Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Thoughts on Christmas

image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was worried that I would find Christmas sad but I didn't. Yes there were moments when I was sad when I would think how we should have Orson with us and how he would be just a few months old but there were many more happy moments. Maybe I wasn't sad because I kept busy?

Christmas eve was very busy. I thought we would leave everything to do in one day including putting up Christmas decorations. We only just managed to get the house nice and Christmassy in time for us to pick M up from nursery in the afternoon.

Christmas Day was very busy too. Lots of presents to open. I loved watching M open his presents, it was the first year he got a visit from Father Christmas. He left a drink and some food out for Father Christmas and Rudolf the night before and was so happy to see they had gone. It was lovely seeing him so excited. In fact on second thoughts I think it was M that ensured I wasn't really sad this Christmas. It is amazing how the happiness of a two year old is infectious.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Hindsight

I read this post (http://aidanbabyofmine.blogspot.com/2010/12/oh.html) recently and it made me think. Emily quoted statistics on conception rates and how they get worse as you get older and at the same time the risk of miscarriage goes up. I am 33 now, so not too old just yet but still a little closer to the more concerning 35 - 40 year old age range than I would like.

Emily asked if knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different in your reproductive past? Does your dead baby make you question any of your previous choices?

They are good questions. Would I have done anything differently with hindsight? Well I have been with S for over 12 years and we only had M about 3 years ago. We were very lucky, we conceived him very quickly. It really wouldn't have been a disaster if I had become pregnant sooner but at the time we just thought we were not ready. And maybe we were not ready, who knows.

What about Orson? Again we were lucky in that he did not take long to conceive (a little longer than M so maybe the statistics about age and conception are correct!). We wanted to wait to add to our family because we wanted to concentrate on M. We thought having another child too soon might mean we had to give him less attention. Probably had I seen the future I wouldn't have wanted to wait so long as now of course there will be an even larger age gap between M and any other child we might be lucky enough to have but again we did what we thought was best at the time. I think in the end that is all any of us can do.

Hindsight is a nice idea but I wonder.... Had I known I was going to lose Orson at 31 weeks and had I known how much it would hurt would I have avoided it completely because I didn't want to go through that pain? I think in the end it is best not to know the future that way there is a little hope. And in the case of women who have lost babies we definitely need the hope that things will get a little better eventually.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Firsts

If you read my blog you probably think I am sad most of the time and that I am completely obsessed with pPROM. Well it is not true. I am happy a lot of the time and think my interest in pPROM is only a tiny bit obsessive!

So today's post is going to be a happy non pPROM one...

Here are two firsts that happened this weekend.

M went on a bouncy castle for the first time. It was empty apart from another little boy who's mother was collecting the money from the parents of children going on the castle. He loved it and had a great time. He ran round and round as fast as he could (not jumping up and down like I would have - there should be more bouncy castles for adults).

Did we see the real Father Christmas? (Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalphotos.net)

The second was a family trip to see Father Christmas. M had never met him before. He was quite excited and seemed to enjoy himself and the present he got although he did doubt whether he got to see the real Father Christmas because the one we saw never said "Ho, ho, ho!"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Pregnancy after pPROM

Some of the women whose blogs I follow have given birth in the last month or so. I wanted to post links to their blogs because they are all successes after previous pPROM births. Always fabulous to hear about these pregnancies. In none of these cases did pPROM happen again - there is hope!

Congratulations and welcome to the world Naomi, Samantha and Puck.

http://sunshineandseahorses.blogspot.com/2010/12/naomis-arrival.html

http://thismommasjourney.blogspot.com/2010/11/welcome-to-world-samantha.html

http://carrie-ourjourney.blogspot.com/2010/11/prestons-birth.html

The last link is to Carrie's blog. Her baby Puck isn't well. Please visit her blog and support her. Wishing little Puck continues cope well with his condition.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Time for some statistics

image: nuttakit / Freedigitalphotos.net

It is time for some statistics.

Before go on I should probably point out that I have no idea if any of the statistics I am going to quote are correct. I have added links to the sites that use them but often the sites themselves do not say how they came up with the statistics so who knows if they are correct.

Getting pregnant

To start with here are the statistics nobody tells you when you are young and being warned to always use protection otherwise risk an unplanned pregnancy. Nice and scary when you are impatient and trying to conceive though!

90% of couples in which the woman is under 35 will conceive naturally after one year of actively trying according to the NHS. 30% conceive in the first month and 60% within six months according to Babycentre.

Miscarriage

When you are lucky enough to get that positive pregnancy test these are the next set of statistics to worry about. These stats are curtesy of Babycentre.

What is the chance of miscarriage in first 12 weeks? After a positive pregnancy test, there's about a 20% chance of having an early miscarriage. Late miscarriage (between 12 and 24 weeks in the UK) is less common. It happens in about 1% of pregnancies.

Stillbirth

Now for the statistics that Orson fits into...

In the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day (ref: SANDS ) In the UK stillbirth is defined as death of a baby before birth at 24 weeks gestation or above. In England and Wales 5 out of every 1000 babies are stillborn (just over 3000 a year) (ref: NHS )

pPROM

And what about the chance of pPROM? Only around 2% of women experience PPROM.
(ref: RCOG ) Since pPROM is where a women's water breaks before the onset of labour before 37 weeks I would imagine many of the cases will have a positive outcome because the water will break so close to term. I have not seen any statistics on early pPROM but I suspect it is rare. And the chance of having pPROM before 24 weeks and continuing the pregnancy for another 10...? I think it is very rare, after all there must have been a reason the doctors told tell women whose waters break so early they will miscarry within 3 days.

What does it mean?

And what do all these chances mean (apart from that I have been using the Internet too much!)? Well nothing really. Any of you reading this blog of course knows that statistics really don't mean very much. We have all been unlucky with statistics. We can't predict what will happen, we just have to hope and be positive. Still on a bad day it is hard not to be disheartened by these statistics.

Friday, 3 December 2010

No blessings in disguise

I almost didn't bother with November's Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope writing challenge simply because I couldn't think of anything to write. It has taken me so long to write this post it is now December!

November's topic is / was: It's easy to focus on all the negative things that come from losing a baby, but have you discovered any 'blessings in disguise' throughout your journey? What can you find to be thankful for related to your loss?

My problem with November's topic is I really cannot see any blessings in disguise. There are no positives. None.

At first I thought of one immediately. The 10 weeks after pPROM but before we lost Orson meant I could not fully look after M. As a result my parents and S's parents helped out. Both my Mum and S's actually stayed with us at different times. As a result M became very close to them. I love that bond he has developed.

However that isn't a blessing in disguise resulting from my loss, it is a blessing resulting from pPROM. It happened before Orson died after all and had he survived M would have been just as close to his Grannies.

So what else is there that could be a blessing? Everyone says this type of loss often brings couples closer together. Am I closer to S now? Hmmm we were already close, and yes we are still close. So not really a blessing.

My only other thought is blogging and the online communities I have come across. But I had discovered this before I lost Orson. I read lots of blogs after I had pPROM and the 10 weeks after. Yes I have discovered a lot more great people who have also suffered losses. Many have inspired me and these amazing women have helped me to cope these last few months. But to me that doesn't feel like a blessing. It is like medicine tasting a nice fruity flavour, the flavour just makes the medicine easier to swallow.
Fruity flavouring just makes medicine taste better, it isn't a blessing in disguise. (Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

After all this writing and thinking I just have to conclude there just isn't a blessing in disguise resulting from Orson's death.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Telepathy


I want to be telepathic. I know all the science fiction stories reckon telepathy has down sides but it would certainly be useful. For example in the following situation which occurred earlier today whilst at work:

I was making myself a drink (yes that is my poor excuse for the photo) in the kitchen at work when a women who I know to say hello to only walked in. She doesn't work in my section and to be honest I am not entirely sure what she does or what her name is but I have chatted to her many times. I saw her for the first time since I came back to work today.

Women: "Hi, when did you get back?"

Me: "Last week."

