I wonder what ?

There are many things that I struggle with dealing with the loss of my children, in particular Millie. With the baby that we miscarried, I don’t seem to have the same struggles, I have different struggles, like never knowing what they would even look like when they were born or seeing what colour eyes they would have.

I think maybe this is because we didn’t know whether the baby was a boy or girl. We gave the baby a unisex name because of this and it still breaks my heart when I think of our loss with this baby. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all types of baby/pregnancy loss are horrendous because you start to plan your baby’s future as soon as you see that positive line but for me with Millie it’s different because she had been with us here for 9 months and one of the biggest struggles that I have is not seeing her grow up.

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Now I know that seems a really obvious thing to say but it’s the little things that many people take for granted when you have children.

Would she like having plaits in her hair?

What would her voice sound like?

How tall would she be?

Would she like wearing dresses or be a total Tomboy living in jeans and getting covered on dirt like I was?

Would she have her daddy’s smile or would she sleep the same way he does?

Would she like going to the football with him at the weekends?

This seems to hit me the most when it’s around her birthday and not long after her birthday this year, my mum passed me some photos.

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Many of them made me laugh, photos of her on her wedding day, of my Auntie (yes, you Auntie Linz 😀) as a very young girl but then I came across some of me when I was small. What was odd though, is that these random photos that my mum had brought over were of me when I was 6, the same age that Millie would have been this year.

My mum hadn’t even looked on the back of the photos and seen the age, she’d just picked a few up to show me …

Strange isn’t it that this is the one I saw?

Do your children look like you or have the same mannerisms? I would love to know what you have in common, it’s such a beautiful thing that our children look like us and often act like us.

If like us, you have angels, what is it that you imagine them to be like?

x

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Six, that many?

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that we are just around the corner from our sixth Christmas without our little girl.

We were at Millie’s resting place yesterday and a lovely lady came to talk to me who recognised me from a newspaper. We got chatting and she told me that she was visiting her son who has in grieving terms, not long been buried, she was so sad. It hurt me to see her in so much pain and knowing that there’s nothing that you can do to take it away. Her son was a lot older than Millie, in his twenties but still no age to lose your life and a parent should never have to go through the indescribable pain of losing a child, no matter how old or young they are or in fact, you are.

Instead of preparing ourselves for Christmas by hunting out the latest gifts that our children want, an extremely large number of us are hunting out flowers or plants that might just last outside over Christmas a little longer than usual, we are placing little Christmas Trees and outdoor lights around our children’s resting places and we are laminating cards to last in the rain or laying them down knowing that within 24 hours they will be destroyed but hoping that our children will have read our words in them, in some strange and mysterious way that they are involved with our lives.

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For the first three years after we lost Millie, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t put a tree up, we didn’t see any family or friends or exchange gifts or cards. We didn’t acknowledge it, it was just another day to Dan and I.

I don’t ever think Christmas will be a huge thing for us, it hurts too much. It’s hard to make plans with other people as I can’t predict how many times each of us will break down and cry and many people (thankfully) cannot understand why this happens. We’re more comfortable just having our own little Christmas in our own home.

The fourth year was different, we put a tree up and did a little bit of Christmas because we now had Leo. We couldn’t not do it for him. We’ve always said that we don’t want Leo’s (and now Asher’s) lives to be any different or miss out on on things because of what happened to Millie.

Christmas is something that Leo and Asher’s friends will celebrate and take part in and we don’t want our children to feel left out and not to be able to enjoy this time of year, especially as they get older.

I’m not religious, not at all. I did wonder,like many of us do and we had Millie christened but once she passed away, that was it for me. I couldn’t believe in something so cruel, something that could take away a child from loving parents, so as you can imagine Christmas will never be associated with religion in our house.

There will never be any Christmas scenes, any prayers and certainly no bibles. It will always just be a fun day for our children where they get some presents and are allowed to eat more chocolate than usual!

It’s extremely hard that first Christmas after you lose a child. Everything you see or hear, tears your heart out. Children getting excited looking at toys or coming out from visiting Santa, families enjoying big family Christmas meals and songs on the radio that can make you spontaneously burst out crying in the middle of a supermarket after playing just a few notes or words.

Waking up on Christmas morning, there are lots of tears before any of the fun. The tears fall as soon as we wake up for the missing part of our family, our precious daughter. We cannot help but think about how we won’t see her face running smiling into our bedroom, or the shock on her face when she sees that Father Christmas has been or how happy she realises she can be when she can have chocolate for breakfast. None of it. We never got to see it, we never will and we still miss it like it’s an existing memory. That’s the thing with us though, we don’t have any Christmas memories with Millie because we never got to see her first one. All we know, is everything that she will miss out on, everything she will never get to see or experience and although these thoughts are with us every day in everything that we do, they became ever so more prominent at special times of the year.

