Partners

This morning when I woke up I thought it was still the weekend (probably because we’d been away for a night at a friend’s, which was great – we had a lot of fun playing on the Wii, I also tried on the dress I have to wear in October to be a bridesmaid for my friend and was pleased and surprised to find that it fits already).  As you know, I’m not at work, but Sam is, and I suddenly felt like I’d missed out on something, because it wasn’t the weekend anymore, and he would be going to work, and I would be at home without him again.

So many people have said how lucky we are that we’re such a strong couple.  They’re right; I don’t think I know another couple who could get through what we have in the way we have. Sam is amazing.  I never really knew the true meaning of the word ‘partner’, until Sam, and he keeps proving himself day after day.  He is my companion, my accomplice, my lover, my friend, my helper and my ally.  He knows me well.  When I behave in a way that would seem unreasonable to others, he knows the reason and he tries to fix me and make me feel better.  Sometimes it works.  He supports me always and is right there next to me, by my side, without question.  Without him I struggle, and I don’t just mean I miss him, I mean that in a difficult situation if he is not there, I feel like someone has cut off part of me and removed a piece of my soul.  I feel cracked without him.  Below are some of the reasons why I love him so much:

  • He is really patient, I mean like, really patient, even when I tap at his touch phone which I think is funny and of course it isn’t, it’s annoying.
  • He never blames me for anything.
  • He doesn’t mind doing things for me, even when he comes back from a hard day at work he’ll walk the dog if I’m too tired, or anything that needs doing, he will do without a sigh or a moan. Ever.
  • He never, ever says anything mean to me.  Even when I’m shovelling the last Aero Bubble into my mouth, and at the same time complaining about my weight, he never tells me not to eat so much, or to stop complaining.
  • He tells me he loves me every day. More than once.
  • He tells me I’m beautiful and he means it.
  • Every night, even if he’s tired, he strokes my hair to get me to fall asleep.
  • He snuggles me up every night and every morning, and I love squashing my face against his big chest.
  • If I wake him up in the night he never gets cross, he asks if I want my hair stroked to help me get back to sleep.
  • He can do all the things I can’t, like Maths and logical things, AND he can do most of the things that I can, but he never brags.
  • He tells me I’ve clever, even though he’s probably much cleverer than me.
  • He always supports me; I know if I told him I wanted to try my hand at being a professionally mountain biker, he would say ok.
  • He thanks me for every meal I make for him, even if it’s just a sandwich or beans on toast.
  • He has the strongest work ethic of anyone I have ever met – he goes to work even when he’s really, really poorly, despite my best efforts to stop him.
  • Nowhere is too far if I needed him.  Even if it’s just to drop off the cakes I made to sell for Comic Relief which I forgot to take to work, and he would never make me feel bad that I’d needed him to do something for me.
  • He loves all the different sides to me – he thinks it’s amazing that I can be the strong-willed teacher at work, who gives seminars on behaviour management, as well as the soft, sentimental sap who cries over sad news stories and looks like a scruffy kid in old pyjamas and un-done hair.
  • He’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t think he is.  I could name all the things I love about the way he looks (such as his height, his big shoulders, his white smile, his twinkly blue eyes, his full chest muscles, his long, strong arms, his square man-bum, his beefy thighs – I can’t stand skinny legs on a man – the way his forehead wrinkles just a bit when he raises his eyebrows…), but I wouldn’t want him to get too smug…

 

I know I tell you every day, but I love you Sam.  I love you more than those three words can express.  So I’ve tried to do it using other words (above, see?..haha..).

I love you and I couldn’t do this without you.

 

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Landscapes.

