Debbie’s Story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

MY SON

Chris was a lover of life and achieved so much in the short 15 years of his life.  On August 14th 2006 Chris went to Capel Curig in North Wales with 5 friends that year had been a very hot summer and that weekend there was a heavy rainfall that caused an extreme waterfall.  Chris fell into the waterfall. He was sucked back into a cave below and his trainer was caught in a branch of a tree.  A team of divers and search and rescue dogs plus locals searched downstream for him for 7 hours his body was recovered at 7.03 that evening.

Chris Debbie's son
Chris Debbie’s son

My life changed that day ….

legacy

Within a week of the funeral I began what I never imagined would be a legacy in Chris’s name educating over 500.000 young people across North Wales and the UK about water safety. I have won many Awards for my work.  However the pain never leaves you … I guess acceptance is the final destination for grief but anniversaries still bring those painful feelings to the fore.

BUTTERFLIES

In the early days around 18 months after losing Chris I attempted suicide on two occasions, I don’t tell this for pity I tell it to help others because if I can recover from this dark place then I feel anyone can.  It took lots of personal development work and I found myself on an amazing Spiritual path which I follow to this day.  I truly believe there is so much more to life than we realise and have had too many signs that Chris is with me always… Rainbows … I feel them before I see them.  They come at times when I need them and when important things are coming.  Butterflies one day I walked the path to Angel Bay where I have scattered his ashes I had a strange feeling …. Suddenly a host of white butterflies were coming towards me they settled on my body and I felt myself opening my arms … People stared in amazement … It felt like the hug I’d yearned for for years.

Debbie Turnbull
Debbie Turnbull

WATER SAFETY

Today I am looking forward to taking a huge leap with my Water Safety business teaching teachers to educate young people in schools. It is hoped that with our new plans we will educate over 50.000 young people a year. A Legacy that will live on long after I do …

I live in hope that when my time comes to meet Chris once again, in his Castle In The Sky, we will both be reunited for the rest of eternity.

If you enjoyed reading this inspirational story then please check back this week as others share their stories too. Find out more information here.

The amazing Sue France shared hers on Monday here’s the link.

The fantastic Kiki Deville shared hers on Tuesday here’s the link.

Read about Sophie’s story from yesterday here

You can read Violet and Arthur’s story here.

Sophie’s Story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

It was 5 years ago now that my world shattered and changed forever.

THE BEGINNING

Let me start at the beginning… 2015 was a year full of so many different emotions and brand news that I had to get my head around. In the May I suffered a brain haemorrhage and ended up as an inpatient which is how I first learnt I was pregnant. I was shocked, overwhelmed, overjoyed, and confused. I didn’t think it would happen for me.

the scans

It was a scary beginning, trying to recover from what had happened to me and to now protect my unborn baby. I was discharged from hospital and had a new lease of life. I was so excited to know that I would soon become a mummy. I started my pregnancy journey as most do – having your 12 week and your 20-week scans. I remember feeling apprehensive but bubbling with excitement. At my 20-week scan my little baby kept hiding – I was sent out and told to do star jumps and bounce to try and get him moving. He was just not playing ball. I ended up having 3 appointments for my 20 weeks as he was being so stubborn.

On the third visit… no one expects to be met with those concerned eyes as they look back at you having scanned your baby. Instantly I knew something was wrong and my stomach knotted so hard, my chest crushed, and my throat fought back hard to stop the tears. “I’m not quite sure but something is wrong with your baby’s heart”. I’ve always thought ever since that my little boy was trying to hide his heart problem so he could live.

HEART WARRIOR

This is where my journey began with my little heart warrior. I was transferred to a heart specialist hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and on Christmas Day 2015, my little boy, Joshua, was born, 2 weeks early.

The love that fills your body as you welcome this little human that you created is so incredibly powerful and one that never ever leaves you.

Tiny Joshua
Tiny Joshua soon after birth

jOSHUA

Joshua was born with severe Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). It is one of the most severe heart conditions. Joshua was whisked away very quickly following his birth and prepared for transfer to the Royal Brompton Hospital. This became our home for almost 7months. At day 2 of life, he underwent his first surgery. The first is always the riskiest as they are so fragile. He found recovery hard but as we soon realised Joshua had immense fight in him as well as one of my traits – stubbornness!

