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.

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.

I Planted A Rose In Heaven

This is a time that I need to write about. My life needs to flow from speeches in my head to words in the world.

My baby died. My baby Rosie was stillborn.

I was 39 weeks and five days pregnant when I gave birth to Rosie. She went the whole way being that miracle baby that would survive anything. When I first found out I was pregnant the doctor told me to terminate as the baby was most likely not going to survive the first three months. I didn’t take that doctor’s advice, instead I went to a different doctor who would support me and my pregnancy. This doctor made sure I was supported and made sure I had a specialist consultant to keep a closer eye on me.

At nine weeks pregnant I began to bleed so a friend took me to the women and children’s unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The unit was closed, no one was about except a maintenance man whom kindly took me the the early pregnancy unit just a few flights of stairs up from where I was. The unit was closed as it was a Sunday, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t even know my way out so I took to the stairs again hoping i’d know my way when I got back to the bottom. I got to the bottom of the stairs quicker than anticipated as I fell down them and they are stone steps too. I had hit my hip and my legs and finally landed on my hands at the bottom of the steps. As this happened two nurses were walking down the corridor holding their lunches seeing what happened they decided to ignore me. In a heap of a mess of the floor crying and worried, even more worried now actually. Not one person helped me so when I picked myself up I walked out of the doors and sat in front of the women and children’s unit on the floor crying. Exclaiming to my friend that if i was losing the baby i’d rather lose it at home because no one in the hospital was going to help me anyway. I then went home and prayed, two hours later I had stopped bleeding much to my delight. I still had a sprained ankle from the fall and bruises on my hip and hands but  the baby was still there. Still growing. In my 14th week of pregnancy at the consultant lead appointment another reason to get worried arose when the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat of the baby by sound. Of course it was too early to hear a heartbeat at that time but being a first time mum I didn’t know that so again I began to panic and called my husband at work thinking we had lost the baby. Whilst my husband raced down to the hospital I had been in to an emergency scan and on the machine clear as day baby had a pumping heart. In the 28th week of pregnancy I hadn’t felt the baby move for two days, just as I was about to contact the midwife all of a sudden baby started kicking up a storm. The week after that I was in a car collision because I had gotten into a reckless taxi drivers car. This happened to be the first time I had ever put my seatbelt on in a taxi and it happened to stop me from being thrown through the windscreen. My tummy took full impact of the seatbelt so I was of course worried about the baby again. Rosie survived, she was fine, still making a fuss of herself in my tummy.

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So after all of that happening for our baby to die suddenly was much of a shock to us. My husband and I definitely thought that Rosie was a miracle that would survive anything, after all she wasn’t even supposed to have lived in my womb after the first three months. The week leading up to my due date My husband had taken time off work so we could walk as much as we could and eat as much hot curry as we could in order to get her out that little bit earlier. That week we walked so much I told my husband that I needed just one day to rest because I was exhausted and it looked like Rosie was going to come out only when she was ready to. That night during rest my husband and I spent the night talking to Rosie asking her to come out and meet us, Andrew, my husband was rubbing my belly telling Rosie that she was his little princess and that he was always going to call her his princess and try as much as he could to treat her like one. Rosie kicked so hard when he was talking to her that it made us both laugh and fall in love with her even more. I told Rosie how I was jealous because I always wanted to be somebodies princess and I always wanted a daddy to love me as much as her daddy loved her. That night we got so much response from Rosie we just sat there looking at one another holding my belly and talking to her.  Her due date was 14th January 2013 I went into labour the day after I had a rest on the 12th January 2013. I went into labour at 4.56am feeling very excited that soon we were going to meet our Rose. Four hours into labour I was worried, I hadn’t felt the baby move and contractions were five minutes apart lasting three to four minutes. I rang the delivery suite at Blackpool Victoria Hospital where I was asked the usual questions ‘how far apart are the contractions’ ‘is there any bloody show‘ which there wasn’t ‘have your waters broken’ Not at that point they hadn’t although I couldn’t tell because I was mainly on the loo weeing during contractions and the most important question ‘is the baby moving normally’ to which I answered no, I haven’t felt my baby move at all during labour. I proceeded to tell the midwife on the phone that I was worried because there was no movement. My husband then asked if we could go in to which the midwife said no because it didn’t sound like we were in established labour. My husband said that I was in too much pain and I was very worried that the baby wasn’t moving. Again we were told to definitely not go in until we were in established labour. We did as the midwife on the phone told us, I got in the bath took painkillers and thought to myself that I was worrying too much because I was a first time mum. I thought if Rosie was in any sort of danger the hospital would have our best interests at heart and get us in straight away. So I kept a sharp watch on my baby’s movements, there were definitely none and I was in a severe amount of pain so two hours after we originally called the delivery suite we called again begging the midwife on the phone to let me come in because I was in too much pain to bare with. The midwife asked all the same questions like it was a script, no there was no bloody show, no we didn’t think my waters had broken but we couldn’t be sure and most importantly no the baby wasn’t moving. The midwife very sternly told me that I could only go in if I ate at least one piece of toast which I had been throwing up everything my husband gave me to eat before she told me to eat, I told her that and again begged to come in, only if I ate would they let me in. How kind of them to bend the rules just for me. It took me an hour to eat one piece of toast which I immediately threw up, it then took me fifteen minutes to get downstairs where I was greeted by a man plumbing in a washing machine into my mum’s kitchen, we weren’t sure if the washing machine was going to come first or the baby. You know what appliance men are like, they take forever. That poor man was greeted by a woman in labour shouting at him to move his washing machine so I could get out to the taxi, I think I even saw him break a sweat. If he thought plumbing a washing machine in was hard he almost had to help me with my plumbing area. After leaping out of the way and pushing a washing machine all on his own I managed to get out to the taxi. Probably one of the eldest taxi drivers I have ever had talked to us the whole time he was driving us to delivery unit about his children’s births. How I managed to smile politely every time he looked at me through the mirror rather than telling him to shut up unless he had any drugs i’ll never know. An hour and a half after calling the delivery suite again I then arrived, one midwife was assigned to me. She said I was one centimeter dilated which I was shocked about as my contractions were consistently five minutes apart. She then put the heart monitor around my belly to find Rosie’s heartbeat she said she heard it the first time but then after that took two different machines in with different leads some of which weren’t even plugged in and tried to find babies heartbeat again. She hadn’t found it after almost an hour of looking. In my opinion should there have been a doctor? Yes and should I have been treated as an emergency case even before I arrived at the hospital? Yes. The most crucial minutes of my Rosie’s life had been frittered away by one midwife not allowing us to come in when we first rang up worried and then by a midwife trying to do everything on her own not even checking equipment properly. The moments my baby had to survive were taken away by people who thought they knew best because they were the experts. It proves that some medical staff don’t listen to the patient and sometimes they even block the patient. Throughout my entire pregnancy I hadn’t had faith in the hospital because of how I was treated and in the end they didn’t do all they could to save my baby. After the heartbeat wasn’t found on the monitor a young doctor came in with a mobile scan machine and said he didn’t think there was a heartbeat but he needed a second opinion. Seven hours my husband and I waited for a second opinion holding on to that one bit of hope and faith we had left, We even felt her move during that time and praised for it was a miracle and she’d prove them wrong, oh how I believed that Rosie would prove the medical professionals wrong. We didn’t feel her move after that one time and then the second doctor came and did a scan and told us that our baby was dead. In those seven hours we prayed and asked others to pray, we phoned family telling them to hold on to hope and it was all for nothing. Our baby was dead inside of me. I had Rosie quite quickly after we were told she was dead it was just over an hour after we were told. Rosie was born at 22.56 that same day. She was born still with the cord wrapped around her neck and left side of her body, she was covered in a type of poo babies do inside the womb if they are in distress. That was the day I planted my beautiful pink Rose in heaven.

We gave her a bath and dressed her in pink and kept her overnight. I didn’t sleep that night. We were put into a different delivery room next to another girl in labour, in the early hours of that morning she gave birth and I heard her baby cry, I looked to my baby thinking she was crying I went to soothe her but I realised it couldn’t be my baby, my baby was dead. The moses basket we were given for Rosie wasn’t the best, it was lined with towels as I assume they didn’t have cot sheets and the stand was broken which meant it was unsturdy and wobbled it lent to one side too which meant that Rosie’s face turned down to one side and it made her face droop. The smallest details meant so much at that time and we weren’t given the best for our daughter. Perhaps she didn’t matter as much as the babies that were born alive but this was the only time we would ever spend with our baby and it was made impossible to deal with.  The next day we said our hello’s and goodbye’s to Rosie, invited her grandparents to meet her and did a lot of crying and cuddling. Rosie started to deteriorate really quickly because the cold cot wasn’t working properly. They had brand new cold cots which is just a gel mattress put under the baby to keep her cold so as to preserve her body longer. image

Rosie’s nose started to bleed and her skin started to bubble up and tear it was awful to watch this happen to a baby that looked so perfect and doll like when she came out. I asked and asked and asked so many times for the midwives to take her away and put her in the morgue. My heart was breaking watching my baby look like she was dead. The midwives wouldn’t take her away. We asked continuously for six hours for them to take her away and all they said was they were sorting it out. We took lots of pictures, treasured her body in our arms and kept a lock of her hair and prints of her hands and feet and then finally we waited for a taxi empty armed and broken hearted to take us back home.

This is how my pink perfection ended up in heaven and this is the beginning of my middle.

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