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8 Ways Losing My Baby Has Changed Me

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If you’re a regular reader you’ll know about Harry. Harry was my first pregnancy, my first baby and my first introduction to proper grief.

Losing Harry has changed me in so many ways; it’s altered my views on life, my personality, and my relationships. It’s made me look at the world differently and probably not in ways you would expect! It’s made me want to change how I behave and what kind of person I am.

I believe these changes are permanent. I believe I am not and will never be the person I was before I had him. Here are the 8 ways losing my baby has changed me…

My Relationship is Stronger

Luckily for me and Mr. W our sadness only brought us closer; unfortunately for a lot of people that is not the case. After losing Harry we experienced a whole new level of “sad”. Sadness I have never and hope to never experience again; but if any good can be pulled from a heartbreaking situation then it’s that we grew even closer than I would have imagined possible for two people to be.

I always felt I had to be my own “rock” before but I’ve learnt that I don’t have to be strong all the time and that’s a wonderful feeling. I have this amazing person to fall back on and, frankly, I don’t think I’d be a functioning human again if it wasn’t for him! He truly is the most special person in the world to me.

“Love isn’t who you see yourself with, it’s who you can’t see yourself without”– Unknown

I’m More Thankful

There’s always someone out there who has it worse than you- Full stop. In a situation like what we experienced, it would have been easy for us to fall into that cycle of “Why me? Why us? Poor me! No one understands! The world hates me! What did we do to deserve this?!” but we didn’t. It’s been tough, it’s still tough, and it will always be tough- but- people have it worse, A LOT worse.

What do I have? Well, I have a stable happy marriage; me, my husband, family and friends have our health, I have a home, my husband and I have jobs, we make money, we live well, we have friends and family in abundance, we have another baby on the way. I am thankful for what I have because it’s far more than what a lot of people have. When all is said and done; I’m still one of the lucky ones.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.”– Oprah Winfrey

I’m More Mature

I’ve aged; emotionally, mentally and probably physically. I was lucky enough, before this, to never have experienced what I would call true sadness. So it’s probably not a surprise that once I found myself dealing with premature labour, postmortems and baby funerals at the age of 23; I grew up. I wasn’t prepared for what happened; the thought had never crossed my mind that something like that would happen to me- it always happens to someone else right?

Grief definitely ages you. I’ve grown up a lot in a short space of time.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, your heart will be badly broken and the bad news is you will never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also good news. They live forever in you broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you’ve come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly- that still hurts whenever the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”– Anne Lamott.

I Hate Negativity

I was never a massive fan of pessimistic, gloomy people before having Harry, but I’ve noticed recently that I’m even more adverse to those “My life is so hard! Poor me” -people. I’ve always found negative people a real drain and do now more than ever. I’ve started to notice how often people moan about stupid little things of no consequence and I find it so frustrating!

There are people out there with genuine problems, genuine worries, genuine tragedies going on in their lives and most of the time they find the strength to solider on and even muster up a smile and kind word for someone else going through a hard time. So the fact that the worst thing that’s happened you this week is that you had to wait 10 minutes in a queue at the post office is of no significance to me.

“If you keep telling the same sad story, you will keep living the same sad life”– Jean Houston

I’m More Emotional

I’ve always been quite emotionally stunted where my own feelings are concerned. I hate seeing others upset and immediately what to comfort someone whose down, but when it comes to me I would rather anything than cry or be sad in front of another human. It would have been a rarity for anyone to see me cry before.

I haven’t done a complete U-Turn and turned into the sort of person who gets teary daily, but I’m definitely more in tuned with my emotions. I still don’t see myself being one of those people who cries regularly- there’s nothing wrong with these people it’s just not for me- but I’m more comfortable now with the idea that it’s ok to cry and feel sad from time to time, and that’s a big change.

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”– Sigmund Freud

I Value My Friends & Family More

I love my friends and family more; of course, I’ve always loved my friends and family but when something terrible happens it makes you realise who is truly there for you.

I don’t know what I would have done in the days, weeks and months after having Harry if I didn’t have such good friends and family. The best thing is they all knew exactly what to say. I can honestly say that none of my friends upset me by saying something accidentally insensitive (I wish the same could be said for everyone else but unfortunately the truth is far from it!) it’s something I will never forget and will be eternally thankful for.

“A true friend sees the first tear, catches the second and stops the third”– Angelique

I’m More Positive

After living in unbearable sadness and negativity for a large part of a year I have come out the other side with the realisation that it’s an unawful and draining way to live. I think the more positive you are, the more chance you have of positive things happening to you- this is my karmic side emerging! People like optimistic people, and happiness and positivity (like negativity and sadness!) are infectious. Would you rather be the bearer of misery and gloom or the bringer of smiles and laughter? Not a hard choice for me really.

“There are two ways of looking at the world, one as if everything is a miracle, and second, as if nothing is.”– Albert Einstein

I’m Becoming a Better Person

I honestly believe these changes have made and are making me into a better person. I’ve learnt I can overcome harsh challenges in my life. I’ve learnt how strong I am. I’ve learnt how strong my relationship with my husband is. I know how great my friends and family are. I’ve learnt to value what I have. I’ve learnt its ok to lean on someone. I’ve grown up. I’ve realized life isn’t worth wasting your time with negativity.

Time does not heal. Time does not make the pain disappear. Time does not make you forget. But as time goes on you get stronger and can deal with the pain differently. I will always be a different person now but that person is a better version of who I was before. Hopefully all the things I’ve learnt from this experience will go some way to making me a better mum, wife, friend, daughter and person.

Maybe that was Harry’s gift to me. Maybe that was the purpose of his very short but very significant life. Maybe that’s why he will always be in my heart and never forgotten.

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Week 24: Where it all went wrong last time…

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“Your baby’s primitive memory is beginning to develop, implying that music and voices will be leaving an impression in your little ones brain. Her spine has 1000 ligaments, 150 joints and 33 vertebrae. Blood vessels are busy developing inside the lungs and the nostrils are beginning to open. Now that she has fully developed hands, loud noises may even prompt junior to cover her tiny ears to shield them from sounds. Her skin has now changed from translucent to a more opaque appearance. The cerebral cortex, the part of your baby’s brain that’s responsible for emotions, reasoning, planning and ability to solve problems is the most prominent part of the brain at this point.

Your belly is getting larger all the time. headaches leg cramp and even rib pain is normal at this time as your baby is taking up much space cramping your organs. The skin of your belly may become itchy due to stretching from growth spurt. You may begin experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions at this time. They occur due to the tightening of the uterine muscles and are felt for one or two minutes. They are not generally painful. These contractions do not have a pattern like true labour contractions.”

I write my blog updates after completing a week of pregnancy, so when I write “Week 24” you know I’m actually in week 25 of my pregnancy, so it gives me great pleasure to post this blog knowing I’m past the 24th week!
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If you’ve been a regular reader of my posts for a while now, you will have heard me mention my previous pregnancy with my little boy Harry ended when I went into premature labour at 24 weeks, so getting past this week has been a huge milestone for me physically, mentally and emotionally!

Strangely, this week I was fairly calm and collected- no panic attacks, no nightmares, no sleepless nights. Just a clear head. As D-Day arrived I was nervous but not overly so. You may have heard me mention before my little theory about rainbows and my guardian angel/god/Harry/harmless coincidence? Well let me explain anyway…

I haven’t seen a rainbow in about 2/3 years and all of a sudden, during this pregnancy, I have seen no less than 15. They spring up every time I have a particularly bad day. For people who don’t know, this baby is referred to as a “Rainbow Baby” for definition, click here.

Of course this all could be (and all logical thinking points to it being) a huge coincidence; but I prefer to think of it as a little message from Harry or whoever that my rainbow baby is fine and everything will be ok, and I’m not hurting anyone by taking comfort in that. Keeping this theory going, as D-Day arrived so did a wooping, brighter than bright rainbow. The biggest and brightest one I’ve seen yet.

So week 24 went pretty much panic free, it was really week 22 that was the worst. I suppose it’s like anything your dreading really- the build up to the day is always an anxiety ridden horror but when the day actually arrives it’s not half as bad as you think.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I’ve passed this particular hurdle does not mean I now feel confident in my pregnancy- but it has helped! My next milestone is 28 weeks- the start of the third trimester. The survival rate at 28 weeks goes up 95% with only a 5-10% chance of neurological defects- fairly strong statistics in my book!

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This week has been a busy one. Trying to keep my mind off things, no doubt, the husband suggested we start the baby’s room at the weekend- something he knows full well is going to plug my mind with nothing other than pink paint, wall murals, sewing bunting and designing toy chests- yes this was the perfect thing to say to take my mind off the worry.

Although I have to say, I was sad to say goodbye to my little blue room. A friend once said to me, “You don’t need pictures, toys or clothes to remember Harry. You have memories that will last forever and he will always be your first baby.” True words, my rainbow isn’t replacing Harry, she’s a new and different baby that’s all.

You may have seen from my previous post, on day 1 of week 24 I took my course of steroid tablets. I noticed a few things; a headache, trouble getting off to sleep for 2 nights after and decreased movements from princess around 24-48 hours after taking the tablets. All of which are noted as side effects from the steroids and are completely normal- phew.

I now feel slightly guilty for downing 2 pints of ice cold water, lying on my left hand side and systematically poking where I knew princess was lying until I had roused her enough to feel 10 kicks in 20 mins (still a reduced movement for princess believe or not but docs say that as long as you’re feeling 10 movements in an hour everything is ok) but hopefully if she knew how worried I get she’d forgive me 🙂

My consultant appointment on Thursday went well. Everyone is happy with baby’s progress! She was measuring about the size of a 23 week baby so slightly small, although nothing to worry about as I’m only 4’11’’ so she’s hardly going to be a biggun!

My consultant was happy enough to postpone my next appointment slightly to 3 weeks time instead of the normal 2 weeks time, with a view to hopefully keeping them at around every 3-4 weeks from the 3rd tri, as my midwife appointments start to pick up more.

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I’m happy to report that I’m fairly symptom free at this stage! My PGP seems to have eased which is weird! If anything I thought it was bound to get worse but *touch wood* so far it’s ok!

The only “symptom” I really have is that I’m still quite tired- not as tired as I was in the 1st tri but I definitely haven’t experienced that surge in energy that most mums-to-be report in the 2nd tri and I’ve lost all hope of getting it seeing, as I write this, I only actually 3 full weeks of the 2nd tri left! How exciting and terrifying is that?! Other than that my indigestion has died down and now only pops up after certain foods- boiled eggs and cheese & onion crisps being the main culprits likely to set me off!

If you knew me well, you’d know this is quite unwelcome news as cheese & onion crisps are practically the only crisps I eat and eggs, well, being a fish-only-meat-eater sees me eat A LOT of eggs. These are, however, minor inconveniences- if princess doesn’t like cheese and onion crisps and boiled eggs I will forgo them for the foreseeable! She is the boss after all 🙂

Highlight of the week? Passing D-Day!!
Low of the week? The ban on cheese & onion crisps and boiled eggs commences!

Priceless Jewels…

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Priceless Jewels…

I peel open the blue pharmacy bag and stare at the little box in my hand. The title screams in big bold black letters; DEXAMETHASONE

It’s time to take my steroids. The precious little tablets that will help develop my baby’s lungs inside of me early, just in case I go into premature labour again.

12 teeny tiny tablets; 6 to be taken in the morning with food and the remaining 6 to be taken 12 hours later with food. The tablets must not be taken before 24 weeks of pregnancy and do not need to be taken again during the duration of my pregnancy- this I have memorised from the front of the box.

As soon as I receive the tablets I open the box and count every tablet to check the box does indeed contain 12. Twice. I place the box in my night stand draw and I wait…

Then bang on 24 weeks, I take 6 tablets out of the packet- handling them with the care I assume one would handle The Duchess’ engagement ring- and methodically count them 3 more times to ensure I have exactly 6 to hand and swallow them, with water, one by one, counting as I go for a seventh time.

Finally I set an alarm for EXACTLY 12 hours later (to the minute) and do one last check by counting I still have 6 tablets remaining in the packet to take later.

When the time comes for the remaining 6 to be taken, I don’t need the alarm I had set on my phone to tell me. I have stared at the time on and off throughout the day (5 hours to go, 4 hours to go, 3 hours to go) and for at least the last 20 minutes to make sure I wouldn’t be late because, let’s face it, someone could call, my phone battery could die- even though I still have 89% battery left- hell my phone could just freeze or blow up!

There could be an impromptu, massive, devastating earthquake, the likes of which England has never/will never/is-impossible-to-ever-have seen and I still would not be a minuet late to take these tablets!

I count that I still have 6 left in the packet, pop 6 out into my hand, count them again to make sure I still have 6 tablets, swallow the remaining 6 tablets one by one (counting them down) and I’m done…

A little excessive you might think? And your probably right. There wasn’t a huge chance that the Pharmacy would fail to give me 12 tablets or that a tablet or two would magically dissolve in the pack, but these tablets could be what saves my little girls life if, for whatever reason, she decides to come early as Harry did.

These tablets are the difference between under matured lungs, almost certain neonatal death and a fairly good chance of survival. These tablets could have saved my boy if we had known to take them. If we had known I was going to go into premature labour and I had taken these tablets, he may have been here today.

The fact is, babies born prematurely whose mothers have been given a course of steroids when baby is still in utero, are TWICE as likely to survive and that’s why, to me, these steroids are priceless jewels and shall be treated as such…