I have written lots of posts about Jamie, my boy who died when he was three days old. I have written about my pregnancy and his short life but I have never really written about living with babyloss – carrying on, coping strategies, mental health, triggers, just getting on without my third child.
It is never something we just get over but living with it is something so many parents have to do after miscarriage, after stillbirth, after neonatal death, after cot death, after an accident or an illness. These posts may be helpful, even comforting, to other bereaved parents and I would like to share your stories of your life after the death of your child.
I am now 11 years into life without my third child – it hasn’t always been easy, it isn’t always easy, he is constantly missed and his death changed me and our family, in ways I can’t adequately describe.
At my 20 week we discovered that something wasn’t quite right with his stomach – a referral to the fetal medicine unit at the RVI confirmed the suspected stomach problem, along with a heart defect.
The rest of my pregnancy was a rollercoaster of emotions, hopes and crushing reality – some days I felt on top of it, others crippled me. I stopped work and focused on my two girls and on spending time with my bump – I have so many positive memories of relaxing with my unborn baby, of talking to him and of telling him stories.
I wrote a blog during this time, mainly for my sanity, to document what was happening, to remember it, to let it all out – I allowed my feelings to pour onto each blank page which meant I could function, I could parent, I could keep my shit together and feel less helpless.
When Jamie was born at the RVI his oesophageal atresia was confirmed immediately and he had his first surgery when he was 6 hours old. His heart defect was confirmed the next day and a plan was put into place after his transfer to the Freeman paediatric intensive care unit – he needed surgery to keep him alive. His heart surgery took place when he was 3 days old – it was meant to be keyhole surgery. I was going to say straightforward but I’m not sure heart surgery can ever be described as that. His surgery became complicated, key hole surgery was abandoned, his chest needed to be opened and the hours ticked by. After 12 hours it became clear that we needed to say goodbye to our boy, he wasn’t going to be make it.
If I close my eyes I can feel the desperation of the helplessness and the pain of not being able to bring my child home – there is no preparation for this, no guidebook, just raw emotion and a pain I never want to feel again.
There is no right way to grieve, there is no right way to be after a week, 6 weeks, a year, 10 years. I want to share my experiences and I would like to be able to share the experiences of other bereaved parents, to be of some comfort and to ease even just a tiny bit of the isolation of a grieving parent.