You may have or may not have heard of the charity SANDS?? I write about them here occasionally as they have become a rock for us. They are the charity that are working to reduce the rate of “stillbirth and Neonatal death” and helping families affected by it. Anyone who has had to live the nightmare of loosing their precious baby will have probably received one of their bereavement packs; full of guides on what to do regarding work, grief, relationships and how to’s for people outside of those immediately affected, on what to say, do, how to help. They run support groups throughout the country – which to us has been a lifeline, a place to learn, accept and understand.
Unfortunately still birth is not a rare tragedy in 2013 approximately 10 babys a DAY were still born here in the UK alone. This month is SANDS awareness month – shining a light on the fact that approximately 100 babies a week will die during June (as with every other month) and as my way of helping them raise awareness I have a few brave mummy’s that have come forward to give their story, to show you the baby/family behind the statistic.
As you know Poppy was very sick, it was almost expected that she may not live to birth but we took our chances. Every day we hoped for a miracle and yet we knew deep down it was always a possibility. But whilst some still births are expected (never making the news any easier I might add) many are not, in fact in most cases their babies are healthy and there is no explanation. This is the case with my guest Jessica this week and her tragic loss of Baby Quinn.
She tells her story in the form of a letter to her before self from the bereaved mother she is now.
To my naïve, innocent, and ignorant “before” self,
You don’t know me yet, but I am who you will become. You are so naïve and have no idea that you will be blindsided by the biggest tragedy of your life. You will be tested. Tested isn’t even the word. You will be…clinging onto the side of a cliff, your fingers loosing grip, slipping down and further down. You will have to decide if you will let go and plummet into the crater of depression or if you will strengthen your grip and push yourself beyond all measures upward.
You think you know pain. You don’t. You think you know love. You don’t. You think you know what it really means to live. My friend, you certainly don’t. Everything that you thought you knew will be ripped to shreds and you will ferociously scatter to try to put them back together. When you do, the seams you have made in patching them up will always be there, to remind you that you are not who you were and never will be again.
Here’s my advice to you, dear friend. Do you remember that morning sickness you had with your firstborn, Riley? Embrace it the next time around. This nausea is your next baby getting everything it needs from you. If you resent it, this is time away from cherishing your baby. Cherish every single second. Trust me.
Do you remember that fear you had when pregnant with Riley? You didn’t want to celebrate the pregnancy too early – for if you did you would be too sad if you lost her. Well, celebrate everything the next time around. Celebrate the positive pregnancy test, celebrate every trip to the doctor’s office, celebrate the strong heart pounding on the Doppler, celebrate her beautiful face and body on the ultrasound. These will be the moments you will vehemently want back later. Trust me.
Do you remember those baby kicks? They are so magical – treasure them. Put your hand to your belly and smile – each time. Play back and try to interact with her. You are getting to know each other and you’ll want to know her more. Trust me.
Remember the discomforts of pregnancy right before birth? Love them. It is a sign that life is inside of you. Healthy life. Think of the true miracle that is inside of you and do not take one thing for granted. For that’s all you will have, my friend. That is the only time you will have with your baby.
The Universe will play an unbearable and cruel joke on you and take away your baby just when she will be perfect to be born. Just when she will be the most healthy to enter this world to be strong – she will die. Inside of you. During birth. Then, you will spend the rest of your life longing and aching for her, wishing you could have her back inside of you again.
So, my friend, the next time around, treasure each moment. This is all the time you will have with her. Don’t waste it. When it’s gone, it will all feel like a dream and like you lived in an alternate universe. So, sing from the rooftops during your next pregnancy, dance like nobody’s watching with
her inside of your belly, and let her hear your bellowing laugh. Don’t spend your days scared or fearful. This will be your only time with her and you need to spend every moment loving this baby before she goes. And when she does go – I, my friend, your “after self,” will be waiting for you to teach you the lessons of pain, love, and what it means to live.
I will see you soon my friend,
Your “after” self
Jessica writes a very honest and moving blog about her loss and life around it over at RememberQuinn.com and can be found on Twitter @RememberQuinn
She has two beautiful daughters: Riley, who is two and a half and Quinn, who was stillborn on February 16, 2015. She carried Quinn to 40 weeks and everything was perfect and normal at her last OB appointment – she had a strong heartbeat and there were no indications of any problems. However, she died three days later when my contractions started and put too much stress on the umbilical cord, which they later found out was wrapped around her neck 3 times. She arrived on her due date stillborn; “She was perfect and beautiful, and will always be loved.”
Still birth and neonatal death are a subject/issue/words that no one wants to hear or even talk about, yet experience but as Ive said before its real, it happens and for many more than there should be it is our reality. If you would like to something to help visit https://www.uk-sands.org/get-involved/events/sands-awareness-month for ideas this month.