Posted in Family, Medical, Miscarriage, Women's Issues

Snow Angel

I wrote this on Facebook, almost a year ago:

❄️Snow Angel❄️

In the middle of Thursday night, during intermittent bouts of sleep in an unfamiliar room watching a blizzard through a large window overlooking an unfamiliar town, a hundred thoughts running through my head, one thought settled. A memory, reminding me of one of my favourite ‘Read it Yourself’ books from when I was about 6. It was “Heidi”. Heidi had a friend, called Clara. I had thought for some time after that, that one day, I’d have a daughter named Clara.

Through the mists of time, I forgot about this. (The name, in fact, was even discounted from the ‘maybe girls’ list when we were expecting F in 2013, purely because of disliking the character with that name on Doctor Who.)

As soon as I had recalled the memory from reading Heidi, I suddenly knew after the weeks of um-ing and ah-ing, that the baby in my womb was a girl.

To everyone else, Thursday morning was their first Snow day, where schools had been pre-emptively closed due to possible snow, and everyone was warned to stay home unless your journey was necessary. Richie had even been sent home from work.

When I noticed bleeding some time between 9am & 1130, and phoning the midwives, our journey to A&E became necessary.

During Triage, and waiting, and minor injuries, and even being taken up to Emergency Pregnancy Assessment Unit, everyone right up to the Consultant, were saying it was probably a UTI.

Until they tracked someone down who could effectively use the ancient ultrasound. She couldn’t find a heartbeat.

After a blur, I was given the first pill to begin a medically assisted miscarriage, but by all accounts, the bleeding and the pains meant by body had already begun the process of its own accord.

Usually, someone given this pill, would then be sent home for 48 hours and then brought back in for further treatment to encourage the process.

However, due to the weather and the distance home, they weren’t willing to let me go honme, in case I couldn’t get back after 48 hours. So I was admitted.

After an arduous first night of little sleep, crazy over-active brain waves; a lonely Friday of watching more blizzards and idiots trying to push each others cars down a side Street, and trying to distract my brain by reading a detective novel on my Kindle, Friday night came with stronger pains, and various forms of pain medication before I could get some rest. And I slept pretty soundly from 9.30pm through till about 3am, when pain returned and woke me. I went to the toilet, and by the time I got back to my bed the pains were getting worse. My moans woke hubby, who although grieving too, has been a rock, sleeping on the floor next to me, called the nurses, and I immediately got put back on a painkiller drip and various injections. The severe pain started to subside so I could feel slightly lucid again. It was then that I could feel movement without being distracted by pain, & knew she was coming.

At 3.30 Saturday morning, 3rd March 2018, we became parents to a tiny girl, who we named Clara Elizabeth. We got to spend some time with her. At 17 weeks she was pretty much fully formed. She was brought in in a small covered basket with tiny handmade blankets and a yellow handmade teddy. I could see the image of the boys in her tiny facial features.

I never needed the second treatment. I was kept in all day Saturday so they could monitor my bleeding, but after a chat with my lovely nurse about ‘arrangements’ for Clara, I was collected by hubby & our boys around 5pm. I had been very much looking forward to going home. Now I’m home, without my little girl.

It is painful to talk about. And think about. And live with in general. At the moment it’s very raw. This past 3 days has felt like a week. But I don’t want to pussyfoot around and not tell anyone.

Many of you knew I was pregnant so it’s only fair to update you that I’m no longer pregnant, and of course you’d then be curious as to the circumstances.

Those who already know and have sent messages, thank you. Each one has started us crying again, but it’s far more comforting to know that you care. ”

 

There was more. But I edited it for publication to friends on Facebook.

I had messages in the comments, and yet more messages in private.  Most of the private messages were from people who’d been through the same thing, or it had affected them in some way (dads, grandparents).

What struck me was the number of people I knew who had had it happen to them.  And I never knew.

Some of the lonliest moments in that hospital bed staring out at the snow was how lonely I felt.  How was I ever going to be able to talk about this; when no one I knew had been through it?

And then I found out how many HAD and would have an idea of how I felt.

And despite still crying; and still feeling a twinge when I meet another baby or pregnant person – knowing full well it’s not their fault that I feel bad; I know that I’m not alone.

And that I had previously dismissed babyloss as something that would never happen to me; or most people I knew.  I had miscarried some 13 years ago but at something like 4 weeks, very early, without even knowing I’d been pregnant anyway.  I’d managed to dismiss that and had since felt that’s what it was like for everyone. Now I know it’s not and that once you are expecting, that baby is real; and any loss is as painful as losing any other child of yours x

We hadn’t been trying for a baby.  We hadn’t been planning any more.  I was 17 weeks gone when I lost Clara.  She had been around long enough to condition us into expecting a baby.  We had begun to plan and check what baby stuff we still had and what we needed to get.  We began looking out for bargains.  And yes, I had bought a few small things in sales.

When I had recovered a little more we decided to try again.

By August I was pregnant again. This time…I started bleeding again at 9 weeks. Brown, old blood.  My GP referred me to gynae.  They checked and said it was old blood from somewhere.  It was ok.  They did a scan, and although measuring a week or so less than I thought; my cervix was closed and the sac was there.  I was sent home to rest.

