This piece was originally written for Laurella Mama published 02.10.18. The post can be found on Laurella Mama Blog.
This piece was originally written for Laurella Mama published 02.10.18. The post can be found on Laurella Mama Blog.
Bea is lightly humming in her sleep, as we meander back from our shopping trip to retrieve the imperative red pepper for tonight’s dinner! I feel blessed (if a little sweaty from my March of the Pram). The sun beats down on my face and I can feel my freckles triumphantly dancing their way to the surface of my skin. I join in Bea’s content sigh. I love the “Ber” Months for their stunning visuals in nature & the crazy descent into holiday preparations! I will not say the C-Word yet, but just know I am “one of those” & my tree will be erected (oooh’errr!) as soon as I have finished my Samhain (Halloween) Celebrations!
But this day of the calendar also marks a period that on one hand is rather somber. You wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it had you had a blissful birth experience, and all you have known is bringing home a baby in your arms. This time of year is for the parents that form part of an exclusive club that you would never in a million years wish to join. There is no word for us. When you lose a parent/parents you become an orphan. When you lose your partner you become a widow. But because it is so unnatural to even postulate, there is no word for becoming childless that is classified. We have given ourselves the title of “Angel Parents”; a badge we wear with pride yet tremendous amounts of sadness.
A double blow for myself and my partner as we have to pass each 12th of October (Mylo’s due date) with no milestones actualised. The worst part of loss is that there will never be the “firsts” and you forever wonder who your little person would be. Mylo would have been a one year old in just shy of two weeks time. I wonder if he would be the spitting image of his father. Would he be pulling himself around our livingroom now? Would he be boisterous like me or more reflective like Daddy? Sometimes I find myself slipping into an alternative universe of “What Could Have Been”…
This piece however is not just my story. I have been granted permission by several other Angel Parents to share their babies with the world over Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We all speak together from the heart. We all feel the same surges of emotions and we all wonder why we were the statistical 1 out of 4 pregnancies that ends in loss. I hate to use the medical terminology of “miscarriage” because it does not honour our babies as the people they were. For the purposes of this piece I will try to avoid this loaded medical lexicon unless the Parent themselves have used those words as I have been granted the incredible opportunity to become mouthpiece for individuals of loss and I will be honouring their children by posting word for word. It is no longer my voice if you will. It is now a symphony of voices, each as full of pain.
These stories come from individuals in a Facebook support group that I have the utmost privileged of being an admin person for. “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC” is an army of parents who have experienced the loss of a child, during, shortly after birth or further down the line. It is a safe part of the internet where parents do not have to feel like their child/children require “Trigger Warnings” like so many other support groups. They can openly share photos of their angels with no fear of judgement so I will be doing this on their behalf of this post and will not be using a “trigger warning!” Our photos of our children are just as precious as the photos of any child at birth.
The group was created by Stacie Goddard (nope we are not related! Just a coincidence!) and she has recruited an almost 3.5k collective; all who have their own stories, and who support one another implicitly. Welcoming any new parent of loss into the fold so that we can all navigate our own feelings of grief. It is certainly not a linear process and as I have said before; some days are bad… some days are worse. We all need help sometimes and this group has been described as many wonderful things that relate to images of support, but my personal favourite continues to be likening it to a “safe port in the storm” because waves of grief can really drag you down. Nothing articulates the chaos of the tumbling feelings that combine and crash over you. They can be a riptide. You become helpless. But this group is very often a lifeline for struggling angel parents.
Please find listed below the first sets of stories of the members of the group. Firstly is Stacie’s as the owner of the group and how and why parents of loss have been brought together. Let’s #SayTheirNames!
“I was trying for a baby for 4 years with my partner as I was told I couldn’t have kids. I finally fell pregnant I couldn’t believe it. At 6 weeks I started to bleed so I went to the hospital and had a scan and they said it was a threatened miscarriage. I thought at that point that was it ; I was losing my baby. But we proved them wrong again!
I went to the 12 week scan expecting to see nothing but there my baby was! Kicking his arms and waving at us! I had that image in my head for weeks every time I closed my eyes that’s all I could see. I was so ready to be a mum more then anything even though I was only 21. We bought everything you can imagine, planned how we were going to do the room, made a wish list for what I wanted to buy him for Christmas. Even planned matching outfits with my sister as she was also pregnant only 2 weeks ahead of me!
I had a good 8 weeks after that 12 week scan, nothing to worry about I was past that miscarriage stage nothing can go wrong; or so I thought. The night before my 20 week scan I had a horrible gut feeling that something wasn’t right but I ignored it and just held my baby in my arms as I could feel exactly where he was I felt every kick and nudge.
It was the 20 week scan I was so excited to find out the sex I really wanted a girl but I didn’t mind either way. But the babies legs were crossed so couldn’t find out. The nurse became worried and asked if I had been leaking fluid. I replied no, to which she went and got a consultant and 3 other midwifes. I knew at that point something was wrong with my baby I couldn’t stop crying.
When the consultant came in he started scanning my baby and checking everything and he said he couldn’t find the kidneys and that I had no amniotic fluid. I didn’t know what this meant so I tried to stay positive. After the scan I had a long 2 hours wait before they explained to me what was going on.
I will never forget those words I’m sorry but your baby isn’t viable. They told me my baby that I had so longed for wouldn’t survive as he had no kidneys and was unable to produce amniotic fluid and because of this his lungs also wouldn’t develop. I couldn’t stop crying I just held my baby and cried. I asked for a second opinion just to make sure but I had to wait a week as it was in a different hospital.
In that week I made a lot of arrangements and did a lot of research. I planned my babies outfit and every little detail of what was going to happen when he was born. I planned a photographer, a priest even a little tiny Moses basket. I went to my sisters midwife appointment as I thought it would help but I was dead inside. It happened to be my midwife. I told my midwife everything and she gave me a big hug and explained what was going to happen and how I would give birth to my baby. She then listened to my sisters babies heart beat and I just cried because I’d never hear my babies again.
She did the kindest thing and got me to record my babies heartbeat which I’ll have forever; so strong and so perfect. I had such high hopes that they were wrong, that a mistake had been made. I was now 22 weeks I made the most of my time with my baby still inside me. I spoke to it every day and sung to him. I used to play chase and tickle his feet when he stuck them up.
I went to that last scan with such hope nothing could be wrong with my baby- hes so strong and healthy. I was having my scan and they still couldn’t see anything. The consultant said the baby was suffering and that he was being crushed as there was no fluid to protect him. I knew at that point I had to do what a good mother should do and let my baby be at peace.
I will never forget the consultants words so cold and meaningless. “At least you fell pregnant, at least you can try again“. When I signed my babies life away and took that horrible tablet to get everything ready my baby was kicking me I felt like he was asking me no to do it. The next 2 days were horrible as I was constantly worried if he had all ready passed away but I was glad he didn’t when I felt him kick away.
It was Thursday the 30th June: the day I was to be induced. It was a very long process but I was having contractions all day. It came to half 2am on the Friday morning and the contractions were getting bad. The midwifes told me to start pushing and so I did. However 45 minutes later my body just gave up. I didn’t want to let my baby go I couldn’t do it. I remember holding my belly crying out “I’m so sorry baby I’m so so sorry, Mummy loves you so much” and the song I won’t give up on us was playing. I knew he was suffering. I knew it was time to let him go. So I pushed as much as I could.
There he was, my little boy was born! The first thing I asked was does he have hair to they said yes he does,its tiny but its blonde. I got them to put him straight onto my chest. I’ve never felt love like this before I also saw that he was a boy and cried my heart out my little man he was so perfect on the outside.
He was born and lived a few minutes on the 1/07/16 at 3:35am weighing a tiny 420g. We named him Peter Ryan Tiberius Goddard, named after Peter Pan: the boy who never grew up. I spent that day holding him kissing him and taking as many pictures as I could. I looked at every tiny detail and held his beautiful hands. However it was time to leave him.
The Labour Ward was getting busy and loads of women were in labour- it was breaking my heart knowing that their babies were going to be fine and I’ll never take my baby home. I walk behind the midwife’s as they took him up the ward. I looked at all the mothers holding their perfect babies and just cried. Why couldn’t that be me?
I said my final goodbye and left him in their care. When me and my partner got home I was so empty. My womb ached for my little boy. I felt like he needed me.
We had a beautiful funeral for him and my story was published in our local newspaper and it went viral – even making it to America! I have since been in the magazine Real People sharing my story raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss and also Peter’s condition BRA.I have also had my story on BBC news. What I do is my son’s legacy through my work I am keeping his memory alive. I have helped 1000s of women to cope with the loss of their babies and even helped most to go on and have their rainbows.
I myself have gone on to have 2 very healthy, special babies after losing my Peter. I am currently up for nomination at The Butterfly Awards, which is my biggest achievement yet for my son’s memory! I will carrying on raising awareness for my son’s condition and for pregnancy and infant loss until it is no longer a taboo subject. I am 1 in 4 I have a son who is in Neverland.” – Stacie Goddard.
“My story of missed miscarriage, miscarriage and a Rainbow. I can’t write everything that had happened but I’ll do my very best.
So my story starts with a healthy baby boy. About a year after he was born I got broody again as most do! Had been trying to convince my partner to have another for months… He finally said yes!
We started TTC, first month wasn’t the one, second month didn’t happen… The end of month 3 we conceived!! On the 15th November 2017 I found out we were expecting our 2nd baby!
We were over the moon! I was roughly 3 weeks when I found out. Weeks passed by and the sickness started to kick in, I had suffered with Hypertensives Gravidarum previously so expected it again. At 8 weeks I was leaking a lot of milk, I thought this was normal for some women…
More weeks passed, we brought a cot for baby, I didn’t think anything of it. Yes it was before the 12 week scan but I had never lost a baby, so I would be fine right?
The sickness started to go at around 10 weeks and I started to feel normal! I was so happy that I had skipped HG and was having a healthy pregnancy…
12 Weeks came, on the day… I had a very small spotting like brown blood, I asked my sister and friends, everyone rightly said it was nothing to worry about it was old blood! Probably meant i had a bleed weeks ago that my body didn’t let out.
But me being paranoid asked my sister to take me to A&E for a check over.
We got the the hospital, all happy, giddy and not expecting anything bad. Hours were spent attempting getting bloods, I’m a terrible bleeder… the doctor finally got my bloods after over 30 attempts, scanner attempt and finally got bloods from my groin.
He got a bed side scanner after bloods were sent off, so he could have a rough look at baby… I didn’t really see the screen, I went by my sister’s reaction and expressions…
The doctor said he couldn’t see much… Stacie tried to shed some hope my way and said “it’s probably because you’ve just gone for a wee! Your bladder is empty and these scanners are rubbish”… I agreed! Everything would be OK!
He sent us off for an hour or so while we waited for bloods. Stacie took me to the hospitals chapel, I didn’t think anything of it, I wrote a note for my baby assuring things would be ok, lit a candle and sat for a while. We headed back to the doctor. This is where I would learn the truth…
“Your bloods show that you are a lot earlier than you thought” immediately I said no! Impossible! I tried for this baby I knew all the dates! When we conceived, exactly how many weeks I should be… I asked him how early, he said around 8 weeks! He also said my uterus showed the gestation size of 8 weeks but no baby was seen. I roughly took it in. I said thank you and walked away.
As soon as we left that room I broke down screaming and crying into my sister’s arms, we both held one and other, I kept saying no and she kept saying I’m so sorry
Move forward a little, I told my family and friends etc, a scan was booked for a weeks time to see what was happening. They called this a missed miscarriage, where the body doesn’t recognise it’s miscarrying and carries on telling your body you are pregnant.
Almost a week passed and I had to travel to Devon which is a 7 hour drive there and back. I hadn’t miscarried at this point, only lost some blood here and there.
On the way back from the trip when we was about half hour from my home, I had a trickle of water and urges to push… surely not? At 12 weeks? Unfortunately yes. Stacie told me this was the start of miscarrying.
I never expected what would happen next.In the back of the car I started to hemorrhage!! Losing hand size clots and gushing blood. My friend rushed me to hospital, I got out and stumbled to the reception, clenching my tummy, holding bloody leggings trying to cover all the blood over my legs. It was obvious- they sent me straight through, cannulated me and got me a bed in the A&E department.
As it was late at night there was no one to scan me or help! So they put me on fluids, moved me to a ward and helped me onto a bed pan every time I needed to wee. Every time I moved or stood up, more blood would gush. So the nurses told me to not get out of bed. My heart rate was rocket high at 160! One point I thought I was dying, I couldn’t talk, move, everything went blury and fuzzy, I heard my mum shouting at me telling me to talk… I thought this was it. I would leave my son motherless.
The doctors stabilised me and I was able to sleep. I was in and out of sleep due to pain. The morning came and I had a scan first thing, the scanner was so shocked at the amount of blood just pooling inside my uterus and inside the cannal. She quickly turned to the nurse and said “get this woman in for an emergency D&C now!!” She put her hand on my shoulder and said how sorry she was.
I was wheeled out of the room in my bed, taken back to the ward where the anesthetist waited to go through risks of a D&C, I signed a contract and asked all the questions I needed. Waited almost an hour and was taken through. The surgery went well I was under so didn’t feel a thing. Woke up in recovery and had a blood transfusion and strong pain meds. I was allowed to go home about 5 hours after.
I got home and started the healing process, but contacted a uterus infection also which needed meds. It was all about healing and letting time help emotionally too. It was tough, draining, I never thought I would ever go through anything like that.
A few months passed and we tried again, I fell pregnant again on the 26th March 2018! Was over joyed and so scared but felt something was so wrong from the start…
I was right, a few weeks later when I was 6 weeks, they tested bloods and it wasn’t progressing- my hcg wasn’t rising. I had a scan and all that was seen was a sac. Why was this happening again! What was I doing wrong. I was a failure in every sense.
I was booked for another D&C for a weeks time and sent home. 2 days before my d&c I miscarried at home. I was shattered. Yet again I felt my body failed me. Why did this happen again? I had a healthy baby boy, why couldn’t I do it again? I hated myself.
I got so suicidal, self harmed a lot and had crisis team out every other day.
Just May the 23rd I found out I was expecting again?! This wasn’t planned as we swore to wait almost a year! When I found out no tears of happiness were shed. I was sure this would have another tragic ending.
Weeks passed and I got HG! a sign that hcg was progressing strong enough! 6 weeks came and I had a big bleed. I was in hospital for HG a lot and thought I was losing again.
But I wasn’t! I had scans and showed a healthy yolk sac. Weeks passed and I had another scan which showed a healthy baby and healthy heart beat! I am now 22 weeks with my rainbow, still very anxious but more positive now.
Of course I will never be able to put into words the trauma that was left, the raw emotions, nights spent crying, all the hospital stays, all the hate, all the bullying that came from social media after Iris *I chose a name for my first loss as I felt she was a girl*… The world taught me about the stigma around miscarriage and how it should be kept secret and private.
I disagree, I believe miscarriages have just as much right to he spoken about and grieved over, in which ever way… Your baby is your baby no matter what gestation or age. – Sheila Goddard.
“I found out I was expecting my first baby July 2017 after my ex best friend persuaded me to take the test as I was 2 weeks late. I always said and still do now my Nan sent me this baby to give me some comfort as I lost my Nan in January 2017 to a heart attack, but it did also hurt a lot as one of the last things my Nan said to me is “always wanted to meet my great grandchildren but now I never will.”
I told my now ex partner I was pregnant but sadly his reaction wasn’t the same as mine and told me unless I had a termination then he was going to leave. So I quickly made the decision that I would be a single mum, that I would find a way to manage on my own.
Everything seemed to be going well with the pregnancy, I had all the normal symptoms and my morning sickness was bad. I was booked in for my first midwife appointment around 8 weeks. At the appointment she took all my information and told me I was was a low risk pregnancy. She said I would receive a letter in the post about my dating scan.
2 weeks later I received a letter with with a date for my dating scan so I started to count down the days as I was so excited to see my baby on the screen. The day finally arrived for the 12 week scan. I entered the scan room and the scan begun and I could see my baby wriggling on the screen.
In the side room the midwife explained that the baby had some defects- 2 club hands and possibly a club foot, fetal Hydrops and a cystic hygroma. She said it was likely she had a chromosome abnormality but they weren’t sure what one. I had no words to say, I just cried, the one person who would have supported me was gone (my nan). The midwife carried on and explained I would need to see the fetal medicine specialist, so she handed me an appointment and said to go home.
So my baby all these complications and some of them I had never heard of, so I searched the Web for some answers and researching what different chromosome abnormalities there were. I also found a group on Facebook where I read many survival stories on babies being born with Hydrops.
So with my little bit of knowledge I went to my next appointment. This time the fetal medicine specialist was in the scan and was asking to see certain bits of the baby. After ten minutes the fetal specialist took me into a side room to explain the scan. He said the Hydrops was now severe and her hygroma was stopping blood getting around her head properly which meant her survival rate was extremely low. He explained to me I could a have a peaceful termination but I would have to decide in the next few days. I told him I was not giving up, so he booked me another appointment to come back at 15 + 4.
I went home with mixed emotions but still hoping for a miracle. I spent the next couple of weeks holding my belly and talking to baby. I hoped my baby was a fighter like my Nan.
So the day for the next appointment came and I entered the scan room again. This time on the screen baby was still and heartbeat was very slow. A couple of minutes passed and her heart stopped. I always say in those two minutes she was waiting for my Nan to open her arms.
I broke down in tears and stumbled to the room where I was given five minutes to myself before they came in and explained what was going to happen next. I was given a tablet tablet that would bring on labour and booked into labour ward for 9 am on 27th September but was told to come back sooner if needed.
On the way home I stopped off at Asda and got baby a blanket and a comforter. Once home I layed for hours and cried, played songs to baby and talked to baby as much i could. Contractions begun the next day at 7 pm but wasn’t ready for baby to leave me yet so I stayed at home. I got the hospital the following morning at half nine where they gave another tablet and then another at half 12 and another at half three. By half 3 my contractions was was extremely close together and my waters broke at 4. My angel was born at 5 pm weighing 15 grams on 27th September 2017, with two club hands, one club foot and and her stomach outside her body.
I didn’t get to meet her until 10 pm as I was rushed into theatre due to my placenta getting stuck.
My placenta was sent of for testing and it was was found Logen-Lei had Edwards.” – Sophie Carter.
“I found out I was pregnant in February 2017 me & my fiancée were over the moon I couldn’t wait for my 1st scan, my 1st scan was on the 16th May.
I got there and they were scanning me for over an hour. The baby was wriggling around. I kept asking what’s going on is everything ok, yea I’m just struggling to find something “do u want to no the sex” I replied it’s a boy isn’t it yes it certainly is… then he told me they couldn’t see my baby’s heart attachments properly & to not worry.
I was panicking so much.. I went back on the 22nd May & it was still the same they told me I’d have to go London for a scan to check properly. I walked out the hospital crying my eyes out.. not knowing was the worst! Is my baby gonna be ok? I had this horrible feeling.
On the 3rd July 2017 I had my scan at Kings College Hospital- our world came crashing down when we heard the words no parents should ever hear…. “I’m sorry your baby has no heartbeat”. I really wasn’t expecting our baby to be gone.
On the 5th July I went into hospital to be induced to give birth to him. (21+4) I didn’t believe he had died but it was true. On the 6th July at 2.45am I gave birth to our beautiful sleeping angel John Reagan Smith weighing 240 grams. Our son had CHD – my heart aches every single day for him.” – Stacey Cahill.
“We unfortunately lost our daughter at 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. But I haven’t shared with you all as to why. So I though I would.
The weekend before was the snow weekend, we were all having an amazing time enjoying the snow, I was mainly watching from the sidelines. That weekend I was also frantically getting things ready going into my final week at work knowing I was working past the point when I had Alfie.
The Sunday night I went to bed Sophie was kicking like crazy. I begged her to stop so I could get asleep as I knew how busy work was going to be. Went to work came home as normal Monday the 5th March at lunch time. I realised I hadn’t felt my baby move so I called the midwives, they asked me to go in at 4pm.
I messaged Jack. He said he should probably come. I didn’t think much of it. I tried lying on me left and having a drink -but nothing.
Went in at 4pm, laid in the bed when one then another midwife tried to find the heartbeat but all they said was no parental over and over again. We then drove to Bath. On the way over I was getting braxton hicks I kinda felt reassured she was ok. We arrived at the RUH at about 4:30 ish when we arrived I could tell by their faces they knew our baby had died.
We went into a room where a consultant came in to scan me. She confirmed that her heart had indeed stopped something I never thought would happen, how, why? So many questions.
We went home to try and process what was happening but again I had braxton hicks I couldn’t do this I needed our baby out. So we went back at 9pm after handover so they could prepare the room for us.
A midwife called Robyn met us and took us to the Forget Me Not suite, we were given our options for induction. It took 12 hours to start the process all seemed like such a long time.
Anyhow I delivered Sophie the following evening on the Tuesday at 8:50pm she weighed 5lb 15oz. When I delivered her the midwife told me that she had what’s called a true knot in her cord and wrapped around her neck 4 times. There was no meconium so they said she didn’t suffer. The post-mortem results came back that she was perfect no brain damage. Nothing . She was perfect – it was described like a switch one min she was all ok and the next she was gone.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her one way or another. I will not be silenced about my daughter. She might not have taken a breath but she lived and she will live on.” – Natalie Newman
“Sept 18th 2008 Nevaeh-Jon (14 weeks) Ruptured ectopic pregnancy, surgery to remove him and tube.
1st Nov 2009 Star (5 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Dec 2009 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Feb 2010 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.
1st Mar 2010 Star (4 weeks) Early M/C.
29th May 2011 Precious-Mae (7 weeks 6 days) Missed M/C
11th Aug 2014 Star (6 weeks) Early M/C.
I remember finding out I was pregnant with my first baby very quickly after I got married, I was over the moon! However, my excitement was short lived as I had started to bleed slightly and had some pains, the Drs said try not to worry as bleeding in early pregnancy can be very common. I was told that they would book me in for an early scan at the EPU at the hospital, ward 6X (a number and letter I would never forget)!
I went for my scan, the words haunting me today, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t see anything’ what did she mean? Can’t see anything?? Where is my baby? I was sent to the phlebotomist for a blood test and went home waiting for the phone call!
The results came back showed a pregnancy but they needed to repeat the blood test 2 days later to see if the numbers had gone up enough to show a viable pregnancy! The wait was agony but the day arrived and the results came back, the numbers HAD increased, I started to have some hope but they said it wasn’t quite doubled which they were hoping to see, so I had to go back again 2 days later!
That was the day my heart broke, the numbers hadn’t gone up at all, they were the same, my baby wasn’t anywhere to be seen and they told me I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy! I had to go for a lethal injection called Methotrexate (a drug used in cancer treatment) I sat in that awful ward (6X) again, in the same room as young girls waiting for abortions, this needs to be changed!
The sudden realisation hit me, they were going to take my baby, I cried, I didn’t want them to take my baby! I had no choice, I had to have that injection! After that I went home to recover, to try and get back to any form of normality, it wasn’t easy and I slowly started to feel a bit more like myself! BUT that all changed again, a couple of weeks after the injection I woke up at 5am in agony, screaming in pain and rolling around the bed!
My husband called a taxi and we went to the casualty department where I had blood tests, observations and then went up for a scan! The sonographer ran out the room and came back with about 4 consultants looking at the screen, one nodded and then the walked away, on the way out of the room I heard one of them say ‘surgery now’.
Surgery??? What surgery??? My now ex husband asked what was going on and that’s when they explained the methotrexate failed, my baby was still alive, still growing, 14 weeks gestation and he had a heartbeat, my tube had been ruptured and blood was filling in my womb, they had to do surgery to remove my tube with my baby still alive, still there!
It took a long time to recover physically and emotionally, the emotions still affect me at times but I have learned to live with it! I have lost another 6 babies due to miscarriage too, the pain doesn’t go but it gets easier to do daily things and deal with things.
This is my story and my babies existed.” – Penny Lanning.
These are just six women’s stories. Each heartbreaking. Each have an element of hope. I feel honoured to share them and to speak into existed their children that existed.
My hope is to share 15 in total if possible, to represent the fifteen babies that pass away each day. I hope that one day the stigma of sharing our children.
“A life is a life no matter how small” in the philosophical words of Dr Seuss!
– Bea’s Mummy x
If you have experienced child loss and are looking for a support group with a difference please feel free to join “Angel Parents, Mums & Dad’s, Rainbows & TTC”.
I thought it may be interesting to post some historic blog work, that has not seen the light of day for nearly a year and a half. I wrote with such hope and about the struggle to conceive and the sheer happiness (laced in fear) of my first pregnancy.
Sometimes it is hard to get through a normal day if your cup isn’t full… Historically I have always worn my heart on my sleeve… Now I find myself doing this… growing a tiny, version of myself and it is an entirely alternate experience. It makes you acutely aware of the new,minuscule universe throbbing inside that has come together, possibly fallen together.
The tiny pieces of me and The Father. Our best and worst bits. Since the beginning of this journey I have learnt so much more about myself. I have found that I can be much stronger than I ever envisaged.
The beginnings were uncertain and almost hopeless. I had argued with my old GP’s that my body was not nourished- you know your body. After spending over 25 years with it in tow I had come to learn the nuances, the subtle and not so subtle changes that shape the essence of you… They made me feel like I was clueless and sent me out in a cloak of disgrace time and time again.
Maybe I was creating this fiction in my head…
Fast forward almost a decade… to the waiting room of the new surgery and sadly vindication but plunging into the depths of utter despair. It was like a part of me died a little bit that day. My internal world imploded and crumbled and I felt a punch of anguish that paralysed me.
My body shut down and as I processed the life-shattering prognosis.
My throat tightened and I swear then I could not breathe.
I don’t know if it was maybe because part of me didn’t want to.
I felt like a failure.
I was diagnosed officially with PCOS and I ran scenarios over and over in my head where I could never be a life giver, a protected, the centre of another persons world, and how cruel I thought it was that this could have been the only thing I could ever be truly be good at and that chance was extinguished. That potential lost. Those innate skills wasted.
I wanted to add so much to another human beings life. I was a shadowed version of what I could have been and in that moment in time I had never felt so alone. And then guilt. Because why should I even feel like that as my partner sat alongside me also processing the news and squeezing my hand as if to let me know he was feeling all the things I felt during that internal collapse.
It shook me to the core and was a wake up call I needed. It made me confront the demons inside me and look at myself objectively from all sorts of angles… and yes… uncomfortable ones too… but how can you ever grow if you don’t dissect that internal battle between the light and the darkness within?
I changed to be healthy and strong and prepared. Though; admittedly, nothing prepares you for the challenge yet to come. I found myself again.
I had thrown myself into turning the cogs in the corporate machine because I thought that’s what my focus should be if I couldn’t do anything for myself. And the more I shone a light on it…the more I realised that it was not making me happy. I changed my lifestyle and read self help articles on Self Love and meditated and made sure my body was given attention to be able to function at its highest level.
I can not put into words the light which radiated out of my partners face as we looked at the stick and it told us that we had beaten the odds and done the thing I had been told was almost impossible. It was a defining moment in my life and I wondered
“heck! Why haven’t I ever cared about myself enough before?”
and that set into motion the powerful belief that helps me stumble and drag myself through each day, because I am a Life-Giver and a Warrior.
My body is housing a life force. The unmistakable movements inside make me feel lucky to be alive each day… I am living… I have a reason to strive and do more than just survive each day. I would battle to the ends of the Earth to be the best incubator of life for this child that grows inside me.
It has been a scary journey because it makes you realise that life should not be taken for granted. From humble beginnings… a mere sesame seed to the whole 10 inches and 314g of life I carry with me today… and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I grow outwards… but I also grow spiritually.
I feel so connected to the life within and wonder if it will feel empty once the child comes into the world… but then I feel foolish because my energy will be refocused on to that bundle that I can finally hold in my arms.
I am still working on myself… and I am still working ten hours a day!! It is indeed exhausting and I sometimes feel as if the male-dominated office don’t recognise my ongoing internal struggle as I remain calm (ish!!!) on the outside.
I know they don’t mean to cause me pain when they say “but you’re not even that pregnant” when I tell them I am exhausted and can’t deal with our clients any more today because I am emotionally and physically drained.
They do not understand the scary tightrope I traversed to get to this point. I didn’t tell them about my utter fear and how this was a medical impossibility. It is exhausting and I salute all the women in the world who have brought life into the world. It is by no means easy… I am tired most days. I go to sleep then wake up tired. But there are pockets of such delight that I can’t help but live 100% for it!!!
I am only halfway through. I wouldn’t change this for the world. From utter chaos has spring my tiny oasis of happiness, and I shall grow it, and cultivate it and be able to wonder at what we have created.
5 days later we lost Mylo…
I still question why it had to be me and us. We were so happy. I was enjoying everything about pregnancy. This was the change in myself that I had been seeking and it is clear to me the utter joy within me. After we lost Mylo I lost this for a while and now I was a Mother this was the identity I craved.
To see these hopes for the future and affirmations of greatness written down it just puts into perspective the sheer scope of loss.
I re read this painful dossier and held Bea that little bit closer because life is so precious guys! But you shouldn’t need a blog to remind you that! Please do one thing that makes you happy a day because life is fragile.
My wish is for Bea to understand the importance of living and not just existing. It makes me sad to the core that we do not get to live the life that could have been with Mylo, but on the other hand I stopped wishing our circumstances different as soon as we conceived again, as we now have another life to enhance and forge.
There are could and should have been’s galore but now I feel the possibilities are endless and we can always love our little boy, but not put expectations or limits on Bea. I will always remind her she can be anything she wants to be and I think that is a fitting tribute to her Big Brother.
Did you enjoy this piece of pregnancy writing? I hope it captures all the feelings that come with it. I love this share all things Mylo related because 2016 will always be the time I became a Mum and perhaps the best version of myself.
Would you like to see my other pregnancy post?
– Bea’s Mummy x
There seems to be an attitude ingrained in our British Culture that we must “Keep Calm and Carry On!”… all very well until such time as a Baby Tornado comes your way and you are left juggling their life and yours! I personally believe that there are times to ruddy well ask for some help. Man is not an island after all.
I am certainly a proponent for the ancient Chinese art of “zuo yuezi” whereby a group of women (other mothers/extended family) come to take responsibility for the new Mothers every day life for a period of time after the birth (any where between 21 and 40 days), in that time the Mother focuses on healing, replenishing and nursing her newborn- a far cry from our Western society where new mums are just expected to “bounce back”.
Frustratingly in our culture, Mother’s are forced down the very opposite direction of recovery and made to feel as if they should be getting back to the version of themselves before they brought new life into the world (which is a very unrealistic expectation indeed). Her life has changed in profound ways that means she deserves and requires special care and the space to return to her ‘normal’ without having to worry about her previous life. The principal of zuo yuezi offers a softer landing for an otherwise beautiful yet terrifying journey into Motherhood.
I know from my own experience that my first few weeks after birth would have been impossible without the support from others, particularly my own Mummy who zuo yuezi’ed the shit out of me whilst I had to stay in hospital for 18 days! These weeks are formative in the bond between you and your child and if truly alone new Momma Bears would experience lonlieness, exhaustion, stress and lacking nutrition – 4 factors that contribute to postpartum depression.
Though my circumstances were somewhat irregular, I certainly felt overwhelmed with my bizarre schedule and lack of personal care from the ward staff. I felt like I was going insane and all I lived for was to sustain my baby, yet I was barely sustaining myself. I had to feed my child through a tube which requires precision and full awareness but I was sleep deprived & physically and emotionally sore.
My mum did a tremendous job of stepping in to care fully for me. She made sure I slept. She even insisted that she learned about and was also medically signed off on tube feeding Bea too so I could take time out from Mum’ing and have a shower!
Talking of showers… I think Baby Showers are a great idea because they could be the first step in a more modern approach to zuo yuezi! After all it is essentially a group of women, encircling the Mother to Be and making her feel as if she is the most important person at that time. Here are a list of ten other reasons I believe more Mummies should consider throwing a Baby Shower!
Having gone through loss it is so important that this baby was loved for not just the miracle they were but also in spite of that, and when coming into the world they would know such love.
Babies are a blessing and anything to celebrate the incredible journey is a good thing. There are essential that a baby needs to survive (which can mostly be provided by Mummy) but those little treats that otherwise may be costly and a luxury to new parents are a bonus.
New life is amazing & I believe each child deserves the best start in life.
A mums bod goes through so many changes that are just heroic if you think about it. Battling the rise & dip of hormones exponentially, sustaining a feutus whilst her organs are pushed to the size by the expanding uterus, the breasts swell to comical proportions (let’s not even go there regarding premature lactation!) and double the blood volume! There’s a catalogue of not-so-sexy potential side effects of carrying this little person for 9 months; haemorrhoids, sciatica, acne, constipation and insomnia. Sleepless nights, painful days, then there’s the birth to follow….. no wonder mums to be may have an impending sense of dread of things to come.
What better way to remind the Mum-To-Be that she is not alone and often the gifts are thoughtful and can remedy some of those “horrible bits”!
And takes pressure off you as a sore, tired Mum To Be from visiting people individually. They can come to you to celebrate. In my opinion you can never find too many reasons to celebrate and bring the people you love together. It also means that logistically you can rest your sore ankles and see family and friends who you may not have seen for a long time.
From seasoned Mothers to new Mothers! I was advised on all kinds of best brands and products to suit my needs. I think having such a wealth of information and personal stories prepared me for most eventualities (sadly no one that attended had a similar birth experience to me with Premmie babies) but at the time it made me feel a lot more in the know, especially with warts-and-all accounts!
It is also the time that people in my life can successfully impart their knowledge as when you have your feet firmly planted on the soils of Motherhood there is no way in heck you are taking any unsolicited advice then! But at the time of a Baby Shower you are still navigating the often troubling waters of uncertainty. The women who gather with you will feel instrumental in making you feel as ready as possible and who doesn’t love to share their story? It’s a win win situation.
Following seamlessly on from advice; one of the best gifts from my Baby Shower in terms of experience was the advice to turn into birthing aides to repeat to yourself and apply when you think it is all too much. A great idea is to get your group of ladies to write short, pithy phrases to remain focused such as “You’re body can do this Mummy!” or “keep breathing and work towards your end goal!” They really help for a much more enjoyable birthing experience and remind you that so many other women have gotten through labour.
its a time to be silly and be yourself before your baby comes along and you may not be able to put yourself first again in a long, long time!
My shower was one of the highlights of my pregnancy. It was a way to be ridiculous and play games. (The games aspect may not be down your street and that’s cool too! If you organise it you can call the shots & have it as a no-games zone if you so wish!)
My Baby Shower was truly an event and the attendees were talking about it for a long time afterwards! A particular highlight was the “Dirty Nappy Game”! (See post on Highlights of my Pregnancy.)
It is worth being the person to organise it as it you have a friend that loves planning a Baby Shower is likely to happen and you may as well be the one finalising decisions. They are not just “an American Thing” now as there is certainly great value in them & the output > input!
You may find that you regret not throwing a Baby Shower if you see other Mum-To-Be’s photos!
People love nothing more than being budding photographers and capturing all those candid, hilarious & beautiful moments from every angle.
I was personally very happy that there was an opportunity for photos to be taken of me pregnant as it came to an abrupt end and only 2 weeks after my Baby Shower I was giving birth! It serves as a way to capture your Bump in its growing glory. You can look back fondly at your pregnant belly and with so many “photographers” on hand you won’t miss a moment!
People love buying baby things! It’s inevitable! The draw of tiny baby outfits is just too strong. The “awww” factor compels people to buy. Each gift offers an easy transition from pregnancy to birth as people are very thoughtful and will think of items that will change your experience that you would never have invested in yourself.
The gesture of gifts is so heart-warming. It wasn’t a prerequisite of attending my Baby Shower but I ended up being so blown away by the utter kindness and outpouring of love.
My Hubby and I ended up not having to buy a single nappy for three months!
Any excuse to eat beautiful goodies when Preggers is welcome. Every day is a cake day but cake with purpose makes you feel less guilty and to share it with a group of amazing women is even better!
I think I was so taken with the idea of a Baby Shower because my first experience of pregnancy was so tragic and I told myself that I would enjoy every moment of my next pregnancy despite the constant worry. My fabulous circle of women from family, to childhood friends, to new friends really came through in force she style and reminded me that I was doing an amazing job!
Lets bring back some zuo yuezi to make the transition into Motherhood a happy and healthy one. From the event you are also reminded who will endeavor to be in your life once the baby arrives and whom you can call on.
I highly recommend a Baby Shower as a way to connect, forget (any worries you may have) & recharge with great food, company and memories to be made!
Have you hosted a Baby Shower? What was the most important aspect in deciding to throw a Baby Shower? What was your favourite moment from your Baby Shower? What was your favourite gift? Please feel free to leave your experiences in the comments below.
Love Bea’s Mummy x
Aside from the extreme fatigue, sickness and on occasion; crippling pain there were many times in my pregnancy that I felt truly blissful. I was thankful every day that I woke up to jolly kicks and every day passed was a little bit more of a relief (though sadly I had learned from my last pregnancy that there really is no “safe point” as I may have previously, naively assumed- 12 week scan most probably & 20 week scan… that I took so much for granted!!!)
Obviously the happiest times were the scans. Being consultant lead I had 4 extra reassurance scans and each time it is confirmed there is a heartbeat yours can finally slow. I loved watching this developing little human grow stronger. One of the scans she was being her utterly Diva self and would not position herself for a clear scan. The sonographer has to bring out what looked like a comedy, over-sized wedge of cheese to put under my hips to prop me into a suitable scanning position. Dignity certainly goes out the window during pregnancy… and let’s not even go there about the utterly indecent exposure & some in labour!
At the 12 week scan I was taken aback by how similar this scan was to Mylo’s scan. Only; this baby was slighter and my suspicions about Team Pink were confirmed then and there in my mind. We have both our children’s scans on our mantle piece & what is lovely is that they are facing each other. It brings me so much pride to see them both together- my two biggest accomplishments in life.
I know people have their opinions about the reliability of Dopplers (blah blah blah) but I found great comfort in putting it to my swelling belly and hearing the sounds of a healthy, happy baby. We even took the Doppler on our travels to New York over Christmas and one of my most treasured video clips is the sound of Bea’s heartbeat as the camera pans over the streets below & snow is falling. By the December I had really started to feel less anxiety about the pregnancy.
Below are some of my top moments with accompanying pics. I wanted to do everything possible to capture the full spectrum of joy.
We all looked at the screen on this third scan and marveled at the perfectly forming little person, flipping and posing as of practiced for this exact moment! I was just ecstatic that there was nothing untoward in the scan. My hubby and I left the scan room to collect pay for the scan pictures whilst my Mother remained in the room to giddily find out the gender of her second beloved grandchild. I think it was as important to her to be involved in the gender reveal process to keep looking forward positively. Like myself, she is a lady who’s mind is always buzzing so she enjoyed having my gender reveal to focus on. She would not like to admit it perhaps but she is one of the finest hosts in the land!
It was a really exciting part of the pregnancy journey because I involved family and friends leading up to the reveal by getting them to predict the gender of our second child. It was very interesting to see the split turning out practically 50/50. It begs the question as to what makes this little person who they are and what characteristics are used from a picture to predict the gender.
Have you ever had people successfully predict your babies gender? Do you believe in the old wives tales? I found that this pregnancy was completely different from the start to Mylo’s I KNEW I was growing my little girly sidekick.
For two days my Mum busied herself with setting up our childhood home with an intricate reveal. There were balloons… so…many balloons that were just perfect. For these two days she was the only person who was certain of our babies gender. I can only imagine what a difficult secret it was to keep. There were no hints dropped even when I probed. This usually open book of a woman was very closed as others’ gender predictions continued pouring in and noted on our makeshift tally chart!
I picked a dress that made me feel confident. It just so happened it incorporated both blue & pink (this was accidental on my part but certainly added to the decoration littered around the living room. The whole reveal was rather theatrical (certainly up my street though I think something that was not necessarily a comfort zone for my poor Husband who was dragged into the high jinx along with my little sister!!!) The reveal was not an event atended by guests as I knew that this time I wanted to throw a Baby Shower. One person can not host too many events! So I settled my nerves and went “Facebook Live” to document the evening. It seemed to be a massive hit. My Mum had managed to keep it engaging. The main event was triumphant. My Husband and I stood beneath a huge, blacked out balloon. Inside; contained glittery bits in the colour to represent the baby inside me. There were two boxes in front of my Husnand and I. One box contained a balloon with the words “It’s A…”, but we didn’t which box held our exciting news.
