Dear Betty #46

Dear Betty,

I never imagined I would have a daughter but the moment I was told you were a girl I had our whole lives mapped out. The adventures, outfits, the bedroom, the hair styles, everything.

It’s been a while my darling. A while since mummy wrote her thoughts about you. Being the worrier that I am, I worry that people will think because I’m not talking about you I’m not thinking about you. I want you to know this couldn’t be further from the truth. From the minute I wake in the morning to the minute I go to bed you are in my thoughts, like your brothers I am thinking of you all the time, but in other ways, you aren’t loosing your school shoes or having a paddy over a prawn cracker, but if you were here I’m sure you would be – I wish you were. Know that every night before I close my eyes I look at your hand holding daddy’s in the picture we have by our bed and I think of you my love, I remember your perfect little face and your jet black hair and I can still feel your squidgy body in my arms.

Time moves so quickly, the time we have spent apart is so much longer than the time we had together – although that was never going to be difficult. But the love we have for you continues to grow everyday. The thought of the lifetime god willing I have ahead of me without you is still scary. I know you are gone, but I will never fully accept what happened to you, to our family. There will always be unanswered questions, the what ifs. These are the hardest to swallow, there isn’t a day that passes that I don’t question what I could/should of done differently. I don’t find comfort in knowing it wasn’t my fault because let’s face it although I wasn’t directly responsible if we look at all the events leading up to that day If I had made different decisions you could be here, but we will never know.

I need you to know that even tho now our grief isn’t all consuming like it was in the beginning and I don’t cry as much as before it doesn’t mean we don’t miss or love you any less. Often the feeling of guilt that straddles a feeling of excitement or happiness feels so awful I wonder if I should feel it at all. I hope you know we wish more than anything that you were here with us, I thought about you on many occasions last weekend as we celebrated your little brothers birthday what would be if you had of been here. Vinnie loves LOL dolls – I bet you would of too, I wonder if you would of laid on the rug in the lounge on your tummies together playing, doing all the American accents like he watches on You Tube or would you argue and fight like him and Archie do! Or would you be the balance in between that boy sandwich! I often think of you in this house along with Archie and Vinnie, thinking about the three of you here with me is just so heartbreakingly sad, I wish you were here my darling, I wish you could of had all your brothers have and more.

I can picture the 3 of you in matching pyjamas at Christmas and I feel so sad to know you will never be in the photo. We still talk about you so much, Vinnie can say your name now, when I ask him where you are he says you are at a party. I hope where ever you are you’re having fun. I still don’t know if I believe in heaven but I like to think of you somewhere where only love exists, where the pain of loss and heartbreak can never reach you.

As your birthday arrives this year, the 4th one without you I promise we will keep your memory alive. Where we live now the stars are so clear and bright. From the very first moment I told Archie where you had gone he told me you were a star and even now when we look up he always looks for you, we all do and always will.

As life after loss continues and our journey and story grows there is one thing that will never change and that is that you were here. I always say I would do it all over again just to hold you and I would, even if the outcome was to be the same. When we had Vinnie we had no guarantees he would arrive to us safely but I believe you helped us with that.

I hope you are watching, I hope you are happy and I hope you feel the love we have for you today and always. Mummy has made so many friends since you left many who have babies in heaven with you, I hope you are all together and feel nothing but love and happiness. It provides a comfort to know you are somewhere, somewhere safe and with those who leave us here and arrive to look after you, this birthday you have your great granny Gi Gi with you. Please keep shining we love you so very much and you are with mummy everywhere I go.

I will never understand why we couldn’t keep you but I’m so lucky that I held you for that small moment in time. Tonight the sky will light up for you and all your friends in a wave of light. You are all so loved.

My beautiful little girl forever our daughter, our baby, our Betty

Mummy X


Kindness #45

There is no denying that when your baby dies the likelihood is you will loose friends, I’m yet to find someone who hasn’t so apologies if I’m wrong in this statement. I don’t want to dwell too much on the negative because I find it has a habit of bringing you down quite quickly but I realise now that the friends I lost were in fact not real friends. Some people just stopped. They stopped texting me and some who meant a lot to me I never saw again and now it has been years. I don’t miss those people, I feel it reflects badly on them and perhaps shows their level of understanding. Perhaps if they they had realised that although I felt broken a simple ‘how are you’ would of sufficed. I didn’t need a lot I just needed people to be there even if you don’t know what to say showing up is better than doing nothing at all. At the time they made me feel ashamed of what had happened to me. They made me doubt myself and there is no going back from making someone feel like that.

Now that is out the way I can talk about all the real people in my life, the friends I had before Betty died and the friends I have made in the last 4 years have all been wonderful. They have been my rocks – along with my family they have held me up and kept me going. We have cried together but most importantly we continue to laugh and have fun. I no longer feel guilt to enjoy myself and have fun and when I am with them I know how much Betty means to them, if I want to talk about her we do and if she doesn’t come into our conversation it doesn’t matter because just knowing that she isn’t my sad secret is the best thing.

The biggest thing was that my friends didn’t change. They didn’t change how they acted they were the same with me, I guess it just highlighted to me that they had always been good people. Not changing, it was all I wanted, I didn’t want them to treat me differently, they listened if I needed it and that was the same as before she died. They knew they couldn’t understand fully how I felt, but they felt Betty’s loss too and they cared and it showed.

It wasn’t just the closest people, it was all the other people who I knew, some well and some not so. Some showed up and left gorgeous home cooked meals on our door step, some sent thoughtful gifts with beautiful heartfelt cards. None of them knew what to do I know they didn’t, I wouldn’t of done, they were all probably just as shocked as we were.

Archie had been at Primary school where he had started in Reception for about 6 weeks when Betty was born, we had barely forged any friendships, just ‘hellos’ in the corridors, obviously everyone knew I was pregnant there were only a few of us that were and I dreaded going back to the school run empty handed, I thought I would be ostracised. How wrong I was, one group of mummies who are now some of my closest friends took me under their wings and treated me in a way anyone could hope to be treated under the circumstances. There is no handbook for this stuff but I should ask them all to write one because somehow they just knew how to act, what to say. Most importantly rather than ignore what had happened, even tho at this point they didn’t know me that well and it would of been so easy to do they told me they were sorry in the playground, they invited me for coffees, they asked me about Betty. This was just so special and if you have lost a baby you will understand that. As we arrived home from hospital in the days following her death they arranged for a huge bouquet to be sent to us I will never forget the card it said ‘from all your friends at Avonwood’, I remember crying when they arrived because it just showed how much they cared, I barely knew them but they were telling me I was their friend and we were part of something. One of the mums had also had a baby, a girl a couple of weeks before, again I didn’t know her that well, I dreaded seeing her and the first school run I did on my own she was the first person I bumped into. I thought I would never be able to be friends with her (obviously I have told her this story) but she went on to be such a close friend and still is. I found it hard seeing her baby, but at the same time it wasn’t mine. It was different and she would always come round and see me and we would meet up and in the end seeing her baby became so much easier and I was ok with it.

Three of my best friends came to see Betty in hospital – I still don’t remember that day properly, I don’t know if I text them or called them on the phone but somehow they turned up together and they saw her and I really wanted that. I know they would of been worried about what it would be like, I don’t know if they have ever seen a dead body let alone that of a baby. But they came and I will always cherish the fact they were and still are my best friends. Not many people got to see her so to know that we share that is so special to me. They were amazing before, we have had so many adventures as we have been friends since Archie was born and we all have our eldest children who are the same age, but after this they somehow just got the situation and again I think it’s because they didn’t shy away from what had happened. They acknowledged it and still do. They ask me if I’m ok, they talk about her and that is the best thing anyone can do in my opinion. Although this changed me as a person it didn’t alter these friendships, any of them.

Even now when I speak to another parent who’s child has died I worry if I’ve said the right thing, I worry if I’m wording things right, if I have said anything that could upset them and it’s happened to me so I should have the words. I try to think of my own encounters with people and friends I always ask myself would I be happy if I read this or heard this. It’s not easy but it’s better to say something than just ignore it completely.

Death can be isolating, but it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t have to be. As much as some days especially in the beginning you want to shut the world out, you should in fact let it in. If you have the right people around you wonderful things happen. It’s important to be mindful of someone who has experienced something traumatic, it may not be baby loss, the death of a relative, an injury, they may have depression or had a breakdown in a relationship. It could be anything, anything that has an impact on another persons mental health. That person may turn down your offer of going for coffee, or they may arrange it and then cancel on you. The sign of a good friend is one who doesn’t give up. There have been times when I have simply not felt I could do things and my friends still invited me the next time and that I feel is very important.

It’s not just about receiving gifts but the ones I have received have really meant a lot, however a text can equally mean just as much, but it is nice that everyone shows their love and support in different ways. Some of my friends have given me the most beautiful keepsakes that I will always cherish. One of my friends from secondary school who was the only person I knew of who had experienced baby loss at the time turned up on my door step – she was the first person I thought of when Betty died but I didn’t know if I should contact her, believe it or not I was actually worried I would upset her hearing my news. She showed up, she brought me a gorgeous pebble with Betty’s name and date of birth and the words in her card just showed me how much she understood. We were close at school and then lost touch but now I consider her to be one of my best friends and I will forever be thankful that she is there by my side even if I do live on an island now!

I have made online friendships since loosing Betty, some are other mums who have been through a similar thing to me, some are just people I have met through my little squares on Instagram but I message most days and I very much class them as my friends. They are understanding and so kind and caring. Social media has its negative points but there is also so much good to it. Initially when Betty died I felt very alone as I didn’t use instagram back then and I didn’t know where to look for other people like me, but as time moved on I found my people and I love that everyone is there for each other.

