Tag Archives: CHILD LOSS

Sleep On Your Side Campaign

This is going to be yet again one of those controversial issues, some people will agree with and some won’t. It shouldn’t be controversial or be questioned, but it will be. It happens every time new research is released.

#sleeponside campaign

I’ve lost two children, one aged 9 months through a choking incident and one during pregnancy, a miscarriage; but I support a lot of campaigns regarding the loss of children because at the end of the day, no one should suffer child loss if it can be prevented in any way.

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Today the fabulous charity Tommy’s released new research that suggests that sleeping on your side is better than sleeping on you back during pregnancy and the new research shows that sleeping on your side helps to prevent stillbirth.

I’m sharing this so that you all see this video clip and it may one day help you or help someone you know.

This is obviously not the only reason Stillbirth can happen and we’ll never know all the reasons but it is A reason and something that is so simple and something that may just prevent it happening to you.

I know, as I write this and as your reading it, you will either be thinking that it’s great to have found some reasoning behind some still births or you’re thinking that you don’t believe it but why risk not listening to the most up to date advice about something so sad?

Personally, I couldn’t sleep on my back during pregnancy anyway, especially during the last 3 months as the weight of my bump put pressure on my back and I could hardly move if I fell asleep like that, so my body practically forced me to sleep on my side.

An important thing to remember is DON’T PANIC if you do wake up on your side, your body naturally moves in your sleep and you can’t help that, but if you do wake up on your back – re-position yourself to your side.

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So, take a look at this video clip and pass the message on. Click here to view

” Although researchers cannot say for certain why the risk is increased, there are several theories. In the third trimester, when the woman is lying on her back, the combined weight of baby and uterus (womb) puts pressure on the main blood vessels that supply the uterus, and this can restrict blood flow/oxygen to the baby. Other possible explanations include disturbed breathing during sleep, which is worse when a woman sleeps on her back and in overweight or obese women, who also have an increased risk of stillbirth.

The advice to pregnant women is to go to sleep on their side for any episode of sleep in the third trimester, including:

• going to sleep at night

• returning to sleep after any night wakenings

• day time naps

As the going-to-sleep position is the one held longest during the night, women should not be concerned if they wake up on their back, but should simply roll back onto their side.

The MiNESS study did not find a difference in risk between sleeping on the right or left side. One of the previous studies did show that sleeping on the right increased the risk, but as this was not found in the other three studies, the Tommy’s campaign recommends that women can go to sleep on either side.”

Source (Tommy’s) and for further information, click here

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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

Hi, My name is

Hello.

My name is Joanne.

And I have mental health problems.

Seems easy that doesn’t it?

It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit to myself.

That I had problems and I needed help.

That I needed help more than I could ever have imagined.

The trigger of my illness? My daughter suddenly passing so unexpectedly. Things I saw on that day. Things I didn’t want to see. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things that I had no control over. Things that I couldn’t stop. Things I couldn’t change.

Of course I was grieving for my daughter but I thought I was normal. I thought everyone grieved like I was.

Turns out that I wasn’t though.

I was one of the lucky ones. If you can call me that. I didn’t feel lucky after losing our daughter. Although I was lucky. Lucky to get quick access to an amazing NHS psychologist – because if I hadn’t have done, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.

That might sound dramatic. It’s not though, it’s the truth.

My darling husband realised that I wasn’t functioning as I should be. That I wasn’t grieving like he was. That I was different. That something was wrong.

I didn’t want to believe it. I’m glad he made me go to the doctors though. It saved me.

I was diagnosed with

Severe Anxiety

Severe Depression

Severe PTSD

Panic attacks

Complex Grief

So, as you can see. It turns out that I wasn’t just grieving.

It’s roughly 4 years down the line now since my first psychologist session, when I didn’t really say much,I just sat and cried and then got angry. It’s a little different nowadays I talk more, I pour my heart out sometimes. I was there just last week. It’s not an easy fix to deal with mental health problems.

It’s hard work.

Its emotional.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s torturous.

But as the old saying goes, “it’s good to talk”. It truly is.

Some days I can’t function. I feel like I’m failure as a wife, as a Mum, as friend … as everything.

These illnesses nearly cost us our marriage, nearly cost us the chance of having more children. I could’ve ran away. I wanted Dan to be with someone who could make him happy. Not to be with someone who cried herself to sleep most nights, that woke up and didn’t want to speak to him, that didn’t want to socialise. I wanted to leave so he could be happy. But he loves me more than I could ever have imagined and he stood by me and he’s my rock.