Women: "How is it going?"

Me: "Oh, well ok, not too bad" (sounding glum)

At this point I think that somebody must have told her my situation. However I still would have appreciated a bit of telepathy.

Women: "Were you off for a year?"

Me: "No, six months"

Women: "The time went quick"

Now I am wondering if she knows after all. So I try and leave the kitchen with my drink. Better not to know.

Women: "Bet you feel like a different person now?"

Me: "Yes"

Now I really think she doesn't know but still am not entirely sure. This is where being telepathic would come in handy. Maybe she does know, after all I do feel like a different person?

Now I am at the doorway about to leave.

Women: "The trick is marrying up the person you are now with who you were before."

Me: "Yes"

By this point I really do not think she knows. But on the other hand I really couldn't say for sure. Maybe she is simply being philosophical or something? After all she didn't do what everybody normally does - she didn't ask about a baby. Being telepathic would have been very useful.

Still I was not taking the chance and just left heading in the opposite direction as quickly as I could. If she was just making idle chat I doubt very much she really wanted to know my story. Plus, more importantly it might be upsetting for me having to tell it.

So what do you think? Did she know?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers from the US.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A post that made me think

Todays post is really simply a link to another blogger's post. A post that made me think:

http://aidanbabyofmine.blogspot.com/2010/10/dead-baby-math.html

The above post was made a while ago. It is all about comparisons. Comparisons I think all mothers who have lost babies might make occasionally. Comparing the loss of other women who have lost babies to their own loss.

The thrust of the post is that whilst all losses hurt are some worse than others? For example imagine the case of a women with no children and who struggles to conceive needing IVF. When she gets pregnant her baby is born with health issues and dies only weeks old in hospital. Well that is truly awful. So very unfair and I would say worse than a women who has no trouble conceiving, has several healthy full term babies and then has an early miscarriage and goes on to have another healthy happy baby afterwards.

I have found myself wondering how I would have reacted had we lost Orson when the doctors said we would at 21 weeks when my waters first broke instead of 10 weeks later when we had more hope. I would have still been devastated. I recall crying that first night in hospital so well. But would I have found it easier to cope?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Not as bad as it could have been

Work was fine after all. I didn't really come across anybody who didn't know what had happened which helped. Of course I had the last time I was here thoughts but it was fine. There were a few occasions when I was sad and could tell I was close to tears I didn't cry:

Occasion 1 - Towards the end of a meeting with my manager when I was trying to explain how I felt.

Occasion 2 - A colleague decided what I really needed was to see photos of him holding his new born grandson.

Occasion 3 - This was the closest I came to crying. I was going through my 500 e-mails and came across one sent to everyone in our section including me informing everyone that Orson had died. It was a very short e-mail just a sentence or two. What got me was my colleague used the exact words I used in an e-mail to her, ending with the words "...and he was perfect." it made me sad (even thinking of that e-mail makes me a little sad) but I am very glad she used those words.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Back to work

Image: br3akthru / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I go back to work tomorrow. My first day of work in 6 1/2 months. I have to admit I am a little concerned. Concerned I am not ready. I think I am but how can I be sure until I actually start back? My biggest fear is talking to people who ask why I have been off work for so long. What do I say? I think everybody in my section will be fine, after all they know what has happened but what about others who don't know? I still have difficulties telling people what happened to Orson. Once they know I can talk about him, but just telling them initially is hard.

My biggest fear is crying at work.

The last time I was in work was April 28th. I was 5 months pregnant. I had only told my colleagues about my pregnancy a couple weeks before although a few had guessed as I was showing. I left work that day anticipating a long weekend away with my family. That Friday evening my waters broke and 10 weeks later, well you know the story by now... So tomorrow will be a day of experiences where I will be able to (but of course won't) say "last time I did this I was pregnant."

Let's see how the day goes.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Everything feels a little bit better when the sun shines

Florence, November 2010

Sunshine makes me happier. I  am not someone who likes sunbathing but just being able to wear a t-shirt in the sun makes me happier. Right now it is raining heavily here. Yesterday was a mixture of heavy wind and rain. It has got colder. I had to go out and buy hats, scarves and gloves. The clocks have gone back so it starts to get dark earlier. It is almost four o'clock and getting dark already.

I miss the sunshine. A few weeks ago I had a lovely holiday in Italy and I loved the sun there. We went to Pisa (rainy), Florence (rainy / sunny) and Rome (sunny). Whilst we had fun in Pisa watching M jump up and down in puddles around the Leaning Tower everything seemed happier walking around the Colosseum in the sunshine.

Florence was a good example of how the weather does make a difference when you are on holiday with a two year old. One day it rained the whole day. Everywhere was packed with tourists all with umbrellas. I lost count with how many times I got hit in the head by somebody else's umbrella. We had a pushchair to push so just had raincoats and when I had my hood I couldn't see very much. Not that the views were that great in the heavy rain.

When it was sunny in Florence it was lovely, yes the streets were still busy but it didn't matter. We wore t-shirts (the locals still wore coats) and we climbed a hill and ended up in a park where we had a mini picnic. We could see the whole of Florence from the park (see the photo above taken from the park). We ate ice-cream without feeling silly. Everything seemed a bit better in the sunshine.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Multiple loss

The British singer Lily Allen recently lost her baby at six months pregnant two years after a miscarriage at around four months pregnant. The news is very sad. That anybody has to endure the pain of losing their baby twice is just hideous. I think it is the fear of every women pregnant after loss. The fear that the same thing will happen again.

Lily's story has been widely discussed on the news, see this article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11704500.
According to the newspaper articles she was roughly six months pregnant and since here in the UK the term miscarriage is used up until 24 weeks the loss may have legally been a late miscarriage or a stillbirth / neonatal death, however most articles refer to it as a miscarriage and go on to discuss early miscarriages (1:4 pregnancies etc). This lack of understanding is frustrating, in fact I really hate how late miscarriages are called miscarriages at all but more on this in a future post.

Another blogger I follow (http://josephines-mom.blogspot.com) who previously lost a baby to pPROM recently announced she had suffered another loss. She was 7 weeks pregnant. To have lost another pregnancy is so unfair. I feel that women who have lost a baby should somehow be excused future pregnancies and just skip to bringing their baby home. Sadly that is not the case, we have to start from the beginning, fight to conceive, fight to not have a miscarriage and continue to fight for the whole pregnancy. I am not sure why I say fight as it gives the illusion we have control over future pregnancies when in reality we have little control. All pregnancy losses are sad but multiple loss is so much worse.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Angel baby

I apologise in advance but this post is a moaning one. I do not intend to offend anyone by it, I am sorry if I do. I am just writing down my thoughts as they come without much thought.

Since we lost Orson I have I have looked at forums for women who have gone through stillbirth and other similar loses. To be honest I don't tend to use these forums much anymore. There are so many sad stories and really what can I say that can help? But one thing I quickly noticed was that women often refer to their babies as "angel babies".

I had never heard of the term angel baby before Orson died. I can't imagine ever referring to him as such and wouldn't want others referring to him as such to me. But it seems very normal to do so on some support forums (not all forums, women on SANDs for example rarely seem to do this and not everybody does this on other forums). To me the idea sparks religious imagery something I am not comfortable with. I am happy for others to call their babies angels or whatever else they like.

I know everybody deals with this loss differently and to many religion is a great help. But I am surprised just how many women use this term.
There was an article about it back in June:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7848185/Hospital-stillborn-support-group-banned-from-being-called-angels-as-religious-word-offends.html
A UK hospital had asked a support group who had provided support information to give to parents of stillborn babies to remove the term angel from the literature for fear of offence. Whilst others may see no harm in the term I completely understand the hospital's point of view. Instead of using the term angel baby why not just say baby and refer to the baby's parents as just that - parents?

