Friday, 31 August 2012

Finally Taken Seriously!

My mum said to me this week, that since losing Harry, I have really matured and turned into a "real woman". It was strange for her to say this as I had been feeling the same way these past few months.

It isn't just the increased dark eye circles, or new grey hairs I have found (I know! Grey hairs! I am not even 30 yet and I now have grey hairs! The cruelty!) but maybe it's my new no nonsense attitude and limited patience for fools, or perhaps my new awareness of the kindness and generosity of others, including complete strangers. Since losing Harry I have had a lot of life lessons, and perhaps that has had a knock on effect to how I am perceived.

I must say, that before I became a mother, I was a bit ditzy. A bit? Ok, a lot. I used to frequently speak without thinking, live in a daydream and care more about shoes, handbags and beauty products than the real important things in life. And I still adore shoes, handbags and beauty products but I have learnt what is truly important and I think the balance in my life has shifted significantly.

In my previous life in London I used to totter around the office in ridiculous high heels, often flaunting a bit too much cleavage with my bouncy curls and false eyelashes. Whilst I was good at my job and all the clients loved me, I always felt that I wasn't taken seriously. I studied hard, passed my professional exams but always seemed to be overlooked for promotion.

Now that I now have William, and since losing Harry I have definitely gained some perspective on life. I have learnt that the most important gift that you can give anyone is your time. Something you can never get back, so I now won't waste my time on idiots. I have very little patience for mean or self centred people or those who are deluded or just stupid. However, I have a lot of time for kind, well meaning, thoughtful and honest people, and thankfully since losing Harry I have met a lot of these people and not so many of the idiots.

I have been blessed with some amazing friends, and I hope that through all these changes that our friendship will continue. I really hope that when my brain is able to concentrate on carrying out more than one task at a time, that I am able to reply to messages from friends and arrange to meet and be the good friend that I should be to all my lovely friends who have been there for me and showed me their real love and support. I feel dreadful that my brain is so jammed with such overwhelming emotions at the moment that I am barely able to keep my home and family functioning, let alone my social life. I hope my wonderful friends will continue to be understanding, and that some day I can truly thank them for their help that has meant more to me than they can know.

I have been overwhelmed by the kind words and actions of others in the past three months. Just when I was losing all faith in humanity it has absolutely been restored and beyond. Through running the Trust I have met a lot of others who have lost their children, and sadly it happens more frequently than you realise. It has bought me much strength to hear the words of these parents, who are all at different stages of their journey in grief, and to come to understand we are all feeling the same emotions, no matter how they lost their child. I have also received some beautiful messages of condolence, not just from close family and friends, but also from neighbours I have never actually conversed with and also complete strangers who have heard about the Trust, either through our recent media coverage or through word of mouth. I have also joined a few groups, one of which is a support group for other parents who have used the neonatal ward and thank goodness I did. I spent last Saturday with this group and their children, at a park in Exeter where they held a balloon release for Harry and we had a picnic in the hut there as the weather was so typically rainy and windy. I was firstly, truly touched by the fact that these people had never met me before (except for the lady who invited me to the group, as coincidentally we were at school together) had given up a day of their weekend to meet me and my family, and show their support. As I have already said in this post, your time is such a precious gift to give, and to receive that from complete strangers, was really lovely. So, not only had these kind people given me their time, but also some very thoughtful gifts. They had arranged for a fantastic candy tree for William (as a gift from Harry, with a dear little angel sat on the top of the tree) and a stunning silver necklace for me with two stones attached. One is William's birthstone with his name and a love heart at the top, and the other is Harry's birthstone with his name and a star. I absolutely adore it and take great pride in wearing my two boys name's and birthstones close to my heart. They had also arranged for 26 balloons to be released. One for each hour of Harry's life. What a superb symbol, to release these 26 balloons, like letting go of each tiny segment of his life and watching them float off. It was very moving, and so appreciated by not just me, but my mum and my nan who had come along with me.

I have also received some very kind remarks about my blog, and the way I have held myself in my interviews with the press and TV. I am obviously extremely grateful for these lovely comments, but also surprised at how many people are actually starting to take me seriously! Looking at me as someone with an opinion that matters rather than a silly little girl. As part of my campaign for change within the NHS Screening procedures I been in touch with various highly respected journalists, and members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Department of Health and MPs, and to my complete astonishment my letters and phone calls have been taken seriously and are being acted upon! I am no longer regarded as I used to be and I suppose I have been forced to mature and become more serious and focused.

Someone told me that when you suffer a bereavement, you do change, and you will never be that same person that you were before your loss. That is very true. I know I have changed, and the world before Harry seems like a very different world. I was saying to a friend this week "oh yes, well that was back when I was fun".... Real fun seems like such a long time ago and whilst I am living in this dark world of grief it does feel like a way off. But that fun, silly, light hearted girl is still inside somewhere, and I am sure she will make a reappearance, one day.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Over the past few weeks my life has been consumed by thoughts of "trying again".

