Losing our baby at twenty three weeks

As I start this post, the one that’s probably always been inside me, I wonder if I’ll ever finish it, do it justice, or more still, publish it.

Since we started our rocky road of becoming parents we have experienced the relatively normal ‘highs and lows’ we all love to banter about – the sleepless nights, the messy business of weaning, the terrible twos, the threenagers and even struggling with parenthood altogether. But there will always be one all time low that even I can’t bring myself to bat around with any comedy twist, and that is losing our second baby at 23 weeks.

We are all different, and we all deal with things in our own ways. Whether you have experienced loss at an early stage, IVF failure, stillbirth, recurrent miscarriage or any of the horrible scenarios in the entire spectrum of sad stories that are out there, you’ll understand  the feeling of shattered hope. Just scratch the surface of any community of parents to find the experiences of heartbreak, yearning and devastation – the stories which are sadly all too frequent, albeit in a variety of different specific scenarios. There are no points to score here. No prizes for the saddest, the worst, the hardest to swallow – we all lost, just in different circumstances.

Having been unable to stop myself from tuning in to the recent episodes of Corrie, I realised something as I watched Kym Marsh’s brave and moving portrayal of losing her character Michelle’s son Ruairi (made even more incredible knowing that Kym had herself lived this horror in reality). It’s okay to talk about it. Those tiny lost babies existed.

She existed.

To any mother that has laboured, delivered, and held a breathless baby in their arms, no matter how tiny, don’t kid yourself that this is something to pack away in the memory box along with the fingerprints and photos. It’s not blasphemous to speak their names. Time heals the initial pain but you will never forget growing, loving and saying goodbye to that baby. You saw the tiny hands, nose, ears and feet – and you had imagined your future, with them in it.

I do feel that talking about loss makes some people feel uncomfortable, so I have probably avoided it. We all grieve differently. Some in silence, some through words. Some heal faster than others and some simply never do. Don’t judge, or rush them and don’t belittle the reality of the horror of what a mother, and father have been through. You may find it hard to connect with a baby you never saw, but they did. Please, respect their needs and show them empathy, love and understanding.

Back then I spent hours trawling the internet looking for stories like ours – stories with happy endings to allow me to see any kind of hope for the future. A future that seemed inconceivable through the hurt of that moment. Yet, here I am, writing this now from that very place I was wishing for.

In the same way inanimate objects (like elastic bands dropped by the postman, or seahorses) remind me of my two children here with me, random things remind me of her. Poppies. Stars. Fireworks. She’s never far from our thoughts.

Like Michelle, we delivered our daughter at 23 weeks gestation. There were differences to our stories, of course. We knew the outcome of our labour before we arrived at the hospital to be induced, and we had time to prepare ourselves. Or should I say, our grief stricken moments took place in a different setting. But, like Michelle, the utter devastation of saying goodbye to a much loved and wanted baby took us to a very dark place.

23 week means no maternity leave. No certificates. It does however contractions, and pain. It means ten tiny toes and ten tiny fingers. A name. A tiny coffin, and a proper funeral. A crash of hormones and a recovery period.

Our second daughter changed our lives. She made us see that bad things can and do happen – and that every happy, precious moment is to be thankful for. Nothing in life is a given, and the miracle of life must be respected at every single stage of pregnancy, motherhood and beyond.

Life moves on, and time heals. It’s hard to imagine things any other way now we have a very much present second (third?) daughter. But it took us a long time to recover from the sadness we felt inside, and as a friend once described to me, ‘to get that sparkle back in our eyes’.

Amidst the bleak experience there were positives. Thankyous were owed to the unbelievably sensitive NHS staff who cared for us, to the kind stranger who hand knitted that tiny pink dress and donated it the the hospital, and to the endless messages and words of love and support from everyone around us. To SANDS for the beautiful memory box filled with ways to remember her, and on advice how to go forward. For her dignified parting from this world managed by the hospital staff, the priest and the funeral directors. For the astonishing amount of flowers that filled our vases, in fact, filled our home. And of course for each others support and our two year old daughter who gave us a reason to get up every morning. Thank goodness we experienced this in this era, not in the murky shadows of the past when this type of devastation would have been ‘dealt with’ and swept aside.

I am in awe of Kym Marsh and her strength to take her position and raise awareness for what really happens when a couple lose a baby at this stage in pregnancy. It took me back, but more than anything it helped me see that it’s okay to talk, to remember, and to grieve. I have nothing but respect for how she used her platform to portray an unspoken reality for so many people.

Then, it occurred to me that I could use my little place, my voice, to stand alongside her.

I’ve always felt that my blog vision was to offer comfort in shared experiences, and to make others less alone. I’ve never felt more alone and in need of comfort than at that time of my life, so maybe now it’s time to share this part of my story. For someone who needs to read this right now.

And, in honour of her.

x MMT

 

Mummuddlingthrough

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74 thoughts on “Losing our baby at twenty three weeks

  1. Eva Katona Reply

    I can’t even imagine. Very moving, thanks for sharing.

  2. everycloudmummy Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. My heart breaks for you and anyone who has experienced this loss. You are so brave for writing about something so painful. All my love xxxxxx

  3. franbackwithabump Reply

    This is beautiful and I’m so sorry you went through this. Our son was born at 25 weeks and the outcome could have been very different and we were told to prepare ourselves. Thankfully we got to enjoy him for 21 months. Thank you for being brave enough to write this and I hope it was carhartic too xxx

  4. Kate Holmes Reply

    Huge respect to you and I am in awe of you too. You ALWAYS help other when you speak out honestly and bravely.

  5. Misa Reply

    I’m in awe of you for sharing this.

    Friends of ours lost their baby boy when he was just 14 days. We went to the hospital to give them support. I will never forget the screams of his mother as she held him for the last time. Not the same thing as experiencing such loss personally, but closer than I ever imagined being.

    Blessings, Misa

  6. Jody at Six Little Hearts Reply

    I am so sorry. Words cannot express. X

  7. Honest Mum® (@HonestMum) Reply

    I am so sorry, thinking of you all. Your brave words will helps others know they are not alone, thank you for linking up with this post. Please let me know if I can do anything for you, anything at all, I mean that x

  8. Laura's Lovely Blog Reply

    Goodness I am so so sorry to hear this, I cannot imagine and thank you for being brave and writing and sharing this. I don’t watch Corrie but I can imagine it probably brought up a lot of sadness for you. So sorry for your loss xxxx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you Laura, it’s something I’ve always been comfortable talking about but writing about it on the internet was a big step! I just know how much reading other stories meant to me back then, especially ones with happy endings. Xx

  9. imatwinmama Reply

    Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for every precious moment with my girls. I think I should read stuff like this when I think I’m having a difficult day with them. I’m so lucky.

    I’m so pleased you managed to move forward and find happiness again x

  10. mummuddlingthrough Reply

    Thank you… I know, I’m guilty of taking it for granted too… even after all this. Guess we are only human xx

  11. Helen Reply

    I’ve just read this. Beautiful. So honest and dignified in itself. So sorry you have experienced the most painful of all loses. So brace of you to share xxx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thanks Helen… I just had to after watching that Corrie episode and the issue being in the public eye right now.
      Hope you are well – must catch up again in 2017! Xxx

  12. franbackwithabump Reply

    This is so well written and brave of you to share. Having another child is a blessing and definitely helps you keep going. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays xx

    1. MMT Reply

      Absolutely, I’m not sure how we would have coped without a two year old to look after and another baby on the way very quickly.
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, it means a lot to know this community is so supportive and caring x

  13. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh this was so so hard to read. You poor poor loves. Heartbreaking and wrenching but there will be so many I am sure that will be so very grateful that you have shared this – writing from the heart connects others with these words like nothing else. I hope it helped you to write this because I can not imagine how very hard this must have been my lovely xx #Marvondays

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you Helen… it’s been a long time coming but I think this is probably the back story of why I started blogging so deserved a little air time xx

  14. funkymrsknutts Reply

    Oh goodness. I am so so sorry my lovely. You’re so brave writing about this and sharing your story – my heart breaks for you all. It’s so wrong there is no maternity or time off in situations such as these, that really should change. Love to you and yours.xx
    #BigPinkLink

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you Gemma. I had this post written in my head for a very long time so it’s quite carthartic to finally let it go…

    2. MMT Reply

      I was extremely lucky to have an incredible employer who treated me exceptionally well. I took a couple
      Of months off sick and was ready to get back to ‘normal’ by then. I will always feel so sad for anyone who lost their first baby as we were so lucky to have a little girl who needed us to focus on. Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  15. Petite Words Reply

    How brave and strong you are. And you’re so right, lost, pain, anxiety must all be opened up, talked about, shared, we have no idea how much that helps until we try. And hats off to you for telling your story, it’s like holding out a hand to everyone who needs it most and saying, I’m here, you’re not alone. xxx #Marvmonday

    1. MMT Reply

      That’s a really beautiful way of looking at it, and exactly what I hoped it would be. I can still remember the exact words of some bits I read online and they helped me so much. Time to pay it forward. Xx

  16. Lucy Grace Reply

    Unimaginable… you are both so very brave, as are all the other parents who have been forced to face the same horror. We all banter about the highs and lows of parenthood, but it really is a precious gift. Thank you so much for posting this, I’m certain you have comforted a lot of people. And humbled the rest of us 🙂 #bigpinklink

    1. MMT Reply

      Thanks Lucy. It’s a little darker than my usual posts, but it’s real life – it’s a part of our life and our story. Xxx

  17. Coombe Mill Reply

    I’m not sure if beautifully written is quite the right words, but to me it is. This post draws you in and helps the reader understand where you were and a little of what you felt. It must be the hardest thing. I lost one too, less dramatic as it was earlier and while I gave birth it wasn’t painful. What was painful was going straight back to work, no one knew I was pregnant as I’d kept it quiet, no one knew my loss, I kept it quiet. Still I know the important dates and certain silly things remind me of the one that was never to be. You never forget, but you learn to let go of the emotional pain and hold the experience. #MarvMondays

    1. MMT Reply

      Oh Fiona I’m so sorry that you’ve had your own heartbreak too. Because that’s exactly what it is – whatever stage. Your comment has really moved me, I think it’s healthy to open up about these things – and sometimes it’s just easier to do that with someone who has been there xxx

  18. kerry Reply

    What a beautiful and powerful post! you are such a strong, brave person! I watched coronation street and found it difficult to stay tuned as I was in “a mess” and I have not been through anything like that! I am so sorry you had to go through what you did, such powerful words you wrote. Sorry for the loss of your precious, tiny, angel.

    #marvellousmondays

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you Kerry… Kym Marsh did an incredible job – that must have been so emotional for her. It really pushed me to speak up and talk about my own loss. Xx

  19. Matthew Blythe Reply

    Such a heart felt post. My friends recently had a baby having experienced losing three babies. The whole experience shattered them. The only saving grace is that are ways these days of sharing experiences like this. I was asked to do a reading at their babies naming ceremony, its on my blog – Standing on Rainbows. Sending you much love

  20. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache and devastation that you must have gone through. I agree with you that everyone deals with grief in different ways, but you are right that by sharing this you may help others to find their way. And you’re right, that it’s things like this that really put perspective on life and how precious it is. Sending you love. #BigPinkLink xx

  21. crummymummy1 Reply

    Fantastic post – it can’t have been easy to write but well done for speaking out. At 37 weeks pregnant I have purposely avoided watching Corrie for the last week because I simply couldn’t face it, which is awful I know, but the truth… #marvmondays

  22. five little doves Reply

    Oh lovely, my heart breaks for you reading this, but it also swells with pride that you have shared your story and reached out to others who may be going through exactly the same. In all of my posts about Joseph you have been so lovely and supportive, and I have known that you were not quite ready to share your own story, I think that’s the most important thing, being ready. Some people are never ready, I have friends who refuse to share their story because to them, those details are all they’ve got, and that’s understandable, we are all of us different. I have been emotionally drained last week after watching an episode of Coronation Street that I really shouldn’t have watched, it saddens me that far too many of us can relate to that. Much love to you, you are an amazing Mummy to three little girls, I’m so very proud of you. xxx

    1. MMT Reply

      Ah Laura, that’s a really lovely response to this post. I knew you’d be supportive. There’s been a series of events lately that felt like the universe was telling me to put this out there. I realised I didn’t need to share every heartbreaking detail but to stand proud for a very important chapter of our lives. Unity is a powerful thing, and together we can pay tribute to their short but real existence. Xx lots of love

  23. The Squirmy Popple Reply

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, heartfelt post. My cousin went through something similar not long ago and my heart just broke for her – I just couldn’t imagine surviving it. But she did. You did. I admire everyone who goes through a tragedy like this and finds a way to keep on going – your strength and honesty is inspiring. #bigpinklink

  24. Angela Watling Reply

    What you experienced is the fear of any expectant mother. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. Thank-you for sharing your story. It’s important for society to become more open about this and acknowledge the grief parents are going through. #MarvMondays

  25. Lisa Pomerantz Reply

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Know that your sharing and vulnerability here, in your space, with that beautiful lost little one, helped and will continue to help many. Hugs. #MarvelousMondays xo

  26. Stacey- A Mums Blind Love Reply

    Such a beautiful, heartfelt post.

  27. Catie: An imperfect mum Reply

    Inspiring and beautiful words that made me cry! Thank you For sharing your story. #BigPinkLink

  28. Rachel Peachey Reply

    Thanks for voicing your story. It is such a hard journey and I’m so sorry for your loss. #coolmumclub

  29. nowmynameismummy Reply

    Such a heartbreaking story that’s so brave of you to share xx #coolmumclub

  30. franbackwithabump Reply

    Ive read this a few times now and it’s so touching and so good to share and raise awareness. The storyline on corrie has been hard but again a good subject to cover. I confess I’ve found it hard to watch though an shouted at the tv several times when Michelle has acted like its only her who’s lost a baby. #coolmumclub

  31. Samsam - Simply A Mama Reply

    keeping you in my prayers, please don’t feel alone you have all your fellow bloggers and your readers support. I know it takes so much courage to write such a personal post. sending you lots of love and light xx #coolmumclub

  32. beautybabyandme Reply

    All I can say is I love you. You’re incredible. xx #coolmumclub

  33. Kelly Reply

    What a lovely, heartfelt post. I can’t imagine coping with this. Thanks for publishing. I’m sure this will be of great help to someone who has gone through loss like this. #coolmumclub

  34. Mrs Lighty Reply

    You are so incredibly brave. Thank you so much for sharing this with our little club of mums. I have no words of wisdom, except to say how sorry I am for your loss. Your post made me cry, so I just can’t even bear to imagine what you’ve been through. Sending hugs xxx

  35. Harriet - Coffee & Bubbles Reply

    Reading the first paragraph, I’m so glad you did continue to write and publish this post and I hope it, in some way, helped you to voice your experience. It is such a shock to hear of more and more people that have suffered baby loss at so many different stages along the way. It is truly heartbreaking. I have seen a few people write of their experiences triggered by TV series and, whilst it must be so difficult to watch (and film) I can only hope that by doing so it removes the stigma associated with loss and allows people to talk about it more freely. Thank you for sharing your story. #coolmumclub

  36. The Mumatron Reply

    Heartbreaking and beautiful. Loss needs to be talked about, written about, and you have done it perfectly. x #CoolMumClub

  37. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I’m so pleased you decided to share this darling. So brave and honest and I think I might cry. Can’t wait to give you a hug on the 11th & sending lots of #coolmumclub sista love xoxo

  38. itsmeanniebee Reply

    I’m so sorry you both had to go through this. Your story broke my heart, I can’t even begin to imagine your pain. As hard as it must have been I think you did a good thing sharing, it’s a subject that needs to be spoken about so that it’s not something people feel like they must go through alone. Thank you.
    #coolmumclub

  39. tinmccarthy Reply

    I can not imagine. I miscarried at five week and it was horrific- but it was so early. 23 weeks- that is truly unimaginable. I’m so sorry.

  40. Aleena Brown Reply

    So so moving, and I can imagine how hard it must have been to decide to share this. Having experienced 4 early miscarriages and an ectopic loss, I cannot begin to imagine the pain of what you and many others have been through. Although I found your post difficult to read, your honesty was truly touching. xx #coolmumclub

  41. Something About Baby Reply

    I don’t think I can really express what this post means to me. Whilst I have never experienced loss, I have a few friends who have and I’ve always found it hard to understand what they are going through. You are so brave to share your story and I know it really will and does help those who have been through this, and even those who haven’t but want to find a way to comfort those who have. I am so sorry you have had to experience this, you are a wonderful person to share such a difficult story. Lots of love xxx #coolmumclub

  42. Nicole Reply

    Sarah, I am so sorry for your loss. You are one strong woman, and it’s so lovely and brave of you to share something so personal to help others. I have also lost someone very very dear to me, so I know how difficult it is to bounce back to normal (if there ever is a normal again). But yes, grieving and voicing that grief – be it through talking to others or writing – is indeed therapeutic.
    I’m so glad you have moved on (not forgotten, as you rightly said that will never ever happen), and been blessed with another daughter. God Bless you and your family always. And I’m sure ‘she’ must be so so proud of her mummy!

  43. Nicole Reply

    Sorry, popping over from #coolmumclub…

  44. Ursula (AKA Mumbelievable) Reply

    Your courage is extraordinary. I am so moved by your beautiful account of what has happened to you. I’m in awe of your strength lovely. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. #coolmumclub

  45. Wendy Reply

    Oh gosh, I’m reading this with tears in my eyes. You are so brave for writing and sharing your story. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through but I’m sure by writing this you have helped others who have been through/are going through the same thing.xxx #coolmumclub

  46. makinghermama Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. I lost a baby at 6 weeks and it was an incredibly painful journey (physically and emotionally). I appreciate that you recognize all loss for what it is. Even though I feel like my heart has healed and we’ve had 2 beautiful babies since then, there are still those moments when I ponder….would they have had a brother or sister, what would it be like it there was another child here….Thank you so much for sharing! It’s hard to share, and it’s hard to talk about. It’s also hard to know how to support others during these times. I know for myself just an acknowledgement of loss and patience were what i needed. Thanks for sharing. I’m so so sorry for your loss. Thanks for hosting #coolmumsclub!

  47. Amanda Blackburn Reply

    Bless you! I’ve never been through this so I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you. I bet you cried alot whilst writing this. It’s hard to relive sad experiences whilst writing quite upsetting and tough. Well done for sharing to help others!
    New to #coolmumsclub but finally I understand about linkys thanks!

  48. mommyandrory Reply

    I found it really difficult to find the right words. Becoming a parent made me realise how much it is possible to love another human. I can’t even being to imagine what it feels like to have a child taken from you. It’s wonderful that you’ve found the strength to share your story #coolmumclub

  49. Mad Mommy Reply

    Losing a child is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. It is a pain that nobody else can imagine. M y heart goes out to you. #CoolMumClub

  50. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) Reply

    Oh lovely, I am in tears reading this. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful second daughter. This is such a brave and heartbreaking post for you to share and as you have said, one that has been inside you, waiting to be shared for a while. I felt honoured that you were able to share your little girl’s story with me in the early days of us encountering each others blogs, and I often think of her when I read your blog or read about another family experiecing a similar loss. Your baby girl is part of you, part of your family and I am sure that sharing her story will help others who are going through similar experiences. Sending you the biggest hugs from across the internet xxxx

    1. MMT Reply

      Oh Louise thank you for such a beautiful comment. I’ll never forget that exchange either! Love to you and the girls xxx

  51. tammymum Reply

    Oh my I am so sorry to read this. You have written it beautifully and of course done it justice. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you and for all the reasons you say I understand why you have not spoken about it until now. I admit I sometimes don’t talk about loss not because it make sense me uncomfortable but I am worried it will make the person who experience it uncomfortable. You have opened my eyes here and perhaps I will think twice in the future. My greatest respect to you for sharing your story and getting through what must have been an unexplainable difficult and incomprehensible time. Thank you for sharing it with us. Lots of love xx #coolmumclub

  52. Lisa Pomerantz Reply

    I cannot fathom what you have been through. My condolences to you and yours for this horror. And thank you for having the wisdom to share this with the lovelies of the blogger world. #coolmumclub

  53. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    My heart is breaking for what you and so many other brave parents have had to experience. I have so much admiration and respect for the strength you show to not only pull through such a tragic loss, but to then share your story with such love in the hope that it will reach out to other families to help and inspire them too. With much love xx #coolmumclub

    1. Rhyming with Wine Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us at #DreamTeam lovely. *hugs* xx

  54. Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum Reply

    So beautifully written lovely, I can’t begin to imagine what you went through (and still go through now). This is such a brave post to write and one I’m sure was very difficult to find the words for but I’m glad its hear for other parents to read. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

  55. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    I have never gone through this particular loss, but I have several friends who have lost babies at varying stages of pregnancy, and talking to them the thing that comes up again and again is how hard it is for them because other people (probably out of misplaced kindness) never talk about the child that has been lost.
    Posts like yours make it easier for people to have those conversations xx
    #bigpinklink

  56. susielhawes Reply

    I’m so sorry for your lost. A close relative of mine lost a baby at 23 weeks, and it was devastating. They talk about him and remember him on his birthday, at family birthdays and such like. You’ve done a very brave thing by writing about your story. I don’t watch Corrie and didn’t see the episode but I imagine it was unbelievably hard for Kim and to watch. Thank you for sharing xx #bigpinklink

  57. Helena Reply

    I feel for you both and think it’s wonderful that you’ve both used what you can to let others know they aren’t alone. #coolmumclub

  58. Mum in Brum Reply

    Such a brave and beautiful post Sarah – I can’t imagine how difficult it must’ve been to write this. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this and really can’t imagine how you begin to cope with such a loss. It’s so important that we talk about child loss and I’m sure your words will provide so much comfort for other couples going through similar tragic experiences. As you say time heals and there are always positives to find amidst the sadness – but that doesn’t mean we should ever forget and not talk about our experiences. Well done for finding the courage to write this post – as usual in your own fabulous way xxx #coolmumclub

  59. Rice Cakes and Raisins Reply

    I found this really moving, just beautiful xxx #Dream Team

  60. Helen @Talking_Mums Reply

    You have written about losing your baby so beautifully MMT. Thank you for sharing your story, as hard as it must have been I’m sure you have been a comfort to other parents going through similar tragedies. You are 100% right she did exist, she is your daughter and she will always be a part a you x
    #DreamTeam

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