We’ll visit Millie a couple of times on Christmas Day, normally in the morning and then in the evening to light some candles. She’ll be left a card and lots of gorgeous flowers from us and at home, she’ll have a Christmas Stocking, just like we all will. Although it won’t be filled with special treats like all the other ones, it’s still hers and it will still be there.

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We’ve also got our other little star, the baby I miscarried in November 2016. I love my family so much, but it’s hard not to see what should have been, that we should have 4 children all laughing around the table with us, that there should be twice as many presents in our living room from Father Christmas and that there should be twice as much mess as there will be. I’d love to see twice as much mess and twice as much chaos in our home at any time because that would mean that we wouldn’t have any sad memories from the past and that all our children would be here with us.

If you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate Christmas with all your children around you, send a little love to the people that can’t. Christmas is an emotional time for anyone who has lost a loved one but a Christmas without a child that should be there is unbearable as you think about all the missing futures that they should have and even just the missing smile from around the table.

As much as we will laugh, smile and play with our little ones on the day, a piece of us will be with our missing children and there’ll always be a part of us that can’t quite get to that happy place that we all crave to get to, that perfect life that we all want.

I sign Christmas cards (any cards) off with Millie’s name in them, she’s a huge part of our family and always will be. Some people might find that odd and think that we shouldn’t do it, but I don’t care. Unless you have lost a child, I don’t care for your opinion when it comes to how we should we grieve or how we should act. Losing a child, is not the same as any other type of loss or any other type of grief, far from it.

Six Christmases down the line since we lost Millie and we are still trying to figure out what and how we want to do things without Millie here.

My heart is with all those parents right now who are experiencing their first Christmas without their child. The pain of all those firsts is a pain that will never leave me and will always hurt. I wish that I could tell these parents that the pain will go away but it doesn’t,not at all.

You learn to live with the pain and your life is built around it. You learn how to deal with your pain to get you through these special days and you will discover what is the right thing for you to do on these days and whatever you decide that is, is perfect – for you and always will be.

If I could line you all up and give each and every one of you a hug this Christmas, I would … I feel your pain, I feel your miss.

From one grieving parent to another xxx

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Remembering

A year ago today, I realised that I thought we were losing our baby that I was about 10 weeks pregnant with.

We were having a lovely family day out when I had the tiniest of bleeds and thought I’d better get myself checked as I’d never had this before in pregnancy.

A few days later, I found out that it was definite, that we were losing our baby.

I had had a missed miscarriage which meant I just had to wait to fully miscarry for up to 2 weeks, it fully happened pretty much 2 weeks later.

Today I’m remembering.

Leo is our rainbow baby following our loss of Millie and Asher who is led here in my arms at just 3 weeks old, is a rainbow baby too following the loss of Millie and the baby that I miscarried. I might not of held the baby in my arms that I miscarried, but they’ll always be in my heart. xxx

Read Diary of a missed miscarriage from my blog last year

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What is a Rainbow Baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born shortly after the loss of child. They are called the because a rainbow typically follows a storm, giving us hope of what’s to come

What’s a missed miscarriage? Why does it happen?

A missed miscarriage (also called silent or delayed miscarriage) is where the baby has died or failed to develop but your body has not actually miscarried him or her. The scan picture shows a pregnancy sac with a baby (or fetus or embryo) inside, but there is no heartbeat and the pregnancy looks smaller than it should be at this stage. Pregnancy hormone levels may still be high, so you may have had no idea that anything was wrong, still feel pregnant and have a positive pregnancy test.

It’s not clear if there is a particular reason for this kind of miscarriage. Some people think it’s just the downside of early pregnancy tests and ultrasound: if the miscarriage wasn’t diagnosed on, say, a booking scan, you would only know you had miscarried when that physical process started.

Source: Miscarriage Association

Baby Loss Awareness 2017 – Let them talk

Baby loss, pregnancy loss, child loss.

Let’s not talk about it.

Society says so.

Society calls for it.

It makes you uncomfortable.

It makes you scared.

It makes you …

Oh wait, hang on a second… it’s not about you.

It’s about your friend who is broken hearted as she puts the clothes away for the baby she longed for who’s heart has just stopped beating.

It’s about your brother that has just watched his wife/girlfriend curled up on the floor in the bathroom or keeled over the toilet feeling the life of their child slip from her and he’s confused and struggling because there is nothing he can do to take this pain away from her.

