Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Importance of Time - Tennille

The “old” me was a person who liked to keep track of time. I was busy, working full time, playing sport and had a busy social life. I loved cramming as much into every day that I could. The control freak in me loved wearing a watch, I hated being late. Our son Oscar was stillborn at 33 weeks and since the day I heard the words ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’ I have rarely worn a watch. I definitely never wore a watch for at least 3 years as the simple act of putting on my watch reminded me of how much I had lost and how time stood still. When your baby dies you have absolutely no control yet the irony is you have so much to organise but cannot arrange anything at the same time.

I wished I could go back in time. In the early days I so desperately wanted to be able to relive the final few days with my baby growing inside me. I was sure I could pinpoint the exact moment something may have gone wrong. I could replay the last time I actively felt him kick, I could rest more, or visit the doctor earlier. Time felt so precious and I felt I had flitted it away, while my son died.

My sense of time suddenly became very warped. In the days between finding out and delivering my baby, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t comprehend what was going to happen to me, what our son would look like or what I would need to arrange in the coming days. Time was long and short at the same time. Time also didn't have the same importance.

Once he was born and the time I was able to hold him, bath him and introduce him to our families seemed long. We gave him a lifetime of kisses, said hellos and goodbyes in just two short days.

Once leaving hospital, I have never felt time move more slowly. My brain and body were so disconnected and the days seem to crawl. I remember feeling panicked when there felt like there was so much of the day to go. Yet as each day passed, the time since I had held Oscar quickly moved on. The four months it took to fall pregnant with another baby were excruciating. I was so driven to fall pregnant again and this waiting game was tedious. Looking back, four months seemed to go so quickly now.

I was sceptical of the phrase “time heals everything” and “give yourself time”. I was convinced that I would always feel so lost and empty and I couldn’t possibly understand how people were able to move forward from their current position with grief. Yet, five years down the track I am able to talk about Oscar, often without crying. I remember my son with a smile on my face and live a fulfilling life.

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Tennille Welsh

Tennille Welsh is a mother to three beautiful boys. Mark (her husband) and Tennille experienced the stillbirth of their first son Oscar, at 33 weeks gestation in 2011, cause unknown. Tennille is passionate about raising awareness of the high incidence of stillbirth in Australia and shares Oscar's story in the hope that it may help other grieving families.