Mary Smith got in touch with BritMums recently, ?I am a parenting blogger writing about lots of things but with a focus on infant loss and specifically, a joyful life despite our loss.
Our daughter was stillborn at term last year and this journey has been horrendous. It has been helpful, both to me and my readers, to write about each step and emotion. Despite this, it is still a very awkward thing for other people and parents and obviously needs a lot more awareness.? We came up with the BritMums Baby Loss Awareness week, where we showcase one blogger?s story every day during Baby Loss Awareness week. Here is Mary?s story.
The Story of Poppy
I laid in the hospital, the thickness of silence suffocating me as the Dr confirmed to us what I already knew: ?Im very sorry but your baby has passed away? ? we stared at one another and said nothing, she was gone and no words seemed appropriate. The baby I carried for 9 months I never got to meet, I would never feed, I would never see grow up.
Her name (not that many people use it) was Poppy Quinn Smith and she was stillborn on her due date last September, after a check up at the hospital 2 days before had revealed her heart had stopped. She had full Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), but we held out hopes that we would get some time with our daughter.
Her delivery was pretty quick; an induction which was very straightforward and no complications, I guess it was all very text book and everything went to plan for them? but there was one thing missing, and that was JOY! As the midwives pulled her out it was complete and painful silence, even the monitors seemed to pause for that moment?there was no rushing or urgency like there had been with my others, no scrunched up baby face and screams to greet her mother, no excitement, and no joy?just silence and numbness. I held her in my arms and looked down at my beautiful baby girl as I tried to overcome the shock of my 3rd delivery. All I could do was stare at her ? she looked like my other daughter and her feet were like her brothers when he was born. So I stared some more, this time begging her to breathe?to cry?to wriggle?but nothing, just a look of peace and stillness. It hit me then, at that moment that hope was gone for a season, because this baby wouldn?t be coming home and I wouldn?t have her in my life. She wouldn?t grow up in our family with her siblings and I?d have a death certificate instead of a birth certificate, a grave instead of a crib, a box instead of a baby. I had just entered the world of infant loss and this moment would break my heart for a very long time.
I will never forget that day and its cruel events or the day my husband and I carried her tiny casket to the graveside the week after her birth?Everything in my life had suddenly became so temporary and fragile, our lives were turned upside down and we were living every parents nightmare.
It began April 2014, I was 4.5 months pregnant and we were literally living the dream, loving life, and excited for our 3rd child who was planned and so very much wanted by all. We made our way to the hospital as a little family, excited to see who our 5th member would be, but within a few moments this all changed as I was quickly reminded that the 20 week scan isn?t a gender revealer but an extremely thorough look to see if baby is fit and well (baby was not fit and well). It turned out there seemed to be an abnormality on her heart, her tummy was too small and part of her brain was underdeveloped. We were referred to the cardiac specialists at the LGI for further scans and fetal medicine to investigate.
2 days following, we found ourselves sat in a room at the hospital being told of the severity of our babies heart and diaphragm problems. We were told they believed it was due to fatal chromosome defect and that there was a likely chance our baby would not make it! I couldn?t breathe, understand it or process it. I just broke and left feeling empty, lonely and heartbroken. I struggled to tell people the diagnosis as it pained me to reflect on the fact I might not get to keep my growing baby girl; It wore on me and so I finished my job as baby massage teacher early ? working with healthy babies and happy mummies pained me at every class and every comment on my bump and questions of my pregnancy?s progress was a reminder that there was nothing rosey about it and there was a big question mark over whether or not our baby would live.
After several more scans, we decided at 30 weeks to have an amniocentesis to confirm the suspected chromosome defect?less than 24hrs later they had her results and over the phone we were told she had Full T18. We were heartbroken. I didn?t give up though, and spent the remainder of my pregnancy fighting for care, fighting for a chance for her and living in hope that my baby (who medically was seen as ?not compatible with life?) would get care and would live for at least a few weeks in our family. But as you see that wasn?t our ending.
After an emotionally difficult pregnancy on September 16th 2014 she was born sleeping at term.
Life feels a little heavier now as I try to carry on as normal, and as I have learnt from experience that it is an awkward thing for most people. Every day I work to keep a lid on my emotions, to breathe, to smile, to enjoy life and live it with out my baby here. I am a wife, a mother, a fighter and the face of baby loss!
How you can help
Buy and wear a Baby Loss Awareness pin from participating charities via the Baby Loss website.
Participate in the Global ?Wave of Light? on Thursday 15 October, light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour to mark the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Special edition tea lights are available from the participating charities via the Baby Loss website. Post an image of your candle on social media with the hashtag #waveoflight.
For further information or for details on how you can support the campaign and the week please visitwww.babyloss-awareness.org.
Mary Smith is a wife and SAHM to her 2 children Ethan and Megan. She writes a parenting, loss and lifestyle blog over at www.theheartylife.com where she shares a very honest look into life after loss and their journey of living a fun and full life together despite their loss.
She documents and shares all of the highs and lows of parenting around loss and living with grief in a hope to break the silence, educate and more importantly live a life of joy and adventure! Follow Mary on Twitter
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