#stillborn

Time moves on

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Its been nearly 2 months since I last wrote. So much has happened and so much is still the same.

So where are we at?

We took a holiday to Ibiza. It was so good to have quality uninterrupted time together. We watched sunsets, ate good food and relaxed. I honestly thought it would be a good idea, but clubbing in Pacha made me feel like shit and I had a panic attack. Its hard to feel good about things you shouldn’t be able to do. Once I was there, the only place I wanted to be was home with my babies.

That happens a lot. You feel bad for feeling good. You want to hold onto the pain and not forget them.

I’ve thrown myself into work. A lot of good things are happening there. We’ve opened a second studio in Cambridge and I get to work alongside some seriously creative people. The team won 5 awards and were finalists in a few more. I’ve been asked to speak at a Telegraph event and an idea for a mastermind I’ve had for a while has become a reality.

Most days that’s all I have the mental capacity for. Get up, walk the dog, get to work, do a good job, come home. I still cry most days. There are things that happen daily that kick you right in face. Clients I have to pre-warn about what’s happened, as last time I saw them I was 14 weeks pregnant and massive. In a client meeting a few weeks ago I was asked if I had children. It took my breath away, and I still don’t know how to answer properly.

Ironically, we have a client who is based at Addenbrooke’s, where we lost Ava. Just last week we had a pitch there. I got through it then cried in the car as usual. No-one had even remembered that it might be hard for me there. Time moves on for some.

Lee has been so busy this summer with his business. He’s been to Italy and Dubai for destination weddings, I’m so proud of him. Its been hard being alone but my parents have been up a lot.

I have still not seen my friends. I don’t know how to put myself back in that world and I don’t know if they understand that. There are two new babies on the way, due near ours. I can’t be part of those conversations and honestly, they do not want to hear about the things I need to talk about. If they text, I don’t always reply. I find it hard to ask them what they’ve been doing, I care, I love them, but I can’t hear about it.

I don’t know where this leaves us, I hope they understand.

Tamba’s bereavement service has been a life saver for me. I was matched with a befriender, an amazing woman who has been through exactly what we have. She is kind and she lets me talk and cry. I can tell her all the things we are feeling and she understands completely. I wish I could change things for her. I wish we didn’t have to help each other, but I am so glad to have her.

It’s getting close to our due date, and Christmas is looming. Last year should have been our first child’s Christmas, this year the twins first. It was always my favourite time of the year, but I can’t do it this year. No cards, no tree. We are running away and I am glad about that. Our beautiful old Lab Buster went to sleep last week after 13 years, I so wished he’d make one last holiday with us. I miss him. I’ll be working as much as I can in the run up to it, keeping busy is the only thing that seems to stop me thinking.

We have been shown such kindness throughout the last few months. My friend Lisa knitted tiny blankets for cherished gowns baby loss packs in honour of the girls, and Naomi gifted us beautiful paintings for them and our first lost baby.

I’ve started to think about what I can do to raise awareness, how I can help others like us. I hope I can, but its still too soon. 

8 weeks

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It’s quite ironic that I’m back to counting in weeks.

Work is proving to be a huge distraction. It’s been ridiculously busy since I came back and it gives me something to fill my time with at weekends when Lee is out shooting weddings. I can paint on my face and stick on a smile to get through meetings. They won’t know I’ve cried all the way there and back.

Thursday I saw a client who I’d last seen a week before we lost the girls. It took me 20 minutes to build up the courage to go into their offices after crying in the car.
Should I be back so soon? Probably not, but what’s the alternative? If I was employed I’d have been entitled to maternity leave, but sitting around at home was making me worse. I’m getting overly anxious about stuff and easily worried. A huge banking issue my first week back pretty much gave me a mini breakdown one evening.
Everyone wants me to be normal, so I try my hardest to be that. Anyone reading my Twitter or LinkedIn posts would see the confident me. But work is a “safe” place, I can put up my barriers and plod on.
So are things better 8 weeks on?
No. Not better, just different. There’s a sadness hanging over everything we do.
I still cry every day.
I still don’t sleep.
I still wake up and think they’re here.
I still haven’t seen my friends with children or friends that are pregnant.
I still don’t respond to most texts or messages because I don’t know what to say.
I still blame myself.
Facebook has become a no-go place for me. I have to check in occasionally for work stuff, but there’s too many photos and reminders, same with Instagram. I don’t check my phone as much as I did.  You can be having a “good” day at work, when you’re floored by a message and you’re suddenly rushing to the toilet in tears.
People say that time helps. I think time makes it worse. People move on, but we stand still.

Sunday we went to look at cars. My mini is dying and we’d planned  to get a bigger 4×4 for the girls. Now it’s just for the dogs.

We’d told the salesman we had dogs and needed a car with a bigger boot. He said if we’d told him we had 2 dogs and a couple of kids then he’d advise we get the bigger version. I have no idea how I didn’t burst into tears. They were in my eyes, and Lee couldn’t speak either.
Monday I had an MRI. I broke down at the sight of myself in hospital gown and then I sat outside The Rosie and sobbed on a bench like a nutcase. Then I had to pull myself together and go to Tesco on my own, hoping the whole time I wouldn’t bump into anyone I know.
Wednesday was the 2 year anniversary of losing our first baby. It was also the day we received the girls postmortem results and
collected their ashes. It’s too soon to decide what we’ll do for them, but for now they are home and that feels right.

5 weeks later

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It’s been 5 weeks since we sat in hospital sobbing for our lost girl Lily and 4 since Ava. It feels like yesterday.

I couldn’t bring myself to update the blog, but I did write notes on my phone some days. Looking back at them now makes for sad reading.

14th July

Every morning when you wake up, just for a second you forget what’s happened. But then it hits you like a train.

They’ve gone. And they’re never coming back. And you are empty. There’s no life inside you.

I have cried all day today. 

I’ve asked myself a million questions. Why has this happened to us? Are we such bad people? Is it my fault? Is there something wrong with me?

Why couldn’t I look after them? That’s all I had to do, just project them and keep them safe. I couldn’t even manage that.

15th July

I blame myself. I have lost 3 babies now. 3 tiny angels.

Maybe this will never happen. Maybe I’m just not good enough to be a mother.

19th July

Distraction is the only thing to stop the tears. Our ensuite has never been so clean, and I fucking hate cleaning.

I’ve started drinking. It’s my go to in times of despair. I’m such a walking cliche.

I want to scream.

A midwife is visiting me today because my milk ducts are blocked. My breasts are full of milk for my babies, but there are no babies to feed. 

Lee went out tonight. I drank a bottle of wine.

20th July

We arranged our twin daughters cremation today. This is something no parent should ever have to do.

22nd July

We’ve cancelled the wedding completely. Neither of us has the heart to plan it without them being there. It doesn’t feel right anymore.

23rd July

I’m so desperately sad today. I miss them, I miss them inside of me. I keep replaying their births over and over in my head. All I see is Lily’s tiny little foot poking out of me. A tiny perfect foot.

25th July

I see so many people wishing their children not to grow up so fast. Please just be grateful they do. Ours will never have that chance. 

Mornings are the worst part of the day. I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to start another day without them. 

27th July

Today is Lily May & Ava’s funeral. I didn’t think our hearts could break anymore than they have.

There’s so much irony in the dates things fall on.

The 27th was due to be our 20 week scan. It ended up being the girls cremation instead. The date in a few weeks when we find out their postmortem results. That will be the same date we lost our first child 2 years ago. It feels like someone’s playing a massive joke on us.

Last week we ran away. We’d booked a few nights away in Aldeburgh to rest and celebrate after we finally made it to the 20 week mark. I thought it might help to get away from everything/one. I can tell confirm if you’re scared of seeing babies & children, Aldeburgh is not the place to be in summer holidays. I have burst into tears at the sight of a breastfeeding mother, at a tiny girl with her mum in the pool, at families.

People ask how we’re doing, how we’re feeling, how we’re coping. It’s all that anyone can do really and we’re so grateful to be in peoples thoughts, but I don’t know how to answer. Do I say I’m ok? Or do I tell them I sob each day and some days all day?

We’ve had so many messages that I’ve ignored. I’m so sorry.

This is the reality.

I have bad dreams. I wake around 3/4am, lie awake with my mind filling with them until Doris wakes at 5.30. I have flashbacks to those days, to losing Lily, seeing her tiny foot. I hear the words of the midwife over and over in my head from the night we lost Ava. Hearing that she’d gone before I felt her slip away.

Lee would kiss my bump, now I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror because I’m not the same anymore. As a wedding photographer he has had to carry on working throughout all of this and it’s taken it’s toll. 

Anxiety kicks in when I’m left alone, yet I don’t really want to see anyone. I’m scared to see my friends. I’m scared as some are pregnant and due when we were and I don’t know how to cope with that. I love them dearly and I’m happy for them, but how do I watch their bumps grow when ours is gone. It took 2 years after we lost our first child to start to feel like I fitted in again with my friends conversations. I’m back to being an outsider.

We have no idea how to begin again. 

Monday I go back to work. Part of me need the distraction, to do something, to have something else in my head. The other part of me is going to struggle with the role I play in the business. Sales. Meeting clients, networking.

I don’t want people to think I’m “better” because I’m back. I don’t have any choice, that’s the price of being self employed.