11 March 2011

A life without Grace.

little one

It's been 37 days.

37 days since my whole world came crashing down around me.

It was just over five weeks ago that life was close to perfect. We were super excited about our 4000km road trip across the country and couldn't wait to set up house in a new city. But most importantly, we were over the moon to be finally, finally pregnant with baby number two (after almost 2 years of trying to conceive and several miscarriages).

I spent the first few months of the pregnancy so worried about having another miscarriage. I had one at 8 weeks and another at 16 weeks, so even after my 12 week scan I was still nervous. But I had just had my 20 week scan and everything was perfect so I decided it was time to relax.
How wrong I was.

It still feels like some kind of horrible nightmare.

It all happened so fast. One moment I was out buying baby clothes and the next moment I was in hospital being told that my cervix was 4cm dilated and I would go into labour in the next 24 hours. We were then told that our little girl had no chance of survival. If she did survive the birth, she would die within moments of being born and we would have to watch her suffocate to death. There was nothing anyone could do.

Our whole world came crashing down around us. Tom and I cried more that night than we have in our entire lives.

We spent the next 48 hours in a tiny hospital room just waiting.. waiting for our little girl to be born. And die.

The labour was horrific. It was long and painful. It was the complete opposite of the labour I had with Sophie (a beautiful, drug free, 3 hour birth).
I screamed and cried. I was given (way too much) morphine for the pain which made me pass out in the middle of labour. I woke up a few minutes later and had no idea where I was or who I was. The pain was unbearable and the morphine made it 100 times worse. (I was told after the labour that "that can happen sometimes"!?) I begged them to make it stop and then at the end of it all I delivered a dead baby.
The room was silent.

We spent the next 2 days with our little girl. She was the most perfect little thing, just so tiny. We called her Grace.
She looked exactly like her big sister. I hugged her and kissed her. I wanted to take her home with me and hold onto her forever.

As the days went by, her little body grew cold and stiff. I have never felt anything so cold in my life. It broke my heart.
I wrapped her in blankets. I tried to keep her warm.
When the time came to say goodbye I felt like I would die.
Leaving her at the hospital and walking away empty handed was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I got home and cried for days. I cried because every single part of my body longed for my little baby.
I wanted her back so badly. I didn't think I could live without her.
And then just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my milk came in. It was the cruelest part of all.
I felt so empty. Dead inside. I didn't know how the world could still go on and why everyone was still walking around like nothing had happened.

We organised her cremation. She had a little white coffin and Sophie asked "When will the baby come out of her box?"
I filled in her birth certificate. And her death certificate.

I am not sure how to describe the past few weeks. It has been a roller-coaster of devastation, disbelief, horror, denial, incomprehension, anger and sheer heartbreak. The number of times I have asked myself why? Why me? Why me again?

The number of times I have been over and over every little thing I did or didn't do in those last few weeks of pregnancy.
But I have been told over and over again that I must not blame myself, this is just "one of those things".
No one understands why this happens.

Tom and I are trying to focus of the fact that I have every chance of having a healthy full term baby in the future.
And of course, it is very difficult to be upset all day long when you have a happy, healthy 3 year old running around who still needs her mummy and daddy.
We are so lucky that we have little Sophie and we are trying to remain positive for her sake. There are times when I still feel overwhelmed with grief, like I can't actually go on living anymore. But most of the time I am okay. I get through one hour at a time and then suddenly another day has gone by and I survived.
I survived.


Michele said...

You have survived and each day, although painful and horrible and hard, will be another day that you survive. And, because of that, Grace will survive with you, as a piece of you- and a piece missing from you. I've had 4 miscarriages in the first trimester, delivered 3 2nd trimester babies who lived only briefly before passing away, and delivered 2 more 2nd tri babies who are now 18 months old and healthy, thank God. But every pregnancy was wrought with fear and every child that I didnt get to bring home with me broke my heart a little more. But, at some point, their love became stronger than that hurt and the fact that I was able to have them- even if only momentarily in my womb or in my arms- made the journey worth the pain just for that love and joy.

It doesnt get easier; I'd be lying if I said it did. But it will become a part of you and you'll find that, one day, you can breathe again.

Sending love and hugs for your sweet girls: Sophie in your arms and Grace in your heart.

(And, I couldnt help but feel a chill when I read your names... Sophia was the name of my first daughter who passed away and Grace was the name we gave our most recent miscarriage.)

Maddie said...

I'm in tears reading this. It is a roller coaster the first few months and with the crashing lows that just hurt so much it's awful. Grace is beautiful and I'm glad you got to spend time with.

Survive is all you have to do right now. I remember getting through the days hour by hour and as it got to late afternoon thinking 'good, it'll be time to go bed soon and I've survived another day'.