I feel a bit like a painting.  As in, when you put a wash on to begin a watercolour, if it’s terrible, then it doesn’t matter what else you paint on top of it; that terrible base will always be there.  If everything you paint is good, then people may not notice the wash.  But if you do something wrong, then that terrible wash will come to the forefront with a vehemence that cannot be ignored.  My wash is my grief.  If everything else is ‘ok’, mostly I can get by without my grief taking over.  But if something happens that’s difficult or bad, the grief swells up from the depths of my stomach and overpowers everything else.  Most of the time both things seem to rattle along – the normality of doing the washing alongside the fact that I have lost my baby, the loss of all the things I imagined for us.  They sort of battle a bit sometimes – sometimes doing the washing becomes thoughts of washing baby clothes, or I wash something that I wore in hospital and it gives me a shock to remember that I wore those pyjamas for the first time just before my baby boy died.  But sometimes the grief takes over, and sometimes it happens because something else tips the balance.  This is when I get ratty with Sam, or angry with everyone for doing nothing, or something, or everything.  It’s very tiring to have all these different threads of your life going on at once – all the inner dialogue chattering away.  It’s so strange to be so utterly conflicted and sad, and to seem perfectly normal on the surface (most of the time). That’s why I think back to when I’d collapsed and it was peaceful, and I wonder when I will find peace again.

Today my grief is being well covered by all the stuff on top – I don’t really know where the day’s gone so far but I guess my list explains it – so far today I have:

  • Walked the dog
  • Done the grocery shopping
  • Trimmed the borders in the garden
  • Watered the garden
  • Planted some plants
  • Staked my tomatoes
  • Packed a bag ready to go and stay with some friends this weekend
  • Sorted quite a bit of washing
  • Hoovered downstairs and cleaned the kitchen floor
  • Put a curry in the slow cooker, made dal and stuff to have with papadums

On my list was also to wash my hair, but I’m not sure I can be bothered now (washing my hair is a pretty huge job – for those of you who don’t know me I have a HUGE amount of very thick, very curly hair and it gets very knotty and needs a lot of TLC to make it look anything close to normal and less like a lion’s mane having been permed and treated with electrocution…).

So, the ‘wash’ is always there, normally as that slight feeling of ‘knottiness’ in my stomach, it’s just that sometimes it’s less obvious.  I find that being busy doing relatively pleasant things helps to keep it in the background, at the moment anyway.

 

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Mind and body.

So, I still weigh exactly the same, to the ounce.  I think that if I stopped going to the gym I would continue to weigh exactly the same.  Which is exasperating in a way I can’t describe; when you’re doing approximately 6 hours of cardio a week as well as 3-4 hours of weights and sweating more liquid than you can take in, it takes everything from bewilderment to sheer rage to cover the emotions you feel when you step on the scales and find that nothing has changed.  Luckily, I actually enjoy going to the gym, so I’m trying to focus on upping my fitness, rather than weight loss, as there seems to be no point in that. This morning I did 25 minutes running and then two exercise classes back to back. I wasn’t planning on the second class, but an interviewee needed some guinea pigs, so I stuck around to help her out – it wasn’t like I had anything pressing to get back to.

It might be difficult for some to believe that I enjoy the gym, but I think there’s something about having your mind concentrated on a physical act, that seems relaxing.  It’s also mildly empowering to be in control of your body, in some way, at least in that you move your legs to run, or choose a heavier weight to lift, or get that silly aerobic step-tap-step move mastered.  And then of course there’s the adrenaline – there’s nothing like plopping off the treadmill while it’s still slowing down with your heart still pumping and your head feeling light and clear.  It gives some temporary relief from thinking about Freddie, or about getting pregnant again.  But as soon as I head down the stairs, get in the car and set off home, he’s right there with me again.  I don’t always mind – I like to think of him sometimes, to think of carrying him inside me, to think of his little feet, his hair.

Sometimes though, in the gym, all I can think of is how it was before I ever got pregnant, when I was fitter and lighter and everything seemed so ‘right’.  I was happy and ignorant of the pain in my future.  Now my physical heaviness is paralleled by my emotional weight. It is difficult to move my body and the heaviness of my limbs weighs solid and real, reminding me of what has happened.

One of the ladies who I see at the class I attend on Thursday mornings, asked why, after 6 weeks of classes, she didn’t look like the instructor yet – all toned and size 8ish.  Before I knew what I’d done I said, ‘I used to look a lot like that’.

