Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Wall

You are walking along fine with everyone else and the sun is shining and all is going ok and then you walk SLAM into a brick wall. And it hurts – really hurts. It hurts your head and your chest where your heart is and your stomach. And it shocks you as only slamming into a brick wall can. Stops you dead in your tracks. And you stand there thinking “How did I not see that coming ? What the hell happened ? How could someone just do that to me ?” And you look around and everyone else seems to be walking round the wall. They are carrying on like nothing happened and the sun is still shining for them. They don’t even see the wall. They don’t even know its there. And you realise you didn’t know it was there until you hit it – you didn’t even know there was a brick wall you could hit – not now, not at this stage. And slowly you pull yourself together. The pain in your stomach goes away but your heart still hurts and your mind is racing with questions about this brick wall – how, what, where, why ?? Mostly why ? Why on earth would someone make you walk into this wall – why did they have to put it in front of you and no-one else ? And you can walk again now the pain in your stomach and maybe your legs has subsided. So you slowly make your way round the wall and to the other side. But it doesn’t look the same on the other side. It’s greyer and emptier. And you know you’ve left something behind – something very precious and you want it back. So you turn round and there is the brick wall behind you and it seems to hit you with the same force again when you realise you can’t go back. Its blocking your path and it will always be there. You pummel your fists on it and cry and shout at it but it’s unbreakable and absolute. It won’t let you get your precious bundle back – that has to stay on the other side and you must carry on without it. You can’t go back to the path you were on before you hit the brick wall – it’s impossible. So all you can do is go forward and walk on from it. But its hard-going and your legs don’t seem to want to walk away from it. You know when you look over your shoulder it will always be there. It may fade a bit from view but if you look closely you will always be able to see it – even in the distance. And you look around you again and see all the people who never hit the brick wall carrying on too. You tell some of them about the brick wall and they sympathise – it must have hurt they say. You are looking well despite hitting this brick wall – you have no cuts or bruises on the outside because those heal. So you must be doing ok then now they say ? But my wounds are on the inside you feel like screaming. How can you not know about this brick wall – why couldn’t you walk into it instead of me ? And then you feel bad – you know you wouldn’t really want anyone else to walk into that wall. Some people are ok – maybe they have seen the wall themselves in the past or come close to it - maybe they are really good friends and family who close their eyes and do try to imagine walking into the wall. They are the ones who help you keep walking away from it. People tell you that you’ll never hit this brick wall again – it only appears once in your life. And you want to believe them even though you can’t be sure. Up ahead it looks like maybe your path does cross back into the sunshine again – the same sunshine that everyone else is basking in. And you can just maybe make out another bundle waiting for you to pick up and carry with you for the rest of your life. And maybe if you are strong and keep moving forward then you’ll reach it one day. But it’s not the same bundle as before – it can’t be. That one is behind the wall. The wall that’s always there if you look over your shoulder. And written on it in forever more is the message in letters a mile high, that only you can see – My darling baby. RIP

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Absent Friends

....I guess that is what my husband and I now are...or are our friends the Absent Friends? Friends that once filled every day of our lives and now they are gone.  It's not through their choice, it's all our doing...well my doing if I am perfectly honest. You see, there are just some friends I can't see. Not won't. Can't. It's too hard. Too painful. I'm finding it hard enough to stay standing as it is, to withstand the storm of grief which still whirls around me. If I add anything else to the mix I'll topple over. I'm not strong enough to stay upright. I haven't been able to ground feet back into the earth just yet.

It's not an easy situation. I have seen some friends and I usually have a lovely time when I do. But the friends I have seen are the ones without babies, or ones that have older babies. I can cope with that. It's the other friends that are the problem. The ones with the new babies or the ones who are pregnant. They don't symbolise friendship anymore, to me they are just a giant flashing beacon of everything we had and have lost.

I honestly don't know what to do about it. This can't go on indefinitely or we'll lose them from our lives forever.  Out of everyone I am most worried about our best friends (if they would even call us that now). I've written about them before in previous posts - they had a baby boy five weeks after we lost William. It's not their fault. They've done nothing wrong. But their little boy and their family life is what we'd dreamed of, hoped and prayed for, and it's what was taken away from us.

I've tried to keep in touch with the wife over email, to share what has been going on in my life and ask after hers, but it has been hard. I feel I have to ask after her little boy but in reality I don't want to hear anything about him. I know he will be utterly gorgeous but to hear any real details about him would be like sticking a knife in my heart. I think my friend senses that and so she hardly ever mentions him, even when I ask, but it must be hard - after all, he is the most important person in her life now and she can't share that with me anymore.

In recent weeks the emails have subsided. She suggested meeting, without the baby, but I was just not ready. I said I wasn't sure and that I needed to build up to it and she suggested that sometimes things are worse in our minds than they turn out to be in reality. She asked how it has been when I've seen other friends. I didn't know what to say and I felt like she was pushing me. I couldn't be honest, couldn't say that it has been ok seeing some other friends....ok because they don't have a baby boy who is five weeks younger than mine should be. So instead  I just turned and legged it in the other way.  I haven't emailed her since.

I feel like I am losing her and it makes me very sad. She is such a lovely person and I know her little boy will be wonderful. But it's hard. Things have changed. I have changed. It will never be the same again. She has what I have lost and I don't know if I can spend my life watching her little boy grow up when I had to leave mine in the hospital.  I wonder if she thinks I have had long enough - it's been 7 months - does she think I should be over this by now? Does she think I should be capable of seeing her or her little boy by now? Does she think I have had enough time to grieve? 

I don't know the answer. All I know is I haven't had long enough. I am not ready. It is too painful. And whilst I hope I will get there one day, my biggest fear is that she might not wait for me and I will have lost her forever.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Just a quick note about....Jeans

I didn't put on that much weight whilst pregnant but after having William I was a long way off being able to get back into my normal clothes. I definitely didn't want to wear maternity clothes anymore.  The idea of wearing clothes meant for a mother-to-be when my baby had just died made me feel sick.  Unfortunately I didn't fit into anything else and so this made my sorry situation seem all the more depressing.

I didn't want to go shopping. I didn't want to go out in public. I couldn't be bothered to try on clothes. But, I had nothing to wear so I didn't have much choice. So off my husband and I trotted to a department store to try and find me some jeans. I had to try on about 15 pairs but I did manage to find a pair that fitted me and for the first time in quite some time I actually felt pretty good.

I was in a normal pair of jeans and, most importantly, NOT maternity jeans. They fitted. They actually looked nice. And I felt like me. Not entirely the old me. But a little bit more like me.

So, to anyone who has gone through this, I would tell you to go buy yourself some really great jeans. I know it may seem stupid, I know you don't feel like it, but as silly as it sounds, when you find a pair that fits, it will make you feel a little bit better. And at times like these, we have to try and find those little moments every chance we can get.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Keeping My Game Face On

....is so exhausting.  At the shops, on the tube, at work, in the doctors, walking down the street. To anyone else looking at me I look normal. They would never guess that I have lost a baby. At first glance they wouldn't see just how devastated I am inside.

I guess I could walk around with tears running down my face, bearing my soul to all but they would probably think I was a nuts and I am sure it would make everyone else feel more than a little uncomfortable. So, the Game Face is required. The one that smiles at the man in Starbucks when he's taking your order, the one that doesn't flinch when stood next to a mother with a pram in the queue, the one that makes the world think "She's ok".

I'm now back at work 3.5 days a week and so the Game Face is required more so than ever.  I cannot cry in front of people in my office. It's a law firm. A big corporate, male dominated law firm. Crying would be seen as weakness. Not that I really care if they think I am weak, but if I want to keep my job and my clients and for people to believe I am still capable of doing this job, then the Game Face has to stay on.

It is so draining and when I first started back at work, I would walk in through my door at the end of the day and burst into tears. It was like a massive emotional release of all of the emotions I have had to keep in check throughout the day. Emotions that build and build and build and build until I am safely in the comfort of my own home...and then they all come rushing out.

Problem is that sometimes you just can't keep that Game Face on. It can slip. It does slip. It's happened to me twice this week at work. First, I saw on facebook that another friend had had her baby, then today a colleague called me to tell me his wife is expecting. On both occasions it was just too much and I couldn't control the tears.  Thankfully, on both occasions I made it to the staff toilet and managed to cry my eyes out silently, in the privacy of my own cubicle.  I don't know if anyone realised but my blood shot eyes were a pretty good giveaway to those who saw me on the way back to my desk.

This Game Face thing is just one big act and it is so tiring. I wonder if it will always be this way. Is my life destined to be just one massive play with me as the central character, acting out a "normal' person's life? Will one day I really feel happy again, not always on the brink of tears, not carrying around this heavy weight of grief? I really and truly hope that one day I will feel happy again and my Game Face will not longer be required.... because I am not sure I can keep this act up forever.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I feel like I will never feel happy again.

I look at the photos of me in frames around our house and think that that girl is gone forever.

It seems like everyone else has their babies but me.

I find it hard to believe that I will ever have my own take home baby.

I worry what would happen if it happened again. Whether I would survive, could survive.

I think it might be better if I didn't, because then I would be with William again.

I think I am being punished.

I wonder if there really is a God.

I have to believe there is a God - that William is with him and that I will see him again.

I worry whether William will remember me.

I wish this had never happened.

I am glad that it has, because if it hadn't, I would never have known the joy of carrying William, seen how beautiful he was when I held him, and he wouldn't be waiting for me in Heaven.

I feel like running away, far away to somewhere like South America. Starting again and pretending this isn't me. That I'm happy and carefree. A girl whose heart hasn't been broken.

I have so much resentment and hatred inside I feel like it could consume me.

My heart actually aches for William. I can feel the physical pain inside my chest.

The grief overwhelms me and I cry just as hard as I did the day we lost him.

I wonder what this has done to my relationship with my husband. Are we closer for having gone through this together or has it tainted our marriage with a sadness that can never be overcome?

I feel betrayed by old friends who I thought would be there for me but who abandoned me when I was most in my time of need.

I am surprised by how wonderful some friends can be.

I find it hard to believe I am a Mum.

My heart fills with warmth when I tell myself I am William's Mum.

I find it hard to believe that I will learn to live with this pain and have any kind of 'real' life again.

I have to believe there is a happy ending for us, that my husband and I will have a take home baby. That we will be a proper family here on earth, not just in Heaven.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Will I ever get that happy ending?

After everything that has happened, I find it very hard to be positive. Now we've started trying for another baby, I am more aware of this than ever. Every month I tell myself it isn't going to work.  That I won't be pregnant (so far I've been right!). When we first lost William I would tell my counsellor that one way or another I would have another baby - even if the tests showed we couldn't have one of our own or had to use egg or sperm donors...I would even adopt. Whatever it took, I said we would have a family one day. Since we've started trying again I find that very hard to believe. In fact, I seem to have done a complete u-turn and now I don't feel like we will ever have a baby.

If I let myself believe for a second that we will, then I find it hard to believe that the baby will be ok. I keep thinking the next baby will have the same condition as William or something else wrong with it. All sorts of scenarios run through my head and every one of them ends badly.

I never let myself imagine the happy ending..my husband and I and a healthy baby in my arms.

To Pee Or Not To Pee

We've decided we're ready to try again for another baby. We have wanted to since we lost William but we had to wait for all of the genetic test results. I also had to get over the operation on my neck and feel physically capable of trying again.  More than that, we needed to feel ready emotionally. I had read that doctors don't recommend you try again until you are strong enough to cope with the possibility that something could potentially go wrong again this time around. I'm not sure I will ever be ready to face what we have been through a second time, but I at least feel like I can cope with all of the anxiety and worries that will come with being pregnant again.

We were very lucky that I got pregnant on the first tries the last two times (1 x MC 1 x William) and I have no doubt that we won't be as lucky this time.  I've partly convinced myself that I won't even be able to get pregnant again. Part this is a defence mechanism I suppose, to try and protect myself from the disappointment I will feel each month when my period arrives, but from a medical point of view, I also reckon my chances will be lower this time around. When I grew William my body also decided to grow a fibroid at the same time. Apparently this is quite common and it is the pregnancy hormones in your body which cause the fibroid to grow. They usually shrink after you have given birth and the hormone is no longer being emitted. I had a scan 8 weeks after having William and it showed that my fibroid had shrunk but it was not gone entirely.  Fibroids can cause problems when you are trying to get pregnant and so I have this fear that it's not going to let any embryo implant as it wants my uterus all to itself.

When I got pregnant last time I pretty much knew my cycle inside out.  For the first pregnancy which ended in an early miscarriage, I didn't pee on sticks, track my temperature, use an online calculator - nothing. I could just tell when it was the right time and we did it and I fell pregnant.  The second time was pretty much the same although I did pee on an ovulation stick for two days in a row just to check I still knew my cycle.

Since having William, I know my cycle is slightly different - the length of it is still the same but from the middle of my cycle until I get my period, I now get period pain type cramps every day and there is a lot of *ehem* CM (so sorry for the TMI!) which I didn't have before.  So, now I am trying to decide how far I want to take things in terms of tracking when I am going to ovulate to make sure we do it on the right days (yeah yeah I know we could just do it every other day for the whole month but my husband is a lawyer and I'm afraid that means a lot of late nights when he comes home totally exhausted so its not really feasible and will only add to his stress).

I know neither my husband or I are as relaxed as we were last time around and so I am concerned that peeing on sticks or taking my temperature will not only become a bit obsessive, but its also going to add a huge amount of pressure. We are both so desperate for me to get pregnant quickly that I think our lives could quite easily end up revolving around those few days each month when there might be a chance.  Everyone is always saying how you need to be relaxed to fall pregnant but I worry that doing all of these things to check we're at it at the right days will only stress us out.

On the flip side, I watched my best friend try for a baby for many months (most likely on the wrong days) and watched how disappointed she was each time her period came. Surely the disappointment each month upped the stress factors when they came to try the next time? It was only when she invested in an ovulation monitor and worked out when she was ovulating that she got knocked up almost straight away.

So, in summary, I guess its stressful trying to get pregnant, its stressful when you don't get pregnant, its stressful becoming obsessed with getting pregnant BUT you do actually need to be doing it on the right days if you are even going to be in with a shot. So I think this month I shall pee on a stick around about the time when I think I might be ovulating just to check (because come on - they are SO expensive - I'm just not doing it every day - its like peeing on £30 by the end of the month!) but that's it. No temperature tracking, no online charting, no CM checking, just the peeing. That is unless I am too stressed to even be able to go......