Baby weight is a perfectly normal part of pregnancy, its expected isn’t it.. the amount of people that say the ridiculous comment “go on treat yaself your eating for 2” and because of our stretchy pants and maternity gear we don’t tend to notice the extra few pounds – why would we when were constantly being told how radiant we look?

Once baby is here were so wrecked and preoccupied that we tend to slouch around in Pjs, joggers or whatever is clean and aren’t too fussed initially with our post pregnancy bods until at least the 6 week period and then again the people that encouraged us to stuff our faces pacify us with “9 months on 9 months off” type phrases. Its all well and good until you have no baby to hide behind, no routine to establish and to the outside world no reason to be 3 stone heavier than you were last year.
dropoutPrior to getting pregnant with Poppy I lost a tonne of weight “Clean eating” – initially it was tough but it became habit and I looked and felt amazing for it. I had lost everything i’d gained with Ethan and Megs and then some, I was around 9st 10 when I got pregnant and whilst she was my smallest baby at only 4lb 5oz. The nightly Ben & Jerrys, doughnuts and other rubbish I turned to with every piece of bad news made me end up at flipping 12st 12! Its quite disgusting really, but then justifiable too. I still fitted in a regular size 12 top and my elasticated waist size 10 trousers and didn’t really notice what I was doing as my bump was always 6 or so weeks behind!
1234366_10152350139271553_6603483517022976178_nNow here I am 4 weeks post natal, Probably looking quite normal for a new mother (or so I hear) but i’m not really, and so because of that I cannot stand my baby weight. I know I just had a baby but I don’t have my baby, and because of that I hate that I have to mostly wear maternity jeans still because my hips and bum are still too wide, my shoulders are too wide for all of my lovely Autumn jumpers and blouses and despite the meds the hospital gave me I hate that I still have some milk in there!! All of these things remind me every day that I had a baby, they remind me of the emptiness that replaced the excitement and hope of our little Trisomy 18 baby girl and therefore I want nothing more than to wear normal clothes that make me feel just a little bit more normal and don’t constantly remind me of what could have been!

I recently went shopping and bought a dress that’s flattering and a big jumper to hide in so I can feel a little more confident in public and don’t look so noticeably like I recently had a baby…I look forward to 2 weeks time when I can get the all clear to exercise and burn off some of this fatness! Its such a difficult cycle, on one hand im feeling pretty naff about the extra weight on the other I want to eat rubbish because of how naff I feel about loosing Poppy, I give in and feel naff about the weight all over again..blaaaahhhhhhh

Before Poppy

Before Poppy

Follow:

Ugh kids parties…where do I begin?!
Next week Ethan turns 4 and regards his gifts/card its all been sorted for at least a month in anticipation that this part of the year, whether Poppy lived or died was going to be a rough spot! I wasn’t however as proactive with party planning & deliberately procrastinated the whole thing..why? Because deep down they do my head in for several reasons! So now im stuck with the pressure of party organizing all whilst I am far from being in the party mood because in case you didn’t know – life ain’t much of a party right now!!!

I do enjoy parties with friends and plan on one for my 30th this year but kids parties are a whole other story; Since entering the world of parenting I realize that people spend a heck of a lot of money on kids parties and there almost seems to be a little bit of competitiveness there too?! I’ve entertained at several & also attended them with the kids & its always something I struggle with especially when I have such a dominant bargain hunter inside of me. They often seem so huge for such a small person and with that SO noisy! Yes I know the kids absolutely love it, who doesn’t enjoy a party in their honour and I don’t question what an amazing job the parents have done to organize them..but then it always makes me feel the pressure when its our kids birthdays as iv’e seen such an array of fab parties, but honestly I can’t seem to justify spending so much on young kids that probably won’t even remember in a few yrs what they did or who was there and what usually results in tears! I always think for less you could have had a mint family day out chosen by the b’day boy/girl and I know several of my family members opt for this with their kids.

Despite these issues, I have however caved the last few years and thrown parties for my kids  and boy did I feel the pressure – the good thing about teaching kids classes though is you’ve a whole iPod of tacky kids music and a trolley full of kit to put together some good quality entertainment combine this with a shop at Aldi and home bargains and BOOM cheap & fun party! Ethan’s 2nd party was about £28 and for Megs 2nd party this June I swapped Aldi for some Costco pancake mix & fruit from the market to create a pancake station, threw a peppa & George figure on a chocolate fudge cake & the whole thing was about £30 with party bags too – I was buzzing and so was she!!
WP_004118

