Many of my friends always knew they wanted to be mothers, I didn’t. I doubted it and wondered if my DNA should be continued (yes, my self-esteem is sky-high as you might gather).
When I met my husband Raff, that’s when I did want to have a family because for the first time I felt worthy of one. We met when I was already pushing 35 so by the time we started to actually try I was already quite close to 40 and despite enjoying practicing, making a baby didn’t come easy.
But then, we were lucky enough to conceive in our first round of IVF. We still tried to keep it cool and not get too ahead of ourselves. At this point I would add that our male greyhound Charlie (we have two) knew first that we conceieved and started protecting me from everything.
Raff wanted to know the sex and when we discovered its a girl we were both over the moon- I lost my father at 6 so I was excited my daughter would have a daddy who is sooooo ready to have one.
We knew we would name her Fox even before conception, and after the 20th-week scan when we were told everything is ok we went to Selfridges where we bought her first Peter Rabbit Fox toy.
This was when Raff and I started to get super excited, I did extensive research about what we would need, ordered stickers for a super cool forest themed nursery and we couldn’t wait for her to come.
I was disagnosed as high risk for pre-eclampsia so was advised to take Aspirin to moderate it, I didn’t make much of it but now the what if’s are endless. I followed the pregnancy on the FLO app and shared every once in a while which veggie or fruit she would be the size of and would buy whatever it was (mangos, grapes, pomegranate- everything). On week 24 we travelled to see family and we had a silly debate about whether she would be dressed monochromish like her dad or leopard and red-black, and that’s when she kicked to stand her ground- she was going to be a punk-rock girl like me!
The reason I mention this is because that was the last time I remembered feeling her.
As there were 2 earlier occasions when I over panicked about feeling her and went to the hospital I thought this would be the same, knowing I had a midwife appointment that week I figured I’d go and they will monitor her and it will all be ok. Raff asked me if I wanted him to come and I was like- no need babe, I’ve got this.
On that bloody day I even danced on the escalators on the tube….so naive. And yet I would give my all to go back in time when I could be that weirdo who dances on the escalators with trash pop in her AirPods….
I was 25+1 when I was told her heart stopped and she was delivered sleeping 2 days after, the what ifs never stop spiraling in my head.
Delivery was quite quick, I think it was 5 hours in total, I spent some time with her and the lovely midwives took her footprints which are now tattooed on me. I went home with a box.
We brought that fox toy with us and it stayed with her until the burial, I have it with me now.
During that week before the appointment, Charlie was even more glued to me that usual, we did wonder about it but figured he’s just excited about his human sister coming, but now we know, he knew something went wrong. It’s amazing how he feels me.
My feelings are so raw, they go from anger, rage, hopelessness, guilt, shame…. depends on the very second you ask me.
We had a pre booked holiday that was supposed to be a babymoon the week following delivery, we went thinking it might be good to get away, but I felt so guilty the whole time. Raff broke his ankle at the end which meant I had to walk the dogs while he recovers, this was a blessing in disguise as it forced me out of staying in bed all day sulking.
I was overwhelmed by the kindness that people have treated us with, and still are. Some were saying how cruel it is that this is my first.
What helps me at the moment is sharing my thoughts and pain with people on line, its such an important topic and sadly theres still so much stigma, I hope that by talking about it it gets normalised and some day women in our place won’t feel so much guilt.
In that last scan (week 20) she was smiling, and I want to remember her like that and she wouldn’t want me to not be happy, at least thats what I have to believe in.
Grieving is a mess, it comes in waves and sometimes you might think you’re moving somewhere and then out of nowehere someone who didn’t know would ask you, oh how’s being a mum, or you see a newborn on the train in the pram you were going to buy, and you’re back to square one. Be kind to yourself.
Also, until the post mortem results came through, even though I was told by everyone it’s not my fault, I kept thinking it was. The drs say that 50-60% of these cases they can’t tell definitively the reason but we got an answer- the umbilical cord was too tightly coiled which meant the placenta wasn’t getting enough oxygen. And now at least I can’t argue with science so it helps me process it without the guilt so my best advice to women going through this is to consider finding out what happened.
Photos taken by Gil Dubsky.
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