At 4 months he then had stage 2 of his surgeries as he started to struggle. Luckily Joshua was a big boy for a heart baby which served him well and enabled staged 2 to happen earlier than planned.

Joshua
Joshua always smiling

HAPPY

Joshua was a character and became so loved and known to fellow Brompton families and the staff. He was the happiest little thing, with the chubbiest cheeks. He showed so much concern for other babies when they cried and fought so hard throughout his journey.

We were able to take Joshua home twice during his life – once in the May and the second in the July – both for short periods as sadly he deteriorated and had to be taken back in.

In this time, we witnessed our little boy grow and develop into such a beautiful, kind little soul. He was infectious! He also endured things you’d never wish on anyone. There were some truly enormous highs and some heart-breaking lows. However, Joshua had this smile that made any bad day instantly fade away.

Joshua's smile
Joshua’s smile lit up the room

NIGHTMARE

Sadly, on his 9month birthday, after having spent a great day round my mum and dads, baking cakes and generally being so happy. He later deteriorated at home, and we had to call for an ambulance who took him into our local A&E.

Joshua happy and playing
Joshua happy and playing

This night has replayed out in my dreams most nights since I lost him and haunts my thoughts when awake. Things went wrong that night at our local and sadly at 2:34am the following morning he had his 4th and final cardiac arrest and left this world. The sound that left me as he lay lifeless and the begs I remember making to bring him back consume me. I sat holding him for 6hours after he died, and I felt him grow so cold on my chest, so heavy. My life literally crumbled. The feeling of losing your child is indescribable and the pain is unbearable. I just wanted so badly to switch places with him, take his pain away and to let him live. Let him have his firsts, let him experience life’s events, fall in love, have his own family.

GRIEF

The weeks and months that followed are a blur now, but I remember feeling so incredibly numb and so lonely. I didn’t want to burden anyone and tried hard to show I was okay, but you never really are okay after such an event. You just learn to deal with it and how to carry on somehow.

Joshua
Joshua happy

POETRY

Each year I found myself writing Joshua a poem – a letter almost of how I was feeling, how I missed him so and what the last year had entailed. It has become my promise and almost my yearly tribute to him. I think of him every single day and often get caught off guard and just sob. I feel guilt a lot, especially when I laughed for the first time after he passed away. I felt physically sick that I had shown an ounce of happiness.

I have found life hard since and I now suffer with anxiety, but I found throwing myself into work or a project and keeping busy keeps me in an okay place. I have met a man who I am in-love with and have also had 2 other children, Harrison, and Millie since. Sadly, Harrison too was born with a heart condition. They are both so amazing and fill me with so much love. I also sadly had a miscarriage and lost twins before welcoming Millie.

CHILD LOSS

Loss isn’t spoken about anywhere near enough and has a stigma that almost makes it so it shouldn’t be spoken of, but there are so many of us that have experienced loss. We all deal with it in very different ways but support from others is an enormous and powerful thing. Being able to share your story or provide a shoulder to cry on for someone else is huge. Loss is a lonely place, but we should be able to say their name without feeling shame or being met with awkwardness or eyes that look away. I absolutely love being a mum and feel so incredibly lucky to have had all of my children.

Sophie with Joshua
Sophie with Joshua

LEGACY

Since losing Joshua, my father and I have made it our mission to bring positive from Joshua’s death. I didn’t want it to have been for nothing. We have set up a charity called “The Joshua Lynagh Foundation”, The JLF, which went live on his anniversary this year – 26th Sept. The charity is to help others who have children with congenital heart disease (CHD). I want to ensure no one has to experience what I did. We aim to raise awareness of CHD, provide education to families and medics (especially those medics at local hospitals who do not have the expertise to deal with cardiac children) and help empower families, so they feel heard and not isolated. My ultimate aim is to learn from failures we experienced that night and to ensure they do not occur again.