‘What happened?’ asked the lady.  I took a deep breath and considered what I would say next.

‘I got pregnant’, I said.  And left it there.

I wondered afterwards if she’d ask how many children I had, or something, but she didn’t.  I wondered if she was wondering if I was still pregnant, but didn’t want to ask.  I wanted to tell her what happened, but I didn’t.  ‘No point upsetting someone else’, I thought, as I picked up my dumbbells.

Never again will I assume that someone is fat just because they eat too much and/or don’t exercise.

 

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Nothing to give.

A man just knocked at the door to ask for money for charity. I humoured the beginning of his speech for all of 5 seconds before I told him to ‘cut the spiel’ and asked exactly what he was asking for.   My approach was harsh for various reasons:

  1. Any instance where someone knocks on your door to try to pressure you into handing over money, makes me cross – if I want new windows/a new driveway/a new bathroom, I will research the area myself and make an informed decision in my own time.  And just because it’s for charity, it’s the same principle – people think that because you’re there, face to face with a real person, you’ll sign up for a standing order to help the cause – no one wants to look cruel and heartless, right?
  2. If you’ve seen my house, you’d know that it does not give the impression that we have spare cash floating around – we do not.
  3. I wanted to tell him, ‘you know what? If I’m going to go donating money, it’s going to be to a charity to help people who have lost babies, or to a stillbirth research charity, seeing as our country came 33 out of 35 for stillbirth rates very recently, because just less than 11 weeks ago, we lost our baby, AGAIN!!!!’

I do not feel that I have anything to give right now, and someone knocking on my door, in the middle of the day, asking to pet my dog and give him money, got my goat.  And maybe I am cruel and heartless, but I feel that I have a reason right now – if my heart is not working it’s because it was recently broken, and that does not necessarily make me more amenable.

Maybe I’m hormonal…

 

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Funerals, souls and light.

I’d like to say thank you to those of you who keep reading and leaving comments, and who are supporting me and Sam from wherever you are.  Even though sometimes my posts may seem as though I cannot see light or hope, the love and support from you all does help, and even if I go quiet, I’m still here and I still need you.

Sometimes I think back to the funeral.  Whenever I see tiny daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers, I think of the beautiful spray on his casket.  Even the words ‘spring flowers’ make me think of them, because that’s what we asked for.  Occasionally, the face of one of my friends, drawn with intense sadness, sitting in a pew opposite me, drops into my mind, and I’m startled by the memory.  The service was as beautiful as it could have been.  We had close friends and family do readings: ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’, by Mary Elizabeth Frye, ‘The Noble Nature’ by Ben Jonson, and ‘Sometimes’ by Frank Brown.  I know that the Frye poem is read at almost every funeral, but it seemed to be apt.  We also listened to music (‘Why Won’t the World Stop’ by Anastacia, ‘Gone Too Soon’, by Michael Jackson and Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’) and lit candles.  The chaplain was truly wonderful – she made it very personal and seemed earnestly to feel our desperation.  She was also the one who blessed Freddie not long after he’d been born.  Neither Sam or I are religious at all, but we felt that it seemed right to bless him, and also to have the service in a chapel.  My parents are deeply religious and I know that they appreciated this more than they could express.  The problem I have sometimes, is that I find it difficult to imagine Freddie as being anywhere – I believe in souls, but I find it so difficult to imagine the soul of a tiny baby who never lived outside of my body (when I imagine the soul of a person I have known a long time, I imagine a sort of ‘wisp’, entwined with elements of their character and personality).  I know that my mum and step-dad believe that Freddie is safe with God, but that is of little comfort to me; he should be here with me, or still safe inside me until 8th July when he was supposed to come to us.  Instead, my husband had to carry his baby boy in a casket into a chapel.  I walked alongside him, but I have never felt more at a loss or so stricken with desperation for Sam, apart from in the hospital.  The sight of the person you love more than anything in the world, holding his lifeless baby boy is something that I will never, ever forget.  And I have never felt so completely at a loss, or so profoundly sad.

