......

......
I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

If you aint got nothing nice to say, dont say nothing at all

Platitudes platitudes. There really is very little to say. If you can't think of anything. Say that. Don't platitudes.

Don't say.

You can have another one. I know that. I want the little girl I had. Don't you see the difference? You can have another one. I know that. But do I? No one knows that. What if I can't.

You can have another one. Maybe, but I'm in pain now.

Right now is what matters. Its a platitude, it's insensitive and it doesn't work.

Don't say.

At least you have your other three. Yes but I wanted *her* to be my 4th. She was wanted. I meant be thankful for your other three. Are you implying I ought to be satisfied with what I have? That I am not already thankful for them and love them?

I meant they must be keeping you busy. I don't want to be busy. I'm always busy. I want to switch off for a while.

Don't say.

Cheer up why don't you smile. Why don't you fuck off. I'm not in the mood for smiling. Of course I feel depressed. Do you know what's just happened? Don't be insensitive. Don't be ignorant . It's not my job right now to ease your awkwardness.

Don't say.

How are you? Unless you really want the answer. Because I will tell you. Even though I have no proper words to describe how awful I feel, if you ask I won't say fine. Be prepared for a raw answer.

My raw self can't handle platitudes. My raw self feels everything. My raw self reacts massively.

Don't say anything.

If you don't know what to say. Just let me know you're here for me and you are sorry for my loss. A hug usually helps too.

Meltdowns - sooooo many
Losing the Plot - just the will to get out of bed
Breastfeeding - too tired and forgot that's 2 nights in a row

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

I'm not meaning to pick them!

We've been watching family films a lot this weekend. I've been trying to keep us close as a family in the evenings just before bed instead of our separate screens.

I went through Netflix and added a number of 80's films that were classics and I remembered enjoying and thought the kids would like them too.

The first one we watched was Look Who's Talking. I remembered there was a kid talking to himself (we could hear it as audience) and that it was quite funny and probably what swayed me then and now, was that it had Bruce Willis's voice in it.

First off, I forgot about the whole conception scene at the beginning, the animated talking sperm and egg scene and then I forgot about there being scenes of an animated fetus from inside the mothers belly. Honest to G-d I pretty much forgot the entire first part of the film consisted of mostly pregnancy and fetusbaby and birth related stuff.

I almost freaked the fuck out and panicked that the kids were going to be really upset about seeing it. They didn't seem to be and I stifled the way my heart jumped into my mouth when the fetusbaby started thinking and talking. Completely forgot about that part too. *sigh*

Aside from that, the rest of the film was sweet and funny in places and terribly outdated in others. And yes I did shout at the TV during some of the birth scenes and yes my hubby did shout at the TV for them going back and forward to baby's room instead of cosleeping.

I watched Fools Rush In - didn't know there was a miscarriage scene (which actually turned out not to be) which caught me by surprise, made me cry and had me cursing my stupid choice of films this weekend.

We then watched as a family, Look Who's Talking too because the kids enjoyed the first one. The beginning was similar but I was more prepared and anyway it was mostly missed because Millie was insisting there were two babies and was becoming upset with me for saying there was only one. It was that becoming upset way I recognised as the...about to explode and NEVER recover..kind of upset. I negotiated my way out of that meltdown like a pro.

The next one I watched alone was Philomena but what I thought was going to be a quirky slow film about two mismatched sad people turned out to be the true story of this tragic tale of woe about the practice of the Catholic church in Ireland at the time, forcing unwed mothers in their care to give up their children for adoption. This particular mother had been looking for her son for 50 years but in the end he had died but it turned out he had wanted to be buried back in Ireland where he was born in case his mother ever came looking for him. Every time the mother had gone to the home to look for him, she had been fobbed off and told lies. He once went there from America, on his almost deathbed, and he was also told lies and that his mother wasn't looking for him. You know real high end never ending tragedy.

Netflix really does give ridiculous descriptions for the films and I often just go by name and the picture. I had a rough idea of the genre, family based or funny. But OMG they were crazy choices!!

It seems no matter what film I pick there is some reference or scene about miscarriage or pregnancy or those kinds of things. It's like some weird cruel coincidence joke that's not really that funny.

Meltdowns - a few
Losing the Plot - I don't have the energy to be shouty
Breastfeeding - she didn't ask tonight!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Unknowns and empty knowing

I went to EPAS (early pregnancy assessment suite) today. EPAS is where we went the day after Neshama was born. We took her and her placenta there to be looked over to make sure she was all intact and nothing was left inside me. I didn't take much in when we were there initially and she said it was clear I had been in shock.

I am thankful for this thoughtful caring midwife who took the time to sit and talk with me.

I needed to talk to the midwife who attended to me to clarify some things for me. I needed to hear from someone who last saw her. I needed to cry.

