Tuesday 31 May 2011

Mumble jumble

The Boy and I have enjoyed the nice long bank holiday weekend. We saw good friends on Friday and Saturday, and then had Sunday and Monday together as quiet time. We've worked out that we need a balance of public and private time to help us along, to ensure we stay strong, and to keep us on more of an even keel. The weekend was mostly enjoyable, but the Boy and I have both lost our way a little bit at times and my mind is a bit of a 'mumble jumble' today.

Sunday was a difficult day for the Boy, and I felt really sad yesterday and slept terribly as a result. I think I managed about three hours of kip in between nightmares and worry. I was never that great at remembering dates and appointment times during the (short) pregnancy, but now I seem to have an internal calendar that peeps up and reminds me of our loss on our regular basis. Dates and anniversaries feel so painful. Yesterday it was a month since our tiny, tiny little baby Beans was delivered in hospital. I seem to have aged many years since then. As I've said in previous entries, in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and I struggle to remember a time we weren't pregnant or thinking about the baby, at other times the wounds still feel so fresh and raw that it could have happened yesterday. I wonder, since then, how many other women have had their miscarriages managed in that same room in St Thomas's Hospital I was in, and how many other couples have had their dreams shattered and experienced the painful loss.

Tuesdays I find especially difficult as they remind me that our baby - if it had lived - would have been another week older, and we would have been another week closer to meeting him or her. Today our baby would have been 18 weeks old. Almost halfway there... I try not to dwell on what might have been, but I think it's natural to remember, contemplate and imagine. I'm sure I would have had a bump by now; I might even have felt a kick. The stronger, negative and dark feelings like my anger, envy and resentment seem to have dissipated and ebbed away over the last week or so, but there remains a terrible sadness. It's underlying all the time, but in a quiet and unassuming way. It's only when I let myself remember and indulge myself in thinking about what has happened that it begins to roar again. And it's right that I stay with that feeling for a time, for as long as I can manage. I need to, to ensure I can go forwards and be able to bear and live with what has happened. I don't want to be someone who months and months down the line bursts into tears at the news of a friend's pregnancy or a baby advert. I want to do my best to process what is happening and allow the feelings I have about what has happened to be a part of my life that I can tolerate and absorb.

I think it's difficult now that we have definitely decided to try again. I have some guilt about moving on and that fact that I do feel ready to do this, at what I perceive to be quite an early stage since our baby died. I know my baby meant the absolute world to me and the Boy and we couldn't have loved it anymore than we did, but I don't want to take anything from our baby's memory or its importance to us. I fear that if we fall pregnant again people will think we are 'over' what happened and that somehow it wasn't that bad or painful. We're certainly survivng, and I believe we're doing really well, but it's been a very dark experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone and I hope all my friends and family are shielded from it. It has been a really horrendous time and a future baby wouldn't be a replacement, it would be a younger sibling for the baby we lost. We'll never forget. But we can forgive what has happened and allow ourselves to let go - we have no choice.

There is also some anxiety about how my body will work again. As I say, it's been a month now since our little tiny baby arrived. We were told my normal cycles would resume in 4-6 weeks, so I await my 'lady' with both trepidation and optimism. There is fear because I haven't had a period since January, and it will be another physical confirmation and reminder that I'm not pregnant and we must beging the 'trying' process again. But also optimism because hopefully my body will have settled back into its normal routine and we have every reason to hope and believe I can get pregnant again and this time the outcome could be different. We go into trying for another baby wiser than we were before. We know when is the best time to be intimate, and we know the road ahead to be a bumpy one. We're aware our dreams may not be realised, but we are also aware that it's worth the risk of being blessed with a child, and the alternative for us isn't really an alternative.

So I feel a little out of sorts still today. I am a 'mumble jumble' of anxiety, guilt - but also hope. There are going to be new feelings for me over the coming weeks and months and there will be more reminders, more dates, more sadness. But also I'm sure more happiness - and more hope.

Friday 27 May 2011

Girls just wanna have fun

Last night two of my closest girlfriends, who were both bridesmaids for me at my wedding last year, came round to Empire Towers. It's the first time I've seen friends of an evening since the miscarriage, and it did me the world of good - although I am paying for it now! 

The three of us are very close, we all met while working together at a children's charity. It was fantastic to see them and talk properly in the safety and security of my own home. It's been a fair while since the three of us were together so there was a lot of news to catch up on. I had been nervous about how I wo

Thursday 26 May 2011

A month on

It's hard to take in, but today it is a month since we found out our baby Beans had died. I'm not sure where the time has gone, although in some ways it feels like it all happened longer than a month ago. At other times it feels like it was only yesterday.

It's been quite a month, with lows that I never could have imagined I would feel, a sadness I didn't believe was bearable, and a depth of pain I didn't realise existed. There have been moments when I've wondered how the Boy and I would survive, days sat in front of my computer at work using all my energy to keep the tears inside, and nights riddled with nightmares and unrest.

At first I felt the wound so keenly - there was a real physical pain inside of me that throbbed and burned, and I couldn't escape it as much as I wanted to. It needed to be felt. My arms ached to hold a baby, my whole being wanted to smell, sense, and feel a baby, our baby. I felt so angry and frustrated at what we had lost, wanting someone to blame when there was no one. Wanting to make sense of a situation that lacked any logic. Envious of those who had children or were pregnant, not through any malice but so desperately wishing things were different for me and the Boy. It was very difficult to begin to let go - to stop torturing myself with 'what ifs' and 'if onlys'. A month on I still feel myself at times wanting to go down that path, but I can generally pull myself back. The detours are unhelpful and cause me undue grief - the journey ahead is already difficult with hurdles and obstacles enough without being sidetracked.

But we have also had some good times, and yesterday brought a sense of closure to the process for me. As painful as it has all been, I feel able to start to move on. I am haunted by the image of the Boy carrying our baby's coffin - a sight I never imagined I would see, and an experience I wish the Boy had never been through. But at last we are all at peace. Our baby is buried with other lost babies for company, and won't be moved any more. We can all rest now. And the boy and I can be brave and strong for our baby, and begin to live our lives again.

The baby has left us quite a legacy - only with us for 13 weeks, but from its death we have learned many things. We know how loved we are by family and friends, and what sympathetic and kind colleagues and employers we both have. We know we can make a baby, and we know I can deliver one. We know how much we want a family, and how any sacrifices we make for this will be so worth it and so much better than the alternative. But most of all, as I've said so many times in these entries, I have a renewed, heightened and more intense love for my husband. In the short time it was with us, the baby awakened a new side of me, and I have a greater capacity for love than before. And that love has gone to the Boy. He has shown himself to be every bit the man I knew he was, but also a whole lot more. I've been there with him in a dank, dark place when we've been tested and tortured, and we've walked out of that dark place together, stronger, braver... somehow just 'more' than we were before.

Going forwards will take time, I know from my work as a bereavement counsellor that there will be many difficult days ahead. We will be reminded of our loss when we least expect it; a word, conversation, experience, picture, date or song can transport us back to that dark place with the click of a finger. And that will be hard to deal with. More tests lie ahead, as friends announce their pregnancies and extend their families, and we must find the courage within ourselves to separate their happy news from our loss, and to be joyful and proud for them. And the greatest challenge of all I suspect will be if we find ourselves pregnant again - how will we cope with the nerves and anxiety, and manage our fears? Will it bring back all the memories of our first dear baby? What will we do if we find ourselves here again? Can we live through another loss as well as we have this time? Is our relationship strong enough to be tested again? I think I know the answers to these questions, but we won't know for sure until we are in that position.