You can learn more about Joshua’s story and The JLF at www.jlftrust.org.uk – you can help raise awareness of the charity by liking, sharing and donating. We can also be found on various social media sites:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejlftrust/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JLF.Trust

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_jlf

FUNDRAISING project

Our first fundraising project, “ECHO”, is to raise funds to purchase a Vivid IQ portable echocardiographic machine with three probes (baby, child, and teenager – S12, S6 and S4) for The Royal Brompton Hospital.

This piece of equipment will help diagnose life-threatening heart conditions. It will be used on between 500-1,000 children per year, helping up to 5,000 children over a 5-year period.

As a portable machine, it will allow clinical staff to take it to other hospitals where children present to A&E very sick and for newborn babies. These hospitals will include Chelsea and Westminster, St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead, and The Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. The total cost is approximately £50,000.

This piece of equipment will help save children’s lives. It will enable clinicians to scan patients to diagnose: sick newborn babies, children with holes in their hearts, and those who develop heart problems, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) or cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease).

If you enjoyed reading this inspirational story then please check back this week as others share their stories too. Find out more information here.

The amazing Sue France shared hers on Monday here’s the link.

The fantastic Kiki Deville shared hers yesterday here’s the link.

You can read Violet and Arthur’s story here.

Child Loss Awareness Month & Baby Loss Awareness Week

Hi Folks

I hope you are all ok and have had a lovely weekend.  I haven’t posted on here for a while and I will go onto explain why including something very special that will begin tomorrow for the whole of this week.

Violet watching bubbles at her friend George's party. The last party she ever went to. Violet Skies
Violet watching bubbles at her friend George’s party. The last party she ever went to. Violet Skies

September

Those of you who have been following and reading my blog posts regularly will know that September is an especially hard month for us as our beloved daughter Violet died 5 years ago at the the end of the month and a year later her brother died on the 1st.  Usually I would have written lots of posts about it and the huge tidal wave of grief that hits me again every single year but this year I haven’t.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t floored by it or that I didn’t find it hard.  I did.  I just decided I wouldn’t share it again on here as I felt I was simply repeating myself every year.

Violet and Arthur's Grave September 2021
Violet and Arthur’s Grave September 2021

escape

Luckily this September we managed to do the thing I love to do the most when I get hit by the wave of grief and that is to escape.  This year we escaped to Corfu and I spent Violet’s anniversary on a beautiful beach listening to the crashing of waves.  I even did an early morning yoga and meditation on the beach.  I really feel travel can be healing and a good way to do something positive for your spirit rather than being sat in what can feel like a groundhog day every year.

Me in Corfu September 2021
Me in Corfu September 2021 when we escaped 5 year anniversary of Violet dying

BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK

Anyway as we head now into Baby Loss Awareness week and October which is Child Loss Awareness month I still wanted to continue to talk openly about child loss and also to further conversations around the subject too.

Over the years this exclusive club I am a member of has introduced me to other fellow members who all like me didn’t ever choose to be here but like me have gone onto do some pretty amazing and special things in memory of their children’s legacies.  They also like me have chosen to openly talk about their children in the hope it helps others to do so too and that those who are outside our club can better understand what others are going through which can help to smash the taboo surrounding child and baby loss.

GUEST WRITERS

I am honoured that some of those I now have the privilege to call friends have agreed to share their stories over the next week on here.  These friends are all amazing, strong and phenomenally inspirational.  They all have lost their babies at differing ages and for different reasons so I will let them tell you in their own words starting from tomorrow.

I hope anyone who is going through any kind of loss at the moment is being kind to themselves and to all those who love them.  Reach out and send a quick message to someone you know who has suffered loss to simply say you are thinking of them.

Big love and hugs to you all

Always Violet Skies

Sarah x

 

Happy 6th Birthday

Happy 6th Birthday to my darling girl; the girl who made me a mummy and taught me how to be strong, even when I don’t want to be.

Today you should be excitedly opening your birthday cards and presents before school.  Perhaps taking sweets or cake or fruit in for your classmates to enjoy whilst wearing your birthday girl badge.

