The Result…

Did having a Post Mortem help me with my grief, help me deal with the loss of my 3rd child, absolutely not, is the answer? The results of Elliot’s Post Mortem will torment me until the day I die. I guess in hindsight when I actioned the go ahead for this Post Mortem I think I was looking for definite proof that his life was not worthy, like he was terminally ill or something, that maybe his stillbirth was in some cruel twisted path of fate saving me from more pain in latter years.

All we now know is that Elliot’s results in black and white describe it as follows:

Unexplained intrauterine death of patients baby 3 months ago. Post Mortem suggest high feto-placetal ratio.

This was basically explained to me that the placenta size was small and it was not big enough to keep Elliot alive once he got bigger and began to draw more from it, which in turn meant his health / life was compromised. You all probably read this and think what my husband thinks “It’s an answer, it’s not a chromosome defect, and it’s something rather than an abyss of nothingness and un-answered questions”.

Sadly for me this result is like receiving a life sentence of imprisonment within my own mindful thoughts. A life sentence of self blame. Rob has found comfort from the result but as I write this I wish I never had them.

Elliot was confirmed dead on the Wednesday 5th December although he was born on the 6th. On the Monday prior to the nightmare unfurling I had a midwife appointment and I now believe that the motherly instinct I had on that day, that intuitive feeling that something was wrong was now absolutely and 100% correct.

The midwife completed all her normal checks, urine, blood pressure, then proceeded to palpate my belly to determine Elliot’s position to help with listening in to Elliot’s heartbeat with the Sonicaid Heart Doppler. I was always anxious at this point, this anxiety I carried with me throughout every one of my pregnancies since loosing the twins, and it was no different this time. I don’t think I have actually ever been able to sit back, relax and actually enjoy being pregnant like other mothers. With tragedy striking me upon my first pregnancy with a double neonatal death this did set presidency for all other pregnancies. Most mothers sit anxious, quietly keeping their news a secret from all until the 12 week dating scan believing this to be the safe point from then on but I remained fearful because of the loss I endured at 25weeks. For me there was no safe point, pregnancy meant 9 months of anxiety, becoming a nervous wreck and worrying about every peculiarity.

Elliot was always hard to trace he had a tendency to be lying in the transverse position making it hard to detect his heartbeat.

I reflect back and on one occasion I remember leaving the clinic in floods of tears after I had laid on the examination bed for over 35 minutes while the midwife manipulated my tummy from one position to another trying to move Elliot into a better position, she was perspiring with nervous anticipation trying to keep me calm, nervously over talking random oddities and useless information to try and ease the tense atmosphere, finally detecting his heartbeat tears rolled down my cheek in elation as I heard the familiar horse trotting sound that all expectant mothers well up at hearing, that sound I was waiting on tenterhooks to hear.

It was not my regular Scottish midwife with her caring nature at this Monday afternoon appointment and I was disappointed to see her stand in, mostly because of the heavy feeling I held in my heart. Some people you know are always meant for midwifery and other caring professions it’s just what they do so easily, and others you think ‘Jesus you’d get more bedside manner from a bulldog’ and wonder why they entered the vocation in the first place. This lady was tall, lanky with teeth like tombstones, and the compassion of Hitler.

To my surprise ‘Hitler’ detected Elliot’s heartbeat immediately but I still had that sinking feeling and I spoke out and said “that doesn’t sound like normal to me, does it to you?” she dismissed me and said all was fine not even attempting to listen in for longer to rest my worry and doubt. In hindsight I should have made her, I should have said listen again, or said send me for a scan but I didn’t. I accepted what she said with no further argument from me. I accepted her word as correct when my gut was telling me something different. If I had listened to my inner self and persisted with my train of thought, there’s a possibility that they may have picked up signs of distress and delivered Elliot there and then albeit 2 weeks early. If that had happened HE WOULD BE HERE NOW, the thought I could have saved his life will haunt me for eternity.

I know and understand ‘hindsight’, understanding of a situation only after it has happened or developed. But I am a person that rules my head even my life to a certain degree by following my gut instinct, I believe people are intuitive and they should follow that feeling and believe it to be true even with out conscious reasoning, and on that day, I didn’t and until I die the consequence of that was my baby boys death. I will never actually know if me acting on instinct would have changed the outcome, but the fact I never tried leaves me with a feeling I wish I didn’t have and a agonizing unanswered question of “If I did act, could things be different?”…

So from one mother to another – if for any reason no matter how small, you have a gut feeling that lies heavy within… follow that intuitive maternal instinct and act on it, it may change your life, and it may not, I often refer to quotes I have read in my blogs and this one I read today… “One thing you have to realize from now on is that it doesn’t matter if this is a dream or not. Survival depends on what you do, not what you think.”

Time is the Ultimate Healer….or not?

There’s an age old saying that tells us: “Time is the Ultimate Healer.” I have stayed true to this phrase and believed it although lately, I find myself questioning it. What is so magically powerful about “time” that it can heal us? Do seconds, minutes and hours contain a remedy that can be harvested and administered to broken hearts all over the world?

I’ve deliberated and contemplated and my belief is time heals nothing; you just learn to live with the anguish and torment. As the minutes and hours turn into days and the days turn into weeks they then flow into months and add up to years, putting time between the devastation and the future life.

When you reflect the pain is still is real as it was then, only what happens after time is acceptance, and acceptance is key to the word ‘time’ within the phrase “Time is the Ultimate Healer”

What I think happens in the time that passes prior to ‘acceptance’ is sadness, depression, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, confusion, jealousy, relief, fear, regret, guilt, abandonment, to name but a few of the rollercoaster of emotions. Grief evokes many thoughts like, “I should have done more,” “I should have known,” “I’m a failure,” “I can’t survive this,” “I’ll never be the same” and so on.

So use your time wisely and spend it healing yourself. Get to know the new YOU the person you become after tragedy and loss and with that acceptance will evolve.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

My greatest achievement in my life is my children they are my everything, there are many things I have done in my life that I am not proud of but my children are not one of them.

Some days they test the patience of a saint other days they are total angels but every day I love them and every day I think myself the luckiest person on earth to have them.

Children are so innocent and they say such ‘corkers’ I feel I need to document just a few of these quotes so upon my days of reflection I can look back and smile with fondness only a mother can have for her child.

It was when Lilly-Ella my first rainbow daughter is six years old, she had a friend round for tea and a conversation between them spurred me on to write this post.

When they had finished their meals I offered them ice-cream and to my astonishment the little girl said very politely..
“No thank you I can’t eat ice-cream I have given it up for lent”
Lilly-Ella replied with her index finger in her nostril up to the knuckle
“I have given up picking my nose for lent”
To which I just began to chuckle and then Toby my four year old said
“And I have given up football”
I’m howling with laughter as I say…
“But you don’t play football”
He says confidently
“EXACTLY”

I collected my son from preschool and tenderly kissed him on his cheek and asked
“Have you had a nice day darling?”
“No mummy I was raped”
To my horror my mouth dropped and I questioned him some more…
“Raped …. What do you mean raped?”
Toby lifted his sticky little fingers and pointed to his cheek where there was a little SCRAPE and he said again
“Here mummy, I was raped here”
Jubilation and adoration for my son in that instant!

He has often had me in stitches with his ‘lazy’ speech and often the words come out not quite how they should which has often left me howling with laughter another example of this was on our morning school run Toby often collected sticks for my friend Sarah’s, dog. Well on this morning her dog wasn’t at the normal tree where she left her while dropping her children into the school grounds. Toby had this stick and no where to leave it. I said to him …
“Come along Toby we will just give the stick to Sarah who can give it to Alaska when she gets home”
He says innocently
“Yes mummy I will because Sarah likes dicks…”
I’m already chuckling and tried to correct his mispronunciation but before I could he had already spotted Sarah whom at this time was heavily pregnant with her fourth child and he ran across the playground shouting at the top of his voice …
“Sarah… Do you like my dick…. I got a dick for youuuuuuuu”
She turns and blushes and we both curl in two laughing as the playground comes to a standstill.

Another moment of pure hysteria was during my weekly mundane shop for groceries Lilly-Ella who was then about 2 and half, I’m pushing her in the trolley and walking around the supermarket as quick as my feet will go trying not to burn a hole in my sole as I pick up speed, I’m sweating profusely and could do without the trolley frenzy so I am feeding my daughter with whatever sweet treats and pieces of fruit I can grab on my way around to limit the tantrums to a minimum whilst she’s strapped in the trolley and then at the top of her voice she squeals ..
“Mummy I need a man”
“Pardon?” I reply….
“I need a mannnnnnnnn” She says again at the same amplified volume
“No you don’t, stop being silly” people are looking as I queue to pay for my groceries… I’m not in the mood so I am anxiously waiting for a comment so I can take the bait as she’s wailing and repeating the same sentence over and over….
“I need a man, I need a man, I need a man, I want a man I want a man nowwwwww”
I look at her and she’s innocently pointing to the GINGERBREAD MEN in the trolley full of food.

One day Lilly-Ella was looking through the digital photo frame she’s about 4 years old and the pictures were on a slide show and they flicked through baby pictures of her and her brother and I am pointing out who is who…. Lilly-Ella whom is very observant quickly picks out she was “chunkier” than her brother at the same age…. So we sit together and there is a picture of Toby on a tractor, and then her in the bath, then it quickly changed to a picture of Lilly-Ella about 10 months old chubby as a Buddha sat in her chair with a WestHam Football kit on and she shrieks in horror…… “Mummy, Oh no you didnt tell me that I used to be a BOYYY…”

I have loved writing this and could go on and on having you in fits of laughter explaining how my children sum up things with their word imperfections on a daily basis. Many have me laughing out loud from ‘China Fighting’ to ‘Dicks’ and Toby’s explanation of him being hot is by telling me he’s ‘melting’ its all so perfectly innocent and other times their words and questions cut deep into my soul when they ask me things like “when they die will they be put into a CRATE and shoved in the ground” ….

Basically through this blog, I say let kids be kids, enjoy them while they are young and relish in every single waking moment, even when your sleep deprived and ripping your hair out from the roots in frustration just take a moment and reflect and think how lucky you are to HAVE your children and remember “its only a phase”… all too soon they will be young adults with their childhood a mixture of digital pictures on a frame.