When we got to the grave side, the sky opened up, and it rained like it could only rain on the day of such a tragic occasion.  The cold water belted at my body and face, as if it felt the anguish of the day as sincerely as the rest of us, and my skin smarted and trembled under the bitter drops.  My stepdad read a poem, which I had chosen to be aimed at Sam and I – a sort of tribute to help us conclude the ceremony in a pertinent way. As the blackness of the sky and its wet misery seemed to be swallowing us all, the rain seemed to ease just a little, and the sky seemed to lighten just a fragment, as John read the words below:

Sometimes, when the sun goes down,

It seems it will never rise again…

But it will.

Sometimes, when you feel alone,

It seems your heart will break in two…

But it won’t.

And sometimes, it seems it’s hardly worthwhile carrying on…

But it is.

For sometimes, when the sun goes down,

It seems it will never rise again,

But it does.

 

 

And so I hang on to the knowledge that there is light and hope, even if I can’t always see it, I know that eventually, it will come.

 

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I am a mummy.

If anyone had told me that I would have all this free time on my hands when everything was ok, I’d have been stupefied with joy.  But now that I have it, I am not joyous.  I wondered whether I would be on maternity, or on sick.  As it turns out, because Freddie was born in the 25th week, I am entitled to maternity.  Work were very eager for this to be the case, so that I would be entitled to a full year off work without being pressured to come back.  Unfortunately, you don’t get paid very much on maternity leave, so I would have to go back in September whether on sick or maternity, to get back on a full wage.  As it is, I think I can choose to be on sick, which means that I won’t lose money whilst I’m off.  It’s strange – I’m off work not because I have a baby to look after, but because I don’t.  Which means that being off sick makes more sense.  I’m not at work, not because I have a baby to breastfeed and take care of and spend time with, but because of my emotional state because I do not have to do those things.  What I have is grief to spend time with, and loss that is mine.  I feel like I’m sort of rolling along at the moment.  Yesterday I decided to make biscuits at about 6pm, I think because it would feel like an extra achievement for the day.  That and I was peckish for something sugary.

What I feel most of the time is ensnared by the situation I’m in.  Nothing ever seems quite ‘right’, as if a strange haze has been placed over everything I experience.  Nothing seems to register in the way it ought to – the weather, some new clothes, something funny.  Sometimes I laugh and then it catches in my throat, ‘how can you laugh?’ I ask myself.   At the nucleus of my ensnaring, are the babies I’ve lost, and the baby I so, so want to have.  I have been so close to what I want, but unable to have it.

I seem to switch between feeling my own grief and loss and that of Freddie’s – I have not been able to build a relationship with my baby, I have not been able to hear him cry, I have not been able to feed him, I have not, I have not, I have not I, I, I, I… and then I think of him, Freddie, and what he has lost.  And the only comfort I can take is that he never knew what to expect anyway.

I imagine conversations where people ask me if I have children, and I don’t know what I would say.  I know that I am a mummy, but I do not have any children, not any that I need to be a mummy for, anyway.

So, when I wake up in the morning, what I do not feel is happy about the day ahead, that I have free to fill with activities of my choosing.  What I feel is repetitive deliberation about whether I ought to bother getting out of bed at all.  But I do, because I feel that I owe it to myself, to do what I need to do to move my life along, and at least retain what little control I can, and I owe it to my husband and to my family and friends, who are all willing me to be ok.  ‘I am a mummy’, I tell myself, ‘and mummies get on with it’.

 

 

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Loss of the imagined.

I’m feeling pretty good today, all things considered.  I saw an old friend at the weekend, whose perspective has been changed by the fact that two of his closest friends have lost babies, very close together.  I also spent 24 hours with one of my friends who is one of the most beautiful people I have ever known (I mean, she is HOT, I’m not just being benevolent because she’s my friend) without being cross that she’s so stunning, or thinking about ways to develop anorexia (not really an option anyway, as I love food).  I had a really good time, which surprised me a lot.