I know I have so much more work to do. I'm not yet able to read back through the posts on my blog to when I was pregnant. It's still too upsetting for me to recall how happy and excited I was. That will come with a bit more time I think. But I am sure it will come. I have hope and faith in the future, and I have sublime love. And I am reminded of the Corinthians reading we had at our wedding and I take heart and strength from the words: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love".

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Rest in peace

So today we laid our little baby Beans to rest. It was a very surreal, but also a very gentle and peaceful, day. And once again the sun beamed down on us. The Boy and I were anxious as we approached the funeral directors - not sure what to expect and fearful that we could contain our emotions.

We arrived early so spent some time in the memorial gardens before it was time for our service. It felt sad looking at all the plaques and plots, but I have never seen a garden so well tended or a burial area with so very many flowers. The place felt calm and quiet, but full of love. Reading the tributes that had been left I felt sure our baby would be safe here. The Boy and I felt a small sense of comfort in finding people buried there with our surname - perhaps they will look out for our baby for us. It was interesting to see Jade Goody, the Big Brother celebrity, was also buried there. Perhaps she too can take care of baby Beans while we cannot.

When we were greeted at reception we were taken to a private room to wait for the minister. The lady asked us if either of us would like to carry our baby's coffin which caught us both by surprise and I immediately felt the lump in my throat form and the tears prick at my eyes. The Boy without hesitation said he would and I looked at him, once again bowled over with pride and love at the strength and honour of the man I married. He is immense.

The father came to greet us and asked if we had any readings. The Boy and I had settled on Little Snowdrop and I felt I wanted to at least attempt to read it. I was unsure if my emotions would get the better of me. Slowly we made our way outside and the Boy was given the coffin to carry to the memorial garden. A beautiful white box with 'Baby Gibson' written on it. We made our way steadily and soon arrived at our plot, on the north side of the garden. The funeral director handled the box with such care, wrapping it in dark red velvet while the father read the blessings and prayers. I managed the reading, and felt very proud of doing it - I was proud of us. Our baby leaves this world carried by its father and honoured by its mother. We will miss baby Beans very much. The minister blessed the coffin and the Boy and I stroked the box, saying a last tender goodbye, before it was gently placed in the plot.

It was a very gentle service and the Boy and I - so far - feel it was very beautiful, and a perfect and apt way to say a final goodbye. I liked the memorial garden - almost next door to where Michael Caine grew up - and I will go back and see our baby from time to time, on special dates. Wherever we live the fact it is so near central London means we will always be able to visit our first born Beans. We feel a sense of underlying sadness and loss that I imagine will be there for some time, but we also feel a sense of peace. It feels like we have now left baby Beans to rest, and while we will never ever forget, we can all begin to sleep a little more easily.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Poetry in motion

I feel a little thrown as I write this, as the father who is conducting the funeral tomorrow has left me a message asking if there are any special readings we would like at the service, and if so to bring them along. I hadn't thought of preparing anything, which leaves me feeling a little guilty and I'm concerned what else I might have forgotten. And while I'm impressed with the hospital's level of care for us, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the detail that is going into the funeral. I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate for the Boy and I - but perhaps it may become more so in time.

There are two poems that I have read since we lost baby Beans, which have made me think about our lovely baby in a happier light. Perhaps we can use one of them for the reading. I will discuss this with the Boy this evening and see what we would find the most useful. My heart aches with sadness and loss when I read the poems in my head, so I am fearful how hard tomorrow will be. But I suppose it must be thus, to let us mourn, say goodbye, and begin to walk out of the shadows and into the light once again.

Little Snowdrop
The world may never notice if a snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even stop to wonder if the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms or even comes to be
Touches the world in some way for all eternity.

The little one we longed for was swiftly here and gone,
But the love that was then planted is a light that still shines on.
And even though our arms are empty, our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts says that we both love you.

Gone Too Soon
This was a life that hardly begun.
No time to find your place in the sun.
No time to do all you could have done.
But we loved you enough for a lifetime.

No time to enjoy the world and its wealth.
No time to take life down off the shelf.
No time to sing the song of yourself,
Though you had enough love for a lifetime.

Those who live long endure sadness and tears,
But you'll never suffer the sorrowing years.
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears,
Just love, enough love for a lifetime.


I feel a little bit thrown as I write this, as the Father who is conducting the funeral tomorrow has left me a voice message asking if there are any special readings we would like, and if so to bring them along. I hadn't thought of preparing anything which leaves me feeling a little guilty. I'm concerned now what else I might have forgotten. And while I'm so impressed with the hospital's level of care, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the detail that is going into the funeral. I'm not sure it's entirely helpful for the Boy and I - but I suspect it may become more so in time.

There are two poems I have read since we lost the baby, which have helped me to think about baby Beans in a happier light. Perhaps we can use one of them for the reading... I will discuss this with the Boy when we are both home from work tonight and see what we would find most useful and appropriate. My heart aches with sadness and loss when I read the poems in my head, so I am fearful how sad tomorrow will be. But I suppose it must be thus, to let us mourn, say goodbye, and begin to walk out of the shadows and into the light once again.

Little Snowdrop
The world may never notice if a snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms or even comes to be
Touches the world in some small way for all eternity.
The little one we longed for was swiftly here and gone,
But the love that was then planted is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty our hearts know what to do,
Every beating of our hearts says that we love you.

Gone too soon
This was a life that hardly begun
No time to find your place in the sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime.

No time to enjoy the world and its wealth
No time to take life down off the shelf
No time to sing the song of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime.

Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you'll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love, enough love for a lifetime.

Tomorrow is another day

More sunshine caressed our faces as we walked the three-mile journey into work this morning, and the week is going well so far for the Boy and I. We both feel stronger and brighter, and more like our old selves. The weekend away certainly did us the world of good. I feel tougher, braver and more able to face the world. I can talk about our baby without faltering, and think of our baby without breaking down. While the memories are predominantly painful and sad, I can also think back with a tiny sense of happiness that the Boy and I made a child together and what joy that brought us for 13 weeks.

I feel more positive about the future and after long discussions we've decided to start trying again for a family straight away, as soon as my lady has arrived. It's been three weeks now since I had the operation so that should be in the next few weeks. Hopefully it will show that my body has settled down and we can start trying to conceive again. I'm sure that will be an even more emotional process this time, riddled with doubt, hope, anxiety and optimism for a different ending. The Boy and I are able to be physically close again regularly now and that has helped me feel more settled and secure. He really is my world and being close to him gives me peace and courage.

But before we get to that point, there is tomorrow. Our darling baby Beans will be buried in Rotherhithe tomorrow morning at 8.30am. I can hardly bring myself to think about what it will be like, and how sad it will be to say a last goodbye to our first, beautiful and beloved child. I can take heart from the fact that the Boy and I go into tomorrow well prepared physically, as rested, together and united as we can be. I can also take comfort from the fact our baby will be buried in a memorial garden that we can go and visit whenever we like. I have been wondering how I can feel close to our baby on its due date, that memorable date of 1/11/11... and I think a visit to the garden could be helpful.

While I am scared and distressed at what the new day will bring, I hope tomorrow will provide a sense of calm and closure - and even relief - and that our baby can sleep peacefully in the garden and in our hearts, and we can begin to walk away and face the future and the next chapter in our lives together.