I have to point out that when I say ‘I felt alone’ it was not because of anyone of my friends it was how I felt internally, as I’ve explained in this blog post my friends were fantastic, but I also felt I needed to find people like me, I needed proof that I was going to be ok, I needed to know someone else who had been through this had survived it. No one other than someone who has been through it can reassure you of that.

Since moving to the Isle of Wight I have met a handful of people who I now call my ‘friends’ but those people know about Betty, it’s very daunting telling someone new such an important life event thankfully I have Instagram so most of them have been able to see our story before I had to explain it in person which is always a help! They have all showed me so much support and love in their different ways and I am very lucky for that.

I owe so much to all my friends, they shone a light when all I could see was dark and above all they just showed up, wether that was in the physical sense or just in my text messages, on my voicemail. The greatest gift you can give anyone is kindness, to me the second greatest are these friendships. I can never repay them for what they have done for me but hopefully they will read this (I know they will) and know they truly mean the world to me.

Thank you for your kindness wonder women I love you all.

Jen x

Hope #44


Today’s blog is dedicated to hope. My hope came in the form of little Vinnie. Today my Rainbow baby is 3. Not so little anymore! We are so blessed to have this little rocket in our lives but the journey with him has not been easy.

There is no denying having another baby after the death of another not only restores hope but for me it provided a renewed purpose. It has however also added an additional layer to my grief.

Firstly I must explain that Betty was to be our Rainbow baby after suffering a miscarriage 2 years before her. After we lost that baby we were so rocked and in shock we just weren’t expecting it (not that we were the next time) but it really shook us and we didn’t try for several years for another baby because we were so scared. The first baby was a ‘missed miscarriage’ at the 12 week scan it was found that at around 9 weeks the baby had died.

We decided to start trying for Betty in the January of 2015 and were very fortunate to get pregnant on the first try. Once I got to 20 weeks I really did feel ‘out of the woods’ if you like and I never even contemplated that I would loose her. At no point, it just wasn’t in my thoughts at all – I was so naive.

After Betty died it was strange, you would of thought it would be worse or similar to the scared feelings of the first time, but this was different. Both myself and Scott knew instantly we had to try for another baby. We knew it wouldn’t replace her no baby could do that, but our arms were so empty, the house was empty we decided that we would wait for my period to return if it did (I wasn’t sure if my body would work at all after everything that had happened) and then we would try but not put any pressure on ourselves, if it took a year or longer so be it we just needed to try. To our shock and absolute delight and I guess terror we were so lucky to fall pregnant on the first try again (I don’t even know how this happened) I thought it would take months after all my body had been through.

I was so scared but we had to try this. I needed to give myself hope again. I felt like I had let so many people down this was going to be my chance to restore faith, of course it was so much more than that. I had to blinker my thoughts, Scott would frequently give me pep talks and tell me they wouldn’t let this happen to us again, they simply wouldn’t. We were under a top consultant and from early on we were under the care of the hospital, we had an early scan, then more frequent ones with the consultant. I was tested for gestational diabetes more than once as there had been a suggestion with Betty that some of the results from our post mortem pointed towards gestational diabetes (the test they missed out was the one that would of confirmed this either way which was why it was so frustrating) when we had the 20 week scan me and Archie went together as Scott was working away, when they said it was a boy he said he wanted a sister and I cried because I wasn’t sure how I felt! Deep down I was relieved because I had never thought I would have a daughter and I never thought we would so this just confirmed my intuition. I knew this boy would be strong, although I was anxious deep down I had to believe we were going to take him home.

In a twist of fate the hospital had planned to induce me if I wished at 38 weeks but this was going to fall on Betty’s birthday I explained that I just didn’t think I could cope with going in on or just before or after her birthday, I hadn’t been back in the maternity unit since the day we left her and it was a huge fear of mine. I just felt like it would all be too much and there was no way I could risk taking this pregnancy to 39 weeks. It was agreed I could go in just after 37 weeks and it was a comfort to have an induction date along with going in for monitoring twice weekly from 30 weeks, my midwife would see me mid week every week so I never had to go longer than a few days without seeing anyone and of course if I wanted to I could go as much as I wanted to be monitored.

As much as I found all the extra monitoring a comfort the thing I found most stressful was the extra scans, because they are looking in so much more than with a low risk pregnancy I felt things were being discussed or brought up that wouldn’t normally be discussed the fluid levels were a huge stress for me. I constantly looked at the diamond on the fluid line and it stressed me out every single time I got the piece of paper, I studied every one afraid they had missed something or I had. I didn’t take hardly any pictures of my bump, with Archie I took 1 photo of me right at the end and I wished I had taken more pictures, with Betty I decided that once a month I would do a bump pic but then with Vinnie I was too scared to document my bump incase I jinxed it – so I have this one which was taken on the 11th October the day before he was born!

