Saturday, 30 July 2016

Guess what

This page has been very quiet the last few months, not only because I'm feeling better in myself but because we have started a new chapter in our lives, and we've all been very busy. 

Don't get me wrong, just because we've been busy and I haven't been using this blog to vent my frustrations doesn't mean there hasn't been tough times. There really, really has! 
It started about 3 months ago when my grandad, who is my absolute hero was taken ill and sadly passed away at the grand old age of 95! - maybe this isn't relevant to this story at all but I truly believe it is. 

I'd spent quite a lot of time with my grandad in the weeks beforehand. Half the time he didn't even know who I was but we would still spend hours holding hands and giggling. I didn't even know what was funny. 
When his health really declined I didn't see him, I was meant to go one day and and decided not too and leave it until the day after, but it ended up being too late. 
I hated myself! The regret, the guilt, it was just awful. It bought back all those feelings I had when I had Albie. I'd just keep asking myself why didn't I do more?

I kept these feelings to myself because my nan and my mum needed me. It wasn't until a few weeks after that I suddenly felt different. I couldn't put my finger on it. 

And then this happened...

Yep that's right...we're pregnant...again. 

And for the first time in 2 and a half years I didn't panic when I saw this little stick covered in my pee. (Although that didn't last long!) 

The first step was to have an early scan to rule out another ectopic. So off we went to the hospital. The scan showed a sac but no baby, which isn't uncommon in the early days. What was uncommon was the free fluid floating around in my pelvis. Quite a significant amount. This, and the pain I was in, led the Drs to believe that I was in fact having another ectopic, even with the sac seen. I needed blood tests to find the HCG levels over a 48 hour period and another scan in a weeks time. Naturally I went away fearing the worst. 
Fast forward a week and my HCG levels had increased nicely and I was ready for my next scan. Well, I say ready, I was absolutely petrified! 
I lay in that dark room with my eyes closed waiting to hear the bad news. And there's the sac, with a yolk, and a tiny baby with a heartbeat! (And the free fluid had been re-absorbed) I honestly could not believe it. 

Step 1- tick! 

A few weeks went by and I tried not to panic. I have felt differently this time. I've stayed as positive as I could. But sometimes that worry just creeps in, so I booked a private scan. Again, I lay on the bed with my eyes closed but next thing I hear was the familiar sound of a tiny heart beating away. 

Step 2 - tick

Scan at 9 weeks. 

Whatever panic was bubbling away inside ready to explode, was slowly disintegrating. I had another scan 10 days later... 

Scan at 10 weeks. 

This was around the time that I stopped worrying about wether baby's heart was still beating and started worrying if something was wrong. If this baby had the same condition as Albie. 
My scan at 10 weeks was amazing! This tiny being inside me was wiggling away and doing back flips! It was hard to get any measurements because it wouldn't stay still Long enough. Again, the worry disintegrated a little more. Albie was unable to move much and every scan we had I had to get up and jump around and they would prod and poke me trying to get him to turn slightly. So this was amazing to me, seeing this little person so active. 

I went for my booking appointment at a different hospital. I refused to go back to the hospitals that had given me such awful care when I'd lost my other 3 babies. It was a breath of fresh air and relaxed me even more. 
My 12 week scan was booked and I recieved a letter when the appointment was but I was going to be nearly 14 weeks by then. I know how busy the hospital is and because of my specialist care it's hard to fit me in earlier, I understand that. 

As it turned out I ended up having a scan slightly earlier, just to check baby, but the NT level was measured. You may remember when I was pregnant with Albie that we found out there was something wrong at our 12 week scan because the NT level was hugely increased. So this was majorly significant to us. This was going to partly tell us wether this baby had the same as what Albie had. 
Albie's measurement was 5.3mm then 2 days later 7.9mm. Anything over 3.5mm is high risk. 
This baby had an NT level of 1.4mm!!! 

Step 3 - tick 

We were all so happy. I can't believe we're actually going to have a baby! 

Scan at 12 weeks. 

The reason I feel like my grandad is a big part of this story is I honestly, truly believe that this is a gift from him, and it's like he forgives me for not seeing him before. He gave us this chance to become parents again and I know he's looking after us all. He was a wonderful, selfless man who loved us with all of his heart. 

So we may not be totally out of the woods yet, we still have a fair way to go but we're looking forward with positivity and hope. 
After goes on. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

So you think you're better than me? Fuck off!

So I joined a debate...I regret this decision. 

The debate involves a bunch of women half who have ended a pregnancy due to a pre-natal diagnosis, half who have continued a pregnancy with a pre-natal diagnosis, who also incidentally say they are pro-choice but who think termination for medical reasons is wrong?! 