To me it is almost like people try and sugar coat it, they don't want to say other words like stillbirth or died so say angel instead. Maybe then it doesn't seem so bad? And it is true I dislike these words too. I hated the word stillbirth to start with but am getting used to it. I think the reason I disliked it so much is simply because I disliked what it meant. The term stillbirth especially I disliked for that reason. I always prefer to say that Orson died in labour, that is what happened after all. But I am getting used to saying stillborn. Strange what we get used to.

My final thought on this is simply that maybe some women say angel baby because that is just what everybody else says. The term is everywhere on the internet, maybe because it is trendy or even normal, people use the term without thinking about what it means.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

We all wear masks

I have mentioned the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope website a few times now. This month they ask women who have experienced a loss through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss to post on their blogs answers to the following question: As Halloween approaches and you start thinking about costumes, are there (figurative) "masks" you sometimes put on?
Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I think everybody where's a mask on occasions even if they haven't been through the loss of a baby. Of course I am talking figuratively and not an actual mask, think of your reply to the question  "how are you?" and not the masks warn in the film Eyes Wide Shut! From now on in this post when I say mask I mean the figurative mask.  

Think you have never warn a mask? Have you never been at a job interview and warn a mask which shows you are the best person for the job (even though you secretly think there just might be someone out their who could do it better)? Have you never been on a date and warn a mask that shows you really are the best girlfriend or boyfriend anyone could want?

When I think about it everybody wears masks to try and be what they perceive others want them to be. And to enable themselves to fit into this world and function effectively.  My most frequently warn mask is the one which allows me to show the world everything is fine, I am just as if I never got pregnant and lost my baby. It is one which is hard but brittle and thin. It shatters really easily. However as time goes on it is getting thicker and more durable. It takes a lot more to make me cry now.

Of course this suggests that I am living a kind of fake life pretending everything is fine when it is not. But that is not true. Whilst my mask is more effective now I also need it a lot less. I am genuinely happy a lot of the time. There is an awful lot to be happy about. Almost for months after we lost Orson I can truthfully reply "okay" to the question "how are you?" a lot of the time.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Consultant appointment; causes of pPROM and stillbirth and the future

I finally had my consultant appointment yesterday. This appointment seems to have many names, follow up appointment, 6 week appointment, counselling appointment... but essentially it was to discuss my pregnancy with Orson, where I am now physically and emotionally and then the future.

After the appointment I was of course sad. However I was surprised how well I coped during the actual appointment. Normally you are supposed to have the appointment 6 weeks after your loss. In my case it has been over 3 months. But I was calm during the appointment and even found myself laughing at times. Had I had it 6 weeks after Orson died I think I would have been in tears for most of the time.

I had lots of questions for my Consultant, she said she would put everything we discussed in writing to me but here are her answers as best I remember.

jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Why did my waters break (pPROM) at 21 weeks?

Obviously the Consultant does not know for sure but in her opinion I had pPROM because of the heavy bleeding I had in the first trimester. I bled at 6, 7 and 8 weeks and was diagnosed with a large area of haemorrhage / haematoma. She thinks that is why my waters broke. Possibly also the Step b that was found in vaginal swabs also played a role.

Why did I go into labour at 31 weeks?


The Consultant was almost certain that the infection I was diagnosed with during labour actually made me go into labour. She does not know what the infection was, possibly Strep b or some other anaerobic infection. I got it simply because my membranes had been ruptured for so long.


My blood cultures came back with a Staph infection however the Consultant thought that may have been contamination from when they took the blood and that it is far more likely that I had a different infection that just wasn't identified or the Strep b that was.

Why did Orson die in labour?

We did not have a post mortem so cannot be certain but the Consultant thinks that Orson had the same infection that I had. She believes this was the cause of his death.

The tests run on the placenta, for example genetic testing were all okay.

Would it have made a difference if I had realised I was in labour sooner (I could have been at the hospital an hour earlier)?

No. The Consultant thinks that if I had been at the hospital an hour earlier they may have been able to do an emergency c section (Orson had a weak heartbeat on an ultrasound scan 10 -15 minutes before a second scan showed there was no heartbeat). Had they been able to resuscitate Orson and assuming his lungs were sufficiently developed she thinks he would have died aged one or two days old from the infection that I had.

Was the risk of stillbirth much lower than the risk of delivery bearing in mind I had so much blood loss etc. the week Orson died?

Yes. If I had been a few more weeks along then I would have had a scheduled delivery. However at 30 - 31 weeks bearing in mind how little amniotic fluid I had after 21 weeks Orson's lungs may not have been sufficiently developed and he needed the extra weeks. He may not have survived even if he didn't have the infection. In most cases where preterm labour occurs at this stage they would have had time to deliver. We were just very unlucky.

What are the chances that pPROM will happen again?

Assuming my pPROM was caused by the bleeding then 1:50. If I get past the first trimester (1:4 chance of miscarriage) then the Consultant thinks it is likely I will get to take a baby home but that it is likely to be premature or early.

When can I try to conceive again?

Anytime. After a couple months physically I would have been ready. However the Consultant stated that women who get pregnant within a year after stillbirth find it emotionally much harder to cope with the pregnancy than those who leave it longer.

What treatment is there for a future pregnancy?

After an early scan I would see the Consultant at around 12 weeks. I would be tested for infection and after these results were known they would decide on treatment. Possibly if I had Strep b still they may give low dose penecilin from around 18 weeks. However this may have other effects and cause other infections.

From 16 weeks I would have vaginal ultrasound scans to check my cervix was okay. I think she might have said every two weeks for a few weeks.

From about 28 weeks I would have growth scans every 4 weeks.

What about the flowing treatments:
-cerclage?

In my case this is unlikely to be of benefit. The Consultant does not think I have a weak cervix and a stitch may introduce infection.

- progesterone?

This is used for women who have had preterm labour. The treatment is going out of favour and is being used less now. However according to the Consultant I do not fit into this category as I showed the opposite tendency - I didn't go into labour for 10 weeks after pPROM.

- vitamins?

Taking multivitamins for pregnant women will not do any harm. The Consultant said when I pressed her on this that she would recommend it and to ensure they include vitamin d and folic acid.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Natalie

I have often wondered and continue to wonder what would have happened if Orson had been born alive. I know that he might not have made it and there would have been possibly a long struggle ahead of us. I have followed blogs of women whose babies survived as well as those of women whose babies didn't make it.

Today I learnt the sad news that a pPROM baby whose story I was following on a blog died. Natalie was born April 21st 2010 at 33 weeks gestation. She was in hospital her whole life and had to have surgery many times. Read her story on:

http://babygirltee-jennifer.blogspot.com

It is so very sad that after an almost six month fight poor Natalie didn't get to go home.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Day 7 - A trip away from home that I enjoyed

Today is International Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Day, today is the last day of Baby Loss Awareness Week across the UK.

In the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day (ref: SANDs). In the UK stillbirth is defined as death of a baby before birth at 24 weeks gestation or above. In England and Wales 5 out of every 1000 babies are stillborn (just over 3000 a year) (ref: NHS Direct).


www.babyloss-awareness.org
All this week to commemorate UK Babyloss Awareness Week I have been  posting about trivial things that have made me happy since I lost Orson three months ago. Today the subject is a trip away from home that I have enjoyed.

We went to Birmingham with M not long after we lost Orson. We went for one night and stayed in a hotel. I had never been there before. To be honest we were not expecting anything much. We just wanted one night away somewhere.

We got the train (to satisfy M's love of trains and making life simpler for us - no driving or worrying about parking). We looked round the shops, went out for food. Did very little. I was still struggling to cope.

The second day we went to the City Museum and by chance they had an exhibit on about dinosaurs. There were lots of animatronics involved. M loved it. He was a little scared of the dinosaurs at first but had great fun. I had loads of fun watching him. Seeing him happy made me happy.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Day 6 - A purchase that made me happy

All this week I am writing blogs about happy but trivial things. To see why please read my post from 8th October 2010.

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Today my topic is a purchase that made me happy. I pick a toy musical keyboard. Bought a few days ago for M. We had a kind of birthday party without an actual real birthday to celebrate (why not celebrate made up birthdays?). The toy keyboard was his present.

We has a kiddies birthday party with lots of food on cocktail sticks, jelly, cake etc. We wore silly hats and had fun music on. M got to drink juice whilst me and S had sparkling wine. We all had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Day 5 - Photos that made me smile

Every day this week I am blogging about happy trivial things. To see why look at my post on 8th October 2010. The topic today is photos that made me smile. I have picked two photos taken in the last couple months by M. We recently bought him his first camera. Here are two of his recent photos.

M's dinner, photo taken by M.

M's feet, photo taken by M.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Day 4 - A book I enjoyed reading

Every day this week I am discussing something trivial that has made me happy since I lost Orson. To see why go to my post on 8th October 2010. Today I will pick a book I enjoyed reading.
I have a problem.

A silly one considering I chose this list myself. I haven't really read a book since I lost Orson. Not a whole one. Not one for adults anyway. I was going to pick an audiobook but technically that is not reading. So a children's book it is!
Peppa Pig created by Mark Baker and Nevill Astley. Watch at Five on Demand image taken from Five on Demand.

I choose Peppa Pig, more specifically "The story of Peppa Pig" created by Mark Baker and Nevill Astley, published by Ladybird Books Ltd 2010. Before I go any further I wish to point out that I haven't been sitting around reading Peppa Pig books for my own enjoyment I have in fact been reading them to M.

M is a huge Peppa Pig fan. He loves the cartoons. At first I didn't like them (a family of pigs doing human things....?) but now I have been converted into a fan. Admittedly not such a huge fan as M or any of his Nursery friends. I like how M actually learns by watching the cartoons. He learns about all sorts of things that we haven't told him about yet such as rainbows and dentists. As far as he is concerned the books are not quite as good as the TV shows but they are almost as good. And because M loves them I too love them.

So "The story of Peppa Pig" gets my vote.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Day 3 - A recipe I enjoyed cooking

Every day this week I am posting something trivial, fun and happy. Things that have distracted and entertained me since Orson died three months ago. To see why read my post from 8th October 2010.

Here is a recipe I enjoyed cooking with M. It is extremely simple and he loved helping to make it. My mother used to make it for me and my brother when we were children. very unhealthy but tasty! All ingredient amounts are approximate.

2 - 3 large cups of Rice Crispies (or other similar cereal)
300g chocolate
50g butter
3 Mars Bars
1 tablespoon of Golden Syrup

Melt the Mars Bars and Butter. Mix the Rice Crispies with the butter and Mars bar mixture. Add the Golden Syrup. Melt the chocolate. Put the Rice Crispy mixture in a baking tin. Cover with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until hard. Cut into flapjack sized portions.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Day 2 - A TV program that I have been able to get lost in whilst watching

Every day this week I am posting something trivial, fun and happy. Things that have distracted and entertained me since Orson died three months ago. To see why read my post from 8th October 2010.

A TV program that I have been able to get lost in whilst watching is True Blood. Very silly program that doesn't make sense but it is fun and distracting. I missed it on television but heard it was good so bought the first two series on dvd. Here are the opening credits from Youtube:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Day 1 - An album I have loved listening to

Every day this week I am posting something trivial, fun and happy. Things that have distracted and entertained me since Orson died three months ago. To see why read my post from 8th October 2010.

An album I have loved listening to recently is Far by Regina Spektor, here is a Youtube video of her singing Eet live from that album:







I don't remember hearing this album before I lost Orson but think we had it back then. Right now it is one of my favourites. Sorry can't really describe why I like it or analyse it, I wouldn't make a good reviewer!

Friday, 8 October 2010

UK Baby Loss Awareness Week 9th to 15th October

In the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day (ref: SANDs). In the UK stillbirth is defined as death of a baby before birth at 24 weeks gestation or above. In England and Wales 5 out of every 1000 babies are stillborn (just over 3000 a year) (ref: NHS Direct).

www.babyloss-awareness.org
15th October is International Babyloss Day and various UK charities are commemorating the week leading up to this day. They are calling it Babyloss Awareness Week.

To commemorate UK Babyloss Awareness Week I wanted to do something with my blog. I have come across lots of blogs by women who have lost babies who have posted on their blog every day for 30 days with a list of posts. Some bloggers have adapted them to reflect their loss. Whilst I think that is a fabulous idea I know I couldn't realistically manage to update this blog daily for 30 consecutive days but thought I might manage 7, one post for every day of Babyloss Awareness Week.

So what to post? I started thinking about it and decided to adapt the original 30 post idea as seen in This girl will never be the same's blog which is:

Day 1 - your favorite song
Day 2 - your favorite movie
Day 3 - your favorite television program
Day 4 - your favorite book
Day 5 - your favorite quote
Day 6 - 20 of your favorite things
Day 7 - a photo that makes you happy
Day 8 - a photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 9 - a photo you took
Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you
Day 11 - a photo of you recently
Day 12 - something you are OCD about
Day 13 - a fictional book
Day 14 - a non-fictional book
Day 15 - your dream house
Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 - an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc)
Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding
Day 19 - a talent of yours
Day 20 - a hobby of yours
Day 21 - a recipe
Day 22 - a website
Day 23 - a youtube video
Day 24 - where you live
Day 25 - your day, in great detail
Day 26 - your week, in great detail
Day 27 - your worst habit
Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse
Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 - a dream for the future

But I am going to concentrate on things that have happened since we lost Orson. But I do not want it to be a list of sad things instead I want to write about happy things. So that means superficial trivial things that have made me happy in the last three months. Here's my list:

Day 1- an album I have loved listening to
Day 2- a TV program that I have been able to get lost in whilst watching
Day 3 - a recipe I enjoyed cooking
Day 4 - a book I loved reading
Day 5 - photos that made me smile
Day6 - a purchase that made me happy
Day 7 - a trip away from home that I enjoyed

I start tomorrow. Exactly three months after Orson died.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Postnatal appointment

I finally had a postnatal appointment at my local GP surgery yesterday. As I expected all seems well with me physically. The doctor noted that I have cervical erosion (though she called it an area of cervical ectropian, apparently nobody calls it cervical erosion anymore). She thinks that is why I have had spotting. I haven't had any in the last few weeks so hopefully it won't be a problem anymore. Cervical erosion is very common and nothing at all to be concerned about. I read somewhere that a lot of women on the pill or pregnant have it to some degree and never know about it.

The GP was strangely positive about things. She said it was good that we didn't know why Orson died and my waters broke. As you can imagine I didn't agree saying if we knew maybe we could do something about it next time. However her point of view was that if we knew maybe we couldn't do anything and maybe it would mean there was a high chance it would happen again. I am not entirely sure that lack information is good. She went on to say that as far as she is concerned she thinks physically there is no reason why we can't try to conceive whenever we are emotionally ready. She thinks the consultant will agree. 

But whilst the appointment itself was good arranging it was not. I originally went for the appointment last week. But my surgery mostly does walk in appointments. When I turned up they said I would have to wait over an hour to be seen and I couldn't be bothered so asked to book an appointment for this week. My surgery does baby check appointments with postnatal checks. When I asked for a postnatal appointment the receptionist kept trying to make a baby check one for me too. She eventually asked outright "has your baby been checked?" I had no choice but to say in front of a long queue of listeners and of course a very quiet waiting room where everybody could hear "no he was stillborn."

I coped by staring expressionless at the receptionist. It wasn't until I got home that I cried. I hate to say the word "stillborn" and it hurt to have to say it in these circumstances. I am feeling much more positive now (I wasn't for the rest of that day). 

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ms T

A year ago today Ms T had open heart surgery to repair a whole in her heart. I remember being so scared for her. But a year later she is doing brilliantly.

I think she finds it amazing to think how quickly the year has gone. But for me a lot has happened, this time last year seems so much further away.

Ms T is a great friend. She has been amazing to me and my family. I am very grateful to her. So this post is dedicated to her.

Thanks for being there.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

What is the point of this blog?


Blogs should have themes. I read that somewhere. So what is my theme? I think it is going to be constantly changing. And I already have more than one theme. Hmmm not great but i never said this was going to be a great blog! At the moment the themes are:

1) To help others going through pPROM. I hope the pPROM section of my blog (from May to July 2010) helps other women looking for pPROM stories.

2) To help me remember my pregnancy with Orson. I don't want to forget any of it.

3) To help me. I will use this blog to record my views, feelings, opinions, ramblings... In fact anything I fancy. Some of my entries will no doubt be serious, some mundane and others trivial.

As I said in my last entry I have been looking at other blogs. I never knew there were so many. One I came across is The Baby Plan. Ms Baby Plan asked her readers to answer at least one of eight questions she posed. I'm answering two.

1. Who inspires you? Lots and lots of people... Sticking with a pPROM theme I will say women who have been through the loss of a baby due to pPROM and go on to have another pregnancy afterwards. I have heard many stories on forums and blogs. I understand how terrified they must be, but they show me that maybe it is possible.

Would I cope without chocolate? (Image:Suet Iman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
2. How do you relax in this hectic world? This answer falls into that trivial category I mentioned earlier. I relax by watching tv, eating nice food including chocolate (I don't know how I would cope without chocolate!) and playing with M. There is nothing like watching a two year old laugh to make you happy.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

pPROM Blogs

I added a new page to my blog at the weekend listing lots of pPROM blogs I have found. I had never heard of pPROM before it happened to me. I suppose that is common as it is so rare, I think it happens in 2 - 3 % of pregnancies. And then of course it happens a lot later when the baby has more of a chance. But it has surprised me just how many women who have experienced pPROM write blogs.

I hope that anyone who is currently going through pPROM might find the new pPROM blogs page useful. I would also recommend looking at the web links I have listed too. The Kanalen site is very useful with lots of stories of pPROM successes and losses. The forums I list are also great too. I found it really useful to meet other women going through pPROM at the same time as me. I still find them a great help.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Where is my Transporter (like the ones in Star Trek)?

Where is my Transporter (like the ones in Star Trek)?

I was thinking about this and discussing it with S as we drove with M back from a few days at M's Granny and Granddad's house yesterday. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive with good traffic and no stops. Of course it is not possible to have no stops with a two year old so it takes longer. If only we had a Transporter then we could visit them more often...

We could visit M's other Grandparents who live 2 1/2 hours away more often too.

M just loves his Grandparents so much. He always has a fantastic time. He was so excited the first day we were there that he didn't go to bed until after midnight.

Would roads exist if we all had Transporters? (Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


It got me thinking how different the world would be, like something from a science fiction novel. If Transporters were invented and were affordable enough then cars would become obsolete. As would roads. Suddenly people wouldn't have to worry about commuting to work they could live wherever they wanted. Cities would become less crowded until they just didn't exist. After all instead of having shops in cities purpose built shopping centres would exist. You would just Transport to the shops go shopping and Transport home again.

Everyone would see each other so much more. There would be less excuses for being late. Families would be able to stay in touch even if they lived in different countries (if countries even existed any more).

It goes on and on. The world would be so different. It might well be better. Yes I have decided I want my Transporter now please, oh and while you are there please could you invent the time machine?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Frustrated

I'm frustrated. So sorry this is going to be another post where I complain a lot.

I have all of the normal little problems that women get after giving birth but do not have the baby. And it is making me fed up.

Problem One. I do not have that sleek slim body I once had.

Okay admittedly it was years ago that I had that body but I want it back now. And I would like not to have to work at it. I don't want to exercise and I want to be able to eat lots of chocolate and cake.

I know that realistically after just 10 weeks after birth most women do not have a slim figure especially those that do not exercise but still it is a problem.

Problem Two. My hair is falling out.

That makes my situation sound more dramatic than it is. Nobody can tell my hair is falling out. It looks the same as it always had but I am noticing lots of extra hair falling out all of the time. I know this is normal. Relating to the changing hormones. I had this after my pregnancy with M. My hair didn't visibly look thin but I just had to pick a lot more hair off my clothes. It is the same this time.

I am fed up of having to pick hair of my clothes. I want my hair to be normal again.

Problem Three. It's a girlhood thing.

This final problem is one I am not entirely comfortable talking about but I am going to anyway. It is something that forums would say fits in the TMI categories... Periods.

Despite my GP assuring me that my lochia (as if using a posh name for it makes it easier to write about...) would be over quickly, it was not. It took a full seven weeks before it was gone. And my first period lasted longer than normal. To top it all I have been getting spotting as well.

I am fed up with sanitary towels etc. I had to wear them for almost my entire pregnancy and now I have to continue to fund this industry. How I wish I bought shares in a sanitary towel company back in January...

It is probably just hormones again. I will discuss it with my GP when I have my postnatal check. But it makes me fed up.

All of these problems are minor but are starting to make very frustrated and fed up. As I  have continually said throughout this post. I think ny woman after having a baby gets fed up with similar if not the exact same problems. I know I did after I had M. But the difference is then I had a new born baby to distract me. I had other women in postnatal groups going through the exact same problems. We cooked complain to each other.

I could join a support group like SANDs and share my troubles with other women who have experienced the loss of a baby. But I don't want to. I just want to be normal again.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Stressful but fun birthday preparations

It was S's birthday yesterday. M and I had been preparing for a while. A week and a half ago we went to a pottery shop which encourages customers to paint their own purchases (Flying Saucers). We bought an espresso cup and saucer for S. M painted it an array of bright colours all on his own. I had planned to just have a look in the shop and return another day but was convinced to stay and let M paint the cup immediately. They claimed otherwise there would not be enough time to glaze and fire it. Of course M was in smart clothes and the shop had no aprons for him... Miraculously he emerged relatively paint free after having loads of fun.

We also made a birthday cake for S. A raspberry and almond sponge cake (see photo). The experience was a little more stressful than if I had been baking the cake on my own but M had a lot of fun and I did too. And the cake tastes lovely, so worth a little stress.

S's birthday went well. A mostly happy day. Only one sad moment for me. We were at a park in the centre of the city. One I haven't been to since April. It is on a hill and you can see almost all of the city from there. I looked around and spotted the green hills surrounding the city. I found myself thinking of Orson's funeral. I tried to look for the Crematorium which would have been on the hills somewhere but couldn't. I was almost in tears but M distracted me with his pleas to play on the swings and slide. I of course stopped feeling sorry for myself and relented and took him to the playground.

Friday, 17 September 2010

In 2010 Autumn will be better than Summer

I follow a website called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. It has many stories submitted by women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. I have decided to accept their monthly writing challenge. This month they would like women to write a post on their blogs' describing how the changing of seasons (from Summer to Autumn) impacted them in their grief journey.

Image: Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Orson died 10 weeks ago today. July 9th. It was the middle of Summer, soon it will be Autumn and I can already see that as time goes on it gets a little easier to cope. I still think of Orson all of the time but I can now think of him without getting upset. I still cry, but there have been days when I do not cry. Some days are better than others. Today is a good day.

This Autumn I hope to return to work a big step considering how long I have been off work now. My last day in work was in April. The day before my waters broke. It will be strange going back. Knowing the last time I was in work I was pregnant. Maybe it will be good for me, allowing me to get back to my normal life from before Orson died. Then again why should everything ever be normal again?

The start of Autumn is going to be very different to the start of Summer. I am not the same person I was at the start of the Summer. I will never be that women again. At the start of summer I was resting at home. We had great weather but I didn't get to go outside and enjoy it. My waters had broken. I knew Orson's chances were not good. But there was hope. Hope and possibility that by Autumn we would have another son and we would be struggling to look after a two year old and a new born baby at the same time. I would have loved to have that struggle!

I know there still is hope. But it is not the same kind of hope. Orson is gone forever. Our new hope will have to be that one day we will be able to add to our family again. But that seems like a very distant possibility right now. My hope is that by this time next year I will be pregnant again but we will have to wait and see what our consultant recommends about trying to conceive again. Hopefully she won't expect us to wait a year to try again.

I have drifted off topic now, no longer talking about the contrast between Summer and Autumn. But I think that is just me right now. I am easily distracted. Perhaps by the end of Autumn I will be less distracted. Autumn will be less eventful, less worrisome and less sad. In 2010 Autumn will be better than Summer.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Submitting my pPROM story to Kanelen

I am submitting my story to Kanalen. Here is my submission. Please see the Kanalen website for my story and that of others.


Problems with my second pregnancy started at just six weeks when I started bleeding. I was told it was implantation bleeding. I bled for about three days. A week later I started bleeding again, much heavier than a normal period. I had an ultrasound scan and was told I had a large area of haemorrhage. I have a bicornuate uterus and the bleeding was coming from the opposite horn of my uterus to where the baby had implanted. After two or three days the bleeding stopped and a week later it started again. I was told to expect to bleed again but didn't.

My pregnancy carried on and at 19 weeks I had an ultrasound. Everything looked great. I found out I was having a boy. I was told everything would probably be fine with the pregnancy.

Two weeks later at 21 weeks and a day my waters broke. At first it was a few little gushes and then overnight whilst in hospital I ruptured completely soaking my clothes and the sheets. I was told to expect to miscarry. I would go into labour in the next three days. When I didn't I was sent home from hospital and given an appointment at the hospital to see a Fetal Medicine Consultant. I was advised to rest, going from the sofa to bed etc.

I had no symptoms of an infection and because I had already carried a baby to term they did not think I had an incompetent cervix. They do not know why I pPROM'd but bleeding and having a bicornuate uterus are known risk factors for pPROM.

The Fetal Medicine Consultant scanned us and didn't give us much hope. I had less than 1.5cm amniotic fluid in the deepest pocket. He said 2cm or more between 18 and 24 weeks is needed to guarantee lung development and so our son might not be able to breathe at birth. He said there was also a high chance I would give birth around the cusp of viability and our son would have severe disabilities. He offered us termination. However he said there was a less than 10% chance of having a healthy baby. We decided to take that chance.

I was seen by my local hospital (in the UK) twice a week for blood tests to check for infection, once a week for a swab and every other week for a growth scan. From 28 weeks my son's heart rate was monitored on a ctg twice a week too. My AFI was measured at every appointment. The highest measurement was 4cm the lowest zero. I never had more than two pockets of fluid.

I had steroids at 24 weeks and 28 weeks. At one point I had a symptomless UTI which was treated successfully with antibiotics. I was also treated for a symptomless Candida infection at one point too.

I had many scares, from 22 weeks onwards my fluid loss would turn pink at least once a week. At 28 weeks I passed a blood clot and was admitted to hospital for a few days. A week later I had no fluid left around my son at all. I never accumulated any after that. My son started having decelerations on the ctgs.

I went into labour at 31 weeks and a day, a Friday. The Monday before I had a show. The next day I passed a second bright red blood clot. On the Wednesday I was worried about my baby's movements, the hospital did a ctg and he had a long deceleration. However the day before he was born all was well.

I didn't realise I was in labour initially. I was getting mild pains which came in waves but it didn't feel like contractions. I was at the hospital and during a scan the midwife realised I was in labour. By this time the pain became extremely bad and almost constant. I started feeling nauseous and dizzy too. My baby had a heart beat during the scan but in the 10 minutes or so it took me to get to the Labour and Delivery Ward his heart stopped.

My son was lying transverse, he had been from the time I ruptured. If he had lived I would have had to have had a c-section but they were able to manually move him so I could deliver vaginally. I developed signs of infection during labour and was in hospital for four nights after the birth on IV antibiotics. I had a Staph infection.

They do not know why my son died. I may have had the infection before labour or it could have been cord compression or just stress due to labour, prematurity or lack of amniotic fluid for so long. He looked perfect and weighed 4 lb 11 oz. We called him Orson. I do not regret my decision to continue with my pregnancy.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

What is happiness?

What is happiness? Right now it is watching M when he's happy.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Yesterday I took him back to a toddler group I hadn't been to since  at the end of April. It is a music class with about 12 mums and their two year olds. I really noticed a difference in M. He has grown so much in these last four months. Last time I was at the group M didn't like to stay in the room for very long. I found myself having to leave the class and run after him. Yesterday he didn't leave once. He was very attentive and had a great time.

I was even particularly pleased that at one point when it was time for the children to hold each others' hands and form a circle so they could do "The Hokey Cokey" M did it happily. He didn't mind leaving me.

It was nice to see how the children have changed. They have all grown a lot just like M. Three new children and mums (one heavily pregnant and one with a little baby...).

M loved the class, he went home happy. I went home happy.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Technorati Blog Claim

I am submitting this blog to Technorati (a blog directory) and have to publish a code to authenticate the blog...

AJRFCZQC37NA

Party, party, party

Friends have sold their house, quit their jobs and are about to embark on a round the world trip for a year. They had a party to celebrate. This was to be my first group social outing since Orson's death. S and M went with me.

My first dilemma was what to wear. This wasn't to be a formal occasion but still I wanted to find the perfect outfit, one that made me look like my old self. However after a quick look in a shop I soon decided that I might as well wear something I already owned so in the end I wore jeans and a lacy green vest top. Sadly the jeans were a size larger than my normal size, ones I bought whilst in the early stages of my pregnancy before maternity clothes became essential - need to work on the exercise...

Any of you that know me will be aware that I don't do make up. I wear a little but try to go for a natural look. I try to be the me without make up if only I had that perfect complexion. Well I haven't really bothered with make up in a long while which was evident to S when I came out the bathroom and asked him how I looked, he replied that I looked great if I was trying to loom like a vampire... So back to the bathroom for a second attempt! My excuse? I was rushed, bad lighting, lack if practice, a new lipstick... okay I know I am almost 33 and I should have figured the make up thing out by now.
Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The party was good. We didn't stay to the end as we had to go home to get M to bed but I enjoyed my first proper social outing in a long time. Only one awkward moment. It happened very soon after I arrived when I was chatting to a women I hadn't met before. After asking me how old M was she quickly asked if he was my only child. I think I probably emphasised that he was a little to firmly and then looked away quickly, ending the conversation rather too abruptly. But I expect she didn't even notice, how I wish I could have just told her I have two children...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Just complaining

I finally got a letter in the post yesterday giving me an appointment at the hospital to see my Consultant. 18th October. Ages away. I was told after I had Orson it would be 6 weeks after the birth. I hadn't heard anything last week so called the hospital. That wasn't a fun experience as I ended up being transferred twice and had to explain the situation. I just hate having to say my son was stillborn. One very confused women seemed bewildered as to why I was calling and even asked if I was pregnant again. No. Eventually I got through to my Consultant's PA who knew what I was talking about and said she would put a letter in the post.

I just thought I would be seen earlier. I know my Consultant isn't going to be able to say for definite why Orson died or why my waters broke but I would like to hear her opinion. I also want her opinion on how long to wait before trying to conceive again. I have heard some women have been told to wait a year after pPROM. I hope she doesn't recommend that for me. I can't wait a year. I also want to know what treatment I can expect in a future pregnancy. I have heard between 20 to 40% of women pPROM again. It is terrifying.

Today was Orson's due date. I Never thought he would actually arrive today but it is still a sad day. I went to bed very early in the morning, just after midnight and found myself crying. I always imagined he would be early so thought I would have a baby who was two or three weeks old right now.

I intend to keep busy today, trying not to dwell on the sadness I feel. So off to lunch with M and a friend.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The kindness of others

Yesterday afternoon whilst M was sleeping my doorbell rang. A woman from a toddler group I take M to had come to give me a massive bunch of flowers. I haven't been to toddler group since April. I had said I would go yesterday but completely forgot about it. The flowers came with a note welcoming me and M back. So lovely, can't believe I forgot to go.

