Saturday, 8 June 2013

A year of reliving an event...

Today is Harry's 1st Birthday. We have had a nice day but I will write about how we have remembered Harry over this important weekend in a separate piece, when it is over as I feel it deserves it's own space.

I wanted to write about recalling events. I have this week been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, which may or may not be shocking to you. I have been so consumed with my grief and have been dealing with whatever emotion or feeling hits me, as it happens. That being said, I have been reliving the moments of "trauma" again and again, to the point where it is happening on an almost hourly basis.

Today has been hard as I have been thinking "this time last year" over and over and recalling the events of the day and experiencing the emotions as if I were in that moment, again and again.

So, today at 5.30 I found myself remembering after having my epidural fitted, that at this time a year ago my forewaters went with a pop and we were all excited that things were starting after hours of being on a hormone drip.

I was left by my midwife from the time of my waters breaking at 5.30pm until 9.15pm when she asked to undertake a vaginal exam to see how dilation was coming along. It was at this time I lifted the blanket to discover the blood. I was told how common a bleed is during labour, it was probably after being catheterized after my waters broke she may have nicked me, and it looked worse than it is - cleaning up sheet after sheet of blood. In hindsight this is traumatic for me, now knowing that was dear Harry's blood she was cleaning up.
So here, I question how things may have been different if I had been more vigilantly checked and a bleed was discovered as it happened rather than hours later...................

She left the room with all the bloody sheets and returned with a matron who seemed to think that perhaps it was as bad as it looked, and had a look of stress on her face. At this time I was full of confidence in the medical staff. Not anymore - god forbid I ever see that look on someone's face again, I think I would lose the plot. Anyway, suddenly they were studying the heart trace and a clip was being put on Harry's head to check his heart rate as things didn't look right.
It also turns out the readings weren't being read correctly so that is even more disappointing to know that things could have been different if they were read properly, and it was clear Harry was in distress......

An hour after discovering the bleed I was being prepped for an emergency section. At no point was I told that this was going to have an impact on my baby, I had been made to believe that all the problems were with me, not my baby. I was nervous for myself but knew that it wouldn't be long til we met our new baby and the excitement of that was spurring me on as I signed the section consent form.

We were taken to theatre, and just as I was being moved on to the table it became obvious that something wasn't right with my baby, as the heartrate dropped so low that it was almost stopping. I was scared, and I was starting to panic. I was out of control. Recalling this moment makes me shakey and feel like I am suffocating. I can feel my pulse as I write this as I feel the stress of the moment over and over again.

As I was being operated on, the feeling of having the hands digging around my insides like someone was doing the dishes in my tummy was uncomfortable and strange but I was reassured "you're going to meet your baby soon"... and I couldn't wait. At 22:37 we were told "it's a boy" and the baby was whisked away and for the longest time Harry's Dad and I just sat looking at each other waiting to hear something, but there was nothing. Nothing. Nothing.... and more nothing. We were asking the staff to tell us what was happening and we were being told our baby was very poorly... We couldn't understand what was going on.

And this is what I go over, every single hour of every single day. From discovering the bleed until we were told by our Doctor that Harry had lost a considerable amount of blood and had suffered severe brain damage as a result. An insane two hours. A life changing two hours. Our baby that we had been so excited about meeting and holding and feeding and taking home, had made a complete u-turn in such a short space of time, and the shock of this and what was about to unfold has changed my life beyond recognition, and changed the future for Harry from being a healthy, happy baby to being so poorly that his little life lasted just 26 hours.

I am sure it is normal to relive traumatic events to some degree, but I hope that in time things start to get easier as right now, recalling these things as "what was happening a year ago" is stressful, painful and hellish.