So, what with my feeling of semi-invincibility this morning, I turned over quite a chunk of our developing vegetable patch (something that I’ve been aiming for, but not felt up to doing for a long time), ridged up my potatoes, planted in my tomatoes, courgettes and cabbages and sowed carrots and spinach.  I also re-potted some plants and trimmed a border (which I HATE doing).  I find that planting and growing things really helps me to feel potent, at a time when I actually have very little influence over my life.

I have talked in the past about how it feels when your life changes course so dramatically that it leaves you feeling lost.  I had a conversation with my granny not long ago, which she said helped her to understand more about what it’s like to lose a person with whom you have not shared any real experience.  The thing is, that pregnancy is like a relationship; the longer you’re with someone, the more you feel for them and the more you plan for the future.  In the same way, as your baby grows inside you, and you read each week about his or her development – when they have fingers and toes, when they can taste, when they can hear you – and of course when you begin to feel them move, you become more and more ‘involved’ in the relationship, and you love them more as time goes on, and you plan for the life that you will share together.

So, when that imagined future is taken away, it is hard to know how to deal with it.  I imagined Freddie in every circumstance from being born, to going to school, to getting married and having his own children.  I’m angry that I will never get to call his name, or to explain to him that he was named after his grandpa, or tell him what his namesake was like.  I’m angry that I will never feel the firm grip of my babies’ fingers as they close around my own, as I imagined them to so many times.

I think about how he was blonde, and he had broad shoulders and he was very long.  And I know that he would have looked very much like his daddy.  I wonder if his hair would have been straight like Sam’s or curly like mine, and what colour his eyes would have been.  I’m angry that I will never find out.

I remember his little feet and hands, and I think about how he used them to kick and punch at my insides, and how much I loved to feel it.  I also imagine him curled up inside me, and I wonder how he felt after my waters had gone, and he was left without his fluid cushion surrounding him, and if it felt very different to him as he tried to move.

I look at other people with their babies, the ease in the way mothers sling their baby on and off their hip, put up the pushchair, change a nappy, and I want it to be my fingers clicking the car seat into place, my hands that wrap around my baby’s warm middle.  I know that my children would have been great playmates for their cousins, but the cousins will never really understand what they’ve missed out on.

I have two children.  To say it out loud seems absurd.  But it’s true.

 

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Haircuts and Freddie’s room.

I’ve had my hair cut today.  The last time I went was 6 months ago and I was pregnant.  I hoped upon hope that the girl would not ask me about it, and thank God, she didn’t.  I was so unprepared to answer questions about losing Freddie that I even had a look on the net for another hairdresser, but I couldn’t find one that looked any good. And my hair takes a certain sort of skill to deal with.

I got back about an hour and a half ago, and I don’t know what to do.  I had hoped that having my hair cut would make me feel better and maybe I’d feel like doing something this afternoon (probably just the gym, or shopping), but it hasn’t. Nothing to do with my appearance does – yesterday I bought some clothes, as I had to resign myself to the fact that I am now bigger than I have ever been in my life, and that the jeans I have are too small, and it doesn’t seem like my body is going to cooperate any time soon.  Trying on clothes is distressing to the point of panic – I HATE being in that tiny little cubicle surrounded by mirrors, desperately hoping that something will fit.  But I’m running out of options – I can’t live in leggings forever.  I have declined all invitations to social events in the coming months, because I cannot bear the thought of:

a. Trying to find something to wear

b. The panic and upset that will inevitably ensue when I am convinced that not even all the money in the world could make me look any good

And also:

c. Conversing with people at what is supposed to be a happy occasion

d. The looks of pity

e. The possibility of there being either pregnant women or small babies or both for me to try to ignore

f. People taking photographs – I cannot bear the thought of smiling for a photograph and pretending to be happy

 

So, I thought I may as well write a bit more.  I think partly I’m avoiding doing something about Freddie’s room.  It doesn’t even feel right to call it that.  Not least because at the moment there are various plants on the windowsill waiting out the cold weather.  I worried about putting them there, that it might somehow feel like desecrating the room, and sometimes it does, but I have nowhere else to put them, until they go outside.

