Just keep climbing

Today, as I cuddled the most beautiful newborn baby girl, my friends and I chatted about Elijah and grief and what it takes to move on.

I’ve been very determined to make sure Gabriel (my 3 year old) has the best Christmas, with lots of fun and laughter.

However, I’ve been feeling low since New Years Eve, wondering if I was deluding myself by trying to face these difficult days with hope and joy.

Am I letting Elijah down?

Should I be inconsolable? Keep the curtains drawn and the mood more somber?

So we talked about that and how hard it is being hopeful after tragedy. Let me just say, it’s not the easy option. Every day I climb my own personal Everest to keep my family functioning.

I’ve been asking myself, why do I do that? The answer, I do it for Gabriel. One of my friends said “What you went through, losing your innocent baby, is the worst thing in the world that I could imagine”. Now, for me, it isn’t. All my fears now centre around Gabriel. The worst thing imaginable for me, is that he one day, perhaps when he’s in his twenties, turns round to me and says “all you did is cry Mum. It was like I wasn’t even there. I had the worst childhood”. I feel as though I’ve lost so much already and I don’t want to lose him too. Him being alive and not wanting to know me because I “checked out” is my greatest fear.

After my friends left, Gabriel came creeping up to me, with an outstretched arm and clenched fist.

“What have you got there sweetie” I asked. “Shhhhhh” he demanded “it’s sleeping”. He uncurled his hand to reveal a tiny, little piece of black fluff. “It’s a baby. I found it” he whispered. “Babies are nice mummy” and off he ran to put “baby fluff” under his pillow.

That, right there, is hope and joy and why I climb, climb, climb every single day.

On the eve of Christmas

These are unusual times.

As Christmas approaches, I spend my days moving between despair and hope.

Dickens said it best in A Tale of Two Cities..

It was the best of times

best

It was the worst of times

elijah2

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….

I am now like those two cities.

One city is full of memories of Elijah, despair and regrets. The other city is full of Gabriel and the joy and laughter he brings to my life every single day.

Christmas is a lonely time as a bereaved parent.

The whole world is drinking, laughing and celebrating birth, at a time when celebration feels wrong.

But…then there is hope.

The hope that comes from watching the little face of a 3 year old boy light up, every time I switch on the Christmas tree lights. Hope in the squeals of excitement, every time he rips open a Christmas card and hope in the 1,000th time he has told me “Father Kissmass come down the Chimney for pie”.

So today, on the eve of Christmas, I’m embracing that hope. To all of you who have suffered loss and are surrounded by darkness and despair today, I’m sending you peace and I’m sending you some of my hope.

I am with you.

You are not alone.

HOPE

Written by Gabriel & Elijahs mummy.

Hello Hope
You went awhile
Now you’re back
With a promised smile
I abandoned you
Gave up for dead
Washed away
With the tears I shed
I’ve lived despair
so time to stay
surround me Hope
each and every day

Teenage Mutant Ninja Toddler

I’m writing this post while I can still get away with calling Gabey a toddler. In a few weeks he turns 3, officially becomes a pre-schooler and we enter a new phase.

To be honest, I was expecting this “new phase” to be a lot easier.

Everyone talks about the “terrible twos”. Ummmm…excuse me…NO-ONE told me there was a phase called “bloody minded threes”!

Let me explain.

At this very moment, my Teenage Mutant Ninja Toddler is fast asleep in my bed. Not his own bed. Oh no. My bed. Sigh. As his determination to get his own way increases, it seems my ability to be firm decreases. It’s like living with a tiny teenager who has ninja powers of determination.

A typical battle of wills goes like this….

Ninja toddler “I want naanaa milk”. “I’m not buying banana milk Gabey. You don’t like it and you won’t drink it”.

Cue first Ninja toddler power…the Power of Ignore

ninja

I can’t hear you

“Why don’t you have normal milk. You like that”

Cue second Ninja toddler power…the Power of Drama

ninja2

Mr Shakespearean Actor

The floor drama is normally accompanied by a low moaning “naanaa milk, naanaa milk”. If I give up at that point, we normally avoid the third Ninja toddler power, the Power of Embarrassment..

“I WANT NAANAA MILK NOW!!!”

The Power of Embarrassment is his most dangerous Ninja power and it’s the one that tends to tip the balance in his favour. Someone once said to me “they didn’t come with an instruction manual”.

Damn.

I guess I’m going to have to toughen up quickly and develop some super anti-Ninja powers. Either that or send him in for some auditions at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

and the result of the naanaa milk battle…

ninja3Yep, you’ve guessed it. He’s drinking normal milk and the glass on the left is the abandoned banana milk. He doesn’t like the naanaa milk because “it’s smelly mummy. Yukk”.

Cowabunga.

A very creepy Christmas

I’ve been putting it off, but finally, with the big day fast approaching, we went Christmas shopping today.

Gabriel (my almost 3 year old) was very excited, shouting “Tree mummy. Lights mummy. Snow mummy” all the way there.

When we arrived, we didn’t quite get the lovely Christmas experience we were expecting. In fact, Gabriel was so shocked and slightly scared, that he was quiet for at least a whole minute.

So we turned up at the shopping centre, to find a Christmas display in the entrance hall.

You might, in your mind, be thinking of something that looks like this

grotto_animatronicsLovely reindeers, snow and trees. Right?

WRONG.

Think more along the lines of a Disney/James Bond evil villan

bear

My name is Teddy, Evil Teddy

As the evil Teddy turned his narrow eyes towards us, Gabriel sought refuge behind me, clutching my coat as he whispered “will bear eat me Mummy”.

I honestly didn’t know the answer.

He was so huge and scary, he looked like he’d eaten at least a dozen kids that morning!

“Lets go to the other side” I said, dragging reluctant child behind me.

That was a BIG mistake.

On the other side of the display, we found this

rat

Dead or sleeping?

“Mummy. Why is Rat on him”, Gabriel asked. “Well, it looks like a Rat, sweetheart, but I think it’s supposed to be a mouse and I think he’s giving him a kiss”. Gabriel pondered this for a moment. “No, mummy” he said sternly “not kissing. Eating”.

So, my boys first Christmas display experience involved a giant evil Teddy and a rat eating a dead bear.

Thanks Tesco.

tesco

On this occasion, every little definitely DOES NOT help. Keep your creepy Christmas display to yourselves!

Bring back the reindeers!

The True Magic of Christmas

Christmas is a tricky time when you’ve lost a loved one.

I’ve been dreading it.

Celebrating a birth, buying presents for other peoples babies, seeing newborns dressed up as cute reindeers…to be honest, I would rather be hiding in a hole this year! A friend of mine, who lost her baby, spent the first Christmas in isolation with the curtains closed. Isolation sounds perfect to me but I have a very excited little boy who can’t wait for Father Christmas to come down the chimney.

I’ve been avoiding talking about Christmas with him or making any plans, but it’s getting impossible to avoid, as he now comes home from playgroup very excited about painting Christmas pictures and singing carols.

He is loving the idea of Christmas while his Mummy would like Christmas to bog off please.

Then, yesterday, purely by accident, I rediscovered the magic of Christmas.

Gabey decided to throw a massive tantrum, after I opened the door for him to climb into his car seat. To an almost 3 year old, this is obviously a terrible, unforgiveable crime as he “WANT DO MYSELF MUMMY”. I tried explaining that some people pay a lot of money to other people, just for this very privilege. That didn’t work. The screaming and leg kicking and shouting just kept increasing in volume, until I’m pretty sure they could hear him on the International Space Station.

Finally, in despair, while other parents held their hands over their perfect childrens delicate little ears, I shouted back “Enough Gabey. If you don’t stop shouting right now, then Mummy is going to write a letter to Father Christmas and tell him not to bring Christmas presents because you’ve been naughty”.

Silence.

Absolute silence for the whole drive home.

So, while I’m obviously not going to be winning “Mum of the Year” anytime soon, I would just like to say thank you Christmas. For the first time in my life, I now understand the true nature of this blessed holiday season.

Tantrum control.

It’s like I’ve been let into the best kept parenting secret ever.

I truly, truly love you Christmas.

 

It’s here….

Flu season!

Ugh!

so for the first time in a while I’m not writing a normal, emotionally slushy, blog post. The only slushy thing happening in this house right now is happening up my nose and believe me, you do NOT want to know more about that!

Farewell for now and if like me, you are restricted to the sofa and daytime TV while you recover, I wish you very good health soon.

ps…I might have wiped my nose on the duvet last night…shhhhh…lets never speak of it again.

 

Feel the heat

I received a letter from the GMC today. The heat is starting and I hope he feels the burn.

I will have my pound of flesh. In fact, I will have 5lbs & 4ozs of flesh, which was the weight of Elijah on the day he was born.

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” Shakespeare

My reply sent to the GMC.

Date: 21.11.12

SERIOUS COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF MR XXXX, CONSULTANT OBSTETRICIAN, ROYAL SUSSEX HOSPITAL, BRIGHTON

Dear QQQ,

Thank you for your letter and for talking to me on the phone today.

As discussed, I have emailed Royal Sussex for the identity of registrar YY. We would like to pursue a complaint against YY, but would like this done separately to Mr XXX. We feel that our complaint against him should proceed urgently and without delay due to its gravity.

With this in mind, I request that our complaint is assessed urgently by the Interim Order Panel, for the immediate removal of Mr XXX from the labour ward at Royal Sussex.  Due to the catastrophic consequences of his defying Established Maternity Policy twice on the 19.7.12, it is not safe or in the public interest, for him to remain on the ward.

Please remove him immediately pending further enquiries as to his fitness to practice.

As discussed, pages 18 and 19 of the report are missing and were not supplied to us. From what I understand, this is an action plan that is still a work in progress.

I would also like to raise another matter for consideration by your panel. I’m not sure it is covered clearly in the report. During labour, I suffered what is called a “silent abruption”.

By defying policy and causing significant and unwarranted delay in me being sent down to theatre, Mr XXX not only caused the death of my son, but he put my life at risk too. Maternity Policy is in place for a reason and this is one of them, to avoid risk to life of both Mother and Baby. 

I hope you will bear this in mind when considering your decisions regarding his future.

With regards