Thursday, 27 April 2017

Our Angel Twins - Fiona





So excited we discovered via ultrasound we were expecting twins,  this would help explain the intensity of  the symptoms I had been having, morning sickness, sore breast, brain fog, mood swings, heightened smell, aversion to certain foods and craving for others, dry ginger beer and peppermint essential oil aiding the morning sickness.  Reveling in the happiness of expecting twins a gift from god, and the beginning of making adjustments to our lives.  

The next morning there was spotting and a small patch of blood only lasting a day, my GP had said that if it wasn't good but just to monitor and if worsens go to ED.  As the days followed I felt a gush of fluid, followed by spotting on and off.  Monday was a visit to the Midwife who explained this can happen but again if became worse present to ED.  

D Day The last 2 days have been intermittent spotting, my partner worked late Tuesday night so as he could have Wednesday as a day off, how well timed was this...  Tuesday night the spotting became more frequent with change in color my fears were becoming a reality sadness and shock filled my heart, the lower back pain increased throughout the evening but subsided when we went to bed, my usual toilet run at 4am presented some increased blood lighter in color and a clot/tissue, and a return of the lower back pain.  At 6am being increasingly uncomfortable but wanting my partner to get as much sleep as he could as I knew a drive to the hospital that day was eminent.  Leaning over to reach for clothes to wear I felt something larger had passed a knowing that it was them, I asked my partner for his help to the bathroom there they were, a clump of white tissue along with some placenta.  Organising ourselves we made the trek to hospital, a long wait as only one sonographer  was available, pain relief did aid the physical pain, the emotional pain and realisation was yet to set in.   Our fears confirmed those two precious heartbeats we had only seen a week before were now in heaven. 

Days followed with clots and placenta passing each day, codeine becoming my best friend.  The email service I had subscribed to with weekly updates of babies progress no longer applied to me.  The last two days have been hard, it feeling more real but at the same time numb, had this just happened to us.  I wanted them back!  Feeling sad uncontrollable crying in the car on the way home with my daughter from a shopping trip who is expecting her first bundle of joy, I prayed they would never have to experience this pain. 

Finding myself reaching for the anti depressants to ease the depression that followed.   All the questions you ask yourself had I done things differently, had I not had the internal scan would they still be here?? Even though experts have told me this isn't the case that chromosomes could have played a big part and miscarriage is very common. Having had 2 live healthy children with no issues it dawned on me how blessed I was, never thinking this would happen to me.   
                   
Just over a week since the loss of our precious twins at 7 weeks the grieving process continues and the healing begins. 


A HUGE THANKYOU to my partner my rock and tower of strength, our parents who have helped were ever they could, friends sending their condolences.  Friday after the loss, I wanted to do something special for them, I had previously read on a blog of another parent suffering loss, they had placed there precious bundle in a box placing them in a big pot and planted a lovely plant in remembrance, I thought what a beautiful idea.  My angel babies reside in heaven and in our hearts, there reminders buried with a beautiful Rosemary bush and a lovely angel wind chime my favourite store helped me pick out, the chimes court by movement or wind a comforting reassuring reminder of them.  I am so blessed I have found the site www.sands.org.au via my own research as I was asked if I was ok but nothing else offered to me.   Writing this blog is healing in its own right.  Finding people willing to listen, keeping SANDS number handy in case of emergencies, keeping busy but DONT over do it as tiredness not a good thing, positive music in the background fills the room so I don't feel so alone.   As a lover of essential oils I find various scents uplifting and soothing to the soul.  As this journey continues, we are planning for the future and awaiting the blessing of a rainbow baby.
Fiona  

If you require support after reading this blog please contact 

Sands on 13 000 72637

About Fiona

Fiona has experienced the joys of giving birth to 2 living children and the sorrows of losing angels taken too soon.   She worked in Aged Care as a PCA since 2006 then went on to practise as a nurse since 2010 working predominately in Mental Health.  Being no stranger to death within her personal and professional life, she has started perusing her passion in educating and making support services for grief and Health known to the public.  As she is a lover of technology and the great outdoors she spends time photographing our beautiful landscape.  She also finds peace in spending time with her beloved horses she calls her sanctuary.    

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Importance of Time - Tennille



The “old” me was a person who liked to keep track of time. I was busy, working full time, playing sport and had a busy social life. I loved cramming as much into every day that I could. The control freak in me loved wearing a watch, I hated being late. Our son Oscar was stillborn at 33 weeks and since the day I heard the words ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’ I have rarely worn a watch. I definitely never wore a watch for at least 3 years as the simple act of putting on my watch reminded me of how much I had lost and how time stood still. When your baby dies you have absolutely no control yet the irony is you have so much to organise but cannot arrange anything at the same time.

