‘I Had A Stillbirth’

I wanted to write a short blog post on a subject I’ve heard of recently, ‘ I had a Stillbirth’.

Correction I had a baby who died and she had a name.

I feel like the saying ‘I had a Stillbirth’ is like putting our babies who didn’t survive into a category that shouts don’t talk about ‘the Stillbirth’ making them sound like they aren’t an actual person but just a thing that happened. No baby or child should be be described as a ‘thing’ It may seem hard to some people to realise that we had a child and gave birth when they aren’t here as it’s like we were never pregnant with a child.

She was stillborn but she’s also a child and was a baby at the time with a name who she goes by of ‘Violet Esme’ so please use it.

When people have asked me in the past mostly whilst pregnant with our rainbow “first baby?” I usually said ‘no second I had a little girl who died’ sometimes the response was ‘oh you had a Stillbirth’ Actually she’s a baby, my daughter called Violet she passed away.

It puts us back into that category when people mention us as parents well they don’t actually because they would most likely say ‘that happened to her’ ‘she had a Stillbirth’ Sometimes I have said it about myself and others but not meaning it in any way that our babies weren’t a baby but now I see it and why the Stillbirth taboo is around the subject. Coming from a bereaved mother I do understand what it’s like depending on who we speak to and where we are with also our own feelings taken into account. Sometimes for the sake of our own sanity and for those people who we know at that time wouldn’t know what to say it’s easier to say something simple like ‘I had a Stillbirth’ it keeps the conversation short and simple when all you want to do is run out of wherever you are curl up in a ball and cry with fear, anxiety and grief!

If we keep minimising the subject and people keep talking about our babies in this way as if they were no never actually a human then no wonder there is a whole taboo around it!

Let’s start describing our babies, talking about them in the way they deserve. So next time you and I ask someone if they have more children and the response could be something similar ‘ask them their name’ and talk to the parent about them from my knowledge it’s what parents want, there’s nothing worse than being ignored.

Grace xox

The Reason Why We Kept Our Rainbow Baby Private

After a very long 9 months we welcomed to the world our rainbow baby Everly Hope born on 11.01.19 after a very tough year losing Violet and then a very fearful year of pregnancy after loss our rainbow is here and we have certainly been blessed by little Violet.

Your probably wondering why we kept our pregnancy quite the reason being because you live in constant fear. It’s certainly been a hard path of ‘Pregnancy after loss’ to walk, living in constant fear, wondering if you will bring your baby home or will it happen again as well as grieving for your child that is no longer here. Re visiting the place where we walked out of empty handed knowing full well in 9 months (hopefully and I say hopefully because I know this doesn’t always happen and it can happen multiple times) you would be walking out with another one of your children.

Sitting in the same place patiently waiting to be seen by our consultant every week is really difficult emotionally and mentally. Coping with grief during these times is difficult and carrying on living a life is also mentally draining as well as being pregnant. The comments we received never helped in fact most were pretty hard to handle “it’ll never happen again” or “it never happens to the same person twice” – it does. Me being pregnant again was amazing but it was difficult when asked “first baby?” No second I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain what was coming next.

The milestone of when Violet passed away would soon be creeping up on us for us there was no other part of our pregnancy with Violet it was the last part and that’s what makes it so hard.

Losing Violet has made us stronger parents but now having Everly in our lives has made us even stronger.

We are so in love with Everly and can’t wait to start making memories just like we have we Violet our family of 4 is now complete ✨

Ashley, Grace, Violet & Everly xox

Walking Down the Aisle

I will never forget that day in May the day of our friends funeral, at the time I was about 16 weeks pregnant and we hadn’t decided if to start sharing our news to other than our very close friends and family.

I remember coming out of the crematorium we were all standing out side together. As we left a funeral car pulled up with a small coffin inside, a children’s funeral my heart shattered, one of our friends who is also a father said ‘that is the one funeral I would not like to go, it must one of the toughest things to go through as a parent’ 6 months later he was stood in the same crematorium watching our daughter be cremated, carried in by her daddy, his very good friend. One of the bravest things I’ve ever seen my husband do, I absolutely love you and you have made Violet so proud.

After a few days spent with Violet as a family we decided to have a blessing on the day we decided to leave the birthing centre The priest was lovely and gave Violet the blessing she deserved reading put a beautiful poem. Myself and Ashley said our goodbyes later that afternoon we told Violet how much we loved her and how much we missed her already. We sent Violet on her first part of her journey wrapped up in the Moses basket with her teddys and favorite blanket, our midwife took Violet to her first place where she would rest in peace.

Once we were home we decided to arrange Violet’s funeral something as a parent we never thought we would have to organise for our daughter. We wanted a small ceremony with only close friends and family the people who mattered or who had been a part of our lives especially whilst I was pregnant.

How on earth do you ever say goodbye to your child?

