Friday, 19 December 2014

This loneliness is temporary (hopefully)

So I was just watching a program on TV with James Martin about loneliness and it hit home quite a bit really and made me realise I am really lonely and lost at the moment.

 The above quote for me is so very true, yea I am lonely but its probably my own doing, does that make it easier, nope still is hard. My plan when I was pregnant with Lily was to do some NCT classes, make some friends and once she was here do what my Mum and sister both did and go to groups and make a bunch of friends. My sister 12 years on still is friends with people she met when Matthew was little, they don't see each other every day or even every month now but I know when Matt was little they were her lifeline. Well then Lily died and I got pregnant with Alex, my idea of hell was NCT classes, I wasn't a first time mother, I had already given birth and nothing they said could change the fact I had gone through the most pain any woman should have to go through in labour, giving birth to a child not knowing if she would be born alive or dead but knowing she wouldn't live. My thoughts and feelings on birth, pregnancy and raising a child I knew would be different, I would have different views (possible strong ones) on topics discussed and just couldn't bring myself to do it. Once I knew I was having i section anyway there was even less point. 

So then that leaves baby groups, the first one I went to was a breastfeeding group, I was petrified walking in, Alex was about 5 weeks old and I wasn't breastfeeding but expressing as much as I could and then topping up with formula, I didn't want to go but made myself. I met a really lovely woman who I chatted to and seemed cool and said would see next week. Next week Alex was ill and then I stopped expressing as it just got too much so that was the end of that group. I went to the local sling meet to borrow a sling as one of the health care assistants at the hospital runs one and again first time I went I was bricking it. She was lovely and made me feel at home. I went to feed Alex and one woman asked me about if I was feeding Alex breast milk, cue me feeling like poo about not being able to breastfeed and when I replied no the other 3 women around seemed to turn their noses up at me. So that made me feel awful. I take Alex to get him weighed at clinic, but people just seem to weigh and go quickly. A couple of weeks ago I went to a group and met a few mums, one I knew from my old job working in a jewellers as was a customer, but then Alex has been ill so I didn't go the next week and now I have lost my confidence again.

 I think what I am trying to say is I had all these ideas when I was pregnant about all these new friends I would make, after living in Taunton 3 1/2 years I have like 2 real friends and that is it and I knew having a baby would be my chance to make a network, yet I am struggling, Partly my own fault I know. What I hadn't taken into consideration in my little fantasy was after having a baby your confidence is low, I don't know what I am doing half the time, I second guess every decision I make and wonder if I am a good mum so trying to think about making friends is really scary. Plus I am trying to work out what kind of Mum I want to be, I have learnt that any ideas or preconceptions I had before Alex was here are basically a load of crap, until your child is here you don't know how you will think and feel, so how can I make friends when I don't know how I want to bring him up, what I am really for and against, you want to make friends with like minded mums but I don't know what I think or feel. Add to that the amount of confidence I have lost over the last 18 months since Lily died, I have been at home alone for most of it, I segregated myself very well and while it worked for me in pregnancy I am regretting it now.

Also even when I meet people and make friends they can't understand me, they don't understand how I am feeling as hopefully they have not had to bury a child so how can they possibly understand how confused I feel ALL the time, I love my son, of that there is no doubt, he is the light of my life. BUT my heart still hurts, before Alex I was just broken, its easy to be broken, my heart was ripped in two and I was so unhappy, but now I have to work out how to be happy and unhappy at the same time, its hard hard work.

I suppose I am scared, scared of putting myself out there and trying to meet people. I know it may  take a few goes before I find someone who I click with and that's the thing, I think I am frightened of putting myself out there, laying my heart on the line and letting people in and yep I am sure every mum feels like that, so maybe I just need to do it, in the new year just put myself out there, meet people, let them in a little bit and see what happens...................................

But its so scary

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Lily Marie Rowland : I will never feel her hand on my chest

Lily Marie Rowland : I will never feel her hand on my chest: So lately I have been told by different people that now Alex is here I shouldn't think of Lily or talk of her or one nice person even ...

I will never feel her hand on my chest

So lately I have been told by different people that now Alex is here I shouldn't think of Lily or talk of her or one nice person even used the phrase 'get over it'. Its something that has been playing on my mind and something I wanted to explore, what happens to grief for your child when your rainbow finally gets here.

People who haven't lost a child, well some of them seem to think that now Alex is here that's it, my grief is over, after all I have a living child. Yet in fact in some ways i grieve more and harder, now don't get me wrong I love my son, in a way I never knew was possible, he makes my heart sing, he gives me a reason to go on, he just fills me with love (all you mothers out there will understand what I mean) yet it hurts more now when I think of Lily. I will never get to hold Lily alive, when she was finally born she was dead. I will never get to hear her heartbeat, feel her little hand on my chest, see her gurgle at 3am in the morning, watch her grow and change everyday like i do with Alex. I will never see her smile, walk, talk, eat her first bit of food, have her first Christmas, wipe her tears when she falls over, have her first boyfriend, get her heart broken, get married, have children, leave school, hear her tell me she loves me. Now I knew all this before but now Alex is here and in particular at 3am when his little hand hunts down my top to touch my skin it REALLY hurts. So because he is here am I meant to forget? Am I meant not to talk of her, to remember her? I see my friends girls, born around the same time and I dream of what she would be like, I am in shops looking at dresses and clothes thinking of her, I see baby girls so tiny and small and wish I could have held her living.

Lily will always be part of my life, she is mine and Chris's firstborn, she was still born, I laboured for 13 long hours and gave birth, how can i just forget her?

I think what people really mean when they say those things is it makes them uncomfortable, its 15 months ago she died, surely I should be 'over it' but for those of you who have lost someone, a parent, a loved one you will know you never 'get over it' Yes it makes people uncomfortable, grief does that. In this country we have a funny attitude to death, we don't really discuss it much, we seem to think that grief is something we should deal with alone, in private and not talk about it, so yea I get i make people uncomfortable, I talk openly about Lily, my grief, how I feel, why shouldn't I? Although it may make you feel uncomfortable I can assure you, I feel 100 times worse grieving than you do hearing about it. I try to be positive, I am positive, Lily has changed me for the better, I am defiantly a better person, and a better mother for having her. I don't worry about the things that don't matter, I love a whole lot more and appreciate my wonderful life, my wonderful boyfriend, parents, sister, in laws, family and friends, by telling my story I know it can help others, its empowering and healing for both me and others.

Things are hard at the moment, Lily's due date is just days away, Christmas is around the corner, something I am so excited for yet so hurting about, Alex's first Christmas, an amazing time, yet Lily should be celebrating her 2nd Christmas. So if i make you uncomfy I am sorry, feel free to unfriend me on facebook, I really don't mind, extract yourself from my life, it's ok, I don't expect you to understand, you probably have never lost a child, for those who stay bear with me, I am a mix of emotions, the happiest I have ever been, yet the saddest too.......................

Friday, 14 November 2014

And sometimes after a storm there is a rainbow!!!!

So its a long time since I have posted, in April I posted a brief comment but not much. As many of you will now know on the 8th September 2014 I finally gave birth to a living child.

Please meet Alex Philip Rowland, born on 8th September 2014 by c section at 36w 5d.

5 months after Lily died I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant again, with Lily it took a long time to get pregnant and we were not even trying as we were waiting to see specialist about my antibodies but our little miracle decided he wanted to come. 

I wont lie, it was the most stressful 36 weeks of my life but we got through it with a lot of help and today Alex is 9 weeks old and sleeping soundly on my sofa with a poorly cold.

For a long time my pregnancy I kept to myself, in fact I never posted online I was pregnant, I barely told any friends, in fact I deliberately didn't see people as I did not want to talk about it or tell people. I stopped blogging (which I found so hard as I loved my blog, it was a way to release emotion and heal) Many people do not understand why I did this, but I wanted to control something, so much in my life I had no control over, but this I did, also the worst thing I ever had to do was post on facebook that Lily had died. That moment forever will be etched in my brain. So for some people it was a total shock, for me even a total shock. I never believed I would first off give birth to a live healthy baby and secondly bring him home from hospital, BUT I DID!!!!!!

 Being a mum to a rainbow baby (Baby born after a loss) is hard I wont lie, I have so many thought and feelings its so hard. I am the happiest I have ever been, I have a gorgeous wonderful boy who makes my heart sing (although I am completely knackered) yet my heart is broken and grieving for Lily. I find it hard to reconcile the two, how can I be so happy, yet so sad? A question I am not sure I can ever answer, maybe some mums with their rainbows who are further along in the journey can comment?

Any way this picture is from a photoshoot we had with an amazing photographer who totally understood when I explained about Lily.The bunny is Lily's, we named it Bun Bun. I wanted a picture that symbolised both my children.

