). It's true I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, that goes without saying. But I wish so much it wasn't us. Wish, wish, wish. I seem to spend all my day wishing. I am trying to work out in my head how this devastating lottery works. How does Mr. Probability figure out who will be the one in one hundred to make up the statistics? How can this have happened to us? We are good people, we are not perfect people, but we try to live our lives as well as we can. All I want is to be a family, to give my husband the child he wants so much. The child I want so much.
We have our house, we have our dog. We visit family, we go out with friends. We give to charities, we moan about bills, we try to be compassionate, we sometimes fail. We laugh, we shout, we swear, we come home and cuddle and watch TV. We are ordinary. Why can't this part of my life be ordinary? Why can't we have milky smelling shoulders, sticky fingers and tantrums? Why couldn't we have kept Lucy? Why am I left wondering forever what she would have been like? Would she be fiery like me, or placid like John? Would she have been artistic, academic? Would she have grown up to be good looking like John or plain like her mother? What was the point of her short life? Why did I get to carry her for nine months, only to have her snatched away? She never saw the outside world. My lovely girl, my angel, my darling Lucy. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you, I'm sorry if my body failed you. I would give my life in an instant to allow you to live and see this world.
I am told this experience will make me a better person. Was I such a bad person, that I have to suffer this misery?

Monday, 5 October 2009

Some people just know what to say

John has been sad today, sad and pretty angry. If he wasn't worried about us having no car then I think he would have aimed it into the side of a few careless drivers today. My parents and sister came to see us yesterday and I was a bloody misery all day. They made us 'get out of the house' for a walk and I sobbed most of the time. It was a perfect Autumnal evening, the kind I normally adore. Brilliant colours, crisp air and that low, glowing sunshine. Except yesterday evening it was full of buggies and prams and happy families and I couldn't stand it, I was sickeningly jealous. Any other past Autumn I'd have been parading in a new coat, matching hat and scarf set and imagining I was on the front of a Christmas card whilst smugly kissing my Husband. Thinking about it I want to shake my former self until she's sick - stupid, selfish, and shallow child. I really thought I knew it all (at the grand old age of 27 - HA!) and was so judgmental on other people. I never realised how judgemental I really was! I am so ashamed to write what I am about to write, but I've been thinking about it today so why hide it? Whilst pregnant I used chat forums and so called 'birth' boards to discuss worries and compare pregnancy notes. During my time on these boards there would be many sad announcements about miscarriage and angel babies. A lady posted one day about her angel who had been born early and also posted pictures. In my 'sympathy' (and thinly disguised morbid fascination) I looked at these pictures - they made me sad, but I felt mainly unconnected as I never thought I would be there myself. She also posted pictures of various family members with her angel baby. And at that point I thought 'Hmmm, that's far too morbid. I think that is a bit wrong/unhealthy  grief/blahblahblah'. The pictures made me uncomfortable and I made a judgment about this lady, (who I can now empathise with wholeheartedly!). I thought she needed 'professional' help for her grief, to talk to someone, to start to 'get over' her loss. I was one of those annoying, smug bitches who thinks she has a lifetime of advice on the tip of her tongue when all she has is venomn and doesn't even realise it!
I wish I could remember her log on ID as I would message her now and tell her how I had felt at the time and how I now understand. I feel so guilty and disgusted with myself that those thoughts were in my head, yet at the time I thought I was the 'right' one and I even told my family about this poor woman and we all clucked and fussed over how it was sad it was for her loss, but she that she should get help! God I am so ANNOYED with myself for having those thoughts, who the hell did I think I was for making those judgements? How sad it took an experience like this to make me more compassionate for others. Thank you Lucy for this lesson at least (But sadly I'd be that selfish, immature child in a flash if it meant having you back in my life, I'm still selfish like that).
So anyway...(now I've had my virtual confessional) the original point of this post was... how some people just know what to say and do. Lots of people say the WRONG thing ('Gods will, Act of God, Nature intended it, Life's plan, You're young, You have your lives ahead of you, You'll have more children' are a few of the very special gems that splurge out of peoples mouths. The next time I am at a funeral perhaps I will say to the breaved family, "You're OLD, you should have expected them to DIE soon"). however, some people do know what to say, and most of the time they are not the people you would presume would react the 'right' way. We went to the doctors today as I have been left with a few problems after the traumatic birth. In the waiting room were K and J, the landlord and lady of John's old local. We were going to see them later today anyway as we want the balloon release and toast drink for Lucy to be held at their pub on Thursday afternoon as they know us and the family. J saw us come in and immediately got up and gave me a massive hug, she held me tightly and all she said was "We just cannot understand Life sometimes, I am so sorry darling". Nothing more profound, not trying to explain or excuse it. She hugged me tight and then she sat next to me and held my hand tightly and let me cry and talk about Lucy. After a while she was called into her appointment but her warmth and love stayed with me and it was worth so much more than I can tell you. She simply knew the right thing to say and do and it made my day. I hope that this horrific experience makes me more like J and less like my former self.
I love you Lucy, my sleeping beauty. I miss you baby girl. xxxx