I just turned up and asked if she was a available and we sat in a private room and chatted for about an hour. She took the time to listen and answer all my questions and we chatted, about inane things and also about her stillbirth at 36 weeks and how things were so different back then. Losing a baby later on in pregnancy must be a billion times worse than this feeling, I don't know how I could recover from that.

I really just wanted to know how old she thought Neshama was and why there weren't any signs or why I didn't notice or feel the moment she passed. I knew she couldn't really answer the other questions but knowing her approximate age felt important. One of those math absolute number things. A quantifiable known.

I also needed some confirmation about how quickly things went wrong and that there wasn't anything I could have done. She said that If I had gone for any scans, they would have all shown a healthy growing baby and somehow I think it would have been even worse to go from the excitement of passing the so called worrisome stage to losing her after. It would also have been even worse to have known she had passed and then have to wait for her to be born, not knowing for sure or knowing it could happen at any time but not knowing when. Too many unknowns.

We talked about what will happen if we try again. If there is anything different I need to do. Am I too old now? She said there were more 'older' mothers nowadays. She said I would more than likely be very worried and I can come and be scanned early or be seen at any time. Do I want that though? What if it happens again, I just can't imagine wanting to know early on with the having to wait around in the agonising limbo phase.

She gave me a pregnancy test to take at the 3 week mark to check my hormone levels and that everything has completely passed.

I don't know if I can bring myself to do it. There is really something desperately tragic about taking a pregnancy test to check I am completely empty.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Algorithms are not the best ways to cope 

I keep wondering if there is bleeding quotient, like they say you usually bleed for 6 weeks lochia for full term so is it 40 divided by 6, which is about 6.6 but is that days or what and then I don't know how to convert that to the relative weeks.  I want a smart clever little formula.

Then I realise that all women are different and experience physical things differently. It's probably not possible to quantify that kind of physiological response. Most information sites say anything from few days to few weeks but a lot of forums with posts from real people talk about bleeding still after 6 weeks.

I'm not worried about my bleeding as it has been tailing off and only coming back if I exert. The clots are now small and the pain is usually minimal.

I just want it to be a tangible exact quantifiable known. I have this need for something solid and undeniable. It's as if having this handy mathematical way of working it out means something makes real sense. Quantifiable sense. I am useless with numbers and hate maths but I know it's absolute. I know certain formulas are always one way. Pi is always Pi. Speed is always distance over time. Bleeding will last x amount of time.

Instead it's all just full of unknowns and smattered with possibles and maybe. Its hard to find something to hold me down.

I'm always all about feelings and emotions and I don't understand why I'm suddenly desperate for a math sum! It's weird.

 

Meltdowns - mainly due to physical pains
Losing the Plot - not so much
Breastfeeding - one thumb for right two thumbs for left...just a little morning and in the night

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Space between the moments

Space between the moments.

That's what I dread.   Those moments when I'm not busy being busy or when I'm not needed for anything.  That's when the fragmented moments of time have a chance to settle in my mind.  The unsettling ones that remind me of the shock and disbelief of that night. The ones that take me straight to that shattering sinking moment when all hope had gone.

We've been away for 3 nights. A Camping Wedding!! We weren't sure if it was a good idea to go or not. It was a long journey, we were both still in shock and it seemed like a huge effort but I was so looking forward to seeing my friend get married after all her adversity.  I also knew it would be such a fun and lovely wedding and it would do us good to be living communally amongst friends. The tent was already set up for us, which was a huge load off. We also, thankfully had real beds not mats on the ground. There were 4 or 5 other families, loads of kids and some of the couples family.

The couple are the most laid back, beautiful, wonderful, fun family ever. The whole wedding was just super.  And, it was entirely a field!! It was so hard to leave. I don't want to return to real life.

It was really satisfying watching the kids all playing out in nature (despite the occasional upset).  It was also just great having my friends around me. Friends who knew, that even though I was loudly and enthusiastically introducing myself to others (but not fully present during chatty times)and even though I was busily organising various things (but not wanting to deal with kid conflict issues or not handling it when things went slightly awry) and even though I was dancing like a whirling dervish at the evening party (knowing it would set off my bleeding again but not caring because..dancing), they knew, that there was still that space between the moments.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Neshama's Birth Story

** Warning...upsetting content but no pictures **


    


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On Sunday 3rd September in the morning, I saw blood when I wiped, I had a look with a mirror and thought it was maybe from a cut. The blood was dark and I didn't feel unwell, I had a look on few forums and most threads were along lines of this happened to me and all was ok. I remembered a number of my friends had bled all the way through their pregnancies.

Sunday evening after work had cramp/ache in what felt like back leg top of bum area at the end of work but had no other pains or cramps in my stomach, had had an hours rest at mums in middle of shift.

Sunday night had proper look with torch to see if cut was bleeding. It wasnt. I spoke to some friends and a few midwife friends in the evening, who mostly said try not to worry, take it easy, get it checked soon.

Monday morning more blood fresh. I made an appointment to see someone but still not feeling any major urgency as was just spotting with no cramp or pain or anything.

During day on Monday I did feel a slight wierd sharp sensation in cervix every so often, through the day and put it down to me having had a look in there the night before and having used my finger to check how high the blood was.

Around midday, I went for a dog walk with friend and had wanted to tell her that I was bleeding a bit but had Maia with us and didn't want her to worry. Few hours later, after lying on sofa watching film with Maia, I picked up kids from grandma's and took Millie to Rainbows. I spoke to my SIL and had all but decided what will be will be. I came home with older two, did a few light chores then started bedtime around 8.30pm.

Whilst lying with Ellie,  I felt what I thought was maybe drop of blood coming out, so went to the bathroom and did a pee. No blood. Didn't realise it was waters leaking.

At around 9pm after I had come back up to lie with Ellie, I almost straight away felt even more of a gush, stood up then felt my waters break. Half panicked but trying not to in front of kids, I said Barry's name and rushed downstairs sat on toilet, about a cup of blood fell out.

Just as I was stepping over to the bath, I put my hand under for some more stuff coming and Neshama was born into my hand. (Barry later told me I said in an anguished cry 'Its my baby', I don't remember this) 

I remember thinking I don't want this to be a scary panicky moment, there is nothing to be done just let it be done. So I tried to remain as calm as possible. I also didn't want to freak Barry out who was already wanting me to go to hospital. I knew he was coming from a place of love and fear and worry so I made a conscious choice not to allow that to panic me as well. I knew I was not hemorrhaging, I was in hardly any pain from cramping and it was all just quietly happening in front of me.

I half sat laid back on a towel in the bath holding her still attached to the placenta and I waited and waited until I was able to move and she wasn't attached to me. I sent Barry upstairs a few times to check Ellie was asleep as we had had to leave her. I then sent him to get candles and he turned off the light. We occasionally hugged in awkward positions and talked about what to do. I talked to a midwife friend who said if I went in to hospital they would most likely just keep me in overnight and not do any checks until morning now anyway. I envisaged an ambulance coming to the house, possibly waking the girls.  I thought about the bumpy noisy ride to the hospital. I thought about the bright lights and intrusive atmosphere and I said out loud, I don't want them to take my baby. We decided to stay at home.  I concentrated on holding my tiny wee baby safe.

After some time I felt some of the umbilical cord slightly rip like a thread breaking, then the rest broke off and I was able to move her. We placed her in a small box. We then waited again until I thought most of the placenta was out. (turned out to be just clots, I thought it was pieces of placenta). I was in an empty bath for about an hour before the bleeding slowed down enough for me to get out.   Also I was becoming too uncomfortable and getting a sore coccyx.

I then lay in bed and for the next 4 hours and I would get up every 15-20mins to allow more blood and clots to come out. I had the portable toilet beside the bed, with wipes and toilet paper and mats on the bed.  I was kind of on automatic pilot by now and rested between. Barry would occasionally get up and empty the toilet and he also rested beside me. There was very little pain which I am so thankful for. I was just trying to focus on expelling everything so nothing would be retained incase I became unwell and I basically tried not to focus on the reality of it all.

At 1am I unexpectedly birthed her placenta and that's when I realised the other stuff had just been clots. My sister was on messenger with me and explained that clots are gelatinous mass that break apart easily on touch and the placenta would feel solid. It gave me a bit of a shock because it was so many hours after. I felt relieved so much had come out as it was becoming more and more unlikely to be retained (stuck inside me) which can be serious.   I suddenly really felt I wanted to make a print because that's what I had done for my other babies. Barry went and found me some paper and I made a print. It was really small and looked like a mouse. I felt better that Neshama also had a print.

After that we fell asleep until morning. Barry took the girls to school whilst I slept some more and then we went to the hospital to be checked over where she said everything looked ok, as in mostly all out, and to keep an eye for clots and fever.  They were very respectful and made no awful comments or upset us at all. (I have heard some awful stories)  When we said we didn't want her to take Neshama or her placenta out of the room to check, she understood and stayed in the room. 

The next day we buried her in our local cemetery.  A few family and friends came. That was comforting.

She lived and she was born. She was loved and very wanted from the start. 



(I had not even thought yet about writing a birth story for this birth. It was only when I saw Barry typing something quite fast and I asked him and he said stuff and when I pressed him and he said 'Neshama's birth story, I suppose it is' I thought, of course..she deserves a birth story too)