Goodbye 2016

New Year’s Eve is here. I’ve never been a fan of it, for me it’s a marker of being another year older, another year totted up on my life. I like it even less since Rory died and now there’s Henry too I’m just numb. 

2015 was Rory’s year and 2016 was Henry’s, I’m not sure what 2017 will bring, certainly not another baby. The forthcoming year will be the first in 10 we haven’t been trying for a baby, planning a baby or been pregnant. I’m relieved, I’m desperately sad, I almost want 2018 to be here now.

2016 should have been amazing, our happy ending and full of positive changes for everyone but it wasn’t. There were some great times – Toby had a brilliant year and the transition to school life was amazing to see, Matt hit a milestone birthday which we made the best of, I tried, I really tried and that’s all I can think of of my achievements this year – I tried my best.

Something exciting did happen though, we started our Butterfly Books project which has been well received and brilliantly supported by friends, family and strangers. I’m looking forward to see how our little project can grow in 2017 – the first milestone of the new year is gifiting books and wooden hearts to the neonatal bereavement room.

There will be other milestones in 2017 – Henry’s pregnancy, scans, bad news milestones, Rory’s anniversary, Henry’s anniversary, birthdays to be filled with joy and sadness. I’m trying to not think about the milestones at the moment but the first arrives at the end of January so I don’t have long to wait.

I have made some wonderful friends this year, forged stronger bonds with others and lost a few friends along the way. I hope 2017 is kind to everyone and proves to be a gentler ride than 2016.

Christmas 2016

I’ve been trying to win at Christmas since mid October by being organised with present buying, planning trips to see the big man in red, getting the house all festive and generally acting like a member of the Griswald family from the 80s films. I thought I was winning with some presents wrapped before December arrived and most of my shopping done, but then I walked into the supermarket on 1 December and it was Christmas overload – decorations everywhere, Christmas songs blaring out and festive items all up for buying. I grabbed what I needed and got out quick. I realised that perhaps I wasn’t winning at all. 

I’m quite good at pretending things aren’t happening so as the big day approached I got stuck in to Christmas craziness including a festive break at center parcs but now it’s Christmas Eve and I can’t escape the fact that we face our second Christmas without Rory and our first without Henry. Our first Christmas without any hope of a bigger family, our first as a definite family of three. I want to go to bed until January but of course I can’t as there are things to do and Toby is so excited about Farmer Christmas coming. 

There are people all over the place having the Christmas we hoped for last year and the one we longed for this year, they keep popping into my head and I keep shoving them away as it hurts too much to think about them, their babies, and their happy Christmases.

I hope the next couple of days are gentle to us and I very much hope that 2017 is kinder to everyone x

The Lonely Bus

Much of my grief journey has made me feel isolated, mainly because I feel different and also because people just don’t know what to say after a loss so terrible.

One place I have found solace is in the loss community, after all we have that much unwanted and much understood bond. I feel safe around these ladies and I can speak honestly and in safety. 

But, as ever the world still turns and new ‘rainbow’ pregnancies are announced (thankfully always in a gentle way with an apology and a sense of sorrow). I’m so happy for my friends, especially those with no living children. Everyone deserves happiness and a chance to move forward with new life in their arms and their angel in their hearts.

Every announcement though adds to my sense of isolation of otherness. We will never have another baby, not unless someone loans us their womb which is unlikely. 

It feels like a strange bus journey. When I lost Rory I joined a bus full of grieving parents, I hovered downstairs pretending I didn’t really need to be there and then I was pregnant again so edged closer to the door but then Henry died and I was catapulted right to the back of the top deck. Ladies have joined the bus and we have shared the journey but then they fall pregnant and move to the lower deck and when their baby arrives they get off ready to take another journey. Most days it feels like I’m sitting in this bus watching people come and go and I’m trapped, never able to get off the bloody thing all the while my safe circle of friends is getting smaller and smaller.

People assume everyone will get their rainbow and their happy ending, possibly as the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. The reality is that not everyone does get a happy ending – Mums like us aren’t talked about much, we aren’t celebrated and we feel forgotten, isolated and alone.

Abigail’s Footsteps

Firstly, apologies for sharing a link from the Daily Fail, but it’s a good one – I promise!

Matt and I were ‘lucky’ in that we had excellent bereavement care at our local hospital, sadly others are not as fortunate. A hospital 20 minutes away from home is a complete contrast with a dingy room and patchy care – a lovely loss mama friend is trying to change that though!

Two things resonated with me in the article:

‘I had lost my baby, yet the world hadn’t stopped’. 

I remember sitting in my lounge after Rory died being angry at our magnolia tree as it had come into bud. I was incredulous – our world had ended yet everyone else was carrying on as normal! How was it possible? After Henry it was easier as we knew the world had to carry on even if we didn’t agree! I still can’t believe we had the strength to host Matt’s birthday party less than a week after Henry died though.

‘Without a living baby, I was made to feel I was no longer a priority’.

Whilst the bereavement midwife team were fab, the community midwife team were shit. The midwives couldn’t get in and out fast enough! Then our final appointment was postposned due to illness, essentially as my baby had died I wasn’t important and got bumped down the list. I already felt worthless and this added to it. I complained and had a nice response assuring me things would change. We’ll never know if things are better as we refused visits after Henry died. Quite honestly I didn’t need the stress of them being shit again.

Anyway, if you do have 5 minutes to spare, please have a read (link below).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2518781/Real-lives-After-heartbreak-stillbirth-David-Jo-Ward-working-raise-awareness-UK-hospitals.html