Our Baby Skye

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Told by: Skye’s Mother

On Monday, September the 5th, 2011 – I decided, today is the day. I am going to take a pregnancy test. I had missed a period & my boobs were sore, I just felt pregnant more than anything. I needed to know for sure.

I got up early, took myself into town and purchased three Clear blue tests. After a while I finally plucked up the courage to wee on the little stick.

I sat there and found myself not knowing whether I wanted it to be positive or negative. It wasn’t the first time I’d taken a pregnancy test. It wouldn’t be my first positive, if it turned out that way. I’ve previously had two miscarriages. No explanations, they just happened. I didn’t tell anyone about them. A few friends at the time, but when you’re young, people don’t believe these things genuinely happen. They just think you made up for attention. I didn’t even seek professional help. How silly. It’s something I don’t talk about anymore because I don’t have the answers and I don’t have the energy to annoy myself over it.

Ever since then, any time I’ve ever had to take a test, I found myself disappointed when it was negative – Motherly side of me peeping through? At least I had a lot to think about while I was waiting, right? What felt like hours later, I had a wee peek at what could potentially be my new life changing path? There it was, my ’ + ‘.

My heart jumped out my throat, and sank to the floor. I was overcome with instantaneous love for my unborn child. But I was sick with worry for our new adventure. How are we going to look after this little life? How was I even going to tell my partner, his parents? Emotions were running high. I actually sent him a picture of our little positive result. He had no clue what it meant. I went down to his house later that night and we took the other two tests together. Two more ’ + ’ … I don’t think either of us knew whether to laugh or cry.

Looking back now, I wish we would have laughed about it more. I remember spending the duration of my short pregnancy terrified I was not going to be able to sustain this little life inside of me. I don’t even think there are enough words in all the worlds’ languages to explain the kind of love you feel when you know there is a little person growing inside of you, who knows the sound of your heart from the inside. It’s just, un-imaginable, until you do it.

About a week after we found out, I noticed some bleeding. Of course I took myself straight to the doctors. They did a routine checkup, and a trans-vaginal scan. I saw my little baby for the first time that day. There wasn’t much to see. But it was our little baby. Everything was fine, just some normal, early pregnancy spotting. Neither of us really talked about the pregnancy for a while. At first, my partner was 100% against it and I was 100% against his idea of dealing with our accident. I was not aborting my baby, never. Little did I know what was ahead of me. And I was definitely not giving my baby up for adoption. We talked about it, out of fear of becoming responsible for another life. But really, for me, it wasn’t an option. Adoption is a lovely thing to do for a family that can’t have children, to give them a chance to do what so many people get to do so effortlessly. But, it was not for me.

At the end of the day, my partner, he could have chosen to walk away at any time, if he wished. Eventually, he understood, not only could I not choose either of those options, but somewhere deep down, I wanted this baby more than my own life. We had come to our conclusion; we were having this baby … together. Time to tell the family. Telling my family wasn’t an issue to me. I only had my wee Grandpa to tell. So it was simple enough for me, and he supports me through everything. It took a while for my partner to tell his though. I was sure they’d notice before he told them anyways. I stopped smoking, I never drank, I stopped taking my medication. I even stopped drinking coffee. I love my coffee, so that was a hurdle. When I was about 10 weeks, he eventually told them, alone and drunk. I was pretty upset about that, but at least they knew finally. The next time I saw them, was … awkward, to say the very least. I had to work out a way of explaining how I’d got us into this situation, which was actually very innocent. I was taking anti-depressants and beta-blockers and wasn’t informed about the way medications can react with the contraceptive pill.

They discussed our options, repeatedly.

I tried my best to make it very clear how I felt and that I was keeping this baby whether any of them liked it or not. It was at this point my partner relapsed with fear and panic and decided now was the time to voice that he was not happy and wanted to abort this baby. That is always hard for me. Because his parents are the kind that make sure their kids are happy, no matter what it takes. Which is good, I wish my family were like that with me. But it makes it more difficult for outsiders like me, when things like this happen. It took a few days and a lot of tears, but eventually, everyone came to terms with the situation and became happy about it. Delighted actually.

His mum was more than ready to be a Grandmother, she just thought it would be his older sister who came home with the exciting news first. The couple of weeks leading up to my 12 week scan just became baby overload. It was so surreal. We were having a baby. We were becoming a little family. It didn’t take too long before he was touching my belly more and more each day, telling little stories to it, and lying with his head on it. I don’t remember ever feeling anything so heartwarming in all my life, except that first time he told me he loved me, and I knew he meant it. By the time I had received my scan date, I had been plagued with horrendous morning sickness, which never really stopped the whole time I was pregnant. That could have been a sign that we weren’t taking our baby home. But why would I have thought that? You get pregnant, you get past 12 weeks, you’re taking a baby home, right? That is how it happens. I just kept telling myself ‘it will all be worth it in the end’. My experience has opened my eyes.

Anyway, my scan was at 08.10am at a Belfast hospital. I decided I was going in my pj’s and taking a blanket and a pillow. Of course when the day came, I didn’t do that. I actually got a nice new top and boots, as a treat from my partner’s mother to wear to the scan. That morning was one of the longest in my life. I had to keep my bladder full, but I just couldn’t as the sonographers were running a wee bit late. So off I went for what felt like surely my 100th bathroom trip. Soon after I was called in. It was time. Time to see more than a little smudge.  My partner wasn’t with us, as he had started his new job first thing that morning, but his mom held my hand the whole time instead. The lights went down and as I watched, I half expected her to tell me there was nothing there, and I had imagined the whole thing. But then this little moving baby appeared on the black and white screen.

The lady pointed out the hands, feet and everything. I could clearly see, but it was nice to be informed. Tears streamed down my face as I watched my little baby wriggle about on the screen. I didn’t think it was possible to fall more in love with the life we were creating. But I did. I had my bloods done after along with a lot of questions, which was of course perfect timing for my morning sickness to rear its ugly head. We rang my partner almost straight away to let him know everything was just as it should be. I am forever the pessimist, but the relief that flowed through my body as I strutted out of the hospital with my glossy scan pictures and shiny new maternity file. By this point, we started to get excited. We started to plan and collect little things here and there. I signed up to all the baby clubs and sent away for all the little welcome packs. Not knowing how hard it is to get the emails to stop and the leaflets to stop coming through the door. I wonder do they stop to think that when somebody tries to unsubscribe from their mailing list, that they have most likely lost their baby?

The deposit for the travel system was paid. I wonder what it was like for my partner’s mother to have to go back to Mother care and ask for her money back, as we no longer needed the pram. I can just imagine the person on the other side of the counter giving her looks full of pity and apologies. I started house hunting as I thought it would be unfair of me to bring a wailing newborn into my Grandpa’s home. We were all making bets on the baby’s gender. I wanted a little boy first, probably because I always wanted an older brother. But I really didn’t care. Either way, it would still be loved. We spent hours coming up with names that we couldn’t agree on. We finally got around to telling our friends we were going to be parents. When I say our friends, I mean we announced it on Facebook. I’m not close to anyone anymore, so that was easy enough. My partner was still in the routine of talking to my tummy all the time. Telling baby how much we loved him or her, all the places we going to take it to and do with it. That they were going to have the best mummy and daddy in the world. We could only hope that we would be, eh? He told the baby how much he loved me and that it didn’t matter whether it was a boy or a girl, it was going to have to learn how to play games, so it could be a wee gamer geek, just like daddy. Everywhere we went, I’d point out all these tiny little clothes and booties and tell him how we were going to get it. I’d watch all the pregnant women closely and all the newborns, and think to myself, ‘that will be us in May. I’m getting the best 19th birthday present, ever.’