We haven’t yet done anything with any of Freddie’s things.  After we lost our baby girl, the day we came home from the hospital, I stayed downstairs and Sam, who is much stronger than me, cleared away everything from our smallest spare room and put it in the attic.  We just left the furniture.  During my pregnancy with Freddie, we assembled more things – particularly clothes – and put them in the baby wardrobe and in the drawers in the dresser.  We got everything out of the attic and put it in the room, ready to be arranged.  So far I have been able to open the doors and drawers and look very briefly at the tiny clothes hanging up, the stacks of brightly coloured sleep suits and rompers and the tiny weeny socks.  I take a deep breath, open the drawer, and look, just for a few seconds.  Then I close the drawer, exhale and walk away.  We decided to leave everything there as a positive act, in the hope that we will use them soon.

I think I’ll go and have a look at his socks.

 

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Work, worry and wishing.

May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support – each comment touches me deeply and it’s both comforting and sad to hear of people in the same situation.

It will be 9 weeks tomorrow that Freddie was born sleeping.  Right now I would be 34 weeks pregnant.  Yesterday when I was on the cross trainer at the gym, it suddenly hit me – ‘I should be 34 weeks pregnant right now’, and the place where my stomach should be filling is filled by air.  It was as if my stomach was there, and then suddenly it wasn’t, and it took my breath away and made me feel dizzy.  This is what happens a lot – you go about your business, with little more than the feeling of anxiety I have described before, and then suddenly it hits you – you remember what your life should be, and what you have lost, and it comes around a corner with no warning, so fast and so audaciously that it takes your breath away.

I have said before that I am very conscious this time of not going back to work too soon.  I have recently discovered that I will have to go back in September because of financial pressure.  At the moment, I don’t feel too worried, but I know that the closer it gets to going back, the more pressure I will feel, and that things may well take a turn for the worst.  There are things that I wanted to have done before I went back – I want to have lost weight, so at least I look a little more like the old me, if not quite pre-pregnancy me, at least the me who doesn’t struggle to feel ok with the way I look.  But I still weigh exactly the same as I did 9 weeks ago.  I can’t explain how infuriating it is to be so lacking in control of your very own body, particularly when it is my body which has caused all of these problems in the first place.  Before I ever got pregnant, I could lose 4 pounds in a week without even exercising.  I was 9 stone when I first got pregnant, and my body ballooned immediately.  It then took me 5 months so lose half a stone, despite doing lots of work at the gym and eating very carefully.  This time, at least I knew what to expect, and I’m not killing myself trying so hard, when it makes no difference anyway, but it’s still exasperating and upsetting.  I often feel as though I have literally lost myself.  I don’t look like me, my body is not mine.  I cannot do the thing that women are born to do.

The thing is, teaching is not the sort of job where you can just slink in, unnoticed and sit behind a desk in an office, getting on with your job.  Teaching is 50% performance.  You are on stage in front of 30 kids who expect you to perform, to teach, to help them learn. As a teacher, there are literally hundreds of people who will witness my return, knowing what has happened to me, watching to see what happens when I come back.  Perhaps my paranoia doesn’t help – I’m sure lots of people will barely notice my return, and lots of teenagers don’t have time to care about what their teachers have been up to, but it doesn’t stop me from agonizing about it.  And, a lot of kids notice everything from the colour of my nails to the inner of my shoes (honestly – I have a pair of boots with a pink inner and the kids commented for days on how nice they were…) and for me, it’s part of the ‘performance’ – you have to look the part to play it properly.  It’s also difficult to perform if you don’t feel like it – it’s not the sort of thing you can do successfully with your sail at half-mast.  I would also like to be pregnant before I go back to work.  I worry that if I’m not pregnant before I go back, that the stress will make it more difficult to get pregnant (which is partly what I think happened last time) and it will take longer.  Then I worry about the fact that I’m worrying, and I think, if I’m worrying about the fact that worrying won’t help me get pregnant, then I DEFINITELY won’t be pregnant before I go back! (You see how tangled my mind gets?)

