Welcome

Thank you for visiting my blog. Please leave a message to say hello. If you are here because you or someone close to you has lost a child, you have my sympathy.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Return

I hope.

I got so out of the habit of writing that it's tough to know what to write so I'll just go for it.

Today I am grateful for hope.

We had a discussion on hope today in a spiritual discussion group that I'm part of and it was really difficult to pin down what exactly hope is.  The difficulty was in separating it from faith.  We came to the consensus that hope is almost pre-faith. The thing that gets you through the dark when you have can't actually believe that all will be well, but really want it to.

By faith I don't mean in a specific deity or external being but more in yourself and the goodness of mankind.


        Dreams




Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow. 

Langston Hughes 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I feel like dancing

It's been a good day.  I feel I have to write about it as all my days recently have been not so good and I feel like all I've written here has been a stream of misery.

Yesterday I had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix and it's been a long road these last six weeks or so since I got the original abnormal smear test.  Waiting for the colposcopy appointment (which did only take 10 days but they were a LONG 10 days) waiting for the biopsy results and then finally the big day where it all gets removed.  It's really quite gruesome but I won't give details.

We are on a month long sex embargo but I'm still on a slight high from the not having potentially fatal stuff growing inside me any more so I'm not worried about it for now ;)

I wasn't at work today as I had a friend visiting so we went to one of my favourite museums, (http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk) then for lunch and some tea and had a good old wander round and a chat.  Then I met some work folks for dinner and a West End show (39 Steps which is hysterical and extremely well done).

So yeah, things are on the up.  For today at least.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Moving on??

Hey folks,

I've not been around for a while.  I've had a really hard time these last few months, various shit going on that I've just not been able to write.

I'm currently lying on the floor in the room where Griffin died.  On the floor because the bed is in pieces ready to be moved out.  Probably the very last time I'll be in the house.  It's strange.  This is the longest place I've ever called home.  My mum lived here for 4 years and I did on and off too due to ill health on both my and my mum's side.  Then she moved out and couldn't sell cos of the property crash so was renting it out.  When Griffin came along we moved in, for the grand total time of 5 weeks before I ran, grieving to Scotland and back to my family.  This was just over a year ago and I've been back several times in a handy-girl role for the tenants.

The first time going back was tough but as with most of the steps on this road post Griffin it was the anticipation that was worse than the reality.

I wasn't sad about the house sale, until today.  I've moved so many times in my life what's once more?  But this one is different.  I just spent half an hour crying.  I am sad about the flat but mostly because it's the last tangible thing I have from my pre-Griffin life.

I don't like leaving him behind.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Friday, 22 July 2011

On My First Son

On My First Sonby Ben Jonson


Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy ;
    My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
    Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
    Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
    And if no other misery, yet age!
Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, Here doth lie
    Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
    As what he loves may never like too much.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Please Vote

OC Support is up for charity of the month this month and it could mean a £200 cash injection.  To put this in perspective, it's enough money to run the help line for 18months.

If you could spare the two minutes it takes to register and vote it'd be much appreciated.

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/blog/cause-of-the-month-shortlist-2011/

Thank you

http://lifepoststillbirth.blogspot.com/2011/06/not-rare-condition.html

Also if you would like a mention on my memorial page please let me know.  It's looking a bit sparse at the moment.

Friday, 15 July 2011

For Griff

It's almost like you never were
and all a big bad dream
If only I could waken up
but then you'd not have been.

I couldn't wish your life away
however short it was
and that's the trap I'm living in
because there is such hurt

The hurt and pain won't go away
I don't want them to
When the story's said and done
It's all I have of you

My heart is still in tiny bits
it's often all I feel
I say again, again again
How can this be real?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hormonally Sound

It's official.  My hormones are in lovely balance.  I'm not early menopausal, don't have PCOS, am ovulating alright and don't have high testosterone or low estrogen levels.

So why am I having such irregular (and stupidly long) cycles?  It's a mystery.  I'll be getting a scan at some point in the next few months but my GP doesn't expect it to reveal anything.  To be honest, I don't think she'd have sent me for a scan if I hadn't had a loss.  Not this early in investigations anyway.  She seemed rather unconcerned but I guess that's how they stop patients from getting stressed unnecessarily.