Sunday, 4 October 2009

I get on my soap box

I miss my baby girl so much. My little Lucy locket. I miss all the things I won't ever get to do with her. I miss my strong, cheeky girl. I lie in bed at night and my saggy belly feels empty. I miss her hiccups, her kicks and those wriggles that would make me catch my breath but also make me smile at our special moment that we were sharing, just us two.
I find myself still rubbing my belly but she's not there. I got so used to having her inside me. My heart is so heavy every day when I wake up, I do not want this new reality I have been given. I am obsessing about trying again, I need a baby in my arms, I need to fulfil all these plans and dreams. I am so sick of people telling me it is too early to think about the next baby. I know a baby will not stop me grieving. I know that I will have this pain for the rest of my life. Maybe I won't feel it as keenly as I do now, but it will be there, festering under the surface. I love you so much my darling girl, I love you and ache for you. I pray you did not suffer and I pray you felt loved and content in my womb.
Yesterday was not a good day. I can tell from what I have written I was not in a good place. The Bereavement Midwife came to see me in the afternoon and it helped to talk out all of the thoughts in my head (even though I am just going over and over the same things at the minute - more on the BM in a moment though).
I woke up today in not much of a better mood - in fact I felt positively SHITTY. I am told I am supposed to have some sort of structure to my day to encourage me to get out of bed and not just lie about in my PJs with chocolate stains down the front and unwashed hair. Then I turned on my lap top and saw all of the lovely, lovely messages from the other Angel Mummies out there. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read about Lucy and for leaving your comments. It means so much to me and has given me a little bit of light in this dark place we are left in. Thank you to Christy (lovely little Leila's mummy) for the mention. I wish I was still oblivious to this club in so many ways but I am also so glad to have found it. I know that you all understand where I am coming from as I would never wish this on my worst enemy, but I am glad I am not alone. I also feel better that other people have read about Lucy, it makes her more real because as time passes from her birth I find myself in this surreal place wondering if it all really happpened? Was my baby girl ever really here?

The main thing that has been going around my head over the last 12 hours:

Why is there not more awareness of stillbirths and neonatal deaths?

