I've been blogging now for over ten years and this blog post has been the hardest blog post I have ever had to write, but this subject is so important that when asked to share my story by Baby Loss Awareness, I really wanted to do so. I'm not going to go into too much detail as it really is a very sensitive personal experience but I felt like as a mother it's something so important to do.
When a child loses their parent, they're called an orphan. When a spouse loses their partner, they're called a widow. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recognises the loss of so many parents experiences across the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.
I was 11 weeks already gone when I found out I was pregnant and had no idea at all. I'd been unwell for a couple of weeks, vomiting and couldn't stand the smell of so many things I loved, so in the end I arranged a blood test with my nurse. I went along on a Friday afternoon and the following Monday I got a call from him. I was at home watching a movie with Phil when I received the call and I remember the words so clearly from my nurse "I think you need to go and get a pregnancy test." I giggled at him, I wasn't pregnant! I couldn't be! Phil went out and bought the test, I took it and nothing it was negative. So I called my nurse back and told him, he arranged a scan to find out for sure for the following Friday. All week I was stressed, nervous and anxious - me pregnant? No chance.
After one of the longest weeks of my life, the Friday came and I went along to the doctor's appointment. Blood test, pee samples, and scan done. All confirmed, I was pregnant, 11 weeks pregnant to be exact. I was shitting myself. I knew I had to chance everything - my weekend drinks/parties with friends, no more spicy takeaways, my savings would now go on my little growing baby and I would have to move home as I lived in a flat with a massive staircase going up to it. But I was having a baby! Me!
It was 15th November when it was all confirmed, my dad's birthday, and right after my scan I went to my parents' house for a Chinese takeaway. When my dad walked through the door with the plate of food, BAM!, it hit me and I wanted to vomit. I made an excuse to leave and my dad drove me the 40-minute drive from my parents' house in Liverpool to my flat in Prescot. I felt so bad, it was his birthday, but I couldn't be there. I got home and in days the news of being pregnant settled in.
About a week later we told our families, they were all so happy for us and we were so excited. We bought clothes, books, we ordered a cot and pram online, and a toy which played "twinkle twinkle little star" which we played to my growing tummy every day. We were going to be a perfect little family. My tummy was growing and growing and I started to feel movement. We got a due date of 10th May 2014 but the doctors said that because of my health they were going to deliver our baby a month early on 10th April 2014 at 8am. For weeks life truly was wonderful.
December 23rd, 2013 my tummy was insane all day, I felt so much kicking that day and was worried as my baby had never moved so much. Phil and I had plans with my family for a Chinese meal at my flat (which by then Phil had basically moved into), they came and we had the food. Everything was great but when they left I felt like something wasn't right. My baby had completely stopped moving, something was very wrong. Maybe it was the food? Was I getting too excited? I called my midwife who told me to now worry, it was common.. apparently.
December 24th, 2013, still no movement and I started to get tummy pains so I called her again and asked her if I should go to my nearest A&E, I know now I should have done. My midwife told me that I was a new mum who needed to stop worrying so much, the tummy pains were probably just Christmas excitement. Phil and I had plans to go see some friends on Christmas eve so after the phone call from the midwife we decided to go and see them but left about an hour later as I wasn't feeling too well or in the Christmas mood.
Christmas Day came and I felt horrible. Run-down, unwell and just tired. I didn't get dressed, the Christmas dinner Phil had spent hours making I must have had two mouthfuls off and I spent Christmas Day evening in bed. I woke up around 7.30pm and felt a kick. I was overjoyed and so happy! I remember thinking "Maybe I am just worrying too much?"
That was the last time I felt my daughter move.
The next few hours are a massive blur which I don't want to go into online.
Phil and I lost our baby girl on December 25th, 2013. We named her Katie-Mae.
Christmas now isn't the same. I never want to "celebrate" Christmas, how am I supposed to celebrate a day when it's the day I lost my baby? A lot of people don't realise that after you lose a baby, that's not just it. Everything is hard: telling family and friends, watching my growing tummy go down, cancelling our orders for our daughter's cot and pram, packing away all of her clothes and toys we had bought her, coming on social media to hate mail (which I still get now and again), seeing other people with babies, seeing other people with children in shops shouting at them to "stop being a pain" or to "do as you're told", simply getting on with life. The hardest thing is being blamed by people close to use that we (Phil and myself) must have done something wrong to make it happen.
Someone said to me once "you've lost her now, there is nothing you can do, move on" but it's not as easy as that. Not one day goes by where Phil or I don't think about our daughter, not one day goes by when one of us doesn't mention her. The hardest part of losing a child is living every day afterwards. Our hearts has been broken and nothing or no one will ever be able to fix them again.
I cannot stress enough how important, I know now, it is to listen to your own body and not your midwife if you're pregnant. If you are pregnant and feel like something is wrong go to your nearest A&E department as quickly as you can, and always get a second, third, fourth, fifth opinion if you want to. YOU are the only person who knows YOUR BODY.
Baby Loss Awareness Weeks with Baby Loss Awareness Day on 15th October. October 15th is recognised as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day across the world. I would like to invite you to take part in the global 'Wave of Light'. On this day, everyone is invited to take part in this global event to remember all the babies that have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth. Please set yourself a remind and simply light a candle at 7pm, leaving it to burn for at least 1 hour. This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be uniting with others across the world in honour of those babies who lit up our lives for such a short time and it really does mean so much to all of us parents.
Katie-Mae, my darling little girl. You'll never know how much you will always mean to me and your daddy. I carried you for every second of your life, and I promise to love you for every second of mine. With love, Your mummy. x
[Disclaimer: Babyloss Awareness Week, the Miscarriage Association and their supporters want to say thank you. Thank you to the thousands of people, across the UK, who supported us when we experienced pregnancy loss. Thank you to the friends and family, the nurses and doctors, for what they said to help us through. In doing so, we want to break the taboo around talking about miscarriage - and let the community know that there are things they can say to help someone who has had a loss.]