When people say they are sorry but it’s not enough…#13

When Betty died, I know how much everyone’s hearts ached for us – at first I was sad, then I felt numb, then the anger came, then the blame, then the sadness, then the anger again, then I began to realise I had to accept it, it wasn’t going to change. BUT I WANTED HER BACK. But no matter how many times people said, I’m so sorry or they cried for me/with me I just wished they could help me to change what had happened. They couldn’t. There was no bringing her back. EVER. She was gone. I hated that. 

Deep down I just thought they were all just happy it wasn’t them, it began to feel like the only people I could turn to were the ones who had had it happen to them. But there weren’t many that I knew. Who do you turn to? What do you do? The worst thing was it felt like this was going to be just the start of our fight for Betty, it was, it still is. We have a long way to go before I will ever accept what happened to us was an accident. It wasn’t. I will not accept that. Sometimes things do happen – the consultant providing us with the investigation results said it was ‘a tragic accident’. Maybe. Maybe not. She died in October we then had to spend 3 long months waiting to find out the results of her post mortem. It was inconclusive. No answers, just so many more questions. The ones we had spent all that time going over and over were still there, but this time there were more to accompany them. 

I don’t know if I will ever be able to accept that – I am having to fight hard not to think about it, yet I know I have to because it doesn’t help things to dwell on negativity but sometimes you have to. Sometimes it feels like there is no other way and sometimes you need to go through that to help yourself. I think I do. I can honestly say I don’t think there is a day that has gone by since October 17th 2015 that I havn’t thought about what happened to Betty, thought about an area of the investigation in to her death, the night she died, the week leading up to it. In fact it brought into question my whole pregnancy, what did I miss – I would get a sign if my baby was going to die, I would know, I would see it coming, I didn’t, it hit me so hard, I think I might actually still be in shock! Did that actually happen to me? To my family? 

A recent report published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, ‘Each Baby Counts’ (first report) (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/press-release-over-a-quarter-of-local-investigations-into-stillbirths-neonatal-deaths-and-severe-brain-injuries-are-not-good-enough-says-rcog-report/) has given me more insight and made me realise what I already suspected, that our case was not investigated comprehensively. In my opinion, an investigation after a child has died should be conducted by an external team – it should in no way involve members of staff who had colleagues directly or indirectly involved in the care of a patient who died whilst under the hospitals care, in our case Betty. I cannot and will not accept that my child’s death was ‘a tragic accident’. There were factors that contributed and people were, in my opinion, until I can be shown otherwise, complacent and haphazard when it came to our care. Guidelines are there for a reason, if they are not being adhered to then there is a level of negligence, surely that is clear cut. 

I do not want others to go through what we went through. I know they will, but I want to do my best to prevent other families receiving the poor level of care we did. I want Betty’s case to be used as an example in the hospital to remind people to follow procedure and more importantly the ‘NICE’ guidelines. In 2016 it is not acceptable that 11 babies die a day from being stillborn. We should be able to prevent this. What am I going to do? To be honest right now I am not sure – I feel like a small fish swimming in a big ocean and it’s very daunting, I don’t know who I can turn to, but every day I am getting a little bit closer to helping myself and getting justice for Betty. I won’t let this consume our lives but equally I will not give up. She was our baby girl and a mothers love is not one to be reckoned with. 

I know I might sound crazy, bitter, unreasonable. But, at the end of the day I lost someone I love and if we can’t fight for the ones we love then what is there left to fight for?


How did we survive? #9

I have been asked this by a few people and it got me thinking about the answer. It’s a BIG question – there is really only a long answer with no end and it’s not the same for everyone. I tried to think about it and put it into words for my situation and the answer in short is I havnt got a clue. But.. If I sit and look back a while I can try. It might be a bit disjointed but I will just go over the weeks/months in short to try and answer the question itself! 