I thought I knew all of the risks involved with pregnancy. I poured over the books and websites to make sure I was giving my little one every chance of surviving any possible problem that may arise.
I mean, I was aware of the term stillbirth and I could pretty much guess at what it's meaning was. Yet in my uneducated ignorance I thought that it was something that happened, quite literally, once in a blue moon. In fact if I'm honest I kind of thought that it was something that used to happen 'in the olden days' before we were so medically advanced. In my little blissfully unaware pregnancy bubble I thought that with all of the scans and fetal heart monitoring and the antenatal care that this simply COULD NOT HAPPEN!
I had absolutely no idea at all how common it was because no one likes to talk about dead babies. I am rapidly finding this out for myself. It makes them uncomfortable (!). What a shame. I now feel that discomfort 24 hours a day, in fact all I can do is talk about dead babies. My baby is dead, and not because I am a junkie or an alcoholic, there was no accident - I didn't fall down the stairs, I took good care of myself and yet no one told me this could happen.
According to the SANDS website, 17 babies are still born or die shortly after birth every day in the UK. It was the first time I had ever heard this shocking statistic. I am not sure what the statistics are for across the water but no doubt they are equally as disturbing. And 75% of women surveyed that had experienced such losses reported a decrease in fetal movement prior to learning of their little angels demise.
I have been reading so many blogs since yesterday (in fact that is all I basically have done in the last 12 hours, I am like a sponge at the moment soaking everything up). I have been crying and feeling every bit of the pain that the babyloss mums write about so beautifully. The accounts are tragic, harrowing, heartwarming, poetic and courageous all in equal measure. So many stories have a similar pattern, and in so many of them a decrease in movement is mentioned. So why oh why are we told that this is normal and to be expected as we approach labour? Why are so many concerns about movement that are raised by anxious Mums just dismissed with the textbook answer of 'It is to be expected, the baby will move less as there is not enough room and they are descending ready for labour'. I certainly noticed a decrease in movements in the 2 weeks prior to losing Lucy, I mentioned this to my Midwife and was told exactly the above. And the books generally say the same thing. So even though she had ALWAYS been a super active baby I just accepted this - I mean, I was just an anxious first time mum, right? No one told me to start monitoring her movements, and the importance of this. In fact, I only did it on that final fateful day because a more recent book I just purchased reccomended it, out of the million books I bought and borrowed only ONE mentioned it's importance!
Maybe if I knew more about the significance of this I would have followed my instincts and made more of a point to my Midwife about the decrease in movements - I had carried her for 9 months and knew her pattern so why did I take the advice of a total stranger that it was normal to not feel her as much? Why did I let this falsehood in my brain prevent me on that Wednesday morning from ringing the hospital or even going straight there when I had that intuitive feeling that her movements weren't right? But hindsight is a wonderful thing I guess.
I simply cannot understand why the medical profession is not taking these sort of concerns more seriously, surely it is better to err on the side of caution than to have a bereaved mother on your hands?
I put this to the BM yesterday, and I asked her why stillbirth and neonatal deaths were not talked about more, even at the Parentcraft classes. Her response:

"We get asked this a lot, but really there is no easy way to tell parents that their baby might die. There is enough to worry about during pregnancy and the consensus is that it is better not to say anything. How do you tell a roomful of parents that there is a chance their baby could be the 1 in 100?".

Now, I sort of get the sentiments behind this school of thought. I agonised over the things that could befall our little one throughout the pregnancy. It is a fraught time with much to be concerned about and there are so many risks involved, a new life is truly a miracle. But I can't understand why they deem it OK to be selective over the information they share with us - i.e. it is OK to tell me that the Snickers I pinched from the box of chocolates may or may not result in my baby having an allergy to nuts and leave me worrying for the next month that my greediness has damaged my baby. But it is not OK to forewarn me on the significance of reduced movement and the reasonable possibility that my baby may die in utero? I personally would have rather been informed of this possibility than have the alternative of total ignorance. I can't understand why it is not more talked about when SIDS is quite well publicised.
But that is just my rant for the day really (I'll step off the soap box now), I just wanted to vent these thoughts out of my head. Maybe I just want to lay a little of the blame somewhere for something that was likely just a tragic accident, (not an 'act of God' as the doctor who came to call at the house said to us - yes, he really did say that. My jaw was on the floor for about ten minutes before I told him I found it very hard to have faith in God when facing this sort of tragedy. He very quickly backtracked on what he said. He was lucky to leave the house with his eyes still in his sockets as I felt like clawing them out). I'd love someone to blame so I can direct some of this extreme emotion at them. I could shout and scream and hit them and make them hurt the way I am hurting. But I know that when all the test results come back I may not ever get an answer, and nothing and no one will be the cause. Just 'one of those things'. Those really, really SHIT things that I never dreamed would happen to me in that really arrogant way that you do.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Spider mum

