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‘V’ Day

Today would have been ‘V’ day.  The day from which the chances of survival should you give birth are 50% and rising.

Ben and I have got back in to a routine since the miscarriage.  We’re back at work.  We laugh with my daughter.  Our minds are no longer completely consumed with thoughts of our baby and our hearts are no longer completely consumed with grief.  And yet we both struggle to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be giving birth in March.

I cry almost every day for the baby we lost.  Sometimes a silent tear on the train when I see something that triggers a thought.  Sometimes sobs that rock my body as I have a moment of realisation that our baby isn’t coming.  The grief has become less obvious to everyone, even me, but it is still there, silently breaking my heart over and over again.  The one thing that saddens me the most is that we don’t know nor did we chose the final resting place of our baby…

We had the post mortem results a couple of weeks ago.  There is seemingly no reason that our baby died.  It was “just one of those things”.  It is good news that there wasn’t anything wrong, it means the likelihood of it happening again is less.  It doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with though.  If there were a reason it would be easier to understand why we’ll never get to hold our baby.

Our baby was a boy. My arms ache to hold him, I long to see his face and to feel his sweet breath on my cheek.  We named him Henry.  Henry Harrison-Chu. Image

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Stillbirth: Mother Mel Scott tells of the heartache she suffered as she kissed her stillborn baby boy goodbye – Mirror Online

I’ve never met Mel, but we’ve talked via Facebook often.  She is a truly inspiring woman and helped me so much with my recent loss. Here is an article about her story.

Mel Scott treasures the video footage of her baby son’s first bath.

Rinsing the suds from his skin, she talks tenderly to him – marvelling at his tiny fingers and toes and perfect button nose – before ­wrapping him in a soft towel.

It’s only when you look closely that you realise baby Finley never makes a sound or even opens his eyes.

And apart from Mel’s loving murmurs the room is quiet.

Sadly, Finleydied just before being born.

Read the whole article here: Stillbirth: Mother Mel Scott tells of the heartache she suffered as she kissed her stillborn baby boy goodbye – Mirror Online.

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A Silent Miscarriage

Today I’m 15 weeks pregnant.  Except I’m not.  As of 9am this morning my womb is empty and my baby gone.

I am no stranger to the heartache of miscarriage, but I really thought things were going to be ok this time.  This is my first second trimester loss and it is utterly devastating.

On Monday, 2 days ago, I went in to the hospital for a routine appointment.  I am classed as high risk due to my antiphospholipid syndrome and my thyroid disorder.  At 15 weeks it’s a little early to hear the baby on the doppler but the consultant said she’d try anyway.  She couldn’t find a heartbeat, but told me it didn’t mean anything necessarily.  Diligently, to reassure me and bearing in mind my history she offered to send me round for a quick scan so that I could see the heartbeat before I went home.

2 weeks ago I had the Nuchal Translucency Scan.  It was my 3rd scan as they were monitoring me closely.  Baby was so active and wriggly.  The sonographer tutted a lot as the baby wouldn’t cooperate and was moving so much that they couldn’t get an accurate measurement to assess my risk of Downs.  Eventually after 2 hours, quite a bit of sugar and a lot of jiggling about they got the measurement we needed and I was classed low risk for Downs and Trisomy 13/18.

I wasn’t nervous or worried as I waited for the “bonus” scan on Monday.  I know how unreliable dopplers can be, having panicked myself during my last pregnancy with a home doppler. As I went in to the ultrasound room with the registrar all I was worried about was getting back to work as soon as  possible.

I knew something wasn’t quite right as he didn’t show me the heart straight away.  It’s standard practice that they look for it first and show you as soon as possible.  After a few minutes he went to fetch his colleague.  My heart started to race. The consultant looked at the ultrasound as the registrar re scanned me.  All the while he asked me questions about my previous losses.  After 5 minutes he turned to me and said “I’m sorry, we can’t find a heart beat”.

I crumpled. The news was so devastating.  In a blur I phoned my partner and my family and the consultant talked me through my options.  I was just on the cusp of being able to opt for surgery or I could take some tablets and miscarry the baby “naturally”.  With the baby measuring 9cm I didn’t think I could cope with essentially giving birth and seeing my tiny tiny baby.  I opted for surgery which was booked for a few days later, today.