That was nothing new to me, I’ve always been broody and paid loads of attention to pregnant women and newborns.

Of course we still have little bloops, where the negative thoughts poked through, we were so young, how were we going to be the parents we want to be for our little baby? How were we right for the job? We had no savings, and currently no careers. Everyone kept telling us ‘there are worse things in life than a little baby, a baby is a blessing’ …

At first that was hard to believe, not that I thought this was going to be a bad thing, but it was going to be hard, it was going to be a struggle. But, they were right. It could have been worse…

We didn’t know what was just around the corner. Other than that, you never know when your time is. Maybe you’d have an injury which would cause you not to be able to have kids? Who knows? We’d get through this, just fine.

I actually went to see a fortune teller, she was a lovely lady. Before I even got in the door she knew I was pregnant and having troubles. We went upstairs to her bedroom where she does her readings, I nervously sat there while she picked cards out for me and explained them all. The things she told me were amazing. She pretty much walked me through my life right up until this day. I was astonished by it. After a while she started to talk about the pregnancy and how it worried her because I was so young and she seemed to think that my partner was quite irresponsible and not ready to become a father. She told me how far along I was, and that it was a little girl, because she seen me with a pink blanket and that I would not keep her. Amazing, right?

I just thought when she said that, she was referring to our thinking about maybe giving the baby up for adoption, to give it the best start in life, with someone who could provide for it. Sometimes, I wish that has of been the case. I’d rather she had a life, love and a family, than not be here at all, whether it was with me or a stranger.

I should probably go and see her again now, to see where my life is headed. Time felt like it was never ending. It was taking so long to get from one milestone to another. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have cherished every second even more so.

On November 21st, we had an appointment with the midwife. I didn’t like her to be honest. She was rough and seemed to think that my partner and I should emigrate to Australia when the baby was born because we didn’t have jobs. Which really isn’t her business, and we had no intention of not getting jobs ever again.

Anyways, I lay down and she got the Doppler out to start looking for the heartbeat. She kept moving it around, nothing. I panicked. What if there wasn’t one? I looked to my partner for reassurance. But I could see that he felt uneasy about it too. After a good 10 minutes, finally, the fast pounding of our little babies heart and the swishy noises of it moving around came, thankfully. I couldn’t have been more grateful in those moments. It was beautiful, the sound of my heartbeat along with my baby’s heartbeat and her swishy little movements. Breathtaking and overwhelming.

Our baby had a healthy and strong heartbeat. Now that I look back on it, I wish I would have recorded it. It would have been so nice to have, no matter what happened. Little did we know two months later we’d never hear our Childs heartbeat ever again. Christmas came and went, but our gift was still to come. We were due to go for the 20 week scan on December 28th. We were so excited. My partner was able to come to this one, which was amazing. I needed him there this time to hold my hand through it. He needed to see our little baby wiggling about in my tummy. I’d spent weeks agonizing that something was wrong. I was nearly 21 weeks, and I hadn’t felt our baby move much. I felt slight flutters. I was so irritated by it, as I knew people who were feeling regular fluttering movements by 14/15 weeks and by 20 weeks, proper kicks.

The whole car journey was horrible. I was so nervous. I should have been excited. Not expecting the worst. We arrived there and let the receptionist know that we were there. Not too long later it was time for us to go into the anomaly scan room. I laid down on the bed, and the sonographer squirted the gel onto my tummy, which was still showing no signs of a growing bump. I’d put a pound on here and there, but still no baby bump. She started. We looked nervously at the screen and there it was, our little baby. There wasn’t much movement, it had its wee legs stretched out and the wee fists were clenched pretty tight. She pointed out everything we needed to see, checked the little organs and took all of the measurements that she needed. Everything seemed to be going well. I settled down a bit. She turned the screen around and started taking more measurements. My relief was gone again. Something was wrong, wasn’t it? I squeezed my partner’s hand for reassurance and tears started to well in my eyes.

I had already seen for myself that the feet were a little turned in and I knew that it was called club foot, but that it could easily be resolved after birth if it didn’t fix itself before that. We watched silently as she continued taking more measurements, not knowing what to think or say. I started to feel sick. What was new in my life these days? What seemed like a lifetime later, she spoke. She told us there was a little more fluid around the babys brain than there should be, a ventricular wall around the heart was a little thicker than it should be and there was suspected club foot. It wasn’t suspected, I could see it with my own eyes. She asked me have I felt much movement. When I said no, she didn’t seem too surprised. Everything was just like I was in a nightmare. I didn’t know what this meant for us and our baby. By that point, I didn’t even want to know what we were having. I was scared and I couldn’t think straight. But my partner asked. Thank God, he asked.

It wasn’t the way I wanted to find out, but you can’t change the past. I prepared myself to be leaving with tears of happiness and joy, knowing whether to start buying pink or blue baby stuff. But that was not the case. She moved the screen back around and showed us our baby’s ‘bits’ … ‘it looks, like a girl. Yes, it’s definitely a little girl.’ There was no excitement. Just shock and despair. The sonographer went to get my partner’s mother, so she could explain to her. As soon as they came in through the door, I burst into tears. I had over-prepared myself for bad news. I wanted to scream and yell and be angry, but I was prepared for the bad news, like I always am. I couldn’t cry properly. It was so hard to take it. But she was our little girl and we’d love her no matter what. I kept telling myself, she was growing just fine in my belly, she would come into the world through me and she may not be perfect to the rest of the world, but she will be perfect to us and that is all that would matter. She would be surrounded by our love, her families love.

My partner asked if there would definitely be problems with her. We were told yes. We were got no further information, no explanations.

We tried to ask questions. But she just kept saying that she didn’t know, she was only trained to notice the abnormalities, not diagnose them.

So we went on our way, out through the crowded waiting room, full of people showing off their healthy little 20 week babies. I’m certain when they saw me they knew something was wrong. No happy tears. No smiles. Nothing. As soon as I got home, I looked through my maternity notes. It said that the ventricles in her brain were measuring 10.5mm and 12mm. I frantically searched through Google for more information. 10mm is the very maximum they should be, before it is considered as a problem. After spending hours reading over possible outcomes, it all seemed quite mild. Like something that could correct itself in time. I tried to tell myself that the fluid would drain before she was born and she would be just fine. As for her heart, I had no idea what to look for. They didn’t give us any information about what might be wrong. I went onto as many forums as I could, seeking help and advice. I got some. But there was no middle outcome on the spectrum as far as I could see. Things were either mild or severe for parents. What more could I do at this point? Two weeks later, we went for an appointment with a fetal medicine specialist, with hope that things had digressed and were on their way to being ‘normal’ again. I figured it wasn’t going to the news we would receive, but there was no harm in being hopeful, right? I was hoping for our daughter, not for us.

This next scan was much the same as the last. Nothing positive was discovered from it. Her little legs were still stretched straight out in front of her, her feet weren’t as turned in, but they were still turned inwards, surely that was a good sign? No. Her little tiny hands were still clenched into little fists. But they weren’t happy with her heart at all, so they referred us to a fetal cardiologist. Then the worst news. In the space of two weeks, the fluid in her brain had increased to over 15mm on each side. Obviously this was considered very severe. Everything was being written down by two other consultants who kept comparing their notes in the background. The lady asked me had I felt much movement during the last few weeks and I said no. She didn’t seem surprised by this at all. They had seen everything they wanted to.