IMG_0893(One of the very few pics of my Vinnie bump)

We had our induction and everything was pretty straight forward, I had been induced with Betty so I knew what to expect, I had a lot of worries about going back to the ward where we were with Betty, luckily we weren’t in the same bay as we were with her. When we eventually went through to delivery the lovely midwife who delivered Betty and looked after her came in to see us, she had seen we were in and wanted to come and say hello. She told us that she often thought of Betty – this was such a lovely thing for her to do and it strangely put me at ease – I’m sure her name was Jo I just can’t remember. But she told us she is now dealing with a lot more of the bereavement side of midwifery and she was so kind and caring with us I know she will be a great help to others who sadly have to meet her. We were in hospital for a day and a half waiting for the induction to work but once my waters were broken Vinnie didn’t take long to arrive. I cuddled him as soon as he was born but it was clear to us there was something wrong, he was breathing strangely, I knew straight away he wasn’t right he was breathing strangely the midwife said it would just be some mucus but within a few minutes someone from NICU had come down and in an instant they took him away, Scott went with him and I was left alone.


I think I was too tired to cry, I called my mum and dad and told them what happened and they came straight to the hospital and sat with me whilst I had a shower and waited to go and see him. Scott was with Vinnie and he said they were so amazing in the NICU, they had to put a cannula in his tiny hand and they did it effortlessly. It seemed almost unbelievable that we had waited this long for our baby and now he was poorly too. I was wheeled up to see him and I couldn’t touch or move him I just had to peer into his little incubator and hope he would survive. No one really knew what was wrong with him, he was 7lb 10oz so he was by far the biggest baby in there. Things weren’t meant to be like this, the staff were amazing. They gave me a side room so I didn’t have to sleep in with all the mothers who had their babies and I visited all day everyday. It was on day 3 that I finally held our baby boy. I couldn’t believe it when I went down that morning and they asked me if I would like a cuddle with him! I had been longing for this moment. It was wonderful. The next day I was able to try and feed him as up until that point they had been giving him expressed breast milk through a tube, I had been asking to feed him as I just knew the milk would make him stronger and get him out!


Sure enough he started to turn a corner – I knew he was going to make it. He was such a fighter. Unbelievably we were nearing Betty’s birthday, I had never wanted to be here on that date and it was looking like the hospital wanted me to go home now and just come back to visit. They asked if I could go the next day, the 17th I explained to them that there was just no way I could walk out of that hospital on October 17th on what would of been my daughters 1st birthday and leave another child behind I just couldn’t. They were very understanding and they agreed I could stay a few more days, they would find a way! The 17th arrived, one of the midwives came to see me in the morning, she said she knew what a special day it was and she gave me 2 little knitted characters, a bunny and and bear. Vinnie still has them in his room, I will cherish them forever.

Scott arrived and we walked the corridor to see Vinnie for the day, as we arrived the nurses announced they had a surprise for us, as we walked round the corner Vinnie was out of his incubator and he was laid in a little cot, he had made such an improvement over night. His eyes were the widest we had ever seen them and he was looking at us as if to say, mum, dad I’ve been waiting for you in here. He was going to be able to come back to the ward with us that day. We were on cloud 9 of all the things that could of happened that day it was a sign from our gorgeous girl if nothing else, she was looking after her little brother and he was getting better and he was coming with us where he belonged. If I could ever describe a moment when I had such hope it would be this single moment in time. I can’t explain it properly it was just simply amazing.


(this was who greeted us)

We wheeled his little cot back to our room – we felt like we were stealing him, it was so strange to have him with us. He was jaundice so we had to stay a few more days and we were moved into the main ward (which was an experience) but it didn’t matter we had him our little rainbow and then the most magical thing happened Archie met Vinnie properly for the first time, he held him and he smiled so much! He was so proud to finally have his little brother in his arms not just peering through his plastic cot. He was so happy because we could tell him we would be coming home, he had missed me and was worried after loosing his sister.



So a week longer than we expected but we finally took our little Vinnie home to our family, our friends. Home with us where he belonged to start living our lives again. Having a baby after loosing one was never going to be easy, it hasn’t and isn’t easy even now. But as this little bean turns a whole 3 years old today I am so grateful that we got to keep him, he has such a spirit and the last 3 years for so many reasons have been hard but I wouldn’t change any of it. To have this little boy our sunshine in amongst all the darkness. It doesn’t make your loss easier to have another child but it gives you a chance. A chance to give them all your hopes, your dreams and ultimately be a family.


Without our losses we wouldn’t have our hope. I can’t even contemplate what may of been. He is my light, he is my dark, now he sleeps he is definitely saving my sanity. I would do it all over again for this chance, the chance to have my children, boy or girl it doesn’t matter they are mine and Scott’s, they come out of our unconditional love for one another, they are ours and we are theirs and we have been so blessed to have 3 beautiful children. We will always be forever heartbroken that Betty couldn’t stay but eternally grateful we got another chance and we have her brothers.


(the first time he had both his boys together – it was a wonderful moment)

Even tho Betty died I would risk it all again to have that moment in time with her, she did exist, they exist and we are a family. A family of 5.