So I am going to keep writing my blog now, now I can share what randomness goes on in my head and share my beautiful children with you all and hopefully continue to heal which is why I started this in the first place, yet now over 3800 people have read it! But it will be about both my children Lily & Alex, and as I sit here shedding a tear for my beautiful girl, I look at my beautiful boy and know without Lily there would never have been Alex, but I still miss her! But I cant wait to tell Alex all about his big sister.

The little man is stirring now, so I'm off for cuddles and kisses.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

And life goes on

So its been a few months since I last posted, its hard I often think of posting but I don't know what to say, there are things going on in my head that I just don't feel I can . share.

Its been 9 months since my waters broke, just over 8 months since LIly died and in a way my brain is still protecting me cause most days I just can't wrap my head around the fact we had a baby who died. It doesn't make sense to me, not at all. I try not to worry about it and just let it lie where it is.

So a few weeks ago it was Mothers Day, up until a few days before it didn't really bother me and I hadn't thought about it but it all of a sudden hit me. It was a horrid day, my first mummys day yet not cause Lily is not here so I felt like a fraud for being upset. Yet another one of horrible firsts I hate having to go through. 

So only a short post today, just to say still here, still going, still trying to find my way, but always thinking of Lily Pop.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Hardest Job In The World

We have all done it, we all proberly still do. 
'My job is rubbish, its so hard, its worse, harder, more stressful than yours'
'I'm a Mother my job is the hardest job in the world'

You know what,........................

Your all wrong! The hardest job in the world, its not what you think, I truly believe the hardest job there is is that of a midwife. People think they have lovely, great, miraculous job, and most times I am sure they do. 

But sometimes, they have to experience and help people who are going through the worst times in their life's. Something no one should have to experience, EVER and they have to be there to support you through it, to get you through the worst, most traumatic time in your life and they have to be strong, caring, supportive and help you through it. 

Since Lily died, I have heard and read and researched hundreds of stories, I have heard the most heartbreaking, heart wrenching accounts of peoples babies and the awful care they recieved that it breaks my heart. 

In my case the midwifery, and doctor care I received was outstanding. In a lot of cases a woman whose waters go, or who has a stillbirth, will be in and out of the hospital within a few days, for me it was 3 weeks in and out, extended stays, when I wasn't in hospital, I had appointments every other day so I saw a LOT of the medical team. In fact I must have seen and met 20 midwifes, and you know what, they were AMAZING. The care and compassion we received off 99% of the team was great. I love those midwifes, there are a few who will stay in my heart forever and I like to think I will stay in theirs. 

I can remember different midwifes at different stages, the midwife who on the 3rd night we spent in hospital who went and found a bed for Chris, who had spent 2 nights in a chair, she went and got us another bed and me and Chris were able to sleep side by side for the first time since my waters went. To most people, that's nothing, but to us, who were going through the worst time, it meant I could have Chris led by my side, holding me, which I needed. Her care and compassion still makes me well up. 

The midwife who after a major bleed cleaned me up with such care and dignity, who made me feel so loved, who had a tear in her eye and love in her heart. Who while cleaning me up made me feel so dignified somehow, so loved, she really was a diamond.

The midwife who when I went down to the midwife station just gave me a big cuddle, who gave me support and love and who turned out to be the bereavement midwife, someone who now I hold in the highest regard. Who came to our house a month after Lily died, and went through my notes with us, who cried with us, and who still communicates with me, she sticks in my mind. Her job, that of a bereavement midwife, THAT'S the hardest job in the world. 

The midwife who Chris told me was one of his ex girlfriends sisters, who never let on, yet would have known who Chris was. Who just treated us both so well after we had a major bleed, who showed care and compassion. Who we found out after hadn't long graduated, who treated me so well. Who just somehow seemed to understand what I needed.

The midwife who put support stockings on me on day, who had me in stiches while we were doing it, yet half hour later who held me when I cried, who took time to talk to me and somehow just knew when she could laugh and joke with me and when I needed support because the tears were flowing. 

The midwife who took my bloods on Fern ward regularly, who made me laugh, who recommended books better than 50 Shades of Grey to keep my mind occupied. (I did read them after Lily died and they were good)

The midwife who to start off with I was slightly scared off but by the end loved and respected.

The wonderful midwife who was there in room to deliver Lily, who somehow managed to help us get through the horrific ordeal, who helped me focus when the doctor was trying to deliver Lily. Who then faded into the background so Mum and Chris were right by me when Lily was born, who treated my baby with such care and love.