I'm concerned.  Maybe that's part of the problem.  Living under constant stress can put one's cycle off and living without one's child is pretty damn stressful so maybe it is just stress.  I am happy that there is no problem there but it's frustrating that my body isn't behaving itself for no apparent reason.

These last three weeks have been so long.  Since Griffin's birthday, it feels like the days have dragged, but I don't know where they have gone.  It feels like forever and no time at all.  In fact it all feels like forever and no time at all.  I guess that's normal because I've read similar in other blogs.

I don't know what to make of it all but the anti anxiety drugs I started a couple of weeks back have started to kick in so I'm hoping my anxiety and stress will reduce to manageable levels and I can actually think straight.

On a lighter note I heard a guy in a cafe telling a child (about 9) how he wasn't going to be allowed sweets in the house any more when his little brother was born because they wanted to teach the younger one that raisins were sweets.  So the older brother would have to go outside to eat sweets and to hide them in the bottom of his bag if he had to bring them in the house.

I couldn't help but draw the comparison to smoking, obviously Haribo is the new drug that all the cool kids are doing.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Now What?

A year...

I did think that I was doing well in the lead up to Griffin's birthday.  I cried a bit the day before but on the actual day, I felt ok.  Sad but also that I'd come so far that I thought I could put one foot in front of the other and keep on moving forward.  However, I'm slightly falling apart.  I had a really destructive turn on thursday (b-day+1) where I got really (really really) drunk and it must have brought something up because I've been off ever since.

To the point that I went to the walk-in mental health unit for help.  They were really good.  I should be getting counselling in the next few weeks and they said I can go back whenever.  I'm feeling a bit better by the mere fact that I've taken action and someone unrelated to me is taking how I feel seriously.

It's such an anti climax.  There's not much else to say.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Angel Day

I never contemplated the possibility that my baby might die.  Even when I'd been told about having obstetric cholestasis, it was under control.  There was another couple of weeks before I was in the 'danger zone'.  I was taking the medication and scheduled for induction at 37 weeks.

I was worried about having an actual baby to look after, I was getting really stressed that I hadn't packed my hospital bag yet and about how I didn't have a car seat so I wouldn't be able to get him home.  I'd put off buying things cos I was overwhelmed about what to buy and was worried about spending too much money on stuff.  I was worried about the pain of labour and if I'd be able to breastfeed.  You can imagine the things I worried about but never at any point did not having a live baby.

Even at the point of being at the hospital, one midwife had been concerned about his heart rate, being whisked in for a scan and them saying that his heart didn't sound right.  Even when I asked if I should phone my husband and get him in and they said yes.  Being rushed down to labour ward.  I did think that they'd be taking him out quick smart but that he'd be alive.  I was really worried that he'd be ill, that he wasn't ready to be born, that he'd have to be in SCBU.  My baby sister was born dead at 29 weeks and resuscitated and is a happy healthy 10 year old now.  Babies don't just die.  Otherwise healthy babies don't just die.

I feel naive, that I should have realised that he was dead.  How can I have a dead person inside me and not know?  How could I not realise that I was having contractions for hours?  Even before I left the hospital that morning where I had been for a blood test I was already in labour.  If I had stayed at the hospital or said something I might not be writing this now.  I might be preparing for a first birthday party with baby sick in my hair.  A little ginger monster toddling around and not sleeping for days on end.  I was so worried about not being ready for a small person but I was so much more prepared for that than this.

So now I commemorate his all too short life on the anniversary of his death.

See you in heaven wee man

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Fathers Day

Fathers Day is less of an issue in our house than Mothers Day was.   As my husband says, 'i don't need a manufactured day every year to tell me i'm a dad'. He's not one for Hallmark Holidays.


He didn't see his father growing up so Fathers Day was never an aspect of his life until this year.


I also feel that it's eclipsed by its proximity to Griffin's birthday.


My dad didn't go in much for Fathers Day either so I figure we'll manage this one fine.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

No More Firsts

Coming up to Griffin's birthday, the thing that gets me is that there are no more firsts.  Just seconds, thirds, fourths and so on for forever.  I feel like this is my last real chance to be allowed to mourn him.  After this there's nothing new.  Having dealt with it all once I should be able to manage it again.

It's been such a long long year, I can't believe it's only been a year but it's hard to comprehend that it's been a whole year without my baby.

I have the 21st (the day he died) and the 22nd (his birthday) off work, as does hubby.  We had real trouble deciding what to do for his birthday but have decided to fly kites with some friends in the park, have a picnic dinner.  On the 21st we are going to the local Sands group.  We haven't been yet, always putting it off or been working or busy in some other way but with this timing I think we have to.

We live too far from his grave to make a trip there.  To be honest I'm not sure if I'd want to.  I haven't been there since the day after the funeral.  I know he's safe and the grave is tended but I don't need to go there to know he's not here any more.  His constant absence is stronger that anything I could have imagined.

I was at a meeting this evening and a woman was mentioning that she had no time to herself as having a baby is just so constant.  My automatic response was 'well so's grief' with a shot of venom and jealousy for good measure.  I didn't say it but it was definitely loud in my head.  I don't like these responses in myself.  I had only just met her and she didn't know about Griffin.  Even if she did, it is constant having a baby and in that instance worth a mention.  I'm feeling much more sensitive about it all at the moment.  Hardly surprising I guess.

In a week, as well as mourning the loss of my son I'll be mourning the loss of his firsts.

By now we would have had a first word, first wave, first smile, first solid foods, first step, so many firsts I can't even imagine.

But now we have our final first, a birthday, anniversary, angel day.  I hardly know what to call it.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Not a Rare Condition

I had a comment on a previous post about my obstetric cholestasis(OC), about how rare it is.

This is a very popular misconception.  OC is not a rare condition, it affects 1 in 200 pregnancies.  This may sound like quite a small proportion but when you consider that roughly 1900 babies are born in the UK every day, it turns into quite a lot of people.  When you consider that it is routine to inject babies with vitamin K at birth which can prevent a brain bleed in 1 in 10,000 babies, we are prescribed antenatal vitamins with folic acid to prevent spina bifida which can occur in 1 in 1000 pregnancies, it seems unforgivable that OC, a relatively easy condition to control and manage, has such a low profile.

Having OC does not automatically lead on to a stillbirth, in a properly managed pregnancy the risks of stillbirth are the same as in a non OC pregnancy.  The important bit of that sentence is 'properly managed'.  If you do not know there is a problem you cannot take it to your healthcare professional and you cannot be 'properly managed'.  If your medical team ignore your concerns or are unaware of up to date research in the area, it cannot be 'properly' managed.

All the baby books and sites say that itching in pregnancy is normal.  It's the skin stretching.  It could be a symptom of a very rare condition that causes itching but will subside after birth.  (Lets play down the risks!!!)

The problem with OC is the lack of knowledge about it.  I have heard stories of women who have scratched the skin raw because of this itch and doctors have point blank refused to do the simple blood test that is required to diagnose it. 

They don't know why it causes stillbirth.  The stillborn babies have no detectable problems.  They just stopped living. In a post mortem it comes up as 'unexplained death'.  As they cannot as yet determine why OC causes stillbirth there are some people still (I'm talking consultant obstetricians here) who do not believe it does.

http://www.ocsupport.org.uk/   For further information.

Remember scratching can be more than just an itch.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Why do they ignore Unsubscribe?

How on earth am I STILL getting baby related emails?

I unsubscribe to every single one I get and have done for almost a year now.  Do they just ignore you?  There have been some that I emailed and explained the situation and yet I am still receiving them.  It was really upsetting for the first while but now I just get angry with them.

Bah!!!!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Right Where I Am - 11 Months 1 Week

Part of the Right Where I am Project on Still Life With Circles.

11 months 1 week

I've been better.  With Griffin's birthday coming up soon, comparisons to this time last year are unavoidable.  There doesn't seem to be a day goes by that I amn't hit by sadness.  Normally out of the blue, just for a moment.  Sometimes my eyes just leak.  I don't feel especially sad but the tears won't stop.

I try to not control it too much.  Let it run it's course and I'll be fine again in a bit.  It's like I'm sailing on a calm sea and every so often it gets a bit choppy and I have to bail out water, it doesn't mean I'm sinking.  The giant waves that completely engulf me are much fewer than they used to be.  I still feel that I'll never be the same.  I guess I never will be really.  I'm on a much choppier ocean than I was before.