I wiped the gel of my tummy and we were shown to the ‘quiet room’. That horrible little box room, that is always too warm and smells funny. The room that you never receive good news in. The three of us sat there, nothing to say, nothing to do. Tears tickled my cheeks, and dripped of my chin. I thought to myself ‘What am I going to do if this is really bad news, I can’t handle it’. I cannot do this. A good 30 minutes later, an older woman came into us, she explained that our baby had what is referred to as ‘Hydrocephalus’. Which is all the extra fluid around the brain. Somewhere along the way something had happened, created a blockage and caused the fluid to build up. This had also damaged the brain tissue growth, and they weren’t too sure they could find the Cerebellum (controls the nervous system) or a thalamus (controls sensory perception and regulation of motor functions.) So, our baby was going to be … unable to live life like a regular person? That explained why no one was too concerned about me not feeling any kind of movements throughout my pregnancy with our little girl. Her nervous system wasn’t functioning properly because of the Hydro. They couldn’t give any answers in regards to the heart defect that they had discovered, but they were concerned about it. By this point, they had no real answers, just little bits here and there, so they wanted me to take an amniocentesis (where the insert the needle through your tummy to extract some amniotic fluid to carry out tests for syndromes and/or chromosome disorders.) I decided to go ahead and take it, the benefits outweighed the risks.

I was sick through the scan, what was new, I was always being sick. My days had become a constant battle between me trying to keep it down and my tummy saying no. So of course as soon as the needle was in, baby decided it was time to make me sick a little bit more. It was so painful, but it didn’t last too long. Before I’d even thought about what I was saying I was complaining about the crippling pain in my nether regions every time the needle moved slightly. Because I was vomiting through-out, the sample of fluid was stained with blood. We were told this would make it harder to get clear results and would probably take longer. Just my luck, but it didn’t matter, because, no matter what was wrong with our little girl, we would love her just the same. And then we were sent back to that room.

A lady appeared in the doorway, giving us sympathetic looks. She came in, sat down and began to talk about terminating the pregnancy. I was horrified. She was suggesting that we just kill our baby because she wasn’t going to be perfectly healthy. She informed us, that this would be the best option for both us, and the baby. Up until the past little while, I have always been strongly against abortion, unless they were under special circumstances. I was sticking to my views. And so, we refused her offer. Shortly after, a tall dark haired male came into the room, thoroughly washed his hands, sat down with my maternity file, and began to talk. He explained to us that because it seemed to be more than just the extra fluid that was ‘wrong’, it could be something genetic and it could become a big problem. I didn’t understand, I knew nothing about genetics. No matter what they could have said, it probably wouldn’t have made it any clearer to me. And even if it did, why my baby? He told us that because the baby’s head was a lot bigger than it should be for 23 weeks, that I’d probably not be able to deliver her naturally, and so I would be booked in for a C-section. That there would be several specialists there, and not to be scared or alarmed they were just there to help our little girl into the world. All seemed fine. He wasn’t suggesting termination. He seemed to be rather optimistic about her tiny little life. The life that was in our hands. It was going to be okay. How wrong was I? Then it came, the bad news I’d been anticipating, that I did not want to hear. There was a high risk that she would die in my womb shortly and if she was strong enough to make it full term, the likely hood of her being able to survive the birth, were little to none. If she miraculously made it full term, and through the birth whether it was natural or C-section, the likelihood of her staying alive by herself were minuscule.

The thought of her making it, only to die seconds, minutes, hours later was just too much to take on board. How any parent can be strong enough to cope with that was and still is beyond me. Everything he said began to become very distant to me. He continued to explain how if she made it through this; there would be several surgeries she would have to go through to correct her problems. There would have to be some form of heart surgery, but that would need to be discussed with the fetal cardiologist. Then she would need the surgery to have a shunt inserted through her skull, so that the fluid would be drained into her stomach. He outlined that because she had such a little chance, that if she was premature, she would not have these surgeries available to her. He also told us that because she’d be a weak baby, these surgeries may not even be available to her as a full term baby. That would just mean it would make her short life harder and more painful. She wouldn’t even be doing it herself. So what would we do, just leave her in the hospital for months in ICU? For her to maybe, just maybe become strong enough for life threatening surgeries? And even if they did help with her problems, she would still always having missing bits that she needed 100% to do the simplest things in life. I did not want that for her. Why did I have to be one of the many parents who have to hear such terrible, scary things? Why do I have to become a statistic?

Yet again, we left the hospital, with the horrible feeling that all these people gathered in the waiting room, with the big bumps, waiting to have their scans, they knew. They knew by the look on our faces, there was something not right with my pregnancy.

Having to see all these people with smiles on their faces, and tears of joy streaming down their cheeks, as on by one they received the news of the healthy, well developing babies, was absolute torture. I’d prepared myself for the worst, as I always do, so as I don’t end up being let down and disappointed. But nothing could have prepared me for the news that we did receive. I knew I was going to be facing a choice that was not mine. We had planned to go shopping that day, after the scan, to buy some bits and pieces for my new apartment that I had rented. For my little family. So we did. We walked around the shops like three zombies. There was no life in us what so ever. Nothing to say. No interest in what we were looking at. I had no energy to imagine what would go well in the kitchen, or the bedroom or any other room. I was drained. I had obsessed for weeks over this ‘Willow Tree’ ornament, for our new shelves. The ‘Our gift’ one. A father, a Mother and newborn baby. It seemed pointless to even think about buying it after the news we had received. I’m glad now I didn’t or it would just be another painful reminder.

We got home, had a cuppa together, before my partner and I took ourselves off to his room, and shut ourselves away for a few days. We cuddled up with each other, knowing there was nothing we could do to make this easier, for us or our daughter. I started to look more into the diagnosis we had been given.

I looked on specific websites I’d found and also the websites that other parents who had been there or had a TFMR. (Termination for medical reasons.) I read hundreds of stories about parents who struggle to cope with a Hydrocephalic baby. I found comfort in knowing that there are people around the world who got through this. If they can, I can, right? Yet I found more pain in looking through these stories, as I knew that our diagnosis was different to most of the ones I was reading about. It wasn’t just the fluid buildup that our little girl had, that was on top of possible missing parts of the brain, and it being so bad that the tissue hadn’t got a chance to develop. Not only that, but she was going to have some kind of heart deformity or disease. Some less severe cases weren’t too bad, but still very distressing for the child, with lots of hard work and disadvantages to both the Childs life, and the parents. The severe cases were absolutely traumatizing just to read. Turns out, but statistics, there would be a 3% chance of our baby ever being able to lead a ‘normal’ life. She may never walk, and judging by what we seen of her legs and feet, that was a very high possibility. She may never talk, imagine not being able to hear your Childs angelic little voice? She may never see or hear. Or even understand us. What kind of life would we be giving her in this world? Would she appreciate the life she was given? Would she feel normal? Would she be happy? When she was old enough, would she resent us for our choices? She’d maybe never be able to socialize with other children let alone join in with their games. Children were cruel when I was growing up for silly reasons. How cruel would they become towards our completely disabled little girl? For although we made a choice to give her a life, we also hindered the life experience she would gain.

It was at this point, that together, we had decided that the best thing to do, for our little girl, would be to interrupt the pregnancy. Let her go. Make sure she never had to suffer. It was the hardest choice I’ve ever been faced with.

I hoped I was making the right one.

We talked it through with her Granny and Grandpa and Aunty. Together we settled on the decision. They all agreed that it was the right thing to do. But they would support us either way. They would always be there. The next morning, we rang the hospital and asked for some information, they told my partner’s mother that I’d be asked to come in, they’d do another scan, discuss it more. Then I’d start the induction procedure, be sent home and called back the next day for the labour and delivery. I’d be seeing her. I was terrified that they’d send me for dilation and cuterage. My partner’s mother told me all of that and I asked her to ring back and let them know that we had changed our minds and hoped we still had time left. They assured us that this was fine and to come up to the hospital and see them again. I sat there, evaluating the situation and it crossed my mind that on New years day, despite knowing that our daughter had some sort of problem, I woke up to a text from my partner, saying ‘This will be our year baby, I just know it. I love you.xoxoxox.’ Then I thought about all the other texts between finding out I was pregnant and now. All the lovely ones about how he was thinking about us. He loved us. He couldn’t live with out us. He couldn’t wait to meet out baby. All seemed a bit pointless now.

On January the 17th, we went back to the hospital. They did one final scan, by a third consultant. We knew that if things were worse, then this was the path we were ready to walk. We thought.

We thought we would be ready for this long path.

This would be the last time we seen our little girl on this screen. The only contact we’d had with her in the almost 24 weeks that we had known her. I did not want to go through with this scan. I didn’t want to see. The reality of it being the last time we’d see her living, was just too much. I just wanted to curl up into a wee ball, go to sleep and never wake up again. The cold gel hit my tummy again, and the scan began. I looked, I saw her. I saw her little arms flailing about, and her trying to lift her little head up. I saw her little legs move around slightly.

The sonographer pointed out where things had gotten worse and that she would suggest that we go ahead with the termination. It would be best for me. Best for me?

Was she crazy. What about this was going to be good for me? I have a history of manic depression and I have anxiety problems. But I can honestly say that through the last 6 months that I had carried my baby, things were looking up. I was getting something I had longed for, for most of my teenage years. I had my own little apartment, that we were getting ready for the arrival of our little bundle of joy. I was going to be a great mummy. My partner was going to be an amazing daddy and we were going to be a happy little family. So don’t tell me that this was going to me good for me. Or that it was best for my health. My health wasn’t my concern at this point in my life. My babys health was priority and always would be.

We were making this choice, because hopefully it would be the best for my baby. In those moments, I felt like a small child, being pushed towards an option that I didn’t want to go ahead with. I felt like the choice was being forced upon me. I know it wasn’t. I made this choice myself. That I made it with my partner. But it just felt so wrong. I agonized over it. Was I being selfish? What if. What if our baby was one the few that would make it? What if it wasn’t even as bad as what they were telling us? What if!! I analyzed the whole situation as much as I possibly could. More consultants came to us, told us what they thought and talked us through the whole procedure. They left me with all the paperwork. I signed it all.

I didn’t read it, I just signed it. I signed for the termination to take place. I signed that it was for my benefit. I signed to give them permission to take her for a post-mortem. I just wasn’t all there. Tears streamed down my face again, and my partner sat with his arm around me, as long as I could feel him with me, I’d be okay. We’d be okay. We were going to get through this. A midwife came and handed me a tablet. Mifepristone. I took it. I felt it slide down my throat. As soon as I swallowed it, I wanted to vomit. I wanted it out of my system.

I was having second thoughts already. I didn’t want this, who would? We were sent back to that horrible room, I hope I never have to see it again. After that, everyone that came in, had apologies and sympathies. And they all pointed out that we were young, we could try again. I know that I can try again, someday. I didn’t need anyone to tell me that. But the fact of the matter is, I am young, my partner is young. Our baby wasn’t planned, she was a little accident, what we thought would be a happy one. Yes, she was conceived with love, but we didn’t plan for a baby. So trying again, any time soon, unfortunately would not be an option for me. Being in a relationship is about two people and as much as I may want to have another baby fairly quickly, he wouldn’t, I knew he wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be one of those girls who sneaks around to get my own way. Other than that, it doesn’t matter if we have one baby or another 20, none of them will ever be this one. It will never be this little girl. Despite how much I wish it would. She will be irreplaceable, forever and always.

Eventually, they allowed me to go home. They told me about the cramps I may have later on and not to worry, it was normal, but if it became too much, ring right away and they’d arrange for me to come in. Other than that they would call me back in the morning and pick a time for me to come up and be induced. We called into Tesco on the way home, so we could pick up a few bits and pieces. We picked her a lovely little blanket, a pink one. I got some new pj’s and a dressing gown, some new underwear and the essentials for a woman after giving birth. I stood and stared at the baby stuff for ages, longing to be able to pick something for her to wear, but it was all far too big.

We were heading to pay for the stuff, when I bumped into a friend who instantly put her hand on my tummy and said ‘awk look at your wee bump, I bet you’re so excited’ …

I couldn’t tell her what was about to happen, I just smiled and agreed.

That night was awful. I spent the afternoon trying to make the most of what little time I had left, trying to feel her move, notice little things I’d never noticed before. I stared at myself in the mirror for a while, thinking ‘why me’ my life is difficult enough as is. I held my belly, and rubbed it gently. I stared for ages, and realized I was 24 weeks 5 days, and I had no bump. To look at me, you’d never guess I was pregnant. Then again, soon I wouldn’t be.

My partner and I just sat quietly in his room and watched tv series’ and films. We got into bed early, so that we could be ‘ready’ for the big day ahead of us. But I couldn’t sleep. I was plagued with the thought that I had just allowed my daughter to die. I had terrible cramps, but it didn’t compare with the feeling of my heartbreaking. I felt like a murderer. I just couldn’t work out why. Why our baby. I done everything right from day one. I stopped smoking, drinking. I even stopped taking my medication. I bought loads of folic acid and pregnancy vitamins and took them religiously every day. I stopped drinking coffee and coke, and that was a mission! We went for little walks to try and keep me fit throughout the pregnancy. Why us. What did I do wrong for my baby? We got up that morning, and it felt like I was in a dream. We had packed the bag the night before, but we decided to check again. Pj’s, nightgown, pads, nipple pads, towels, toiletries etc. My aunt had brought a little tiny preemie baby grow and I put a little hat in that her great grandma had got her. The little blanket we got her. I debated for a while about my camera, I didn’t throw it in. Oh how I regret that now. I went to the kitchen, sat down and waited. Waited for the call to let us know there was a bed for me. We must have drank 7-8 cups of coffee, before we got impatient and decided to ring up and find out what was going on.

They told us to come on up. As you can imagine, I didn’t want to move from the table. We walked out to the car, and the longest journey of my life began. We talked about names, what were we going to call her, she still needed a name. My partner had already chosen Kimahri, from a game he liked. I had hated the name when I first heard it. But I came around to it, over time. The more I thought about it and said it out loud, I became attached to it. We both liked Skylar, but then the more I said it, I began to hate it. So we had to take it from there. Skye? We agreed, Skye was perfect.

Our baby Skye.

We were nearly there when my partner’s mother and I began to doubt ourselves again.

We had to talk through it all from the start right through until now, to persuade ourselves that this was still the right choice. It was also too late to go back now anyway. We arrived at the hospital, made our way into the delivery suite and were shown to my delivery suite. We were supposed to be at the very opposite end, so that we didn’t have to deal with listening to other mothers giving birth and those beautiful cries of new life that follow. But I wasn’t. I could hear another woman struggling to handle the beginning of her labour. I remember thinking to myself ‘she’s lucky’.  We tried to get comfortable, while we were waiting on someone to come and start me off. A midwife came in and introduced herself, asked us a few questions and apologized about the room, but another woman in the same sort of position as me had gotten there first. She got a more comfortable chair for us and left a radio in for us, at least we could try to drown out some of the noise next door. At around 3.30pm a male doctor came in, the usual, introduced himself etc.