Social media is full of all these fabulous photographs that are photoshopped, edited, filtered – often we only see what people want us to see. They want you to see that their life is perfect and oh so happy.

So here is an unfiltered, unedited, unattractive photograph of what I looked like after a very recent anxiety attack and this is after nearly 5 years of having them. I took this 3 weeks go, not knowing if or when I was going to show it – but today seems right to do so, on World Mental Health Day. There was a trigger for this attack, I’ll talk about it in another blog when I’m ready …

After this attack, I was burnt out for a couple of days. It’s not like this just for a few minutes, the after effects always last a few days and it takes a while to piece me back together – but Dan and Leo always do this for me and help me through it.

So now you’ve read this, I’ve said this before.

Time to text that friend who you might not have heard from in a while, that might have been distant, that might have seemed rude last time that you spoke to them.

They could need that text more than you could imagine tonight. Offer them a brew. It might take them 3 months to take you up on the offer, but they will, when they’re ready. Let them know you’ll wait.

Mental Health does scare people, that’s not a surprise at all.

But the person it scares the most, is the person who is suffering and they might not even know it.

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Read one of my recent blogs here, Unexpected Reminders

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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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Read my last blog UNEXPECTED REMINDERS HERE

Text MILL05 £5 to 70070 to support Millie’s Trust on Millie’s 5th anniversary this October.

£5 can be changed from £1 to £10

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We are Seven

If many more people thought like the child in this poem, the world would be just a little lighter for many bereaved parents as the acknowledgment of every child they created and not just the ones that they still have with them everyday is something many of us crave. 
I’ll forever be a mum of every child I’ve held inside me, not just the ones I can hold tight every day. xxx

We are Seven – William Wordsworth 

—A simple child,That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

—Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”
“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be.”
Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.
“And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.
“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.
“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And, when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.
“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little maid’s reply,

“O master! we are seven.”
“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

William Wordsworth

International Bereaved Mother’s Day Sunday 7th May 2017 – send a thought to those who pop into your mind, they’ll appreciate it xxx
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That time of year again …

“Wow, your dad sat up in bed and held Millie today, the first time in weeks that I have seen him do that….” 

Memories, they can make you smile or cry, laugh or hurt. The run up to Millie’s anniversary this week has been been like a film playing in my head that I have seen before. Remembering certain things we did together over those few days, people we saw, clothes we wore – the playback list is endless.

Sitting with her grandpa is something that is engrained in my memory because Frank (Millie’s grandpa) was dying of cancer the day we lost Millie. Telling Dan what had happened when I had visited Frank in the hospice that day, the day before Millie passed made us both smile because for weeks, Frank hadn’t had the strength to hold her properly because he was growing weaker by the day and we knew he didn’t have long left to live … We never expected him to outlive his newest granddaughter.

We lost Frank exactly one month after we lost Millie.

  

(Millie and her grandpa Frank, June 2012)

The minutes have gone by so slowly this week and every time I’ve looked at the time over the past few days, I could tell you exactly what I was doing at that time … 

Lunchtime 22nd October , sitting with Frank in the hospice and seeing him hold Millie and smiling at her … 11.40 ish am on 23rd October playing back the conversation in my head that Dan and I were having on the phone, him telling me that an ambulance had been called for Millie … 12pm being stood in Piccadilly train station struggling to get hold of that place were Millie was to find out if I needed to go there or to hospital … 12.30 taxi journey to hospital … Just before 1pm flying into the hospital and telling them I was Millie’s mum … Just after 1pm being shown Millie after not even being told she had passed away … 2.30pm in a family room with people giving me medication to calm me down and cups of tea to stop me from passing out, just after 4pm .. Dan finally walking through that door and having to accept reality … I could go on and on and on but the more detail I tell you, the more you will be sat there crying. One day I will write more and tell you more about what happened that day but right now, well it’s just not the right time for me 

In some ways, the days before her anniversary are worse because I start to think about all the things we would have done differently if we knew this had been coming.

1. We would never have taken her to that place in the morning.

2. We would have hugged and kissed Millie all night and not let her go.

3. I would have chosen to stay at home and not return to work yet after maternity leave. 

I can carrying on writing this list and for a long time in my head I did. I wrote it and re-wrote it and punished myself with it but the truth is and this is the harsh reality 

… That we cannot change any of it. 

We cannot go back and not to go work that day, we cannot go back and leave her with family instead of that place , we cannot go back and give Millie more hugs… What happened … happened …and as much as we want to change every little thing about that day, about that week;  we can’t, it’s just not possible. 