A few weeks ago, probably more than that actually as time seems to be lost on me at the moment, a spider laid her egg sac in the corner of our bedroom. We noticed her one day as she sat devoutly guarding it and nurturing it. For weeks and weeks she sat there and we wondered how she was surviving as she had no web spun ready to catch any food to keep her going. She just sat and watched and waited for these eggs to hatch. We looked up on the internet when they might hatch, opinion ranged from 2 weeks to over a month. So we waited with her, we checked every day to see if there had been any progress - I would ask John to check as he is taller than me and she had tucked the sac away quite carefully. Spider mum just waited patiently for her babies.
After we lost Lucy we decided to come home briefly, to go and see the nursery and basically force ourselves to get that part done with and see how we felt. Whilst we were home we went into the bedroom and as we gathered some clothes together we noticed that spider mum had gone. But the egg sac was still there. It looked lifeless and given the amount of time it had been there we both decided that the eggs would not be hatching, too much time had passed. Spider mum had obviusly realised this too and finally left her eggs without ever meeting her babies. Spider mum had lost her babies too. This to me now seems really poigniant, I lay in bed this morning looking up at the sad, lonely sac. I am wondering was this a sign to us of what would and has happened, or is it just a strange coincidence that Spider mum has suffered a bereavement in the same way as us? Months of waiting for the arrival of your babies only to find at the last second that you would not be meeting them in life. It makes me feel very sad as she had been such a good, caring Mum and had not left her babies even for a second. It really does reflect what we are going through. Poor Spider mum. 
Today the day feels pointless. Every day feels pointless really but we have had small, menial tasks that have kept us occupied. Today is empty and outside it is grey. It all comes back to how changed we are now. We cannot go back to the people we were before we were pregnant, where Saturdays would mean clothes shopping, take aways and then into town with our friends to get completely rat arsed and tumble home ready for the hangover. We cannot go back to being the people we were while we were pregnant, where Saturdays would mean baby shopping, excitedly joining the throngs of expectant parents in Mothercare, cooing over the toys and clothes and wondering if we would have a boy or a girl. Laughing about what it would be like in a few months time when they were here with us and we would be trying to manouvre a buggy around the aisles. How naieve we were.
We can't be the people we thought we were going to be, where our Saturdays would be feeding our little one, changing them, bathing them, catching up on lost sleep, happy visits to grandparents.

So who the fuck are we supposed to be now?

How am I meant to find my place again? I don't fit in with anything anymore. Today is stretching ahead of me and I don't know what to do. I am not 100% well enough to do some of the things I would like as I lost a lot of blood after giving birth and my health has suffered. Stupid body, I just want it to heal quicker.
All I have is the lap top and hours and hours of reading through other peoples grief, which is very comforting to know that we are not alone, but ultimatley very distressing as well to read through peoples raw grief - I question Why? at the end of each story. It seems so unfair that this tragedy has to happen to so many people. All of the stories I read reflect our own in some way, some of the lines written are identical to thoughts or feelings we have had over the last week or so. I think the trouble is I am hoping that somewhere in these stories there will be the magical piece of advice on how the hell I cope again with just doing ordinary, everyday things. For someone to tell me how I can slot back into a normal life as though this has never happened. But there is no way you can do that and no advice to be given on how to mend our broken hearts. You just have to get on with it. You just have to exist. That is all I feel we are doing, existing. We get up, we wash, we get dressed, we have cup of tea. We cry, we pull ourselves together, we pack away baby things. I feel like an idiot for even thinking we would have a baby that we could take home and love. I have this weird feeling in my gut that I KNEW this would not turn out well. I am not just saying that, I did have this weird feeling throughout my pregnancy that it would turn out badly, I found it hard to imagine having a baby in the house. So now I am wondering did I WISH this upon myself? Did I curse myself having these thoughts? Or was this predetermined and I had some sort of vision of what was to come? Or was I just worrying because of the other miscarriages and it is just pure coincidence that our happy ending has not happened? I pray it is pure coincidence, that my feelings were just a result of my other losses and that I had every chance of my fairytale ending, as much as any other mother. I pray this because of the sinking feeling I have of never being a mother, and this happening again. And if this is a vision or a curse then I feel like I already know we'll not ever have our happy ending, and that is just too much to bear.
I miss Lucy, my darling little girl. I wanted a baby girl so much, I loved her so much whilst she grew inside me. I love her so much, and I feel helpless that I couldn't protect her or save her. I feel guilty that she is all alone at the funeral parlour. I feel guilty for John. He cried today when he saw the T shirt his Brother and Sister in Law bought for him in preparation, it says 'I'm the Daddy'. He cried and said how he had wanted to wear it. And it is breaking my heart so much because he is hurting and so broken and I feel that it is my fault. I am a failure as a woman, I am unable to produce a live offspring for him to cherish. I wonder if he ever thinks about what would have happened if he had married someone else. If his life would still have taken this sad turn or if he would be a Daddy by now. I imagine he would be a Daddy by now and I torture myself with this thought. I am responsible for his grief and agony. I am faulty goods.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Going home

