12 weeks

Today marks 12 weeks since Ivy was born.
It still feels like yesterday when I was taking Theo to the park after having a smear, hoping to get things moving along!

I can’t believe how quickly time seems to have passed. I think it helps now that little man is at nursery – we’ve fallen into a nice routine :)

I wonder what she would have looked like at 12 weeks old? Wish I’d have known.

8 weeks on*

IMG_6135.JPG My gorgeous baby girl!! This will likely be the first and last picture of Ivy that I share with you – the others feel too personal.
This is one of my favourites as she isn’t covered in tubes and wires, and she’s wrapped in her brother’s blanket. It’s a special moment that I shared alone with her shortly after she took her final breaths.

Yesterday it was 8 weeks since Ivy was born. Thankfully the mini-anniversary of her birth was actually a lovely day thanks to my cousin’s wedding :)
Originally I had turned down their invitation as I expected to have a small baby who I wasn’t prepared to leave that early on. However, that obviously never came to be.
Besides having a lovely day watching my cousin walk down the aisle in her gorgeous dress with her 1 year old daughter carried down before her (absolutely adorable btw), I also got to say thank you to my cousins, Aunty and Uncle who bought me & my husband some incredibly thoughtful gifts – a copy of Ivy’s hand and footprint engraved onto sterling silver discs, along with her name and birth date.

I’ve put mine with her keyring on my car keys but it’ll soon be taken off as I’m beginning to worry about how I’d be if I lost my keys! The husband has her footprint, although I’ve popped it in our jewellery box for now as he seems undecided on what to do with it.

I was also fortunate enough to receive a necklace from another cousin and his wife which has Ivy’s name and birthstone – something I hadn’t even thought of! Ruby, just incase you were wondering.

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It’s small gestures like this which can really make a difference, and remind you that others are there to help pick you up when life deals you some pretty hefty blows.

*okay, so it’s actually now 10 weeks but I forgot to post this after drafting it!

Being the 0.2%

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You never think it will be you.

Pregnancy is full of statistics. From the very beginning, you are aware of the fact that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
When you make it to 12 weeks and see that little baby bouncing around you can breathe a little bit easier.
We made it through those worrying weeks.

Then there’s the wait for the Nuchal Translucency results if you opt for the tests. 1 in 14000 – We had pretty good odds.

The anomaly scan at 20 weeks can be nerve wracking – will my baby appear healthy or will health issues become apparent? There are so many things that can go wrong, but thankfully most of us only have to worry about whether or not baby will have their legs crossed!
Our little one appeared healthy and it was confirmed she was a baby girl.

24 weeks – deep sigh of relief to have made it this far as baby is now legally recognised should they be born. It’s also around the time baby would be able to survive outside of the womb (albeit with intensive support).
She had stayed put and did so for many weeks to come.

And from then on, every week leads you closer to the birth. Brings you closer to that gorgeous, bouncing baby. You think about labour and birth, but never anticipate falling at the last hurdle. You’ve made it past every other obstacle, why would the birth be any different?
Only, for us it was different.

My only worry going into labour was whether we had enough newborn size baby grows. I told my husband he would need to buy some more after she was born because we only had a handful, and she would be small like her brother had been – I wasn’t to know we wouldn’t be needing them. One, because she would fit 0-3 comfortably! And two, because she would never be coming home with us.

One memory that is still quite strong in my mind is from when I was in labour about an hour before it went down hill. The contractions were very painful, and I was having quite a few back to back. I needed inspiration – something to get me through.
So I delved into my hospital bag which was filled with lots of different baby grows and outfits because I couldn’t decide on what to put her in when she arrived!
I dug out the very first outfit I bought when I found out she was a little girl. Underneath the little dungaree shorts, there was a pink and white stripy baby grow with frills over the arm holes.
I laid it out on the bed and rubbed my belly, telling her that I didn’t mind the pain because she would soon be here in my arms. Right then I decided this was the first baby grow I wanted her to wear. It was filled with so many happy memories for me because I bought it the same day that I had my gender scan – my dream of having a little girl was coming true. I couldn’t believe it! I would often stare at the little outfit hung up in her wardrobe, smiling like a goon and counting down the days.

That baby grow is now in her memory box, and is even more precious as it’s one of the only two baby grows Ivy ever got to wear.

The chances of placenta abruption occurring in further pregnancies is 10%. This seems like a ridiculously big percentage now, but with increased monitoring and an early delivery I hopefully won’t be part of that 0.2% again.

Damn that cleaner!

Dropping off little man at nursery for the afternoon and there’s a cute baby in a pram at the entrance (mum must have been dropping off her little one upstairs)..

I could hear the cleaner talking about the style of pram – and I couldn’t help but coo over this gorgeous little boy who grasped my finger tight and stared at me whilst I told him what a cutie he was :)

Cleaner, god bless her soul, asked me if it was my pram.

I replied, ‘no, but I wish it was’.

Painful. Very painful.

I think I’m ready for counselling

But not because Im finding it difficult to cope. I’m not – I’m doing surprisingly well for the most part.
But as life is moving on, and I’m beginning to make plans about returning to the workforce, its difficult letting go.

Letting go of the detailed plans I had made; my life plan. Most people like to know where there life is headed – I am no exception. Despite my annoying habit of being late to everything, I am a planner. I like to work towards something.

My life plan included a house, a husband, two children (although I’d toyed with the idea of three many a time), a 3 year age gap between babies, time off with the children and a good career that would enable me to be independent. I have achieved some of these goals although not necessarily in that order. I had my son first at 21, and was married 5 months later. I graduated university with a degree in Social Work so I have the foundations set for my career. I don’t yet own a house as we rent, and although I gave birth to my second child in July, I still only have one child to tuck in at night.

I’ve said my goodbyes to Ivy and although it still hurts, I’m at some sort of peace with her short life. But each night, when my husband is busying himself with his latest hobby and my child is sound asleep, I find myself sat on the settee in silence thinking about how different my life would have been if my placenta has just stayed put for that little bit longer. I’d have given birth in the birthing pool, pulling my baby out of the water to see her beautiful face for the first time. Hearing her cry as she took her first breaths – something that neither me nor Ivy ever got to experience.
If I’d have gone to hospital, what would the outcome have been? If they would have noticed she was breech in my antenatal check ups and booked me in for a planned section earlier than my due date?

I’m mostly a forward thinker and air on the positive side of life. Onwards and upwards.
But for those brief moments, I let myself wonder what could have been. It’s torturous as hindsight can often give us the answers to questions that we didn’t know existed until after the fact.

My son is now fast asleep next to me whilst I sit with him on his bed (separation anxiety is in full flow for him, ages 3) – I wonder what I would be doing if Ivy was alive? Would I have been feeding her whilst I held her in my arms, or maybe resting her on my knees on the sofa, hoping to see her first smile. It’s daunting when you think that the pain never really ends and I will continue to think about the ‘could haves’ throughout my life. The anniversary of her birthday. The acknowledgment of milestones that she would have been achieving. The year she would have been starting school. When I meet my son’s future partner(s) and hopefully granbabies! – I will have thoughts about the family Ivy missed out on having. Would she have wanted a family – maybe she would have been career focused? What would she have chosen as her career? Would she have been like me at all or more like her dad? (I sneakily suspect she would have had more of my traits/quirks!). Would she have been as stubborn as her brother or a softer soul perhaps?
God, I could go on for hours.

I didn’t need to open up to a counsellor before now because I had told the story of what has happened to so many, that I was pretty much all talked out. But the story doesn’t end with Ivy’s death, it’s continuing..it’s my life. And it’s bloody hard sometimes.

An Ancient Egyptian Inscription

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This saying was mentioned in a tv documentary I was watching earlier tonight, and it made me think about how I talk about my daughter. I love her name, and have done since I chose it for her. I’ll never know if she would have grown into her name (although I’m sure she would have!), or even if she would have preferred it to our earlier name choice of Scarlett. I love having these conversations with my mum about my name, and it’s a shame I won’t get to share these conversations with my own daughter.

Talking about Ivy is something I will always do because it keeps her memory alive for me. It’s often emotional to talk about her short life because any discussion about it inevitably contains details of her death which followed shortly after. But time is slowly helping me to heal.

My family speak of Ivy also which is lovely as it’s important to acknowledge her – I didn’t spend 9 months resisting the temptation to lick the spoon after baking to forget why I did it in the first place :)
Remembering her beautiful face makes me forget the sadness for a moment and allows me to feel the joy & wonder that every new mother feels – I created that beautiful baby! She was important to us all from the moment I found out I was pregnant, but she was especially important to me.

She was my dream.

I will have to elaborate on that in another post so you can (try to) understand that I’ve not just lost a child, but possibly the fulfilment of my dream. Time will tell.

Ivy, you are most certainly alive in my thoughts, and will be tucked away in my heart for as long as I live :)

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