I wished I could go back in time. In the early days I so desperately wanted to be able to relive the final few days with my baby growing inside me. I was sure I could pinpoint the exact moment something may have gone wrong. I could replay the last time I actively felt him kick, I could rest more, or visit the doctor earlier. Time felt so precious and I felt I had flitted it away, while my son died.

My sense of time suddenly became very warped. In the days between finding out and delivering my baby, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t comprehend what was going to happen to me, what our son would look like or what I would need to arrange in the coming days. Time was long and short at the same time. Time also didn't have the same importance.

Once he was born and the time I was able to hold him, bath him and introduce him to our families seemed long. We gave him a lifetime of kisses, said hellos and goodbyes in just two short days.

Once leaving hospital, I have never felt time move more slowly. My brain and body were so disconnected and the days seem to crawl. I remember feeling panicked when there felt like there was so much of the day to go. Yet as each day passed, the time since I had held Oscar quickly moved on. The four months it took to fall pregnant with another baby were excruciating. I was so driven to fall pregnant again and this waiting game was tedious. Looking back, four months seemed to go so quickly now.

I was sceptical of the phrase “time heals everything” and “give yourself time”. I was convinced that I would always feel so lost and empty and I couldn’t possibly understand how people were able to move forward from their current position with grief. Yet, five years down the track I am able to talk about Oscar, often without crying. I remember my son with a smile on my face and live a fulfilling life.
                                                                                                       Tennille


If you require support after reading this blog please contact 

Sands on 13 000 72637

Tennille Welsh

Tennille Welsh is a mother to three beautiful boys. Mark (her husband) and Tennille experienced the stillbirth of their first son Oscar, at 33 weeks gestation in 2011, cause unknown. Tennille is passionate about raising awareness of the high incidence of stillbirth in Australia and shares Oscar's story in the hope that it may help other grieving families.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Shock…and trying to look beyond the pain - Stevie



One of the incredibly hard things to deal with after a pre-term loss of a baby is the unexpected nature of it. We had plenty of time before the expected arrival of our bundle of joy and never in a million years did we think, just like that, it would change. The shock, the trauma, the trying to get our head around how yesterday/a week ago/a month ago I was pregnant but now I no longer am, but I should still be.  The “how did it happen?” and the “did it actually happen?” is almost too hard to digest.

My husband looked at his facebook account- there up the top was a post letting our friends and family know our beautiful baby was born but didn’t make it, and right under was the announcement of our pregnancy with him. A pregnancy announcement followed by a death announcement in a space of 10 days with nothing in between on his wall. That’s the shock of it- we were expecting, then suddenly we weren’t. The thing is though, something did happen in between. Our baby didn’t just disappear… we had him.  He was real, he existed and he mattered. We just didn’t get to take him home and live a life with him. Instead we will live a whole life without him… and it hurts.

Seeing our pregnancy announcement again after his passing cut through us, right to our core. Everywhere we turned there were things that taunted us in this quick change of life. A parcel of maternity clothes that arrived just two days before he was born was sitting on our couch waiting for us when we came home from hospital. It remained there for two weeks, unopened and now unneeded. I was too terrified to touch it, just as we didn’t touch the new pram we just bought that stared at us every time we went into the spare room. The week before I went through my wardrobe and packed away anything that wouldn’t see me out the second half of my pregnancy. So every day the simple task of getting clothes became almost traumatic. I still haven’t pulled out all the clothes I could wear now, as it seems too awful to wear something I shouldn’t be able to right now.

I deliberately chose not to look at photos of myself with my belly. And then one day I decided I wanted to. It hurt beyond words but as I stared at a photo of my staff members standing around me pointing at my belly with big grins on their faces, it surprisingly also made me smile. Because it was a photo of HIM. It was a photo of him alive and how we were already celebrating him, and that was wonderful. It was a photo of a time where I carried him, a time I feel honoured to have had, no matter how much I feel like it’s killing me inside. I decided then not to hide the photos anymore and have looked at them a fair bit since. I do however make sure I don’t look at them when I am too fragile to handle them.

And now although I don’t ever choose the clothes my other children wore in the pregnancy announcement, if they pick them out themselves I let them wear them. When they wear them I instantly think of the matching bodysuit to their tee shirts, the one that sits in his memory box that our angel will never wear. Although it saddens me greatly, it reaffirms to me that even though he is gone, they will always be his big brother and big sister, and that he is still very much a part of our family.