So today we have been to register Lucy's birth and death. How cruel is that sentence to type? The registrar was very understanding. At the end, he said "I went through something similar. We went on to have 5 children". It made me think about our future, and how many I would like to have. I think I would like 4 children. But I'm almost too scared to even let myself dare to hope that we will, one day, take home from hospital a screaming newborn. I feel that my path is set on loss and misery and I cannot imagine anything else. I am too scared to imagine a family, because that is what we did this time and it makes it so much harder.
I imagined all the lost sleep we would have, the nappies and the spewing. I voiced my fear over being left alone with a newborn when John returned to work. I planned who could babysit for upcoming social events we wanted to attend. All plans involved us actually having a baby, and now we don't. And I have no idea what we are supposed to do, how we can be expected to face the daily grind and the social events with empty arms and an empty cot. As well as our broken hearts. I read my post yesterday, I have written it like a story. I think because that is what it feels like, a story that is happening to another couple and not us. But our story is not unique, I have been reading other blogs and forums about babyloss and there are so many like us out there suffering the same misery. It's truly heartbreaking and I feel a warmth towards these people not even having met them.
We had to buy Lucy a new outfit today, as the baby grow we dressed her in has metal press studs and they are not allowed for the cremation. We chose a pink, girly outfit. I also picked a pink blanket to wrap her in and a teddy bear to put in with her. We bought an identical bear for us to keep, it will be Lucy's bear and has the year on his foot.
We decided to come home today. I am not sure John was ready, he has been teary since we got in and has now taken to fussing and doing things to keep busy. I feel strange being here, we've been away forever it seems. But I am glad to be in familiar surroundings. We had lots of cards waiting for us, everyone had written very lovely messages. People have been so kind to us, it is really comforting. But at the same time I can't understand why I had to be the 'lady that lost her baby'? I feel I will forever carry this tag around my neck. My thoughts are busy with Lucy and if we will ever have another baby. I want another little girl. Not to replace Lucy, but because I feel cheated out of things I could have done with her. I wanted a little girl so much. I already know what I will call her, if fate decides to send me another pink bump. Her name will be Hope.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The day I changed my blog...and the first part of Lucy's story

So, this blog was set up under a different name originally. I was going to use it to occupy my brain whilst on maternity leave. I only posted twice, and the posts were too hard to read given the place we are at now, so I have deleted them.
Because the person that wrote them has gone, and I don't think she'll be back.

Last week I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lucy Florence Jean - much loved, much anticipated. We had talked endlessly about whether baby would be a boy or a girl, what sort of parents we would be, would it put a strain on our relationship? Were we too young/old/ill prepared to have the responsibility of this new life? Many hours spent dreaming of names, what they would look like, who they would take after. Never once thinking that the unthinkable would happen. That we would never meet this little person in life. She would never see our faces, we would never see her eyes open, she would not feel our touch or our kisses.

Our story reads like so many other 'normal' pregnancies. I have lost angels earlier in pregnancy, which  made me very anxious about the first 20 weeks. But we got to that scan and saw our little treasure waving and sucking her thumb, all appeared well physically and we left reassured. I also had additional growth scans as they suspected I had a bicornuate uterus, however this was never confirmed and baby grew and grew and the hospital did not seem anxious.

