Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Breaking from the heart break

Sands blogger Trudi Bristow shares her story about the loss of her twins and how it changed her life

From the moment we heard TWINS our life changed. My body changed and grew rapidly, and my slight figure felt the physical changes hard and fast whilst I continued to work full time. We were heading towards the middle of our pregnancy and our morphology scan was fast approaching when I started to have a lot of complaints. 
But I had started to feel my babies move around so I felt assured all was well with them, and that things were perhaps just not right with me.
I was so wrong. The days that preceded us having our morphology scan were difficult ones. I was having pain, spotting, irritability and I just wasn’t myself, I couldn’t sleep. The Wednesday of that week saw me taken to hospital in an ambulance; with pain that was getting the better of me. From that day things got serious as we started to learn how truly rare and unique the twins I was carrying were. Our girls were mono-mono twins sharing the same sac and placenta, a pregnancy that out of all twin pregnancies is the rarest second to Siamese Twins. 

As our story goes I was discharged from hospital because after tests no underlying issues could be pinpointed to what was happening to me. I was cautioned though, that if it continued and especially if I had more bleeding to return to hospital. Two days later on the Friday morning, I was back in hospital and no closer to an answer to why I was in pain like I had never felt before.

Early Sunday evening of May 25th 2008 I changed forever, our lives changed forever, our innocence changed forever when through the most horrific pain I have ever endured my waters ruptured with the intensity and force that felt like an explosion which immediately caused my sweet girls to be born into the hospital toilet. 
A primal scream of heart break and despair released from my body and in that moment I became shell of the person I was and in an instant changed forever.
In the days, hours and weeks that followed I wished the grim reaper would relieve me from my hell, but for seconds I’d have fleeting moments of clarity, moments of clarity where a new person was forming; a new me. A person who did not want such heartbreak be what would define the remainder of my life, in those moments I was determined that as much as it hurt I would journey to find some bliss and happiness in life again.

Two cycles after losing our girls we fell pregnant and in April of 2009 were blessed with the successful birth of our first son after an extremely emotionally difficult pregnancy. Our baby boy started to heel our hearts, despite the throes of grief we were still in. We were overjoyed by him but our grief yearned to fill the holes in our hearts, so we started trying for another baby when he was just six months old, which saw us have two further losses and then the arrival our daughter.

During all this time I longed to release myself of the words in my head and heart so I started a blog to document our story. Little did I know that by starting a blog that my story would connect me to others all around the world. Suddenly I started to have people willing to be there to offer words of support and encouragement along the way. I started to see how other bloggers were sharing their life’s experiences, stories, talents and passions to connect with others. These wonderful supportive people were responsible for starting little fires in my heart again, reigniting my soul and my life’s passions.

Slowly but surely over five years I have a honoured  the calling in my heart to live out my passions, fear no longer holds me back from anything I want to try. How can it? The worst has already happened. All I have to do is think of my girls and know I have lived through the darkest and what at times seemed like the most insurmountable days, to be where I am today.   

As a result nearly four years ago I started a second blog all about my love and passion for a vintage loving life. It has gone on to honour all my creative, collector and entrepreneurial passions and who I am at my core.

I no longer add any new posts to my original blog that holds my girls journey, but it remains public and there for those who feel lost and alone and caught in the darkness of loss. I now blog at My Vintage Childhood and run a vintage children’s business, whilst juggling my three earthbound loves whilst guided by my angel girls Elle and Meg in everything I do.

Meet Trudi
I’m a mum, wife, dreamer, blogger, business owner, post traumatic stress sufferer, I’m a survivor, vintage lover and an angel mumma to four heavenly souls. Five years ago I started writing a blog after the loss of our twin girls Elle and Meg and that single one decision along with my story of loss has transformed my life. My name is Trudie and these days I live out my passions and dreams at My Vintage Childhood, and I am constantly reminded that through such heartbreak a blessed and full life can be lived, and that is what I wish for you too.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The importance of listening to intuition

Sands blogger Amanda Cox writes about her early miscarriage:

As the tandem blue lines, albeit faint, slowly exposed themselves I was overwhelmed by a feeling incongruous with those that I had anticipated.

It’s not like we didn’t want this. Maybe it was that I hadn’t expected these lines so soon. It had, after all, been only four weeks. Surely it must be wrong?

The sore breasts, the persistent nausea and the otherwise inexplicable weight gain, however, gave me no cause to doubt the little whist stick which loudly proclaimed to be 99% accurate.

It was so unlike my first pregnancy, which provided me with none of these textbook symptoms. This one, this felt more real. I was experiencing those things, as uninviting as they were, that a ‘normal’ pregnancy proffers.

I emerged from the sanctuary of the bathroom where I’d spent the last ten minutes, perched upon the toilet, wondering how I was going to inform my husband. It was an odd feeling, because I knew he, too, wanted this.

I plastered a smile on my face, and overwhelmed by the weight of the stick and the emotions it had produced, I went to share the good news.

“Take a frigging look at that,” I stated, throwing the pregnancy test across the table towards him. I sat in a chair, placing my head in my hands.

None of this felt right. The wanting to be pregnant did, the trying we’d done for a mere four weeks, that was real, that was what we both wanted. 
My reactions, however, were in contrast to that which I should be feeling. I couldn’t understand it, nor could I explain it.

It was three weeks before I could see my obstetrician and the nagging thought that something ‘wasn’t right’ persisted.

Extended family received word of my pregnancy and their elation and congratulations grated upon me. Smiles and hugs were thrust upon me. I couldn’t help but reflect on how my feelings were in such discrepancy.

It wasn’t Depression. I’d been through that. This was different. I ‘should’ have been happy and excited, and all I could feel was that it was ... not right.

I confided in a few people; my psychologist, my sister-in-laws, a few close friends. I explained my fears that something was wrong.

I wasn’t worried, although everyone, without fail, assured me it was very normal to worry, to be fearful and to have concerns.

I wasn’t worried, I knew something was wrong.

By  the time I saw  my Obstetrician, I felt more alone, more unsure and more confused than I thought possible.

I smiled anyway. No one was listening to me and all I had left was to go along with what was expected from me; to smile, to be excited, to pretend that the ‘worry’ was ‘normal’.

We crowded into a small room so the foetus could be checked out, due dates estimated and the plans for the next few months.

I lay on the narrow bed, pants pulled down to just above my pubic bone. My husband, wedged in the corner, furthest from the door, a student midwife beside him and my Ob beside me, squirting a barely warm gel on my lower abdomen.

I was the only one not surprised when he gently placed his hand on my arm and said “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”

My beloved went pale and was ushered from the room by the others, leaving the door wide open and looks of concern on their faces.

I wanted to scream.

I wanted to say “I TOLD YOU!”

Instead, I pondered the situation. I giggled to myself as I lay on the crisp white bed, my luminescent white belly and girly bits on show to whomever walked.

“I’ll just wait here, then?” I said to no one.

They weren’t listening anyway. 

Maybe it was shock, and maybe it was relief that what I knew was confirmed that caused the giggling.

I was booked for a Dilatation and Curettage (D&C), under general anesthetic the next day.

I spent that time, and the next few days, comforting those who were saddened by my news. Most had arrived under the pretence of supporting me, yet the roles had seemingly reversed.

They had all ignored me when I told them something wasn’t right. Now they were sad and needed me to comfort them.

All I wanted to do was lie under the doona and be left alone.

They hadn’t been there when I needed them.

Although my intuition – perhaps that Mother’s Intuition – had been spot on, I had still lost a soul that I had wanted. 

My being right didn’t change the fact that I had lost, and had lost so much; a trust in my instincts, my trust in others, the trust in my own body to do what a woman’s body does.

I had lost. I was sad. I needed comforting, too.

