Tag Archives: #pregnancyloss

My Goodbye Moments

Its so far out of town you think you’ve missed it. But then we get here.

Clicky clack shoes on the road as we both walk from the car, the only noise until my not so silent tears fall down my cheeks. This is when they start.

Looking down at our feet and entwined fingers, the orange catches my eye; it is so much brighter swinging over the black of the road.

Except for holding Daniel’s hand I wish no one to attempt to invade my space or heart right now. Greet me if you wish, but you can’t penetrate my shield in these moments. I am here for a reason, a purpose and this is my last chance. Like a fierce mumma bear protects her cubs, I’ll fight for these moments.

They are a precious gift. Moments to freely celebrate life and acknowledge the death of our dear precious one; others have moved on from this life altering event, simply because its not their life. Though the grief is yet to fade for us.

Grief is so isolating, in so many different ways. It is a wicked dictator. The battle for control of the mind is intense and exhausting. You so wish to not be alone through it, but you can’t invite anyone in as they have to decide to push through the darkness. It is difficult for everyone.

These moments today at the “pregnancy loss memorial service” are a chance for the final goodbye I didn’t know I’d been holding tight on my lips.

With Emmanuelle I walked into the florist knowing that a sunflower was exactly what I wanted… today I walked back into the same florist and I didn’t know. I wanted orange but I didn’t know, nothing was right… then I chose a chrysanthemum. It was perfect.

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I didn’t want to sit down. I didn’t want to meet the chaplains. I had no energy for ‘polite.’ These were my moments, to be raw. To allow my grief to be seen. To not be a tightly shut bottle, all held together. This was my space where I have all the permission I need to be a grieving mother. To sob like I have more dead babies than alive babies. To not be ok, to feel. To be so broken, but stand strong because I’m also not.

I knew what the service would be like; I knew most of what they’d say.

That God loves all he has made…. knit me together in my mothers womb…leave in your safekeeping…. joy into mourning….we ask you today for courage and strength.

 

We laid my chosen bright orange flowers.

We looked up and saw a rainbow. It hadn’t even rained.

We released our balloons.

We turned and walked away. Daniel still held my hand. Our shoes clacked, but once again my arms were empty. I can’t go to one of those services again. I don’t think I’d survive. Daniel says to me, “Last time Yvette, last time.”

This is when my tears stop. For now at least.

But my love for Steven James never will.

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“How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.” — Ferguson

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Hospital staff | #Iwanttotalkaboutit

“Don’t worry it’s just bits and pieces” I heard the orderly next to me say while he held a medical esky and we waited for the elevator down from the maternity ward. The kind I knew my 16 week old daughter would have been in just days before, I wondered if he carried her also calling her that? I’d just left a follow-up appointment just a few days after having Emmanuelle.

I’m trying hard to speak positively, but this topic had me stumped. I’m certain there are midwives who understand and doctors who care, but that was not always our experience.

 

Our first miscarriage 

The day of six weeks pregnant I woke with some spotting, ring the hospital. “No need to worry unless the blood increases and you start to cramp.”

A few hours later, on one of the busiest weekends of our year, the blood increased and the pain began. After time in the little eight bed ED of our town, I drove to the city for more waiting. After many more hours and tests I signed a form to leave against medical advice. The doctor wanted to give me medicine to induce a miscarriage when I knew I’d already lost the baby. Being a weekend no proper ultrasound was available to check either way, but I wanted to be home with my boys. The poor doctor received the brunt of my cyclone of emotions.

 

Emmanuelle
Our first ultrasound started like any other, at nearly twelve weeks we had no reason for concern and were filled with excitement. The sonographer was chatty until she wasnt. Something was wrong, she’d never done this before and clearly didn’t know how to handle it so didn’t.

We went back to the doctor nearly straight away. He’d never had to tell someone news like this before, you could tell. He didn’t know the answers to our questions, but tried his best. He didn’t reassure us or offer us hope, he couldn’t. Instead the room filled with my tears and unanswered questions.