On a countdown we both opened our respective box and my sister popped the balloon above us so there was a flurry of PINK as the “It’s A Girl” balloon flew out and our future was confirmed. I was an emotional wreck but (almost) kept it together enough to sign off from my live Facebook session, closely followed by an audience, larger than expected. The outpouring of love was incredible and I was so pleased that I had correctly predicted who was growing away inside me. That was two for two! It just solidifies the fact that Mother’s have a deep routed awareness of themselves and such a strong link to their child that serves as almost a metaphorical umbilical cord throughout their connected lives!
The gender reveal meant that we could really start planning our future as a family. Following the shock, tears and elation I figured that I would start getting practical about the situation and start buying in clothes that were not just gender neutral and planning the nursery scheme!
I have included the video of the reveal. It is a rather lengthy video and was much more exciting when it was streaming live. I have been thinking about this post and my abridged pregnancy and the point of the reveal ended up being the halfway point through my pregnancy!
I was starting to feel large and less in charge of my own body but I was past the point of “V Day” (or “Viability Day” – post 24 days which is one point that an Angel Parent like myself can breathe a small sigh of relief as my little girl would be recognised as her own little person & in medical terms was now a full fledged baby!) So this was another excuse to celebrate.
Having thrown one I am certainly a proponent of Baby Showers- why not eh? I was going to celebrate as much as possible! (See post on “10 ReasonsBaby Shower’s are a Great Idea.”) Again my Mum opened up her home to a cascade of beautiful, amazing, Goddesses on Earth who came baring gifts in arms and so much love in their hearts. I was humbled & blown away by the turn out as childhood friends mixed with family members, new friends chatted to old family friends and work colleagues mixed with friends I had drifted apart from but had made the effort to be part of my new life as a Mummy.
My heart swelled with pride as all my favourite people opened themselves up to meeting new people and being a little bit silly for the day… my theme was Unicorns (we had set up a makeshift photo booth full of unicorn props!!) and we played two games; one that could have been very hit or miss called “Dirty Nappies” where we had to guess what fully edible food item had been smooshed into a nappy representing the full spectrum of baby Pops to come- including full Poo-Nado!! Some were indeed very realistic!
The day was more successful than I had ever imagined it would be, it was pretty much an open house event so people dropped in as they were able to which made it a really relaxed experience. I hadn’t really set an end point but said people could leave when they wanted… good job there was no end time as people stayed way past any time I would have imagined which was amazing.
One of the highlights of the event was my gorgeous Unicorn Nappy Cake. I refused to deconstruct it for ages as it was truly a work of art, but it literally contained EVERYTHING I would every need for my baby girl. It was a hard day when we had been home from the hospital for a few days and it came to the time to unravel the glorious creation as we needed to retrieve baby items!
The event was a perfect fusion of remembrance and nods to Mylo where possible, celebration & silliness. I wore a unicorn horn with purple tupee for the majority of the day so it was never going to be a normal event!
If you ever wish to host a Unicorn Baby Shower here are a few ideas below in the form of photos from my day:
In my time of adversity I was blessed with the most lovely people coming into my life because they had been moved by Mylo’s story. It made me remember that mostly the world is a wonderful place and at the core people are good. I forgot how many people had me in their thoughts and cared about me.
This was made obvious by the nominations for a Facebook Competition to win a Maternity Photoshoot with the wonderful Rachel Harris of Ruby Lights Portraits in Plymouth who is an expert at empowering her women subjects and making them feel ruddy glorious!! So thanks to my lovely friends who wanted me to feel beautiful and lift my spirits I won, as towards the end of the pregnancy I was feeling really deflated and as if I was losing myself!
Rachel drapes you in finery, guides you through posing to show your best angles (I wasn’t sure I even had any & I knew I was rather awkward with my body and posing but Rachel was so patient with me!) then produces the most beautiful quality images I have ever seen. I had been stalking… I mean perusing the Facebook page whilst I grew fatter & fatter and wondered if I too could look Bumpy and beautiful.
I was elated to find out I would get to feel like Gaia or another Goddess for the afternoon and play “dress up” for a purpose. I am a fan of all things regal, Lacey, glittery & whimsical so all the dresses I got to wear ticked all the boxes. I was so worried that I wouldn’t fit in the dress section as I have always had trouble finding clothes to fit my bizarre body shape (plus sized but short as I have never broken the height of 5ft!!!) and the previous images I had seen were of beautiful, skinny and taller women who clearly didn’t need any help to look good!
I needn’t have worried as all four of the dresses fitted me as if they were tailored for just me! This confirms to me that Rachel truly is some sort of magical being and the dresses are from a Far Away Fairy Tale Land. With my hair and makeup professionally applied and preened I was already feeling the most beautiful… neigh sexy that I had felt in a long, long time. I was truly glowing and Rachel made pregnancy look ethereal and effortless.
There was the opportunity to really have fun on the set and I didn’t stop laughing for the afternoon & I was able to be myself and forget about anything that came before and anything that was to come and just be in the moment living my best life! If only I had been able to feel like this version of Amber the whole way through pregnancy, I thought to myself as the gigantic fan blew my glorious lose curls and I flipped my hair, posed like a pro (under constant guidance because my hand would often look “claw-like” instead of soft! Soft is one word that can not be used to describe me in any sense so holding my body in an aesthetically pleasant way was quite challenging!!) and made memories with what I now could see was a beautiful Bump for years to come.
It was timed perfectly as just five days after the shoot, Beatrice came into the world and my Bump was no more! If you have the opportunity to do so I would highly recommend investing in a Maternity Shoot as it serves to remind you just how beautiful this moment in time is. Until I saw the pictures come back I had not realised quite how prominent my Bump was and was always saying that I wanted more from my Bump, for it to really protrude but from the images I think we can all agree that I was ruddy HUGE! No wonder Littme Miss Bea was ready to come into the world!
So these were a snapshot of my most precious moments of pregnancy. What I hope can be taken away from this post by other Mums-To-Be is to take every opportunity you can to celebrate this wonderful creation inside. You are doing an amazing job and you deserve to be
a) looked after
b) feel loved & maybe most importantly
c) feel beautiful!
Live Bea’s Mummy x
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!