He then started to tell us that when our baby girl was born, she might show signs of life and that they will not be doing anything to resuscitate her, she would be passed straight to me, for her to pass in my arms. I already knew that’s what would happen, but it sounded worse when someone said it out loud.

I knew in my heart, she was already gone. I’d felt absolutely nothing all morning. Not even a little wriggle. After he told us everything we’d heard a million times before, he inserted some vaginal meds to soften and dilate my cervix. It wasn’t the most comfortable experience, and it would have to be done every two hours until something began to happen. There was nothing for the next two hours. The three of us just sat and talked about things, like we weren’t in a labour and delivery ward about to meet a new little baby. Time seemed to be going quite fast. Not too long later, another midwife came in to administer more of the meds. She has a wee check and said I could take the pill myself, with water. But I had been feeling sick, so she done them inside again. I was hoping doing it that way would speed up the process a little. She done that and stayed for a little chat with us. She told us about her little son that was stillborn and reassured us that anything we needed, just to let her know. A little while later, I started to get quite a lot of pain and nausea. I was quite sick for a while and had to have an anti-sickness shot. I hadn’t had a chance to go to any of the ante-natal classes before all this, so I had no idea what to expect.

I didn’t know anything about breathing techniques, so I tried to make my own up along the way, as I tried to get through each contraction without getting whiney.

A midwife let us know that I was able to ask for whatever pain relief I wanted as I didn’t have to worry about harming or distressing the baby.

But I didn’t feel like I should have that option available to me. I felt like I wanted, needed to feel everything. Why should I not. Just because there wasn’t going to be a breathing and screaming baby at the end of this, didn’t mean it was okay for me to numb my body out of feeling it. So I refused. She did set the gas and air up for me though, if I wanted it. My partner had a good play around with it. It took me a while to use it and when I did, I didn’t like it. It didn’t give any relief and it just made me feel even more sick. Shortly after, I was sucking on the gas and air like you wouldn’t believe, baby had dropped and was bearing down and my contractions were coming stronger and faster, there was going to be a baby soon. I can handle pain, but anything to do with pain in my stomach, and I’m just an absolute mess. We called for the midwife and asked if she wouldn’t mind giving me something for the pain. She was more than happy to do anything to make us comfortable. She came back with some Diamorphine, which made me drift in and out of sleep for a couple of hours. Good for me, as I need to build some energy back up. Because baby was bearing down, I felt like I needed the toilet the whole time, I spent a good amount of time in the bathroom trying to wee, but it just wasn’t happening. My partner said that a midwife asked if I wanted a catheter but I said no, that I do not remember. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was just after 9pm. 6 hours down, who knows how many more to go. Yay. My partner has got munchies and magazine, but I couldn’t eat. I tried and I was sick. So I gave up. A few hours later, things started to progress, I asked for more pain relief and from there on everything happened so quickly. The contractions were awful, much closer together and I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing by this point. All I knew was that I wanted this to be over. At 01.02 my waters broke.

My partner and his mother rushed up to either side of me, and we knew baby Skye was about to make an appearance. I went into shock, along with the rest of my body. I didn’t know what to expect. I whined a bit and then got so scared I didn’t know where to look, what to do. Speak or keep quiet; ask for help, or work it out for myself.

The reality of what was actually happening was just hitting me like the crisp wind on a winters night, that takes your breath away, I couldn’t breathe. A midwife came in, who seemed very nervous, examined me and told us that the baby was definitely ready to come. My partner held my left hand and his mother had my right. Both were reassuring me that it was okay and I was doing well. I knew had to calm down, so I could get started on the task in hand. The midwife told me with my next contraction to give a nice big push, I didn’t even know how to push to be honest. Who does with their first baby? But somehow I managed it. I was trying to squeeze my partner’s hand, but I had no energy, I had a butterfly in my hand, which was hurting me too much to squeeze. I stared at him for the second push, with panic all over my face. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. She was stuck. I tried the gas and air for the third and final push, and sure enough, I did it.

The radio in the background sounded like a skipping cd and the midwife was telling me that I was a ‘good girl’ on repeat. But my daughter was born. Our little girl was here. In the longest sixteen minutes of my life, at 01.18 she was here. They took her away and cleaned her. She had no signs of life. They brought her in to us, wrapped in her little pink blanket with her little pink hat. They handed her to me, and I cried. I thought I was never going to stop crying. I didn’t want to touch her in case she broke. She was so tiny and so delicate. One pound and four ounces. Almost like one of those little porcelain dolls. So beautiful. I wanted to see if she had any hair, but I was scared to see her little head, because we didn’t know what damage the Hydrocephalus had done. But I did it. I lifted her little hat up and was so happy to see little patches of black hair, just like her daddys. Just like I’d hoped for. She was the baby we’d wanted, but will never have. I saw the swelling in her little head and it still haunts me to think of what it would have been like if we’d have let it develop anymore. It looked awful and terribly painful. I held her tiny little hand in mine. I examined it, and noticed her tiny little nails, were exactly the same as her daddys. Even her nails.

Her little eyes were still fused shut, but I can hope she had gorgeous blue eyes, like the ocean, like mine. Other than that, she was definitely her daddy’s daughter. I held her out from me, for him to take her, if he wanted. He reached out for her, took her and held her in his arms. There was everything I had ever wanted, sat in front of me, but it would be torn away in a matter of hours. I had waited for this day for a long time, to see the boy I love become a man and hold his, our first child. But it just wasn’t what it should have been. I watched him, carefully. I watched tears stream down his face and it tore me up inside, knowing there was nothing I could do to comfort him. As I watched, I remembered the day that he told me he couldn’t wait to see the look on my face when I held our baby. I wondered did he feel the same as me about it now. She was so small laid there in his arms. He held her out in front of him, looked at her, pulled her close, kissed her tiny little forehead and told her he loved her, then reached her out to his mother. There she sat, with her first granddaughter cradled in her arms. The grandchild I couldn’t give her. It all just became too much all at once, and the midwife came in and took her away.

We gave her the preemie baby grow so they could put it on her. Now when I look back at it, they are all the things I wish I could have done.

I wish I could have cleaned her, bathed her, dressed her, wrapped her up in a little blanket and put her little hat on. I should have been the person to do those things. Things I would have only had one chance to do. I wish I’d of taken my camera and got better photos of her. Now that chance is gone. I wanted to get away from everything and everyone. I wanted to curl up in a dark hole and never face the world again.

My only option for some time was to go for shower.

So I went for a shower., I would have opted for a bath, but they were all is use, so I had to settle. I hoped my partner and his mummy would be okay. I’m sure they would. I took all my stuff with me and the midwife showed me where to go and told me not to worry about the sheet, which I had wrapped myself up in to walk down in. She told me to avoid letting the water on my breasts, as that would help with milk production. I thanked her and walked into the room and locked the door. I sorted my stuff out and got into the shower, where I sat down and just cried. I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to pick myself back up f the floor. But I had to. I took my time, and enjoyed the hot water on my aching body. Soon after, I went back to the room.

I wanted my baby. I wanted her more than anything. So we had her brought back.

