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!

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I’m writing this on the eve of Alice’s birthday (Tuesday), and I can’t quite believe we are hours away from her turning one! Tomorrow she will no longer be my little baby, but instead an official toddler, and my heart isn’t quite ready for that. I have never particularly been a parent that gets too emotional over my children aging and until recently I have been okay with it all, but this time I feel a physical aching about one of my kids getting older…perhaps it’s not knowing if she’s the last of my babies, perhaps its because she’s our rainbow?

Today, and this week really, is a big reminder that losing a baby continues to affect you years down the line. I don’t think for a second Alice would feel any less appreciated or loved to know I was thinking and feeling all of this the days leading up to her birthday, and knowing her now, I feel she knows what we lost and how her presence is a gift in our lives that balances that all some days. Of course I sit here feeling excited that we have known her for a whole 12 months and can see what a huge blessing she is and has been. We are all super excited to celebrate with her, but I would be lying if I didn’t say how incredibly hard it is too. Tomorrow is another 1st. It’s a milestone we never saw with Poppy, and as I have been hanging up 12 to 18 months clothes ready to go into her new little closet, or as I look to buy a birthday card with a number 1 (which I haven’t yet) it all just feels a little much.

This time last year I lay labouring in the LGI utterly terrified that another one of my babies was going to be born dead. I ran through my mind the events of birthing her sister, still wondering how it was all possible. As the midwives assured me all would be well, I then began hoping she would at least not look like her. I had taken the risk to try again and thought I was ready to give it all another go, but the racing thoughts and the anxiety were a reminder of how hard this chapter was actually going to be. We were moments away from knowing if she would arrive safely and if she was to come home and whilst that meant that I was excited to meet her, I was also incredibly worried too that life would cheat us again.

In contrast to the anxiety of stillbirth all over again, nothing prepared me for the flood of joy she would bring. I for so long felt empty, and whilst she could/can never fill the hole her sister left, she does a blumming good job of filling my empty arms. Its this aspect of her turning 1 that I especially struggle with – an independent little tot that squirms away from the long cuddles she has kept me in good supply of. Its the whole “losing” another baby to toddler hood as well as the milestones we never saw.


For 12 months Alice has filled my arms and expanded my heart. She has given me back a portion of lost confidence, and increased the joy in our home and lives like no other. Through her I feel I know her sister better, and yet through her there are hundreds of little moments that remind us of all we lost and continue to miss with not having her here (Many of which I was completely unprepared for). But I realise I would grieve whether Alice (or any other kids) were born to us following the loss of Poppy, and I would much prefer to take the risk and have the reminders along with the joy and comfort they bring, than just the empty pain of grief alone!

 Despite the last 12 months of increased wonderment at what could have been, Alice has helped me to see in new colours. She has shown me what I am capable of, and what my new normal looks like. She has helped me to have more confidence in remembering and including her sister and has taught me new things and interests. I feel like she has given me the direction I have lacked in life since losing Poppy and she has certainly helped me to heal a little more. With all of this she has enabled me to help more people in baby loss and pregnancies after loss.

Ultimately though since we were expecting her, she has given us reason to hope.

She brings joy where there was none and she brings energy and calmness all at the same time. She is tender and loving, funny and cute, and at 12 months she has 6 (yes 6) new teeth! She has conquered both going up and down stairs now, has had her feet measured and is able to walk only holding on with one hand. She will only drink coconut milk and is terrified of toy dinosaurs (much to her siblings amusement!).

Alice Grace is by far the best risk we ever took!

* I will only be updating my parenting after loss experiences sporadically now as I feel getting to 12 months, with all of the firsts has most definitely being a roller coaster and one I needed to share. I expect on big milestones and family adventures there will more moments for us that I will want to share again that convey life after loss (with all of its struggles and beauties intertwined).  But please know that choosing to have another baby after Stillbirth was a choice we struggled with since days after she died. It has been a challenge and trigger of grief I never anticipated. As much as we love and adore our little Alice, she does hold the keys to both healing and painful reminders of losing her sister. It isn’t wrong to feel or acknowledge that, it is a known fact of having a baby after one has died – the joy (rainbow) suddenly coexists with the storm. The pregnancy was incredibly stressful, and labour emotional, but it has been worth it and life feels far better these days! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE – Thank you for all you bring to our lives! 
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15 babies die every day in the UK before, during or shortly after birth. That’s 15 too many! Whilst this has dropped slightly in recent years, we are still 3 times slower than most European countries working to reduce the number of people experiencing baby loss, and as someone that is now one of those stats, I find it unacceptable!

Being bereaved parents its utterly heartbreaking to imagine anyone having to face such a tragedy as that of not being able to bring their precious baby home. The thought of someone being told that their baby has died doesn’t bare thinking about, and yet we never imagine that we might become the 1!

As I now befriend at Sands, I see on a regular basis (outside of my experience) what 15 a day looks like – It looks like stillbirth, premature birth, infection, a weak cervix, illness, chromosome defects and in some cases – neglect!

I see the pain, the loneliness, the longing for their baby. I see the confusion, the broken lives and dreams, and the all consuming sadness and anger. I see the mother who nurtured that baby for months to be told they could never raise them. I hear of heartache, funerals and the ignorance of others. And I see a longing to be understood.

