Sunday, September 13, 2009

the end

I have come to the end of this blog. I think. I think that I have nothing more to say here. I have struggled with it of late as I really feel I can't write what I think or feel. There seem to be many things that I shouldn't say in fear of upsetting someone or saying the wrong thing.

Sometimes I feel isolated from this community, for many reasons. Sometimes it is too hard to be here. And while its to hard talk about Alice to people in the real world, sometimes its too hard to talk about all my children here in this community.

I will be always a bit different now. Forever changed. Holding your baby while she takes a tiny, gentle breaths in your arms and dies a few hours later will do that.

During this year, I have got to find out how badly people handle the death of a baby. How families and friends forget anniversaries. The days passing without a word. Nothing. I didn't want in depth phone calls or essays but, an sms or a card would have been enough. Or an email or a message. That would have meant something. I guess that in a few years, only a handful of people will remember Alice Buttons. And I shouldn't expect that they will remember her - their worlds didn't stop when she was born and died. She was their lunch time conversation or a pitying chat over coffee. To us she is our daughter, the one that didn't get the chance to grow and love and live. The daughter that will always be a tiny baby that died in my arms.

But during this year, I have got to find a whole community of women and men that have also had their hearts ripped from their chests and shoved back in, with big parts missing. I thank you all for your support and kindness over the last year. I will follow your journeys and hope that we all get a happy ending, one day.

I may be back. I may not. But thank you for being here with me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

one year

One year today that Alice Buttons was born. One year. One long year and sometimes, one short year. One year of thinking about her every day. One year of missing her every day. One year of mourning the life that we should have had with her.

One year in what will be a life time without her.

Thank you for remembering Alice Buttons today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today, one year ago we were getting ready for our 20 week scan. Today is the day that our lives changed forever.

I don't want to remember this week, the horrible days. I don't want to remember holding my husband, barely standing, leaving the OBs rooms, knowing that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

I don't want to remember this week but, I never want to forget our Alice Buttons.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the sweet boy...

I cannot understand or imagine. All I can do is sit and cry, cry for the sweet baby Jet and for his Mama and Papa.

Life can be shit, really shit.

Howling his name. Jet. Sweet Jet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Ezra

I know we are all thinking of Sarah and David today - holding them close and wishing that today was a very different day. I know we are thinking of that beautiful little boy Ezra with that smile on his face. And I know that we feel that horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs and deep in our hearts when we think about what happened.

I know that Sarah knows that we are thinking of her. I know that somehow all the warm thoughts and sad thoughts and feelings of support and strength are floating around the world, wrapping around her and holding her tight.

I found Sarah a little while after Alice died. She has been truly wonderful. She is sweet and generous and kind and I wish that we had meet under very different circumstances. Perhaps sitting next to each other on a flight one day (I used to fly a lot in the US) ? Or when she decided to holiday in NSW? Who knows. I suppose the way we met has meant that we bypassed the chit chat and the getting to know you stuff and we talk about things that I would never say to my mother or my sister. It means I can write things to her that I know so few people in the 'other' world will ever understand.

I wish Sarah and David all the strength and love in the world.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

little girl Hope

It was Hope's first birthday last week.

The anniversary of her birth and death. 2 words that never should be in the same sentence - birth and death.

We all thought of Hope and her wonderful parents and this terrible loss. But, I also thought of the support and kindness that Sally has shown me over this past, long, long, almost year.

I found Sally's blog after reading her comments at Glow in the Woods. I guess I stalked her a little, trying to find if she too had a blog. I had been reading the blogs of many people in other countries and felt I needed someone closer to home, someone physically near me in this awful journey. And I found her and her blog. So beautifully written, so tragic and so deeply moving.

I think of her little girl and I think of my little girl. Two sweet girls that don't get to grow up and make the world a better place. Two sweet babies that never got the chance. Like all our babies. If only the story had been different.

Monday, August 17, 2009

the days disapear

I have been feeling like that days are going so fast, disappearing before my eyes. It feels like it is always the weekend again and I am not sure where the week went. I have even started to feel panicked about it, like I am losing my control over time.

I was telling my friend, who is a true friend, and she said that when she has a deadline (she is a writer and editor) or when something is approaching, she feels like that too. It took me a minute but then I realised that something is approaching. Of course I had not forgotten, I think about it all the time. But I think though I had forgotten how losing Alice Buttons effects my subconscious, my dreams and my everyday.

I may not talk about Alice all the time, or write about her all the time but, she is the person that effects my day, my thinking, my dreams and my time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dark corners

11 months ago things were all going pretty well. We had signed the contracts on our new house, our baby was growing well, our Minnie was a bubbly 2 1/2 year old, entertaining us with her antics. You never know what is just around the corner, do you? You don't know what is there, waiting to show itself.

There are always these things, just around the corner, dark things waiting to crawl out and consume you whole. Last week the most evil of dark things crept out in a place close to my heart. In my little country home town an old school friend was found murdered. His family have been our family friends since before we were all born and our sisters are still good friends. He was a well loved man, quiet, devoted father, and a wonderful son. At this stage their are no answers for his family about why this happened. When I first heard the news, I didn't know he had been murdered - I just knew he had died. I was deeply sad that someone my age, someone with a little girl, had died.

Then I thought about his mother. His sweet mother who nursed him as a baby, loved and cherished him, was now with out him in such a brutal, terrifying way. Her life will never be the same.