We would have probably done you a birthday party in the back garden in the sunshine the weekend just gone. Some of your friends would have come that you have been friends with pretty much since birth, school friends too and also your amazing cousins.  I bet your baby sister would have had a meltdown because she wasn’t the centre of attention for once too.

I wonder what we would have bought you for your birthday?  Judging by your cousin who is seven now probably a new bike or perhaps you are still as musical as you were aged 15 months so maybe we got you a piano?  Your Aunty Kate would have made you the most amazing birthday cake too.

6th birthday cake Violet
6th birthday cake Violet

Anyway today we will do what we have done for the last 4 birthdays and we will take birthday balloons to your grave to say happy birthday to you darling girl.  This year we have sent beautiful wild flower bouquets to your Grandmothers to make them smile through their tears.

Last year we gave party bags to all of the people who have supported us since you passed with sweets, mini champers (you did like your bubbles although not the alcoholic kind) and uniquely thoughtful gifts for them to make them smile.

Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness

In the years before that we always did random acts of kindness on your birthday like taking balloons and sweets to the Children’s Hospital; delivering cakes and balloons to your old nursery and leaving token gifts of sweets all around the local area and park.  Alas once again for the second year we are scuppered by COVID19.  I will do some random acts of kindness in a different way so check back here to find out what they were as if I reveal all now well they won’t be random and a surprise will they?

Cakes at nursery for birthday
Cakes at nursery for birthday

As we always do we will donate money to various charities, including giving money for a little child your age to receive a school uniform and toys that their parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.  We have renewed sponsorship of a little girl your age in Africa paying for her to complete her schooling.  We also renewed sponsorship of the elephants at Chester Zoo in memory of your favourite elephant toy.

Elephants at Chester Zoo
Violet’s elephants at Chester Zoo

Does anyone have any good ideas for something we can do this week?

I will also be starting the ball rolling to establish a charity in your honour to enable us to support many smaller causes and charities so we can help lots more people. It will also continue to build your legacy.

The Violet Ball September 2018
The Violet Ball September 2018

I hope we will make you proud little girl.  You had such a big heart, such an appetite for life and a calm wisdom about you that was so advanced for your years.

Your little sister I know misses you even though she never got to meet you.  She misses not having a sibling to share things with.  She adores her cousins and whenever they visit she loves spending time with them.  She shares her toys and games generously.  She loves other children so I know she would love you.

Violet at her first birthday party. She loved balloons! www.violet-skies.com
Violet at her first birthday party that was also our belated wedding reception with her friend Abby. She loved balloons! http://www.violet-skies.com

Both your dad and I miss you more than you can imagine.  We would do anything to have you back with us again.  To have you arguing and squabbling with your sister, to watch you teaching her how to do things and to listen as you read her stories.

Sending you so much love on your birthday and wishing we could cuddle you once more.

Love always

Mummy, Daddy, Arthur (who is with you) and your baby sister Aurora

(who sang Happy Birthday to your Nanna a few days ago).  xxx

Thanks for reading this and if you enjoyed it then please check out

My story

Lockdown 3.0

If you would like to donate to Violet’s fund at Alder Hey here’s the link to do so

 

The “Royal” Baby

I have delayed posting or commenting anything about the heartbreaking story of the loss of Meghan and Harry’s baby.

Was it royal?

There is a lot of debate as always in the media and online about whether it was or wasn’t a “Royal baby”.  Well to be frank who cares if it was royal or not it was still the loss of a poor baby; someone’s baby; Meghan and Harry’s baby and Archie’s kid brother or sister.  It is sad to hear of the loss of any child and it is equally sad to see they haven’t had any family support (that we can see publicly) from the Windsor side anyway.

Support

The lack of support and understanding for child loss is palpable.  It is a shame that the official stance from the Royal family was to refuse comment and to keep it as a private matter, when clearly the taboo of child loss does need to be spoken about rather than a continued adoption of the English way of pretending nothing has happened and simply moving on.

I am hoping that privately the Windsor’s have reached out, especially to Harry.  For a dad it can often be even worse support wise than it can for mothers of loss. I would imagine Harry could really use some support from his father and brother at this time. I hope privately that they have reached out to him and that he has had this.

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Meghan said in the eloquent column she wrote for the New York Times.

“I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

Violet and Arthur’s grave this summer

‘She asks “Are we ok?” This is the question that all child loss sufferers need to be asked and we need to feel we can escape from the traditional English response of “I’m fine” or “I’m OK” to be more honest with our feelings in order to encourage others that it is ok to do so too.

FIRST CHRISSY THEN MEGHAN

Meghan and indeed Chrissy Teigen earlier in the year were both criticized for their honesty and openness around the loss of their children when in fact they should be praised for it (as well as given love and support).  They are doing a great service to the child loss community.  It is an exclusive club that no one wants membership of and lots don’t feel they can admit they are members of it either so the more celebrities open up discussions about the subject then the better the fuel to help rid us of this awful taboo.  By enabling people to talk about Meghan or Chrissy rather than themselves it enables greater dialogue around the subject avoiding the fear of offending a friend or loved one.

From @chrissyteigen instagram

NEW YORK TIMES

If you want to read Meghan’s article in the New York Times here’s a link to it.  Thank you to Meghan and Chrissy for sharing their pain with us to help others to speak out too.

I had a new business meeting today and mentioned Violet Skies in it.  The lady I was chatting to then opened up that she had lost two children herself too and praised the fact collectively we are helping to encourage dialogue around the subject.

So let’s get talking about it.  Why not be open about it?  Let’s ask “How are you today?” and  “Are you ok?” genuinely ready for an answer that doesn’t include the word “fine”.

Please let me know what you think as always and if you can share that would be amazing too.

Lots of love

Sarah x

Always Violet Skies

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Give yourself a break

Recently I’ve been beating myself up about putting on weight during lockdown and the fact I’ve not exercised a huge amount. My body isn’t how I’d like it to be. My heart is now fixed so there’s no physical reason for not doing more exercise.

Metabolism

My fixed heart now seems to have slowed my metabolism down because it is working more efficiently so I seem to be burning less calories – typical hey?  Anyway I was moaning the other day to a friend and she reminded me that I have actually had 3 pregnancies/babies in 5 years which is quite a lot and a huge impact on your body. Add into that that I’ve also had and recovered from heart surgery after having a titanium device fitted inside it.

pregnant-sunshine-dexter-violet-skies
My third pregnancy, living in a building site during one of the hottest summers on record

Looking back over 5 years

I had a very traumatic birth with my first baby Violet who was undiagnosed breach resulting in me being rushed into surgery shortly after the birth. She was blue lighted to Alder Hey in Liverpool where she underwent heart surgery at 4 days old. She survived that luckily and we took her home 10 days later with major chest wounds weighing less than 5 pounds. Anyone who has had a prem baby will understand the additional challenges with caring for a baby so small.

Childloss x 2

Then I’ve also had the trauma of losing two children. First Violet at 15 months old then my second baby Arthur. With Arthur we had to face the near impossible decision of a termination for medical reasons after hearing at his 20 week scan that his brain hadn’t developed at all and in fact was just fluid. We said goodbye to him at 22 weeks and he was stillborn.

Cemetery-July-2020
Violet and Arthur’s Grave Summer 2020

We’ve then undergone a horrendous inquest hearing for Violets loss almost 2 years after she died having to relive every moment of it and I did that whilst heavily pregnant with Aurora my third baby.

Third pregnancy

I faced the additional stress of a rainbow pregnancy following those two losses whilst rehabilitating a German Shepherd and project managing a home extension that we lived in throughout too. All while still working as a PR consultant too.

Kitchen-Dexter-Renovation-Violet-Skies
Exactly 2 years ago today this is what our house looked like

Child with special needs

After Aurora was born we discovered she was deaf and so are now adjusting to raising a deaf child. She also doesn’t sleep so 2 years in we’ve had to adapt to only 4-5hours sleep maximum a night on a good day.

Other minor things

In the last 5 years of my life I’ve also gotten married, travelled round the planet twice, raised over £50k for Alder Hey hospital, had heart surgery and most recently a cancer scare (luckily now confirmed as nothing to worry about).

The-Violet-Ball-September-2018-violet-skies

Work wise

I also started this child loss blog to help others out there and to try to raise more awareness of the issues faced. I’ve started lecturing in marketing at university, launched a new travel business and also made more of my love for photography by studying for a diploma in it. Now with covid changing the landscape of my career in travel and hospitality PR too. Grounding airlines and closing bars/restaurants. The working me has seen a huge shift in my outlook and what I do.

I’d say that’s quite a lot in 5 years wouldn’t you? So you know what? I’m going to give myself a bloody break and a pat on the back for still being relatively sane. So what if I’ve put some weight on. I’m not going to stress about that at all and in the grand scheme of things now with covid challenges too who cares?

Make a list people

So my word of advice to anyone out there is to make a list of all the things you have faced, overcome, survived and achieved in the last 5 years. I bet like me you’ll be surprised and so try to recognise what you have actually done rather than beat yourself up because of a saggy tummy, grey hairs and wrinkles. See how amazing you actually are to have got to where you are today.  What have you done, over come and experienced in the last 5 years?

Appreciate the now

I did think about doing a list for the last 18 years but that just made me feel very old and exhausted 😂maybe I will write a memoir someday to share the full story and it’ll be perfect bedtime reading (to send you all to sleep or you will think it is fiction).

Big love to you all and thanks for reading

Love sarah

Always violet skies xx

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Low risk isn’t no risk

A friend of mine recently asked if I had been sent a letter saying I was high risk because I was self isolating from the start 5 weeks ago. I haven’t. Officially I am classed as low risk despite having a heart operation at the end of last year. My daughter who also has a congenital heart issues is classed as low risk too.

Regardless we have been isolating to the maximum for the last 5 weeks and will continue to do so.

colshawhall-lake-cheshire-violet-skies
Calm and still yet stormy – The lake at Colshaw Hall, Cheshire

Medical “experts”

I was told once before by medical “experts” that a daughter of mine should be treated as normal and wasn’t at increased risk of anything. She wouldn’t have any more reason to die than anyone else.  She died of the very thing they said not to worry about and the coroner said she has been at a greater compounded risk, so forgive me if I don’t trust the medical “experts” now especially given this is a new situation and a new virus they don’t really understand.

Make a mistake once…

and it becomes a lesson.  Make the same mistake twice and it becomes a choice.

My mistake was believing the medical experts when they said to treat my heart baby as a normal child.  She wasn’t a normal child.

Aurora-sleeping-21months-violet-skies
A Sleeping Aurora at 21 months

Not no risk

I’ve suffered the pain of losing not one but two children, so forgive me if I don’t want to risk losing another even if that risk is a low one.

Low risk means there is still a risk it’s not a no risk situation.   No one is at no risk of the corona virus remember that.

Is any risk worth it really?

What do you think?

Are you willing to gamble with these very high stakes?  I am not.

Stay safe everyone.  Hold your nearest and dearest close.

Big hugs

Sarah xx

Always Violet Skies

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Lonely child

It makes me sad during this time of isolation that my little bubbly outgoing sociable girl often seems lonely desperate for the company of other children. Yes she has me and her dad with her but it isn’t the same as someone a similar age.

Aurora-at-door-nursery-bag-violet-skies
At the door with her nursery bag wanting to leave to see her friends

Waves excitedly

When she sees other children going passed our house on their bikes on the way to the park for their exercise or animatedly chatting holding hands she bangs on the window waving to them shouting hello. She wonders why these children are allowed to play together but she cannot join them.

It’s hard to explain to an almost two year old that those children are siblings so they are allowed to play together and visit the park with each other.

She should have a big sister

It makes me so sad because by rights she should have an older sister to play with. A big sister to run around the garden with and who would be able to relate a little more to her, rather than the two adults she finds herself spending 100% of her time with.

Violet would have been able to look at books with her, play on the slide in the garden and they could have sat together to create sculptural masterpieces from play doh.  Even just lounged together on their giant unicorn to watch TV.

