The Journey Behind Saying Goodbye

Zoe Clark-Coates Personal Story

03 crop 2I share my story in the hope it may make others feel less alone.

Having seen a close friend go through the horrendous experience of miscarriage and still birth I had put off having children, as I actually didn’t know how I would personally cope with such a loss. However, having been married for over 12 years to my soul mate (we married young), setting up a successful business, suddenly my biological clock started ticking…yes I too thought this was an urban myth, that one day you could be satisfied with no children, then the next you have a burning desire to reproduce, but it happened to me, I can confirm it’s real.

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Smiles & Tears Around the Tree

xmastreeLast weekend we put up our Christmas Tree, this is what we always do on the 1st of December. For some people the 1st is far to early, for me its perfect, as we then get to enjoy the smell of the tee, and all the wonderful lights and decorations for the whole of December.

However, as a lot of you now know having read my story on the website, Christmas has been a very painful time for us as a family, as we have lost 3 of our 5 babies around this time. So as we have sat around our Christmas tree in past years, we haven’t always been smiling, some years we have been sobbing – weeping for children we didn’t get to hold, weeping for stockings we may never get to hang for our little ones, and weeping at the fact we may never become parents of living children.

Because Christmas has been such a sad time for us, many people keep asking how we now get through it, and why we still celebrate it and look forward to it – So I wanted to share why:

1, Even though we lost the babies around this time (in fact our little girl Darcy died at the start of December), I don’t ever mark the day the babies were lost or were due – For me (and this is personal) I don’t feel a need to do this – They are my children, and I will celebrate them and grieve for them every day of the year if I want or need to – they deserve more than 1 day to be marked on the calendar – I also feel they deserve to be remembered and acknowledged in a happy way, not by a day hallmarked with tears. Because I have chosen to do this, its enabled Christmas to remain as my most favourite time of the year, and a time I look forward to not dread.

2, Christmas is about peace and joy, and even on years when we felt desolated, our family and friends surrounded us with love – what we learnt is that even when we had nothing within us to celebrate or smile about, Christmas was still special – we decided that even if we couldn’t be happy that year, we would try to make someone else happy, so one year we made 12 hampers for elderly people in our area, another year we made 40+ homeless packs to be given out to people who had no home at Christmas – Giving back to others, has a way of helping you personally, and looking past your own pain, to try to relieve someone else’s, REALLY does help you.

starsSo this is why we LOVE Christmas its about LOVE – and if that means you need to spend Christmas weeping this year, or if it means you feel you can celebrate, that’s all OK – Its fine to sit under the Christmas tree sobbing, but its also OK to smile (guilt free) – your baby will always be a part of you.

This Christmas Saying Goodbye will be Standing with You, you wont be alone! Since August 2012 SG has become a huge family, and I hope each and every person will reach out to others in December, and I hope in unison on December the 25th, we can look to the sky and smile, as I’m sure this is the gift all our lost babies would love to receive, Zoe xxx

Delight

babyI’ve been quiet in recent weeks.
I’ve not been able to write.
Not because I didn’t want to but because I have been preoccupied.
Preoccupied with itching.
Preoccupied with intense anxiety and unknown outcomes.
I developed a condition called obstetric cholestasis.
I had it in my previous pregnancy and knew it could return this time.
It left me with intense itching that had me demented.
It also increases the risk of still birth.
I was anxious.
I was worried.
I couldn’t put thoughts into words to describe my fears and tensions.
I couldn’t lose another baby.
Not now.
Not after carrying it for so long and feeling it move and grow.
Not after enduring a pregnancy already so hard.
I was told to deliver at 35 weeks, the risks were too high.
With wisdom of consultants and strength of mind to persevere I managed to get to 38 weeks.

On 23rd November 2013 after a pessary to induce labour I gave birth to a little girl.
It all went well.
No trauma.

Hello Eden, meaning delight or pleasure.

She is perfect.

She does not replace bud.
But she is here because of him.

I have birthed 5 babies.
3 at full term.
2 just before 12 weeks in my womb.
I remember each birth.
2 stung with tears of pain and anguish.
3 bursting with tears of Joy.

Life after loss is a long road.
Growing life after losing life is the hardest thing I have ever had to endure.

I have no answers to why 3 are here and 2 are not.
But I do know I am blessed to have had 5 babies.
I am thankful for what each has taught me.
I am thankful that each has given a way for the next.

And though I will never understand, I accept that what has gone before makes way for new life.

For Delight.

My name is Esther Vaughan.

My children are:
Maisie – born 21/11/09
Miriam – born 23/10/10 12wks in my womb
Reuben – born 20/11/11
Bud – born 28/01/13 10wks in my womb
Eden – born 23/11/13

This is me.
This is my family.

Esther xxx

This Time

32 weeks of being pregnant.
This time.

1081560_91565104Yet I still think about the time I was pregnant. Just a few weeks before this baby. Little bud that would be a few weeks old now.
But he isn’t.
Not this time.

Several friends have given birth in the last 2 months, they remind me and I think about my little one who isn’t with us.
Not this time.

I hold the tiny babies and I am so so thankful for my baby growing inside of me, but I still don’t stop thinking about little bud.
This time.
This time that I never had.
Instead I have it to come.

To look forward to.

Yet with my bloods doing funny things, my body struggling to cope this pregnancy, steroid injections with the threat of baby coming early, and all the anxieties that come with it, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and anxious.
I know that this time it could be different.
This time I am acutely aware there are no guarantees.
That life is so fragile.

But I will carry on carrying on.
I will be strong,
This time.

840954_60016914And strong isn’t bottling it up, or saying I’m fine when I’m not, or pretending my baby that didn’t make it didn’t exist.
Strong is standing up and saying, I’m struggling, I’m hurting still, I miss my baby bud, that he is not replaced by this baby, I’m not sure how I’m coping, but somehow I am managing to get through each second, each minute, each hour, each day, each week.
This time.

Esther xxx

Count Down

old_clockWe count the weeks,
With excitement and nerves.
Each week signals a step closer.
Each week really is so important to life.
I counted 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12.

12 weeks and then nothing.
No announcement, just tears.

Now I’m counting again.
12,11,10,9,8..to go.
I’ve made it this far,
Each week really is so important to life.
Each week the chance of survival if born increases.
My baby is formed and developed.
It is just being strengthened.

So I’m counting down again.
I’m counting 12 weeks.

Old Oak in Fields, SunsetThis time it’s different.
Yet it feels so similar.
At the end I will birth.
But this time I will birth a full term baby.
And then the next count down will begin.
But this one will be to the anniversary.
It will mark a year since I lost bud.
And as I cradle my newborn in my arms, thankful for what life has given, I will remember what life was lost.
Because one does not replace the other..it enhances it!!

Esther xxx

I’m That Woman

She’s been off a few weeks.
Sickness.
She’s returned to the office and is quiet.
She carries on as normal, not saying much, politely chatting to me as she always would.
I catch her looking at me when I walk past.
I mention my aches and pains of this pregnancy, now 27 weeks and feeling thoroughly fed up already.

She goes quiet.

I hear my colleague mention to another colleague that she had a loss a few weeks ago.

She lost her baby!

And then I realise….

I’m THAT woman.

I’m that woman, who every time is seen causes the heart to ache, the inner screams of ‘why me?’, the angry thoughts of ‘why you?’ the tears of loss to flow in hidden toilet cubicles and muffled tissues.

I’m that woman, who every time complains at her aches and pains is rubbing salt in the wounds of the one who longs for the physical aches and pains of pregnancy, rather than of loss.

I’m that woman who has what she wants.
A baby, healthy, growing inside, when all my colleague can do is hurt and hope.

I’m that woman.
I’m the one who didn’t lose this time, who is pregnant.

But…

I AM that woman.

a2I once screamed with anguish at the sight of a bump, cried tears of ‘why me?’ and fury of ‘why you?’
Who wanted to run at seeing a scan photo, or ached at those counting up their weeks.

I AM that woman who walked through that pain, who birthed too early, who didn’t get to feel the aches and pains of a growing child inside of her just the aches and pains of a baby gone too soon.

I AM that woman.

I am STILL that woman.

It’s just I’m now on a different path.
I’m a symbol of hope.
I’m showing that there is life after loss.

But I keep my moans to myself now.
And I make sure I don’t talk too much about baby kicking and moving.
Just for a time so that my colleague doesn’t have to have it so prominent in her day.

And as excited as I am now, I always remember what it is to be,

that woman…

Esther xxx

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