I cuddled up with her in one arm and my partner holding my other hand. In that moment I could have felt anymore lost or helpless. She stayed with us for a while, this was precious time. The only time we’d ever spend with our first born. Eventually, my partner’s mother left and he stayed. We tried to get some sleep, we were exhausted But how could we. I think we got an hour tops. While he was sleeping I went to phone my mum and let her know what was going on. I paced up and down the corridor, like I was lost. Listening to other women having their perfect babies. I felt like I should be a wailing mess, screaming walls down around me and making a scene, you know like you see on the TV… But I was calm. I don’t think I’ve ever been more calm in all my life. It just felt so wrong.

As it started to get light, we decided to go and see Skye before we got ready to leave. One last time.

We walked down the corridor with another midwife, and down into a little ‘blessing’ room. I paused, contemplating whether or not to go forward and look. We had been told that her body would change as time passed, obviously. But I was scared. My partner led, and I followed. I looked down at her in a tiny little shoe box with her blanket beautifully arranged around her. The midwife stood with us and told us how beautiful she was, then gave us some time alone with her. I touched her little face, a little stroke on her cheek. Stone cold. I wanted to pick her up and hold her little body close to mine, get some heat back into her. I wanted to leave with her, bring my baby home, where she should be. We left again, staring down at your baby’s lifeless little body is the most heartbreaking feeling in the world. I thought my heart was broken before, that day I realized it was only chipped before, now it’s in pieces. I sorted out all my stuff, got dressed and signed all the paperwork and waited for my partner’s mummy to come and pick us up. I just wanted to go home and get comfortable. When she I arrived I was in a rush to get going.

The midwives came and said goodbye and wished us well. I picked up my sands box, and we left. Walking down the corridors, I thought to myself ‘I never want to be here again’. We went down the left and walked out through the main reception. I looked around me, and mothers were leaving with their babies in their arms. It’s policy here, that you’re not allowed to leave the hospital, unless your baby is secured in a car seat. I remember mumbling while walking by ‘you’re supposed to have your baby in a carseat!!’ I mean, you’ve had your baby, you’d be able to cuddle it all you want as soon as you get home. Walking through the front doors, I remember being repulsed by the heavily pregnant mothers, with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, and thinking ‘you’re so selfish, that’s not good for your unborn child.’ I glared at them all. Then I looked at myself and thought, ‘I’m leaving with a box, a box, instead of a baby.’ Feeling stupid because surely they all knew, my baby was dead. I sat in the back of the car, and felt like I’d abandoned her.

I didn’t tell her I loved her, I didn’t give her a kiss. I’d never have the chance to do those things again. Tears came again. We got out onto the motorway and I looked up, a rainbow. There was a rainbow. I hoped that was a sign from her, but I’m not sure I believe in all of that sort of stuff. Being home was surreal. Just like it was a dream and I needed to wake up and things would be ‘normal’ again. But they never would. It was quiet and relaxing, nothing do, nothing to say, nowhere to be. Just alone with my partner and my thoughts. The day after, the funeral directors rang and informed us that Skye was with them and we were welcome to come and see her again, if we wished. So we did. I let my Grandpa know and my mum and we all went together. On the way I asked my partner’s mother to drop us into the baby shop so I could get something. It hit me that I hadn’t got anything for my own daughter that she was going to have with her. I picked a little pink teddy with baby girl on it. We got there and waited for my Grandpa and mum. When they arrived we headed in together, my partner and I first, followed by everyone else. Sobbing messes we all stood and looked over her. A perfect, innocent little being, who didn’t even get a chance at life. I tried to back off so that My mum, my Grandpa, and my partner’s parents could get a little time with her. I always feel bad that they never got a chance to hold her and that my partner’s sister never even got the chance to see her. One by one they left and gave my partner and me space. My Grandpa stayed. He cried. I’m nearly 20 and it’s the only time I have ever seen my Grandpa cry and other than the funeral, probably the last time. Eventually, we left and that was the last time I ever saw my daughters little face. The funeral had all been arranged beforehand, we just had to let the directors know that she was ready to be picked up, pick flowers and wait to be told what time. I never imagined at 18, I’d be burying my first daughter, but yet here I was. Something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I hope I’m never faced with something like this ever again. Once is beyond enough for anyone. The funeral was private. It was just myself, her daddy, and our special family members. We were all there before Skye. The hearse pulled up with her tiny little coffin in the backseat. I didn’t want to carry her down, so her daddy lifted her out and carried her. We led the way, I kept my head down and focused on making sure I put one foot in front of the other. We got the there and the size of the plot that had been dug up for her was heart wrenching. He set her down into and the mini service began. He held my left hand and I had my Grandpa holding my right hand. The only two men in my life, by my side for the hardest day of my life. My Grandpa started to cry again and he even let out a whimper. I’ve never felt so torn up in my life. I can’t remember and don’t think I ever will, what the minister said, but it wasn’t important to me.

It rained the whole time, they say that is a sign of someone being accepted into heaven. Skye’s daddy threw a red rose onto her coffin, the wooden cover was placed over and her flowers laid on top of that. He and I picked a pink and white teddy wreathe for her, her Granny and Granda got her a pink heart, her aunty  got her a little plain wreathe of flowers just like my Grandpas. I looked down at the grave for a while, it was freezing and the rain was pelting off our faces, but if I could have laid down there with her, I would have.

I never wanted to leave her. We went home, tried to straighten up and went for a meal at Papa browns, one of my favourite places to get something to eat. I had my first alcoholic drink in months and it was horrible. I didn’t want to be free to drink alcohol. It was just like a normal meal out. I felt like standing on the table and screaming my daughter is dead and I buried her today. The fear of that being forgotten has always and will always get to me. I wanted people to know, I am a mother, I just don’t have my baby. I couldn’t wait to get home and back into jammies and into bed. Which is exactly what I did for a few days, trying to get over the post-partum bleeding. Just as I got the hang of that, my milk came in and it was another milestone that I should have been facing with my baby, not without her.. It lasted for a few painful days and then disappeared, even though I took pills that were supposed to suppress milk flow. But it was hard, it was another thing that my body was being tricked into doing. My body was prepared for a baby and thought there was one there, but there wasn’t. I had a ghost baby, sorry body. I’ve often heard women saying that after having a baby that you didn’t get to bring home, or even after miscarriage, your body aches for that baby. I always believed this was metaphorical, until I became one of those mothers.

My body does ache. I feel empty, because she is no longer there. My arms ached to hold her close to me and feel her breath on my skin. My ears are always listening for her cry, whatever it would have been like, but I never hear her. You couldn’t even begin to imagine. I had awful after pains for a few months, yet another thing, I don’t even know how to explain. Yet another thing you have to go through yourself to understand, not that you’d ever want to. My post-partum bleeding didn’t last too long, if I’m honest, it wasn’t as bad as I’d been prepared for, much like the birth. But then I was left terrified for my next period, which happened to arrive on Mother’s day. As if it wasn’t going to be a hard enough day, I had this big reminder that I definitely wasn’t pregnant anymore. Despite all the times I woke up and forgot. All the mornings I woke up and said hello to my tummy, and then I remembered, my tummy is no longer incubating my growing baby. All the days I kept my hands tucked in front of tummy to protect myself, then thinking to myself, why? There’s nothing there to protect. But it was hard to define, when for months after I still felt pregnant. Silly body.

I stayed logged into forums for mothers who had terminated for medical reasons for a while after Skye was born, not so much now, but I still have a wee peek from time to time. It’s too heartbreaking to go on and see all these new mothers who’re just starting their journey. A journey no one should have. It’s comforting to have the option to log on and speak to these women, knowing that you won’t have judgment passed on you, because they have been in a similar place, they are travelling a dark road, just like you. Eventually though, I started to find it discomforting as many mothers were older, married and ready to try again, many by now (November) are already almost half way through a new pregnancy with their rainbow child. (If you don’t know this is a term given to your next born child after a loss) Of course many of these women aren’t expecting again, but I can’t help be jealous of the ones who are. Despite them being the kind of mothers who’re deserving of a child. I still feel as though the loss of Skye is very raw.

