Are you 1 in 4? Will you be lighting a candle at 7pm on the 15th Oct?
Let's break the taboo and talk about babyloss, let's talk about our babies who died during any stage of pregnancy, at birth or soon after being born, let's support each other and raise awareness.
I am a statistic, I am 1 in 4, I will be lighting two candles in memory of my two babies born sleeping. Yes, sadly two babies, two years apart. Nobody can ever imagine the heartbreak of leaving the hospital with empty arms. It's not natural to have to register your baby's birth and death at the same time. To bury your baby is beyond grief.
At the ripe age of 36 I became pregnant for the first time, delighted, scared, excited, emotions every new Mum experiences. Sadly with no prior warning, I went into early labour and was told our precious baby would be born asleep. I went through a long labour not being able to comprehend what was happening to me. Afterwards, the shock meant I couldn't accept what had happened. I went quickly back to work and was in complete denial, it hadn't happened to me, it was a like a film I had watched or something I'd read in a book. I had detached myself from the experience completely. No formal explanation was ever given as to why this had happened, like losing your baby at any stage, it was just something that leaves you always wondering why.
It took me nearly two years before I was pregnant again, I was monitored more regularly and shown the special care baby unit. I suffered from stress during this pregnancy, I'm sure this didn't help but nursing an elderly relative with alzheimer's is difficult, but I couldn't and wouldn't leave them. History was to repeat itself, my waters broke whilst I was at the hospital visiting and sadly, despite the efforts of the medical team, this baby was breech and died during labour. The hospital put me back on the maternity ward to recover, needless to say seeing and hearing the newborns did little for my mental health. This time the grief was overwhelming and I eventually sought prozac and counselling.
Nobody tells you that your body is going to do everything the same after birth, a six week check is still essential. Medication is prescribed to dry up your milk, my boobs were so painful that when a friend told me to try wearing cabbage leaves in my bra as it is supposed to help the leaks, I bought the biggest Savoy cabbage in the supermarket, at that point my poor husband really thought I had lost the plot. I can't remember if it worked or not but having cabbage leaves stuffed inside my bra seemed like a good idea at the time.
Its important to remember how Dads suffer too, my husband not only had to cope with our loss but he also experienced feelings of helplessness. He was present at both births and watched knowing he couldn't help me. I can't begin to imagine how it feels for him, fortunately we were and still are close and have been able to support each other. I can understand how easily the grief could drive some couples apart.
We hesitantly decided to try one last time and just before my 40th birthday I had our beautiful baby girl. I was kept in hospital for most of the pregnancy. This was difficult for both of us as the hospital was 45 mins away from home but the nursing staff were lovely. Our daughter was born via emergency caesarean as she started getting distressed during labour, seeing my husband enter the operating room in jay cloth type clothing helped lighten the mood. Thankfully today we have our very special daughter who is now a teenager.
Every baby loss is someone's precious child be it in early or late pregnancy, during birth or infancy. We lose not just our baby but our hope's and dreams for them. Your feelings for your baby are no less important. Others people's comments can be extremely hurtful, especially after an early miscarriage. The 'you can try again' or 'at least you are not infertile' are not comforting but many people do not know what to say. I had friends cross the road rather face the uncomfortable reality of having to say something or out of fear of making me cry, that's why awareness is so important.
We remember our lost babies every day, but by raising awareness this week we can get people talking about this painful subject.
If you are need of professional help there are many charities and support groups available.
Much love to you all xx