Monday 23 May 2011

Country living

I'm pleased to report that our mini-break in the country did us the world of good, and helped strengthen us both after the difficulties of last week. While both the Boy and I are aware that we have an incredibly challenging week ahead of us, we are going into it as as united and as bright as we can be. The contrast to how I feel now, compared to last Monday after the wedding, is palpable. It's reminded me how important it is to look after myself and to take the quiet time that I need now to heal. It's also reminded me that it's ok to put myself first and to to say no to say to events if they feel too much, to ensure the Boy and I get the private space we need to begin to recover. It heals my soul being with him and doing 'normal' things like this - and I want to be selfish now and make sure I get enough of that.

The hotel - Down Hall - was lovely. Only a 40 minute train journey from London but it felt like we were miles and miles away. The weather was very kind to us, and we spent the day in the sunshine enjoying the hotel grounds - the large outdoor chess set was a favourite (especially as I won, not that I'm ribbing the Boy too much about that...), closely followed by boules. We enjoyed walking in the wild parkland and forest around the hotel, taking in the nature and enjoying the scenery. We are both keen photographers and we found more than enough flora and fauna to capture to remind us of the break. The rose garden was particularly beautiful, and also restorative - I am finding a real sense of calm in nature.

It was a relief to be able to just 'be'. To be me and the Boy doing what we do, without being weighed down by the grief which has consumed and gripped us at times over the past few weeks. Wandering around hand-in-hand in new scenery, exploring together and taking in different sights and sounds gave me a feeling of freedom that was well needed. We were able to laugh together and make our own fun, which was a very welcome tonic. Sitting on the terrace in the late afternoon sunshine enjoying a few cool drinks and feeling the warmth on our faces, I felt another surge of hope. It's so sad now and my heart breaks for our little lost baby Beans, but I know it won't always be this way. I'm beginning to feel that the Boy and I could be in the sun again soon, and I am beginning to believe that we might be lucky enough to fall pregnant again and this time the ending might be different. I know it might not, but for now the fact it might be feels enough and reassures me.

We had secured a deal with the hotel which included champagne in the room which we very much enjoyed. There is something very decadent about drinking champagne for no reason, and while I felt a little guilty having a 'celebratory' drink when we have suffered such a lot, it brought a smile to my face and set the tone for a lovely evening. We also had a meal in the restaurant included that was lovely, and the drinks flowed through the evening as we enjoyed more of the hotel games, included snooker and Connect Four.

Again, it was great to be able to relax together and enjoy normal activities, without feeling troubled or weighed down by our worries and sadness. At times since lost the baby I have felt like a hunch back I have been carrying so much with me, like one of those bent over stick people on the road sign that warns for old people ahead. It felt such a release to have good times together. There have certainly not been many of those in recent times, and while they are still more fleeting than the bad times it reminds us they will come aplenty again.

I started to feel this weekend that it's ok to begin to move on. I've felt some shades of guilt about letting go of baby Beans, and while there were still glimpses of that over the weekend, I am beginning to accept what has happened and take in our loss. I imagine I will ache for some time yet to come - and I dread how Wednesday will be - but maybe it's ok to have that ache there and that longing for things to have been different, but at the same time to look forwards as well as backwards too...?

Saturday 21 May 2011

Off to the country

Today is another slightly better day - so far - for me and the Boy. We had another good evening together last night, and it feels so great to have these fleeting happy times when the bad times are dominating. We went for a meal at a Mexican restaurant and had some good food and just a couple of beers, and then we watched the new Pirates of the Caribbean film which was surprisingly good. I'd had pretty low expectations given the standard of the previous sequels! I think it helped watching it in 3D but it was good old-fashioned, swashbuckling fun - and a few precious hours of complete escapism. Just the tonic for the last few difficult days.

I'm hopeful the weekend will continue this way. A little later this morning the Boy and I are escaping from London for a night. We're going to Down Hall in Hertfordshire for a bit of rest and relaxation. Some time using the facilities - walks in the grounds, tennis courts, pool and jacuzzi - and a bit more quality Mr and Mrs time. We got a great deal which includes a three-course dinner, bottle of champers in the room, breakfast tomorrow, and a late check-out, so hopefully it will be a chilled out, happy time together. Again, just what the doctor ordered.

Friday 20 May 2011

Glimpses of good times

I am feeling a little bit brighter today as the Boy and I, surprisingly given how the day had been, had a lovely night together last night. We haven't been out much just us two for a while, and it's been quite a long time since we went out on impulse for drinks as I had a 'dry' January and then fell pregnant in February. But after what had a been a fairly arduous day we decided to take a stroll out and have a few drinks and a meal together.

We headed to Skinkers on Tooley Street, a wine bar near where we live which is popular with commuters but sometimes, like last night, you can be lucky and find a quiet litte table tucked away from the madness and banter. We shared a beautiful bottle of viognier and while we talked about the miscarriage and the conversations with the hospital mortuary, we also talked about other things.

We looked ahead to our imminent holiday in the beautiful Greek island of Santorini - booked quickly when we realised I was pregnant as a last break for 'just us two'. Sadly our circumstances have changed, but the break has come at just the right time and I suspect it will do us the world of good. The last time we were in Greece was when we were in Zakynthos in 2008, when we got engaged (see below) overlooking the famous shipwreck bay, so the Greek islands hold special memories for us. We talked and laughed together reminiscing about the day we got engaged, competing to tell the best story from the day - whether it was me dreaming the night before he would propose, or the Boy having to take five immodium he was so nervous, or the fact he was wearing an A team t-shirt and I was in my bikini! We had a beautiful happy time we had on the island together, and those memories gave us comfort.

Funnily enough, looking backwards helps give us the strength to look forwards. It was a timely reminder of how many happy times we had enjoyed together, and how happy times will come again aplenty soon enough. Every day we move closer towards them. We can look forward to this break as a chance to be just us. To relax and to forgive, and to get back to the basics of ourselves - to enjoy each other and to build our confidence and strength, to move towards a position we can think about trying to be family Beans once again.

We had a meal together at the Shard curry house which was really nice. The Boy is somewhat obsessed with the Shard building (to say the least) so eating there put a smile on our weary faces. If felt good to be doing something simple. To have a happy few hours together when we weren't weighed down by the sadness of what we have a lost. A time to be a 'normal' couple, doing 'normal' things. Not worrying, not crying, not being scared. Just being.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Time to say goodbye

It seems there is no relief from our heartache this week as this morning the Boy had to speak to the hospital mortuary about baby Beans's memorial service, which will happen in Rotherhithe on Wednesday morning. It was a difficult conversation as they asked the Boy questions we weren't prepared for, such as if we had chosen a name for the baby, and what we would like written on the coffin. It feels surreal - I can't believe we are having such conversations about our baby and every essence of me wishes we weren't where we are.

We await further details by post, but I already know it will be an impossible day for the Boy and I. He was very upset by the call, and we made it about halfway into work before he broke down and sobbed as I held him. I hate to see the man I adore so upset and in so much anguish, and I feel dumb with no voice to relieve his pain. Everything within me wants to take it away and make it better but I am powerless to do anything but hold him, listen to him, and tell him how loved he is. I hope that is enough. We stopped by Waterloo Bridge for a while and talked, and made the decision we would both be better off working at home today, so we turned back and headed for the welcoming arms of our home. We've both been teary since and I don't think either of us was in a fit state to be in a busy, open plan office.