 

Our experience with medical staff was not the greatest; birthing a baby who will never take a breath is so confronting and not all midwives are the right people for in the room. There was however one shining light. Helen the ultrasound lady. She was the third ultrasound I had, and she took her time, she answered questions, she explained, she was kind. I think I visited her nearly ten times over the course of Emmanuelle’s life and then in follow-up. And when things weren’t right and taking too long, she made the doctors see me as a priority and I had a d&c.

 

Our rainbow baby
It was so important to me to be in a continuity of care model for our fourth pregnancy and birth. The midwife needed to know that there was so much more than joy happening in that birth suite. Our midwife was perfect she reminded me that there was life, joy and she knew me. I trusted her, and in my vulnerable moments she cared perfectly. I’m not ready to talk about all of that yet- but Mischa, I don’t have words for how grateful I am for your care.

You remember the first doctor, the one I fought to leave to give my body a chance? I saw her numerous times over the next two years, she always remembered me when she saw my name. She journeyed with us and often was on the receiving end of my frustration that my body just wasn’t doing what it should be. A few hours after our healthy baby boy was born, she came in and signed me out. She was finally part of our joy, and after everything, she let me give her a hug. That takes a special kind of person, one who makes a very  good doctor.

 

 

 

 

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Friendships 

I realise that quite often when I write about relationships in relation to our grief journey I’m often negative. People weren’t supportive in the way I needed, though I can’t tell you how they were wrong, because I don’t really know what would’ve been right. That’s tough.

The last few times we’ve visited what was home (I say that cause I don’t really know where home is now), I’ve said to some friends “if there was a time for you to stop being my friend, It’s been and gone.” We moved away nearly three years ago, we’ve had a miscarriage and lost a baby, I have changed so much as a person. If this friendship was going to fail, it would’ve happened already. 

Friendship has been such a funny thing for me, my whole life. I went to six schools, four in my five years of high school. I never really stuck around long enough to make real friends, or if I did I moved again and we were young and didn’t know how to maintain a healthy long distance friendship.

In my life now I have friends, not many who are still true ten years on (and some that are yet to reach that milestone but still just as true). This week, Thursday just gone, was Emmanuelle‘s second birthday. Every day in the week the postman came with something for Daniel and I (and there is still one to come!- joy of living in the regionals), there was more cards and gifts then I receive on my birthday!

I wrote this post, and now in reflection feel like for the first time I gave permission and articulated expectations of how to support me in grief. Remember. Acknowledge. And so many of you have done that, and we appreciate it so much.
Last year I felt so different emotionally. I felt like no one else remembered our girl; and as such all the grief, sadness and hurt I thought she deserved, it was me, and me alone, who was responsible for feeling it.

Not this year. She was remembered. Thank you. 



Friendships through grief are super tough. The griever (?).     —what’s the word for that?-–  changes so much from who they were, and in the transition have such raw and vulnerable heart, it’s tough to stick it out with us. But persevere, please. We are still here, we are just changing. It hurts so much when you don’t show you love us still, can love us through. Grief and loss, well, it reveals a trueness of our character; depth of faith, passionate and fierce love, vulnerable uniqueness. We’re survivors. Stick with us, survivors are the kind of people you want to be friends with.

Trust me, I have a few of them.

So friendships… I am blessed with the people who know and love me. I am blessed with a close circle of women who have loved me consistently and absolutely. As who I was, who I became, and who I am.


“I never understood sisterhood before walking through pain. Now, I don’t know where I’d be without it. I’m strong, yes. I try to carry others with me, yes. But without the ones carrying me it would be impossible.” 
Scribbles and crumbs 


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Anger | Forgivness | God 

The hardest thing about the anger of losing a child is you have no direction to aim it in. Instead just a quiver full of angry arrows and unlucky wherever they land.

 
Kind of the same as forgiveness… No one says sorry, mostly because they don’t realise they did anything wrong. When you lose a child, you want some response, though you can’t appropriately articulate it, then get angry and hurt when people don’t support how you feel they should. That’s probably one thing I struggled with in my grief journey, was offering silent forgiveness to people who didn’t realise I had to.  

I was never really angry at God I think… I think because I needed him more than I needed a definite target for my anger. He carried us so calmly through the storm of her diagnosis, waiting and then her birth I could never be angry at him for her life. 

I remember one breakdown moment where I blubbered to my mum on the phone about why didn’t he answer my prayers…. But see, Emmanuelle was not the first time I had to have complete trust in God and His goodness. I’d lost love, found love, felt lost, trusted when I couldn’t see, moved hundreds of kilometres away… When I look back, within my victories and valleys is constant proof that God is guiding my path. Knowing that he has always been there, I find it easier to trust him and find him more quickly in each new phase of life. He was right there, and still is today. 
Challenging  and confronting lesson for my faith;  New pain today, doesn’t change the fact that he was good yesterday.

We prayed for Emmanuelle, we thanked God for her, she perfectly fulfilled her purpose in our lives and now lives with Jesus. I have to be ok with that. And not ask too many questions, cause God isn’t giving Answers right now, and that’s ok for me. It has to be. 

  
When it comes to my belief in Jesus- I have to believe, I can’t doubt it or say it’s too hard, I need him. Even when life is crappy and hard, even when I’m not great at devotions, I need him. I survive knowing he is right there, always there. 

So there you have it, anger | forgiveness | God. #iwanttotalkaboutit 

I’ve learnt doing all this… I don’t actually want to talk that much about it… But I’m going to persevere! 

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Vulnerability | What I really want to say

There have been some topics in this hashtag project where I simply have not had anything to say. There are others where I have more than enough to say, but not the guts to say it. It’s called #iwanttotalkaboutit, but truth be told, some days I don’t. And that’s the tricky thing; on the one hand I feel like there is far too much silence regarding miscarriage and pregnancy loss and it needs to become more ok to talk about it. On the other hand, it is still such a private thing… a grief that shouldn’t need to be shouted from the rooftops for it to matter.

I was challenged by one particular topic because if I wrote truthfully, I’d probably offend some people. So do I write realistically about that aspect of miscarriage? Or do I not and not hurt feelings?

It really is an underlying question when it comes to miscarriage. Whether it should be significant or not is another — how will my actions or speech affect those around me? There are varying stages of importance when asking this question.

To begin with, you aren’t considering anyone else when experiencing your grief. Those well-meaning people who tried to be kind, but said the wrong thing which meant I was rude or blunt. That was grief not me, and it was so early after our loss I didn’t even remember them to later apologise. (Here’s a list of appropriate support/what to say)

Then after a little while, you are still feeling the myriad of emotions grief brings, but you have a filter. A filter that’s probably 80% tinted from society’s perception of loss and miscarriage. Then 20% human instinct, people are getting awkward. So you don’t always talk about it, because the appropriate time has passed, but in some circles it’s still ok.

Then so much time passes (apparently for others), it’s like grief shouldn’t matter any more. The few days of Facebook comment support has long gone, you should have definitely “moved on” by now. Anything you say now is awkward and definitely not appropriate. People didn’t know how to support when it just happened, now months on they really don’t know what right thing to say.

So not wanting to hurt feelings, or to make people awkward. But because this is what I want to say, but I don’t want to say it.

 

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When strangers ask me at the playground how many children I have, I say two.

When I fill out a sibling form, I only have two names to write.

When we had family photos recently, I just had to match my three boys and figure out my one girl outfit later.

When a six-year-old girl I teach asks me how I know her mum in front of the class, I say we are just good friends. When the silent answer is I have a baby in heaven too, and that’s how my relationship exists with the family.

When big brother talks, he says he has just one brother, because when his sister went to heaven, he was too little to understand and to explain it now would just be too many questions. (Though we have talked about her before, he has forgotten).

See the problem with all the vulnerability and talking about it — miscarriage, grief, loss, what ifs — is the one thing you really want to say, you don’t say because of that filter I was talking about above.

My two angel babies are grandchildren no one sees… Children that I don’t have to pack for on family holidays…. Big brother never gets to play with them… And I have no smiling photos of us all for people to see when they visit our home.