We spoke to our funeral directors who asked us if we would like to go down and see them in person to focus rather than over the phone. So we did. A few days after coming home we drove down the road and walked into the funeral directors, a place I knew well unfortunately a place I’d been to 6 months before when my husband cousin sadly passed away and a few years before when my father in law passed away too. I never realised I would be going in there again especially under these circumstances. I’ll never forget when I went to my friends funeral and said I hope I never have to come here again, how wrong was I? The funeral directors were have to say amazing, we went in and was welcomed by a man who man who was very sincere and empathetic he made us a cup of tea and we spoke about what we wanted for Violet’s funeral. He asked how old Violet was, her date of birth and full name. As this was a funeral for a baby they covered the cost of everything, which was one stress from our minds.

We decided on a humanist ceremony as both of us are not ‘church people’ as such and a small white coffin which would be with us in the car it had Violet’s name engraved on the top on a silver plaque Violet was already dressed in what we wanted her in and had everything around her already which we had sorted whilst in the hospital. We left the funeral directors as happy as we could be after arranging most of the funeral. We had set a date which was 2 weeks after we arrived home. Our humanist celebrant visited us at our home, we had actually met our celebrant before as he had performed my father in laws funeral and our friends only a few months before. He was very kind and helpful with Violets funeral. Although we don’t have memories of Violet as a child growing up it was very difficult to decide what we wanted him to talk about, he had said that it will be a ceremony to thank the people around you and who have been around whilst carrying Violet and also a time to reflect on how life can be so cruel but also how we should take advantage of the things in life.

The funeral was the following week after on the Thursday we had invited only a small amount of people, including only family, close friends, a couple of people from work who I worked closely with and our midwife. I was already dreading this day. Violets coffin would be carried in by either me, Ashley or the undertaker as for respect and privacy they wouldn’t have a funeral car for a baby and Violet would be sat on one or both of our knees on the way, which as parents we were happy with. Ashley decided Violet would be carried in by him as her daddy he wanted this to be the last thing he did for Violet. I didn’t think at the time what would happen or what you even do at a baby’s funeral I’ve never had to think what to do because I’ve never been in this position before. A position I wouldn’t wish on anyone. A couple of nights before we chose what to wear. I have always said that when it comes to my turn no one is to wear black and I want millions of brightly coloured flowers. So for Violet’s I wore black pants a beautiful black satin shirt with green and purple flowers on and burgundy coloured shoes with a long grey coat. Ashley had decided he wanted to wear his suit which he did with a purple coloured tie.

The morning of Violet’s funeral had arrived, we hadn’t slept at all ~ we hadn’t slept at all since coming home. We were exhausted but I wanted to try and make the effort I look awful my face was so pale and I had not stopped crying for nearly two weeks my eyes were constantly blood shot puffy and red. I’ll never forget when my husband said

‘This is not the aisle I wanted to walk our daughter down’

I just cried, we both stood in the bedroom and cried tears streaming down our faces. I felt sick to the stomach, nervous, faint, light headed. We got in the car and drove down to the funeral directors which wasn’t far from where we live. We pulled up in the car and got out, as we walked to the front door I could not control myself the tears had started, i just burst. Ashley was amazingly strong way stronger than me, he hugged me and helped me in side where my dad was waiting for us, I can picture his face he was so sad and tears were rolling down his cheeks. Entering the funeral directors where Violet was lay to rest was so painful knowing she was lay in that little tiny coffin with the lid shut broke and still breaks my heart. My mum, sister and mother in law were already there. We stared down at the coffin in the little room until it was time to leave, my close family traveled with us in the car.

Me and Ashley get into the car and Violet was passed over to us. I could not control myself, the tears were streaming down my face I could not believe I was about to say goodbye for the final time to my baby, my first born our daughter. On the way over I kept thinking the week before I was driving over this road to give birth now I’m driving over it to take our daughter to the crematorium. A large amount of emotions crossed my mind including WHY had this happened to me and to us the question that crosses my mind very single day.

Pulling up to the crematorium every one was waiting for us to arrive the car stopped and the tears just started to fall. I got out first not looking at anyone, I stood at the doors and waited for Ashley. Ashley carried Violet through into the crematorium we sat at the front with Violet.

Walking into that place is another heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done. The service was as nice as it could be we sat and cried all the way through which is to be expected. Once the service was over we sat with Violet for a few minutes alone until we finally had to say goodbye. I felt as if and I was leaving my child behind. Once we left we went straight home shut the blinds and didn’t leave for two days.

I can’t even describe the pain and heartache we went through. I write my blog because I want other parents and people to know what we have to do as a bereaved parent. Because let’s face it who knows that all this happens? And it’s something that you have to physically arrange? I didn’t and I was going through it.

A year in the emotions are sky high.

This day will be a milestone every year for us to go through with memories we will never ever be able to forget and something I hope I will never have to do again. The memories this year are so raw it feels like I’ve done it all over again.

I hope my post lets others know what we really have to go through and that life isn’t easy nor is something we forget. Each milestone will be treasured in our minds forever.

Grace xox