There is nothing better in life than seeing those big, blue eyes stare up at me full of wonder and love. You wonder how you could love this little person more each day, but somehow you can and it defies all laws of nature, space and the universe. With every ounce of my being I am in utter love with this little girl. She is a gift!
No really she is. I do not hyperbolise (yet!) The things my mind and body have had to endure (how can nature be both so amazing and cruel in one swift blow?) on this journey toward Motherhood. I will not beat about the bush. Like 1 in 4 pregnancies our first son came into the corporeal world as a sleeping child. It was traumatic and shattered my heart into a million shards. “But why me?” I questioned everything about myself as I had failed to carry our little boy safely into the world. I blamed my body, every little thing I had done, and did so until the pathology results came back with the conclusion of Placenta Abruption.
I went into spontaneous labour with our little Mylo on 3rd June 2017 and I honestly have never felt so much pain in my life, as I delivered our boy in our bathroom, the only reason I think I survived was because of the support of my husband who held my shaking body until the paramedics arrived.
Mylo Patrick Raymond Goddard was 21 weeks gestation and he was beautiful. So fragile, so tiny. I cradled him like any other child but I would never hear his cries, watch him take his first breath (and all those first moments disappeared from my life which is quite a big thing to get your head around- especially on a cocktail of meds to keep you alive & heal the physical trauma!) and I would never see his beautiful eyes full of wonder at the world around him. I do always wonder what colour his eyes would have been and whether they would be as brilliant blue as Bea’s. (If you would like to read my guest blog about Mylo and childloss click here.)
Needless to say when we had our BFP (Big fat positive) in October of 2017 we were terrified to go through it all again but ever the optimist, I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy and celebrate each day as a day closer to welcoming Mylo’s sibling into the world. 24 weeks seemed so far away – this being the point at which a child is “viable” (urrrggghh such a clinical world) and their personage is medically recognised. After everything that had previously happened I had learnt the sobering lesson that there is no “safe point” in pregnancy.
Unlike my first pregnancy I was hit with terrible Morning (elevenses, afternoon, supper & nighttime) sickness!! Some days it was crippling. My body had not been my own for half a year and after the loss it had taken longer than I expected to heal. I was always exhausted and the fear stuck in my throat like microscopic but deadly daggers or a thousand Crunchy Nature Valley bars!!
I was consultant lead due to my previous circumstances so I was lucky to see our baby grow and move and live within me a few extra times. These moments were previous to me. We got to the 12 week scan and I couldn’t help but think how similar it looked to our precious little Mylo… then my next thought was “oh god this baby is going to be the spitting image of their Father again!!!” (When Mylo was born all I saw in his features was Daddy. Only my pouty lips bore genetic resemblence to me, of which I was pretty pissed about having been the one to carry him and didn’t really feel like there was a 50/50 aesthetic split!!!)
This pregnancy we decided that we would find out the gender of our Baby Rainbow 🌈- I think in part this was so that I could feel as much atratchment to this little person as possible because one of my most nagging worries was that following a loss I would struggle to love this tiny human being as much as I loved our son (it sounds very silly but parents of loss definitely think very differently – see my post on How to Deal with Parents of Childloss).
The way that my body felt that it had done the rounds with Mike Tyson on the daily and the all too often debilitating heart burn I was 100% certain that we had a little lady on the way.
Loss takes its toll on all those close family members that surround you (they lose a nephew & grandson too!) so my Mother in particular having lost her FIRST grandchild wanted to throw her whole being into the lead up of welcoming our little Rainbow. At 16 weeks we had gone in for a growth scan and the sonographer asked whether we wanted her to reveal the gender. It was decided that Daddy Bear and I would not be informed but Nannie H would be the first to learn the gender so she could throw us a Gender Reveal event (see post on My Favourite Moments of Pregnancy.)
Turns out a Mummy Bear is super in sync with their baby and body and I was right. A little girl!!! I knew she would lift up our lives and as the term Rainbow Baby suggests would add the colour back into our grey, stormy worlds. I vowed though that I would love this little lady not just as the sister to her Angel Brother but inspite of that as her own person; never in the shadow of Mylo.
Piece by piece & Bump Photo by Bump Photo she filled up my world and I planned (though not fast enough it would seem!) in between moments of serious panic. Remember when the whole of Britain came to a snowy standstill in March?! I had faux contractions and was sure that I was going into early labour again!! “Not now!” I willed my body as 1) I was only 26 weeks pregnant and b) I wasn’t sure we would have even been able to safely make the journey to the hospital. I wasn’t! I breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated my body for managing to keep this little lady in place.
The calm was short lived as just two weeks later I was back at the hospital Triage Ward having lost my plug!!! I was terrified and on countdown to D-Day (Delivery Day!!!) as I was all too aware that our child could be making her appearance in a matter of weeks.
The nursery was not complete and we threw my Baby Shower at the end of March. I knew my body was coming closer to birth. I practiced my pelvic floor exercises and ate healthily to nourish myself and the baby until the end. I knew that I was unlikely to make it to Week 38 (where they had said I would need to be induced because of my gestational diabetes- oh yes all the fun!) but I don’t think anyone would have predicted the Birth Day commencing in week 33!!!