My head and heart are racing now. I am terrified to attend the service. I'm not sure I can bear how sad the day will inevitably be, but I feel sure we will regret it if we don't go and the Boy feels the same. Maybe it won't be as sad as I am expecting, and maybe it will help us release more emotion and say goodbye. I don't know. I don't know what to think of it, or make of this situation, it's so out of my normal comfort zone. I can't decide if choosing a name will make things better or worse - we don't know the sex of the baby, it has always been baby Beans, I'm not sure if adding a name now brings anything. But then if we don't name our baby, does that take something away?

I feel we have so much to work through and process at the moment, my head feels fit to burst with it all and the Boy has a bad headache today. I hope that this quiet weekend away we have planned at Down Hall will help us being to figure things out together. I never realised miscarriage could be so devastating, and how much you could ache for a baby and a relationship you never had. I have a horrible feeling that this pain will only truly subside if (when?) we have a healthy baby - and even then I know I will never forget... how could I?

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

As I write today I am really struggling. I'm trying to be strong but I feel so weak. My mood is dark, and my thoughts are dominated by loss and taunted by the 'if onlys' of what might have been. It's hard to keep pushing myself through the week, being back at work pretending everything is normal, when it is anything but. My instinct is to hide away as I crumple inside. Every minute spent outside our little home is difficult, every minute a challenge to appear normal and contain the tears that press at the windows of my eyes crying to be let out. I know I need to let these emotions breathe and not fight against my feelings, and I know it's better they come out now so I can keep working through my grief, rather than try and push them away and find myself caught off guard when they invariably explode further down the line.

I'm aware when I look in the mirror I hardly recognise myself. My eyes seems dark and dull, less alive somehow. The bags beneath reveal the difficulty I have in finding sanctity in restful sleep. When I do sleep the dreams are vivid and brash, more often than not nightmares driven by anxiety and fear. My skin which had a dewy glow while I was pregnant, seems dry and sapped of life. My face seems older, more weary, more lined and somehow less my own. I look at a face that seems to want to give up and admit defeat, and it's all I can manage to look away and pretend I don't see - because I don't like what I read etched in those lines. I have never been one to throw the towel in, and I don't intend to start now... but it's so tough to resist, and so much more tempting to collapse, to hit the bottle, to give in, to give up...

The conflicting feelings within me bubble up inside all day, in a gaggle fighting to be the one emotion that can preside and dominate - sorrow, anger, jealousy, frustration, despair, dejection, fear, disappointment... I feel drained and exhausted from this constant battle which presides inside of me, from which there can be no winner. The situation is what it is, and cannot change as much as I or the Boy wish it, and will it to be different. And therein is the difficulty, because I don't want to feel this way but in order to move on the pain must come. It must be felt. There is no answer to the empty cry from my heart, but it must make this noise inside me to begin to heal.

My heart sighs for every woman who has found herself here, where I am now. It's so difficult - even when I have the support and love of the Boy, and the care of such amazing family and friends. How girls get through this alone I can't imagine. Even with a mountain of support I feel so afraid for the present and the future - while I know we'll get through this, there are moments when I wonder how I can bear this, how we can keep bearing this. And I wonder for the future - a future that comes with no guarantees that the outcome of a pregnancy will be any different. No magic wand to wave to reassure us, no guiding hand to tell us all will be ok. I know it's more likely than not that next time we'll have a happier outcome. But it is all in the hands of Mother Nature. Which for a control freak like me is  an issue. Like this time, I can do everything I can to be healthy - take vitamin supplements, not drink or smoke, eat well and avoid the danger foods, take gentle and regular exercise, get enough rest and look after myself... but I can't do it all. Part of the process is always going to be in the lap of the gods - and while I have a Christian faith and want to believe that happiness will come to us - that absolutely terrifies me.

But it doesn't terrify me as much as not being a mum. That would be really hard to take. I loved being pregnant, and the idea of starting a new chapter in the life of the Boy and I. It felt so natural and I don't want to go backwards to where I was before - I'm tired of a life based on self, that only revolves around shopping, bars, holidays and other now seemingly meaningless elements. I want more. I want a family with the Boy so much.

I have such a strong work ethic, everything I've ever wanted in life I've been able to work for and achieve. I wanted a flat in London so badly I worked three jobs at one point to have enough money for my first mortgage deposit, and when I met the Boy and fell head over heels in love with him we both worked hard to make our relationship as safe and strong as it is. But I can't work hard to make this happen for us - and so I don't know what to do with myself. My usual, fail-safe, proven tactics are useless in this case so I struggle to latch on to the tools to help me now... But I know the tools are there within myself. I know I am strong, stronger than I ever realised, and I know women do cope with miscarriages before they go on to have families. And so can we. I'm just beginning to realise that the journey from A to B isn't going to be an easy or quick one for either of us.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Three weeks on

Today is three weeks since we found out our baby Beans had died. The scan was at 10am, so it was about this time we got the heart-breaking news where the floor disappeared from beneath us in a matter of seconds. It feels like so much longer - almost a lifetime ago, as cliched as that sounds. So much seems to have happened since then and I think we have been through every emotion you can experience. Every day really has been different - some have been far better than anticipated, others have ached far more than I could have ever imagined - although I feel I am generally getting stronger. In some ways it's hard to believe it's only been three weeks. I couldn't have imagined then that I could have survived the hospital procedure, two weddings, being back at work, and being able to function in the way that I am. When I think back to that scan and those first rushing days of panic and grief, I can see I have come some way since then - even though it doesn't always feel like it.

Yesterday was definitely one of the more difficult days and I shed a few tears on the walk home from work with the Boy. We had a quiet night, sorted out some dull but necessary jobs around the house, had a simple dinner and spent some time cuddling and talking about our days and our feelings. The two weekends away had taken it out of the Boy too and we welcomed the quiet time together to recover.

We were both tired so went to bed before 9pm, and we both read for a while, before more cuddles, and then we were intimate for the first time since all this happened and this dreadful nightmare began. It's taken quite some time for the physical after-effects of the miscarriage to subside and last night was the first time we were able to be this close. I think we were both a bit nervous, and while there was delight and comfort in being able to be intimate as we have both really missed that, there was a sadness there for both of us, and we were very gentle and tender with each other. I felt much more settled and safe afterwards, lying in the comfort of the Boy's arms. I think looking after each other in a quiet, understated but secure way is absolutely vital over the next few weeks. More nights like that will help us work towards mending I am sure. I already feel a bit stronger for some time in the sanctity of home.

I had another very disturbed night's sleep filled with horrible nightmares - a series of garish dreams involving strange, dark oppressive figures who, in some format or other, were chasing me and I felt very anxious and in peril. It always takes me by surprise the extreme emotion you can experience in a dream - how frightening they can be - and I recall feeling terrified at some points. The Boy woke me up at one point as I seemed so turbulent, tortured and restless. But I imagine this is to be expected and my dream life is helping me out by working out some of the thoughts and feelings that I can't manage in my conscious just yet.

Three weeks on. It's been quite a time from here to there. I feel I've aged a decade, and my view of the world has changed. My eyes see differently now. There have been moments when I didn't think I could manage and in those first few dark days I definitely lost all hope which is a very distressing feeling. I felt empty, and found the world devoid of meaning. I wouldn't say I was suicidal because that's too dramatic - and too simple. It was more complicated than that. But all I knew was nothing made sense or had any point, existence was futile and fruitless. It reminded me of that W. H. Auden poem Stop All the Clocks, especially the ending: "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good." I had been completely unaware of, and unprepared for, how much miscarriage can hurt and how it can cut so deep into your heart and stab at your soul.