Those first few days after we left Betty in the hospital felt like they went on forever I wanted them to be over, I didn’t like this feeling inside me it was awful, all consuming, it made me feel sad, sick and numb all at the same time. I couldn’t be Archie’s mummy, I wanted to get in a hole and die. But I didn’t want to leave him – I wanted now even more to be the best mum I could be to him. But I didn’t want him to see me like this. But I couldn’t put these emotions away right now, I couldn’t pretend, I couldn’t get out of bed but I had to. He would cry when I didn’t take him to school in morning – he cried so much one morning Scott brought him back in from the car, all he wanted was to sit on my lap and have a cuddle. We cuddled – he stopped crying – ate some of my toast and then he went to school.

‘Google when will I stop feeling this way?’ No answer. 

A few more days passed, the priest called to tell us her body was back from the post mortem we could start planning her funeral – what songs did we want? She didn’t know any songs, I hadn’t sung any to get her back to sleep/calm her down. This is too soon. What colour casket do we want? Do we want her buried or cremated? In my head I’m asking how many times did she wake last night, how many nappies have I changed? In my reality none of this has happened. 

A week pass we finalise songs, Eric Clapton, ‘tears in heaven’ and Stevie Wonder ‘isn’t she lovely’, she will be buried, I can’t bare the thought of her being burnt, white casket, in another weeks time. What flowers do you want? I don’t want flowers they will die – you have to have flowers! We choose a pink and white letter B! I don’t remember the flowers. 

Two weeks pass – I don’t want to go to the funeral. Perhaps I will stay at home. I go. It’s better than I expected. We burry our little baby girl, in the babygrow she was going to come home in. Scott carries her for the last time to where she will rest in the ground her casket is so tiny, the funeral directors have stuck pink butterflies on it. They look tacky – I didn’t ask them to do that. I can’t do anything about it. The priest who blessed her in hospital sends her to her final resting place beautifully and respectfully. I want to go home. I feel better now it’s over. But now I worry she will be cold out there all alone. I push the thought away – it isn’t helping. 

We buried her on the 5th of November – we have a firework and hot dog party for Archie when he finishes school. He doesn’t realise what we did today. I drink more Pinot than I should (I didn’t get drunk tho) I have never been one to drink in those type of situations, but my wine buzz takes the edge off my feelings. 

A month passes, I don’t know where it went. 

Two months we are just carrying on. I still havn’t been to see her. 

Christmas comes, we need to have it for Archie, I am not interested. What is to celebrate? This is not how I had Imagined this Christmas. New Years – sad and thankful it’s over all at the same time, sad we are leaving her in our past not bringing her with us into our future, thankful we have ended the worst year of our lives. Hopeful 2016 will bring better things for us. But grateful she existed.  

Three months, post mortem results, such a long time to wait to get answers. There are none just even more questions. And the questions bring more questions and heartache. People at the hospital didn’t do things they should have. Could our baby have lived? I will ask myself this for the rest of my life. I hope they can live with themselves, we have to, but it’s so hard not to question everyday if I should of done something differently that week/day. I know it’s not my fault but deep down I will always feel guilty. I let my family down. I know it’s not good to think that way but it’s so hard not to. 

We find out we are going to have another baby, I pray we can keep this one, that I will do a good job of being its mummy. Keep growing little one, I am nervous and excited but more scared. We have to get right to the end like we did before but it can’t happen again? It just cannot. 

We continue living things are getting easier – 7 months now, the wounds are healing. We still talk of her, she was here, it’s hard to carry on without her but we have no choice. So the bottom line is I don’t really have an answer to the question – other than you carry on. It’s hard but you can do it. You have to learn to be selfish sometimes, you have to surround yourself with people who make you feel good and can talk when you want to but know it doesn’t need to be the topic of conversation every time you see them. People who don’t creep around you but who you know understand (or try to) don’t be like me and worry about everyone else, worry about yourself and those who are meant to be in your life will still be there when you come out the other side. Laugh, cry, talk but just take in every little moment of your life with a bit more clarity remembering how fragile life is, you will take nothing for granted ever again. You are strong, you are amazing and you can do it – trust me. 

This was my favourite baby grow 💕

Jen X