I’m now heavily pregnant so that means that strangers and anyone I meet can tell instantly that I am with child, which is fine I’m happy to talk about it. The difficulty comes when they ask if it is my first pregnancy and I have a policy of always telling the truth so when I say it is my third. I get comments like “wow you’ve got your hands full then”, “you must really know what you’re doing”, “you’re a glutton for punishment” and “are your other two excited about their little brother or sister”.
Often I let them make a comment and then I move the conversation on without having to tell them that neither of this baby’s siblings are alive. Occasionally the person I’m talking to will bring the conversation back around again by asking what my existing two children are? Are they boys or girls? Then I have to explain that they were one of each but unfortunately they are no longer with us and that yes I’m sure they would have been excited to have a little brother or sister.
They then usually ask me what happened to my first two children and I tell them honestly or they nervously say “I’m so sorry” to which I answer “it’s ok” when clearly it isn’t then the conversation moves on.
People often tell me “oh hopefully this one will be third time lucky then” and I know this comes from a very good place filled with love. I know we were very unlucky to have had the situation with Arthur but I don’t feel we were unlucky to have had Violet. I know we were extremely fortunate to have known such a special little person if only for 15 months. We were very unlucky to have lost her but would happily repeat the time over again and again in the style of Groundhog day if we could – well maybe not the very last 6 hours!
It makes being pregnant bittersweet and we are simply hoping this time to have a stress free birth experience too, as with Violet bless her we certainly had a lot of drama.
This was the best kept secret until recently as anyone can testify if they have bumped into me, as at 34 weeks pregnant with my third pregnancy I’m now pretty big.
Those of you who regularly read my blog you will know that I like to write in a very honest and frank way so I apologise if I haven’t been forthcoming about this massive development in my life and hope that after reading this post you can understand why.
We were lucky enough to fall pregnant again pretty soon after the loss of our baby Arthur and unfortunately were told that there would be a 50/50 chance of the new baby having similar brain issues, as it’s older brother and that we wouldn’t know if it had these issues until the 20 week scan. So we would have to wait 5 months until we knew if our pregnancy would be viable or not.
In the meantime we were of course offered additional scans so we had one at 7 weeks, 12 weeks and another at 16 weeks where they checked baby’s heart. At the 16-week check we discovered that unlike Violet’s heart the new baby’s heart was perfectly formed and we had received this news about Arthur’s heart at 16-weeks too. So although it was good news we weren’t celebrating yet.
I remember after our 16-week scan with Arthur we had been so happy that his heart was ok and felt so lucky, relieved and excited we told friends and family we were pregnant. Everyone of course was delighted for us especially after the loss of Violet. Then after Arthur’s 20-week scan we got the devastating news about his severe brain condition and our entire world collapsed.
For this very reason we refrained from telling our close friends about the new pregnancy until after our 20 week scan. This scan turned out to be the very first 20 week scan we have ever had that hasn’t resulted in us being pulled into a separate room to be spoken to by specialists and midwife counselors. The first 20-week scan we have had that hasn’t resulted in us having to have a second follow up scan with a more senior specialist a week later. So when the two specialists that performed our 20-week scan told us that the baby was perfectly healthy we didn’t know what to say. We were in total shock. We were asked if we had any questions and all we could think of was “what do we do now?” We were told we could leave and come back for another scan with a specialist at 28 weeks.
Since then we have been waiting for a phone call or letter from the hospital to say that they are sorry but they have made a mistake. We had the second specialist scan at 28 weeks and again we prepared ourselves for the knock out punch but that didn’t come, again we were given positive news. To anyone reading this we must sound ungrateful but we were just so used to being given bad news whether it was devastating or minor bad news that we almost couldn’t believe what we were hearing.
We currently have a minimum of one baby or pregnancy related appointment each week either to monitor my heart (as I have an ASD see my post about a broken heart), to check baby’s growth (the amazing Tommy’s clinic gives us a scan every 3 weeks), child loss counseling or midwife appointments. I’m under so many different departments and teams that we have gone from having an horrendous level of obstetric care when we had Violet to now having lots of specialists who all know who we are and will give us priority level care. The NHS now feels like it is working for us!
I’ve recently been to a few different Manchester events and I’ve bumped into so many people now that I think most know about our impending arrival. People constantly ask me whether I’m excited about the new baby and the truthful answer is simply that I will be relieved when baby is here safe and well, when I can see with my own eyes. Until then I can only try to be hopeful for the future.
