The reason I ‘dislike’ Halloween

Halloween is or should I say was one of my favourites time of year. I loved anything to do with a day where dressing up in ridiculous outfits is acceptable!

Last year I couldn’t wait to get Violet dressed up in her first Halloween outfit she would have been at the time only 3 days old and most likely taking her to her first family Halloween party filled with spooky things and people congratulating us and saying how cute she looked.

Now the thought of Halloween scares me I hate it because it’s the day I walked out empty handed.

It’s a day I’ll never forget those moments of that day are so very raw. It feels like its happening all over again the flash backs from this time last year are floating around in my head. The day I woke up next to our sleeping angel, knowing full well it would be the day that we leave the hospital to come home and we would be saying goodbye to our daughter. I can picture every part of that day. Waking up in the morning in floods of tears I got dressed brushed my hair and put some makeup on I made myself look as presentable as possible. I wanted to look nice for Violet’s blessing we had planned. I remember wearing a white T-shirt with a metallic pinky purple unicorn on the front which id worn previously in my pregnancy.

We had Violet blessed in the mid morning and spent our last day as a family of 3. I remember spending most of the day crying because I knew deep down this would it I would never set eyes on her again only in memories.

The rest of the day we spent holding Violet and telling Violet how much we loved her and how much I was going to miss her. It’s one of the hardest days of my life. I look back on what we had to go through I can’t believe I had to say goodbye to my baby.

Our midwives came to say hello during the period of the day where one of our midwives asked if she could kindly take Violet down to where she would be rested. It was late afternoon now and our midwives turned up to take Violet on her way. We placed Violet in a moses basket wrapped up in her pink blanket, a knitted patterned blanket which we had received in our memory box, 3 teddy’s, wearing the outfit we bought her to come home in aswell as a matching hat. I wrote A letter to Violet which I placed inside. It’s awful what we have to go through as a bereaved parent and it’s things that no one knows because who knew you would have to do these kind of things, I didn’t.

I held Violet for the last time before placing her in the Moses basket. I’ll never forget this moment because she wrapped her little fingers around mine without me knowing until I looked down. I just cried out loud and said “she doesn’t want me to go”. We took our last photos, my husband held and kissed her before we placed her in the basket.

We said our last goodbyes and our midwife asked if we were ready to say goodbye for the final time, we were never ready to say goodbye.

Our midwives were amazing and you can see it in their eyes that they too were just as upset as we were. Our midwife picked the Moses basket up with Violet peacefully lay in it and started to carry her out towards the door. I’ll never ever forget that feeling of leaving our baby behind I cried out loud and hugged my husband this was the last time we saw her beautiful face.

She walked out and closed the doors behind her the worst memory I have.

After some time of sitting in the suite we were ready to leave the hospital. It was late by this time which was better for us as we didn’t want to be leaving the hospital during the day when the antenatal clinic was on as we knew we would be seeing other parents walking out with their newborns or for some like us maybe not. Another one of our midwives helped us with our stuff and opened the door out of the suite. I hadn’t been out of the suite since entering, roughly about for 5 days before. My legs turned to jelly as I walked through the doors my midwife on one side and my husband on the other.

We turned the corner past the reception and a couple of midwives who stood by. As we approached the lift I could feel myself turning into an emotional wreck, our midwife asked if I was ok and reminded me I’m doing well. We walked to the car and I got in. We made it to the car but could we make the journey home without our baby?

All I could do is look towards the back seat of the car. She should be in the back but she wasn’t.

We started to drive home the further we got away from the birthing centre the more I started to get emotional the more I cried. We drove through a small village where I spotted trick or treaters running along the path with their little buckets full of sweets in their cute little costumes scaring each other some only very young. My heart just screamed in pain. I cried out loud and screamed for Violet’s rabbit and her. My husband pulled over and got her rabbit out of the bag in the boot. I calmed down and by this time we were home.

We parked the car and walked into the house and never looked left.

