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.


  1. ((Amy))

    I've been struggling with almost the same question. We're basically told, after the 12th week, that we're "safe".

    Safe. A bitter joke.

    And stillbirth? It happens to others. Who take drugs or smoke or drink, who don't take care of themselves. Who don't care about their babies.

    Another myth.

    I wish I was there to just hug you, and cry with you, and listen. I'd love to look through Lucy's baby clothes with you, to sit and dream about what color eyes she has, to imagine her sliding down a rainbow. I pray that you have someone close to you who understands and can help you through this. I'm praying for you. :'(

  2. At one point or another, I have read a post like this from almost every babyloss mum I know. We all keep saying the same thing. We all have the same thoughts. We all keep shaking our head in utter disbelief. When will things change? When will pregnant women be given all the facts and the truth. The real statistics? I feel if we were all more informed, more babies would live. No way I would have sat at home through three days of early labour had I known how quickly a healthy pregnancy could come to an end like that. No way I would have let them send me home from hospital in the first place.
    I hope someday, our voices are heard.
    There are too many of us.

  3. I cried through your entire post. I started an "awareness" blog a few weeks back but have yet to post it. Its mainly for my real life friends who like I was was are completely clueless and naive to the real statistics. I have been adding to it every few days. I want to get it just right before I post it on my myspace blog (thats where most of my IRL friends & family read my thoughts) few have travelled her to my blogger. I have contemplated writing a letter to my OB office explaining this from our point of view so maybe just maybe they would change their hush hush policy & possibly save a baby's life!

  4. Yeah I didn't have any clue AT ALL that a baby could die in utero. I thought I had to be bleeding for something to be wrong. How naive, right?! But when I think back to my child birth classes, if they told me my baby could die that way, would I have even believed it? No one ever thinks "it" could happen to them. Whatever "it" might be. It's even hard to believe now that "it" could happen again. What I wish more than anything is that I knew what options I had after she was born like dressing her, bathing her, etc. But yes, I also wish we didn't have to find out the hard way what stillborn really means. Oh, and that heavy horrible feeling you get each morning you wake up? Eventually it will go away. You'll still think of her everyday bur the weight of it physically will lessen. That's one of the things that sucked the most so I just wanted you to know that at least that will slowly get easier. I'm sorry you have to miss Lucy. I hope you get your rainbow baby as soon as you're ready. I'm getting closer to that myself.

  5. Amy--
    I am so sorry for your loss. The sonogram picture is absolutely precious--Lucy is perfect, her nose so cute. I am so sad for you, my heart aches. I know the pain, all too well.

  6. Oh Honey. I understand. And I am SO so sorry. Our journey is not exactly the same, but our Isaac died from Anencephaly after living for 70 minutes. I am so sorry for your loss, and I am so sorry for your sorrow. Thinking of you.