I left work to start my maternity with presents and good wishes and well meant advice ("It's like shelling peas!" the men all joked). I was so excited to meet this little person and find out if I had been carrying a pink or blue bump. I spent many days trying to think of ways to induce labour as I was just so impatient to start my life and journey as a mother!

Wednesday 23rd September 2009. The most awful day of my life. The one where the old Amy died inside and a new person emerged.

It started quite normally, John got up to go to work and I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead. I was going to meet my friend at lunch and then spend the afternoon at my Sister in Laws. As I lay there I thought how quiet baby was today. Normally my moving about and tossing and turning disturbed them and they would wriggle and kick. Today they seemed very lethargic and I hadn't really felt any movement. Of course these were just idle thoughts, I never realy considered that there was anything seriously wrong - yet I did feel that something wasn't quite right. Call it mothers intuition if you like. It boiled down to the fact that this baby was a precious gift to me, I had lost other babies and I did not want to take any chances. I was very 'in tune' with my little one and could tell you her position, movement patterns, anything. She was and is very, very loved. I hope that she felt that love from us whilst she was in her little bubble world.

I got up and had some breakfast and sat in front of the TV. Eating normally roused my little monkey, and I sat watching some programmes I had recorded about home births. Sure enough the food stirred a reaction in my tummy. Except it wasn't quite the normal movement I was used to feeling - this is the thing that now haunts me day and night, this little niggle, this dark thought, the thought that my baby was dying inside me and I ignored her. She was hiccuping, (she used to get the hiccups several times a day), but today it seemed more jerky and very fast. I gently prodded my tummy, 'Slow down in there!'. Eventually the movements stopped - that was the last time I felt Lucy move. I torture myself every day that I should have picked up the phone there and then, no in fact, BEFORE that, when I didn't feel she was moving quite right. I don't know if it would have changed the outcome -maybe not - but the guilt I feel as her mother, as her protector for the nine months she had grew inside me, is unbearable. People tell you not to blame yourself, and the rational part of my brain agrees, I did all I possibly could - but inside I still feel like a murderer.

So I still had this nagging doubt in my mind that all was well. I watched some more TV and prodded my tummy. No reaction, she must be sleeping. Out of curiosity I fetched  my pregnancy books and flicked to the information about fetal movements. I knew that you could monitor them using a 'kick' chart so I thought I would do that to put my mind at rest. I made a hot drink as it advised this to make baby move, I settled back down on the sofa and waited for the first kick. And waited. And waited. 'Wake up bean' I gave my tummy a gentle push where I knew her bottom was resting. It was firm so I knew she was there but there was no indignant kick at being prodded like usual. I made a cold drink with ice - another trick to make baby move. And I waited. And waited. And waited. Time was ticking on, I needed to leave soon to meet my friend for lunch. I deliberated - should I go and see if walking made baby wake up? Or should I ring and cancel and wait at home for movement? At the back of my mind a terrible feeling was creeping, creeping.
I went upstairs and found my doppler that I had hired to use as reassurance in the early days when impending miscarriage was my biggest fear. Our earlier losses had made me very anxious. I lay on the bed and pressed the doppler to my tummy. Static. Static and a very cold silence. No 'whoosh' of the placenta. No little racing heart beat like I had listened to hundreds of times before. Just crackles and silence.
I can't explain the sick feeling that churned in my stomach. I was crying and shaking, I babbled to myself . 'It's the batteries, they're running out, it's not working properley and I'm panicking'.
I rang John and told him I couldn't get baby to move and couldn't find a heartbeat. "It's OK, you're just panicking baby, I'll come straight home though" he said. I rang the hospital in hysterics as I knew, I knew, I knew that something was bad here, something was bad. But I still did not think baby was already gone, I still had this hope that it was me, or it was something that could be fixed. I told the lady on the phone I hadn't felt baby move for over an hour and I couldn't get her to move now. "You should feel 10 movements in a day, not an hour. You've felt her today so I am sure it's OK". My tears became hysterical again and I think the panic in my voice made her soften. "Come up, we can't have an anxious Mum, can we? Come up for a scan in an hour and we'll put you on a monitor to check baby's heartbeat".
I call my friend and tell her in sobs that I can't meet her, I have to go to the hospital. She is very understanding and calming and I feel momentarily better. Things will be OK.

