My life updated: not again. A Second stillbirth.

I wanted to give a little update on my life since Rosie was born into heaven. She is four now and we still celebrate her birthday every year.

I had to stop writing in my blog, I’d noticed that I wasn’t living for my future but I was constantly looking to see if people remembered my pain. So I got myself into education and volunteering, i had got myself a brilliant but emotionally hard waring job. I also studied again in my job and threw myself into it completely. It was a job working with people whom had very hard lives so i loved loving on them but i also realise now that i spent my time working and thinking about work. I hardly spent time with my husband, Andrew, and this took a tole on us which we only noticed in hindsight. We suffered a miscarriage whilst we had separated for six months. We did work through our problems and are still married (5 years so far). It has been hard, working through our grief and how we handled it differently and being newly married and living with my Mum was more than hard but we persevered and I found a different job and a new home for us and then we became pregnant with Isabelle Poppy 3 and a half years after Rosie was born. We felt so positive during our pregnancy with Isabelle, no way could stillbirth happen to us again especially when Rosie’s death was a fluke, a mere flaw. A cord wrapped around her which she couldn’t escape from. So we bought everything, moved into a new house and let ourselves prepare and become excited. Rosie’s little sister, Isabelle Poppy got to 35 weeks in my tummy and stopped moving. We went to hospital on October 26th 2016 (5 months ago at my time of writing this) and we were put in the same delivery room we had Rosie in. They looked for Isabelle’s heartbeat and couldn’t find it but assured me it was nothing to be worried about at that time. A doctor and three midwives came in with a scan machine and looked for what felt like hours but must have been minutes, Andrew was watching intently but all i could do was look at the wall the opposite way, she wasn’t moving in the scan so i was full of fear. The doctor found Isabelle’s heart and asked Andrew if he could see it, he replied “yes, its flickering”. I looked at the scan immediately and saw the doctors face slide to a greyish shock where she said “no, it is not. I’m sorry” we had to wait half an hour for a second doctor to confirm Isabelle’s death but still i could not believe it, I was so full of hope and disbelief that this could happen to us again and in the same room. I immediately zoned in and out of “she’s dead” and “she can’t be” i took the last pictures i could of my Isabelle bump with tears streaming over my blotchy smile, i apologised to Andrew as though i was watching him go through a horror i couldn’t comprehend. I called some friends and asked for prayer that this wasn’t happening and then the doctor came in and confirmed Isabelle had no heartbeat. He then explained that the protocol was to give me a tablet to start labour in 24 hours at home. I could not carry her for that long knowing i wouldn’t be able to see her how she should have looked. He broke my waters and started inducing me straight away. I was in a very intense and painful labour for many hours, we were moved to a suite for stillbirth parents which did not look anything like a hospital room, bloods were taken from me for testing, gas and air was given to me, My mum came and slept on the sofa in the room and Andrew slept next to me on the bed. I was in and out of shock, the gas and air blocked a lot of reality but there were often bursts of reality which overwhelmed me with grief and the worry of the hardships to come. Being in labour however painful and however hard it was was blissful, it was a moment in time that stopped, it wasn’t the hard part. I had to then be coaxed into another delivery room by the midwives, i had to run there between contractions and was told they had to move a woman out of there to put me in. When i ran in a midwife ran with me and as i sat down we heard the radio was on and it was playing ‘tragedy’ by steps. I laughed and the midwife laughed with me and then i cried and she cried with me. She switched it off and i carried on like every strong, brave mother does. My friend came and read the bible to me, my Mum helped me up and down to the toilet and Andrew held my hand through every contraction and faced me with as much bravery as i was showing. I would have completely understood if he couldn’t have been there through it again but he stayed and i loved him for it. So Isabelle Poppy Hope Ainsworth was born on 27th October 2016 and weighed 5lbs. She looked so much like Rosie but so different to her. We spent three days with her in the hospital and then sent her to Manchester for a post mortem. Her funeral was beautiful, my friends did the service and handed out poppy seeds to everyone at the end. My amazing midwife whom was my midwife for Rosie and Isabelle came and is now on a career break having adventures in Australia! I consider her a part of my family. She visited me every week to see how i was and to just talk about Isabelle until she left for her adventures. That was not a part of her job.

We had the post mortem results back saying the likely cause of death was e.coli, i know i could have touched someone or eaten something with it but i think from the events i have been through that it was a take away pizza that had this infection, it was the last thing i ate before Isabelle stopped moving and Andrew and i were extremely careful with everything we could think of and could control. For us to know that we are not the reason our daughters were born into heaven is a blessing, it gives us hope. Having two stillborn babies is an experience i had never even had nightmares about and it still shocks me that i am living this reality, that this is not a sad book nor a tragic movie, this is my life and often i cry as though I’m watching these events happen to some character in a film. In this second journey I have felt a want to talk to other mothers with more than one stillborn baby but this is rare and i have not been given this chance which I enjoy as it means not many people are suffering this.