Harry - I just wish that there was some way I could go back to before those two hours unfolded and change things so things could be different. I can't. I wish it were possible. But I do believe that we all have a plan, and as much as it pains me to think that Harry's life was only meant to be 26 hours long, if that tiny life can mean that a great deal of good can come from this horrendous time, then I will make it my lifes work to ensure that is what happens.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all

So here I am.... Blimey I can't believe I am writing this! A year has passed since the beginning of Harry's story. On this day, a year ago, I was making lunch for William and I began to leak. I remembered this sensation from having William just two years before. Exactly the same. A leak, not a gush, and no labour to follow. I called the hospital and they asked me to come in. It wasn't until Harry's Dad was home from work and my Nan could sit with William that we went up to the assessment unit.

"Oh yes" she said, "definite evidence of liqor." Then went off to book my induction. The next day was a busy one on the labour ward but she said she would call me first thing to let me know a plan, as it may need to wait til the following day. I went home, excited and nervous, to meet our second baby. I had prepared William for the big arrival and had a list of things to do before the baby came. First thing, I got the call, they were too busy that day and could we please come in the next day (Friday) at 9am. We spent that Thursday packing bags, picking up the last few bits we needed (as he was a month early, I wasn't entirely prepared!), organising William's stay with Grandy. It was exciting. I will admit I was scared, as my labour and delivery with William was less than straight forward but EVERYONE had said to me, the second time is different/easier/quicker. I trusted them.

Anyway, now isn't the time for recalling the birth of Harry as I am sure I will do that a thousand times over the next few days and I am sure to write again over this "anniversary period".

I wanted to share something that I had been thinking about a fair bit over these last few days.

A dear friend of mine who is so ready to be a mum, but sadly nature is not making it easy for her, said to me recently. "I just can't imagine what you've been through. I know I want to be a mum more than anything in the world, but to go through all your pregnancy and your labour expecting everything to be all ok, and then to go through what you went through.... I think I would rather never get pregnant than have to experience what you did". She often tells me how strong I am and how proud of me she is, which is lovely - and as you all know, I don't really feel strong, or that there is much to be proud of, but it is nice to hear.

Anyway, it got me thinking. How would I be if Harry hadn't been a part of my life? What would I be doing right now? How would I be feeling? Would I be busy? Or happy? Or would I be bored and stressed and tired? Who knows? What I do know though is that while my pregnancy with Harry was not easy, and while the labour was stressful and the delivery was absolutely traumatic - and obviously the end result was a very poorly Harry and we didn't have long together... I would never say that I would want to never have experienced those things so I don't feel this pain.... The pain is immense, but I have the memories of feeling Harry is my tummy, the love I felt for him from the minute I got that positive result, the excitement, the joy, the plans... I also have the memories of the day we all spent together, which we will all treasure in our hearts forever. And the time Harry's Dad and I spent with Harry having cuddles is a time I remember always. Looking at his beautiful face, touching his skin, embracing him. I could never wish those times away.

Obviously, I never want to experience the pain of saying goodbye to my child ever again, or to have to say the things to him like "sleep well little man, you'll always be in our hearts" , having to plan a funeral, dress our dead baby, bury our son in a tiny white coffin, and now suffer the grief of missing him for all eternity. All those things I would endure again, for the moments we had together. I love my son, and I always will and the pain of losing him is so great, but my love is far greater. I couldn't bear my life without the love I have for that boy.

Today, I learnt from my health visitor, that at the hospital's "Clincal Incident" meeting that she attended, the Doctor that spent longer than the alloted time frame resusitating Harry was chastised for going outside of guidelines and therefore "prolonging unnecessary suffering". Lucky for me, my health visitor is outstanding and not shy to speak up and told them that the fact that this Doctor did spend a bit longer meant that as a family we spent precious time with our son, that has not only got us through the dark times, but will keep us going for the rest of our lives and that, is invaluable. That told him! He didn't have an answer for that.

So as we head into the anniversary period, of Harry's birth and our special day, and then his very sad death, we will be thankful for the time we spent together and hold on to that. We have a weekend of rememberance planned and shall be thinking of our little man.

We thank everyone who has been thinking of us too, without your support this year would have been even harder.

Love to you all xxx