I watched as mothers on the forums said a few weeks out they were starting to feel better, some were even back into work rather quickly. It’s been 10 months and 4 days as I write this, and I still can’t even begin to imagine being socially involved with anyone or any kind of activity. I think it’s amazing that there are women who can be that string, mainly because they have to. But that’s just not my way of coping. I’ve gotten stuck in a rut of not knowing how to cope and deal with the bad things in my life. My mum always said while I was growing up when one door closed for her, instead of another opening more slammed shut in her face. Never heard a truer word spoken for how my life goes. It is pessimistic, but I’m fed up of people saying things like ‘keep your chin up’, ‘keep trying’, ‘never give up’ or ‘fall down seven times stand up eight’. I do try to be positive, but when so many things go wrong so often, it is hard. I honestly thought when I found out we were having Skye that my life was taking a turn in the right direction. I was being given a beautiful gift. Something I’d longed for, for as long as I can remember. Surely this was our time. The right time for this baby. She wasn’t planned and I was taking precautions to prevent becoming pregnant, but I did. This was what was in our future. A little baby. A gorgeous little bundle of joy. I knew I wasn’t fully prepared for a life under my control, but I had plenty of support and a new reason to live. I’d get on my feet in no time. Nope I was knocked down and the wind was taken right out of me.

I’m not recovered yet, and I never will be and I am not ashamed of that. Not anymore. It’s just a shame that my life yet again, took a turn for the worst.

I feel guilty every day for stopping my daughter’s life, a life that was created between her father and I, with love.

Even though I know our choice was right. I am always left thinking about all the what ifs, buts and maybes. What did I do wrong? Skyes post mortem took forever to be sent to us. But after reading it. There was just no possibility of her sustaining life. So many medical terms and so many little problems along with her big problems. The first thing they included in it was that she had inherited an unbalanced X chromosome which we later found out that she had inherited from me. It mentioned the Hydrocephalus, which they said upon examination her skull collapsed. Then the heart defect which turned out to be Hypo plastic right heart syndrome. They commented on her nose looking typical of a downs syndrome child. I disagree strongly with this, she had a perfect rounded little button nose. She had some sort of problem with her ears and would have been deaf. Apparently she also had a cleft left palette, which must have been internal, because she had no visible defects on her face. They weighed her organs and all were underweight aside from her brain, which was grossly overweight for her gestational age. They said her lungs were severely under developed and were hypo plastic. These are only a few things I can remember reading. Reading it was extremely hard for me, to read all the things that somebody was able to point out and distinguish that were wrong with our little baby. So, I probably won’t look at it again for a long time.

Life after loss has become incredibly different, more difficult. I’ve learned that tears don’t always roll down your cheeks. They can roll form one eye, over the bridge of your nose, to join with the other tear and together they make it half way down and then trickle down by your ear. I’ve learned that people don’t always cry in private.

Grief is not easy to contain and the tears can hit you anytime, anywhere. I’ve learned that I can cry silently.

I have become a master at lying in bed at night and crying for my child, without making any noise or any of those jerky movements you make while you cry. It’s harder to just get up and face the bullshit that comes with my life every day. I no longer care for all the little problems I had, and that is just the thing, they are now made to feel minuscule because this has been such a great loss to me. I see people moan about things, things that I now think why are you complaining about that? You should be thankful and happy. People who moan about their kids poopy nappies, that their kids won’t sleep or won’t stop crying. I am sorry, but be thankful that you have that in your life. I’d give anything to be cradling my colicky baby in my arms or trying to comfort my whiny teething baby. To be dealing with the dirty nappies. To hear my baby cry with all her might … because you know she’s alive when she gives it all that! To hear somebody say the words ‘I am pregnant’ still rips me apart inside. I feel the lump rise in my throat, my eyes well up and I whimper in the hope that my tears won’t fall and I won’t wail like a mother in despair. Even to read an announcement on Facebook about another person who would be in my life if I weren’t socially avoidant, is pregnant. It is hard. It is incredibly painful. I struggle to cope with knowing that so many of people I would have surrounded myself with before, are welcoming their new bundles into the world or just finding out that they are having a little baby. To know that I won’t want to know them anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for them, I do wish them all the best. But I am jealous. There is nothing more to it.

I am the green eyed monster.

They are getting what I want in my life, while I had it snatched away from me so cruelly. So please, don’t be offended by me when I don’t want to be around your children, or when I’m sad seeing them grow up. It’s a normal reaction. You’d never understand, even when you tell me ‘you can only imagine what it feels like’ … I promised you, you can not. Then there’s knowing of people who haven’t treated themselves well throughout their pregnancy and watching them grow bigger every day and then seeing one day that they have their perfectly healthy baby in their arms. Some days I just can’t fathom. How do people who have not looked after themselves or their unborn child, get handed a little blessing, while I tried as best as I could to look after not only my baby, but myself, and couldn’t have her. I lost ‘friends’ along the way. Between people that can’t be bothered with me being depressed and the ones who just don’t know what to say or do, the worst were the people who avoided me because I can only assume the thought I was contagious. They thought that my loss would be inflicted upon them. Can I just take the time now to let you all know … yes my baby is dead. But your baby is not. Your pregnancy will not end and your child will not die just because mine did. If only you knew how hurtful and ignorant it is of you to think that way. I’m sorry I made you feel so uncomfortable while I was and still am going through the hardest time of my life, so far.

People expect that by now I should be moving on and getting over it.

Reality brings with it that fact that I will never be over what happened.

I will get through it and it will get easier, I know this. But how long it will take, is something I don’t have the answer to right now. I believe that journeys like this are very personal and they vary from person to person. I haven’t given myself the opportunity to open up, let it out and let it go. And that is okay. The path of grieving is dark and it can be hard to see the light at the end. I have been told so many things since this happened that have both been hurtful and offended me but have also made me angrier than I’ve ever been in my life. Things such as ‘You’re young, you can try again’ – Who are you to decide that just because I am so young, that I can try again. The truth is, that yes I am young. But that doesn’t give me the automatic right to try again. I am in a relationship, and that involves us making choices together. So by my understanding, when we can’t agree on something, we don’t go ahead with it. Right? Sometimes that is hard to get a grasp of though. I want to try again, but my partner doesn’t. So which choice should we make, have it his way and leave me in constant need of something to mother, or have it my way and leave him constantly feeling trapped and tied down to something he doesn’t feel ready for? How do you make that choice, fairly? ‘Sure, you’ve a second chance at life now, you can go off and do whatever you want without having a baby to worry about.’ – Quite the opposite actually.