So as I tuck my little 3 year old into bed tonight after ‘the best day ever’ as he put it. I thank him for letting me be his mummy and I look for my star in the sky, she is always with me in everything I do, everyday and I try my hardest to be the best I can for all of them even on the days when I have to tell them off (most days), on the bad, the good and the calm days. Everyday I try to do my best as in my opinion parenting a child that is no longer here is probably one of the hardest jobs of all.


To be continued..

Jen x


Despair #43

Despair – definition: the complete loss or absence of hope.


After the initial shock of the news of what had happened came the despair. In fact despair mixed with fraught and irrational feelings. At the start I wanted her to be born and see if we could save her, once she arrived I wanted time to turn back time so I could do something differently. Afterwards I always struggled to find my place in amongst the charities and people doing amazing and wonderful things for their babies. My daughter was stillborn but I didn’t notice a reduction in movements that I could recall, she didn’t have a medical condition which contributed to her death in fact she didn’t have anything wrong with her at all. There was no cause of death found.

At her funeral we asked people to give a monetary donation should they wish rather than flowers to SPRING which was the charity that funded the bereavement suite we stayed in at the hospital. As much I didn’t like the hospital as a whole for what had happened I was very thankful to have a room away from the main maternity unit to have Betty and then spend time with her. I know many do not have these facilities at the hospitals where their babies were born.

Once home, despair came in a different form. Firstly, telling Archie. It was such a sad moment in my life, to tell my little boy that his sister couldn’t come home with us and that she was now living amongst the stars. To this day he has not seen or ever asked to see a picture of his sister. I have to be honest I was too scared to show him, I worried so much that he would take it badly. If he had asked I would of shown him but he never did. This year on her birthday I hope that we will show him and Vinnie her picture. He is already counting down the days to her birthday and now he is 8 I feel it is time.

One of the worst things imminently after her death was deciding if we wanted her to have a post mortem, the thought her little body would essentially be taken apart and dissected made me feel ill. But if we didn’t do it we would forever wonder ‘why’ which is ironic as it was ‘inconclusive’ so we will infact still always wonder this. Another thing which I felt prolonged our suffering was the length of time it took to receive these results. She was born on the 17th October 2015 and the PM was done promptly that week in Southampton, but we waited until the end of January 2016 to have a meeting to discuss the findings. We were told time was needed for certain tissue samples to culture and Christmas and New Year also held up the process but I just felt this was far too long. The wait was agonising, as if you aren’t going over it in your head enough, what you did wrong, the wait, the wait was cruel and unessarary in my opinion.

One of the absolute worst encounters in the formal process of Betty’s death was receiving those results. We had most harrowing experience with the rudest consultant who may have had intelligence but his compassion and common sense was that of a flea and had I been more mentally unstable that day and didn’t have my families support I genuinely think I would of thought about committing suicide. He was so rude, he was dismissive of our child and the medical information he was supposed to be explaining and he ended our meeting telling me that I have a nice family and a son I should be grateful for them and go home to them and ‘get on with things’. If only I had thought to ask him which one of his children he would be happy to loose in light of the fact he had others anyway! It was one of my lowest points after losing Betty.

As she died under the hospitals care a serious incident report was also conducted. We got the results of this in February sometime I don’t remember the date. For months in my despair I trawled medical journals and guidelines, I spoke to a few other loss parents who gave me further knowledge of the questions I should be asking. I was desperately searching for answers. My research ended with me finding out that there was a test missing and the way we found out felt underhand and I was very paranoid as a result. I asked the medical professionals who were apparently doing a ‘through investigation’ what the result of this test was at our meeting, it may have been a key indicator in our case and it was not done. A panel of experts allegedly sat round a table and went through our case step by step, doctors, consultants and experts, yet none of them asked each other for the results of this tests or choose to highlight it had not been done. I am certain they would of talked about it but I also think they decided they would not write it into their findings in the hope that having no medical knowledge we would be none the wiser. Little did they know the journalist in me was busy researching and looking for answers. However, this really knocked me and even now I can’t think or talk about this much as it still feels like a conspiracy but I often wonder if it is despair that makes me feel like this. Maybe it was just a genuine error. But to me there can’t have been that many babies that died that day so in theory they should have been able to go through their guidelines and check list methodically and accurately. What it really highlighted I think, was that they were too busy dealing with ‘live babies’ they were understaffed and over populated the night I went in which is why we waited in the first place.

When I asked them about the test the ‘risk manager’ went to the page of results and there was a big circle on the page where this result would/should be. Myself, Scott and my dad all saw it, she promptly closed the page and said she would have to go back to the unit and ask them about this! It left me paranoid and deeply disturbed. A few weeks later we got a letter apologising and letting us know after investigating ‘the test was omitted in error’. It may have been negative but either way we were denied the knowledge for this careless error. There are a lot of blood tests done after you have a stillborn baby, it felt odd to me that every other test was done on the numerous tubes of blood they took from me, but this one, this particular one was not there.