But amongst those torturous days when my eyes have been swollen, hurt and rubbed raw for the amount of tears that kept falling, there have been better times. Some days have been quite bearable, and family, friends and colleagues have been amazingly kind and supportive. I've already laughed so much my stomach has hurt - and I could never have predicted that. I've been taken by surprise by the Boy and I - we are more resilient, stronger, braver and bigger than I ever could have known, and we can endure this. And our relationship has been the most amazing comfort I could ever have anticipated. As painful as it is to take the steps, I can go forwards, wrapped in the security of the most amazing and comforting security blanket anyone could ever feel - the Boy's love.

Monday 16 May 2011

Living in a box

I've had a few problems loading the blog in the last few days but we seem to be back in business again now, which is good news as I have rather a lot to off-load. I'm not doing so well today. After feeling like I was starting to heal and get better, today feels quite a lot more difficult and all I want to do is run home, shut the world out, and hide under the duvet. But - I'm being brave and delaying that option until after work. I'll meet the Boy and we'll walk home together, then I think an evening of phones off and cuddles will be very much in order.

Last week ended ok. The Boy and I have been continuing to talk a lot and support each other, and on Friday lunchtime we met up to go and buy a pretty memory box, to safely and lovingly store everything to do with our baby - the pictures from the scan, cards people have given us, and the hospital medical documents. That felt like a positive step forward... but over the course of the weekend I have felt myself falter and can see the Boy is feeling the same. It was quite a big weekend though, and I think we now need some quiet time to recover. It's been quite hectic for us over the last couple of weeks with weddings on consecutive weekends - that's a lot for anyone and with everything that's been going on for us, it's no wonder we're worn out and jaded. We've been putting a brave face on, and I think it's time for the masks to come off and for us to have some quiet Mr and Mrs time to comfort and nurture each other.

We spent the weekend in Surrey with the Boy's parents. It was really good to see them and talk about everything with them - it was the first time we've seen them since the miscarriage and they were both incredibly supportive. We ended up sat up talking and drinking with them until well after 4am - which was therapeutic and cathartic, although in hindsight wasn't the best idea as we had a wedding to go to on the Saturday! The wedding I found really difficult, but we put a brave face on (see below) and leaned on each other and we managed to survive - and no more weddings until July now which is something of a relief!

While it was lovely to see so many of the Boy's friends, it was difficult to answer questions and pretend that we are ok. I found it very tough to see one of the Boy's friends with his two month old baby, and during the course of the evening I discovered from another friend that he and his wife are expecting - very early days so not public knowledge, but I pressed him probably a little too much, and he didn't want to lie to me. I'm so pleased for them - we knew they were trying and the Boy and I had remarked how nice if would be for us to be pregnant at the same time as them. But amongst my delight is a sadness, an ache, a pain... because I wish we still were. We're not - and sometimes that feels so hard.

So today we both feel flat, empty, sad. I had a terrible night of upsetting dreams last night where I dreamt I had two more miscarriages - one at 20 weeks and one at 12 weeks - and while I know they are just dreams, it upset me to think this may well happen and there could be more pain in store for us. None of this will go away overnight. It's still really early days, and only two weeks since I was in hospital, so it's all very raw. But we can take a few steps to take better care of ourselves this week - late nights and too much wine don't help our cause, they make it worse and leave us feeling anxious and dejected. We need decent sleep, lots of cuddles, to be eating well, and to be making sure we're getting enough fresh air and exercise. The walking to and from work is a good start - it's about 45 minutes each way so good exercise for us both. The Boy is running the Great North Run this year with his dad and brother so he'll start training for that soon, and I plan to tag along with him and try and improve my fitness. I know all these small steps we can take to improve our physical health will also benefit our emotional health, so they are important in helping us stay on track.

I've been reading What Every Woman Needs to Know by Lesley Regan, the recurrent miscarriage expert at St Mary's Hospital, and that has been helping a little. It helps to be reminded that we were just very unlucky and the odds are that next time we are pregnant - if we are lucky enough to be pregnant again - we will more than likely go on to have a baby. We've tentatively thought about trying again. We'll never forget the baby Beans that we have lost, but it has made us realise how much we want to be parents - and what good parents we'll hopefully make when the time is right.

Thursday 12 May 2011

The week that was

It feels like an age since I last wrote an entry on here. Every day seems incredibly long at the moment, and last week feels like it was months ago now. I suppose that's to be expected in these early stages and I know it will pass in time. The Boy and I are both back at work now which will help us settle down, and I think a routine and some structure will help us resume a sense of normality. I want to fight against that, but my mind is overruling my heart - for now at any rate - as I know this is the right thing to do, and while it is painful now to let go, getting back on track will ease our sadness in the long run.

For the most part, the Boy and I had a good time in North Yorkshire. I was anxious about going, but the change of scenery, beautiful views and fresh air did us both some good I think. As safe as it felt to shelter together from the world in our little flat, we knew we had to re-engage with the world at some point, and this short trip was an important part of that. We were staying in a little farm house just outside Castleton which was really lovely, in peaceful and idyllic surroundings. The views across the moors from the cottage (see below) were just beautiful and being somewhere so different to London, where we were so much more at one with the environment, did help us a bit on our way through the grief.

I had been very nervous about my cousin's wedding, and seeing the family, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. It felt surprisingly good to be socialising - of course the wine helped - and it was such a lovely, happy day that it was a welcome reminder that life goes on, and that more happy times will come our way in due course. Everyone was very kind to us, and those who have had similar or shared experiences to us sought us out to comfort us, which was hugely appreciated.

The Boy was a legend as always, by my side whenever I needed him and when I didn't he was making me proud dancing with the my aunt, who sadly lost her husband in January this year. I am so in love with him that it almost feels like I might combust. The fierce passionate energy that burned so brightly in the first heady days of our romance is back with avengeance, and I want to shout from the treetops how wonderful he is and get everyone's attention that I am with such a marvellous man. Our relationship, already rich, is now immense and magnificent - and I am holding this dear as we go forward from our tragedy. The Boy somehow seems more than the man I fell in love with and the man I married, he seems to be visibly growing all the time as I look on. My heart aches for our baby, but it aches in a different way for him - with longing and pride. He gives me the strength to burn, to fight, to live, and because of that I can put one foot in front of the other and begin to stumble ahead.

But not every day was easy. The Boy left Yorkshire a few days before I did, and I found it very hard without him. We've been each other's shadow for the last couple of weeks, so to be apart wasn't easy. I found the first day especially difficult, and a small falling out with a family member knocked me for six and left me very weak and fragile. I fell apart, and cried so much - a few tears for the argument but a whole swimming pool full for my lost baby, who I wanted so much and who I already loved unconditionally. I felt so alone and miserable and the physical pain inside was hard to bear. But these tears needed to be cried and if being without the Boy made it easier for them to come out, then so be it. There will be so many days ahead when we feel sad or angry and we need to keep releasing our sorrow or ire, and not hold on to any of it or push it deep down inside us, only for it to surprise us at some random point in the future.

So here we are. We're taking a deep breath - another one - and beginning to step forwards hand in hand out of the darkness together. I know it will be a long, arduous and complicated journey. Some days we'll stride ahead, other days one of us may falter and need to lean on the other for strength and guidance, sometimes we might both want to shuffle back into the shade and cling to each other. But I know we'll survive and we'll get there. We go forwards with a new view of life - and a new view of each other. Stronger, braver, wiser and more capable of love than either of us knew before. And we owe that to our beautiful lost baby Beans - a legacy I hope we will never lose.