About Amanda:

Amanda Cox is a published author, writer, blogger, speaker, wife, mum and founder of Australia's online parent support, information and resources website, Real Mums. She shares her open, honest and often humorous experiences of raising three boys in today's current climate and society at Diary of a Mad Cow ( ... laugh, cry, relate ...


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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What Defines a Mother?

Sands Blogger Tiffany Bell questions the definition of Mother:
What defines a mother? According to the dictionary you need to have given birth to a child to become a mother… Does this mean that every women who has suffered a miscarriage is not a mother? How can this definition be so ‘simple and direct’, when in fact the role of a mother is so intricate and delicate. I believe a women becomes a mother the first time her heart falls in love with the little baby she is carrying. 
Once she’s fallen in love, no one can take away that part of her heart that has been given to another living soul. 
People talk about ‘love at first sight’…a mother doesn’t have to see her baby to fall in love, she just has to feel that little soul nestle into her heart; and once it’s there it can never be taken away. Our babies may not be in our arms, but they’re always in out hearts.
It’s that time of year again where we turn our thoughts to preparations for Mother’s Day. Children making cards for their Mums whilst at school, husbands browsing the card aisles for an applicable card, florists ordering extra bunches of flowers…these are the things that seem normal, the things that are done out of tradition, almost like an unspoken ‘guide book’ that everyone follows to ensure that Mothers are remembered on this one day of the year. But what about the Mothers without their children…there’s no ‘guide book’ as to how they are to prepare for Mother’s Day or how they should be made to feel special on this day.
How do you celebrate Mothers Day when your arms are empty and your heart is aching for the babies you carried but never got to meet? Others around you don’t know if they should talk about it or ignore the subject all together. Going out for lunch seems like a cruel reminder when everywhere you look there are mothers and their children enjoying each others company.
For family and friends wondering how to ‘be or act’ around mothers who have lost their babies, don’t ignore the subject, just treat us like any other mother. Please don’t tell us that ‘one day you’ll be a mother’, because firstly, we already are mothers, and secondly, it makes us feel that the ‘one day’ is the day that will ‘define’ us, when in actual fact it’s a journey.
So this Mothers Day I’m going to celebrate the little lives that I’ve created. 
I gave my babies all the love and care I could give them for as long as I had them, and they’ll always know that I did the best that I could for them at the time. For me, the greatest mothers are those that give their children the best they can, and I did just that… I can, and I will celebrate Mothers Day, because there are two little pieces in my heart that will forever be devoted to the little souls I fell in love with when they entered my heart.
Tiffany Bell
Hi! I’m Tiffany, a 24 year old blogger at Young Farm Wives, and freelance graphic designer from South Australia. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, Lachie, a farmer, for 5 years. We’ve traveled overseas and explored Australia, now we want to settle down and have a family. Sometimes life throws us unexpected experiences, and for us that has been two miscarriages in the last 12 months. We now continue our journey of becoming parents, knowing that we can only do the best we can and let mother nature work her magic.
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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Running Away on Mother’s Day

In this blog Larissa shares the story of her first Mother's Day:

A woman’s first Mother’s Day as a mother should be a happy day. It should be filled 
with family, joy and maybe even a gift or two if you’re lucky. I remember eagerly 
anticipating Mother’s Day 2013 – my first baby was to be three months old and I 
could finally stand up in church when they acknowledged all the mothers. I was 
excited, I was joyful. 

And then my baby died. 

My daughter was stillborn at full-term in January 2013 and Mother’s Day that year 
became a day to dread. The merchandise in the stores made me feel physically ill and 
I turned away if ever I saw a Mothers Day advert on TV. 
I couldn’t help but wonder if my family and friends would include me when they acknowledged the mothers in their lives, and I certainly didn’t want to be in church when they asked the mums to stand up or raise their hands. 
Would people look at me? Should I stand? Did people still think I was a mum? Many questions swirled through my mind whenever I thought of the upcoming day. 

