Monday, December 22, 2008


I am about to fly out to spend the holidays with my family. I don't want to go. I don't care about the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I don't care about it at all.

I don't want to see those people who couldn't find the balls to call me and say how shitty life has been. I don't want to sit and smile and eat and talk crap.

But I have to go. I have to go for my daughter that's here with us. I have to enjoy it for her. I have to smile and sing and pretend that its the most exciting time of the year. You see I have to do a lot of pretending these days. Of course we are sad in front of Minnie but sometimes I have to pretend that I am happy to be out of bed and happy to be at the park and happy to be hanging out with all those other mum's and babies.

I don't want to go because for the first time, I will be away from our little Alice. Away from her little box of treasures and away from her little urn. I am already anxious about it.


I am not in a good mood today, just in case you hadn't picked that up...


Monday, December 15, 2008

Guest Post: From My Three Ring Circus

From My Three Ring Circus

For Charlotte and Sophie and Alice


A time of renewal and rememberance.

Babies who I will never know, would be friends and ponderings of how they might look, what their characters would be.

A time of blossoming.

A shedding of the bristled, thick coat of Winter,

moving onwards, into the sunshine with the flow of soft air cusping my cheeks and forcing me to cast my eyes to the blueness of the perfect sky.

The ground fresh with rain, crystaline and pure, the scent of change.

And yet…

and yet I am pulled by the rustle of feathered wings, soft and downy.

A mere whisper on the earth but for a day, a hope and a dream, a shattered promise.

Do not forget, never forget.

I do not think of him as often as I did, perhaps as often as I should.

He clings to me today in organza memories.

Floating, soft.

There is none of the jagged, raw ripping of my heart

but these little ones remind me

and I ache for him.

Sweet seedlings, caught up in the wind, scattering and sharing.

It is their way.

Their mother’s sorrow is a legacy to mine.

Do not forget, never forget.

Thank you.

I will not forget him and I will think of you too

September spirits.

This post was written by a dear friend of mine after Alice died. This dear friend knows about the pain of loosing a baby as her sweet William died only days after he was born.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

3 months...

I am not really sure what to say. I am not really sure what I want to write. 3 months. Sometimes it seems like yesterday that I was in Room 5, waiting to deliver a baby that would die.

We knew that Alice would die - her problems were insurmountable. I don't believe in God or the power of prayer. There was no-one, present or not that could help our baby. The labour and delivery was fast and very painful and I don't want to remember much of it.

But what I will never forget is that beautiful face. That little top lip that I see everyday in her big sister. I catch Minnie's profile and my heart seems to pause a little when I see that lip.

I wont ever forget holding her all night, watching her taking those last tiny breaths.

In time I hope that I wont feel so lost and empty and helpless.

I have kept Alice's ashes as when I die, I want her back with me. Where she has been. And where she always will be.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

there in indelible ink...

I knew what it was going to be. I saw the little card in my letter box notifying me that I had a registered item at the post office to collect. I knew what it was going to be. It was the day before my 35th birthday. I didn't want to spend my birthday at the post office collecting it. So I put the little red and white card aside and waited until yesterday to collect it.

They handed me the white envelope and I signed for it. I didn't want to take it. I wanted to mark it return to sender and tell them that they had it all wrong.

So I have them both now. One certificate is full of hope and joy and of life. If you didn't know the second part of the story you would read the birth certificate and smile - a little girl, a sister, the daughter of Rachael the designer and of Steve the engineer. Born on September 11 2008.

But I know there is a second certificate. The one that is full of sadness and loss and tears. A little girl, never married, no occupation, lived in the one place all her life, a little sister, the second daughter of Rachael and Steve. Died on September 12 2008.

There in black and white. In indelible ink.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I am lucky...

I am lucky to have a daughter - an almost 3 year old daughter. I know that most of my new friends who have lost babies lost their first child. I know that loosing a baby is devastating but imagine that loosing your first is the end of the world. I just wanted to acknowledge that.

This year has been a bad year, a bad year for babies. I had a miscarriage at the end of January. I was about 7 - 8 weeks pregnant. It was sad. We waited for a few months and then I was pregnant again. Excited, nervous, cautious. I love being pregnant and with Minnie I had a glorious tummy and loved every second of it. With Alice it was no different. I started to show early and was in maternity trousers by 12 weeks. Part of me was always worried though - I had some early bleeding and after the miscarriage, I always thought the worst. I was anxious about the 12 weeks scan. We got to see our baby and I relaxed a little. But there was a problem - they told me that the nuchal measurement was high and coupled with my age, it wasn't great. I spent the night worried, thinking the worst, wishing for the best. The next day I spoke to my OB - all was fine as the blood tests showed nothing to worry about. I have never felt so relieved and happy and excited. Now we told our family and friends about Buttons.