Friday 6 May 2011

A little toe back in the land of the living

Later today the Boy and I will be heading 'oop north' for a few days to go to my cousin's wedding at Danby Castle, inYorkshire. I feel that a change of scene and some fresh country air could do us good, but I am pretty nervous about being at a big social event and how the Boy and I will cope. We haven't seen any friends or family - bar my sister - since 26 April when we found out baby Beans had died, and being together just us two has been a great comfort and solace in the difficult week and a half since then.

I feel a bit sad and anxious that this quiet time we have had together to take care of each other is coming to an end. I suppose it has been a protective little bubble but now it is time to take tentative steps back into the land of the living. This trip was planned several months ago and after the wedding I will stay on in Castleton for a few days with my parents, and the Boy will return to London and go back to work. Life will begin to take on a semblance of normality. And, I suspect, therein lies my fear. We can't hide from the world and I can't stay in the safety of the Boy's shadow forever. I understand that we're stronger now and ready to take up our routines, but the end of this peaceful time is another ending with the baby and another step on the road to recovery. I know that's a good thing, but I find I take these steps with some reticence and trepidation, as while in the long-term they heal, in the short-term they bring sadness and pain and my body and heart crumple.

I feel quite frightened by the thought of being away from the Boy for three nights. I know I will be with my loving family but it's his arms that calm me, nurture me and protect me, and I don't want to be without him. But I will try to be strong and be positive - I'm not going back to work until Thursday next week, and I know it's better for me to be in the countryside with my family than sitting alone in our little flat while he's at work. I also know in this era of technology we won't really be apart. We can speak on the phone, text and email, and I suspect the few days away will give me back a little of the independence I've lost, and help me move forwards... but I know they will be difficult days without him. I'm worried also how he will be, on his own for those lonely nights with no cuddles. We've been falling asleep in each other's arms and constantly reassuring each other through touch. I hope he will be alright without that.

On the whole I think we're doing pretty well at the moment. Every day is different and the mantra 'one day at a time' is entirely appropriate. Yesterday was quite a sad day - the Boy was very reflective and quiet, and it should have been my next midwife's appointment so that felt a little uneasy. I was touched to receive a phonecall from the lovely Dr H (the trainee that the Boy and I both see at our surgery) to say he had received the letter about my miscarriage and was on hand for any support, or to offer any help we needed. I have been really impressed with the care we've received from the NHS. The staff must be under such pressure and I imagine it's a really difficult time for them not knowing how this government will reorganise our medical services and if they will still have jobs, but everyone has been amazingly gentle and kind with us through all of this. The Boy and I had wondered if the time might be right to have another look at moving, but I feel very strongly I want to stay with St Thomas's Hospital now and have at least our first baby here as I have felt so valued, so we won't make any hurried decisions on that just yet.

We went out for a curry last night to Nawaz, a little restaurant near where we live - another one of the little steps we've been taking as we try and lay what has happened to rest and begin to move on. It was really nice and I enjoyed the time with the Boy and we were able to talk more about how we are feeling. You would have thought we would have run out of words and tears by now, but no! They keep on flowing... We've begun to broach the issue of when we might feel ready to try again, which I think is another step forwards. When this first happened I thought we'd want to leave it for a long time, maybe even next year. But now we both feel so sure that we want to be parents that I suspect we will begin our quest for a family sooner rather than later. I'm aware that if I am lucky enough to fall pregnant again I will be nervous - I was so anxious getting to 12 weeks this time, and I'm sure that will be even more scary next time.

I felt a little panicked when we got back - we are going to the wedding of one of the Boy's friends next Saturday (two consecutive weekends of weddings coming up) and she had been in touch with me to say they had put us on a table with a couple with a very, very young baby and would that be too much for us. It was very thoughtful of her to think of us at what must be a very busy time for her, but I freaked out at the thought of it. We went into the library yesterday morning to vote in the AV referendum and it was 'mother and baby' day, and even being in there with lots of babies for 10 minutes was difficult for me. I couldn't bear the thought of sitting next to one at the wedding breakfast. In time I know this will all become easier and I'm sure I will want to be around children again, but it's too much now - it's too painful a reminder of what we have lost. The Boy replied along these lines and she has been able to move us to another table which I feel very thankful for. I hadn't appreciated there would be children at the wedding though, and I feel a little disturbed about this. The Boy was - as ever - a huge comfort to me, reassuring me that he'll be by my side throughout the day, and we can make sure we spend time with adult friends who know how the last few weeks have been for us. We may well leave the wedding early as well, as I am so anxious about how it will be. The wedding is in the church where the Boy and I married last year, so I'm sure it will bring back many happy memories, and I hope they will be enough to keep me smiling.

Thursday 5 May 2011

You've got the love

I'm starting to feel like the Boy and I are taking tiny pigeon steps in the direction of healing. I know there's a long way to go, but I can feel myself beginning to get stronger and that's taken me by surprise as I had imagined it would take an awful lot longer to get to this stage. The pain feels like more of a dull ache than the gripping panic it was to begin with. It's really helped that we've both been given some compassionate leave from work this week as the time together is a great comfort. At first we were nervous and unsettled with empty days stretching ahead of us, but it's been a real blessing, and I am so thankful to both of our employers for being so sensitive to us. I've had time to let myself feel - sadness, anger, fear, guilt, envy - and we've had so much time to cry, talk, listen and cuddle. We've tried each day to do something 'normal' that takes us out of the house - be it a trip to the cinema (although that was a bit of a disaster on Monday), a walk, or going to the pub for a quiet drink. Pigeon steps back to a semblance of normalcy.

I'm aware already that if we'd gone back to work, or if I'd have been at home on my own during this period, I wouldn't be feeling like I am now. There's been something very important about being together and being there for each other. Spending time with each other and dealing with this tragedy together will in time prove our salvation, I'm sure of it. But of course there is still the huge sense of loss and sadness - the Boy was talking last night about how excited he had been to become a father and how he'd expected that to happen in November, but now we don't know when it might be... and that's hard for him to take, hard for us both. Especially as inevitably news continues to break of more babies on their way in our extended network of contacts. My sister came to see us for a few hours yesterday and one of her best friends from school is expecting a baby the same day I was due, and there are others I know about through social networking sites. I normally love Facebook and Twitter, but in times of difficulty I think they can be more of a pain than a pleasure.

We've been able in this time as well to think about the future. It's beginning to feel as if we might be ready to try again sooner rather than later, and we've been exploring our feelings around that. I think we both have some guilt about preparing to move on. It's not that our first baby didn't matter - of course it did and we will always remember, we will attend the funeral, we will buy an ornament to mark our baby's birth date, and we will make a memory box and treasure every keepsake of our little, little one. But this experience has left us absolutely certain that we want a family and that we are ready to be parents - we pretty much knew this before but there is something about being tested and experiencing loss that firms the resolve and erases the doubt. I think it's different for every mother and father-to-be who experience this loss. For some I think more time and space is needed. For me, I think the hole that has been left inside desperately wants to be filled with a new baby. Not to use as a replacement or to help me forget, but because I know and feel this is what my body, my heart and my mind wants, and I'm not sure what advantages taking time out now would bring me. We don't have to make any decisions now and we will continue to think and talk. I trust that we will find what is the right next step for us.

The Boy was looking through some old photo albums yesterday afternoon - I was very diligent when we were first together and I think all the pictures from our first year or so are nicely presented in pretty photo albums, standards have slipped since! - and there was something helpful and powerful in looking back at happier times. And we've had so many. We laughed really hard at some of the photos, and that was cathartic, and as we competed to share memories and stories I felt us moving even closer together.