As the day approached I became more and more anxious. I didn’t know what I wanted 
to do and I didn’t know how I would cope. So I did the only thing I could think of that would help: I ran away! 

My husband and I had been given some money to spend on a holiday when we felt we 
needed one. And boy, did I need one on Mother’s Day weekend! We booked a room 
at a fancy beachside hotel, planning to spoil ourselves a little and hopefully ease the 
pain of missing our daughter. Not only would I not have to face any people I knew, 
but I could also order room service if I really didn’t feel like seeing anyone. 

It was the perfect thing to do. I came down with a horrible cold the day before 
Mothers Day, but at least I was sick in a beautiful room with food being brought to 
me! I still missed my daughter, but at least I had the space to miss her in my own way. 
A short getaway was just what I needed – it meant I had something to look forward to 
on a day I was otherwise dreading. 

And for the record, we went to church that night and I raised my hand along with all 
the other mums. My baby may have died, but she still counts. Just like your baby. 

Larissa is a wife to Marcus and a mother to two beautiful children – Ariella Jade in 

Heaven and Levi William in her arms. She loves spaghetti bolognaise and the smell of 

rain, but neither of them could make her smile when, after a textbook pregnancy, 
Ariella unexpectedly died at 39 weeks gestation. No reason was ever found for her 
death. Soon after Ariella’s death Larissa began writing. You can find her posts at 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Bitter Sweet Mother's Day

By Sally Heppleston
WHEN I wake this Sunday morning on Mother’s Day, I will look like millions of other mothers around the world who are treated to lukewarm breakfasts and clumsily made presents from school or kinder.

But the two living children who call me mum and demand more of me than I ever thought possible don’t tell the full story of my motherhood and my reasons for wanting to sometimes pull the covers up and hide away from Mother’s Day, or from everything.

The scars that bear the truth are internal, and if you take one look at me at kinder drop off or in the supermarket, you wouldn’t know the depths of my hurt.

Stillbirth not only took the life of my firstborn daughter Hope, five days past her due date after a perfectly healthy pregnancy in August 2008, but it also stole my title as mother.

I remember fondly my “first” Mother’s Day, when I was deep in to the second trimester and beaming with happiness about the months that lay head. Fast forward 12 months and I was eight months without a babe in arms and deep in an unrelenting grief I never thought possible.
If you’d walked past me in the street that day, nothing about me would have said mother, but it didn’t matter, as I didn’t leave the house anyway, not even to attend Hope’s grave, the baby who made me a mother.

It is now nearly six years since Hope died, and I’ve been so lucky to have welcomed two siblings for her in to this world, siblings that lived and breathed and gave me a reason to go on. Siblings who re-instated my title as a mother and who gave me someone to mother.

When you’re deep in the trenches of parenting small people, grief often has to take a back seat because if I allowed myself to wallow in it like I absolutely did for those first 18 months after Hope’s death, none of us would survive the day to day grind that is life.

As the Mother’s Day with my living children have come and gone, some years I have gone to the cemetery to visit Hope, some years I haven’t. I can’t say whether I will or not this year but it doesn’t matter, because there is not a shadow of a doubt that I won’t be thinking of her, and wishing she was taking charge of her two little siblings to orchestrate some burnt toast and tea in bed to kick start what should be one of the happiest days on the calendar, and certainly is for most mothers out there.

Not that the day isn’t a sweet one for me now, it absolutely is, but it is a day where the bitterness creeps in too, and as I have done for more than five years, I have to straddle the bitterness and the sweetness to make it through.

Sally Heppleston
Sally is a Melbourne based journalist and mother of three. Her first born daughter Hope was stillborn at 41 weeks in August 2008 after a trouble-free and healthy pregnancy. She and her husband Simon went on to have two more children after Hope passed away, Angus who is now four and Juliet, who is two. The children fill her days with chaos and her heart with love. She also runs a small community arts charity, which raises money for stillbirth research.

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