I am just over two years down the line from Rory and nearly a year from Henry. I can’t fully reflect as I’ve not done a full circle of Henry milestones – this time last year I hadn’t had the doomed 20 week scan, I didn’t know he’d be born on Matt’s birthday, on Father’s Day. I don’t know we’d have to ask people to still come to Matt’s birthday party even though Henry had died 5 days before (I still don’t know how I got through it!) I didn’t know we’d have to cremate a second baby boy.
I do know that I have changed for better and for worse and every day I am coming to terms with the new me.
I think I have become better at dealing with things; I function, I go to work, I laugh, I have fun. There are so many things I still can’t do though (I’m saving those for a future post). There are days when I get sad, I cry, I’m angry and I’m bitter but those times are lessening and there are bigger gaps between these moments.
I have learnt to embrace these sad moments and run with them rather than hiding how I feel.
I reflect on the choices I have made and my actions in the past and I’m ashamed of some things and proud of others. This year I have made efforts to make the bad things better, to resolve differences and to move forward. This is a work in progress but it is positive.
I’m now better equipped to talk about my baby boys to strangers, my necklace is usually the starting point. Only last year I know I would have glossed over it if people asked who’s prints were there. Now (and I don’t know why), I have a confidence to tell the truth, a well rehearsed confidence at least…
Sometimes I have flashbacks and it makes me reflect on what had happened even if I don’t want to. In these moments I realise that I had two babies die. I have had two dead babies in my arms. Some days I cannot believe it happened to me, it truly feels like it happened to someone else and I’m a bystander. When I stop and think about the loss, the trauma, the pain twice over I’m not sure how I’m still here, how I’ve survived.
But I am surviving and that’s amazing. I’ve come a long way but there is still far to go.
This photo has noting to do with the word reflect, I just love it!
I should really rename this friends as I can’t single out one lovely friend for this post.
As I think about my friends old and new and how things have panned out during the last two years I realised that they fall into categories. Here they are…
1. The ones who backed off. There are some friends (only a handful mind you) that have backed off and I’ve not seen once since I lost Rory. No messgaes, no meet-ups, nothing. I’m slowly picking these people off as I don’t need them. It’s a shame as some have been friends for years and years. Their loss!
2. The ones who don’t know what to say. These people are honest, they say they don’t know what to do or say but they have kept in contact with messages and meet-ups. I get that it is hard for them and I appreciate their honesty and their love. Thank you.
3. The present friends. These are the people who I’ve been able to message and ask for a day of normal, they have listened, they have messaged, they have given hugs, they have told me they thought of the boys at random times – just because. They remember the dates and they send a message. I hope one day I can return the support you have shown me. Some of these friends are old, some are fairly new but it makes no difference; they are here I thank them for that.
4. The most special group. My loss mama friends. They just get it, I’m sad that they walk the same path and share the pain I feel. There are conversations I can only have with these friends. I wish I didn’t know them but I love them with a passion! Thank you for being awesome.
This is my sunshine, I am lucky to have Toby and lucky that I can be a mum to a living child.
This time way back in 2011 he’d been in my tummy for 24 hours, we didn’t know that one of the two embryos transferred in Alicante would become Toby. It seems like a lifetime ago. We have a photo of the two embryos – not many kids have that as their first baby photo!
Toby drives me absolutely bonkers, he doesn’t listen, he is loud and he kicks me in bed when he joins us in the night. But, he is the sunshine to my day, the crazy to my quiet, the fast to my slow. I love seeing the world through his eyes and I count my blessings every day.
Despite the losses I’m one of the lucky ones.
I think I’ve cried more tears these past two years than some people cry in a lifetime. Some days there are tears, some days there are not, usually I cannot put my finger on why the tears come.
The the most difficult time for me is driving into work – the 20 minute journey allows my mind to wander, the reality of what has happened suddenly rears up and hits me.
My journey to work can make or break my day. Music helps to stop my mind from wandering to the dark corners. Often there are tears on my journey in, not because I dislike my job (I love every bit of it!), but simply because the enormity of everything that has happened has hit home during those 20 minutes and I know I’m about to have a day of triggers ahead of me.
Because the tears can hit at random moments I’m never without tissues, I have travel packs in the car, in my bag, in the ‘days out’ rucksack. There are boxes of tissues in most rooms at home and on my desk at work. I’m essentially keeping tissue factory workers in jobs!
I cry less now, not because I’m not as sad, but because I can control it; sometimes holding back the tears is just easier, less embarrassing, less awkward.
I talk in terms of remembering my babies, it’s not like I can or want to forget them. I’ve found that sometimes people get confused by my phrasing, they take it literally and wonder how they can remember people they’ve never met, people that only Matt and I held and people that very few saw in the flesh. To them it is impossible to remember someone they never knew.
It took me a long time to understand this view point. At first I was angry by the shear narrow mindedness, but then I realised that it’s the interpretation of the word.
What I mean by remembering, is to think about my babies, think about us, remember that they lived and remember that they are part of our family.
Remember them and my feelings when you make plans, tell us about your happy news, when you invite me places and I need to check who will be there, when I decline an invite, when I unfollow you on social media, when I seem like I’m making life difficult, when I don’t want to hear about your pregnancy or your new baby, when I glaze over at the mention of something that will trigger me. They are the reason I’m the way I am and please do not forget them.
This gorgeous photo of Henry’s toes was taken by Charlie who is a Remember my Baby photographer. It seemed fitting to share this photo for today’s word.
My favourite colour at the moment is navy – my wardrobe reflects this with a sea of navy. I’m trying to expand the colours I wear as whilst I love dark blue, it’s a bit dull at times. I do change my favourite colour as often as the weather – I also like pink, grey and mustard.
There are two colours close to my heart though. Green is the colour of the hat Rory was given in hospital. I took one look at him and thought ‘that hat is horrid’; you see it in all of his photos and it is part of his story. As much as I loathe that ugly little hat I love it in equal measure.
The other colour is yellow. We were lucky enough to be able to choose an outfit for Henry and we opted for one with little yellow ducks on it. Henry also had a little yellow ribbon on his hat. You can just about see the hints of yellow in this photo.
Colour also has another meaning for me. It is not often I share colour photos of my boys. I know what they look like, I know their skin is red (it is that colour as at 23 weeks the baby’s skin is so thin you can see blood through it), I know they are not conventionally pretty babies, I know not everyone feels comfortable looking at their photos. I know I can’t change opinions but by sharing monochrome photos I hope to make it easier for people to see their beauty.
It’s ironic and slightly messed up that a photo with no colour might be more acceptable in a world full of colour.
To the outside world I’ve got no apparent wound or injury but inside there are two small Rory and Henry shaped wounds. They are healing and they don’t always bleed when they are poked and prodded but some days they really hurt and other days I can’t help but to poke and prod them because sometimes the pain is comforting (in a weird way that only loss mamas will understand).
I know the wounds will eventually heal and the pain will be gone but a scar will be left in its place.
I quite like scars, I can see the beauty in them and they all tell a story. I have scars from my hip operations and they are a reminder of how far I’ve come from the wonky legged baby born in 1980. You can see outwardly that my left hip is the poorer one as the scar is thicker and wider as it was opened up more than once. That scar tells my story from a long long time ago.
In Japan cracked china is repaired with gold to make the item more beautiful, to add to its story. It is referred to as Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi). The philosophy behind the technique is to recognise the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it.
I like this idea. My inward and outward scars are a record of my wounds, a lasting outcome of the things that have happened to me. They make me who I am and to me they are pretty special.