Don’t get me wrong I grew up with siblings myself so understand all about the arguments but you know what I would like to have to break up those fights and solve the disputes rather than try to cure lone tantrums about wanting to see others.

brother-sister-cousins-violet-skies
Two of Aurora’s four cousins who she is missing at the moment.

Until now whenever I’ve gotten upset about her not having her sister here to play with I’ve taken comfort from the fact she has cousins she’s close to that she can grow up with. This current situation that stops her from seeing her cousins and indeed her friends reminds me how alone she really is.  I was lucky enough to grow up with a brother and a sister.

Facetime

Yes we can video call but she’s not overly interested in that. If we show her videos of her friends and cousins she watches them over and over finally tantruming when we stop her watching for the 100th time.

After seeing friends from a distance waving & chatting to them from the end of the driveway or over the fence she then has a tantrum because she’s not allowed to play with them. She’s even gotten her nursery bag taking it to the front door in an attempt to leave to go play with other children.

Adverse affects?

I fear that when this is all over our vivacious little girl might be a shy and reserved wallflower who has forgotten how to interact with her peers or other children.

Fun-in-garden-violet-skies
Playing in the garden

A close friend of mine who grew up as an only child once told me she wanted to have more than one child as growing up as she dreamed of having a sibling to play with. She said she used to feel envious watching me with my brother and sister wishing she could have the same.  I never really understood what she meant until now.

A new kind of grief

Watching my little girl cry and sob and tantrum because she wants to play with the children going passed our house breaks my heart.  Even more so that by rights she should have at least a big sister with her right now and actually she is the youngest of three.

Bottomlip-violet-skies
Sad in her pushchair as she watches siblings play and is told she can’t join them

It breaks my heart it really does.  It also reminds me of the difficult conversations that are coming in the future when she wants to know why she’s an only child and what happened to her older sister and brother.

Not alone

I recently came across someone else on instagram who is going through a very similar thing with their daughter and the isolation situation so I thought it was important to share this in case it might help even more out there to know they aren’t alone in this.

 

Big love

 

Sarah

Always Violet Skies

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Curve balls

If you’ve ever lost anyone and especially if you’ve lost a baby or child then you will know more than most that life can give you almighty curve balls.

These sudden changes in circumstance if it involves the loss of a significant other or a child can feel like the curve ball is an asteroid sent for total destruction. If you have somehow managed to survive this mother of all apocalyptic curve balls then you will understand now why the curve ball of a virus leaves me shrugging saying “meh”.

Cemetery-tombstones-spring-flowers-violet-skies
Spring has sprung in Southern Cemetery – Violet Skies

Yes I’m in a high risk category because of my heart op recovery and if I catch the dreaded COVID-19 then could be very poorly. I’m self employed and my business is travel and hospitality. These industries are currently in free fall and I have mortgages to pay. I also have a house overseas again with a mortgage that I rent out to holiday makers, again that will be hit by this epidemic. People I’ve spoken to expect me to be far more stressed out and panic stricken than i actually am.

I think I’m so calm about it because you know what I’ve already been to hell and I lived there for a while. I’ve already had the very worst thing happen to me. This virus isn’t the very worst thing. I’ve lost 2 children and still I’m clawing my way back into a new reality.

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Make the most of little things – Wine & bubble bath

I’m not overly worried because you know what? I’m a survivor. My family are survivors. We will get through this new challenge the way we have gotten through all the other sh*t that’s been thrown our way, over the years, and yes we’ve had a lot.

We will get through this new challenge with as always compassion for others, the adaptability to be able to seize every opportunity and by looking after ourselves to ensure we avoid taking unnecessary risks to our health.

This too eventually will pass and then people will be travelling, shopping and partying again until then please be kind to others.

In the words of the poet Bon Jovi “keep the faith” and wash your hands people!

Big love,

Sarah xx

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Failing as a mum? 

So these past few weeks I’ve really struggled to feel anything but confident about my parenting skills. I know from speaking to other parents out there that this is a common feeling to have at times.