An anniversary is not a celebration and neither is Millie’s birthday. It is a day of remembrance for us, a day of sadness, a day of thinking about what we lost when we lost Millie. We were broken, broken in a way that we never thought we would recover from. 

This is the third anniversary we have been through now but the hardest pain hasn’t stopped yet this year because all those feelings will be back again on the 3rd November, the day that no parent ever wants to go through, the day we buried our baby girl. 

Every year on Millie’s anniversary we ensure that we are down at Millie’s resting place at the time that we official lost her – 12.52pm. It’s an act of respect for her from us, we weren’t there at the time we lost her but will be with her at her resting place every year until we join her. 

This year we obviously had an extra welcome addition with us – Leo. Leo comes down to Millie’s resting place whenever we go and he always will. I’ve taken a photograph of him this year on Millie’s anniversary guarding her balloons before we let them off for her.

 Balloons by B for Balloons, Stockport 

I’ve taken this photo because I want these for Leo when he is older so he can see that he was always with us on Millie’s special day. I know full well what some of you are thinking right now “well that is just strange” .. But is it? How do you know? Believe me, until you are in our position where you have to visit your child at their resting place you have no idea how you will feel, how you will act or what you will do. We have unfortunately met a lot of grieving parents since our journey began and every one of them does something different from the next person and you know what .. That is absolutely fine and no one is in any position to judge because we all have to do what we feel is best for us to get us through our tragic journeys. 

Distraction … That is my key. Distraction during this week is what keeps me sane. With the biggest lovely distraction this year being Leo … Leo has made a huge difference to us this anniversary because we have be strong for him. He’s too small to understand why we cry and he will be for a long time but one day we will tell him everything and he’ll grow up knowing all about his amazing sister.

Another distraction this week for me was being a model in a charity fashion show.
(Photograph by Joanne Thompson, follow me on Instagram – MILLIELEOSMUM ) 

Modiste in Bramhall held a fashion show in The Bubble Room and raised a fabulous £762 on the evening but they had asked me to take part in the show, something I have never done in my life or never actually wanted to, haha. 

But I said yes. The reason being is that firstly I can’t seem to say no to things I get asked to do for our charity and secondly because I thought it would be a good distraction for me this week and it turns out that it was! I can never say no to things because of the amazing people that do things for us, like Modiste hosting the show and Paul Bell, the photographer stepping in it at last minute and catching some fab photos for us. 

The fashion show was on Wednesday evening so just a couple of days before Millie’s anniversary, so it was good timing to have my mind somewhere else for a while. 

  
 (Photograph by Paul Bell) 

On Saturday (the day after Millie’s anniversary) we held a balloon release in memory of Angel children and over 100 balloons were released in a local park to us and it was absolutely beautiful but so sad knowing that each and every one of these balloons had been donated for a child that had been taken too soon.

 (We adhered to all UK balloon release guidelines)

One of the other things that we do on Millie’s anniversary is not see family or friends. We find it hard enough dealing with our own emotions and feelings on this day and we know that we need this time as our little family time and although some people may not understand this, it’s a decision that Dan and I made together. I even turn off my phones and respond later because I just don’t feel the need or want to interact with anyone but Dan and now Leo. It is really lovely that people text or us or leave us messages online but they are still there the day after and we always respond … But when we are ready. 

Again, other people will be different and being surrounded by family and friends might be good for them, whatever it takes to get through the day. 

We still have a lifetime of anniversaries to get through and we will; we will get through every single one of them together as a family. 

Millie will always be part of our family and nothing will ever change that. 

 

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This year, we have yet again launched our text line for Millie’s anniversary and you can still donate until Monday 26th October 2015 when it will be closed 

Text MILL03 £3 to 70070

(You can donate between £1 and £10) 

All donations greatly appreciated.

  
Tickets now on sale for the Christmas Market here 

Smiling and Crying in unison 

I thought the hardest part of having another baby after losing Millie would be the first few weeks and getting used to being a mum again. Before I had Leo, I still couldn’t stand babies crying, children laughing and parents hugging their children – it all just hurt too much. I was wrong about the hardest part though. 