Sending love and hugs.

Maddie x

Anonymous said...

Grace is absolutely gorgeous. I am so very very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you all.

rebecca said...

I'm so sorry...reading your story there were so many similarities to my own, it fills me with sadness to know another family has experienced this type of unimaginable loss. In time the loss becomes more manageable, less intense and painful, it's always with you, but not so suffocating as in the beginning. Sending so much love and hope that you find the strength you need for this difficult journey ((hugs))

Natte said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss and what you and your family are feeling right now. Little Grace will forever be in your heart and I am sure she will feel the love in the days you were together and ever. Take care and stay strong Katie.

Lexi:: PottyMouthMama said...

Oh Katie, Tom, Sophie - I am so sorry for the loss of beautiful Grace.

You're very much in my thoughts, and I hope that those grey clouds give you a glimpse of blue skies, even just a thin slither.

I'm thinking of you - and really wish I could give you a hug. xxx

B said...

Living this pain is the worst thing ever. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

You might want to visit www.glowinthewoods.com when you're ready.

Steph said...

I think if you daily sweet girl and send you love and strength. Take it one step at a time and hold onto that gorgeous 3 year old piece of magic with all that you have. Her light will help you through this dark time. My heart is breaking for you and your man x x

Jess said...

What a overwhelmingly moving post. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, and what you and your family have experienced. I hope for you to find happiness in your life again, as Im sure you will. I admire your courage to share such an intimate part of your life. Thinking of you xxx

Jacinta @ modelmumma said...

I'm glad to read a post from you as I have been thinking of you and hoping you have all been coping. Your story put tears in my eyes and I'm again, so devastated for you. I can't imagine what you have gone through but my heart just ached because I am a mother too.
Keep on surviving. Love and prayers. xoxo

Cook Clean Craft said...

I cried when I read this post in Google Reader a few days ago, and left it as unread as I wanted to respond. I keep seeing it there, but have no idea what to say. My thoughts are with you as your family gets through this tough, inexplicable time. Please know there are people supporting you and thinking of you from afar.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. A client of mine last week went through the same nighhtmare.
All my strength to you and your family.

Susan said...

I just found your blog and read about beautiful Grace. I can't imagine what it has been like to have to live through this. Will be thinking of you and your family and hoping you can find strength and support from each other.

Bron said...

My friend, this is a beautiful post. And no matter what you may say, it *is* brave to post about this.

Might have cried when I read it. You are amazing.

Kathy and Carl said...

I came across your blog just a moment ago from another one I sometimes visit.

I'm so sorry that your beautiful little baby girl died. I can't even imagine the pain that you must be feeling. I will pray for you, even though I don't know you. that you can in time experience healing and peace.

Anonymous said...

ohh my god. i am so.. so sorry for your loss. words cant explain what you must have gone through. but you write so beautifully. i think i stopped breathing while reading.

keep on surviving lovely.
the world will look out for you. we are here sending invisible but powerfully supportive vibes your way

~My Butterflies~ said...

I'm so sorry your precious Grace could not stay with you. I have lost 2 girls due to incompetent cervix, Catharine 2005, at 17 weeks & Isla 2010, at 23.2weeks. I really hope you have the support you need but wanted to extend and invitation to the group I started called Butterfly Kisses-Pregnancy & Baby Loss on facebook. If you type it in the search you will find it.


thank you for sharing Grace's story and heartbreakingly beautiful picture. am in floods of tears and can't imagine how dark and unbearable your experience has been (and continues to be). i admire your positive spirit and wish u didn't have to live with so much pain. i hope that plenty of luck comes your way in the future & that your house is full children running around driving you crazy with their 'aliveness' will be thinking of you and grace and her sister and dad and family and look forward to checking in on your adventures (have just discovered your blog) xxx

Silverdragon said...

Oh Katie - I have come to your blog late, but it is so beautiful. I cried and cried reading about Grace - she is so beautiful and perfect. My heart breaks for you and Tom and Sophie and the unfairness of it all.

I hope that, along with your new start in Perth, you will soon have another baby to love and cherish. Grace will always be with you - your second treasured child - watching over you with her tiny, innocent love.

I still think of my five tiny angels in heaven, even as I am eternally grateful for the two blessings who stayed here with us - the newest just 3 weeks in the world. I wish I could wave a wand and zap you to 38 weeks or so.

So much love and many hugs to you - even though we are strangers, I share your grief and wish you every joy. Wish I could also share a cuppa with you!

caitlin said...

hello there. i have only just started reading your blog and fell in love with it!
i savour your frank and funny words. then i got to this post and wept and wept. you have a way of telling stories with such profound honesty and reality. thank you for sharing such a part of your life with us.
love, caitlin

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