......

......
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.

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)

Friday, 8 September 2017

Dream

From July 2016

Did you have a bad dream
Nods head
What happened?
You went away

Where did I go?
I don't know
Did you call for me?
Nods head
And here I am, I will always be here.

Need. Want.

I didn't mean for Neshama to die because of my need to have another baby.

She wasn't able to live, I don't know why, but we created her and somewhere along the way something happened to her that she couldn't do anything about, neither could we.  (She had a growth on her stomach)

She didn't choose this for herself, who would? But I feel we sort of did, because I wanted another baby.

I say I, because I spent 5 years persuading Hubby that it would be an amazing awesome idea to have another one and he finally conceded that he did also want another baby but was terrified of not being able to manage emotionally, financially, physically and on even less sleep.  

Hubby absolutely wanted her when I told him and he obviously subconsciously wanted her when we conceived her,  because if you're not using contraception...well....you could get pregnant! I hope he doesn't blame me for persuading him because now look what he's having to deal with. I hope he's not blaming himself either. Yes I know, blame isn't healthy. I can't help it.

My need and want for another baby is raw right now. I need that life growing back inside me. I need to feel that unbelievable overwhelming love that only comes from knowing you are sustaining your child's life inside you.  Except I didn't sustain Neshama's life. I want her back inside me and for none of this to have happened. I want her back inside me but I would also want to have another baby inside me right now because I know that it's not possible to have Neshama back.  It doesn't mean I've stopped loving and wanting her but it does make me feel guilty for thinking about another different baby.  I feel not in control of that need to have a baby inside me.  Or my thoughts about how I feel.  Is this a good time to start blaming hormones?

When my kids say to me 'I need this' I more often than not automatically respond with 'You don't need it, you want it'   I know they don't understand the difference yet but one day they might. One day they will be able to deal with not being able to get that vital all encompassing whatever and soon they will differentiate between how much they really need something compared to how much they want it. Then, I hope they work damn hard to get what they need, then once they have what they need, they work even harder to get what they want.

Right now I want and need another baby in my belly. Intellectually, I know it's too soon, don't care.

Whatever way I look at it at the moment, I think i will always feel awful for not being able to help her survive. And a bit selfish and slightly (more) crazy for wanting another baby again already.

Meltdowns - on the increase but all in hand and understandable
Losing the Plot - no energy really but if it happens it happens.
Breastfeeding - I told Millie I couldn't on Monday bedtime because I thought it might cause a contraction. I had never thought about it being an issue before or with my pregnancies with the other two breastfeeding and I had also never felt it give me a contraction during this pregnancy.  I wonder if subconsciously I knew something wasn't right. An hour later I birthed her. Now, I don't think it would have made any difference.  I remember feeling sad that Millie had been upset and taken a while to get to sleep and I could have fed her and it would have made a difference to her.