The next morning I got up and large blood clots the size of golf balls were gushing out.  I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes without soaking a pad.  By  the time I had to go and get the boys from school I couldn’t leave the bathroom; so called my mother in tears.  She rushed to get the children and brought them home.  As soon as she saw the blood, she called an ambulance.

They rushed me to hospital, straight to gynae again rather than a&e while I fainted in the back.

I was admitted and put on fluids.  By 2am the consultant on duty decided she couldn’t leave me continuing to bleed as much as I was; so I was taken down for an emergency D&C.

And yet, no-one will investigate causes of miscarriages until I’ve had at least 3 in a row…

And that’s the story of most of my 2018.

HAVE YOU BEEN AFFECTED BY MISCARRIAGE OR BABY LOSS? GET HELP:

https://babyloss-awareness.org/

https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

https://www.sands.org.uk

 

 

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Posted in Family, Healthy, Home, Life, Medical, Miscarriage, Women's Issues

The Baby Room.

Today, I cleared out the baby room.

We hadn’t been trying for children.  We have children.  They’re fab and amazing.  I was 30 when I gave birth to the first one. I’m almost 40. I never said never again, mind you; we had baby stuff from the younget gathering dust in the attic; I hadn’t quite decided whether to get rid of it yet.

Having said that, it was still a bit of a shock to discover just before Christmas that I was pregnant.  It took me a couple of weeks of worry and consideration before I actually started getting excited about it.  We wouldn’t have told anyone until much later except that my dad was visiting – he lives a long way away and we don’t see him often.  We considered for a while but realised it might be nicer to tell him in person, rather than wait until the ‘safe’ 12 week mark – where the chances of miscarriage drop dramatically; and then tell him over the phone. And of course, telling him meant having to tell other people, so word got around.

Of course, I tried not to get *too* excited until the 12 week mark. But we got some of the stuff down from the aattic.  Well, we were up there anyway putting the Christmas decorartions away. We had baby stuff ‘donated’ to us immediately by family as soon as they found out. The magic 12-week mark came and went and all was fine.  And the smallest bedroom – too small even for a single bed – became ‘the baby room’.  Not neccessarily a nursery; just where we were putting all the baby stuff for now, as I went through it; checking if it was usable; cleaning stuff; preparing, as much as was possible.  It wasn’t neccessarily a room for *this* baby.  It was just a room to keep the baby stuff in; that we intended to fashion into some kind of nursery; when the time came.

Well, the time isn’t coming.   At 17 weeks, I suffered what’s known as a ‘late miscarriage’.  This is because it happened in the second trimester.  Had she made it to the third trimester it would have been counted as stillbirth.

Either way, She won’t be joining our family.

When I was in hospital, hubby asked if there was anything he should do, like sort out the baby stuff and clear the room away. I said no.

It didn’t upset me at the time. I had other stuff upsetting me enough than random baby stuff.

Because that’s all it is.  It didn’t upset me when I came home.  And even since, going in to that room and seeing baby stuff is still not  a trigger for me.  Not like the small teddy they brought in with her when they’d cleaned her up for me to spend time with; or the tiny urn that now contains her ashes; or the rose bush in her name that some friends very thoughfully sent us.

It’s just a room with baby items in it.  Crib, Cot, pram, clothes, toys, nappies (no, I didn’t ”stock up”…I use cloth one. They’ve been passed down from the others.)

It wasn’t ever ‘HER’ room….until the miscarriage we didn’t even know if she was a boy or a girl; so that made it hard to marry up the posessions with the coming baby.   She never spent a night in it, so that didn’t make it ‘HER’ room, either.

It hasn’t been left untouched.  The airing cupboard is in there, so I am in and out regularly getting clean towels and putting some away.

I’ve not been avoiding it.  Sometimes I’ve gone in just to sit quietly in the rocking chair. And it doesn’t upset me.  For one thing, they’re all items that we’ve used before for the other three. So nothing in there was bought exclusively for this baby anyway.

So when I went in there to clear away some space to use as storage space for some of the camping gear that’s coming out to hand ready for the summer; it was just like tidying any other room.

Now, the baby stuff is still there; but instead of laid out carefully organised, the cot and crib have been folded away and clothes and baby blankets folded up and stored, and the new tent is in there waiting for the summer camping trip.

Now, of course it would make more sense to put the baby things away completely – to put them back up in the attic or start giving them away or taking to second-hand shops and so on; but her surprise existence, although a shock initially, has got us into the expectation that there might actually be another addition to the family.  We’d got used to the idea, purely because of her existence; when we hadn’t even been planning her or trying for her.  So for now, they’re staying in the baby room.  And we may pay a little more attention to trying.

At first, I was scared to say anything about trying again.  It seemed to me that people would think another one would be a replacement for the one we lost.  It’s not.  She wasn’t planned, nor was she expected.  But a new baby now would be her legacy.  A new baby now wouldn’t have existed if she hadn’t forced her existence upon us.

So today, I’ve sorted out the baby room.  The smallest room.  I’ve not cleared it.  It’s a store room.  Full of things ready for when they’re needed.