People have been lovely throughout my pprom experience and following the loss of Orson. I have had many emails from colleagues at work, even ones I was not really close to. Work even sent me the largest bunch of flowers I have ever seen just after Orson died. Honestly I was amazed how huge these flowers were, they even came with their own vase.

I have had many emails from friends and relatives. I appreciate every one. I am not too good at replying but I really appreciate the messages. It has surprised me that so many people care and that those that are most supportive are not necessarily those I expected to be most supportive.

There are a few people that were invaluable in allowing us to continue our pregnancy after pprom. Our parents visited often. S's Mum stayed a couple of times staying for a whole week on one occasion and my Mum stayed many times. I am very grateful to her. And almost every day she would send me an email in the morning as well as phoning in the evening.

My parents were also on stand by throughout the last 10 weeks to drive to us if I went into labour so that S could be with me in hospital. In fact they did just that the day I had Orson. They picked M up from Nursery for us and looked after him, staying for the weekend while I was in hospital.

A close friend I'll call Ms T was also on standby throughout the 10 weeks. She agreed to help day or night and look after M before my parents arrived. My parents live a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Ms T also visited me loads and was a great help. She turned up with cakes on many occasions much to M's delight.




Friday, 3 September 2010

It could have been us

I have been a little sad today. Firstly my son, M has had his first day in the Preschool Class at nursery. When I dropped him off he asked me if a some of his friends were there, but one has moved to France, the other is on holiday and the third doesn't move up to his class for another month. The teacher was great and went to get him a Horsey to play on (a Horsey is a trike that looks like a horse). M loves the Horseys and whizzes around on them in the garden. But today he sat on one and just stared at me looking sad as I left. All the way to nursery he kept asking if I could stay with him.

The other reason I am sad is of course Orson.

I am a member of a pProm Support Group. An online group of women who have been through pProm or are currently going through it. Today a women in the group announced she had her little boy on 1st Sept. Whilst I am very happy for her I am sad because it makes me think that it could have been us. Her little baby boy is a miracle and his story was so similar to Orson's up until this point. I'll call this women Ms E to make it easier to describe her in this blog entry.

Ms E's water broke at about 19 weeks and she delivered her son by c-section at 31 weeks and 6 days. After rupture she only ever had an AFI of about 1.5cm. She had bleeding on and off and her baby had decelerations on heart rate traces towards the end. Just like Orson. He was born with Pulmonary Hypoplasia, Patent Ductus Arteriosus and a pneumothorax. He is currently on the highest settings of respiratory support. He weighed 3lb 5 oz. Things are very difficult for Ms E and her family right now. They have a huge struggle ahead but they have a chance. I wish them so much strength and luck to get through their struggle and bring their baby home healthy.

Ms E's little boy and his story remind me so much of Orson. Would he have been like her son had he been born alive? At 4lbs 11oz would Orson have been better off? Or would he not have made it at all.. I think he would have made it.

I walked down the street crying after I dropped M off at nursery, passed a delivery man who gave me a very funny look...

It will get better I know.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Nursery open day and my dire need to get in shape

Today they had an open day at M's nursery. I think they must have had them before but I have never been. It was space themed. They had really spent ages decorating the nursery, with rockets, aliens etc. M loved it, playing with glitter, torches in the dark, painting, eating cakes, he had helped cook the day before and playing in the ball pool. It was lovely as we could stay with him and of course we never normally get to do that.

Have I said they are moving M up to the preschool class in Sept? I can't believe it, seems too early! But I think he'll like it, he has had trial days there already and seems ok. Normally they move up when they are 3, but I think they have too many younger kids coming up to his current class and of course have other older children leaving and going to school.

There is a party for the children moving to preschool on Thursday. So I'm going to go along with M as it isn't his normal nursery day. I'm sure he'll like it.

We went to Birmingham for the night a week or so ago. S organized it. Never been before. It was nice to get away, although I was not at all excited about going away. It is hard to get excited about things since Orson died. They had a dinosaur exhibit on at the museum there. Lots of life sized dinosaurs moving etc. M loved it. He has been excited by dinosaurs ever since!

I finally got around to weighing myself today. Scary! I have about 3/4 stone to lose to get to the weight I was at Christmas when I found out I was pregnant. And to be honest I have been a lot lighter than that before. S unhelpfully pointed out cutting out chocolate etc might help! Trouble is when I'm feeling down I do tend to eat sweet things like chocolate and I tend to have lots of sad times right now... But am going to try and be stronger, and hopefully start doing some exercise too. Because I didn't move around for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy I just put on loads of weight. I found it easy to lose weight after M because I didn't put much on and I breastfed for ages. I want to figure out exercise that will help reduce the size of my stomach. I still look quite a bit pregnant, not great. I usually just do running which probably won't help too much for that area. Of course I have always been useless at getting motivated about exercise.

I really am very unfit though. Playing on the Wii with M this afternoon was exhausting. And according to the Wii I burnt hardly any calories!

Friday, 13 August 2010

5 weeks since Orson died

Not been good at updating this blog but it is so hard to know what to say right now.

Physically I'm much better. It has been 5 weeks since Orson died. I should have been 36 weeks pregnant. I am still not back to my old self but that is just a mixture of the normal post pregnancy stuff and of course being very unfit! I haven't really been able to exercise all year. In January doctors told me not to do strenuous exercise because of early bleeding, so I interpreted that as no exercise and then of course i had 10 weeks of hardly moving at all before Orson was born. It has made me very unfit.

I am also keen to get my pre pregnancy shape back. But I know from having M it takes a long time. The doctors told me not to do any exercise until 6 weeks after the birth so I will try sit ups etc in a week or so. But I seem to recall it took at least 6 months after I had M before I was happier. But I guess the difference was I didn't really care then as I had M to concentrate on. Plus I had the added help of breastfeeding with M which burns loads of calories...

Emotionally I am acting more normal again. In the first few days an hour didn't go by where I didn't cry now I can function normally most of the time. It is worst at night. I just lie awake thinking about things, getting sad. I still break down at inappropriate times and I get upset with S and M more often than normal but they are coping with me.

M is starting to notice my weaknesses. He has taken to fake crying to get me to give him something he wants. In fact just asking for things works well with me at the moment. I think since nothing makes me happy I am just making him happy instead. I took him to shopping this week. My Mum had given him clothes that were too big so I exchanged them, I also got him a balloon and a new toy till (his favourite game is now shop keepers). I got nothing for me on this trip.

I find on the days M isn't in nursery I keep busy and get very tired just looking after him. I try and take him to places he likes (playground, aquarium etc) and I can act normally. I say act because I am always thinking about Orson and events around my pregnancy etc even when I seem ok.

I think it is easier for S because he wasn't the one who was pregnant. I am only now realising how close I was to Orson even though I never got to see him alive. I think it is because for the 10 weeks before he was born he was all I was concentrating on. The last few weeks I was even recording when I felt movements in the hope I would notice any decreases in movement and be able to get to the hospital in time for them to save him.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Orson's funeral

Nobody should have to have a funeral for their baby. We did. it is surreal, I cannot believe we had to do it. 30th July 2010 became the day we said good bye to our little Orson for the last time.

Here is the story of that day.

We thought it would take ages to get to the crematorium but forgot it was the school holidays, so we had loads of time to spare. We went for a walk around the grounds before hand. It was nice and peaceful there. Lots of trees. It was on a big hill and you could see the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Ashton Court, Clifton Village, you couldn't quite see our house but almost.

We were surprised that they brought Orson to the service in a black funeral car. I imagined he would already be there. I had been thinkng about it and getting so upset the day before. I was thinking about him leaving the hospital and how we should have been with him.

He had a very small light brown wooden coffin with brass coloured handles. There was a brass plaque on top with his name inscribed. They had put a white carnation on top.

Since it was just me and S the chaplain came right over to us and bent down so she could just do the service as if she was chatting to us. No idea what she said. Afterwards me and S went over to Orson, touched the coffin and said goodbye. We said we love him and that we were sorry.

The funeral only took about 10 minutes.