The next 8 weeks went smoothly - growing tummy, moving baby and a very interested toddler. Minnie talked about Buttons a lot and we got some lovely books about babies. She patted my tummy and talked to the baby. My husband travels overseas a lot for work just got back before the 19/20 week scan. Again I was nervous - I am a worrier. I was so relieved to see her on the scan (not that we knew she was a she). But that relief didn't last long.

The next few days are not days I want to think about too much. Then I was in labour. Giving birth to to a baby that would die. A baby that was too small and too sick to survive.

When Alice was born and died we had someone little to come home to. Someone that had never met the baby sister that she had. We had to explain about life and death to a 2 year old. We had to talk about it often and at length, whenever she asked. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But I had some one's little arms to hug me. I am lucky, I know.

I hope that one day you have some little arms to hug you.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Alice's quilt

After Alice was born and died I came home from hospital lost, sad and panicked. I didn't know whether to sit or stand or to run or scream. Amongst the million thoughts going through my mind I knew that I had to make something for our baby girl. Alice missed out on the handmade clothes, the bibs, the appliqued tee-shirts and the little blankets for her dolls and bears. She missed out on my terrible knitting, my printing and my not so neat embroidery.

The need to make her a quilt was overwhelming - I had to make her something. So I came home and did just that. I went up to my sewing room, carefully picking out fabric that meant something to me and to us and carefully cut my squares. I am generally a speed sewer but this time I was careful and pressed all my seams and lined up all my joins and was as neat as I could be.

I chose the Japanese double gauze for the inside as it felt like a babies muslin. Something that should be close to her skin.

I appliqued some mementos on the inside - some things that would be close to her, some things that had been close to us.

I worked on the quilt, hand binding it the next morning and finishing it throughout the day. I took it back to the hospital, where she still was. I went to see our baby again to wrap her in this gift that I made. I wrapped Alice in the quilt with a small bear my mother made for me many years ago. This was the last time I would see my baby.

In some unexplainable way I felt calmer. I wanted her to be safe and warm and not to be alone. Some of the fabric was new, some was vintage and some was recycled. There were stories in the fabric and they would keep her safe.
(This post first appeared on my other blog

11 weeks...

Today is 11 weeks since Alice died. 11 weeks and 1 day since she was born.

Its raining and grey and miserable today and somehow that feels appropriate.

Yesterday I took Minnie to a park I started chatting to a mum who had 2 little girls. Her little toddler had brown eyes and white blond hair and was a little pixie like our daughter Minnie (almost 3yrs old). Of course I was thinking 'would Alice have looked like her.' I watched the little sisters play and felt sad. Sad that Minnie may never have another little sister. Not one that she can play with and giggle and have special secrets that no-one else will ever know. I have 2 sisters, and one is as close in age to me as Alice would have been to Minnie. Although we live in different parts of the world, we still share secrets and giggle over the email whenever we can.

The mother asked THE question 'just the one child?' No, I said. I have 2 daughters. But my baby died. Her name is Alice. She said sorry and quickly moved onto another topic. We talked about sewing and she made a reference to sewing quilt for her third baby. Then I noticed it. In the bottom layer of the Phil and Teds pram I noticed little pink feet. It was a tiny 3 week old girl. She was beautiful. I felt sad and happy all at the same time and I am so proud that I didn't start crying. But we left soon after...

I think about Alice all the time but I have never really dreamt about her. I have had some awful dreams about being in labour and about sick babies but no dreams about our baby.

I hope that one day I will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Really, I am (not) fine...

I am so tired to telling people I am fine.

For the most part I am fine. But some days you don't have to scratch too far to see that I am not.
I am tired of people saying things like 'I know how terrible this is for you' when they really have no idea how terrible this is. Unless they have a dead baby. Then they would know.

I have had family members die. My dear, sweet, beautiful friend died when we were 25. I know how it feels to loose someone.

But it doesn't prepare you for loosing a baby. A tiny 20 week old baby. A baby that lived for a little while and died while you held her. A baby that never got to be the little sister, never got to sleep on your chest, tired out from feeding, and never got feel the sun her face.

I am sad and angry and frustrated today. I don't want to hear about peoples plans to conceive or for them to ask when we are going to 'try again.' Like we failed the last time. Like we need to have another go at it to see if we can get it right this time.

I want to be the one making babies clothes and nappies and blankets. I don't want to be sitting here on the side reading about other people doing it.

Being sad and angry and frustrated is not what I had planned.

So far from it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

‘…we also know that we shall remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute, no matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else. And actually, this is how it should be…it is the only way of perpetuating that love that we do not want to relinquish.’

Sigmund Freud, in a letter to a friend after the death of his daughter.

[Freud, S (1929) Letter to Binswanger in EL Freud (ed.) Letters of Sigmund Freud, New York, Basic Books]