My amazing community midwife, who once my waters went was amazing, and who after Lily died came and saw me. She was lovely, totally wonderful.

These people, they have the hardest job in the world, they see joy, yes but they see and experience terrible terrible tragedy. I bet they go home and think of it, you cant help a family through that horrendous time and it not affect you. There is no way.

I can remember our bereavement midwife who came to our house, she spent 3 hours with us, that meant the world, she wasn't on a timer, it wasn't a 20 minute appointment, it was however long we needed to talk about our daughter. I said to her I was so grateful for the care I had, for the love and compassion shown to me and that they really did make that shitty time somehow better. She said to me that hearing that, knowing that you helped a family through the death of a baby and that they appreciated it, that meant more than sometimes delivering a healthy live baby.

It wasn't just the midwifes, the doctors too were amazing, ALL the staff were great, I hear lots of stories of bad care, and it breaks my heart to hear, Musgrove Park Hospital are AMAZING, they truly are. The counsellor I still see again is so bloody brillaint and really helps me to try and work through the pain.

These people, these hard working, amazing people, they have the hardest job in the world. They support people going through the hardest time in their lives. A time most of you will never have to go through. They have to go home after a day supporting parents who have lost or are going to lose their baby. 

Now that's the hardest job in the world.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Asking for help doesnt mean you have failed

So for the last few weeks I have been struggling, I have been trudging on, got through Christmas ok, even enjoyed myself on occasion, but in the background a familiar feeling has been brewing. I'm tired, feeling overworked, its all getting on top of me. Last week it came to a head, I just reached the point where I couldn't go on, this isn't the first time I have felt like this, previous episodes of depression have left me feeling like this and ending up being very ill and off work through stress. Well last week I reached that point, I try so hard to be positive and 'just get on with it', and I just couldn't. So I ended up having a few days off work to get my head together and going back to the counsellor and doctors.

I feel like a failure, well that's a lie, I FELT like a failure, we live in a world where you are just meant to get on with things, where we pretend hurt and dispair don't affect our every thought and feeling and where mental health is not seen as a valid illness rather as a 'get out clause' We put so much pressure on ourselves to not acknowledge grief, to pretend its not happening, to pretend that we are ok when we are far from it. Speaking to my counsellor, shes the only one who makes me feel that not being ok, is actually fine. That feeling the way I do is normal. 

I, we, lost a child, no that's not right, we didn't lose Lily, She died, she spent 6 months growing in my belly, she was all our hopes and dreams and we suffered a MASSIVE trauma, I suffered a MASSIVE trauma, I gave birth and our baby died while I was doing that. She made me feel like its ok if I'm not doing great, that if I'm struggling that is fine. She makes me feel like this is normal, this is ok, and its not going away quickly. Also that everyone is different, that the fact some may see me as 'weak' or 'lazy' or 'crazy' is wrong, that I'm doing the best I can. That they way I cope is fine, its not wrong. 

So after a few days off and thinking a lot I realised I cant keep working as much as I do, that leaving the house at 6.30am and getting home at 6pm and pushing my grief to one side isn't healthy, and its ok that I cant do it but I need to face that and deal with it. So I did, I dealt with it, I asked for help, knowing that as temporary staff they don't have to help me, knowing that I could end up without a job, I did it, I asked for help. Luckily I managed to get it sorted so I can work less hours so hopefully this will help me be able to cope better.

When I went back to work it was never about money, it was about finding a job that I liked, in an environment that supported me, hence I do an admin role, some I know see it as a step back, I am trained in accountancy but I needed something different. I went for my interview and just got a feeling, I started my job, and although I hated it the first day, it was like coming home. 

I love my office, I love my job, that to me is worth everything, its worth the travelling, the pay cut, the endless cups of tea I make, I have worked in crap places, for crap bosses and its horrid, to find the complete opposite is worth anything.

So the point of my post today, well that its ok to not be ok. That to ask for help doesn't mean I have failed. To not be able to cope, is normal and its ok. So ladies, if any of you are struggling, if your 6 months in from your pprom and your thinking 'I shouldn't STILL be like this' you know what, its ok that you are, your not going to be back to 'normal', lets be honest we never will but don't beat yourself up for it.

Love yourself, love that you are where you are in your journey and don't give up, take the plunge, ask for help and you may be surprised at the results.

Much love 
(From a rested and happy mother to Lily)