Those things lurking in dark corners are never far away...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

8th August

I remember the 8th August, 2008. I was about 16 weeks pregnant with Alice. Happy that I no longer felt ill and that I had some energy back. So pleased I was past the 'scary' 12 weeks. Organising the purchase of our house. Counting down the days to spring and summer and until our baby was here. I remember that the Olympics were starting that night and I know I fell asleep well before they were on.

What I didn't know was that on the day some one's life was being changed forever. As I went throughout the day I had no idea that Monique, thousands of miles away, was giving birth to her beautiful son. Her beautiful son Samuel that had died. I had no idea of the pain and suffering and immense loss that Monique and Norm were going through on this day.

I found Monique not long after Alice had died. I read and cried. I still read and cry. I needed to be close to other women that knew how I felt and understood me. I needed them so I didn't feel so alone.

The way Monique writes about her Sam and her life and her loss resonates with me. I missed her when she was away and I was pleased when she returned. I thank her for being so honest and raw and for being a true friend from the other side of the world. I thank her for remembering Alice.

I wish that we had never met.

But now that we have, I will always be here.

Monday, August 3, 2009


For so many of my friends in this community, August is a month that they will never forget.

For me August means that September is almost here. For then it will mean that 12 months have passed. 12 months since our lives changed for ever.

And they have changed.

Changed from the course it should have taken. We should have a 7 month old baby girl named Alice. A little sister for Minnie. Rosie, chubby cheeks covered in apples or prunes or pureed carrot. A big gummy smile. We would be happy that our family was complete. But, that's not the way it is. And that's not the way it can ever be.

And we keep on mourning what could have been, what should have been and what never will be.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I know I have written about this often before, here and in emails or letters.


That strange contradiction that my life has become. I don't think some people get it, the new found ability to be really happy and really sad at the same time. I am sure I did it before Alice died but, my life didn't call for it often.

Some people get this happy/sad thing and others tip toe around. Like when new babies are born or when women are pregnant. Yes I am so happy for them and yes, at the same time I am sad for me. All at the same time. I can be happy. Babies and pregnancies are things to be happy about. But for me and for all of you reading this, babies and pregnancies are also things to be sad about, sad beyond imagination. For my dear, sweet friends that are now pregnant, I know you understand this. See we are always happy and sad. Happy doesn't take away all the sad and sad never takes away all the happy. Even on the darkest days, there are still many things that I have to be happy about.

And when I thought that this journey was hard enough, little hurdles keep cropping up. Some hurdles I don't really want to go into here because I know that people will fuss and bother. Although I do happy/sad well, I don't cope with fuss and bother. I really don't.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

some days

Some days I can see a baby or a pregnant woman and not feel sad.
And some days when I see baby or a pregnant woman I want to scream and yell and cry.

There are days when I want to tell everyone I see that I do, in fact, have 2 daughters.
And there are days when I don't want to ever have to explain why there I only have one daughter with me.

There are times when I can think about Alice without crying.
There are times when I try not to think about Alice because I am already crying too much.

Some days I can't believe that Alice died last year and that soon, it will be 1 year since her birth and death. Other days I am in that room, that room of life and death, watching Alice take her first and her last few little breaths.

Most days I wonder how cruel life can be. How cruel it has been to so many of us. How cruel it continues to be.

I wonder how I got here. Without Alice. With another pregnancy eluding us. Each month that passes, the arrival of another reminder that life is cruel.

Some days I wonder how we all keep moving forward.

And some days I smile. Some days with joy and I think some days with insanity. But its a smile.

Friday, June 26, 2009


My husband's Nana died on Tuesday. She was Minnie's (little) Big Nana, my Shirley and Mummy to her daughters. She had been a wife. She was a friend to everyone. She was a nurse and a teacher. She was a delight. She was wonderful company. She was funny and smart and nothing got past her. She loved candied ginger. She was not a big fan of chocolate. She was sweet and genuine and entertaining. She hated cooking, She didn't drive. She had travelled the world. She was well read. She knitted a little. She loved tea. She loved crime fiction and hated romance novels. She loved the Impressionists and a good film.

She will be missed by everyone for ever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

9 months

Yesterday Minnie was telling me about a story that they were discussing at pre-school. It was about a little fairy named Alice. Alice wanted to be a permanent fairy, not a part time fairy. She didn't know how to fly but becoming a permanent fairy meant she would learn.

Little Alice would learn how to fly.

I think, perhaps in the world of a 3 year old's and magic and fairies, that is what happened 9 months ago...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


From a beautiful friend on the other side of the world. Thank you. Just perfect.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Molly. Molly is our puppy, a giant lumbering 20 week old Golden Retriever puppy. Inspired by meeting Buddy, I thought I would introduce her to you all.

Although I had wanted another dog for many years (my darling Tippy died when I was 18), the journey to find Molly really began the day Alice died. I came home from hospital with an overwhelming need to have another baby. Right then. That minute. I spent hours on the computer that night reading stories of other baby lost mama's and crying. Crying and trying to breath.

Late in the night, my wandering mind led me to thinking about a dog. Some how I ended up at a Golden Retriever breeders website looking at her beautiful dogs. We had decided years ago that we would one day get a Golden Retriever - the lovable family dog. I wrote to the breeder and asked about puppies. The breeder replied the next day stating that her dog Katie ('Button's and Bows') was planning to have puppies in the following January. I almost fell over when I read that the dog was called 'Buttons'. