"Never Fully Dressed’s strong social community allows us to speak with an honest and open voice whether it be fashion led, topical or personal. With charity at the heart of our brand we look to work with organisations that our team, brand and customers have genuine links with and feel strongly towards supporting. Tommy’s is a charity that has a true connection with both our staff, extended family and customers. As a brand that supports women in feeling their best through pregnancy, postnatal and breastfeeding dressing, this was an amazing opportunity and partnership for us. Our Love Love Love tee supports the amazing work of Tommy’s via their research into baby loss and helping parents at every stage of their pregnancy journey. We donate £5 from every Love Love Love t-shirt sale to Tommy’s."
This blog is from Jemma, Never Fully Dressed's marketing manager.
On 15 December 2017, 4 years after our first child and only a month into trying again, we found out we were pregnant with our second - a baby that was so, so wanted and already so, so loved.
I was 4-5 weeks according to the digital test (the fourth one I’d taken, just to be sure!) which made it feel so real, as this was the same time I found out I was pregnant with Beau. We tried to keep our news a secret, but the more excited we got, the harder this was. We felt like it would be okay to tell a few people, as it was our second baby, so surely everything would be fine...
On Christmas Day, we gave our immediate family members a little card each which read ‘bun in the oven’. Everyone was over the moon, especially Beau who was going to be a big brother and my nieces who would welcome a new cousin; this felt great. I wasn’t too well, but that comes hand in hand with usual pregnancy symptoms so I didn’t worry too much. I started telling a few friends as I was more relaxed and excited second time round.
Every parent's worst nightmare
On 22 January 2018, my son woke up feeling unwell, so he didn't go to nursery and I worked from home. I was on a conference call and heard him go to the toilet but not flush. Once my call was over I went to the toilet myself, but didn’t look until I stood up and saw blood in the pan. My initial reaction was that it was from my son, as he had said he had an upset tummy - not for a minute did I think it was from me - but when I wiped again, it was clear where the blood was coming from.
I tried to stay calm but I was screaming inside. I told my partner to come home from work, and called my sister and my mum to come round. My sister was trying to reassure me it would be okay, as I did have a small early bleed when I was pregnant with Beau, but booked me a private scan just to be sure. On the way there, I remember thinking: it will be okay, we will see our baby today, just earlier than planned
I’d known friends that had been through miscarriages, and at the time felt sadness for them, but in all honesty didn’t think too much about it again. The way society portrays it ‘as one of those things’ or ‘so common’ allowed this. How wrong could I have been.
The external scan didn’t show much so the nurse asked if she could do an internal scan. Deep down, I still felt that everything was going to be okay. She then delivered the news that there was no heartbeat. I have never heard myself scream as loud as I did in that moment; it was a volume I didn’t know my body could produce. I just wanted to get out and run away as far as I could.
Grieving my baby
My mum almost carried me to the car and the nurse explained to my partner that my sac was showing 11 weeks but the baby had died at 7 weeks - so this was a missed miscarriage, something I hadn’t even heard of and never wanted to think about. I just couldn’t comprehend what had just happened.
In the car on the way home I screamed ‘my baby’, over and over, just feeling completely numb.
The second you find out you are pregnant, you plan: where you will be at certain pregnancy milestones, when your baby will be born, how old they will be for their first holiday. Why wouldn’t you plan a life you are so desperate to have? But it's all taken away in seconds.
I messaged a few close friends who knew about the scan and were waiting for news. One had unfortunately been through multiple miscarriages and replied in the complete honesty I needed: ‘tonight is going to be hell, prepare yourself’. That night was hell, and the days to follow - being admitted to hospital, put on a drip due to excessive blood loss, follow up scans where you should be seeing a baby, doctors letters confirming antenatal appointments, pretending I couldn’t see the maternity jeans I'd ordered hidden in the wardrobe.
This loss was like no other feeling I’ve ever experienced. Whilst feeling my own sadness, I started to think about friends who had been through the same, how I hadn’t really thought too much about it and how gutted I was looking back on this. I felt I could only really talk to those friends now, as they knew how this truly felt and could hopefully advise me on how to feel okay again.
Incredible support from my partner
My partner was amazing in supporting me through this pain and heartache, but of course they were going through it too. In the days to follow the miscarriage, they fell ill and were admitted to hospital; the stress and strain of it all took its toll.
We had both lost a baby we so deeply wanted. Partners don’t always get support after a loss, but they need it too. Everyone should feel able to talk about their journey.
I didn’t return to work for almost a month - a month of hiding away, scared to bump into someone I may have told I was pregnant who didn't know I now wasn’t, scared to explain what happened, scared to live again knowing how broken I was inside. It was an awful time. I wanted to scream every time someone told me how common miscarriage was, how their friend's aunt's neighbour had one and got over it, how I will fall pregnant again.
Once you lose a baby, then you think about those dates you had planned for: I would have been 6 months at this wedding, I would have been 8 months at this party, I would be due now... The milestones do not go away, and they become even harder to reach.
Pregnancy after loss
Falling pregnant again was so scary; everything you enjoyed first time round is taken away. Scans are not filled with happiness but with fear, anxiety then (thankfully) a lot of relief. Every movement - or lack of - draws panic. You constantly think ‘please not again’ until you get to the final stages and pray it will be okay.
You do not feel okay until the baby is finally in your arms. Our second angel baby will always live through us all, and I thank God for our rainbow baby Bluebell, who arrived a year after our second baby was due and truly saved me.
I wear a necklace every day with all 3 babies on to keep them all close to my heart always. The day we lost our baby, I also lost a part of me that I will never get back, but I've learnt to live knowing that will always be the case and I'm okay with it.
Reading other families' stories via Tommy’s really helped me after our loss. I was saddened to see that there is a stigma around miscarriages, and the way they can be bypassed is sadly felt by many others. This is why I wanted to tell my story with honesty, as well as continue to support such an amazing charity, in the hope to help others know that it’s okay to talk.
You can buy the Love Love Love t-shirt to support our charity here.