The consultant thought it would be helpful to provide the analogy that if they had tried to get her out in time if they had noticed a deterioration then there is no guaranteeing what condition she would of been in, she would likely of been brain damaged. There is no consolation in this situation and I feel comments like this to bereaved parents are both unnecessary and mentally scaring.

So much of my despair and mental torture came from health care professionals, it appeared to me and still does from other stories of loss that I read that there is a serious lack of education and compassion in the process of baby death. I know the situation is harrowing for all involved, and I don’t like to criticise midwives, doctors or consultants as they do such a wonderful job everyday at bringing babies alive and healthy into this world. But there are people like me who seemingly fall through the cracks in the system and drown in the unorthodox comments, the substandard treatment and the backward way these things are investigated and conducted all whilst trying to process the trauma of what has just happened. I hope that one day maybe I can make a difference to this. But not now, not over the last 4 years, it’s still too raw, too sad and it damaged me.

For the last 4 years since Betty died I have been concentrating on having another child which I will talk about in tomorrow’s blog post but also re-building mine, Scott and Archie’s family unit. Our little world previously untouched by grief and terror had to be restructured and rearranged all whilst trying to continue with all of everyday ‘life’ that carries on around you. The biggest being paying the bills, going to school, going to work, keeping a house and trying to keep sane.


(the only picture we have as a family of 4 with Betty in my tummy)

It has taken everything I have ever had to keep going. Everyday I survived I felt stronger, some days now I feel invincible, I know surviving this has made me more resilient than I could ever imagine. Some days I feel like wonder woman, other days I feel like a limp leaf blowing frantically in the wind falling down and blowing back up, just desperately trying to find a place to ground myself, I think that is just what happens when you are going through grief and despair.

I have had to learn to compartmentalise certain aspects of what happened, especially after falling pregnant with vinnie a matter of months after Betty died. I had to let certain things go even tho I wanted so badly to fixate and pursue them but I had a new focus I had to keep this new baby alive, I had to show myself and everyone else that I could do it, that I wasn’t a complete failure and in doing this I couldn’t fight for Betty like I wish I had, wish I could of. It is my hope that one day I can better understand it all and look at the facts and decide if they were right or wrong. But I don’t know if I will ever be able to do it without bias because that raw emotion will always be there. I will always be angry with someone wether that be myself or the NHS for the death of my daughter. But in order for it not to eat me up and completely destroy me I have had to tuck those feelings away for they do not change the situation, they do not help anyone. She will always be dead now, she will always be gone and once the despair subsided I had to start learning to deal with that realisation and start to ‘accept’ (I hate that word because I am stubborn and accepting things is not in my nature) but this is where ‘hope’ came into play and that my friends I will talk about tomorrow when I tell you all about my little Vinnie.

In order to find hope I feel despair is necessary. Riding the storm of emotions is essential to get to where you are going even if you don’t know where that is at the time. Just like crying can be healing and a release, experiencing despair, fear and frustration are all natural feelings and emotions that will guide you to your next stage in your grief, these are the hardest emotions in my opinion but for me they have led to better days even tho at the time I didn’t know where I would end up.

But I am here and able to tell you all our story and for that I am so lucky.

Jen x

Loss #42

Loss – definition: the fact or process of losing something or someone.

Betty Feet

This week is bringing us ever so quickly to Betty’s 4th birthday. 4 years is a long time but in some ways it has flown, I can’t remember what I did yesterday but I can remember the 16th October, nearly every detail, I can remember how I felt, how I cried all night the night my daughter died. The afternoon of the 16th, it was a Friday, I was booked in for a scan , I had been for a midwife appointment on the Wednesday and I was measuring over (not unusual I guess as it had happened about a month prior to this) and Archie was 9lb 2oz this was probably going to be a big baby too! The hospital couldn’t fit me in any earlier than the Friday, I was due that week – they said I would probably of had the baby by then and wouldn’t make the scan! I made the scan, I was diagnosed with Polyhdramois (excess fluid) and they were estimating the baby to be well over 10lbs! I was asked to go to the maternity unit across town for 7pm that night, they said as I was already due and given these new risks I would be induced. I wasn’t worried, they weren’t worried, I was excited we were going to meet our baby girl at last!

We went home, I had a bath, we told Archie we would next be home with his sister that weekend. This still hurts so badly to write, I promised him, I will always feel like I let him down. We headed off to the hospital, left Archie in the safe hands of Scott’s mum and got put in a side room on the day assessment ward. The midwife came in and asked if we would like to listen to the babies heartbeat (we said no because we didn’t think there was a need to, we had seen her just a few hours ago and she was moving about and happy) this will of course always be a regret, although I am certain she was still alive at this point.