John arrives home and we go straight to the hospital. We don't speak a word all the way there, I sit silently willing baby to move. I still had this hope she would wake up and kick me, and I'd be forced to go sheepishly into the hospital and say 'Sorry for wasting your time, she's moving now'.
We sat in the waiting room in silence, surrounded by other couples and their bumps. I am rubbing mine, pushing and prodding and praying over and over and over that she would move.

And then we are called into the scan room. We had seen the sonographer before, when we had the MMC. Now, I think that was an omen. If I ever walk into a scan room and see her again I will probably have a nervous breakdown.

I knew before she even spoke. This image plays around my head over and over, I look at the screen and where before there was movement and a heart beat and life, there is stillness. An incredible stillness. And a black and gray image of my baby, my beautiful, adored baby, lying in my tummy without a heartbeat.
And the sonographer scans again, and again. And then she says the words that I want to shove back down her throat, those horrible, sickening words that totally turn my life on it's head. "I'm so sorry".

And that is when my world collapsed. I am screaming. I am crying. I run around the room, nurses are running in, the sonographer looks almost scared of me. I run from person to person, I have no idea who they are, but I am begging them to change it, to save my baby. 'This can't be real', I am thinking and I wait to wake up or snap out of the daydream. But it doesn't happen. I look to John and he is crying and crying. I am begging everyone in the room, "Please, save my baby". I am hysterical. I bizzarely think in the back of my mind this is one of the occasions you see on TV when someone slaps you round the face to stop the hysterics and I wonder if they are gong to slap me, or sedate me. I cry, I wail, I beg. I don't care who hears me or what they think. The room seems busy and hectic. A Midwife comes in with a kind face, she is only young. She tries to calm me, she tells me her name is Heather. And the fighting against this awful news stops and I cling to her and I cry with a depth of grief that I have never experienced before. I want to howl like an animal, I want to scream and I want my baby back. I want this to not be real.
They tell me thay have to scan me again and get a doctor to confirm the death. I can't look at the screen. I hold Johns hands and we sob together. In the background they talk in hushed voices "The cord appears normal"...."There's no swelling, must have been sudden".

We are ushered into a back room. Heather tells me again how sorry she is. I think about how her eyes are very green. I wish my eyes were green. She offers to call people.

The sickening realisation that we have to tell people hits me. My parents will be so sad. They will be so, so sad, it is their first grandchild and they are so excited. I feel like I've let them down, I feel guilty that I am going to cause them so much pain and anguish. I can't bear the thought of them hearing the news and being so far away. I worry about them crashing the car on the way to see me. We give Heather a list of numbers to call, which she does. She sits down and gently explains what needs to happen next. I am to be induced.

I will have to give birth to my dead baby. I will have to endure hours of pain and discomfort and I already know that there is no happy ending. No ballooons and flowers, no excited phone calls, no sleepless nights, no mastitis. Just tears and grief and a loss so painful I feel sick as I type this. My baby will be born asleep.

I panic and tell everyone I can't do it. I can't go through with the birth. Heather tells me they do not want to do a C-Section, it's a major operation and my recovery will be slower. I think about this and I think about how it might affect any more pregnancies. So I agree to be induced.
Heather asks if I would like to go home first. The thought of this appalls me - go home? Go home with my dead baby in my belly, to sit and cry and try to sleep all the while knowing what I know? No chance. I want it over and done with I tell her.
My friends arrive and we cry and sit in despair together. The silence is broken with random conversations, trying to be normal and escape the sitution we are in. The nurse tells me are getting a room ready for me, the 'normal' room they use for 'situations' like this is already occupied. I feel sad for the lady who is in that room, already going through this.
I muse that I am glad we have our dog Marley, he will be some comfort to us. I think about trying for another baby and then check myself - why am I thinking about another baby when I am pregnant with this baby, how can I think like that? I ask John if we can go on holiday. My thoughts are random, empty thoughts. I am in shock. I am disbelieving. I am pretending to be me when I am not me. I play the role in the film.