Thursday, 26 January 2017

Watching the Calendar Tick Over - Stevie

Our second son Elliott was born sleeping on 28/10/16 at 21 weeks gestation. My membranes ruptured and I went into labour. Our perfectly healthy baby just wasn't strong or old enough to make it through. Now I find I'm in this huge space between his birth and his due date that feels like limbo. A space between the ‘was’ and the ‘might have been’. It’s a space filled with watching the calendar tick over, day after day towards what should have been a joyous time filled with exciting anticipation, waiting for our baby to arrive safety into the world. Instead the anticipation is rife with stress and sorrow. Although he has already been born, that date, his due date, hasn't gone away.

When I woke up on New Year’s Day I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want it to be a new year, I didn't want a reminder that time truly does go on. Days, weeks and months had passed and now a new year. I felt like he'll be forever left in 2016, never to grow up through the years. I felt like the new year reflected how I was further away from him yet closer towards the cruelty of what was meant to be. I was supposed to be big and waddling by now like I was with my other two by this stage. I was supposed to wear that maternity dress I bought on sale. Instead the night before I could have a few drinks because I wasn't carrying a baby safely inside and I could wear my pre-pregnancy jeans because he had already been born when we were just over half way there. Having a cocktail and wearing my jeans were things I looked forward to doing again, but now both just reminded me of what I no longer had. 

I never cared for dates and now they meant everything to me. Every Friday echoes the day he was born and died, the 28th of every month tells me how old he would have been if he survived. And that date, the date that he was meant to be born healthy and alive is looming. I won't ever happily prepare a birthday party for him like I do for my other two. Instead we prepare ourselves emotionally for certain dates which bring a gutting ache of milestones we'll never get to witness. I see photos of friends who were due within weeks of Elliott’s due date and know that was meant to be me. I can't let my husband put his hand on my belly when we cuddle because it reminds me how he would rub my belly feeling the baby kick. Now there's just emptiness when there shouldn't be and it feels taunting to have his hand on it.

I had a great week last week- I felt productive, useful, purposeful. Then I woke up one day and couldn’t get out of bed. For three days, I didn't get out of bed until late in the afternoon and when I got up I felt like I had absolutely nothing left. Out of nowhere my grief had smacked me right in my face. I couldn’t stop thinking that we would be counting down the weeks now, preparing for his arrival. That if he was born now, even this early, chances are he'd be fine. It feels like every week that passes closer to his due date intensifies the thought of our baby whom we should have taken home. I began looking for answers to my grief, to solve it, to let me pass over the thoughts of "if only". I tried to be positive and held back from crying. Then I came to the realisation, with help from friends including other bereaved mums, that there are no answers and no ‘solving’ my grief. That no matter which way you looked at it, it was cruel, terrible, awful and unfair. I broke down to my husband and told him the things I couldn't stop thinking about. I cried that mournful cry you can’t fake, I curled in a ball and clutched at my stomach. When I woke up the next morning it was easier to get out of bed.

I'm now trying to accept my grief as part of who I now am. I’m trying to understand, live with and around it. I'm accepting that the time between now and that date will likely have many terrible days where I am temporarily consumed by those "if" thoughts. I'm going to let myself have those days, so the next ones are easier. I'm accepting that sometimes its ok to not be ok and that its normal to be angry and upset, feeling that it’s all so unfair. Because you know what, it is unfair-completely and utterly unfair. At my worst times, I do my best to bring myself back to the moments where I held him and remember that warm feeling of protective love. I do something to celebrate him and his life, because he deserves to be celebrated like every other baby. I’ve decided that on his due date we'll fly kites for him and write on more stones to put around his tree we have for him, like we did on a day we held for him after he was born. I know I'll count down the days until his due date, and have no idea what will happen after that, but I know every day before and every day after I’ll love him.                                                                                        

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Stevie Vowles

Stevie Vowles has a 7 year old daughter, 4 year old son and a son who was born sleeping on 28/10/16.  Her journey led her to the upsetting discovery that there is often a great lack of understanding and awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. She has started an open and honest blog sharing her journey of Elliott's birth and the life that leads after for herself, her husband and her two other children, who also grieve greatly, as the first step in wanting to spread awareness and help other bereaved parents the blog can be found here

Thursday, 12 January 2017

2016 Reflections - Genevieve

I'm not really ready to talk much, which is very unusual for me.   Almost wordless for the first fortnight. Just starting to think (and feel) now.