Last year Ethan’s party was cancelled the day before as a result of naughty behaviour – yes I am that harsh! He still had a cake and birthday tea but NO party, as a result he has spent most of this year looking forward to a party when he turns 4 (Pressure)and so I have decided that I wont be the UKs stingiest mother and wont let my issues infringe on their fun; so as a compromise I will let them have a party with friends every other year, and maybe a small birthday tea with a friend and a family day out on the other years. As all our kids have been born on even years (yes we did plan it that way) it makes sense that ‘even birthdays’ can be celebrated with a party of some description!  It does however mean with the time I have, the lack of desire and party spirit, I may have to go against all that is in me & spend a few more quid ahhhhhh the thought alone makes me anxious!
I haven’t quite figured out yet how I want to remember Poppy’s birthday, it is sad to think we will never plan birthday parties around her interests and see the excitement of going nuts with friends and crying when a balloon pops! I felt so strongly about this that I had one of my best friends make her a “birthday cake” for the funeral – Lemon poppy seed! Perhaps we will have one every year? I’m sure whatever we choose, be it a party or not, it will be perfect for her memory and for our family.
WP_005069

What about you – are you a yearly party family or has your kid never had one yet? How do you celebrate together?

Follow:

We visited the hospice today to give them a thank you gift; baby clothes we never used and donations that people have so generously given. They were all gratefully received and we gratefully received a listening ear and bereavement support!

I like going to the hospice now as I feel a little piece of Poppy there, that might sound strange but I feel indebted to them for giving to us the tender memories of our baby laid in a nursery, dressed in white and a scene of normality in all of this turmoil. Not only this but a good nights sleep when we needed it most.
On the way home I glanced through “The bereavement pack” supplied by SANDS and the phrases of ‘The bereaved parents/mother/father’ seemed to jump out at me – I suddenly realised that I now have a new identity among people I am ‘The Bereaved mother’!

I sometimes wonder how did I get here, how did life become so incredibly dark and sad, and how do I find the strength to keep going? Just 2 weeks ago I was an expectant mother of a third baby, full of hope and now here I am a bereaved mother craving for my new baby that came and left so soon. The time has gone quickly and the pain of it has intensified with each day. People seem to be easily getting on with life around us whilst for us it has stopped and we sit here stuck…clinging to the memories of our precious little baby, a baby I long to just hold again in my arms again. The baby I long to feel kick inside of me, the little girl I long to do anything normal with…How is it possible to move forward? I feel I am treading through treacle and wonder how to move on with life. It seems you can’t when you loose your child at whatever stage, I feel right now that when you become a bereaved parent it changes you forever and life will never be the same again, I will never be the same again. There is now a void in our hearts and a cloud we carry above us, our future is changed from what we had hoped and as we try each day to see the sunshine we carry the weight of pain from of our loss that seems to tarnish all that was that good.

WEB001bw

So how did we get here?

I think back to that Sunday night at the hospital when our hopes came crashing down with those few simple, yet incredibly powerful words of “Im sorry, there’s no heartbeat”! An awful silence filled the room and now, now I understand a little more about Still birth. In that moment life stops, it stands still and its almost as if the world grieves with you when the news is broken that your baby has died. Babies don’t die!

And there is such stillness present again when they are born! Absolute deafening silence.

We left the hospital that evening feeling so gutted, so broken and sad inside, and realising we never would meet our daughter alive. I just lay there pleading for it to be wrong…but it wasn’t, I was living every parents nightmare, and that meant of course that I had some anxiety about the birth – What would she look like? How would I feel? would it be like a normal delivery? etc.

When we arrived the next day for induction we were met by a lovely midwife “Eve” and taken to “The Rosemary suite”. This is a special room connected to delivery suite for parents like us that have experienced loss. It was nice and also meant Nathan could stay for the duration of our stay there. We chatted and asked all our questions and then around 6.30pm she broke my waters. Iv’e had my waters broken with all of my kids but this was especially painful and I was also shocked at the colour of them too, which when I asked was told it was a result of baby passing away and bowels opening, another reminder of the reality of what we were experiencing!!!

3.5hrs later the pains were intense and regularly close and so I asked for an Epidural, a decision I made prior as I didn’t want physical pain and emotional pain the closer it got. By this point I had a new midwife “Alex” and after it was all hooked up I was embarrassed to find out I was only 2cms still – she couldn’t believe how much I laughed my head off at this revelation. Thankfully only 2hrs later I was ready to push so it was definitely a blessing id opted for it so soon with how quick it all came! Poppy was born sleeping after only 2 pushes, my easiest delivery physically as no stitches or anything either. And then nothing. just quiet…so foreign to the sounds of the arrival of Ethan and Megan.

As Alex passed her to me an immense feeling of peace flooded my body, I had no tears, perhaps I was numb and in some kind of denial but all I could think of was how she looked so peaceful, and despite all of her problems I knew free of pain. For a few moments as I  held her little body I felt how special she was and knew we were all in God’s hands and his spirit rested in my heart! Of course we felt sad and of course we felt heartbroken, how can you not when there is such silence in a delivery room and no movement from your new baby? but the natural process of grief hadn’t yet hit me and the brains natural defence was soon to kick in, and deep down we knew this was just her body and not her, for she was back with her father in heaven!
Later that morning family visited and by dinner time we were at the hospice with her. When we arrived they had bathed her and tucked her into the cold crib, she looked so beautiful I could have sat and looked at her all night. For a few brief moments I expected her to wake but then I remembered shes not here! We said good night to her and slept amazingly well that night. I looked at her again the next morning before we had to return to the hospital for me to have a check up – such an inconvenience as Poppy’s skin had started to deteriorate and so unfortunately we couldn’t have any more time with her, that night the hospice dressed her in a special white dress made by her Aunt, I kissed her and placed her in her coffin (made by her uncle) and Nathan tucked her little white blanket around her (made by my mum) there she was wrapped in love in life and death. We then drove her together to the funeral home where they watched her for us until her funeral.
WEB002bwWEB003bwI was definitely on autopilot for the next few days, I had become a bereaved mother and there were 2 things that I needed
1. to grieve the loss and
2. to rest from the birth
I hardly did either, my grief manifested through a loss of appetite and disconnection and I couldn’t rest as I wanted her funeral to be perfect, it was all we could really do for her and I wanted to give it my all!

I was pleased with how the funeral went; the day was perfect despite the circumstances, the sun shone brightly and the peace of God was abundant. Both Nathan and I spoke, we shared our beliefs and feelings of everything, our faith and knowledge of a saviour that heals and brings hope of life after death. Nathans mum sang a beautiful piece by John Rutter ” All things bright and beautiful” which we both found emotional and we had some poems too. The burial was just family and Nathan and I carried her to the graveside, yes we were bereaved parents but to us it was a physical act of handing her back to God as he had briefly placed her in our care. At this point the emotion of everything hit me and I thought about how wrong it is that parents have to bury their child, even their new born! Here we were surrounded by our loved ones but at the same time feeling so alone and pained in what we were having to do – it all happened so fast and now I wouldnt hold her again in my arms in this life!

WEB005bw02
So here I am today a bereaved mother and whilst I suffer with pain like no other I am incredibly grateful for the time we spent with her in the snowflake suite. I couldn’t imagine sending my baby to a mortuary and it was a comfort to leave the hospital know I would see her.

Its only been 2 weeks and yes I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ and my heavenly father, its that hope that has driven me forward to now and keeps me going but I am a human being and grief is a natural process and it feels like pure torture. So please don’t expect me to be able to just get on with a life that feels so foreign now when I hurt so much inside.  Don’t think its ok because I have or can have other children – its Poppy I want right now, she is the one I wish I could hold or have held a little longer. Don’t be afraid to talk about her – we want to keep her memory alive and don’t be afraid to talk to bereaved mothers – yes I may cry but I would’ve cried alone if you weren’t there! This journey does not end because Poppy passed away we now have to adjust to life without her, life with remembering her and life as bereaved parents, for whilst the pain will ease that title will always be with us!

Follow:

Ethan and Megan are massive Peppa Pig fans and so one of our summer bucket list adventures was to go to “Windy Castle”. Lucky for me, shortly after this request a living social deal came up for “Bolton Castle” and so I was on it! Even though we are 3 days into Autumn, I think with everything we’ve been through we can be forgiven for not quite making it with the end of summer deadline!

WP_005071
With the events of the last 7 days (which I will get around to sharing once I can find the strength and right words) the kids really haven’t spent a lot of time doing family stuff with us, whilst we have all been together at Nathans family home, the two of us have been so busy planning Poppies funeral that we’ve probably neglected the little chicks (Thank goodness for amazing aunts, uncles and grandparents)!

Today I just wanted to stay in bed, or at least in my PJs. I didn’t want to go out… why would I, ill probably bump into women with babies and be around people that have no idea what I am feeling inside or understand why I really cannot be bothered to smile back at them! I knew Nathan was right though, we needed a family day and we needed to use the voucher!
On the way up there we reflected upon everything for a bit and we both felt like we had pressed pause on life when Poppy was born and then when we came home last night it was play again – because of that “pause” mode we haven’t really had time to digest whats happened or properly grieve the loss of our baby. We have literally been in survival mode to make the funeral as perfect as we could for her and now back home reality kicks in as does the pain of all that has happened. In some ways it is good we have Ethan and Megan that means we do have to force ourselves out and have some family fun. Today was difficult but “Windy castle” blew away some of the hurt I felt this morning and we had a lot of fun together laughing and climbing around the place! Megan loved pretending to be a “pwinsess” which brought a smile to our faces and warmth to our hearts!

WP_005095WP_005104WP_005101

WP_005086

 

A friend told me yesterday that grief comes in waves; some waves are small and pass quickly, maybe a few minutes. Others are huge, come one after another that we feel like we are drowning with it and cant even breath at times. One things for certain though is that there will be breaks in the waves where the pain will ease for a bit and we will be able to cope for a little bit longer. I am grateful for a couple hours of break between the waves that I could go out, feel peace in the countryside and smile with my family before another crashes upon me!

Follow: