Losing your baby is hard. Beyond hard. Every families journey is different and some get answers whilst others have no answers at all. I’m not sure which is easier though? Not that any part of baby loss is easy. Being given an answer as to why our babies couldn’t stay with us or when there is no reason at all.
All content is my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experience from my own journey of baby loss. This post may contain affiliate links, please see the Copyright and Disclosures page for more information.
Poppy’s diagnosis floored us. Up until our 20 week scan everything was perfect. Our pregnancy was following more or less the same patterns as our previous pregnancies. Our 12 week scan was good, as were any bloods taken or checks with the midwife. Then our 20 week scan sent our world spiralling.
The next 3 weeks were full of visits to UCLH in London. These visits involved scans, an MRI, meetings with our consultant and midwife, and a whole lot of fear, devastation and complete exhaustion. The final line was that Poppy was too poorly for this world. As a parent nothing in the world can ever prepare you for this.
The only thing we could do to protect Poppy was to hand her over to the angels. On 18th October 2018 I had a procedure to stop Poppy’s heart. This was and will always be the worst day of my life and it will haunt me forever. Two days after Poppy died, on 20th October 2018, I delivered our beautiful girl into the world. We had the absolute privilege of meeting the most perfect, precious baby.
After Poppy’s birth we agreed to have a Post Mortem. This was an incredibly hard decision to make as we didn’t want her to go on a journey to Addenbrookes Hospital. The thought of what they would be doing to her petrified us. We felt though if Poppy having a post mortem could help other babies and their families in the future this would mean a lot to us. We also needed some additional reassurance that our decision had been the right one.
Our hospital told us to expect Poppy’s Post Mortem results in 8 to 12 weeks. But in reality they took about 4 to 5 months. UCLH in London invited us to go through Poppy’s results but I just could not go. UCLH held too many devastating memories. Poppy died here and just the thought of returning sent me spiralling. Our bereavement midwife knew how I felt and she agreed to go through the Post Mortem with us. I felt safe at Broomfield and I felt safe with Tabitha.
Everything in Poppy’s results confirmed what we knew and more. It gave us a little peace knowing that us taking Poppy’s pain was the only thing as parents we could have done for her. It doesn’t make it any easier though. Basic genetic testing was also carried out during Poppy’s Post Mortem. The evidence of this and that we already have 3 healthy children signified that Poppy’s abnormalities were not genetic.
The next step…
Rob and I agreed that we would have more in depth genetic testing. We wanted to know that we had all the information to prepare for our children’s futures. We needed to know that if there was a possibility Poppy’s abnormalities were genetic we would be able to give our children the information for when they began their own families. Tabitha agreed to contact UCLH to begin the process.
Several months later we had an appointment with a Genetic Consultant from Great Ormand Street. It was quite emotional going through our history, our children, Poppy and the fact that we were already pregnant with our rainbow. From our history and the scans we’d already had with our rainbow she believed that there was only about a 4% chance of it happening again. After speaking in depth with our Consultant we agreed that we would continue with the in depth genetic testing. Our consultant advised us that we probably wouldn’t get any results for about 6 months. Before our genetic testing could begin it needed to be approved by a Board.
Rob and I both had blood tests done. Our bloods as well as slides that were kept from Poppy’s Post Mortem would be used during the genetic testing. I found the reality of these slides being kept at Great Ormand Street Hospital very hard. Knowing there was a little of Poppy still in the world brought comfort yet at the same time made me feel a little uneasy. I think it brought home the fact that Poppy had been through a Post Mortem and as her mummy made me feel very upset.
Rainbows and letters…
We carried on with our day to day life. Looking after our children, missing Poppy, taking our rainbow pregnancy a day at a time, working and just doing all the usual every day things.
Our rainbow arrived in December 2019. Safe and healthy. The relief was completely overwhelming. The reality of just how anxious and stressed I had been hit me. I could finally let out that breath I had been holding for the last 9 months.
A few weeks later we received a letter from Great Ormand Street. I was a mix of emotions as I looked at the envelope. Inside were results that held so much. I opened the letter as my nerves and anxiety rippled through me. The letter confirmed from their testing that Poppy’s abnormalities were not genetic. I suddenly felt a huge array of emotions and got very upset.
I felt a wave of relief knowing that our children would not be impacted in the future. But then it was very emotional finding out that there just was no reason for Poppy being so poorly. How could there not be some reason to blame for the devastation that had descended upon our family? How could there not be something to blame for our beautiful girl not being able to be with us?
I spoke to Rob then spoke to my Bereavement Midwife. I just felt like a blast of emotions had hit me. Why was life so cruel? Why did Poppy have to be taken from us? I felt as though opening this letter just let in a tidal wave of emotions.
When there is no reason…
It’s difficult not having a reason why Poppy had so many brain abnormalities. As humans I think sometimes if there is a reason for something we can use this to help us deal with a situation. This in turn can help us to process what has happened. It’s not that we want something or someone to blame it’s just being able to use something to navigate our pain. So we are left stumbling in the darkness just trying to find a way to cope with the horrendous hand life has dealt us.
Please join Poppy’s journey on social media:
IF YOU NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT:
Arc – Antenatal results and choices.
Petals – The Baby Loss Counselling Charity.
Tommy’s – Baby Charity – Together, for every baby.
Sands – Stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
Baby Loss Support Links – A dedicated page I have put together of a range of support links.
To find out more about my ‘Baby Loss and Grief Journal’ please click below: