In her first blog for Sands, Annika shares her precious babies and how the Sands online support assisted her in her grief.
"Sands gave me a safe place, an online haven where I could openly grieve
my little babies and talk about our fears of infertility. "
Four tiny babies who graced this earth for only a brief moment in time. Some, only days, others only weeks. We discovered that the endometriosis I had been dealing with since I was 11 was the cause of our losses and so I underwent surgery at the end of 2013 to remove it. We went through all of this in a city where we had no close friends, and we had no family.
The devastation of losing our biggest baby who stayed with us until only 6 weeks and 1 day was overwhelming and inescapable. I felt alone, lost, and ripped from motherhood. I tried to find local support groups, anything in my city it help me through the grief but unfortunately I could find nothing available. My loss was too early you see, and therefore I felt that our little baby was insignificant.
|Annika's Angel tattoo in memory of Baby Pearce|
Looking back, it is clear that I had mild depression for the better part of 18 months. I couldn't let the pregnancy go and was continuously counting down until the due date, October 25th 2013. My body was empty, but my mind carried on ticking off the milestones as they came and went. It was exhausting. During that time we saw two more positive pregnancy tests which faded until they too were gone.
I tried to reach out to friends and colleagues but was told countless times that “it wasn't like I lost an actual baby”, that I “needed help” when all I wanted was a hug, that “it was for the best” and that I was just being “impatient”.
I believed them of course. My babies were barely babies. I hadn't lost a “real” baby. I hadn't gone through labour and delivered a still baby. I didn't have a name for them, didn’t know if they were boys or girls. I never saw any of them in any ultrasound. I felt so ashamed for grieving the loss of my babies when I was grieving something that was never really there in the first place. It was very confusing and depressing and I struggled, still struggle with these thoughts.
There were three people who I could talk to about my loss at that point. My husband, my Mum, and someone who unexpectedly has become one of my closest friends. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be in my grief journey, but I am certain I wouldn't be where I am today.
A little over a month earlier she lost her daughter at 39 weeks. She lost her baby girl. She held her daughter in her arms and said hello, then goodbye. But she was the ONE person who told me that mine were real babies too, that they were little lives, not little losses. She was the person who introduced me to Sands.
Sands gave me a safe place, an online haven where I could openly grieve my little babies and talk about our fears of infertility. Speaking with women who had lost babies at all stages of pregnancy and during the neonatal period opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed and it was full of people who just had so much love and support to give, even in their darkest hours. The members of Sands brought me out of a bad place and they gave me hope. But most importantly they gave my babies' little lives recognition. Without any pictures, or proof of ever being pregnant, even for the shortest of time, they still recognized my tiny babies and continue to do so.
The members of Sands are an inspiration. Because of Sands I now have some amazing people in my life who will no doubt always be in my life. And while I can't begin to understand the grief of losing a baby at later stages of pregnancy, even as I watched my closest friend go through exactly that, I am better equipped to give advice and support to them too.
My son is asleep as I write this. There isn't a moment when I am not grateful for the baby we were able to bring home. There are times when I am sad, where I imagine the little people who would be playing in the living room with my son, but I can imagine them and smile through the sadness instead of cry. I am at peace with my losses now and I feel so lucky to be where I am today. Through my son’s pregnancy and with other subsequent pregnancies I know I will continue to have support, and be able to provide support to others. It really doesn't seem enough to say this, but ‘thank you’.
To read more about my journey through miscarriage, TTC, and our rainbow’s pregnancy please visit my blog page at: https://letshaveababybaby.wordpress.com
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
My name is Annika and I am a qualified Ambulance Paramedic living in Canberra. I love to be there for others and biology and pre-hospital medicine are a passion I share with my husband, Ben. The light of our lives, Henry, was born at the end of 2014 following a succession of four early miscarriages due to endometriosis. Our biggest Angel, Baby Pearce, who I carried for only 6 weeks at the beginning of 2013 has become the source of my inspiration for blogging and developing a Canberra-based online support group for women who have experienced a pregnancy or neonatal loss. My hope is to create a local support network, where we can share and be there for each other, as Sands created for me. As we begin our journey of conceiving our second rainbow there is still fear, but also hope and excitement.
You can read Annika's personal blog here