This is how life is now

Wake up unusually cheerful. Very nearly bound out of bed without normal wallowing. Go to help Maddy with her laptop and CBBC has ICU style beeping in the background. Do my best but inevitably end up back in my bed crying. Beeping and anti-bacterial hand wash are, annoyingly, my two SCBU triggers.

Make it through the morning until we get into work. Get asked Is it that you cant carry boys? AGAIN.

Take girls out to lunch; Tesco filled with roughly 8 billion newborn baby boys. One is even wearing the very outfit, the only outfit, i bought for Freddie to be his going home clothes.

Get home and have a call back from Doctors. I want my smear test done but it has to be done mid-cycle after 12 weeks post partum. Ill be 11 weeks and midcycle next week but she refuses to book it. Have to explain that my child has died and id quite like to have it done so i can consider getting pregnant again. She suggests to just wait a while before getting pregnant. After all, it would only be an extra month or two to wait.

Take kids out to gym. Spend time with Josie, helping her to make up a photo album of Freddie, which she has been really wanting to do. We talk through what was happening in each picture. Lady opposite asks in friendly voice about the pictures. Have to explain hes dead.

Josie sits looking at photo album. Couple of kids come over to look and realise from it that we must be Frans family. We are the family with the dead baby.

Go over to rugby to meet Max, Fran and Maddy, where the one extended family member who is unaware we came home from hospital without a baby is also playing. [Edited to add, i’m not cross about this at all. It is exactly what i would want done for me, it was just another… ‘ugh’ moment.] He’s expecting a baby soon and his closer family haven’t told him about Freddie. I know this, Max evidently doesnt. Max has already answered hows Merry? questions with doing okay i guess response, not realising he is being asked how my pregnancy is going and hopefully not hurting that the question hasn’t included him. Then i meet the same person. I get asked the same because he is still in the dark. Split second to decide what to do, but decide to run away. Cry all the way home.

Have to deal with this as well see him weekly for a while and in the end the girls are going to be asked something that will hurt. [And it is dealt with and i’m so grateful to the people in my life who unequivocally put us first.]

Oh this is all such a sodding mess. All because i wanted one more baby.

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  1. says

    But you didnt choose for it to be a mess, and you didnt cause it to be a mess *hugs* And personally I wouldnt even consider playing along with whichever family members are trying to save someone elses feelings whilst not taking yours or your families in to account. Thats just not fair. Theyre presumably adults as theyre having a baby, your children arent and should be put first even if youre not being. I think Id have run in that same situation too :o(
    The not being able to carry boys thing…I think all of us that have children of only one sex get this. I know I have, Ive even said it about myself in the past and people commenting about it hasnt really bothered me. Ive never looked at it from the point of view that youve expressed in your posts though, I now be more careful in the future about saying anything similar to others.
    Really sorry that youre having such a shit time :o(

  2. says

    Oh. No, they are young and it’s their first and we could easily not have met up in the next while. In the reverse situation I’d have been glad not to know. But unfortunately now we are going to meet and it will have to be fixed or when they do know, they will be mortified and in the mean time there will be painful moments. It really is a mess. It is no more protective than me not wanting to know until after my sisters last baby was born 4 years ago. It would be better for them not to know. I hate knowing my girls will start their baby years with this in the front of their mind. It’s just, well, a mess. And i hate dragging everyone else through it behind us.

  3. says

    hugs. I can understand you not wanting to add worry to a new family but I’m not sure that you should be putting their worry before your hurt. But maybe that’s just because I’m more protective of friends than I am of strangers? Hugs and more hugs

  4. Catherine W says

    Bloody beeping CBBC. I hate beeping too. And anti-bacterial hand wash. I can’t even use the same shower gel I used to because I used it during that NICU stay and the smell makes me feel sick now.

    ‘Is that you can’t carry boys?’ Argh. Just argh. What on earth are they expecting you to say in response? I can’t think of a single appropriate one. Except rude ones that I won’t write here.

    And even boring old Tesco can be a minefield these days. I swear mine always fills up with twin girls just before I arrive. And the outfit. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Why did it have to be the same little outfit you bought for Freddie? For pity’s sake universe.