I think now is the hardest part, don’t get me wrong, up until now, it has been awfully hard but things are hard now in a different way. Things are hard now because Leo is turning into a “proper little person”. He has started to smile back and react to us talking to him, his face is turning into a little boy’s face, he’s getting stronger every day,  he’s getting ready to roll over and he kicks like a newly training footballer! And I love every minute of it, even though it is heart wrenching sometimes. I watch him smiling and I see Millie in his face. I watch him kicking and remember Millie finding her legs. I see his eyes light up when he realises mummy or daddy are there, just like Millie used to do when we walked into a room. ( Leo discovered the mirror yesterday )  

I love seeing Leo turn into this perfect little person, he really is a little treasure. But every time he does something new or reacts to a new noise I find it so tough not to burst out crying. Seeing your child develop is one of the proudest things that a parent can go through. Until I had Millie, I never understood this but as soon as your baby is born and gives you that first look through their eyes, grips your hand for the first time or reacts to your voice and looks at you, your heart falls in love again and again which means it can be broken over and over again. 

  
I’m not sure what it’s going to be like in the future, I can never know that, no one can and I know now that there is no point in worrying about it because the future is coming whether  I like it or not. 

Right now I feel like the first 9 months is going to be the toughest for us – this development period is going to be heart wrenching for us every time Leo does something new – I can’t wait for him to do new things and I love it when he does but it is so painful as well as such proud moments when Leo achieves his new development milestones.

Then once we get passed Millie’s age, I know it’s going to be tough again. I don’t know whether it’s going to be tougher or the same kind of toughness we have/are already experiencing. Ask me again after Leo turns 9 months and 12 days old, well , 9 months and 13 days old as he will officially be past Millie’s age when she passed away on that date. I know when that date is, I worked it out the night that Leo was born … 

      Once this date has passed, that’s when we will experience new things that we never got to experience with Millie. 

We never got to see Millie take her steps unaided.

We will get to see Leo takes his first unaided steps. 

We never got to hear her first word.

We will get to hear Leo’s first word 

We never got to see her open her Christmas or Birthday presents. 

We will get to see Leo open his Christmas and birthday presents. 

We never got to see her ride a bike for the first time

We will get to see Leo ride his bike 

The list is endless for Millie but I know in my heart that we will get to see all this with Leo. We will get to experience all the things you should as a parent, we will get to be the proud parents when he passes his driving test, sits his exams, gets engaged, gets married , has babies of his own – I know it’s all coming. 

I do live in fear. I really do. I live in fear that it is all going to come crashing down around us all over again. I live in fear that I couldn’t live if my heart was broken again like that. I live in fear that I am cursed , that’s what it feels like sometimes , because what are the odds on losing a child in the way that we did, they’re actually about a million to one … But we were that one in a million and we wish so much that we weren’t. 

Even though I live in fear, I am not going to let the fear take over me. I am not going to let the fear take over us or to take over Leo’s life. 

Leo is going to go to school and not be hime educated because I’m scared to let him out of my sight. 

Leo will go on school trips with his friends, so he isn’t the odd one out because his mum is scared. 

Leo will be allowed to visit the cinema when he he old enough alone with his friends. 

Although for now, we have one huge hurdle to get over. Leo is 14 weeks old tomorrow and   in that same time over again, we should really start to thinking about weaning him but right now even the thought makes me feel physically sick. 

We actually weaned Millie at 14 weeks (before the comments start about this being young, it was our personal choice and it worked for Millie) and by the time she passed away, she was a very competent eater – that’s why we will never understand what happened whilst she was eating that day. Dan and I will never know exactly what Millie went through in those final minutes of her life. 

But for now, I just have to concentrate on Leo taking his milk – to be honest, this is hard enough right now … We’ll get through it though, the weaning I mean, that’s the first step. 

But as much as we can, we will enjoy every single minute of Leo developing and experiencing new things and he will never ever lose out on any part of life because of what tragically happened to our daughter, his sister. 
———–

As a lot of you know, every year in October ( Millie’s anniversary month ) we run a “Millie madness” fundraising month where we try and raise as much money as possible in honour of her anniversary. This year will be the 3rd year that we have done this! We are getting started early this and we have been organising a virtual race! The idea is that with this one you register and when you have completed you receive a limited edition Millie’s Trust Medal ( which you can see by clicking below ) 

We are asking you to run, swim or cycle as far as possible and see how many miles we can collect as one massive team! The idea of these is that you can complete at any time in October or do something everyday in October and add your miles up at the end of the month and you don’t have to travel to a start line to do it!!! 

We would love to see your photos throughout Millie’s madness month on how you are completing this challenge. 

For  full details, please have a look at the link below and don’t forget to register so you don’t miss out on a medal! ( I’m already signed up ) x

Anyone want to join our virtual run ! Limited edition medals available and limited places! 
Check out the medal you get too! 
International entries accepted 

Virtual challenge link, only 500 medals available so book soon x 

http://www.virtualrunneruk.com/enter-millie-s-trust