I want to leave you with hope, there is a future and there is hope. Andrew and I have hope and a future. We have as much joy as we do pain and that is okay. We focus on fun because that is allowed, life is really hard and I know i won’t be how i used to be but i have life in me and courage.

Four Months That Started Cold

As I look back over the past four months, the four months that Rosie has been dead. Four months ago Rosie was born and four months that I have survived wanting to be with my baby.

When I was pregnant my main concern was how we were going to keep Rosie warm when she was out in the big wide world. I had my mum knitting and crocheting blankets for Rosie, I had room temperature gadgets, I even read up on how a mothers skin adapts to the baby’s heat cooling and rising to whatever the baby needs when the baby is close to you. I read about the signs of a baby sticking its arm out when its too hot. I was ever so keen on making sure that Rosie would never be cold.

My Mum holding Rosie the day after she was born. Wrapped in the blanket made for her.CNV00043

When I gave birth to Rosie she was put onto my skin she was so warm it was very comforting. I watched her face to see if her eyes would flicker, concentrated hard trying not to blink so I could see if her lips would move or her nostrels would flare with breaths being taken. She was warm and perfect, it was very evident that Rosie had only just died which is where Andrew and I were blessed, we still got to see Rosie as her. She was still a baby and not a dead baby. Many parents don’t have the blessing to see their baby as they should have looked so for this I am so very thankful. I gently opened Rosie’s eyelid to see the colour of her eye. It was a stone coloured blue  but still I imagine her with brown eyes, perhaps because both Andrew and mine are brown and that’s how hers would have changed. Rapidly Rosie began to lose the warmth she came out with. This is how I knew she was never going to open her eyes to look at me, I would never see her chest move up and down or see her lips move.  The opposite of what I had prepared for had started to happen and I had to do all I could to keep my baby cold. I wasn’t prepared to keep my baby cold, it was so unnatural. We bathed Rosie shortly after she was born, Andrew filled the bath with cold water, I tested the water to feel the temperature, it was cold. I couldn’t put my baby in a cold bath it wasn’t right. I asked Andrew to change the water to something a bit warmer, I just couldn’t bare to put Rosie in a cold bath. She shouldn’t be cold, everything in me wanted to make sure my baby was warm and comfortable, handled gently and smoothly. I rocked her and stroked her, I held her hands and patted her bum. Nothing to me was natural to treat my Rose like she was dead. Birth is supposed to be the beginning of life not the end of it so how could I tell myself to go against my natural instincts? When Rosie was dressed we wrapped her in blankets that my mum had made for her and put her in a moses basket. This moses basket had a cold mattress in it, although it wasn’t working properly to keep Rosie cold enough I remember confusing myself, keeping Rosie wrapped up but keeping the air cooler on in the room and a cold cot to make her cold. No baby should be cold but mine was losing heat. She wasn’t warm any more. I wanted Rosie to be warm, the confusion of trying to make her cold was something in itself to focus on. When we visited Rosie in the funeral home she was left in a room so cold you could see your breath when you walked in, She was just placed on an adult sized bed not moving, cheeks as blue as her eyes were when I looked and lips a dark purple that looked almost black, I guess this is as close as we’d get to seeing her go through that teenage goth phase. Still after a week of knowing Rosie was dead and that we had to keep her cold to preserve her body my instinct was to wrap her up in more blankets. I had my mum making more for her the week that she had been dead. Feeling her cold cheeks and head made me feel like I wasn’t doing my job as her mum properly. I wanted my baby to be warm. When we settled Rosie down, this is what we called her cremation, a funeral isn’t the right word for a baby so we chose to call it Rosie finally being settled, We knew that no longer would Rosie be cold. No longer would I fight my natural instincts to keep my baby warm. We now believe that Rosie is warm and safe in our hearts and every time we eat a Rosey apple sweet which is what our Rose was named after we remember she is  no longer cold but warm and safe in our hearts.

Four months after Rosie was born I thought that I wouldn’t be here, I thought that I was so broken i’d be with her in no time. Four months on Andrew and I talk about what she’d be doing now, how big she would be and laugh about how much more hair she’d have. Four months seems like such a long time but for me it is no time at all. Lots of people have moved on from what happened to Rosie, lots of people choose not to remember because it hinders them from being happy in their own lives. People don’t ask us about Rosie anymore, friends don’t even mention her name scared that it will make things uncomfortable or bring back painful memories. Let me explain that Rosie isn’t a painful memory but she is the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever done. I am so proud to be Rosie’s mum and so very lost without her. Please remember Rosie, she isn’t just a dead baby she was a person with her own personality that died. Rosie is as much a part of  history as you and me, you only get to meet her through me, that’s the only difference. Rosie’s death doesn’t get any easier to deal with its just easier to fill life up with other things as well as grief. The pain I had when I found out Rosie was dead is still the same, I just manage to smile more now.