After a little wait we got taken to the maternity ward, we were ‘checked in’ they were waiting to speak to a consultant who was in with an emergency, they said they would not be starting the induction that evening because they were too busy and as this was a second baby she could arrive quickly. She told us to go and get some food, eat and come back when we were ready. We went and got a take away pizza, the midwife phoned whilst we were out and said not to rush back as they definitely wouldn’t be doing anything until the early hours – I asked if I could pop home and get my dressing gown as I had forgotten it, she said that would be fine and to not rush back. We didn’t take long as even tho she had said this I didn’t feel comfortable being gone from the hospital for too long.

We returned and they told me to get ready for bed, they told Scott that he could go home and get some sleep and they would call him when it was time to come back, they still weren’t sure when they would start the induction it could be the early hours. He stayed while I got into bed and the midwife said she would listen to the babies heartbeat before I went to sleep. She put the machine on – nothing, she could only find my heartbeat – I wasn’t concerned at this point. She went to get another machine and had some troubles with the plug, still nothing. They then wheeled a portable scan machine in, their faces said it all and then I saw the grainy image on the screen her little hand was limp, I knew she was gone.

We were whisked off the ward and taken to a side room, I kept asking them to do a c-section get her out quickly, they could save her. Their answer was no, she was gone. 4pm we had seen her in a scan, 10pm she was dead, how does this happen? We would have to wait until morning for a consultant to come and do a second scan to confirm she was dead. They pulled a ropey uncomfortable double bed out of the wall. My mum and dad were on holiday in Thailand, they were returning the following day, my mum had said the baby would wait for Nanny to come home before she arrived none of us could ever have imagined this. I phoned my Aunty because I just didn’t know what to do, her and my Uncle came to the hospital we told them what had happened we all sat in shock, I don’t know what time they went but I just remember laying on that bed all night I cried all night, I didn’t sleep, Scott didn’t either. I went in with a living baby and now I was lying in hospital with a dead one inside me. I was in hell. We laid there all night crying and just saying ‘why’ out loud, neither of us knew the answer, we didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t even understand what had happened.

The next morning it was confirmed she was gone. That night Betty was born. For a brief moment I thought she would cry, as the room fell silent I forgot for a minute she was gone. She just looked so perfect, so peaceful, this wasn’t how it was meant to be. She quickly became cold, her skin was clammy and she felt empty. I can’t explain it properly that’s the only word I can think to describe it. She was so beautiful, I was so sad I couldn’t see her eyes – I know they would of been huge like her big brothers, I think they would of been green I don’t know why. These are the silly things I just won’t ever know. We took some photos but we definitely didn’t take enough, I wanted to capture her but I almost didn’t feel like I could take photos like we would of done if she was alive it didn’t feel right. But I knew this was all we would have. The nurses kindly took her feet and hand prints and did little imprints in clay, I wish it would of been possible to get a proper cast of her hands and feet. Nothing was rushed, we could stay as long as we wanted. But I felt so conflicted, I needed to see Archie but I wanted to be with Betty. I didn’t know how we were going to tell him but we needed to be with him. We made the decision he would not meet Betty. I think it was the right one for us. He was 4, I don’t think he would of been able to understand that she wouldn’t be coming home I didn’t think it would be easy for him to process seeing her dead as she looked so normal.


My mum and dad found out what had happened in their airport car on the way home from Thailand – I couldn’t say the words, Scott had to tell them. They came straight from the airport to the hospital with my brother and his now wife, they all saw Betty I’m so glad they did. My mum stayed with me all night and Scott went home to Archie. Mum bathed and changed her and spoke to her all night. I’m glad we had that time. By morning she had already changed her lips had changed colour and there was fluid leaking from her nose, I didn’t like it, she was so different to just a few hours before. They brought us a cold cot to keep her in when we weren’t holding her. I wanted to cuddle her but the more she warmed up the more she deteriorated. Every time I picked her up she was cold from where she had been on the mat in the cot, it was such a contradiction from what should be the snuggly hot water bottle newborn we were supposed to have.

We had to decide if we wanted a post mortem, the priest came and christened her, he said prayers and lit a candle in a little star shaped holder for her which we still have. He was so kind and caring and lovely. I don’t have a picture of me and Scott together with her, I wish I did. We decided although invasive a post mortem had to be done, we had to know how our perfect child was off to the morgue rather than our home.

We had more visitors that afternoon (which I will talk about in another post this week) we then got ready to go, I knew this was going to be the worst moment, the last time we would ever see her. We asked the nurses to take her as we didn’t want to walk away and leave her on her own in the room. So we kissed her, told her we loved her, tucked her up and they wheeled our baby away. 9 months of growing, excitement, love, plans for the future. Our whole life with our son and daughter were mapped out in our heads. Our life lay ahead a blessing to have one of each child, a son, a daughter. Our new life was about to begin without our longed for baby girl. At that moment our loss felt so great it might aswel have been the end of the world. We left hand in hand to embark on a new journey, a journey of loss, grief and pain. If only I could of told that mama that left that hospital that day that she would be ok, where she would be in 4 years time, that she would feel happiness and have hope again I probably wouldn’t have believed her. That was something I had to find out for myself. I had limited resources and people to reassure me of this at the time but I am so proud of how far we have come now.

