Occasionally, it rains.

I made it through the storm of depression. The winds were strong and the waves were high. My boat was rocked, it took on water, heck, it even capsized at points. But I made it out the other side.  I found land and my family is happy. I am happy. 

I now say things like “I suffered with awful Post Natal Depression when I had my first child” and “I’m so lucky that this time around I’ve been well”.  I am well.  I am no longer depressed.  The sun shines and I have been happy for a long time. 

But, occasionally, it rains. Like all habitable climates my mood experiences the odd scattering of clouds. Sometimes the sky is a bit darker and, yes, occasionally it rains. 

Rain is not depression.  Rain is a bad day. Actually rain allows the flowers to grow, in turn making the sunnier days more attractive and more appreciated. The bad days allow us to cherish the better days with more passion and more love. 

Rain is real life.  Rain is an inevitable, unavoidable part of life. Noone wants the sun to shine all the time.  It would be too warm, too bright, too dry.  We wouldn’t appreciate it.  It only takes a week of sun for people to complain, but, let that sun break through a dreary, wet weekend, and it is loved with more passion than cake at a party.

I will say it again because it’s important: rain is not depression.  
A bad day is not a storm. 

The sun shines, the sky is bright, the breeze cools us and yes, occasionally, it rains. 

The Rainbow

What a year.  

Last year I lost what would have been my second child.  And now, I hold my third child in my arms at just a week old. 

She’s here. My rainbow.  Already brightening every single second of every day. Her big sister the sunshine and her lost sibling the storm that allowed the rainbow to shine.  She is here. She is safe.  Her existence helping to bring colour to the grey world.  Her birth healing my perceived feelings of failure at her sister’s labor.  Her willingness and ease at breastfeeding undoing the pain of her sister’s tongue tie.  

Her big sister, so proud of her new sister, so loving and gentle, that every day I fall in love with her all over again. I watch the two of then hold hands as I tandem feed and my heart melts. 

I am 8 days post partum and my hormones cause a river to run,to wash away the hurt, wash away the pain amd wash away the guilt.  We are a family. Our lost child will never be forgotten. Our Peter Pan.  The lost boy, the boy who never grew up. But he has allowed our rainbow, and for that we thank him.  He has allowed life to be perfect again.  

The light.

The chink of light that breaks through the curtains…

The torch that is turned on in the dark…

The pregnancy following the loss.

I am pregnant.

I am pregnant with a baby that has made it to the womb. I am pregnant with a baby, who, at 13 weeks looks to be doing well on the scan.

The light is shining again and my heart has hope.

This does not mean I no longer mourn my lost baby. The sibling we never met will always be with me.

But for the first time since the pain of loss there is hope.

I was lost.

I have found a map and I am on my way home.

I am a conker

image

I am a conker

A discarded shell on the ground.

My spiky exterior once housed new life. The rough edges of my shell have a soft white centre, ready to grow and protect that within it.

I grew as it grew and I opened myself, tearing apart to let life out. The life continued to grow without me. A seed growing into a tree. Bringing joy.

Now I lie barren. So empty. Ready, in my heart, to grow another life. So ready to share more love. Ready to protect, to shelter and to give. To give myself. To grow more and, to once again, open myself, break my shell and allow life out.

But instead I lie. With the leaves of Autumn. Brown and red. Like blood.

I was a conker. I gave life.

I have more life to give.

Please let me grow life again.

Can everyone stop procreating please?

It’s everywhere.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, as I drive down the road, as I walk through the supermarket.  There I am, surrounded by ultrasound pictures and bumps.

Each one reminding me how empty I am.

Each black white and grey ultrasound picture, taking me back to that room, to that moment, when the sonographer confirmed what we already knew. 

Each perfectly rounded bump making me feel small and flat.

Even at home. In the safety of my family, each time my darling daughter picks up her doll, and feeds it, lifting her top and proudly telling me, “baby wants boobie mummy”. Each time she baths it, pats it’s back as it rests on her shoulder and shushes for it to sleep.

I am reminded.

Reminded of that baby, the one that was lost, the one that should now be a 6 month sized bump.

And it hurts.

Everytime.

“at least you know you can get pregnant”

“at least you have one already”

“aren’t you going to have another one soon?”

“do you only want one child?”

I want, I need, to be pregnant again. To show that I can support and grow another life.