Afterwards we didn't want to leave immediately so walked around the grounds for ages before coming home. We went for lunch out and had a nice glass of red wine.

A very quiet simple funeral for our little baby.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Orson's birth... and death

This is the story of Orson's birth.

Thursday had been a good day. No bleeding and Orson moved a lot. I woke up at 7:30 am. Friday and again Orson moved. Since I was tired I went back to sleep. At 9:30 I woke up with a mild ache low in my pelvis. It lasted 1 or 2 seconds. Half an hour later and I felt another. I had a routine appointment at midday, thought I felt Orson move and was convinced this wasn't labour. It didn't feel like the contractions I had felt with my first son. My bump did not get at all tight.

So I carried on as normal. My partner took our son to nursery and I got ready. A few minutes before I was about to leave I noticed the pain was worse and more frequent. But still it didn't feel like a contraction and the pain was mild.

When I got to the hospital I asked to be seen immediately. I asked for paracetamol. Still not realising I was in labour. They scanned me and found a heartbeat and absolutely no fluid. Orson was still transverse possibly a bit oblique. During the 5 minute scan the pain intensified dramatically and came every 2 minutes. The midwife realised I was in labour. I was shocked it felt nothing like with my first son.

The midwife left me and my partner in the scan room and went to call the labour and delivery ward. She was gone less than 5 minutes. By the time she came back the pain was almost unbearable and when I tried to move I felt very sick and dizzy. They got me a wheelchair and took me down to the new ward in the lift. By now I was screaming and begging them to help the pain stop. Unlike with my first son it just did not ease it felt constant then occasionally got worse.

They scanned me again. By now I was surrounded by doctors and midwives. I didn't notice who scanned me first, then a doctor scanned me and I saw her whisper no heartbeat to my consultant. My consultant scanned me, before she could start I said "you can't find a heartbeat can you?" she said no and said she was going to scan me thoroughly and would be very quiet while she did. She found nothing. Orson had died in the 10 minutes or so it took me to get to the labour and delivery ward.

It must have been about midday. They checked and I was 8cm dilated. They gave me pethidine and then they explained that Orson was still in a bad position for delivery but they were going to try their best to let me deliver vaginally as a c-secton would have a bigger impact on me and could effect future pregnancies.

An anaesthetist gave me an epidural. It was so hard to stay still for that whilst I was in so much pain. But when it finally worked it was great.

They put a cannula in each hand. They started me on IV antibiotics as they decided I looked very ill. They took blood samples etc.

I didn't cry. I think I must have been in shock. I was just numb. By 5:30 they checked me again. I was fully dilated. Orson's arm had prolapsed. He was still in a vary bad position. They scanned me again. A consultant told me that he would try and move Orson but that it would be very difficult because my uterus had never grown any bigger than him because I had never had enough fluid. My bicornuate uterus made it even harder. I was told if they couldn't move him I would need a c-section.

They prepared me for a c-section. S put on his blue scrubs. I was told the risk of a c-section and signed the consent form. The only risk I recall was one which led to hysterectomy. I just remember thinking, no I want another child, please no.

It was about now that I realised I felt very cold and was shaking uncontrollably. They took my temperature, it was about 38.7 degrees C. They put me on a paracetamol drip. They took more blood samples and cultures before they wheeled me to theatre.

I have never been so scared as I was in theatre. They gave me a spinal which meant I was completely numb from my arms down and had a big sheet up to stop me seeing anything. S sat one side of my head the anaesthetist the other. So so scary.

It was half six when the Consultant told me he had delivered Orson. He was breech. He then had to manually remove the placenta.

S saw Orson first whilst still in theatre. I chose to wait. I didn't want him far away though. Whilst they wheeled me to my room they pushed Orson in his little cot.

He looked big to me. Not like the small premature baby I had expected. He was the same weight as the average 34 week old premature baby, 4 lb 11 oz. I kept him in my room until about 3 or 4 the next day. The midwives lifted him out of his cot three times for me to hold. One unwrapped his blanket to show me his foot and hand. So small but perfect. It was so hard to say goodbye. To tell him I loved him and that I was sorry. My partner told me to hold him as long as I wanted but I knew they had to take him away because I didn't ever want to let him go.

I had to stay in hospital another two nights. The first night I couldn't leave the bed, the spinal took ages to wear off and I had a catheter. In the morning I felt dizzy and sick. My blood pressure was very low so they gave me saline. I was on IV antibiotics until the night before I was discharged.

My stomach hurt loads because they had manipulated me so much. I also tore and had stitches.

Leaving hospital without Orson was heartbreaking. I hate how I can't look after him anymore.

They told me I had a staph infection in hospital. I was on oral antibiotics when I came out for a week. Now I'm just on iron tablets. The combination of birth and masses of blood tests they ran on me made me anaemic.

My stomach doesn't ache any more. It just hurts low down in my pelvis if it's pressed. I am incredibly sore where I tore and everywhere else down there. It is very painful using the toilet and walking around for very long. Much worse than with my first son. They reckon it is because it was so difficult to manipulate Orson my bladder and everything else down there got bruised. I was told to give it another two weeks and then to see my GP if the pain is no better.

We have arranged Orson's funeral for the 30th July. I should have been 34 weeks by then...

I said yesterday that I get sad and think of Orson every hour but as I said it I realised it is more than that, it's just that I only lose it and actually cry once an hour. Orson and the sadness is always there. I wouldn't want anybody to go through this. To not be able to hear your baby cry, to see him move, to tell him you love him is truly awful.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Email sent on 10th July informing a work colleague of Orson's death

Copy of an e-mail sent to a work colleague shortly after I had Orson, I was still in hospital at the time.


Hi XXX

Our son, Orson, died on friday during labour.

I'm still in hospital being treated for infection. I hope to go home
later today.

It's very very hard to cope at the moment, but that is a really
inadequate way to describe how bad it is.

Orson looked perfect and weighed 4lb 11oz.

I will write more when i'm home.

Please let everyone in work know.

Loumary
xx

Thursday, 8 July 2010

31 weeks pregnant. A whole day without going to the hospital?

I am 31 weeks pregnant today.

I was back at the hospital again last night. I was worried about the baby's movements. The midwife found the heartbeat instantly, nobody has ever found it so quick! They monitored the heart rate for 55 minutes and I felt him move a couple times. The doctor then asked for me to be monitored for another 40 minutes as there had been a deceleration probably caused by cord compression. But the second trace was fine so I came home sometime after midnight.

Everything has been okay so far today, in fact there have been lots of movements but we'll see, it seems this week I'm destined to visit the hospital every day! If I don't go today my routine appointment is tomorrow.

M and S came with me to the hospital yesterday as I wanted S there in case it was bad news. It was M's second time in the Labour and Delivery ward, the last time was 2 1/2 years ago when he was born there!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Passed a clot today

I spent this morning in hospital after passing a clot. Apart from that I felt fine. They tried their best to terrify me. The midwife spent 10 minutes failing to find the baby's heart beat on a ctg monitor, then failed to find it using a sonicaid. Then called a consultant who turned up with an ultrasound machine looking very concerned. She kept asking when I last felt the baby move. After 5 minutes she couldn't find the heartbeat and went off to find someone else to look. Eventually they found it, and monitored him on the ctg for 20 minutes and all was fine. They reckon the lack of fluid and lower powered ultrasound machine made it difficult to find the heartbeat. I reckon it's that consultants just don't do ultrasounds very often!

They reckon that there is about a 5% increased chance of a further bleed and the consultant advised me to stay overnight to be observed. But I didn't feel like they did anything last time this happened when I was in hospital so didn't stay. I'm not far from the hospital (10 minute walk and i would get S to drive so it would probably be quicker) and will call/ go there with the slightest concern. The midwife said she couldn't say for certain I would make it to the hospital in time but she said that would always be the case. My main concern was if something happened whilst I was asleep but the midwife reckoned I would wake up and anyway if I was in hospital I would have to sleep and nobody would check on me during the night.

So I'm just going to watch myself extremely carefully. Hope I made the right decision!