It was clear from day 1 that I had no choice in this, the decision was firmly taken out of my hands. However unfair it did and still continues to feel it couldn’t be changed. But I did have a choice of how I would move forward, it could break me or it could make me. It could make me stronger, it could make me more resilient, it could make me see the good and it could make me see the bad. It could make me appreciate the small things and it could make me put perspective on every aspect of life. And it did. I was and continue to be sad and upset because my daughter died but I am lucky that I am here. I have so much in my life that I am to be thankful for and I live everyday feeling so thankful that she was ours. I would NEVER change her, because it could of been different and just because she didn’t survive doesn’t mean I have a regret her. In life we have to take risks because if we don’t then nothing wonderful would ever happen. Sometimes, like in our case things do go wrong and it’s hard but we have to learn to adapt to our ‘new normal’ and simply keep putting one foot in front of the other.

If today you are crippled with grief or loss and you stayed in bed all day, it’s ok. You can try tomorrow, if all you do is move from the bed to the sofa you still moved, small steps will turn into big ones and the days you have been wishing by will somehow turn into months and then into years, although you will always ‘feel’ your loss it will naturally become less raw and you will learn your own way of dealing with everything that encompasses the death of your child.

Everything we do in life often derives from love and life after loss is no different to this. If you have love you will get there, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but love will guide you. For anyone feeling their loss today please know I understand and am here for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I am so proud to share my words and my Betty with you all. I wish she was here but this is the next best thing to sharing our wonderful little girl with as many people who want to know about her.


Jen x

Grief… #41


Grief – definition: intense sorrow, especially caused my someone’s death.

I have been grieving for 1384 days. My journey began on the 16th October 2015, the day my daughter died. She was a full term baby, she weighed 9lb 7oz. Her name is Betty Dora Burborough. I have 2 sons, one who came before her and one who came after. I will only ever know what it is like to raise a daughter in my heart, never in my arms. Betty was stillborn, on October 17th 2015 she became 1 of the 15 babies that died in the UK that day. Betty was that statistic, I am part of that statistic. And here begins my journey, my journey of grief, loss, tragedy but ultimately love.

Nearly four years on I am used to how it feels now, I can deal with it, I can control it. Sometimes I feel worse, sometimes I feel ok. I will never feel ‘better’ I will never feel the same. I have just learnt to live and navigate it all. It 100% doesn’t feel as raw as it did in those first few weeks, months, but it’s still there, she is still gone. I have HAD to deal with it, I have HAD to live without her BUT I will NEVER accept and have peace with what happened to me, to us, to my family. Whoever said ‘everything happens for a reason’ – whilst I appreciate so many more things have happened that probably would not had she lived I doubt that person had experienced the loss of their child. I have said this so many times before but a parent should NEVER have to bury their child. It is not the way life was intended, it should be the other way round. I know it’s not always the case, I have done it – so many others I know now have also done it. We are the statistic, but we each have a story, we each have a child who we are desperate to tell you about, share with you, we want you to see them, admire them, tell us how beautiful they are, just like you would with everyone’s living children. The difference is, we only have a handful of images, we don’t have carefully curated photos of them with balloons on their birthdays, laid on a mat with a cute caption each month when they are babies. Their ‘firsts’ were their ‘lasts’. They will forever be ‘our babies’ because for them life went no further.

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I don’t need sympathy. I just want you to understand my story so that if you or one of your friends or family find themselves in this position you can help them, be there for them. The death of a child will always be a shock, it will always be in my opinion one of the worst things you can go through or see anyone else go through. But, perhaps myself and others talking about what we’ve been through can help you to guide a loved one or yourself should it god forbid ever happen to you.


I’m not here to try and scare you. If you are currently pregnant or grieving yourself then you may not feel you have a place here right now and that’s ok. I understand. But this week I want to try and help, try and educate. I’m not an expert, but I have been through it. There’s no tool kit for loss, but there are some things I would of done differently had I known more about baby loss. That doesn’t mean to say that if you are pregnant you need to read and educate yourself, I don’t want people to go through what should be a wonderful time in your life in fear. I am not here to breed fear. But at least if today or tomorrow or anytime from the moment these words are published you or someone you know find yourself in this position you may be able to help them, this may be able to help them. They might be able to capture the photos I wish I had, or avoid the situations I wish I had.

If you have read this far, thank you. If you havn’t lost a baby but have read this, thank you. Thank you for trying to understand and thank you for allowing yourself to be open to this topic. If you have lost a baby, I am so sorry, I am sorry you have had to come here, I am sorry they died. But please know you are not alone, please know you are going to be ok, please know there is no sugar coating it, life will not be easy from this point, but it will get better. Please don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel isolated, and don’t suffer alone or in silence. In order to grieve we must re-live and talk about our experiences so that we can understand and move forward (not on).

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So welcome, my name is Jen and my daughter was stillborn, my daughter died.

Jen x