One element I hadn't expected to come from all this sadness was heightened feelings for the Boy. I feel like I'm falling in love with him all over again, discovering new qualities to him and rediscovering the ones I always knew were there. With these feelings come a certain happiness and freedom, because my life can't be complete darkness with this level of love in it. I guess this love is like a security blanket which will keep me warm when things feel bleak. We had the Florence and the Machine version of You've Got the Love playing after our wedding, when we were were announced and walked into the wedding breakfast as Mr and Mrs. I've always loved the song, and now the words speak to me even more.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Now I know what love means

This one's for the Boy... he deserves it. A song I've only heard recently, but which captures the essence of what the Boy is to me and how he has helped me through these past few dark, dark days.

Magic numbers

I've so far resisted combing the internet for answers to the questions I have about our lost baby. I know they're not there, and I'm aware that by checking in with Dr Google I'm likely to upset myself far more than I already am. But this morning, with the hope from last night fresh in my heart, I allowed myself to look on the NHS pages about miscarriage.

I have been really frightened not just about what's happened, and the loss of baby Beans, but what all this might mean for the future and if I'd be brave enough to go through all this again - and possibly, again - in our quest to have a family. Are the odds now stacked against me? Am I more likely to have another miscarriage? Will I be one of those pour souls who must endure recurrent miscarriages and is never bless with a child?

The words on the NHS pages cheered me, and I take heart from these words: For most women, a miscarriage is a one-off event (known as a sporadic miscarriage) and they go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future. Recurrent miscarriages (the loss of three or more pregnancies in a row) are uncommon and affect one per cent of all couples. Even in the case of recurrent miscarriages, an estimated 75 per cent of women go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future.

Apparently for my age group miscarriage is a 15 per cent risk, which re-confirms with me how unlucky the Boy and I have been. We still want a baby as much as we did, and while it's not yet the time to think ahead, there is comfort in these pages which may nurture the flicker of hope I feel inside until it's ready to burn again.

Tender is the night

In the middle of all our sorrow, the Boy and I managed to have a few really good hours together last night. I thought it would be a lot longer before we could laugh together again, but I guess this shows we really do have to take every day as it comes because we can't predict how things are going to be. I think being as close as we are will really help us, and maybe happy periods are sooner around the corner than I had imagined.

We had a simple evening but after the complexity of the last week I treasured it, and it felt beautiful. The Boy made us some dinner - chicken fajitas, one of his favourites - and we cuddled on the sofa watching a couple of new television dramas with a few drinks. Entwined in each others arms I felt happy, we were relaxed and exchanged jokes, and it felt so natural. We lay together on the couch just kissing. I'd forgotten how lovely that can be. We haven't 'just kissed' for a while - it's always led on to further action! But the after effects of the weekend's procedures prevent that for a week or so. I felt lost in the Boy and so in love. And this is what real love is - it's there in the good times, but it's there as an even stronger force in those hollow times when good feels swallowed up by bad. It was a delicate and gentle reminder that I can still feel really strong happy emotions, and that we will be ok. The Boy and I will be there for each other and take care of each other for as long as we both shall live. And if life is just to be me and the Boy, then it will still be full of more wonder and amazement than many folk dare to imagine they will experience.

It was just for a few hours, and I've awoken this morning wracked with sadness once more, but it was a precious, precious taster for me that life goes on and while the pain may be winning out just now, it won't always be this way. I had a glimpse of hope, and I've heard this song in my head ever since... You Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones).

Monday 2 May 2011

Sweet child of mine

The Boy and I went to the cinema at lunchtime to get a break from the flat. While I'm still very tired and we're both struggling, it makes sense to get fresh air and start to face the world again. We can't hide forever. We chose to see Rio in 3D which was very good, and provided light relief for my heavy heart.

During the film though, I heard children in the cinema laughing and I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. It came on suddenly and the pain stabbed right through me as if I had been knifed in the heart. The emptiness washed over me and I found it hard to fight the tears. But in the darkness I felt safe enough to let them tumble down my cheeks. The Boy felt my sadness and was by my side, as he always is, squeezing my hand and whispering in my ear how much he loves me. I was engulfed with longing for all the things I wanted to do with my first baby that I won't get to do now - hold them, teach them, take them to the cinema, enjoy picnics together... I suppose just love them and do all the things a mother would do with her child. I loved this baby and couldn't wait to watch it grow and be its nurturer.

I know I can do these things with a child we might be blessed with in the future, but there seems something very dark in losing my first baby. This one will always be my first, and while I know beyond doubt that any much wanted children that do come along I will love beyond measure and without condition, this baby will always be my first and letting go of the hopes and dreams I had for us together, while I know necessary, is very painful.

Eyes open

It has struck me in the last couple of days that in times of hardship my eyes are inevitably drawn to seeing what they don't want to see. In the first year we were together the Boy and I had some difficulties and we stopped seeing each other for about a month - one of the hardest times of my life looking back. During that time all I saw everywhere were couples, people falling in love, my friends settling down and a plethora of engagement and wedding announcements. It seemed like no one was on their own apart from me. Once we happily resolved our problems and became the unbreakable unit we are today, those images faded into the background and into obscurity.

The same thing is happening now. Everywhere I look, whenever I look I see babies. At the hospital my eyes roved over the people waiting for the lift to rest on the pregnant woman - as if I was deliberately seeking her out to torture myself. When the television is on, the adverts for baby clothes or formula jump out of the television and seem to shake me by the shoulders. Walking around where we live it's as if the young mothers nursing their children have huge red flashing arrows above them, pointing down on them, so I can't miss them and my attention is drawn to them. I can't look away. Logging onto social networking sites my senses are flooded with pictures of new babies and parents beaming with happiness at their new arrivals.

I know it's just life, and these images are always there - they're no more now than they've ever been, it's just my situation and perspective that has changed. I'm raw and wounded, and it won't take much to remind me of our loss in the early stages. I'm sure it will fade in time and my eyes will see the world in a more balanced way again. I hope so.

Morning is broken

I'm finding the mornings the hardest part of the day at the moment. When I'm asleep the pain of our reality is numbed, and so when I wake up it takes a few moments before what has happened sinks in all over again. And I can feel the sadness and ache creep inside of me and take a hold of my heart once again. I miss our baby so much the words evade me, as it's so much more than I imagined it would be.

I try and comfort myself and rationalise my sadness - I have the Boy, we love each other so much, we are in this for life, we can try again, our dreams may only be postponed not ended, we're both open to adoption if there is a problem naturally yet to be detected, this isn't the end it's just the beginning of our journey into parenting... but my words fall upon deaf ears. I really wanted this baby. And it's the loss of this baby that hurts - my first one. The first time I have ever been pregnant and felt the morning sickness, felt the fatigue, felt my maternal instinct kick into being with a force I couldn't have predicted, felt the anticipation and the excitment of when the baby would kick and what gender it would be, felt the wonder that a life was beginning in side of me, felt the things my body could do that I'd never known about...

I know this will all take some time to subside and I have to let go and ride out the wave, let the emotion wash over me, and let our inner strength carry us through. Which it will, I am in no doubt. But it hurts, and I know it will until we come out of this the other side, and beyond. If only life had a fast forward button and I could wake up again in a few months - I know things will feel different in only a short space of time, but I want to resist the pain that comes before the relief in taking those few steps forward.

Sunday 1 May 2011

"It's all for the best"

The Boy and I have received a tremendous level of love and support from our friends and family since Tuesday. I've been really touched by how loving and kind some of our friends have been - and of course our immediate families have been outstanding. But amongst this happiness I have found one phrase quite difficult to swallow, when people have said "perhaps it's all for the best".

I understand that this comment comes from genuine concern and a real desire to help us feel better, and to encourage us to see the situation in a positive light. I certainly agree that as the low hormone in the blood tests indicated that all might not be well with the baby, the Boy and I may have been spared some impossible decisions further down the line. But I find the phrase difficult to swallow this soon after the loss - and I will guard my words to any friends unfortunate to find themselves in similar positions in future.

The Boy and I are being positive and we are strong people who will survive this, but it's too soon for this kind of logic - this was a baby that was planned, dearly wanted, and loved so much in the 13 weeks it was here, that for it suddenly to be lost to us cannot be taken as "for the best" yet.

Perhaps in time, perhaps. But I can't yet feel that for the Boy and I to lose this child, not to meet it, not to hold it, not to love it, not to see it develop - no, that certainly doesn't feel like "for the best" to me just now.

When a child is born

The Boy and I are home now after a very tough couple of days. We went into St Thomas's Hospital on Saturday morning at 9am to complete the necessary procedures to lay our dead baby Beans to rest. I had slept badly - again - and been awake since 5am with some uncomfortable period-like cramps, and my nerves were starting to get the better of me. I shed a few tears on the way in on the underground. It still seemed so unreal what was happening and I felt angry and upset to be on the tube with people who were on their way out for days out, to enjoy the sun, or to visit friends or family, while we were on the way to complete my miscarriage and lay our first baby to rest.

We tentatively made our way to the gynaecology ward where we were welcomed by a very sweet nurse, Lorna, who was looking after me. I had a large, beautiful private room on the 8th floor with huge windows overlooking the London Eye and County Hall. Even in my numbed and agitated state the views took my breath away. The sun streamed through the window, loitered with stray fingerprints, and I watched the tour buses packed with visitors here for the Royal wedding trundle over Westminster Bridge. Happy scenes and smiling faces all around, with union jacks flying brightly in the dazzling blue sky.

The Boy and I were left to our own devices for a short time under the doctor came in to check on my progress. It was Dr Cloke, the same doctor who had explored my options with me on Tuesday and it was a relief to have this continuity, as she had been very understanding and patient with me. I was really impressed. It's a long time - 15 years - since I've been in hospital and patient care and the level of service you receive has improved beyond all recognition. By the time she came in my cramps were becoming much more uncomfortable - I understand now I was having contractions - and I was given some basic painkillers and anti-nausea drugs, then at 10.45am I was given my first dose of the medicine to encourage the contractions to continue and for the labour to begin.

While I was trying to be strong, brave and positive, I was pretty scared by this point - I think because I didn't know what to expect, how painful it would be, how long it would take, and what I would see - and the contractions were becoming increasingly painful. Nothing I couldn't bear, but it was as if with every squeeze of my cervix I was reminded of what was happening, every wave of pulsation reminded me what the Boy and I had lost and what this would lead to. I'm surprised I didn't crush the Boy's bones, I squeezed his hands so tightly. He was amazing with me, reassuring me and comforting me all the way, massaging my head and shoulders and telling me how much he loved me. He gave me the strength to relax and let the medication take its course.

Things happened fairly quickly and within an hour or so I was bleeding heavily. I managed to stay together though and I felt unexpectedly calm through this part of the process which lasted a couple of hours, and the pain stopped as soon as the bleeding started which was a relief. It subsided to much more gentle cramps across my ovaries and womb. I had two more doses of the medication, one at 2pm and another at 5.15pm, during which time I felt like nothing much more was happening. I had waves of sadness and it was very surreal being there, but I was able to talk to the Boy, read magazines and newspapers, and I felt relatively relaxed given the circumstances. Lorna and Dr Cloke were both amazingly kind and supportive, and I felt really valued and respected at all times.

At 6.15pm the Boy nipped out to call both our sets of parents and get some air. I felt sure at this point nothing much was happening as I wasn't even uncomfortable, let alone in pain. I was sure the process would take all night, as you can receive up to five doses of the medication before anything happens. But luckily he wasn't gone too long because a routine check from the doctor as Big Ben chimed 7pm coincided with the delivery of our tiny baby - peacefully and painlessly. I had been warned to expect a lot of pain, blood loss and general mess, but in the end it was nothing like that. Maybe our little baby was being kind to us, I don't know, but it was a gentle process. It felt natural and it also felt like a relief, although obviously one tinged with huge sadness.

I felt a bit bewildered after the process was over. So many mixed emotions. One which caught me by surprise was that my arms ached to hold a baby - I wonder if when the body goes through this labour process the maternal physical instinct is to nurse a child afterwards. I longed to hold a baby and smell its newborn skin. I felt huge sadness and emptiness that the labour had ended with a dead baby - and I longed for our situation to be so different. But I also felt relief - as if the baby, the Boy and I can now all be at rest. What needed to happen has happened, and now we can begin to say goodbye, grieve and heal. I also felt that I'd seen a different side of myself - one that was stronger than I knew, more resilient than I expected, and braver than I had previously thought. I experienced our worst nightmare and I survived - in fact not only survived, the staff commented on how well I had coped and managed, and also finding out my body worked as it should do and could deliver a baby was quite moving, in a funny way I felt proud of myself.

The staff kindly let Ben stay in with me overnight, as they needed to keep me in to check my blood pressure and blood loss. We both cuddled in my bed for some time, mostly in silence, shocked by what had happened but also calm, and we cried together for the baby that we had lost. We had to fill in some paperwork about what happens next. We have resisted an autopsy for our baby, but taken up the hospital's offer to hold a funeral for our baby - apparently it will be buried in a small casket and we can attend the service. I think this will help us let go, but we can make a final decision nearer the time.

We both managed more sleep that we expected. I had some strange dreams where I met people from my past and was telling them about the baby, but they wouldn't listen, and I also heard Big Ben chiming through the night. In the morning we had a small wait while the staff continued to check my blood pressure and blood count, before they finally discharged me about noon. We visited the chapel on the ground floor of the hospital and spent some quiet time there. We also wrote a prayer in the church's prayer book - we took the last entry space which somehow also felt significant. I only wrote a few words from us, asking him upstairs to look after our little baby Beans until we can all meet again.

So, now we are at home, still wounded, lost, shell-shocked and bewildered as I imagine we will be for some time to come. We're both riding a wave of emotions - sometimes it feels ok, sometimes devastating. I had dreamed of the day I would bring our baby home from hospital and I feel the pain of coming home with nothing keenly. I find myself restless, wandering from one room to the other not sure what to do with myself. Now suddenly not being pregnant I don't have a purpose, and no other jobs seem worth doing now that I can't be a mum - yet.

We've had lots of cuddles and again, I can't put into words how cherished I am by the Boy and how much this helps. I know we will survive and be all the closer for this, and I know while now there is darkness, one day there will be light again. We're talking a lot about what has happened and we're thinking of ways we can remember our baby - neither of us wants to forget. We plan to buy an ornament or something beautiful for the house, and engrave the birthday date - 7pm 30 April 2011 - on the bottom. Then we will have a reminder we can take everywhere, from house to house, of our beautiful first baby Beans, who I hope is now in far safer hands than our fragile, human ones, and who is waiting for us patiently on the other side until we meet again.