Your baby died

You see the struggle for me is when the rational voice in my head tries to change my mood by telling me that I’m a good mum. Another voice reminds me that my first baby died didn’t she and maybe it was because she wasn’t looked after well enough. Perhaps I should have tried harder or done something differently?

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Violet & Arthur’s grave

Whenever my rainbow baby is ill all these feelings get dredged up from deep down. All these fears and bad memories or nightmares from hell (also known as Manchester Children’s Hospital) as I call them.

Pneumonia

If my rainbow baby is diagnosed with a chest infection or heavens forbid pneumonia then even more negative memories and emotions appear as that’s what Violet died from.

When I took our toddler to the GP a last week we saw a different doctor than usual and she looked at the on screen records looking puzzled asking does she have a lung disorder as she’s here a lot to get her chest checked. Our usual doctor insists we bring her to be checked whenever we are remotely concerned but obviously this lady didn’t get the memo. I really think they need to have something that flashes up on screen to say “her sister died of pneumonia” as I then had to explain no she doesn’t have any lung disorder we are aware of and to rationalise why we’re so over cautious bordering on paranoid. When I said her sister died of pneumonia I didn’t even get the usual “I’m sorry to hear about that” instead I think she was a bit embarrassed as I think she initially thought I was just a paranoid over protective mother.  She listened to baby’s chest and agreed it sounded crackly so prescribed some antibiotic.

Nursery

Roll on a few days and baby seemed much better thankfully so we sent her back to nursery.  Around lunchtime I got a phone call to say she was breathing rapidly and sucking in below her ribs so really serious for a little one.

Hospital

I collected her from nursery and we drove straight to hospital A & E, where the triage nurse said she thought we looked familiar.  When we explained that our other daughter died in the hospital she immediately said “oh my god you’re Violet’s parents”.  It turned out the reason we recognised each other was that 3 years ago she worked on the ward where Violet died and she had looked after her the night before.  She welled up and I started crying so it was a great start to a possible hospital admission.

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Reading books in A & E

 

Violet

Thankfully because the nurse remembered Violet it was then an easy job for me to insist she asks for the on call respiratory specialist to consult and she obliged immediately paging them for us. Anyway they did an x ray of her lungs and saw she had a possible viral and bacterial infection on them.  They gave us more antibiotics and said as long as we monitored her for any further changes then we could take her home.

We were only home for a few hours when we noticed her breathing had gotten rapid again, around double what it should be, so we knew she was getting worse and phoned an ambulance, which is what we’d been instructed to do if she got that bad.  The operator explained that the ambulance would take 3 hours to arrive so given our proximity to the hospital we would be better driving her there ourselves.

Back again

We arrived back in A & E and were told they would be admitting her for monitoring overnight, as her oxygen levels were erratic.  It felt like I was at the gates of hell and having to enter it once again.  I explained this to the hubby and he laughed saying “pleased to see you’re not being over dramatic then” lightening the mood as always!

There are no words to describe how it felt being back in that hospital again sitting and sleeping (who are we kidding more lying with one eye open and jumping up every time she coughed!) at the side of my baby’s cot bed. All the memories I had suppressed of my time there with Violet came back along with my scepticism about what we were being told.  Luckily this time we had the top respiratory consultants looking at her x ray and examining her too so I felt more confident with what we were told.

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Sleeping like a baby 

Valentine’s Day

I got the best Valentine’s Day present in that we were discharged from the hospital and once again told to monitor her.  Fingers crossed she seems much better now but it’s always tough with little ones when they can’t tell you how they feel.

Here’s hoping she recovers quickly and we never have to return to that A & E again.  Although I plan once she’s better to take some more books in for the children in A & E as quite a few we looked at reading with her were ripped and damaged.

We’re still exhausted and reeling from the adrenaline here and hoping she’s better soon.  I take my hat off to those people, especially a dear friend of mine, who have children with long term illnesses who are often in and out of hospital. It is really tough to have to try to parent while doctors and nurses torture your child trying to make them better.

Thanks for reading.

Big love

Sarah

Always Violet Skies

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