My lost baby will never be forgotten. 

And the reminders are everywhere.

And nowhere are they more powerful than in my heart.

The bedtime realisation.

My two year old has decided that tonight we need to lie on the floor. Not in her bed as we usually do, cuddled up for that last breastfeed of the day as she drifts slowly off to sleep, but on the floor. In the middle of her bedroom.

She points at the ceiling and declares that she can see “egg mummy egg”, then rolls towards me and wraps her arms around my neck. I smile, and inwardly chuckle as she presses her face against mine, only to look up and realise that, yes, she is right, the shadow of her lightshade is indeed egg shaped.

She’s clearly not in the bedtime mood right now, as the requests are coming thick and fast.
“drink”
“other drink”
“big girl cup”
“milk cup”
“blue cup”
“wait there mummy.”

She’s cupped up. No more excuses. We move into her bed and attempt to snuggle down. “sing songs from Annie Mummy, tomorrow mummy.”
“twinkle twinkle mummy”
“sing yoghurt and mnanas mummy”
She points at the feet of her fairy dolls as they poke out over the edge of the shelf, “six, seven, eight, nine, ten! I did it!”

I squeeze her tight. So proud of the forthright and independent toddler she has become.

And suddenly, it comes.

I am hit by a wave of emotions.

The last two years have flown, and yet been the most fulfilling of my life. But equally full of hurt. One by one the pains of the years play out in my head, starting with events from earlier this year, heading back to the first few moments of her life.

The ectopic pregnancy.
The lost baby.
The lost baby sister or brother for my perfect toddler.
The threat of methotrexate and the fear of early weaning from the breast.

The PND.
The guilt of returning to work.
The anxiety at leaving my baby.
The lost time.
The mistakes I made that I can never undo.
The early breastfeeding pain.
My failure at labour.
My inability to stop crying for the first 8 months of her life.

They run on, over and over in my head, cycling round and catching me harder each time, an unforgiving whirlpool of tears.

Then I look down.

She’s latched onto my breast and she’s feeding. She’s holding me as tightly as I am her. And I realise.

None of it matters. Not anymore.

What matters now is the child in my arms. The way that my breath makes her hair move, the heartbeat I can feel against my tummy.

And the love that consumes us both.

The lost baby.

imageI never met you, you never really existed. Getting lost on your journey as you were formed and not making it to the womb you were not able to grow as you should.

No pictures of you were ever seen. The only evidence of your attempt to join us was in the form of lines on sticks, and of the words “Pregnant. 2-3 weeks” as they stared at me from that tiny screen. I think, deep down, I knew that we would not meet, but that does not remove my love for you.

Unable to understand what has happened to our family I turn to the dictionary for help. (The Cambridge Online English Dictionary to be precise.)

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…not knowing where you are and how to get to a place:

Place unknown, that very phrase so accurately describes you.  Pregnancy in unknown location, suspected ectopic. You did not know where you were, your journey was cut short and you never made it to your destination.

I wish I could have helped you.

Lost: adjective (PLACE UNKNOWN)

…if something is lost then no one knows where it is.

No one. Not the doctors, not the sonographers, not the nurses and not me.  Your mother.  The one person who should always know where you are.   They offered me surgery, to “bring the hormone level down “, but they, the professionals whose job it is to hunt you out, were not confident that they would find you. So lost were you, that you were only visible to us as levels on a blood test, levels that continued to increase, “but not as much as they should.

Lost: adjective (CONFUSED)

…not confident and not knowing what to do in a particular situation.

I have never felt so lost.  Perhaps in sympathy for you. No amount of talking, or reading, or listening, could help me to understand what I needed to do. Without your daddy and your sister I would not have searched for the way out of the dark maze I found myself in. I did not know what to do.

Lost: adjective (ATTENTION)

…be lost in something.

I was lost in you.  In the idea of you.  In the dream of you.  The complete family you would have created. The hole that you have left instead.

And then you left.  As quietly and as discreetly as you arrived. Apologetic in your departure as you were in your arrival. Saving mummy medical intervention you remained selfless to the end.

Lost.

I lost a baby.

My baby got lost.

A lost opportunity- a lost life, a lost sibling, a lost grandchild, a lost niece or nephew.  Who knows what you may have achieved had you have arrived to your destination.

Lost.

It’s time to find myself again.