They call it a silent miscarriage.  My body didn’t tell me that anything was wrong. My baby died and I didn’t know.  Its hard not to wonder what I could have done differently.  It’s hard not to feel like my body failed my baby, that I, in some way, failed my baby.  The physical healing will take a few days.  The emotional healing for both my partner and me will take a lot longer.

28th August


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How 900 stillbirths could be prevented | Society | The Guardian

Nine hundred babies’ lives could be saved every year if the rate of stillbirths in the poorest areas of England was as low as is in the most affluent, research suggests.

Twice as many babies are stillborn in the most deprived 10% of the country as in the wealthiest, researchers write in the online journal BMJ Open. The more affluent the area, the less likely babies are to be stillborn, whether the cause is a congenital abnormality, the mother’s high blood pressure, sudden bleeding during pregnancy or even unknown causes. The only area in which there is no difference between rich and poor is once labour has started and the mother is under the care of midwife or consultant.

read full article:  How 900 stillbirths could be prevented | Society | The Guardian.

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A constant reminder

I have recently decided to embark on a new business venture and have joined a children’s photography franchise.  I was excitedly discussing this with a group of friends and family last week and mentioned that I would love to be able to “donate” one of my products to a recently bereaved parent each month.  It would involve having to go to the hospital and taking hand and foot print impressions of the baby and taking some photos as a keepsake.  My brothers girlfriend asked how I would deal with seeing a “sleeping” baby.  Would it not just remind me of my losses?

Never having met my angels I wonder on a daily basis what they would have looked like, what colour eyes they would have had, what kind of personality, what colour hair… Everything reminds me of them.  Losing a baby isn’t something you ever “get over”.  You learn to live with it, but, for me at least, it isn’t something that goes away. I don’t brood on it.  I don’t have an “unhealthy” attitude towards my losses, but I do think about it.  I wear a necklace constantly of a silver bean to symbolise my babies. I must touch it 100 times a day and each time I am reminded of them.

The truth is that it never even occurred to me that going to a hospital to offer this service to bereaved parents would be a problem for me.  It would be moving, emotional, desperately sad, but something that I could handle and something I feel I want to do.  I want to offer something to comfort those parents.  Sure, it would make me think of the babies I lost, but I do that daily anyway, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to me to have a thought about them.  And anyway, it wouldn’t be about me.  It would be about the poor inconsolable parents who will never get to hear their baby cry, never watch them grow, never know what colour hair they would have had. It would be about offering them something to cherish in memory of the baby they have just lost.

I think people who haven’t lost a baby assume that eventually you get over it and don’t want to be reminded of the fact. For some parents that may be true.  We all deal with grief and bereavement in different ways.  For me though, to help bereaved parents, to campaign for Baby Loss charities and to think of my angels daily is a way to give meaning to the losses.  It’s the only way I can validate their existence and make sure that they were real.


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A death that was also a birth –

A beautifully written piece.  So emotional.

To perform the Taharah when a woman has lived out her life, has seen her children grow and have their own children, seems part of the natural logic of life. The first Taharahs I took part in were just that. This next Taharah, however, involved someone who had not lived a long life, had not lived to see her children grow, and this time, I was to be alone.

The call stunned me. I knew she was sick, but this wasn’t expected. Now the mortuary was asking, could I be the one to take care of her? I had never before performed a Taharah on a baby. My experiences with babies were of life, not of death. There was always joy, a new beginning. Here was unimaginable sadness, an ending.

As I looked at the tiny garments, it became real, and I worried about how I would react. My mind remembered my nursing training, when we were doing a rotation in the NICU and how I just couldn’t bear to be with sick babies. All I could think about were my own babies and I had cried to my instructor, “Just get me out of here!” Now I was going to be with this fragile body, with this baby who was no longer sick, but was actually gone.

Continue reading A death that was also a birth –

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Mothers ‘to have a named midwife to birth and beyond’ in NHS reform of care for pregnant women | Mail Online

For the first time, the NHS will  be measured against how well it looks after parents who have miscarried or suffered a stillbirth or cot death. Patients will be asked to rate their care so the NHS can improve it.

via Mothers ‘to have a named midwife to birth and beyond’ in NHS reform of care for pregnant women | Mail Online.

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