Let me first clarify. I have no problem with people who chose another path to the one I chose. In fact I applaude them. They came to a different decision than I did, it doesn't affect me in any way and I'm happy that that decision was the best for their family. 

What I do have a problem with is how I am judged for the decision I made. I have been called a monster and selfish. I have been told by choosing to end my pregnancy with Albie I have made their children's lives worthless and devalued and that I have discriminated against people with disabilities. Also that I made an uninformed choice based on ''perfect ideals''. I've also been told I defend my decision because I regret it and that I have missed out on a joyful life by ending my pregnancy. 
None of this is true. I made a choice based on all the information I could get my hands on. Facts as well as what ifs. And I would never ever discriminate against anyone including those with disabilities, anyone that knows me would stand with me on that one. 

The worst bit? Over and over again Albie, and other babies, were referred to as just a foetus. 
I shall just say, as many of you know, to me, Albie was not just a foetus. He was my baby. He had tiny hands and tiny feet, with 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes. He had a nose and a mouth and 2 ears and 2 sleeping eyes. I laboured and gave birth to him. I held him in my arms and I kissed his tiny forehead. I told him repeatedly that I love him and how I wished with all my wishes that things could have been different. 
Does that sound like ''just a foetus'' to you? 

I truly tried my hardest to word my responses in a way as to not offend anyone with a disability or a disabled child. I repeatedly reiterated the fact I believe that there is no right or wrong and that decisions are based on what is best for that individual family. It just so happens that was what was best for us, as a whole family, including Albie. 

So why is it okay to judge those who chose to end the pregnancy, like our baby was not wanted and unloved? We are not monsters, we are not selfish. We did what we did out of love, just like you did what you did out of love. Everyone makes different choices in life, choices that are best for them. This doesn't make one person better than another, this does not make anybody more or less worthy than another. 

I'm surprised after so much awareness recently this is still such a massive debate. 
I love Albie and I will defend my decision if I need too and I will never regret it. I will never put down anyone who chose a different path than me and I would never judge anyone for defending that path. All I ask in return is that same courtesy. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Baby loss awareness week

So this week is baby loss awareness week. I wear my badge with pride, not just this week but always. 

I don't care if it makes people uncomfortable, I don't care if people think I go on about it too much, every single day people talk about their living children why shouldn't we talk about our angels? 

I have been taking part in 'capture your grief' this month too. It has been an eye opener. I've thought about things a lot and I've realised how far I've come. I'm proud of myself, I'm proud of the woman I have become, proud of the mother that I am. I will be uploading all pictures in a blog post when the month comes to an end, to reflect on the awareness this has made. 

I'm glad people are starting to realise how many people baby loss affects. It's not something many wish to talk about, mostly for fear of upsetting someone or making someone feel uncomfortable. But I hope now, people will talk about these babies and say their names without any hesitation. 

Please join me and many others all over the world tomorrow evening (15/10/2015) by lighting a candle for an hour. If everyone over the world lights a candle at that time for that long there will be a continuous wave of light for the whole day. 

Remember our babies, remember us having to live our lives without them. 

Thankyou xxxx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

From facials to funerals - The start of my journey

As I sit here the night before I start my new job I can't help but reflect on the last year. 

It was this time last year I fell pregnant with Albie. It was meant to be the start of one of the best journeys I would ever take. Instead it turned out to be one of the worst. But as I go over in my head at how far I've come since then, I feel proud. I'm proud of the woman I've become. If it wasn't for Albie I would never be taking this huge leap into a new career. 

I love beauty therapy, I really do, but I've never wanted to compete with all the other beauty therapists around. It was always a bit of a convenience job. I had Lily young and needed something that would work round her, beauty therapy gave me that option plus I enjoyed it so it was always a bonus. 

Giving up my job in the salon was a bit of a split decision. I found it really, really hard after having Albie, to carry on at work. I felt guilty for having had so much time off, although now I realise that it wasn't much considering what I had just been through. I carried on, unhappy, and fell pregnant again. When we lost that one I knew I wasn't doing it again. I wasn't putting myself through the feelings of guilt again. I had nothing to feel guilty about, I had done nothing wrong. 

I spent two months searching and searching for job after job but I found myself scrolling past any beauty therapy jobs and being attracted to jobs in the funeral business. 

I've always liked helping people, even with beauty therapy it was less about making people look good and always more about making people feel good. I loved seeing that look on people's faces when you had finished a treatment and they were happy, relaxed. 
I also kept thinking about how I felt when deciding what we wanted for albie's funeral. I felt like we mattered. Like my son mattered to someone. I felt comfortable with this lovely man looking after our baby on his final journey. And it just clicked. Why am I not doing this for other people? I want to give those feelings to others. The feeling that the person who is looking after their loved one really cares. Because I do care. 

So I went for it. I applied to a position that sounded perfect for me, always in the back of my mind thinking, it won't be this time, but I knew I wanted it so badly I'd keep trying. 
I filled in the application form and felt stupid. I had no experience, all I was was a beauty therapist and young mum. Why would they want me? 

A week went by and I was asked in for an interview. I've only really ever had informal interviews before. Interviews for beauty therapist positions are normally about what sort of personality you have so its more like a chat than an interview, if that went well you would then be offered a trade test. So a formal interview was a bit alien to me. I went in trying my hardest to feel confident. I came out with my confidence in tatters. I felt silly. I was asked a series of questions but as I had no experinace in this particular role my answers were based on a totally different job. I just thought there is no way I've got it. 

I put it to the back of my mind. Gutted it hadn't gone how I had wanted. Out of the blue I got a call asking me in for a second interview. I was gobsmacked, thrilled, but gobsmacked. 
I went for my second interview and got the job. I can not explain how amazing I felt. The start of my new career. A career that I want to progress in. A career that I feel is totally suited to me. I was so happy, and it was all because of Albie. 

Some people think I'm mad. Some people think I'm somehow clinging onto death, but I'm not. Death has brought a new life for me. Yes it was the death of Albie that pushed me to go for it, but not because I can't let him go, because I want to give people that feeling that I was given. 

I'm ready to start this. I'm ready to jump in with both feet. I couldn't be happier with my decision. 

On this occasion, I'm not sure it's fitting to leave on my usual ''life goes on'' so I shall leave on a different note. 
Sometimes you just have to take that chance. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pro life? I call it lack of empathy

For some reason, recently I've had quite a few ''pro-life'' things pop up around me. On Facebook, Twitter, media reports, even messages from people who have read this blog. With the exception of the direct messages it has to be coincidence, right? Or is it just I'm noticing them more? Have they always been there and I just scrolled past with no thought to how it may one day affect me....because now it does. 

I truly believe one of the main ingredients of being a good person is empathy. Having the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to understand the way they feel and reasons for their actions. I don't believe anyone ''pro-life'' has that ability. 

I know it's hard, if not impossible to change the mind of someone that is so adamant that what they believe is right. And if I'm honest, in this case, I can't be bothered to try. I read these posts/articles and I try to understand why they feel the need to make women in such a heartbreaking situation feel like what they are doing is wrong. 

In some ways I get it. I understand the reason behind their logic. But it's not as simple as 1+1=2. There are hundreds and hundreds of reasons behind abortion. I've lived through one myself, my son was incompatible with life. He had so many anomalies he would not have survived. What about the ladies who themselves wouldn't survive the pregnancy? Or ladies who have been raped? Or ladies who are in no way financially stable to bring up a child? It's not just a case of that woman doesn't care. She cares!! She is doing what is best. In many cases (especially with the late abortions) the baby was very much wanted. That decision is not one to be taken lightly. 

Why not look around you, outside the box. The care system is over loaded with children that deserve to be loved and to have a happy home, should that really be added too? To the ladies who felt they were unable to bring up a child for whatever reason, you made the right decision for you. 

I pity these ''pro life'' people with the inability to feel for another human being. Empathy can heal people, it can create lasting relationships and make existing relationships stronger. I hope none of these people find themselves in a situation where they have to make this choice, but if they ever do, I believe the majority of those people would change their mind. 

For me personally, I accept that there will always be divide in the world. I accept the belief of these people. What I don't accept is the belittling, the name calling and the harassing. It disgusts me that human beings can be so vile towards one another. These ladies, me included, did what was right for them. Their own bodies. Their own families. 

To anyone ''pro life'' reading this why not just try to have some empathy. Why not try reading or listening to other people's situations and reasons and just try to understand why. 

To all the ladies who, for whatever reason, ended a pregnancy, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You did what you felt was best. Don't let others who just don't understand put you down. You made one of the hardest decisions, you are strong. X 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A stronger love

Our journey of heartache is a bittersweet one. 

We have, on one hand, the pain, the heartbreak, the loss. However, on the other hand we have strength, unity, love. 

Brent and I have worked hard at our relationship. It's not been easy. There have been so many times where it would have been justified if we'd have fallen apart. After all, our world was broken, we'd been through so much, who would have blamed us? 

That's never been an option for me. This man, this perfect, strong man has kept me going. Don't get me wrong, he drives me insane sometimes with his snoring that could burst an eardrum, his irritatingly loud eating habits, and his stinky feet, to name just a few. Despite this I wouldn't change that man for the world. 

He's strong. He's understanding. He's sensitive. He's caring and kind. He worships the ground I walk on and he loves me. He loves me more than I could ever wish for. 

This is why I decided that we needed counselling. 

I didn't want to loose that man. Loose him in the heartache and the pain. I couldn't bare the thought of him looking at me and wishing he'd chosen a different path. We couldn't change what had happened to us but we couldn't let it break us. 

I contacted a lot of councillors before we found the right one. A lovely lady who used to be a midwife. 
We've been seeing her now for quite a few months. At the beginning it was really hard. Hard to talk about how we felt, hard to deal with what had happened and hard to see that it was helping us. 
We have said some things in that room that I will never repeat. Things that we didn't necessarily mean, things that we'd never told anyone before, things that have upset each other. But they needed to be said. We needed to get those thoughts out of our heads in order to move on. In order to carry on living. 

It's not always been bad. As we learned to deal with our emotions and find ways of helping each other we talked more about our future, how proud we are of each other, how much we care for each other. 

It's helped us in more ways that I think we'll ever know. We bicker less, we can take time out from conversations when we feel they are becoming too heated, we care more about how each other feels and we respect that sometimes we get sad and that's okay. We've found ways to support each other in that sadness and to help one another through. 

We have nothing to be ashamed of. We go to counselling and it's helped us. We never went because our relationship was failing, we went to help us understand each other and to help and support each other through the loss of our children. 

We are parents who have so much love. What's happened to us is unfair and soul destroying but we owe it to Lily and Albie (and the other 2 little beans) to keep this love going. If anything good has come out of all this it is that we are stronger people, independently and together. Our love only grows and I'm not ashamed that we had help in doing that. 

After all, life goes on. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

My pain is no different just because I'm young

Yes I'm only 23! Yes I am a mother! Yes I am a bereaved parent! And that makes me no different than any other bereaved parent!

Since starting my blog I've had so much response. I've had messages from people that support me, I've had messages from people who say I have helped them, I've had messages from people who understand, and messages from people who don't but who want too. 
I've also been introduced to pages and forums with other bereaved parents, under an array of different circumstances. 

This is great. I love that people can come together in a time of grief to help others. But one of the main things that keeps popping up is age. Don't get me wrong I haven't seen anyone out right say, 

''I hurt more than you because I'm older.''

But often I get the feeling that this is what people imply. 

I understand, I really, really do. I know the pain and upset, I know how unfair it all is. I know the feeling of wanting a baby so much and seeing all these people around you getting pregnant and having babies with no problems at all and it's just not fair. But I also know that the majority of those people deserve to make a family as much as anyone else. Regardless of age. 

I often see posts from bereaved parents stating that a family member/friend has announced their pregnancy. This will often be followed with how unfair it is. I've posted similar myself. Yes it is unfair and that's a perfectly normal part of grief and a perfectly normal feeling. What I struggle with is the reasons why it is unfair. 

''This person has only been with their partner 1 year!'' 

''This person isn't even married'' 

''This person is younger than me!'' 

''This person is only 21!''

''This person shouldn't be having children!''

The only valid reason for being upset about it is because this person is having a baby, and it should be you. That's fine. Envy is a part of grief but that doesn't mean because they have a different life than you that it means they shouldn't be able to start a family. 

This is where I come in. 

These type of ''so and so is pregnant and they shouldn't be'' posts get under my skin. They really upset me. The reason being I'm a young mum. I had Lily at 18 and I hadn't been with her dad very long. I hadn't even been with Brent a year when I fell pregnant the first time with the ectopic. It had only been just over a year when I fell with Albie and under 2 years when I feel with the next little bean. 

But I am a good mum! Regardless of my age! And I deserve to have a healthy baby just as much as anyone else. These comments make me feel I don't deserve it. The fact that someone has been married 10 years, they're 30+ and desperate for children makes me feel unworthy of children at 23. 

I've seen comments saying that these bereaved women were too young and they should try again when they are older and more settled, when they have a better career and own their own house. People say, ''It was for the best.''
Like they wouldn't have been a good parent anyway and therefore don't deserve to grieve for their child as much as someone older who has all these things. 

Ive had similar comments said to me.  And it makes me feel like shit. I'm am no less deserving of a child than someone else because of my age, where I live, who I live with and how good of a job I have. I have provided for Lily, and albie to some extent and I will provide for any other children I may have in the future. 

So please please think before you speak. Wether you have no idea how we feel or wether you've unfairly been through it before, Just because a person is younger, less experienced than you it doesn't mean they are less deserving. And it doesn't mean their loss doesn't hurt as much as anyone else's. 

It is unfair but after all, Life goes on.