Delivering the wonderful news that you are expecting a baby is usually a happy time and I’ve seen people make announcements in the most creative ways via social media including an older sibling announcing they are going to be a big brother or sister, a written sign in front of a pet dog, a cutesy family cartoon and even an eviction notice on the side of an older siblings cot. There are of course those that simply post the classic 12-week scan photo with their announcement.
For those of us who have lost babies, or perhaps are struggling to conceive a much desired baby, seeing these posts can feel like a real kick in the teeth or like rubbing salt into our open wounds. Of course we are delighted by the announcement and pleased that someone else, a friend or family member, has good news to announce but it still stings.
We have some friends who kindly contacted us first to tell us personally about their news before they then announced it on social media and I felt this was an extremely kind gesture. If you have anyone in your circle of friends or in your family who have struggled to conceive or have had a baby die or have lost an older child, then please think about telling them your news in person before you announce it on social media to the whole world, as they can then prepare themselves for when they see it online. They will really appreciate the kindness of you telling them in advance of a more public announcement.
For some people baby and pregnancy announcements can bring a whole new meaning to FOMO on social media!
I used to be a self-confessed shopaholic before I had Violet I loved nothing more than a shopping spree round town getting a new dress, looking at the sales, maybe some new shoes, new toiletries etc. Now I hardly ever shop.
Instead losing my children has taught me to appreciate the experiences life has to offer, rather than simply buying stuff. So now we’d rather spend our money on dinner out or save for a holiday somewhere or spend time in the outdoors.
Family and friends
It has also made us more grateful for our friends and family who have been so supportive, throughout these last few years. Yes we have had good friends fall by the way side but many more that have stepped right up to the plate to hold our hands during our lowest ebbs. We are so appreciative of these people, as it makes us realise that as cruel and evil as the world sometimes seems there are good, kind people out there.
There have also been near strangers and distant friends who have been so kind and gone out of their way to help us in small ways that mean much more because of the thought that goes with it.
Some people have gone out of their way to remember our daughter by doing Iron Man contests, swimming Windermere, organising events and other challenges to raise money for her fund helping us to create that lasting legacy for Violet we so crave.
There have been lots of moments of kindness from people that have reduced us both to tears and we love you all so thank you!
Love, Sarah x
p.s. if anyone wants to donate to her fund click here and tickets for the Violet ball on 29th September 2018 can be reserved here
I was so excited to meet my brand new nephew yesterday who is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so pleased to see my beautiful sister healthy too. Friends I spoke to afterwards were concerned about it upsetting me and contacted me to check I was ok. It is lovely of them to care but prompted me to write this…
After having lost my little girl at 15 months and then a baby boy that never made it to full term, bless him, people seem to think that I’ll get upset if they announce a pregnancy or the birth of their new baby.
I have gotten upset occasionally. Usually if the baby boy was born close to Arthur’s due date and/or been given the same name but even this doesn’t last very long at all.
I’m always happy whenever someone announces a pregnancy that’s healthy. Or the birth of a new baby, especially if it’s a close friend or family member. I love to see other people happy and there are always baby cuddles available.
Sad baby news
What really upsets me is when I watch the news and hear of a baby or child that has been abused or murdered by their parents or family. That is what I find really upsetting, we’d give anything to have our daughter or son healthy and with us. When I read that someone has actually intentionally injured or killed his or her own child I find it abhorrent. That is the baby news that really upsets me and makes me so angry.
Violet & Arthur
Our daughter was so well looked after yet she still got sick and died, from we think a lung disease. My son had severe brain damage, yet I looked after myself in pregnancy, didn’t drink, smoke or do any drugs other than a pregnancy multivitamin! When I see pregnant women smoking and drinking alcohol that upsets me. Women chain smoking, blowing smoke over a pram and toddler that angers me too. Violet was never exposed to cigarette smoke. I feel sorry for children that are. I want to shake their parents to say “do you know what it would be like if your child died?” That is when I get upset about someone else’s baby or child.
Thanks for caring about us though. We really appreciate it when people are so thoughtful to let us know about pregnancies, new babies etc before they then announce it publicly. It is lovely to know you all care and are still thinking of us. Thank you.