Aria was my rainbow baby - the last living part of her dad, and I lost her.   I felt her move for the first time on the day her dad was cremated.   She was born two months to the day from his birthday (14th July) and died two months to the day from the day he died (15th July). Probably coincidental, but seems significant.

 Yes, we loved the names too.

Her dad and I had named her Aria - at conception actually. For three  reasons – we both loved music (aria is a musical term), it is similar to Amalie (both starting with “A” and three syllables), linking her to her sister and thirdly, because she was conceived in the Aria hotel!

Wanted to find a middle name that linked to Mark and thought about the   feminine forms of “Mark/Marc”.  Don’t like Marcy or Marcia, then it   came to me – Marcella.   “Marcella is an Italian given name, the feminine version of Marcello (Mark in English). Marcella means warlike, martial, and strong. “

 Was perfect for 4 reasons:

1)      Link to her Dad  – “Marc-”

2)      Link to her sister Amalie – “-ella”  (Amalie’s middle name was Ella)

3)      Link to her grandmother Noella – “-ella”

4)      Link to her Aunt (my sister-in-law)  Amy – her initials (Aria Marcella Yates) are AMY

If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637

Genevieve Yates

Genevieve is a GP, medical educator, medical writer and musician from the Northern Rivers region of NSW. After a long and difficult road to motherhood, her beautiful daughter, Amalie Ella, was born in December, 2014.  Tragically, Amalie died of neonatal sepsis after only four days.
Through her clinical work, teaching and writing, she hopes to she can use her experiences to help support both patients and other doctors in managing the complex emotions surrounding fertility issues and perinatal loss, and also encourage more open discussion in the general community.

Her website can be found at:

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Another Birthday Missed - Therese

Thirty-seven years ago in January this year I should have been celebrating my child's birth. To not have this annual celebration as I do with my other children, still leaves a "what if" sort of question. I bless my other children every day and feel so sad for those that have not experienced the joy of a live birth, however, much I love them, they can't replace the bub I lost for this child was expected and loved. When I miscarried at 16 weeks I felt this baby inside of me was a person in its own right and had looked forward to seeing its face; unfortunately I never knew its gender as it had not been formed properly in my body.

I bought a rose bush a few years ago and had a ceremony with my daughters, which I have discussed in a previous blog. I looked at them today and saw that all the flowers on it had died off and was relatively bare. The last rose is dying off now and it saddens me that I have to wait months for it to bloom again, another reminder of the child lost.

I spent some time on the day looking at the rose bush and listened to a song of Enya's: So I Could Find My Way; if you have a chance please listen to it. It can be found on You Tube. It gave me the necessary leave to have a cry, something I often hide or keep inside of me. A lesson for me is that life goes on and it is all a learning experience. This is not to say that is all the experience is, as already stated it.

What amazes me still (and I don't know why I am still surprised) but no-one ever mentions this lost baby, except on occasion my youngest as her partner lost his son at a very young age and he was able to have the baby boy placed at Fawkner cemetery in Melbourne where a lovely memorial garden exists for “lost” children. There was no such thing around and no support either when I miscarried. I was told by a nun, who was a midwife, that it was “God's wish” and when I think of this I still get angry.

Everyone keeps saying I have three children, which again I am lucky I have but I always say I have had four pregnancies, not three! This attitude of those who know this can still upset me at times. After all this time I suppose people forget but I do not!

Sometimes I sit alone on a bench seat outside listening to the breeze and sounds trying to find peace in a world that forgets trauma and grief so easily because it is a way of life for so many, which is sad in itself. Losing a baby is something unique and miscarriage is different from a still born and other loss of a young baby. However, those of us who have been in this situation are united in the fact that we never got to see this person grow up, achieve the milestones expected and also for them to have had the experience of having their own children.

So please those who may read this blog, if you have never been in my situation, be careful of your words, as we still feel the loss even if you don't.

Therese Murphy 0502

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

About Therese 

Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.
Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.
Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.
Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.