Every year people all over the world light a candle at 7pm on the last day of Baby loss awareness week to remember babies everywhere taken too soon – it’s known as “The Wave of Light”! This year however I wanted to do something different… I wanted to light up the sky for our little girl and all of the babies gone too soon, and so on Sunday we had a little trek over some local fields and let off Chinese lanterns with my family at dusk.

As we let each lantern off I thought of Poppy (of course), and then my thoughts turned to each baby I know because of their wonderful parents that in some small way have played a part in our journey. I looked up at that dusky sky and its vastness and how small that little lantern seemed in all of it … how symbolic of each little baby in the world gone too soon, and easily overlooked with such a big world and busy lives, and yet we remember each day who we carried and who is missing from life.

I love the wave of light. Its a very reflective moment with deep meaning, and yet a moment that fills me with strength to know that people all over, in each of their lives are lighting up life together in remembrance of their babies. Its quite amazing that something so small can have such meaning – each light briefly piercing through the darkness of loss and showing each little brief life worldwide!

I never imagined my life to be what it is, I mean why would you? But baby loss, awareness and the wave of light has very quickly become my ordinary and an ordinary moment in our life each year. I was so grateful that whilst I wasn’t able to let off lanterns with my good friend as we had hoped, my family were willing to come and join in remembering Poppy and babies everywhere gone too soon. 

We had a lovely family walk and some really good laughs in the process (Sorry for the scorched field Mr Farmer) and it was a lovely family moment to come together and light up the sky for the Wave of light and our little Pops! 

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

This week has been, and currently is 2017 Baby loss awareness week! MP’s have been discussing it in parliament (massive), parents have been sharing their stories in the media, and charities all over the UK continue to campaign and raise awareness of the effects of baby loss and the need for improved bereavement care in every hospital!

And me? Well I am ashamed to say that I have at present done nothing to acknowledge it or try to raise awareness. I haven’t contacted local media to share my story, I haven’t raised money for the charities that helped us. I haven’t stood and handed out stuff to the public letting them know the reality of baby loss in the UK and the lives of those affected.

I am at present in 2 camps…1 where I want to be campaigning and talking to make a change. And the the second camp where I stand, I stand with feeling of “what’s the point?”.

 I want to make a difference for other women faced with a Trisomy 18 diagnosis, I want to make a change and raise awareness of stillbirth and what life is like weeks, months and even years down the line. I want to be the one talking to the world, doing fundraisers and finding sponsorship opportunities to raise much needed funds for the charities that helped us so much … but I’m too tired and honestly with just getting through the events of September – it all feels too much to go to that place so soon!

I have my other kids that bring blessings and joy, but I still face storms, and I wonder…should I keep trying to talk to make a difference only to feel like what is the point? Am I really making a difference? Who even cares?

 And then I remember that that mentality isn’t right! How can changes take place if we don’t , in our corner of life stand up and break the silence? Yes it isn’t easy to keep revisiting, and progress can be slow, but does that mean we shouldn’t try? We shouldn’t write about it again?

Because it feels like a huge task, does it mean I shouldn’t talk about it again, and continue to tell people about Trisomy 18 and Stillbirth? And then what life feels like with out your child year after year?

There is always a point to sharing things, even if it makes the difference to just one woman…one family…

I know that for some, they want us to be silent. There are some that want us to put it in the past and leave it there, so they don’t have to hear it all again, see it all again and act interested! Some people want us to “get over it” so that they can too!

It’s exhausting to live with some days. Its easy to feel Im failing at raising awareness and making a difference and its hard to have Baby loss Awareness the month right after the anniversaries. But silence isn’t an option, and silence isn’t me!

We need to break the silence, we need things to change. In this day and age 15 babies a day shouldn’t be dying. In this day and age, women who suffer miscarriage (early or late), Stillbirth or infant loss should feel okay to talk about it if they want to. They should be allowed to talk about the impact of loss in their life and family without judgement on how they choose to feel and behave as a result of that loss.

There are mothers and fathers all around us that for one reason or another have lost their precious son or daughter too soon… they shouldn’t be silent and nor should I. I am one of those mothers, who makes a decision every day to be happy despite my loss. Most days I succeed, but some I don’t!

Baby loss is crap! Its hard to say goodbye to the life that never lived. It was hard to be told our baby would die and they wouldn’t help us! It was then even harder to birth a dead baby and see her beautiful little body and face. It was incredibly hard to bury her, and in the beginning life just feels impossible. And then its hard to let the world know how you feel and what you need. You soon realise how quickly people move on and you are stuck with the pain, and you realise how hard it is to walk through life with more fear, and being more broken and emotional with out them in it.

I guess I want people to be aware of that fact – to know that for some it lives with them forever and is hard. Know that what they need is love, friendship, compassion and empathy. A woman who has lost a baby doesn’t need to be told she can just try again, or that she needs to have more faith, or that she needs to get over it. She doesn’t need silencing or being made to feel awkward when she speaks out. She shouldn’t be told ever that in your opinion she isn’t dealing with her loss in a way you see fit… She doesn’t need limitations on support or time frames of when she should be over it. Please just love them and listen to them…acknowledge their child and be grateful it wasn’t you!

I am hormonal, I don’t want to do a whole lot this year for baby loss awareness (other than this post evidently and the wave of light!). And yes it’s hard to keep remembering in full all I lost and went through with my 3rd pregnancy and birth,  but I will always tell anyone who will listen that I had her. A beautiful little girl called Poppy Quinn. I have 4 kids not 3 and that some days I might need a little more love and less judgement.

I lost a baby at full term due to Trisomy 18, and I carry that with me through my journey of life. I love my kids, I count my blessings, I love and have joy… but baby loss is crap and doesn’t just go away because of those things!

Follow:

As Alice was blessed on Sunday I made it my goal prior that I would make her the little white dress that she would wear for it. I pondered a lot on Poppy of course whilst making it and remembered the gorgeous little white dress my sister in law had made her. This project tested my mediocre sewing skills and certainly gave me a new appreciation for the gorgeous dress she had not only so carefully sewn for her burial but then replicated for my memory box – a gift I have suddenly treasured more so after this weekend. This week is “Baby loss Awareness week” and whilst we can be more open to sharing miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal death and stillbirth stories and videos on social media, the reality of infant loss stretches far beyond the week we have been allotted to talk about it, and it certainly goes beyond being one of the statistics discussed each year. It is the reality that I have 3 little white dresses but only 2 little girls. It is seeing your newest baby looking beautiful on a special day and you cannot help but think of the fact that this is just the start for her and that her big sister never had any of this. It is the gaps in every aspect of life…where I can make my kids many more dresses and clothes but for her I can do nothing. Baby loss this week for me is whilst I have had 3 daughters who each have worn their own special little white dresses as babies, only 2 will be dressed in white again in the future…

20161011_103549

This pain of loss, this feeling of missing out on things with that child is the exact reason why I wanted to make Alice a dress for her blessing. I wanted it to be special and I wanted to put the work in this time like I had done to get her here safely. I wanted love to go into it because of what I felt in my heart for her and I wanted to use my wedding dress because it was a symbol of our union as a forever family! It didn’t seem fitting to just go buy her one (though I had looked) and Megan’s was a traditional one that I had chosen just for her. No, I had to make Alices, or at least try! And whilst my sewing skills are not outstanding they are forever improving and challenges like this are what I need to keep that going. I have never sewn a dress before and had little idea on how to put a sleeve in, but I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted long sleeves, a fancy layer and for it to be rather simple and classic. Thankfully it wasn’t as tricky as I thought and in fact it was a joy to make it.

Working on such a small scale was tricky at times but of course the plus there is that it only used a little fabric and to actually cut out, pin and put it all together only took me a couple of hours. The whole thing cost just £2.35 – £2/mtr for the white poly-cotton and 35p for a mtr of white ribbon, both from the market. The top layer was taken from my wedding dress and so has a sentimental element to it too. I have considered, and probably still will, of donating my dress to be used to make burial gowns for babies, and so by doing this it meant a piece of it remains in the family. I may take the whole top layer off before I do that and keep it to make the girls baptismal dresses when they are older, but I am still not 100% ready to part with it AND plus I am digressing!!!!

To make this dress I measured the dress Megan wore and then drew out the pattern on some heavy white paper. For the sleeves I used Pinterest and then drew it to scale on said paper. I then cut it all out, sewed binding onto the collar (there’s a first) and then front to back at just the shoulders. Next I sewed in the sleeve and down the side seams…shocker that it worked!! And finally after sewing up the sides of both skirt pieces I then attached them into the top I had made…finished with a hand sewn ribbon waistband.

20161011_10393520161009_192250

I am very aware of the imperfections…the shoddy hand sewing that we joked about looking like Megs had helped, and the binding that’s not that amazing either. I can see the mistakes in it right down to the rough edges on the seams and how I even messed up the back trying to figure out how to make an opening for her fat head to go in. But these things are only noticeable if (a) you are a sewer and (b) if I was to show you. To anyone else looking at it, its a huge well done and rather impressive and to me, whilst I criticise it and joke, it is a great accomplishment; I not only made my 1st baby dress, but I made a little white dress for our daughters special day. I made a dress that she will hopefully keep forever, and I made a dress for an occasion that her sister never had the opportunity to wear.

There will be many many more occasions from starting school, to birthday parties and even down to special outfits our other children all get to wear.. it is the Christmases and the holidays we take, the days out and photos that are all the reminders of what we have lost and what we miss with that child. That is our life’s experience of baby loss … it transcends beyond one week a year because we want to talk about them daily and miss them daily. We hope to have them remembered  and we want it to be acknowledged on the occasions like this, that whilst joyous carry pain! I have 3 little white dresses each belonging to my 3 daughters, but unfortunately because of still birth I only get to see 2 of them (and my son) grow up!

IMG_20161008_101730

Run Jump Scrap!
Follow: