Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Crossroads

So - hurray!  I'm back.  I have been off on a work trip to Florida and back, so one long haul flight, three days then back to UK and here I am.

I was thinking while I am away on this approach to the three month mark whether it would be a disservice to my boys to be a little bit lighter in my blog?  I mean I do have the dark days but I have always been the sort of person who, while feeling about in the dark, will also be light-hearted about it.  Bumping into things, knocking things over, smiling, laughing.

I mean after all, I am still here.  Still living, breathing, messing up, fixing up and getting by and through but never over.  So if I were to start to add the lighter touches then perhaps it can help you see the me that everyone else deals with.  The brave faced Mummy with a smile despite myself and life's big let downs.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ambivalence

Not an feeling I was well acquainted with previously.  I was used to be pretty much a 'say it, do it' person.  

Now I keep getting huge examples of ambivalence, when I least expect them and often in public.  An example was yesterday, one of my dearest colleagues at work is pregnant.  The original idea was we were going to try to be pregnant together but I fell pregnant first and then she was on catch-up.  

It is all over for me and she just passed 25 weeks.  All of the initial concerns the scans displayed for her were gone yesterday.  She got the all clear.

I ran to find her when she came to work in the afternoon.  I really wanted to know, and and truly want everything to be just perfect for her.  When she told me that everything is fine, her baby girl is growing and all is well I was thrilled.

We hugged, I was happy.  

Then it was like a stab.  

Flashes; Why? Why didn't that happen to me? So unfair!  We should both be pregnant right now!  My sons are dead. Why didn't it go that way for me as it is for her?

Then it is soooo hard, being delighted for my colleague and profoundly sad for myself.  Sad doesn't even describe it.  Dismayed, sorrowful, miserable, disappointed, depressed - not even the thesaurus is helping here.  Ambivalence. True ambivalence. 

Then the tears come......

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Grass is Not Greener - it is just hay over there!

Everything seems so very rushed in the haze of panic but at the same time it appears to happen in complete slow motion.  I know that the Doctors and Nurses were trying to do well but I only wish they would have listened.

We are the Mums, we know, despite being slightly crazy, yelling and looking probably manic.  We know.  

I wish I had made them listen.  Because of my lack of insistence, I didn't get to hold my boys, they did ask me initially but I said I wanted to hold them together so when Benedetto was also delivered they took them both away.  

They came back together nestled in a basket.  So very fragile, I couldn't bear to pick them up, I couldn't bring myself to do it they just looked too small I thought I would break them, perhaps do them more damage than I had already.

I don't know exactly why but I wish I had now.

The Highlands of Scotland, where we ran away
I read that some Mother's wish for a funeral.  Personally I could have easily spared myself the funeral and registration of their 'still' births, in some ways I think it makes it worse, having to organise a funeral, go to the registry office, carry a coffin, write a service, choose the music (read earlier posts to see what I went through).

In retrospect I think it is safe to consider that we will all wish for the 'other' way, the grass is always greener over there, on the other side to our field of regrets where I stand waist high in the sticky, insipid dull grass field that moans 'I should have held them',  'I should have taken more photos immediately', 'insisted on hand prints straight away', 'not had to do a funeral', 'make my DH carry the coffin of his dead sons'  etc etc 

But that was the 'package' we received. All those aspects make it our story, the things that did happen, the things that didn't, the things we regret.  

The most important are the things we cherish. 
For me it was knowing they were inside and alive and all mine for the precious weeks we were together.  For those 25 weeks I had a whole family inside of me.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

What is the 'right' thing?

I have been following closely the new guidelines about whether to sustain babies born before 24 weeks and/or lower than 500gm (viable weight)
This dilemma was one that my DH and I were faced with and talked all night about when we knew that there was little hope left for the pregnancy.  

My considerations were the thought of whether it was selfish to push my tiny baby into this world and then artificially sustain and grow him?  I don't think I could have lived with myself if I had insisted that Vincenzo had been born at a non-viable weight with a massive risk of disability.  To live knowing that he would have to live being deaf, blind or both or worse.  

I know because I have friend's whose daughter is deaf, blind and retarded due to very low birth weight and a premature birth.  The risks are so high for the price of wanting a child.  Technology is so advanced that it is no longer a question of 'Can we do it?' but more a question of 'Should we do it?'

My DH and I decided that we would not, this was after a night of length discussions between us.  In our case Nature made that choice for us so we never ended up making the call but nonetheless we had been presented the choices and clearly explained the consequences but the Consultants.  

This coupled with a stunningly reassuring Bereavement Midwife has resulted in us being able to live with ourselves.  We can live with the decisions and choices that we made, as well as understand that some events were well beyond anyone's control.  All this as well as the tragic outcome.  This was a direct result of the honest and frank discussions that took place during and reassuring solid support that happened afterwards and really does outline how important it is to provide the right training and have the right people to make sure that you can get yourself out of bed in the days, weeks, months and years after the tragedy has taken place.


I wonder what support this lady was offered http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1366801/Premature-baby-dies-mothers-arms-hospital-staff-refused-help-him.html ?  I have never met her but when I saw the report on the news this evening and heard her speak I can completely understand.  Plus I never saw either of my boys alive and don't know what that would have done to change my mind, no mother wants to witness their baby suffer, the natural reaction would be to cry for help.  

But to live with herself, I sincerely hope that she can learn to do that and forgive all those whose decisions she couldn't affect that day. 

My Little Box of Hope....

So here I am this evening clinging to my little box of hope, kindly given to my by the team at John Radcliffe Hospital with a shimmering ribbon of light around it.  

The hope is that I can try again and I must not be afraid.  I am not.  There are many lessons that have been learnt on this journey but one of the biggest is humility.  

Though my fate is my own to guide, the outcomes are not always mine to decide.

The Consultants say the only way is forward and to know the true conclusion of this chapter we must try again.


So again we will try, in time, without pressure, preconception or expectation......




Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Look with Thanks

More thanks I have to extend today to Franchesca at Small Bird Studio who helped me achieve the great new look at feel for this blog which is the boy's place.  If you like what you see why not take a look and, of course, don't forget to sneek a peek at her blog because like so many of us Franchesca knows what it is like to walk the road we walk, in the shoes we wear......

Monday, 14 March 2011

Ladybird Ball


I caught this delightful photo in my front garden yesterday morning.  Look at them all warming up for Spring..........the circle of life continues even as I wished on every one of these little guys that our fellow human beings in Japan continue to find the strength to move forward despite the terrible Earthquake and Tsunami.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Writing Names in the Sand

So while I was busy like crazy this week catching up with work  (work, by the way was fine after I got myself past the front door and through the second lot into the office it was almost a relief being back).

So my week progressed on a mostly escalating scale, that means to say I was running to catch up and at the same time on the other side of the world my boy's names we slowly working their way up the rainbow list of many names that Carly so very, very kindly scribes into the sands of Christian's Beach.  

On Wednesday the 9th March Vincenzo and Benedetto's names were written and for the second time in their short lives they made it to Australia.  You may remember catch this from Their Story, but I was also in Australia during the first weeks of pregnancy so for Carly to have written their names at sunset on Wednesday night for me there is like closing the circle.

Thank you Carly I love them, 'To Write their Names in the Sand'........ more than 10,000 forever baby names and counting.........

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Thanks for a charm

A lovely lady contacted me today and it made me smile so much today.  Here is what she says:

"I received my butterfly charm today, thank you so much its lovely =)
I first saw them on your blog and wanted to let you know the reason I bought a charm was so I could have it on my keys and carry it with me to remind me of the importance of babyloss. I am a student midwife and recently cared for a women who lost her baby, I will never forget this and her and her baby will stay with me forever.
Thank you again"

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave messages in my guestbook or send me emails like this one.  It has meant so much and I am pleased that my blog has been able to touch so many my current charms can be found under the 'Per Sempre Charms' tab...........I understand now that when babyloss touches it takes a special heart in your heart.....

Friday, 4 March 2011

Invictus

This poem inspired Nelson Mandela and after reading it today I can understand why. 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


William Ernest Henley (1875)

Another interesting article that I read today is in April's edition of UK Psychology magazine and is entitled 'Listen to your Inner Voice'.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Losing the Plot...where's the exit?

I think I might be losing the plot today.  I know I normally blog about the many internal ponderings that take place but today has been a matter of actions speaking louder than words.

It all started after I watched the latest episode of the Tudors and got me thinking (again!  I really should abstain from this bad hobby) about all of King Henry's wives and how many stillborn & miscarried babies he had and counted seven in total, Catherine of Aragon lost five children this way alone.  Yes.  I know we are talking 1510 here, a very long time ago.  But the feeling must have still been the same and the women didn't roll over and die then either (well some did but that was normally down to complications in child birth and/or subsequent infections) and so here I am wondering why, oh why, oh why, oh why, this perpertual rollercoaster doesn't give me a break.

With that whine I let loose and I went online and brought two ovulation kits, 6 pregnancy test kits, Folic Acid/Conception vitamins in bulk and a vow to go to the supermarket tomorrow and purchase some Soya Isoflavones......phew!  I'm exhausted just reading the list.


Now, at this stage you could be thinking "Well, nothing like being prepared" but I have to scream this out and say "PREPARED FOR WHAT EXACTLY?"  

Firstly I have no plan from the Consultants, therefore no go-ahead at all, hence a very impossible possibility of anything happening.  
Secondly I am petrified (or should that be terrified, which is stronger?) that the Consultants will tell me that this condition, disease, whatever, means I can't give birth and will thus render all the aforementioned shopping a waste of money and consequently end my life as I know it.  
Thirdly, why am I reading about Soya and other infertility treatments?  I was pregnant with twins for crying out loud so fertility is clearly not the issue!


I simply don't know what to do for the best and am fed-up with this whole thing, I really am.  So just stop, please world stop, I have had enough, I want to get off...........



Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Shards of my Heart

Last few days before I go back to work.  My heart is still in shards and I wonder how I can remain so unchanged on the outside and yet feel like a completely different person on the inside.

I look in the mirror and the face that stares back is so familiar but somehow completely inappropriate.   That isn't me anymore, that was the other person; the child, the girl, the woman, the wife before I became this  -the mother whose body didn't nurture.  My heart keeps beating and yet I sometimes believe it doesn't deserve to, I feel that don't deserve to still breathe the life I failed to grant to what we created.

That should qualify me for a physical metamorphosis I am certain that I shouldn't look the same, surely if I won't be punished I should be changed physically.  Yet I cannot think what else or who else I should look like, after all when I pass other women and ladies on the street can I tell that they are also Mothers of children, none living?

During these internal discussions it is usually my head that steps in and pulls my martyred soul and tortured heart into line convincing my soul to be reasonable and my heart to cease being so sentimental.  Suddenly I realise just how many different parts makes a person.  What a complicated thing a person is........