But I also see strength as they try to navigate life without their precious baby. And amidst all of this that they are trying to make sense of, I find it very sad that many still fail to realise that the death of a baby is something that will affect them for the rest of their life. It might not be as raw as those first days, weeks and months, but without a doubt, you don’t just grieve for a few months or a year or two. Losing a baby means losing a lifetime with your child. It is something that changes you immediately and thrusts you onto a path that feels so far from anything you have ever known, and yet baby loss is still very much a taboo subject (and one people talk about less and less as time passes).

It amazes me that so many babies die each day and people still find it hard to say it or accept someone in their loss. I find it so weird that we are made to feel weird for talking about our children or remembering them – just because they’re dead!

This September (the 16th to be precise) my 3rd child “Poppy” Should be turning 3. This year we should be anxiously awaiting her taking a big step and starting nursery. We should have already had 2 birthdays celebrating her in our family and we should have tonnes of pics of our little tot getting into mischief, and enjoying life with her 3 other siblings. There should be one more face in those family pics we take each month and one more around the dinner table. My 5 seater Picasso shouldn’t be enough and I should know the colour of her eyes, the size of her feet, the things she loves and the foods she hates. I should be able to hold her when she’s sad and tickle her and chase her round whilst she giggles.

Her siblings should know her as their friend and ally – not just a memory.

Poppy died 2 days before my due date, and was stillborn on my due date. Whilst half expected with a previous diagnosis of CHD and Trisomy 18, nothing prepared me for how broken I would feel and how dull life would become for a season.

I never imagined how awful it would be to be in labour knowing what was coming. How I would feel awkward to hold my baby because she wasn’t alive. How I would be so numb and how I prayed that it wasn’t true.

No one prepared me for people not helping me how I needed or friends leaving my life because they couldn’t deal with me in my grief. I never imagine how painful it would be to say goodbye and bury one of my children and then feel so alone for so long. And whilst there were amazing people along the way to support, with time passing this too became less frequent and loneliness was a far too familiar feeling.

I never imagined feeling so awkward for saying one of kids names out loud and remembering her.

At almost 3 years on I still cry, I still feel it and I still miss her every day. We often speak her name between us and reflect upon a life lost, but the difference now is that I have almost mastered the art of keeping a lid on my grief (though in some things its impossible) and know (mostly) who I can speak to about it.

I hate time for only one reason, and that is as it passes so do peoples interest and awareness of your pain and loss. At almost 3 years it is rare for people to speak of it and common for people to change the subject. Especially since her little sister was born last year, there is more reason for people to focus on what we have as opposed to what we lost.

As time passes our loss becomes something that happened a few years ago and not something we live with everyday.

But our loss is our daughter too. Our loss is a member of our family… the talking and reflection help us keep her in the present and not as a memory. Talking helps me to slowly begin to make sense of that Sunday night that doctor told me there was no heartbeat. It helps me make sense of birthing and holding my lifeless child. It helps me make sense of the day my husband lowered her tiny casket into a 2ft grave.

Talking reminds me she was here and is ours.

This June support SANDS is helping to reduce the number of babies dying each day in the UK through their #15babiesaday campaign. Why? Because 15 babies is too many and no one should have to live this nightmare! If you can help please do. They continually help me carry my grief and find joy in life (and feel a little more normal) despite being the 1 in 15!

In memory of Poppy Quinn Smith 16/09/2014 #1ofthe15. 

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2.5 Years ago I never imagined I would be so excited to be buying a cot again. 2.5 years ago with the stillbirth of our baby girl I hated the sight of all things baby (or rather the pain they surfaced), and I was done. I had been burned pretty badly, broken, and was left wounded so deeply I wondered how I would survive.

I quickly rid my house of anything baby and was adamant I wouldn’t be risking my heart again.

But then comes that magical thing people ALWAYS refer to – “Time”. And whilst I find it hasn’t healed me in the way I thought, with it’s passing some of the initial fog has lifted, and I found myself wanting to have a 4th child and try again!

And now here we are with her safe in our arms, and loving life in her new cot!

Buying a cot, like buying a crib was a HUGE thing for me this time around. With both Ethan and Megan it was all pretty straight forward and easy – I just had white cots and I loved them. Both were preloved (of course) and as a lot of my furniture is white, it made sense as they felt fresh and I loved how it all looked against the bright colours I choose to adorn my home with.

Naturally, the plan was that Poppy would go into the cot Megs had had, in the same little pink room and she would have bunk beds with Ethan. But then she didn’t come home. Suddenly the cot I once loved tormented me as I walked passed it daily, weekly, and seeing no baby in it. It had to go, it no longer had a place in our lives or in our home and so it ended up on a car boot.

2.5 yrs on my taste has changed a lot, and I enjoy more retro furniture and patterns, and with those darker woods. So whilst scrolling through my shpock app last week I saw this cot bed for £30 and it was just perfect. Perfect for my style, perfect for a new chapter, and perfect for our quickly growing little girl.

When a baby has died in the family and all things baby have left the house, suddenly bringing them all back carry’s with it a whole host of feelings and emotions. It has been a long overdue purchase and one I have been avoiding, but I love that this cot is nothing like the white we once had. I am grateful that with time I have learnt to understand my grief a little more and thus be able to accept these things back into my life. It is lovely to see everyday with her little face poking out. It’s something different for this new stage of life. Something individual and well, I’m quite in love with my little bargainous purchase!

My Petit Canard
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