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.

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Putting you away

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When its time to address those things you bought and were given for your baby its like addressing that permanent loss you have all over again.

I worked myself up to taking Rosie‘s dresses out of my wardrobe. My husband had put them behind our wedding outfits so that I wouldn’t see them everyday. He thought this was being really helpful but I liked seeing them, it gave me that excitement I had when I was pregnant, looking at them counting down the weeks and days until I could put Rosie in them. I didn’t like not having that excitement. Even now I go shopping in the baby sections and see some things that would be perfect for Rosie. I want to buy them. I seem to block out the pain and use the excitement that I’ve found something perfect for Rosie, I’ve asked my husband if I can buy some things for her. He has to tell me that they will never be on her, they will just collect dust. My baby is dust now. It makes sense to me in a very strange way. Although when Andrew comes shopping with me and I wander into the baby sections he follows me with dread, he almost can’t keep his heart inside of his chest. It hurts Andrew, he feels the pain straight away, I’m shopping for a baby I’m excited to see and he’s there thinking about his dead daughter that he’ll never see again. I’ve pointed out the perfect dress for Rosie or ‘a Rosie dress’ as I call it, Andrew breaks down in tears falling to the floor. Telling me that we should be buying new dresses for her now. Its comforting for me to see Rosie clothes but for Andrew its a reminder that we don’t have Rosie.

I still have Rosie’s pram, baby seat, bouncer and winter coat in my living room. All parked up ready to go, I sit opposite them everyday but it doesn’t hurt me. It feels like Rosie is going to come home, it feels like we’re ready for her. For anyone else that walks into my living room its an echo of death. What should have been. I’m working toward storing them away for Andrews sake, he doesn’t feel comfort from these things. He remembers when we took Rosie’s pram out for the first time when we were pregnant testing to see if it was good enough for our Rose, we were so excited saying to one another that soon we’ll be pushing the pram with our baby in it. He remembers the pain, the knee buckling screaming pain we carry with us daily.

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So for me putting Rosie’s dresses away used a lot of strength, I’m taking away the comfort of lying to myself when I see Rosie’s things. With her things all around us ready it feels like Rosie will come home. With them gone its like putting away Rosie. I feel so guilty for putting Rosie’s things away, squeezing them into a chest of drawers. Out of sight out of mind. No more excitement of meeting our baby, no more use for all of these expensive things. Not able to use them as anything but for putting things on. I’ve taken Rosie’s pretty dresses and put them away. We’ve started to dismantle Rosie’s crib at the bottom of our bed, the baby changer in our room is empty of all those nappies, creams and baby wipes now. The pram holds our wedding album and the teddy we bought for Rosie. Waiting to be folded and stored away.

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All of those positive things we have for Rosie are being replaced with pictures of her and dust. When Rosie’s ashes came I wasn’t ready. She came home as dust, she shouldn’t have come home in a white plastic tub with her name on it. I don’t want her ashes with me, they aren’t her, they aren’t my baby. The ashes are just dust, settled dust that will never feel my love. Putting my baby’s things away is like putting my Rose into a drawer, never to be seen or heard. For most I should be moving on from this. People often say to me “how are you now, have you moved on?” Have I moved on? When your child turns 16 and is no longer a child do you forget about them and move on from those sixteen years you cared for them? What a stupid thing to ask, just over four months after Rosie’s death and birth i’m supposed to forget about her and move on because I can always have more babies and do more things. This is maddening. No parent to a dead child will ever move on. We survive and carry on but never ever do we move on.
When I was pregnant I found out my neighbour to my left was pregnant too, her and her husband had tried for years to conceive and suddenly as they were going for ivf they found out they were pregnant. She was two weeks ahead of me. We went through lots of first time excitement and worries together, it was so fun to have a friend who felt the same as me at the same time. We even had a race to see who would give birth first. I won. I gave birth to Rosie two days before my due date where she was overdue. But my baby died just after I arrived at hospital. I still gave birth naturally and did all the hard work, no one remembers the hard work I did which was even harder because I knew I was giving birth to my dead baby. It takes more strength and bravery to give birth to your dead child. Any woman that does it deserves the recognition for being so very strong. If you have done this please let me congratulate you on doing so well to bring your baby into the world when you had no hope to hold on to. A few days after I had Rosie my neighbour was induced and had her daughter. It made me sick when I heard, her baby will remind me of the baby I lost she’ll be the same age, a constant reminder of what my baby should be like. I Haven’t been able to see or even pass my neighbour, I have to leave my house and walk a completely different direction in order to not see her. If I saw her baby i’d just see what I should have. Years i’ll think my baby will be this age and height. Its too much to contemplate. So I walk half a mile out of my way every time I leave my house. Yesterday I opened my door and saw her opposite me with her pram and her mum. I slammed the door shut and started hyperventilating  It gave me the first panic attack I’d had since I was a teenager. It also gave me the opportunity to get one step closer to being stronger. I may not be able to face that baby but I look forward to seeing my friends babies. I gift them with baby things to strengthen their pregnancies, I celebrate with them for the gift of their healthy children. I thank God for my future children that will be healthy and victorious when I have them. Rosie will never be with me in person but through her I do amazing things to help others. Without ever taking a breath Rosie has been a blessing to me, her Dad and many many others. I’ll tell you all the things Rosie has spurred us to do one day but now I battle with putting her away.