Two children,coach outlet factory online. A loving husband. But NOTHING eases the agony of losing two babies in the womb
Lying in my hospital bed, cradling my baby son’s tiny body, I wept for what might have been. My soul was shattered; my heart was broken in two. My baby boy was gone.
Last June, I lost my baby son at 20 weeks.
My husband and I had already chosen a name for a boy – Rory. And as I held his perfect but lifeless body, I was overwhelmed with a sadness that he would never hear me call his name.
My despair was all-encompassing – but it was not the first time I had felt this way.
Rory was the second of my children to die in the womb. The previous year, my daughter, Iris, had been delivered at 35 weeks.
That pain,coach outlet, too, had been profound, black and acute. To face it all over again was almost too much to bear. I was 39 years old and felt my world had collapsed for ever.
I am not alone, of course. According to Sands, the stillbirth charity, one in every 200 births is stillborn, which is when the baby dies after 24 weeks. And one in four women experience a miscarriage.
Many of these poor women will never have children of their own. I, on the other hand, already had two children – Ruby, five, and Oisin, three.
I tried to console myself that I had a family,http://www.coachoutletstoresh.webs.com. I knew that it was unreasonable of me to crave more children.
Yet crave them I did. I grew up in a family of three, and whenever I had imagined my own family, it had always been with three or even four children. I pictured a big, noisy happy tangle of kids and chaos.
In the days after Rory’s death, I grew irrationally obsessed by the loss of that dream.
I dwelled gloomily on the number of two-children families I knew where the siblings had all too easily grown apart: the friends who cheerfully admitted they hated their siblings; the sisters who never talked to their brothers; the brothers who said they had never clicked with their sisters,coach outlet factory online.
And I would think of my own childhood and my close relationship with my younger sister and brother, the way our relationships ebbed and flowed, the way new alliances were formed at different ages, and the way,coach outlet store online, even when we were angry with each other, we always felt part of a gang.
I wanted to give this beautiful, lively, fun set-up to my own children. And I felt desolate that I couldn’t.
Making it worse was the fact that I’d never believed Rory would die. I thought Fate had done her worst to us, that after losing Iris, surely we had had our share of bad luck. Indeed, when Iris died in January 2011,http://www.coachoutletfactoryis.webs.com, I felt as though I would never recover from her loss.
In the weeks afterwards, I would wander the streets,coach outlet online, taking a grim satisfaction from how much the bleak weather – ditchwater sky over frozen streets – mirrored my mood. I felt as though the weight of grief and violent emotional pain would never lessen.
But it did. Gradually, I stopped crying myself to sleep every night and started to edge my way back into life. I learnt to talk to people without feeling only half-present, and to understand that while Iris was no longer with me, I could live with the pain that thinking about her caused.
As the months passed, people began to talk to me about having another baby. My doctor was positive but advised me to wait a year before trying. My husband, Kris, 37, who works for a bank, also felt it was right for us.
I began dreaming of having another child. During the height of my mourning, I had spent hours on the internet, trawling through websites related to stillbirths and talking to other women who had gone through the same trauma.
On those sites, there was much talk of ‘rainbow babies’, so-named because they brought hope and joy in the midst of misery and gloom. I wanted a rainbow baby.
A year after Iris died, I was expecting once more. I was quietly confident that this pregnancy, my fourth, was going to be perfect.
It was spring. Everything seemed hopeful and fresh.
Lying in bed at night,coach outlet online, my burgeoning bump between us, Kris and I would talk quietly about the new baby. Would it be a girl or a boy? What would we call it? How would Ruby and Oisin react? Unspoken in the darkness was the question we never dared ask: what if this baby dies, too?
I rarely allowed myself to consider that possibility. I’d had two fuss-free pregnancies before Iris and everything was progressing well with this one. The midwives at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in West London, close to our home, carefully monitored me and everything was fine.
As I headed towards the fifth month, I felt increasingly confident. Surely, Iris was the anomaly? Surely, lightening couldn’t strike twice? But it did.
Three days before my second scan at 20 weeks – before that moment where you see your baby more clearly, watch it move its fingers and toes and somersault in your stomach; before the time when they ask you whether you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl; at that halfway point of a pregnancy before you’ve had a chance to get fed-up with this unruly guest in your womb – I began to miscarry.
And as I lay in my hospital bed, listening as a female doctor gently explained that my son’s heart had stopped beating and that they would have to give me a pill to induce birth, I closed my eyes, tuned the doctor out and wept for the death of my dream of a big, sprawling family.
If Iris’s death made the world seem to stop moving, Rory’s made it crumble. I couldn’t believe it had happened again.
My sadness soon turned into overwhelming anger. I was angry with the kind doctors and nurses who were only doing their job, angry with the pregnant strangers I passed in the street, angry with Kris for agreeing with me that I should try again.
Most of all, I was angry with myself for being stupid enough to want this child, for convincing myself that this time nothing would go wrong.
I recognised that while this anger was satisfyingly cathartic, a stage in my grief, it was also dangerously destructive.
I managed to pull myself back from the edge – if only for the sake of Ruby and Oisin.
Every day, I forced myself to count the good things in my life: from Kris and the children and the support of my family, to the fact that I was lucky enough to have a job I enjoyed as a freelance journalist in which I had the freedom to work my own hours.
Yet even as I acknowledged objectively how good my life was, my heart revolted. I couldn’t help desiring some acknowledgement of what I’d been through.
I wanted people who passed me in the street to wonder why I looked so upset. I wanted to corner strangers and tell them: ‘My babies died, both of them, and nobody knows the reason why.’
Sometimes I wanted just to stand outside and scream.
I did none of those things. Instead, I started working again a month later. I played with my living children, the two I was so lucky to have, and I tried not to cry when my daughter talked about ‘her unsister and unbrother’ and asked where they went when they died.
Gradually, I came to understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect number of children. That instead of wasting my time mourning what might have been, I needed to enjoy the life I had.
Of course, Kris and I still had hushed conversations in the dark, moments where we talked about trying for that elusive third child once again. But those talks were more about working out our grief and coming to a place of acceptance.
Kris said to me once, in a moment of brutal honesty: ‘I don’t want you to have given birth to more dead children than living.’
I recoiled in the darkness, but realised that he was right, that I was in danger of sacrificing everything for the sake of an impossible dream.
Yet even as I came to accept that my family was complete, I also realised I needed to do something to mark Iris and Rory’s fleeting existence.
Those of us who lose our babies are expected to deal with our grief and move on. We are expected to not shout or scream or tell barely-known acquaintances our babies had died. And yet, sometimes, that’s all we want to do.
Some 12 months after I lost Rory, I found I no longer felt the need to talk obsessively about my loss. I was sick of wallowing in misery. I wanted to do something that remembered my dead babies in a positive way and made me feel stronger about myself both physically and emotionally.
I decided to take up running,coach outlet factory online, with the aim of raising money for research into stillbirths. With every step, every pace, I felt like I just might expel my grief.
I spent weeks puffing in agony around the back streets of West London, certain that serious athletes were watching my ungainly process and laughing inside.
But humiliation meant little. Running gave me space in my mind, an opportunity to think of Iris and Rory – and what the future now meant for us,coach outlet factory online, the family they left behind.
On July 14, I will run the London 10k to raise money for the stillbirth charity Sands. I know I won’t be the fittest and certainly not the thinnest person there, but I hope to enjoy every second that I jog slowly along.
Today, I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I run up and down streets and through parks, thinking about Rory and Iris – what could have been and what wasn’t.
In my mind, I will always have four children, and sometimes I still daydream about a different life where all of them play and shout and fight and laugh.
But my lengthy period of mourning has now passed. I will never forget my dead children. But, today, my time and energy will be spent on the two who are still living.
For more information on stillbirth, go to . Sarah’s justgiving page for Sands can be found at .