Just the previous day I had been hooked up to a machine because of reduced movements (ALWAYS GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU NOTICE REDUCED MOVEMENTS. IT IS A MISNOMER THAT THE BABIES MOVEMENTS SLOW DOWN TOWARDS BIRTH – THEY SHOULD HOLD TO THE PATTERN THAT YOU HAVE NOTED ALL ALONG!) My hospital had been so patient with me. I had been in with reduced movements twice before. I practically lived at the hospital during my very short lived third trimester! But they always echoed “If you ever feel that something is different/wrong come up to the hospital. You can come up every day”.
So there I was starting to show signs of contractions on the 16th April… not that they told me that. All I knew was that the baby had a strong heartbeat so I just continued on as normal. I was back at work the next day and smashing our targets and providing the best customer service all whilst in labour! I never realised that I had such a high pain threshold. I thought I just had a bad back. But all of a sudden I felt the internal workings which echoed my delivery of Mylo. That’s when we hot footed to the hospital. I was 33 + 3 and foolishly had not even packed my hospital bag in preparation for an early labour. She was seven weeks early!!!
As far as my labour went, it was textbook. It was just the circumstances surrounding it that were unusual! The staff didn’t seem to think I was in labour as I was handling myself so well and tried to pass my labour signs off as a UTI!!! I was having none of it, but there was a ward of screaming ladies who were making it quite obvious they were in labour… (it turns out the loudest screamer actually delivered her baby hours after me!!!) After a slight pester because I now felt what I assumed were my contractions, the speculum confirmed that I was in fact in active labour, I was 5cm dilated & they could feel my babies grad behind my waters which incidentally broke naturally whilst I was on the bed. It really is one of the weirdest but best feelings in the world! I think it surprised my husband how far it shot off the end of the bed!!!
I am hopped up on Gas and Air and the staff are trying to slow my labour as I had only managed to have one of the steroid shots for the babies lungs. I remember worrying that because the second could not be administered that our baby would have terrible breathing problems.
**** SPOILERS!**** She didn’t because after just seven pushes she entered the world and made her first war cry to the world! This fierce Warrior Girl was loud and perfect. Tiny. But perfect. She lay on my chest and I fell in love. We shared a moment of reassurance and bliss- everything was going to be okay! I needn’t have worried that she wasn’t going to make it. She was promptly whisked off to be hooked up to machines to ensure that she made a prompt recovery from the trauma of being too early!!!
Our little Beatrice Carys Bow Goddard spent just two days in the NICU, being treated for jaundice under the phototherapy lights then moved on to Special Care for a further day before coming to me on the Transitional Ward where we stayed for a further 15 days of utter stir-crazy inducing time. It was much like a work camp with the intense routine of expressing milk, changing the babies nappy, feeding the baby, feeding myself then repeating Express/change/feed for a 4 hourly routine day and night! Through my sleep deprivation, tube feeding and tears (mainly mine!!) Bea thrived when I cared for her.
Sadly the care on the ward was very hit or miss (mostly miss!) and there were so many contending staff agendas and very little cohesive help and frustratingly very little breastfeeding support. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention I had to feed my child mum expresses breast milk through a nose tube for 12 days which involves syringing samples from her stomach to test her ph levels to make sure her tube was able to be used for feeding. Any incorrect move, particularly in terms of feeding could have had disastrous consequences!! Couple this with caring for such a tiny baby (she was only 4lbs 8.5oz at birth then dropped after this!!!) the first few weeks of her life were quite miserable for me.
Despite the tough start she inspired me to fight on and be the best Mother I could be because she was kicking ass at Person-ing!!! It was the least I could do for her!!!
Fast forward 5 months and our girl has thrived and brought us so much happiness! She now weighs in at 10lbs2oz at the last weight check (03.09.18) and is hitting all her milestones! It is often disconcerting for people out and about to see such a tiny baby doing all the things she is because she still only looks a few months old if that!! I am forever having people saying “oh she most be a new one?!” and then I launch into our Premmie story. There is no denying she is a bit of a special baby and of course even more special to those of us who know exactly why!
She certainly has done and continues to do things HER way! Which is fine, it keeps me on my toes and I count my blessings that she has made me the Mother I am today.
I suppose I should introduce myself a little?!! I am Bea’s Mummy as I am mostly known now. Or Amber. I have worked various jobs which have failed to rock my world quite as much as being a Mummy! This is my favourite job to date and it is something that I am now going to be doing for the rest of my life.
Other than Bea, I have a passion for writing, travelling & cooking. My love of creating saw me attain a degree in English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics and an elective in Education. Biggest waste of time and money in all honesty. People have been pestering me to take my writing further for years and years and years but I have previously been “too busy”. A terrible attitude I realise having now thrown myself into Motherhood. I am now Mum Busy… and that is the busiest I have ever been but because it is the most important part of my identity now I thought I would silence the nagging by charting mine & Bea’s Adventures together.
I refer to it as bumbling through the hoods together. By Hoods I mean Motherhood/Childhood. I hope it is something that we can both look back on and smile and for her to know that she saved my life and for that I will be eternally thankful. I loved her from the start and I will until the end.
I hope this blog will be a useful resource for other Momma Bears and plan to review relevant brands and products that will make #TheMomLife that little bit easier to navigate. We are in this together!!
If you have any ideas about what you would like to see please do contact me. As I love to put word into the world I also guest blog (see my interview with Rhubarb The Bird with whom Bea represents.)
Lets be a MumBrigade. Keep Calm! You’re a Mum and may the odds be forever in your favour!