#misCOURAGE 06/10/17 by Helen
The anniversary of the week approaches, when I found out at 28 weeks pregnant my daughter Eva's heart had stopped. I can feel the disappointment, the guilt and raging terror as fresh as then.
How to remember a little girl who never breathed air and was never held. In any case what do we mark? The day we knew her heart had stopped, the 3 days in labour, the day I gave birth, the days deciding whether to have a post mortem or her cremation service. All those pain and trauma wracked days live with me every day, wake me in the night and can take over moments of joy without warning. It is hard to know how to feel, a year on.
A little more about our situation.
My son's pregnancy was so easy for me, we conceived instantly, had a naive smug pregnancy and a lovely peaceful birth. I always knew that I would want a family with two children and my husband was like minded.
We started to try for our second child in 2015. I lost them at 12 weeks, the day before we were due to meet them at their first scan. It was the most lonely and sad experience of my life. Losing their life at home, in the night, instantly destroying our shared future and their place in the world.
My need for another child was all consuming and with a determination that has solidified, we started back up a rather anxious mountain.
12 week scan, 20 week scan, a beautiful big girl coming our way on Christmas Eve, hope growing week by week. 28 weeks, no movement, a dead daughter for no obvious reason. Telling our two year old joyous son, who had shrieked in delight every time he had felt her kick, was soul destroying. A boy who had never had need to be sad, sobbed himself to sleep.
For the first time in my whole life, I didn't know how to put one foot infront of the other. I felt out of control, powerless and life lost it's richness. Grief and mourning her was hard. People said the wrong thing, the right thing and nothing. Family members tried to love her but found it hard. I constantly revisited the shame I felt, that as her mum I couldn't manage to cuddle her, to look at her for long or to kiss her. I had been too traumatised and the sight of her was something nobody should have to see. She hadn't been ready for the world and she wasn't the living beautiful girl who had come in my dreams for the 7 months I had tried to keep her safe.
Christmas and her due date, we scattered her ashes in the sea, so she could rejoin the earth. We placed a tiny bird on the cliff to watch over her and our other baby. We cried and my husband wrote a beautiful speech for them. I felt some release and hope for our lives started slowly to grow.
We were still on the mountain though, very shaken and battered but very much still on it. A wriggling baby waiting to hold at the top.
I knew my next miscarriage was going to happen, there was an inevitability to it. My body was failing me and we couldn't have what we wanted. The rage and injustice was strong and people started to question what we were doing. The pain was enough, people didn't to see us hurting that much and it would be ok to only have one child. I couldn't have felt more different. I realised for the first time that I would do anything for a second child, whether i had given birth to it or not.
We got tests, we went to the recurrent miscarriage clinic at St Mary's hospital. Sitting in a clinic where everybody has lost 3 babies was poignant but helped to normalise what has happened. I am glad we got the specialist help and care they gave us. I was diagnosed with PAI-1, which means perhaps the pregnancies have stopped because the blood supply has not established or maintained itself normally.
We came away with a reason finally, some more guilt and a way forward.
Now I am 12 weeks pregnant, injecting myself every day with Clexane and slowly climbing the mountain again. The stakes are high. The hope is small. My son asked for a "rainbow cake" for his birthday, I so hope that it is not the only rainbow for us.
I am approaching this next week very much with Eva and my other two babies close, trying to love my body, and giving thanks for my incredible husband and son.
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