I can't stop thinking about him, what we went through together, what he would be doing now, how to commemorate his birthday.  The world is full of reminders.  I see him everywhere I go.  More than I used to, I used to block out the memories as best I could before but I welcome them now.  Even if they upset me.  It's normally not for long and I like to think about him.  The actual, physical, heart-wrenching pain of grief hardly visits any more.  Again I don't imagine I'll ever be truly free from it but I know I can cope with it.

I can't believe it's been a year, yet it also feels like it was something that happened to a different person a very long time ago.  I feel much more than a year older.  

My husband and I talk about him alot.  We take joy in the memories that we have of him and, in a bittersweet way, imagine what he would be like now and in the future.  We talk of future children, but in a very abstract way.  We're 'not avoiding' future pregnancies at this point but not actively trying.  I don't think I'll be able to comprehend actually having a child until it's looking at me.  It's a very abstract concept to me at the moment.  It's almost like we have an imaginary child.  In a way we do.  All we have is projections of his personality from how he behaved in the womb combined with our hopes and dreams for him.  

If someone asks if I have children I say no and it feels wrong to deny him but saying yes and explaining hurts more.  I find it really difficult to be myself among people who don't know about him but difficult to tell people.

I do feel truly happy at times.  Only today, I took real joy in spending time with my friends.  Taking a walk to the garden centre and choosing some new plants for my herb garden.  

It's been tough but I know who I can trust and rely on and I'm a stronger person now.  I'm more philosophical about emotions in general, trying to realise and accept them and move on.  

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Story of a tear

One of the things I have come to know quite well over the last almost year is what it feels like when I'm about to cry or about to almost cry.  I noticed earlier when I was reading a a miscarriage story on someone's blog.  It sort of starts like a tickle in my nose, then moves to my throat, then it gets quite sore and my eyes get a bit blurry.  Often that's as far as it goes.  If I stop myself from crying it can get really painful, in my throat, nose and eyes.  I wish I hadn't cried so much to have noticed that.

I have decided to start a memorial page.  I don't want to add any babies without asking so let me know if there's anyone you'd like to add.

I've been back at work so far this week and still feeling like a different person to last week.  It's a bit of a roller coaster this path of mine to say the least.


PS.  I've reached 500 views, that's quite a mile stone, never expected to get that many.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Birthdays

Thank you everyone for all your good wishes and kind words.  I have had a much better day today and am hopeful again.  


All the first milestones have been difficult but I have found birthdays most galling of all.  Not just the big ones, close family and friends, but more distant too.  My own birthday, I pretty much allowed to go by unrecognised.  Hubby working away by this point meant he wasn't around.  My mum and sister, who I was staying with, I know they did something but I don't remember what.

But Griffin's birthday, it's coming up so soon and I don't know what to do for it.

Part of me wants to strike the date from the calendar and pretend it doesn't exist, stay in bed all day, potentially take something so I just sleep through it.  I know that's not a good idea though, it's going to happen whether I acknowledge it or not.

I want to do something beautiful.  I want to do something worthy of my son but I can't think what.

Does any one have any suggestions?  What have you done for the first birthday/anniversary?

Friday, 20 May 2011

No Better

I was hoping that I was going through a bit of a blip the last few days and it'd clear up soon but it's really not.  If anything it's got worse.

I've been off work sick since Wednesday, all week really cos I do flexi-time and felt bad Monday/Tuesday but thought I'd just squeeze all my hours in the end of the week.  Getting to Wednesday and running out of days of the week, I either had to get to work or acknowledge that I couldn't.
I tried.
I had my shower, got dressed, even had breakfast!  I'd given myself enough time to not be rushed but not too much time to get distracted.  Got to the front door and just couldn't do it.  I couldn't bring myself to walk out the door.  I burst into tears.

I managed to get myself together enough to phone work and went back to bed fully clothed and slept for 4 hours, then woke up, hubby cooked me lunch and I cried, for ages.  I haven't cried like that in a while. I went to bed early and despite sleeping pills and cups of sleepy-time tea, I didn't get to sleep till gone 3.

Yesterday I felt a bit better, not up to work, but I did some house work and finished my knitting project.  At random points through the day I'd feel myself caught off guard and I'd be crying or my heart pounding or just stricken with memories.

Today, I thought I'd be fine.  I normally do a half day on Friday so, I thought I could manage that.  Again I tried, so hard.  At the front door, my heart was starting to speed up so I did some deep breathing and that helped me for about 30 seconds.  Still doing the deep breathing and concentrating merely on putting one foot in front of the other, the tears started about 50m down the road, 100m I had to stop to get a tissue out my bag.  That was as far as I got.

I feel a bit pathetic about not going to work because I'm sad but I know I'd be less that useless in this state so it's for the best.

After lunch I'm going to try and have a walk down the canal, see if it's being out of the house in general that's difficult or if it's specifically going to work that's the issue.

I just can't see a viable way forward at the moment.  I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Call to action

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-stillbirth-scandal-join-grazia-and-sands-cam.html

I just found this.  It's a petition from Sands-UK (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) and Grazia magazine with the aim of raising awareness of stillbirth and also to campaign for more research into how otherwise healthy babies can be saved.

Please sign if you can.

Thanks

Constant Struggle

I've started to write this a few times over the last week but the words just don't work.

I've had a really bad few days.  Being on the brink of tears at least half the time.

It's exhausting.

I broke down on the phone to my mum the other day.  I'd kept it in all day at work and that evening because I knew that if I started crying when I'm on my own I might just not stop.

It's hard to think when I'm like that.  Added in, the busiest and most stressful week of the year at work.  Luckily that was last week and now it's plain sailing till summer.

I was at a friend's gig last night, one of my best friends, and was surrounded by some more of my closest friends and I was so sad, all night.

With there being just over a month till Griffin's first birthday I figure I'll probably get worse but it's already impinging on my ability to do things.  Also my cycle is completely messed up, I haven't had a period in over two months.  I feel like I've had PMS for a month and it's getting worse.  So I don't know what's messed up hormones, what's grief and what's just normal stress and exhaustion.

I do know that I'm finding everything more difficult to deal with.  I'm tired but can't sleep, feel like I'm about to cry but tears won't come when I have the chance to.

I'm scared that I actually have fertility issues, that Griffin was a miracle baby and I've gone and messed it up.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Thanks

My blog passed 300 views today and have 8 followers.  When I started this thing a couple of months ago I never really expected anyone to read it.  Thanks for reading.

I've had a really weird week or so emotionally.  I guess there's been a lot on.  It's been hectic at work and I've taken on a second job.  I'm planning on starting up a small business of my own so I need some start up cash but this was really the wrong week to take anything new on.

I've been keeping myself artificially busy.  I thought I was doing alright but I realised today that I'm keeping myself distracted so I don't have to be quiet by myself.  I've discovered whole new tv series that I was never into before or that I'd gone off.  Glee, Chuck, Grey's Anatomy, House... the list goes on.  I've been spending my free time watching back episodes of so-so American drama.  Then this evening I stayed at home rather than go to a friend's birthday party.  I'm simultaneously avoiding other people and spending time on my own.  In both I am managing to procrastinate from doing anything of use, from housework, to exercise, to new business plans.  

I have bursts of almost hyper activity and high moods then lengths of nothing-ness.  Not as much as sadness, more of a flat feeling, stagnant.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Mothers Day

Mother's Day has always been a bit of a deal in my family.  My mum lost her mother before I was born and I think that was why it was always remembered, normally just with a card and breakfast in bed but it was never forgotten.  Last year I sent her a card and some chocolates I didn't consider it to be a day for me too.  I kind of wish I did now as it would have been my only Mother's Day with Griffin.

This year was understandably subdued.

Mother's Day was at the start of April in the UK so I wrote this post about it then.

Mother's Day Post

Monday, 2 May 2011

Babylost Mother's Day


I've managed to miss this by two hours, but it's still Sunday somewhere in the world and I just found out that it existed.  

Thank you Carly Marie for starting it.  I think it's a great idea.  Anything to help make people more aware of baby loss and to try to make it less of a taboo subject can only be a good thing.

 CarlyMarie's Blog

Also a day where you don't have to feel bad about raining on everyone else's parade.  

In fact the only bad thing about this day is that it is needed at all.

This poem was written by Angie at Still Life With Circles for this day last year.  It's a beautiful poem.

Though I lose my petals

I am still a flower.

We grow together,

in a garden bed
of ash and tears,
heartbreak and love.
Whispered support blows
towards our delicate beauty,
crying nourishes our shared roots,
and the warmth of our compassion
heals the winter of our grief.

Though we have lost a petal,
we are still flowers,
lush and full together
in a garden of hope.

For Carly
-Angie M. Yingst

Sending my love to all babyloss mummies.  

Friday, 29 April 2011

Spirituality

Yesterday I lit a candle for Griffin and my Grandad at Westminster Cathedral (a wonderful cathedral that is often missed by tourists in favor of the Abbey, I recommend a visit if you are in the area).  I'm not religious.  Coming from the west of Scotland from a mixed Christian background, you learn to steer clear of these things.  My grandparents on both sides were devout.  I was christened in a Catholic cathedral and attended Sunday school at the Church of Scotland on and off for several years.

I do believe in a God and and afterlife.  I believe in angels and that there is something greater than people.  I do not believe in a God that intervenes in everyday life.  I don't believe that things happen 'for a reason' or 'God acts in mysterious ways'.  Death and destruction are byproducts of life not punishments or lessons doled out from above.

When Griffin was born we were asked if we would like a chaplain to say a blessing for him.  We wanted to wait until our family came for this but by this time the chaplain had left for the day.  Almost as an after thought the midwife said.  I think the hospital Imam is here, he would be willing to do a blessing if you'd like.  She was surprised (as was my MIL) that we both were more than happy to have a Muslim cleric perform a blessing on our baby.  It was a beautiful blessing.  He first said it in English, then Arabic and we were touched that he said Griffin's name several times.  He said he was honored that we asked him to be part of it.

MIL was not overly happy about it, but she's not a fan of anything that she's not an active part of and wouldn't have been happy unless she'd done the blessing herself.

We chose to have his funeral service at the cathedral where I had been christened and have him buried with my grandparents, in a beautiful cemetery at the top of a hill with a lovely view over a loch. My uncle died as a very young baby and is buried nearby.  Although it is far from where we live, it's somewhere we feel he'll always be safe.

I believe Griffin's in heaven and one day I'll see him again.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Names

Rachel from A Lasting Footprint, is celebrating her 80th blog, and she's come up with the fun idea of a blog hop about our baby(ies) name(s)

Griffin was a name that I liked from when I first heard it.  My friend and I were sitting in the living room going through the big humongous list of names on one of these find a baby name websites.   I was sure that hubby would veto it because he's not so into unusual names.  "Living in London you can get away with that kind of thing but if we or he moved somewhere else he wouldn't get taken seriously."  That was his stance on it.  I see his point but I didn't think it would be a big deal.  After some debate in which several other names were brought up, none of which I can recall at the moment.  Griffin stuck with me.

My grandfather had been terminally ill for some time and when I was 34 weeks pregnant he was only given a month or so to live.  I thought I may not get to see him again before he died.  We decided to call the baby Ian after him, potentially with Griffin as a middle name.  When he was born dead it just wasn't appropriate.  I did see my grandfather, he was too poorly to make Griffin's funeral but he lived for several months and passed at the end of October.

Griffin seemed apt because I had always liked it and the heraldic symbolism of strength, wisdom and protection suited.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Music

The song 'I got a Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas is one of the saddest songs I can thing of.

It's so overtly optimistic it feels to me that its making a point of being so.  It's certainly how I tried and still try to be at times so as not to worry people or just try to pretend nothing is wrong.  It makes me feel the desperation that this will be a good night or else.

It's become one of the songs of my life and it makes me cry (sometimes just almost cry) every time I hear it.

I Got a Feeling - YouTube

It is a great dancefloor filler but I don't know if it'll ever get me dancing.  When I hear it, it zooms me back to the darkest days.

Way Past Bedtime

It's early Friday morning of a bank holiday weekend and I'm at home unable to sleep.  Nothing's wrong, I'm not upset, I just can't sleep.

This happens from time to time.  It's rather frustrating but I've given up worrying about it, it's not like I have anything to get up for tomorrow.

I've been dwelling recently.  Spending quite alot of time on blogs by mothers who had had stillbirths.  I don't know if this is a good or bad thing.  Thinking about having another baby.  I think it started in earnest after I took part in a research study about feelings about Stillbirth and Subsequent Pregnancy (SAPS).  It took the form of a 90 min interview about Griff and my experience of the birth and immediate aftermath and about how I felt about having another child.

http://www.oxfordshiresands.org.uk/sasp-study

It set me thinking.  I mean I hadn't ever stopped thinking about Griffin but having another child, the pregnancy journey, terrified me.  I didn't see how I could ever contemplate putting myself and my family through it.  But talking the whole thing through made me feel that I could at some point soon be ready.

I think I might be now.

Ten months to the minute, god that's mental.  2.22 am I just saw the time on the clock.  Synchronisity!

Chatting with hubby, he'd like to wait for a couple of months for practical reasons, but that's cool.  I'm not after rushing into anything.  Just to feel that I have the potential to move forward makes me feel less trapped.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Change

I feel I'm different now.

Not in any perceptible way, not in any way I could describe but I am going to try.

I still do the same things, I look almost the same.  I'm a bit pudgier round the belly but that's surely to be expected.  To all intents and purposes things are exactly where they were before I ever got pregnant.

It's an outlook thing I suppose.  I see things in a different way.  I'm more thoughtful and think about things more.  I'm more decisive.  

An example of the new me.
My mum has a new boyfriend who I met last week for the first time.  He was annoyed with Mum because she didn't hold his hand on the walk from the station where we met him to the restaurant.  He made his opinion clear and talked/moaned about it for the first half an hour of dinner.  At one point he asked me to tell my mum that it's okay to hold his hand in public and that that was what couples did.  Previously I would have shrugged the question off and changed the subject but I told him basically to get a grip.  That it was awkward enough introducing a new partner to your close family and that it should be for her to lead on any physical contact and that he should respect that she may be nervous about holding his hand in front of me.

I was quite proud of myself.  Hubby and mum were too.

I guess the crux of the change in me is in attitude.  I worry less about offending people.  I mean, I'd never do it on purpose/for no reason, but I used to stress about offending people.  I went over conversations in my head again and again if  I thought I may have upset or offended them even if there had been no evidence that I had.  Madness!!   I care less about what people think of me now and I think that's a good thing.

I feel that I've grown up.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A Glimpse of an Alternative Future

I was walking through the park by where I lived last summer.  There was a boy, about 9, with bright red hair, quite long, wearing a white t-shirt and jeans, sitting on a bench.

It's likely that Griffin's hair would have grown in a different colour, but I'll always think of him a ginger.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Griffalo

Our latest nickname for the wee man.


My friend sent me a link to Radio 4's today programme which had a section on the new Lancet Report on stillbirth.  The UK seems to be doing quite badly on an international scale with stillbirth rates.  33rd internationally.  No better than 10 years ago, with estimates that 1/2 of all UK stillbirths could have been prevented with earlier medical intervention.





My firm belief is that the backlash against medicalising pregnancy and childbirth has gone too far.  It is a beautiful and natural thing but it is also one of the hardest physical things that either mother or baby will go through and should be treated as such.  

I don't want to be branded a failure for needing an epidural if/when I have another child or for bottle feeding when I am unable to breastfeed.  If these things are best for me then I will use them.  If they are not for others, they don't have to.  


We are told that so much is normal in pregnancy and when there are concerns they are often dismissed with an 'It's probably nothing but if you are really worried you can come in for a check.'  You look at the baby books and websites and the over whelming message is not to worry, pregnancy is wonderful and natural and different in each person it's probably nothing to worry about.  Complications are very rare so they probably won't happen to you.  I think we all know that's not true.


Link to Lancet report summery http://www.uk-sands.org/no_cache/News/Newspage/article/194/22.html

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothers Day

That wonderful day dedicated to all things maternal.  I was expecting it to be a bit upsetting but so far I'm ok.  Hubby contemplated getting me a card but that would just be wrong I feel.

I'm not quite sure where I stand in this one.  Am I a mother, an ex-mother?  I really don't know.  Should I even be trying to define this, does it matter?  Once a mother always a mother I guess, but  thats a much easier definition if your child lived out side the womb.  In that instance one would have already been considered a mother, there's no quibbling that one.  But if your child dies just before birth, never been taken home or done any of the normal motherly things.  Never fed or consoled or even changed a nappy.  Where does that put you?

I didn't feel much like a mother when I was pregnant.  To be honest, I was pretty much in shock for most of the pregnancy.  My sister was born dead at 29 weeks (but was resuscitated and is now a healthy 10 year old) so I didn't feel able to really bond with 'Bumpy' until he'd reached that point and when I was told that they'd be inducing me early, my first thought was that I wasn't ready.  I'd only had 4 weeks to get used to the idea of actually having a baby rather than the 20 odd that I'd known I was pregnant.  Afterwards I felt more like a beaten rag than anything resembling a person never mind a mother.  I couldn't be a mother as I'd failed at the most basic of motherly tasks.

So yes, it doesn't matter how I'm defined today.  This should be my first Mothers Day with a baby hand print or scrawl in a card I'd probably keep forever but it's not and that's the most wrong thing of all.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The most common question I get asked now when this comes up in conversation is 'are you trying for another baby?'

Personally I think over stepping the mark for some people to be asking about my sex life.  My father especially.  You should have seen my husband's face when he asked that question over the dinner table.  The poor thing didn't know what to say.

I didn't realise how much of a hole he would leave in our lives, for never having breathed he was such a big presence.  I was desperate for a baby.  I understand how people are driven to steal babies.  It's easy to underestimate the instinctual need to nurture but it's all consuming.  For the last 8 months my body and mind had been building up to this point, it can't just be turned off.

The most difficult thing was hearing babies cry, it literally felt like being stabbed in the chest.  For 6 months I couldn't breathe if I was around upset babies.  Happy ones made me sad but in a completely different way.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Finally got the meds on Friday afternoon and took them religiously over the weekend.  

I had a blood test at the hospital on Monday morning then went to Holborn to hand in my assessment at college.  By the time I got there I was in labour and got a taxi right back to the hospital.  I wasn't particularly worried at this point, well I was worried that I wasn't ready for the baby to come cos I didn't have a buggy or car seat to get him home from the hospital, but not for a second did I think there was anything wrong.

I got there and they did a scan and said that his heartbeat wasn't as strong as they would have liked so he would probably have to be born right then.  I phoned my husband and he started his way there but he works at the other side of London so would be at least an hour.  They whisked me down to labour ward and got the theatre ready for an emergency c-section but the consultant did a further scan and concluded that it was too late.  

I don't remember much from that point.  I remember trying to phone my mum and not being able to say it.  I had to get the Dr to tell her.  She got them to bring in her friend who's a midwife at the same hospital and she got there before my husband.  

He tells me that he was hoping that he'd turn up at the hospital to his baby but had a terrible feeling that it had all gone wrong.  

Both our mums managed to get there for the next morning so they saw him before we let him go.

In the immediate aftermath I didn't sleep for 5 days.  Not until I was given sleeping pills.

I don't know how I'm still alive to be honest.  I didn't feel alive for months.  I still don't sometimes but I find that life has a way of finding the chinks and making you feel.  Even if you don't want to.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

So what happened

To be honest, no body knows.  It's likely to have been a complication of Obstetric Cholestasis, a liver disease brought on by pregnancy, which can be a cause of stillbirth.

I had an uncomplicated pregnancy until half way through my 35th week.  At a regular antenatal class at the hospital I asked a midwife if I could take or use anti-histamine as I has a bad itch on my arms and legs.  She whisked me up to the labour ward where I had a blood test that confirmed I had OC.  I was told that I should start on medication as soon as possible and that it was likely that my baby would be induced at 37 weeks as there were risks of stillbirth at full term.

I got a steroid injection to help mature his lungs and was sent home to come back about lunch time the next day to pick up my medication and get the second injection.  It was about 4.30 in the morning by this time.

So we went in to get the injection and from there went to get the meds.  We were told to return the next day to collect them as they had to be ordered in.  We sat in the labour ward for 3 hours waiting to talk to someone to see if there was alternative medication or if an extra day would be a big deal or not.  We were told not, so I returned the next day and was again told that they didn't have any in stock and that they would call me when it came in.

http://www.ocsupport.org.uk/

TBC

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Hello

My son was stillborn in June 2010 at 36 weeks and I thought sharing in this way might help.  I hope I can help someone else on the way.


Sandra's Poem
In the pain of giving birth
I watched you come into this world
With awe and wonder in my heart
Then I held you in my arms and cried.
In the pain and fear of impending death
I watched you go out of this world
With shock and disbelief in my heart
Then I held you in my arms and cried.
In the pain and fear of bereavement
I've searched for you in this world
With anguish and grief in my heart
Then I held the memory of you in my arms
And cried . . . and cried.
In Memory of Jason