    I don’t know what to say about the family situation. I wanted to protect people. I wanted to turn my little sister round at the NICU doors, saying ‘Oh no, it doesn’t end like this. Not for anybody.’ My niece told me that she knows what to do when babies get sick, you put oxygen up their noses. That just about had me sobbing on my knees during a family lunch. But we can’t save them or protect them. Sadly.

    Oh my. It is all so terribly hard and, like you, I’ve often howled ‘I only wanted a baby.’ Not for my life to be torn to shreds. But, as June says, we didn’t cause it to happen. Thinking of you and your family. xo

  5. says

    I don’t know; the universes has been dishing up irony in spectacularly large dishes recently. And i imagine, it will very shortly be dishing it up again.

  6. Claire says

    What is it with people that think they have the right to comment on such personal issues?? I get ” Couldn’t you have any more babies?” or the real killer “Such a shame you only have a boy. Didn’t you want a girl as well?” Ugh.
    Stupid universe, I hope it leaves you alone very soon, hugs for you all.

  7. says

    I know. And, well, i also don’t. I’m sort of braining dumping all the stuff i feel right now because i know one day i’ll look back and think “that used to hurt and now it doesn’t” and “i felt like that but now i don’t” – a lot of what i write is just a ramble of stuff to get it out of my head. The babies in Tesco hurt a billion times more than anything else yesterday, even though the utter reality of that is not only inescapable and something i have to cope with but also the one thing that is utter and complete chance and can’t be fixed.

    I don’t begrudge anyone how they do things, i know this is all a minefield we’re all going through in bigger and smaller ways, mostly for the first time. It is impossible. I’d willingly protect my enormously pregnant sister from Freddie’s death, if i could, but i can’t. I’d protect my girls, but i can’t. I don’t begrudge anyone trying that. Stupid comments hurt – they hurt less once i’ve written them down and ranted – but i know that all and any of the people who say them would bite out their tongue if they knew how it felt to hear them. People can avoid the enormous no-no’s if they think, but the subtle ones are just too weird. Who would think that my dirty washing would be weirding me out, for example? It wouldn’t have occurred to me i’d be hurt by there not being baby clothes in the laundry.

    It’s all just a whopping big pile of scrambled crud with people trying to get it right.

  8. says

    A friend of mine recently lost a child, and she said the hardest thing is when people offer condolences, because actually she wants to celebrate the short life of her baby and not constantly be reminded of the bad stuff.

    I have watched her struggle and helped where I can, but I found myself walking on eggshells and I am ashamed of myself – she also lost a baby boy and I found myself referring to my own boys as “my children” because I didn’t want to cause upset by mentioning the word boy.

    I realised how ridiculous I was being and in the end, over a cup of tea, we had a huge heart to heart in the most brutally honest way. It was fantastic and brought us closer as friends.

    I came to understand that she really, really wants to talk about him, about boys and about having children. She already has two children and feels she can’t talk too much in front of them for fear of upsetting them all over again. So she talks to us, her friends instead.

    She blames herself because she was still breastfeeding her two year old and thinks may be this caused the problems…completely untrue but she can’t get it out of her head.

    I don’t know why I am dumping all of this in your comments section. May be to let you know that it is alright to be who you are, that you are normal and that people always want to know WHY and so will come up with bizarre “you can’t carry boys” theories to comfort themselves.

    Hugs to you all.

  9. Alison says

    Think Kelly’s last sentence makes a lot of sense – a lot of people would far rather come up with a totally spurious reason for something rather than have to admit to themselves that sometimes terrible things just happen. Because then something terrible might happen to them.

    Sending hugs and strength for it all.

  10. Tech says

    Heh you should hear what people say to men who’ve lost a testicle to cancer! Communication is a nightmare full stop for human beings I reckon. I remember being in tescos when the girls were babies, and a lady with an older baby in a trolley came up and told us that her baby had been a twin but his brother had died. WTF were we supposed to do with that other than mumble apologies and shuffle off feeling guilty that we had live twins? Life is a minefield, and for every mine you avoid you’re going to step on several more I reckon. What a ray of sunshine I am!