What do we have to say about their lives; nothing because they only exist in death.

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So what’s the one thing I want to say but never do?

“Can’t you remember them? Can’t you remember Emmanuelle as much as I do without me saying anything? Or having to remind you?

No, because in most cases, she’s just death to you. That or, not enough life.”

See… awkward now, isn’t it? Because anything you say will be because I’ve made you.

 

 

PS. This would be up there as one of the most honest things I’ve written and publicly shared. My intention is not to hurt feelings or cry for attention; rather I want people to understand that I can talk about how miscarriage affects different facets of my life until the cows come home, but there is one simple underlying truth; no matter how long it has been, and I’m not saying every day, but if you remember Emmanuelle without me saying something…. you would help my heart more than you could ever imagine. 

PPS. But if it’s only after I remind you that’s ok too.

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depression | anxiety

Day five and six. Depression and anxiety. Big topics.

Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Some days I was angry. Some days I had no patience for our firstborn. Some days I was rude to Daniel. Some days I was rude to strangers. Some days I was sad. Some days I could smile and mean it. Some days I just ate ice-cream and cried. Some days I read novels or binged tv just to escape my mind. Some days I survived by prayer and the word alone. Some days I tried to turn from God. Some days I thought things I would never admit again. Some days I was ok. Some days I was good, some I was not. But I survived, breathed through the 24 hours to get to a new day. And then somehow, one day it just started to get easier.

Two days when we should share about how loss affects our mental health; there is so much… but for me two things.

I knew God was right there with me in my broken darkness. Faith was the fortress of my heart, it protected me, my marriage and my family.

The Awesome God You Are” Matt Redman

Let Your majesty speak peace to me


And chase my fears away


To my heart I preach Your sovereignty


And the power of Your Name

I’ll stand in awe of You alone

 

God let hope arise

And faith become the fortress of my heart

I will lift my eyes

And see You as the awesome God You are

Believe You as the awesome God You are

 

 

 

steady heart” by Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook

Though the sky is dark


And the wind is wild


You’ll never leave me, You’ll never leave me

For me, God is the only way I made it through.

** In October, for Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month, I’m participating in #iwanttotalkaboutit #YellowRosesCQ project with daily writing prompts.

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Names 

When Daniel and I were expecting our first, (now mr3), we didn’t find out if we were having a boy or girl… It didn’t matter and we loved the surprise. From before we were even engaged we knew what our first boy and girl would be called (and some others), so it was just a waiting game to meet them. 

When we knew Emmanuelle wasn’t likely to make it to term, Daniel suggested a name not on our list- Emmanuelle/Emmanuel- it worked for either a boy or girl and means “God with us.” 

  
After our first ultrasound when they said something wasn’t right- my mother hoped on a plane and came. Otherwise, my dad was 1500km away, and Daniels parents 13500km away in Russia. Each call we’d make to them there would be tears, not ours, the news got worse and worse. The diagnosis slowly ripping away at the hope we had. But Daniel and I always felt calm, we felt a peace, one that surpassed all understanding. 

We’d prayed for peace before in different circumstances and seasons, but never had it felt like this. It was unexplainable, an unbearable situation that we felt raw emotion but in bubble of peace and comfort. There is no words to describe the way God was with us. 

After Emmanuelle was born, and after the nurse had made sure I was safe, we were given time with our beautiful little girl. We admired the intricacies of her formation, seeing so much as her skin was still translucent. Fingernails. Lips. Ribs and organs. She was beautiful. And in those moments we prayed and thanked God for her, dedicated her life to Him. God was with us in that room. 

She was not a name we planned, not a life we dreamed for one of our children. But our Emmanuelle, while she is now with Jesus, she will always be a reminder of a time when in the midst of everything, God was with us, in a way I couldn’t even begin to explain. And while we never dreamed of Emmanuelle in our family, I would never wish she wasn’t. She’s forever ours.

I love you precious girl. 

  
** In October, for Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month, I’m participating in #iwanttotalkaboutit #YellowRosesCQ project with daily writing prompts. 

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