Letting Go

I hate how true it is that life can change so quickly in a heartbeat. Or one not beating, as the case so often is. 

We are who we are surrounded by, and I am lucky, because I am surrounded by family and friends that are true rock stars. And, this is completely unbiased and a fact obviously, my children win all the contests. They are the best. I am a realist: they would often win the accolade for best tantrum too. But I know our third child had this untapped potential too. And she certainly shifted my axis left of centre.

When I felt that rush of overwhelming fear and devastation on Thursday, it was made all the worse by knowing truly that I hadn’t even reached the nadir. That we had not yet reached the end even though she had. 

Somehow I got through the intervening time to take the first tablet, that would strip me of what my body was telling me. It was going to take away the desire to eat my body weight in salt and vinegar chipsticks and squash. Then the following day, feeling hollow and disconnected. And yet living the day reality of having my other children. School runs and toddler rage when asked to hold my hand. Knowing that Saturday could be the next day, or a week, or a month away. The day was coated in treacle.

By Friday afternoon, I had that burpy nausea that my instincts were telling me was more than anxiety. We went to the hospital, only to meet one of the incredible team of midwives that would make this journey nowhere near as I feared. She made both my mum and I feel that we were able to describe this as a bereavement. Previously, my baby, having died around 14/15 weeks, and yet been carried until 20 weeks straddled a divide of early and late miscarriage. Not that it should matter. But sadly, it does.

It wasn’t time though, but lifted by her soft words and concern, I went home rationalising that when the time came, I believed I would receive such compassion. And I wasn’t wrong. Bradford should be proud.

Just before bedtime I had a bleed. My incredible parents jumped to action, coming to stay with our children and kindly driving us to the hospital given we’d suddenly forgotten the route.

Just a procedure now, we knew that. Sat in an overly bright room, I studied the cot in the corner. Too big. The cupboard knobs that didn’t match. The NHS ice cream yellow walls that have become part of our lives. We shared little jokes. Looks that needed no words.

The next few hours we were treated with unbelievable kindness. In a fug of pain relief I slept fitfully through contractions, not realising the time had come. Careful and hushed conversations about what we wanted to happen. I didn’t want to see straight away. And calmly and quietly our baby appeared with a few light pushes. The midwife spoke to her carefully just as any other baby. Told her what she was going to do, where they were going. Gracefully administered my medication and cleaned me. Took her away, where I knew she would be cared for.

She arrived back in a bread basket sized Moses bassinet. Carefully wrapped in two hand knitted hanky like blankets. She looked degraded, that was true and otherworldly. But also peaceful. And as the midwive gently folded back the blankets we saw that she was perfect. She had the long fingers, legs and feet of her siblings.

  
And that was enough. Hand prints and foot prints were made. We had that delicious post labour tea and toast, talked about how the grief felt at that point and fell back asleep. The fear had gone. The grief had shifted. The overwhelming sadness remained but the anxiety had dispersed.

Now I am here, allowing normality back in. Being caught by grief. Waking up and having to remember I am no longer pregnant. Dealing with the reminders that I was; blood, engorgement, medications and f*cking compression stockings. Knowing that people can’t see the scrambled egg that sits where my heart should be from the outside.

October: the month of anniversaries. Our wedding. And now the births of all three of our babies, due dates irrelevant.

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12 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. i have no words to console you, no words of wisdom, i feel your pain through your written word……your bravery is astounding, sharing this experience helps to demystify it for others so perhaps you can take some comfort knowing that you may be helping others who have to go through the same experience……every child teaches us something, this child will be no different, she will live in your heart…….and by writing about her you help her make her mark on the world.xx

  2. My heart breaks for you. I lost 5 babies between 2009 and 2012, all between 8 and 12 weeks so never had go through what you did but what was similar was the unexpected kindness of the hospital staff during my never ending appointments. It meant so much and I’ll never forget how it made a horrendous time a tiny bit more bearable. Thank you for sharing your story xx

    1. Oh Alison, I’m so sorry to read that. In the levy in what’s fair for people entering their parenting journey, it certainly feels like some people carry an unfair burden of sadness. The kindness of those who care for you can turn an experience on a sixpence. I’m so glad you had a positive experience there too xxx

  3. Hi, I didn’t want to just read and run. You are incredibly brave to share your experience so soon after your loss. I to lost my daughter back in 2010 at 16 weeks gestation, we are coming up for 5 years now since our loss and a day still doesn’t go by when I don’t think about what she’s missing. My thoughts are with you at this sad time x

  4. This is a heartbreaking story. There is no consolation for the loss of a child and there is massive bravery talking about it, but I hope it helps someone reading it as much as I hope it helped you to write it. October is also the anniversary of our miscarriage and candles were lit to remember. They will never be forgotten.

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