Halloween will never be the same because the memories will never go away. They may fade but they certainly will still be there as raw as anything. I’m sure with time it will be easier to deal with but this year it’s as hard as anything. Knowing full well that I won’t be able to dress up my little one in a pumpkin outfit or take her trick or treating when she’s older. She won’t be having fun with her friends from school or going to the school disco. My other children might be but she won’t. I’ll always have an empty space, the place where she should be stood next to other children and missing out of photos.

Halloween will never be the same, we see empty buckets and unworn costumes, we hear silent doorbells, we know who’s missing.


A Reflection On The Last 11 Months

11 months have passed some days it feels so raw some days it feels like it happened so long ago.

This time last year we were getting excited and ready for the arrival of our new addition to the family. 11 months on we are dealing with grief and heart ache.

When I look back at the last 11 months I see a stronger version of myself not because I’ve had to but because I chose too. In the early days of grief and losing Violet someone said to me “because you have too” no you don’t everyone has a choice and my choice was to be strong and carry on for Violet. I also knew if I didn’t I would end up not being where I am today.

I look over the months and see myself someone who has stood tall through it all and proud to have become a mother. The first months dealing with grief and the loss of Violet was hard which you would expect. No one is going to get up and say “ok I’m fine now” after a month. I pretty much spent the first two months living in my pjs drinking tea, not going out at all and staying up half the night because I couldn’t sleep. I spent plenty of days crying In fact most of my days I would sit for hours crying with my husband sat cradling me as I wept where ever I was at the moment I needed to break down and cry. The first time I went out after Violet was born I braved getting in the car and going out to Asda the furthest one away so that we didn’t bump into anyone. At the time It wasn’t long after I’d given birth to Violet probably about two weeks. I’ll never ever forget the lady at the check out said “when are you due?” I felt a moment of silence and the woman’s face when I said “I’m not” and walked off leaving my husband and the shopping behind. To then get in the car and break down in tears. If only she knew. How could I face ever living on with my life without Violet in it? But I did and I have been doing for the last 11 months.

The week after Violet being born we planned for Violets funeral. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and for any parent ever. It took a lot of courage for us to walk into the funeral directors and say “my baby died” the funeral directors were really nice and very very empathetic. I will be writing a blog post on planning for Violet’s funeral I haven’t as yet as it’s been the toughest post to write.

Christmas was about to arrive I was not looking forward to it at all. We attended my husbands Christmas party which was the first event we had been too since Violet was born. I was dreading it but also wanted to enjoy it. I remember sitting there feeling nervous as hell as the people we were going with all knew what had happened and some are our close friends who we’d hadn’t yet seen us only at Violet’s funeral. People came up to us to say how sorry they were and if they can do anything to let them know, unsure of what but we noticed this was a thing people said I think it was more of a ‘I’m thinking about you but I don’t really know what to say’ although deep down everyone knew we wouldn’t be ringing a stranger saying “can I come round to weep on your shoulder”. It was nice to be thought about and that people showed they do care something at the time we needed. As Christmas came around it was pretty quite for us just how we wanted I found it really difficult having our first Christmas without Violet we had planned so much, even buying matching Christmas pjs. We got through it and tried to enjoy it as much as possible. January and February was quite we literally did nothing I tried to recover from being ill with Sepsis and still had visits to the hospital which I needed to attend. By February I had decided to return to work for my own sanity as being in the house alone was like torture I was making myself worse.

Going back to work for me was a massive achievement and something I thought I would never do. Like many I must have been the first to return to work. I didn’t want to but I forced myself to go back and I did. Something I now regret. Work has been let’s say challenging. Mainly because it’s difficult no one know what’s to say, everyone just seems to rush by without batting an eye lid your actually sat there. Or that’s how it feels from some.

Time has passed has it got easier? Yes. Things don’t feel so raw although it’s all still there at the front of my mind. Time really does pass by and the world does carry on. I can honestly say I was dreading and am dreading October.

October is Violet’s birthday month and also pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. I will try and make it as special as possible but I have already found it extremely difficult knowing that this time last year my baby died.