The loss has left me feeling ancient. I feel like I’ve already lived my whole life. I have no interest in doing the things a stereotyped 19 year old should be doing. I just want to be a mother, now. My desire for motherhood is hindering the rest of my life and I don’t much of a choice in it. I find no enjoyment in anything anymore. ‘She is in a better place now’ – Right, so you think your child could be anywhere better than in your arms? No, I didn’t think so. I am not religious. I have no faith. So when it comes down to things along the lines of her being with God, I’m sorry but I don’t believe that. I wish I could but I don’t. She is not in a better place. I watched as her father set her down into the ground and she was buried. She is in the earth, not in Gods arms. And honestly, there was no better place for her than with her family and in our arms, and she will never have that now. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ – You give me a good reason for this and then maybe I will consider believing this. ‘Time heals all wounds’ – I’d like to believe this. I’d like to and I say it to myself a lot. But when you have a wound, it may heal, but you’re left with a scar. Losing Skye might get easier with time, but I will never be healed. There will always be a part of me missing, not able to be healed. ‘You need to move on and get on with your life’ – I won’t ever move on. I will always miss my daughter. Why would you say this to anyone when they suffer a loss. Surely if you’ve lost someone close to you, you know how hard it is just to pick up the pieces and carry on as if nothing happened. I refuse to move on, because if I could, I’d feel like I was forgetting her and I won’t ever forget her. She deserves to be remembered. Her life may have been short and unfulfilled. But she lived for 23 weeks and 5 days with-in me. She still had a life. As long as I live, she will live on, in my heart and soul. The worst is ‘I know how you feel’ – No you don’t. You never will. The loss of a child, especially before you’ve even got a chance to know them and create life long memories is one of the most difficult. All loss is hard. Believe me I know it is. But this is something different. It is not the same as losing a parent, a grandparent, a sibling or a friend. Even if you have lost a child, it still isn’t the same and you still do not know how I feel or what I am going through. It may be similar, but it is not my loss, and my loss is not yours. Every person’s grief is different. To organize a funeral for a baby who never even got to take a breath. It is traumatizing. No parent should outlive their child. It happens, but for me it is unnatural. You will never know how I feel. I crave my loss, but with time I’ve realised, I could have ten more children, but they’d never be Skye.

Nothing will replace her.

She will always be the void in my life. But it would be nice to have another child, sooner, rather than later. Seemingly now is not the right time… Than there is facing another battle of your mind, what if? What if I’d done this or what if I’d done that. You think of a millions reasons why it was your fault or what you could have done differently. Even though you now this wasn’t your fault, and you couldn’t have prevented it. I spend a lot of time thinking that I should have just carried her to term. Maybe she would have been one of those miracle babies you read about all the time. Maybe. But the odds of that happening were little to none. I know that now, deep down in my heart, I know she had no chance. I often wonder now, why when I was being induced, did I have to take mifepristone? Couldn’t they just have induced me without it? So that when she was born, if she made it even for a few moments, I could have felt her breathe on me, or maybe even heard a little cry. Those are the things that keep me awake at night. Wondering what it would feel like to have her soft breath on my face, to hear her use her tiny little lungs for a little cry. When you lose a child, you do lose sleep. You spend every night thinking about what kind of baby she would have been, independent or clingy? A good sleeper or a little nightmare? Would she have been a fussy eater or ate everything in sight? Would her hair have stayed dark, or went golden like mine? Curly hair like mine? Or straight like daddys? How tall would she become? What colour of eyes would she have had? Would she have been shy and introvert or cheeky and extrovert? So many things I will never know, but only imagine. It is so sad. So many mothers with so many children who will never be known. Also, when something so tragic happens to you, not only do you have the guilt of feeling like you’ve let everyone around you down, that your body has let you down.

There is the fear of it happening again. What if this happens in all of your pregnancies?

You make it half way, only to find something is awfully wrong. You make it full term, to be neglected by your healthcare providers, only to find a day or two later, your baby has died. Cord accident … amniotic fluid leaked to much… baby was deprived of oxygen. So many outcomes. You’re left with empty arms and the desire to abuse your body, because it has abused you. What if you never get to become a mother? Not only will I never enjoy another pregnancy again, because of fear. But I might not ever carry a healthy pregnancy. I might be the carrier of an x chromosome inversion, which means it is hard for me to become pregnant and if I do, it carries a bigger risk of miscarriage and if I don’t miscarry, a risk of health problems for the baby. Life can be so unfair to some people, right? Every day, in new places and familiar is a battle. At home, where people know you, some know that your baby died. Some don’t. The ones who do know, they look at you with pity and fear. The ones who don’t, I’m sure they think I’m an awful mother, they never see me with my child. Or maybe they think the whole thing was made up. People you know are living their lives with their babies and loving it. You watch them and think ‘My baby would be doing that now’. But she isn’t. Sometimes I wonder how uncomfortable I make them feel when they stop to say hi and they have their baby in a pram or a big bump in front of them. Or the ones who are scared to mention that they’re pregnant. Or even the ones who keep their head down and pretend not to see me or know me. I wish so much that I wasn’t the person to make people feel that way and for them to make me feel how I do. In new places, no body knows. They don’t know you and they don’t know that you’re a mother. They don’t know your story and probably aren’t interested either. You watch them with their babies, and think the same thing. It’s mad someday, waking up and looking out the window or using the internet, only to see that everybody’s lives are still going. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The birds still sing in the morning and the world keeps on turning. But my life, my world, it has stopped, for now. Holidays come and go, but this year they hold no excitement for me, as I had planned them to be with my baby. It will be the same for the rest of my life. Holidays will hold pain and so many dates will hold despair. Losing a child, it changes everything. When you have a baby, everyone is there. They want to be involved and help and do everything they can just to lend a hand. But when your baby dies, it’s almost like that same group of people die too. They’re scared to be around you, who knows what reasons for. They don’t know what to say. They don’t know whether to surround you or keep their distance. Slowly but surely they all fade away become you’re grief and loss is just too much for them. To be honest, all we want is for you remember. Remember we had babies. Acknowledge that while I don’t have my child in my arms or by my side, I still have one. Don’t be scared of our grief, it isn’t going to rub off on you, my bad luck will not become yours. Don’t be afraid to talk to us … that is what we want, sometimes it is what we need. Honestly, just be there the way you had intended to when you knew my baby was alive. That is all. I don’t honestly know how people cope with this tremendous loss. I swear I still feel her presence with-in me. Most days, I awake and I forget that it has all happened, and it way past me. I still go to talk to my belly, which once housed her little life. I still protect my belly, just in case any harm may come that way, but it is and empty womb, with nothing to protect. I dream about her most nights, and when I do, they feel so real. I even get up, head to Matts room, open the door and see his things instead of our babies things. At night, I hear a babies cry, except there are no babies around where I live. I stare into nothing, and on the odd occasion I see myself, sat there in my nursing chair, swaying back and forth with my baby in my arms, all cuddled into me. But that’s not me. When you become a mother, you do anything to protect your baby. When you become a mother to the child you never got to bring home, you will do everything to keep their memory alive. It’s just the way it is. I remember when I was about thirteen, thinking my heart was breaking because I was chasing after Skyes daddy and getting nowhere. Now I’ve realised that is just a minor part of life, a little hurt that seems like the worst thing in the world. I know now my heart is smashed to pieces, for I’ve lost such a huge part of me, and every time I look at the man I love, more than anything, I see a part of us that is missing. That is heartbreak. So for any mother or father, who may have read the whole way through this, if you’ve lost like we have, I’m sorry for you, and I hope that someday, sometime, you find peace and healing. If you have your child, give them an extra cuddle and kiss, for all of us that can’t. Skye Montgomery, arrived into our lives on Thursday, January the 19th, at 01.18am, with no signs of life. Weighing a tiny, one pound and four ounces. She was 28 centimetres in length. She was more than perfect and I can’t believe we made something to beautiful together. – “Death Leaves A Heartache No One Can Heal & Love Leaves A Memory No One Can Steal.” – Sleep Tight Baby Girl, Forever In Our Hearts ♥ Love Mummy & Daddy. xoxox

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