There will be just this one and one more post for Baby loss Awareness Month. I wasn’t expecting to find it as difficult as I have and have ended up feeling very bleak and depressed. What it has done is force me to address some of the stuff that perhaps was hanging over me, that I haven’t dealt with yet. Things like the way all the baby things are still haunting my bedroom. Mostly things are packed away and stored on top of wardrobes, under the bed etc. But there are two full drawers in the bedroom which are full of bedding, clothes and baby toys. It is now five and a half years since we lost Matilda. I have been in limbo waiting to see if we would have another baby, but that limbo is keeping me a prisoner in this box of grief and I took the decision to empty the drawers and pack all those things into a vacuum bag to go under the bed. All those things and the suitcase of maternity clothes. I’ve not done it yet. I sit and I look at the storage bags and I look at all the things that need to be put away and it is like I gave up on her and gave up on having a baby. And I don’t give up very easily. I’m very resilient, very driven. But this…how do I fight this?
Today’s picture was taken the day before we were admitted to hospital. It’s my beautiful, neat bump. In the background is the Moses basket, the bouncy chair on the floor, the toys. I am preparing. I am nesting. But in reality, I took this photo so that I could compare it to other mum’s bumps. I knew there was something wrong, the baby was quiet, I had already been and had checks done at ADAU on two occasions and spoken to my midwife and seen my brilliant GP. I knew that something was wrong. And they kept sending me away. On this day, the day in the picture, I went through all her things, I laid out all her things on the bed to count and I made lists and I did what all the other mums-to-be were doing, but I knew that something wasn’t right. I was fighting two halves of my brain: the half that knew how anxious I was anyway and that I needed to trust the doctors and midwives and accept that I was just being neurotic, and the half of my brain that absolutely knew something wasn’t right. I wish I had trusted my instincts. And the day after this photo, we went into hospital and the following week she was dead. And I came back to all these things. I came back to the Moses basket and it was like being shot. All her things.
I will never be able to fully trust any health professional again, and that is really unfair on them. The anxiety around it is bad enough that I would rather travel a three hour round journey for a simple hospital check up rather than travel twenty minutes to enter the building where our daughter could have been saved. That’s the legacy of this sort of failure. And I still say, hand on heart, though I cannot trust in the same way, I do not think it was their fault. I blame a government intent on cutting services and reducing staff. It left a department understaffed with doctors and midwives who were well over worked. Tired health professionals make mistakes, an over busy workforce guesstimates instead of being thorough. People die because of underfunding, and you think it won’t happen to you, until it does, and it is passed of as ‘one of those things’.
Today’s organisation is The lullaby trust, an organisation that provides specialist support for bereaved families and helps with guidance on safe sleeping and research into why sudden infant death occurs. This is an incredibly hard working organisation which keeps SIDs in the public eye and in front of the government, which means it isn’t just accepted as ‘one of those things’. Research is so important.
Today’s poem is an audio poem by Clare Archibald. You can read about it here, and how brave Clare is in addressing such a personal subject:The Scotsman
And here is the incredible poem, Gift Wrapped. Try as I might the technology to load the file here has not worked, I admit to being a complete technophobe, so apologies to Clare and to the readers, but here is a link which I do hope works.