I have come so far in the 11 months I’ve also met some amazing parents. I couldn’t even see myself doing half of what I’ve done. I’ve grieved, returned to work, raised awareness for Sands, Group B Strep and The U.K. Sepsis Trust via social media. I’ve climbed a mountain in memory of Violet and raised £900, myself and my husband set up a fund ‘Violets Wishes’ which has raised so far over £1500 and I’m up for an award at this years Butterfly awards, I’m involved in a research study at the University of Manchester, I’ve helped changed the path way of care as well setting up all my social media and helping raise awareness to others. I’m amazed how far I’ve come some times it makes me realise just how far when I write it all down or reflect on the past few months. I can honestly say I wouldn’t of changed it for the world all because it’s in memory of Violet to keep her name alive. This is all a massive achievement for me already all though to others it may not seem a lot.

Although the last 11 months have been very difficult they some how have also been memorable moments and massive achievements!

Question is where will the next twelve months take me….?

Grace xox

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Why is October so important?

October marks the month of pregnancy and infant loss awareness it’s also Violet’s birthday month.

1st October 2018 it seems to have come around so quickly. This morning when I realised it was the first of the month it hit me like a tonne of bricks! I saw a photo which read “I am the face I am 1 in 4” I burst in to tears. It’s really upsetting that rather than saying it’s Violets birthday month Im saying those words. Only to realise it’s the month Violet was born. Her due date and her first birthday.

This time last year I had finished work and was preparing to welcome a new member to the team. We had family and friends visit us just before her hopefully ‘big day’ not realising that Violet’s big day would be slightly different. I was aware that October marked pregnancy and infant loss awareness as my friends little girl was born sleeping the year before Violet in October 2016 it made me more cautious to get everything checked whilst pregnant and in labour but not knowing that I was also going to walk this path anyway no matter how cautious I was.

When I woke this morning, thoughts of sadness, emptiness and heartache filled my mind. What should I be doing right now? I should be off on maternity leave, I should be walking down the road with Violet in the pram. I should be having sleepless night, I should be going to play groups and interacting with new mums. My holiday which I’m currently on now should be filled with her laugh, her little smiling face, she would be crawling about in her little swimsuit and matching hat that our friend bought (which is gorgeous and covered in bright pink and purple flowers it makes me smile every time I look at it!) these are the things that people don’t see.

I’ve met so many new parents, parents who are going through baby loss, parents who have children, parents who are currently pregnant and parents who have lost older children and I can’t thank them enough for the support they have provided but also for the support we’ve all given to each other. But I can admit it’s not the way I had planned in fact it’s not the way any of us planned.

For most who haven’t lost or have children it’s something you can never imagine. I know I couldn’t before having Violet, I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like or to go through or on a daily basis.

October for me will never be the same it will be a month of heartache but also a month of love and remembering our daughter to celebrate her birthday. I hope one day it gets easier for me and for all the other bereaved parents.

I want to say thank you to all the support I’ve had from the baby loss community and the amazing parents I’ve met through out my journey who will make the month of October and every day easier as the years go on. It’s crazy to think that all the parents I’ve spoken to who I’ve never met I can message and say “I’m having a tough time” they know exactly what it’s like or say the ‘right’ things.

To many babies have been taken too soon it’s heartbreaking and actually shocking to see the numbers of babies, infants and children who have passed away either before birth, during birth or after.

Baby loss and infant loss is still a massive taboo subject and it’s really frustrating. It’s so much more popular than people think, I follow nearly 2k accounts on social media and 80% is a parent losing a child or baby. When it’s put this way it’s a lot more than I thought and more than people expect. This is my account alone just think how many more parents are out there? It’s sad knowing that we are in this ‘category’ because I Am the face I AM 1 in 4′.

It’s essential to keep raising awareness of Stillbirths, miscarriages, baby loss and infant loss the more awareness is raised the more things will be changed not only in health practice’s and hospitals but in the way general public speak out about it.

Please share this post but also taken a moment this month to remember all the babies who sadly passed away.

This month especially I will be remembering all the babies and children taken too soon and all the angels I know that are up there with Violet watching down on us.

Violet I love you and I promise to make this month and your first birthday extra special.

All my love this month and always

Grace xox