No matter what, the pain is always there. The pain can be crippling, consuming and devastating but I try my best to look beyond it to see the happiness and love behind. The happiness that was there in those moments, in those photos, and try to honour that. I need to try and hold onto the happy memories and the feeling of pride I have of him, how he just like every baby, is miraculous and wonderful, even though he didn’t get to stay. I need to revisit the joy and warmth and feel the love…because I simply can’t live if there’s only the pain. And I NEED to live. Not just for our other children but for him as well.


Stevie


If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637


Stevie Vowles


Stevie Vowles has a 7 year old daughter, 4 year old son and a son who was born sleeping on 28/10/16.  Her journey led her to the upsetting discovery that there is often a great lack of understanding and awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. She has started an open and honest blog sharing her journey of Elliott's birth and the life that leads after for herself, her husband and her two other children, who also grieve greatly, as the first step in wanting to spread awareness and help other bereaved parents the blog can be found here https://elliottsstardust.family.blog/blog/

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Hearts That Were Broken, Hearts That Have Healed - Edwina



It’s almost eleven years since my son Teddy came, then left three days later. He was my much-longed-for third child, but from early on in my pregnancy with him, I knew something wasn’t right. One day on my morning walk I got a message loud and clear – “Don’t get too attached, this one won’t be with you long”. I was still in my first trimester, so I thought I was going to miscarry. I tried to shake the feeling, put it out of my mind as an unreasonable fear, but it persisted even as I carried him all the way to full term. A few days before he was born I had a nightmare, the last words I heard before waking were, “And the baby’s dead too.”

        As his birth approached though, I was filled with a deep sense of calm. I spent many hours in meditation, something I’d been able to do easily ever since his conception. When he finally arrived, born in water into my own arms, he was slow to come around, but my experienced midwife and I worked together and soon he was breathing and a healthy glowing pink. I was ecstatic, my beautiful boy was here at last. All my bad dreams and messages were just fears.

        But then that night in my bed at home I started to worry. Unlike my other babies who’d been voracious feeders, he was struggling to stay awake at my breast and not getting much milk. My midwife visited and checked him out and helped me to get him to feed. But another night passed without him feeding properly. I lay him on my knees facing me and asked him what was going on. I told him to make a decision – that I was here and would love him forever no matter what, but to please just eat.

        My midwife visited again and together we got him to have the best feed he’d yet been able to manage and lay him beside me on the bed. Not long after she left, I noticed that Teddy was lying very still beside me. That his lips looked blue. I picked him up and ran through the house calling for help, for God, for anyone, to please, please help me. My sister who was staying rang the midwife and got her to return, then called the ambulance as I began to resuscitate him. Together my midwife and I pumped his tiny heart and breathed for him until the ambulance arrived and took over. Cutting through his jumpsuit and attaching electrodes, shooting him full of adrenaline. Nothing worked. He’d made his decision. They say that every moment is perfect. The moment of your child’s death feels very, very far from that.

        Teddy was my third child and the third member of my family I’d lost in traumatic circumstances. My father had died after a long ugly battle with cancer when he was only 42. My younger brother killed himself to end the suffering of his mental illness when he was 20. Then came Teddy, my little three-day baby who died of a congenital heart defect. I thought I’d finished my dance with death and grieving. Teddy made me face all of it again.

        And I’ve learnt more in the years since he’s come and gone than I ever hope to learn again. Luckily, I had been practising yoga for many years when he died, so every day I got onto my mat and cried out my pain. I learned that it was better to cry a little bit every day than wait until I couldn’t hold it in anymore and explode in unrelenting sobs. I learned that by sending out love and comfort to all the other women in the world, both now and back through time who knew the same loss, that I too was somehow mysteriously comforted. I learned that if I wrote in my journal about my grief, about Teddy, about how angry I was, how awful it felt, how afraid I was of facing other people and their fat healthy babies, of the hate and rage and hopelessness, or if I drew out my pain using pens and paint, drew hearts that were broken and hearts that had mended, that if I let myself feel my grief and cry some more, I was helping myself to heal.


        I learned that in Bali, if a baby dies before it’s six months old, it’s buried in a special cemetery and revered as a god. That helped. When I think of Teddy now, I see him as a great white angel standing with me and with all the mothers who have lost their babies. He is standing with me now. Just as your babies are standing with you.


If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637


Edwina Shaw

Edwina Shaw is a Queensland writer. Her first book Thrill Seekers, based on her brother’s adolescent battle with schizophrenia, was shortlisted for the 2012 NSW Premier’s Award for New Writing.  In the Dark of Night, her recently released children’s chapter book, is part of a nationwide library promotion – Summer Reading Club 2016/17. She has been widely published in Australian and international journals, including Best Australian Stories 2014. She writes regularly for UPLIFT Connect and published an article on The Gifts of Grief there http://upliftconnect.com/the-gifts-of-grief/
Edwina teaches yoga and writing at universities in Brisbane, and innovative workshops combining both. She also teaches specialised workshops combing yoga, writing and other creative arts to help ease the pain of loss.
She can be booked through SpeakersInk
You can also find her at her website http://www.edwinashaw.com

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Watching the Calendar Tick Over - Stevie



Our second son Elliott was born sleeping on 28/10/16 at 21 weeks gestation. My membranes ruptured and I went into labour. Our perfectly healthy baby just wasn't strong or old enough to make it through. Now I find I'm in this huge space between his birth and his due date that feels like limbo. A space between the ‘was’ and the ‘might have been’. It’s a space filled with watching the calendar tick over, day after day towards what should have been a joyous time filled with exciting anticipation, waiting for our baby to arrive safety into the world. Instead the anticipation is rife with stress and sorrow. Although he has already been born, that date, his due date, hasn't gone away.

When I woke up on New Year’s Day I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want it to be a new year, I didn't want a reminder that time truly does go on. Days, weeks and months had passed and now a new year. I felt like he'll be forever left in 2016, never to grow up through the years. I felt like the new year reflected how I was further away from him yet closer towards the cruelty of what was meant to be. I was supposed to be big and waddling by now like I was with my other two by this stage. I was supposed to wear that maternity dress I bought on sale. Instead the night before I could have a few drinks because I wasn't carrying a baby safely inside and I could wear my pre-pregnancy jeans because he had already been born when we were just over half way there. Having a cocktail and wearing my jeans were things I looked forward to doing again, but now both just reminded me of what I no longer had. 

I never cared for dates and now they meant everything to me. Every Friday echoes the day he was born and died, the 28th of every month tells me how old he would have been if he survived. And that date, the date that he was meant to be born healthy and alive is looming. I won't ever happily prepare a birthday party for him like I do for my other two. Instead we prepare ourselves emotionally for certain dates which bring a gutting ache of milestones we'll never get to witness. I see photos of friends who were due within weeks of Elliott’s due date and know that was meant to be me. I can't let my husband put his hand on my belly when we cuddle because it reminds me how he would rub my belly feeling the baby kick. Now there's just emptiness when there shouldn't be and it feels taunting to have his hand on it.

I had a great week last week- I felt productive, useful, purposeful. Then I woke up one day and couldn’t get out of bed. For three days, I didn't get out of bed until late in the afternoon and when I got up I felt like I had absolutely nothing left. Out of nowhere my grief had smacked me right in my face. I couldn’t stop thinking that we would be counting down the weeks now, preparing for his arrival. That if he was born now, even this early, chances are he'd be fine. It feels like every week that passes closer to his due date intensifies the thought of our baby whom we should have taken home. I began looking for answers to my grief, to solve it, to let me pass over the thoughts of "if only". I tried to be positive and held back from crying. Then I came to the realisation, with help from friends including other bereaved mums, that there are no answers and no ‘solving’ my grief. That no matter which way you looked at it, it was cruel, terrible, awful and unfair. I broke down to my husband and told him the things I couldn't stop thinking about. I cried that mournful cry you can’t fake, I curled in a ball and clutched at my stomach. When I woke up the next morning it was easier to get out of bed.


I'm now trying to accept my grief as part of who I now am. I’m trying to understand, live with and around it. I'm accepting that the time between now and that date will likely have many terrible days where I am temporarily consumed by those "if" thoughts. I'm going to let myself have those days, so the next ones are easier. I'm accepting that sometimes its ok to not be ok and that its normal to be angry and upset, feeling that it’s all so unfair. Because you know what, it is unfair-completely and utterly unfair. At my worst times, I do my best to bring myself back to the moments where I held him and remember that warm feeling of protective love. I do something to celebrate him and his life, because he deserves to be celebrated like every other baby. I’ve decided that on his due date we'll fly kites for him and write on more stones to put around his tree we have for him, like we did on a day we held for him after he was born. I know I'll count down the days until his due date, and have no idea what will happen after that, but I know every day before and every day after I’ll love him.                                                                                        
Stevie



If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637


Stevie Vowles

Stevie Vowles has a 7 year old daughter, 4 year old son and a son who was born sleeping on 28/10/16.  Her journey led her to the upsetting discovery that there is often a great lack of understanding and awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. She has started an open and honest blog sharing her journey of Elliott's birth and the life that leads after for herself, her husband and her two other children, who also grieve greatly, as the first step in wanting to spread awareness and help other bereaved parents the blog can be found here https://elliottsstardust.family.blog/blog/



Thursday, 12 January 2017

2016 Reflections - Genevieve



I'm not really ready to talk much, which is very unusual for me.   Almost wordless for the first fortnight. Just starting to think (and feel) now.

Aria was my rainbow baby - the last living part of her dad, and I lost her.   I felt her move for the first time on the day her dad was cremated.   She was born two months to the day from his birthday (14th July) and died two months to the day from the day he died (15th July). Probably coincidental, but seems significant.

 Yes, we loved the names too.

Her dad and I had named her Aria - at conception actually. For three  reasons – we both loved music (aria is a musical term), it is similar to Amalie (both starting with “A” and three syllables), linking her to her sister and thirdly, because she was conceived in the Aria hotel!

Wanted to find a middle name that linked to Mark and thought about the   feminine forms of “Mark/Marc”.  Don’t like Marcy or Marcia, then it   came to me – Marcella.   “Marcella is an Italian given name, the feminine version of Marcello (Mark in English). Marcella means warlike, martial, and strong. “

 Was perfect for 4 reasons:

1)      Link to her Dad  – “Marc-”

2)      Link to her sister Amalie – “-ella”  (Amalie’s middle name was Ella)

3)      Link to her grandmother Noella – “-ella”

4)      Link to her Aunt (my sister-in-law)  Amy – her initials (Aria Marcella Yates) are AMY



If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637

Genevieve Yates

Genevieve is a GP, medical educator, medical writer and musician from the Northern Rivers region of NSW. After a long and difficult road to motherhood, her beautiful daughter, Amalie Ella, was born in December, 2014.  Tragically, Amalie died of neonatal sepsis after only four days.
Through her clinical work, teaching and writing, she hopes to she can use her experiences to help support both patients and other doctors in managing the complex emotions surrounding fertility issues and perinatal loss, and also encourage more open discussion in the general community.

Her website can be found at: http://genevieveyates.com

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Another Birthday Missed - Therese



Thirty-seven years ago in January this year I should have been celebrating my child's birth. To not have this annual celebration as I do with my other children, still leaves a "what if" sort of question. I bless my other children every day and feel so sad for those that have not experienced the joy of a live birth, however, much I love them, they can't replace the bub I lost for this child was expected and loved. When I miscarried at 16 weeks I felt this baby inside of me was a person in its own right and had looked forward to seeing its face; unfortunately I never knew its gender as it had not been formed properly in my body.

I bought a rose bush a few years ago and had a ceremony with my daughters, which I have discussed in a previous blog. I looked at them today and saw that all the flowers on it had died off and was relatively bare. The last rose is dying off now and it saddens me that I have to wait months for it to bloom again, another reminder of the child lost.

I spent some time on the day looking at the rose bush and listened to a song of Enya's: So I Could Find My Way; if you have a chance please listen to it. It can be found on You Tube. It gave me the necessary leave to have a cry, something I often hide or keep inside of me. A lesson for me is that life goes on and it is all a learning experience. This is not to say that is all the experience is, as already stated it.

What amazes me still (and I don't know why I am still surprised) but no-one ever mentions this lost baby, except on occasion my youngest as her partner lost his son at a very young age and he was able to have the baby boy placed at Fawkner cemetery in Melbourne where a lovely memorial garden exists for “lost” children. There was no such thing around and no support either when I miscarried. I was told by a nun, who was a midwife, that it was “God's wish” and when I think of this I still get angry.

Everyone keeps saying I have three children, which again I am lucky I have but I always say I have had four pregnancies, not three! This attitude of those who know this can still upset me at times. After all this time I suppose people forget but I do not!

Sometimes I sit alone on a bench seat outside listening to the breeze and sounds trying to find peace in a world that forgets trauma and grief so easily because it is a way of life for so many, which is sad in itself. Losing a baby is something unique and miscarriage is different from a still born and other loss of a young baby. However, those of us who have been in this situation are united in the fact that we never got to see this person grow up, achieve the milestones expected and also for them to have had the experience of having their own children.

So please those who may read this blog, if you have never been in my situation, be careful of your words, as we still feel the loss even if you don't.




Therese Murphy 0502
17


If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637


About Therese 

Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.
Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.
Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.
Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.