I have been endlessly reading the forums of baby sites, learning all the acronyms used for ttc (trying to conceive). I have learnt how to read the signs your body gives you, at different times of the month to let you know when you're ready to make another baby. Obviously, as I am so desperate for another baby I am reading way too much into every niggle my body gives out. And at one point was so convinced I was already "with child" that I was taking pregnancy tests every day, and pouring over the tests, searching for that little line confirming my dreams had come true.... but nothing. Every day I would wake early, take the test, and spend a good 15 minutes wishing the lines to appear... and it didn't. Disappointment turned into sadness, then frustration and then when a week late, finally my "AF" showed up, I was just left feeling empty and hopeless.

I am not trying to replace Harry, not for one minute... I just feel that I need a baby in my life right now. I was so ready to be Harry's mum. I had been so excited about the life I had planned out for him, and sharing him with my family. And too soon, it was all over and suddenly we were saying goodbye, just as quickly as we had said hello. The space I had made in my life for Harry, and he filled that space for only 26 hours, before he was taken away again. So that space is still empty and I can't bear it.

The other thing is, seeing other babies. I don't know why I do it, but when I see a pram I always peer inside to see the baby, and always love to see their dear faces. It is such a real physical pain when I see the little face of a boy, it makes me just want to burst into tears immediately, remembering the little face of my beautiful Harry. My bereavement counsellor was speaking to me about this and we discussed friends with babies. We spoke about the act of me holding someone elses baby. I really feel that holding someone elses baby is going to be so so painful that I will not be able to do that until I have held my own, next baby. That may be a long time away yet, but right now, the idea of holding a baby just reminds me so much of holding Harry and saying goodbye, and I don't want to put myself through it, or the new mother, or the poor innocent little baby, who doesn't need to be held by an emotional wreck!

Poor William is starting to ask about when we will be having another baby as well, and I wish it were as simple as "Mummy and Daddy go to the shops" as he said today. Bless him. I so desperately want for him to be a big brother, he will be so good at it.

Hearing of others conceiving is like a blow to the stomach. Seeing heavily pregnant women makes me just so jealous. They will go on to have their healthy babies. Mine was taken, so cruelly.
I was in the toy store with William last week, and I heard a woman with her toddler, buying a present for the new baby. William and I had done this together the day before I was induced. William bought Harry a soft toy robot, and Harry bought William a Buzz Lightyear and a Rex - to help William accept a new member of the family. When I heard her say "when you come see Mummy in hospital, you can give this to the new baby" I was suddenly transported back to the day when we did the exact same act, before all this happened and when the world was a happier place.

I am trying to keep positive about it all though, keeping busy with campaigning and fund raising and  focusing on keeping fit and eating right, to lose the weight I had gained with Harry, and pray that this next month, will be our month.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Hospital Debrief

I knew the day was coming. We had talked about meeting with the consultants again on the day we left the hospital. 6 weeks away felt like a lifetime to wait, and at that time, I had no real questions to ask as it all seemed so surreal.

The weeks passed, and I remember dreading the thought of returning to the hospital, for fear of all those feelings attacking me like a tornado. But soon enough, I found myself sat in the hospital in front of the Doctor who had been primarily responsible for Harry's care, and the Doctor who was in charge of those giving my care.

Hearing the paediatric consultant talk about what happened in the first hour of Harry's life was heart wrenching. To hear how the staff had worked so hard to resuscitate our very poorly boy, and all the efforts made by him after his very prompt arrival to the theatre, it just showed us how amazing the care in this unit is and the lengths that were went to, to try and save our little man. I had no questions at all for this Doctor as I knew in my heart, everything was done absolutely correctly and efficiently and with no expense spared. I will be eternally indebted to this man, and his team.

It was listening to the obstetrician that was the incredibly hard part. I had so many questions for him as I could not seem to get my head around how this had all happened and how things couldn't have happened differently, to save my dear son's life. All my questions had answers and my head was clearer, until I asked about the screening process for the condition my placenta and cord had. I was told that there is the equipment and training in place to scan for this condition, however it is not routinely scanned as "it would add a further 3 minutes onto each scan" and this would have a massive impact on the resources available if it were to be included. 3 minutes.... 3 minutes?! 3 MINUTES!!!! That's all that stood between me and my baby being delivered safely. I couldn't bear this thought. I burst into tears. How can this be?! I was livid.

All I could think when driving home was how awful it would be for another mother to go unscreened and to suffer this hideous heartache, for the sake of 3 minutes. For god's sake, a sonographer would check the sex of the baby for a couple, which has no medical bearing whatsoever, yet to check the insertion of a cord is too much to ask. How can I change this? Who can I speak to? I considered writing to the head of the RD&E hospital to request a change in policy but I wanted to help more women than just locals, so I created an e-petition, going straight to the Department of Health. With the help of 100,000 signatures we can have this change discussed in the House of Commons, so I hope that we can reach this massive target!

I have suffered two months of absolute agony and I miss my little boy, desperately, every day. I think of how he might look now, aged two months, all the milestones he is missing. I think of how William would be adjusting to life with his new brother, how I would be coping with nightfeeds or juggling a toddler and a newborn. All these things could have been a reality for me, if only I had been given those 3 minutes.

Please sign my petition at: and tell everyone you can... The innocent lives of hundreds of babies can be saved with this test, and you never know which baby might be taken unnecessarily next.
Thank you x