  11. sandra haynes says

    Sorry that you’ve had to deal with personal comments from work colleagues. Excuse my ignorance but I thought you worked from home.
    Hugs anyway San x

  12. says

    We have a unit; i just popped in to it to see the accountant. He didn’t mean any harm, it is just, oh.. wrong :(

    Tech, in that black humour that people often accompany crappiness with (like in SCBU “don’t forget to put the cot side up, we don’t want him jumping out!”), i think i’d quite like to know what people say 😀

    Kelly :( Yes, i just so want to talk about him. And you and Alison are quite right.

  13. says

    oh glory. Hugs, lots of them. inadequate I know but I wanted you to know, for some reason, that i’m still reading, every single post, thinking of you, putting up candles, and you’re in the evening prayer list! xx

    i have six children and have, I realise, been incredibly lucky in that I havn’t had any miscarrages, and there havn’t been any major illnesses, all live births etc. I don’t know why really, but people tell me all the time about their miscarages, still borns etc. Do they asume it must have happened to me too, what with probability and numbers etc? or do they want to make sure I appreciate what I have? I think people just need to talk, and just have that kind of face or something. my dad was always having people asking him directions and pouring out their life stories and I seem to have inherited that…

    i kind of like that Josie was doing the scrapbook, in public I mean. I totally see the painful aspect, but… he’s still part of the family? sort of thing? I dunno, am afraid to say anything because I can’t possibly understand and do not want to be silent from fear at the same time because that’s not always the most helpful thing, acutually…

  14. layla says

    People always want a reason, that way bad stuff won’t happen to *them*. Sigh. [bit different from the other side of the loss divide when you naturally assume that the bad stuff is absolutely going to (continue to) happen to you].

    The PTSD triggers are dreadful – grieving is such a physical process, so exhausting. And there’s no way around the wrongness of children going into their reproductive years knowing about dead babies, I hate it.

  15. Jeanette Caw says

    You are so gracious in realising, that although the comments hurt, they are not intended to be hurtful. The fear of saying the wrong thing or causing upset is what stops many people from saying anything at all. I guess I think that what you describe is about the ‘stop the clocks’ … grief is all around you and unimaginable things (like your washing) and imaginable ones (like the 8 million babies in tescoes) remind you of what is so figural in your life. I remember, in the middle of considering a termination years ago, going to meadowhall with a friend to see Mrs Doubtfire to take my mind off it … only to be faced with a film about children and a shopping centre littered with small people in push chairs.

    I don’t know about the ‘can’t carry boys’ thing. I have never heard of that before and, tbh, I think it sounds like utter tosh and is extremely insensitive. I agree with one of your friends … how really are you expected to respond?

    I feel outraged by the GP surgery …if you want a smear you have one … losing a baby is probably the worst experience in life to go through … who is anyone else to tell you when you should or should not consider another pregnancy.

    I know I’m ranting now. I am reading a book at the moment lent to me by my niece, a true stoy about a girl who has leukemia and it is her and her mother’s diary. You probably couldn’t contemplate reading such a book. I went to sleep crying … thinking of you and of a friend of mine whose son has cancer. I thought not to tell you for fear of upsetting you …. and then I thought I wanted you to know … that I still cry for you as it sounds so many of your friends do. I know it sounds banal but as buddha said ‘life is suffering’ … is there anything more to say … it just is and I can’t begin to imagine how much it hurts.

  16. says

    For me, the walking on egg shells feeling is an acute concern about making incorrect assumptions. I want to talk about a friend’s baby, but I don’t want to automatically assume that she wants to talk about him.

    Happily, I felt able to ask and she felt able to say how very good it is to talk about her son, whenever. You have said the same about Freddie. That is such valuable information to share.

    I’m really sorry more people aren’t more honest about how they really feel, no matter how clunky it makes them (this comment is clunky, sorry). Unfortunately, people do in the main try and protect themselves – either from the discomfort of pain in the present or from the possibility of it ever happening to them in the future. Part of that is looking for any reason why, or trying to move on from someone who will never go away because he is your son, a part of your family.

    Your honesty here and elsewhere is incredibly generous and it will help others whose children have died, and those friends and family members who are trying to figure out what on earth to do for the best.

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