It’s about the new mum who is leaving hospital whilst her milk is coming in but who has had to leave her baby behind in the morgue.

It’s about your son who’s packing away the unused cot and pram that he saw his unborn child in, his future taken away from him in a split second.

It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Let them talk. Let them cry. Allow them to feel that they are not alone. Tell them that you are there for them. Listen to them. Let them sleep on you. Let them curl up and be where they need to be.

Remember their loss.

Remember their child’s birthday.

Remember their pregnancy due date.

Remember their loss date.

Remember that they will never forgot.

A baby is a baby no matter how far along in pregnancy that they may have survived.

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These babies have a Mum and Dad and they’ll always be a Mum & Dad and they will never ever forget.

I will always be a mum of four, it doesn’t matter that you will only see two of my children holding my hands whilst crossing the street.

You cannot see them, but I have an angel on each shoulder watching over us. One is my Millie, my daughter on one shoulder whom we lost when she was 9 months old and on my other shoulder sits my unborn child who I miscarried at 12 weeks, a child with a name that only I and Dan know.

Be kind.

Be brave.

Let them feel that they are not alone.

Let’s talk about it.

Tell me about your babies that you’ve lost.

Child loss is an unbearable experience, a situation that you don’t ever want to believe that you could be in. I’ve been their twice in completely different situations, one extreme to the other.

They both hurt. It always will.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

9th-15th October 2017

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Oh, the guilt!

Could I actually feel guiltier than I do?

Pregnancy is full of amazing moments, watching your baby move in your stomach, mum looking “blooming” lovely, hair and skin glowing, energy to carry on going to the gym, eating healthier etc. etc.…

Actually, no. My experience is the complete opposite

Being totally honest, I cannot stand being pregnant. People often presume that being pregnant especially after child loss should automatically mean that you would enjoy every second of the pregnancy and treasure everything that is happening, that you should be grateful that you have the opportunity to have another child again and be thankful for being able to have this experience again.

That’s exactly why I feel so bloody guilty. I lost Millie and had a not very enjoyable pregnancy with Leo, alongside the crappy physical experience that I had with nausea, sciatica, iron problems and exhaustion; I also had an awful time with my mental health and struggled to bond with the little man Leo growing inside me because of our previous loss of Millie. I couldn’t wait to just have Leo in my arms, to not only stop all the physical pain I was in but also because I knew that my mental health would be so much better once he arrived.

Then there was the miscarriage. Sadly, 12 weeks into my third pregnancy last November, I suffered a missed miscarriage that was not only physically hard but affected my mental health yet again. I was extremely embarrassed that my husband was watching me miscarry in the bathroom (I don’t even pee in front of him) but I needed him more than anything by my side, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. It felt demeaning, I felt useless that I couldn’t protect my baby again and I was also filled with so much sadness that my husband was watching me lose his child.

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Then I got pregnant again earlier this year – and the cycle began again. I was diagnosed with HG, it turned out that I had huge problems with my iron that meant my body wasn’t doing what it should be with it and that was causing exhaustion. You might think here, she was just a little tired. It wasn’t that. I physically did not have any energy. I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t get dressed, I couldn’t come down the stairs and some days I couldn’t even lift my arms. Eventually after a few months, I was put on some medication that took a few weeks to work but my energy started to come back and I began to function again. I was so glad because I felt so guilty that I couldn’t play with my little boy Leo, he spent weeks seeing me laid up in bed or with my head down the loo, some days he even learnt to hold my hair back whilst I was throwing up. This type of illness played havoc with my mental health, it took a huge nose dive and some days I just didn’t want to wake up (when I did sleep) because I felt such a burden to my little family.

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My hair comes out when I brush it when I’m pregnant, I can’t stand my skin, I can only eat certain foods and then the heartburn kicks in. I honestly feel like I am genuinely keeping Gaviscon in business and have been for the past few months. The hospital has given me tablets for the heartburn, they were great; for the first two weeks. Unfortunately now, they seem to wear off pretty much as soon as I have taken them; not fun.

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Then there is the bladder jumping. Yes, this little man seems to like partying on my bladder during the early hours of the morning, pretty much every day. This was okay in my last pregnancies, as I could get to the bathroom pretty quickly but now, I’m on crutches.

Did I not tell you that bit? No, well, just to add to the fun, my body is trying to wear me down even more by adding Sciatica and SPD to my list of pregnancy problems. Again something I was coping with until recently when my legs starting to go from underneath me, in particular if I had been asleep in bed during the night. It soon became where I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without having to hold on to pieces of furniture or the walls to get there. After a very quick referral (thank you NHS and Wythenshawe Midwife/Consultancy Teams) to a physiotherapist, I had a few sessions and was straight away given a support belt for my stomach (I really wish that I had the nerve to put a photo of it here – but believe me, it is the least sexy thing that you have ever seen. Think Tubi-Grip that you have when you sprain your wrist, except this one is big enough to go all the way from your boobs, across your stomach and to your hips).