I also found out on Friday that someone very close to me is pregnant (hence my last post).  It’s awful to know that you are responsible for someone not being able to take as much pleasure as they should, in what ought to be one of the most joyous things in the world.  She had to work herself up to phoning me, knowing that her news would be devastating.  No one should have to put a lid on their happiness about having a baby.  It’s just another thing that makes me feel dreadful.  It also adds another level of pressure – of course I want to get pregnant again as soon as possible anyway, but I know that until I do, I will not be able to feel happy that someone very special to me is having a baby, and she is so, so special to me.  I want so badly to feel happy about their pregnancy and to share the experience.  But I know that I will not be able to, because it is too painful.  This also happened to me the last time, when my sister-in-law was about 6 weeks behind me with her pregnancy, and so a few weeks after my baby girl should have been born, my sister-in-law had her baby girl.  I could not see her when she was pregnant, and I did not see the baby until Christmas, when she was 7 weeks old.  The poor woman didn’t know where to put herself, and it made me feel dreadful that someone felt uncomfortable about her baby because of me.  I still cannot look at or think of baby Maisy without thinking of the baby girl I should have had, and I don’t think that will ever change – when Maisy goes to school, it will be a reminder that my daughter would be going to school at the same time, when she gets married I will think of my daughter and so on throughout all of the stages of her life.

So, at the moment, I’m trying hard not to think about September, but I know that relatively soon, I will have to think about preparing for my return, and I can only hope that I am successful soon in achieving at least some of the things that I would like to have done, before I go back.

 

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To slip away.

I’m feeling pretty rough today, and my eyelids are pink and look as though they are trying to slide down off my face.  That’s what they look like when I’ve been crying a lot.

When I was in hospital with Freddie, the day I was taken onto the delivery suite for the second time, I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled around to the neo-natal area to see where Freddie would go if he was delivered safely.  We looked at all the small plastic cots and were even shown the one that Freddie would have gone in.  After about 3-4 minutes, I started to feel a little nauseous, my skin seemed to go damp very suddenly and I found it very difficult to concentrate on what the nurse was saying.  I managed to tell her quietly that I felt queasy.  The lights in the room seemed to glow very brightly and shimmer, much like when you look far ahead onto a hot surface and the air appears to twist in waves above it.  The next thing I knew, was that I was moving, and someone was holding my head up to stop it lolling backwards completely over the back of the wheelchair.  I was aware of being back in my room, but I could not seem to open my eyes, or speak.  I was put on my bed and was intermittently aware of movement in the room.  I realised that I had collapsed.   Through tiny slits that I realised were my half open eyes, I identified the faces of my husband and my mum looking on with expressions which displayed plainly their worry.  Even from feet away I saw the tears in Sam’s eyes, and his lips were crumpled, but tightly pressed together, and my mum was wearing her very best optimistic-don’t-panic-face.  There were approximately 6 people in the room, aside from my husband and mum.  I recognised one lady as the midwife who had admitted me the night I arrived a year ago when I lost my baby girl, and when I told her this and I knew that her name was Amanda, they were all very impressed.  Apparently, my blood pressure had dipped to 60/40 and I was told it had probably been lower before they measured it.

The strangest thing was how I felt when I recovered.  I wished, more than anything, that I could slip backwards into the nothingness I had just experienced; that I wasn’t there in that hospital facing so many awful prospects.  I wished that I could just glide as easily as I had seemed to the first time, back to where everything was dark and quiet, and I seemed to have no thoughts.  To lie there, still, it felt so peaceful, until the noise of the doctors and midwives and machines invaded it.  I remember as the world of the hospital slipped away, as if I’d sunk under water and said goodbye to the ground above.  Now I feel as everything catches and swirls around me, the way people divide and churn in the streets around bins and post boxes.

 

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