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Dan just laughed. I don’t blame him. I look ridiculous.

Then came the crutches. Well this is lots of fun, with a toddler. Not.

I also have to use them every day even if I have no pain, so I don’t counter-act the benefit on good days. I feel like a total spanner. 8 months pregnant with this huge bump and on crutches – no wonder people are looking at me in sympathy.

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Chester Zoo was fun this week on my birthday. Dan hired me a mobility scooter. Oh the humiliation I was thinking … but actually it was a great idea and we got around so many more animals than if I would have been hobbling around on crutches. Leo thought it was hilarious and he got to have a little sit on it before we left.

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The physical pain that I am in though isn’t a laughing matter. It’s excruciating some days and it makes me cry. It makes me really sad that I can’t play with Leo like I want to.

After all that – I’m not even sure that I have captured all the reasons that I don’t like pregnancy here – but you must get the idea.

To all you mums that completely adore being pregnant, I totally envy you – I really do. I wish I could enjoy my pregnancies; it would be great.

But to all those mums who feel even the slightest bit of guilt like myself, I’m with you, I feel your pain and it will all be over soon, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Bring on the Pink Botegga Prosecco and Camembert Cheese! I cannot wait. That’s all I can say!

Saturday 30 September is your last chance to purchase VAT free merchandise and Qualification Course places for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at work. You have until 9PM on this date to purchase VAT FREE. This includes are limited edition giraffes too, so please click here to purchase to save pennies before the increase.

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During October Stickerscape will be supporting Baby Loss Awareness UK 2017. Every sticker sold during this month we will donate £1 to the The Miscarriage Association (charity no. 1076829) and Millie’s Trust (charity no. 1151410).

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It doesn’t go away.

The schools are back again this week and so are all the first day at school, moving up a year, first day at secondary school etc photos on social

media and they are all so lovely and I genuinely do love seeing them but I only take a fleeting look as otherwise the tears will begin to fall.

Last year Millie should have started primary school. We know where she would have gone, we know she would have thrived there … except she never took her first step through the door.

I stupidly thought it wouldn’t hurt this year, it does though. It’s never going to go away. The what ifs, the lost school plays, the blank pages of her life. It’s so painful to handle.

And then I had the miscarriage. Am I going to feel the same when that baby should have started school, moved up a year, gone to college? I’m guessing so. The miscarriage wasn’t just something that goes away, we gave the baby a name that no one knows and I’ll carry it in my heart forever.

I know that we’ll be the proud parents when Leo starts school in a couple of years, it will be an utterly scary time for us – more so than other parents but we’ll do it and we’ll be posting the pictures just like every other parent. We’ll cry, I’ll be tortured not being with him all the time but he has to grow and become whatever and whoever he wants to become and we’re not going to put anything in the way to stop that.

Enjoy taking your photos and showing your precious treasures to the world, you should be so proud, you made those little people.

But,

If you have a friend or acquaintance that you know has lost a baby, child, pregnancy and they should be overcoming a huge milestone like starting school this week, drop them a text, let them know that you’re thinking of them.

Even if they do seem strong on the outside, they’re not. Trust me xxx

To read my short blog from when Millie should’ve started school last year – click here

To see the next available Emergency First Aid at Work courses in Stockport with Millie’s Trust – click here

I promised pregnancy updates ….. 

Come on ladies, be honest with me now … are you team “I love being pregnant and could do it every day for the rest of my life” or team “Come on, this has got to be over soon”

I would love to be one of those women who absolutely adore being pregnant, bloom when they should and sail through it all with no problems …. but just to make all the pregnant ladies feel better that don’t feel like that … I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum …. this has pretty much been me for most of this pregnancy so far…

One of the biggest reasons that I wish I felt good when pregnant is that because I’ve lost Millie and had a miscarriage, I carry this awful guilt around with me constantly were I think I should be thankful I can have more children and I should just get on with it and suffer with these awful illnesses as the outcome is worth it all. 

I’ve suffered from Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) for the majority of this pregnancy. I mean, I have been sick very badly with Millie and Leo but this time has been something else, some days it has been non stop pretty much from waking up to going to sleep. The strange thing is though, is this is the exact reason that I knew something was wrong in my third pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage last November – I wasn’t sick, I didn’t even feel sick once. Don’t get me wrong, I know each pregnancy can be different – that you can be really ill one pregnancy and glowing the next, but I knew. 

Even after 2 awful sickness pregnancies with Millie and Leo and then having the miscarriage, I was hoping to get an easy ride with this one, but nooooooooo – it came back with a vengeance. I’ve been gradually coming out of it over the past 2 weeks and touchwood, I’ve just felt sick all day for 2 weeks – no doubt it will start again.

This smile below … this is what I want to look like 😂 I’ve got no chance 😂 For the record, none of my pregnancies have been easy going.


Then, of course there is the tiredness. Now this is never standard tiredness with me! It completely knocks me out- exhaustion doesn’t ever cover it. I can’t function, I can’t eat, I can’t shower, I can hardly talk. I’ve never seen anyone like it or heard anyone talk about being like this and again doubled with the sickness has left me feeling absolutely horrendous. 

Make me feel a little better ladies, tell me your stories… I know I’m not the only one. I can’t be 😕. 

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It does turn out though, that some tests came back to show that I have a problem with my iron – so much so, that I’m now on quite a high does of medication that has finally gotten me back on my feet, just!

And then I caught a bloody cold! I was so angry, I’d not been out of the house for nearly four weeks and I came down with the world’s worst cold on top of everything else …. made worse by the fact Dan and Leo were fine which one of them had kindly carried it in for me! 

This time has been different too. 

When I was ill with my pregnancy with Leo, I was struggling, of course I was, I’d lost Millie. I was so scared and frightened but Dan was by my side every step of the way, just like he has been this time. 
Except, now there’s a toddler in the equation in the middle of all this illness. Leo being a toddler is not the problem at all – me feeling like I can’t be a proper mum to him because I’m so ill, that’s the problem. 


(Not a care in the world 😍😍😍)

Not being able to pick him up.

Not being able to bathe him.

Not being able to change his nappy on the changing mat as I couldn’t lift him up.

Not being able cuddle him properly when he’s hurt himself.

Missing out on him playing and laughing because I was so exhausted that I couldn’t  keep my eyes open ….

That hurt. In fact it ripped me apart inside. This big beaming smile coming running into me in the morning and I couldn’t even muster the energy to throw him up into the bed with us; actually – this has led to him mastering leg swinging, I’ll class that as helping his skill building 😉. 

But then my black dog came back to haunt me. The feelings of uselessness about not being able to feel like a proper mum. The wanting to close my eyes and not wake up again. The thoughts that Dan and Leo would be better off without me because I am such a burden when I’m so ill and lacking basic human functionalities to get through a day. 

I knew it was bad and I realised I needed some help. I was so close to asking for  anti-depressants again, I wanted that release of feeling numb and the pain going away. I was so angry with myself wanting these tablets again, especially when I’m pregnant. I’m a complete advocate for if you need anti-depressants then there should be no shame in taking them – but my shame was because I was on them for such a long period of time after we lost Millie and that I worked so hard to get off them with the fantastic mental health support from the NHS; that I was disgusted in myself for wanting to what to me seemed was an easy way out. In my head, when I’m feeling okay, I know it’s not any easy way out taking anti-depressants – because even just admitting that you need help is one of the hardest things to do, it’s an alternative way out, not an easy way out. 

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This all gets to me even more so because I never needed anything like this before we lost Millie and now I feel like it’s never going to do away, that at the most difficult times in my life, at any point in the future I could fall again and that’s so scary. It’s really scary and I know that so many of you who suffer from a mental illness feel like this too at the back of your mind. 


As it turns out, my psychologist had left me a voicemail on one of these awful days and when I picked it up, it’s just what I needed to hear. She wanted to know if I was ok with my pregnancy or if I needed any help. I’d never responded to anything as quickly in my life. 

I’d been asked previously at my pregnancy booking appointment if I wanted access to any pregnancy mental health services and I’d said yes because I knew I was going downhill – a combination of mixed emotions about Millie and I was starting to realise that I hadn’t really dealt with my miscarriage well – I’d kept myself busy and distracted after it happened and the effects were now starting to show.

I’ve started to see my psychologist again now. I’m going to be honest. I hate it. Don’t worry, if my psychologist reads this, (I’m not sure if she does read my blog) she already knows this. I hate it because it really hurts, it’s so emotionally painful. We’re doing EMDR again and it knocks me for six and takes me a few days to feel slightly normal again… but …  I know the benefits and I know how it helped me last time.

And just to finish this off on a laughable note for you, I just got my bump stuck in between the side of the bins and our house, go on, have a good laugh.. Dan did 🙈.

I’m not going to ramble anymore, this blog is longer than I intended already …. catch up in a few days xxx

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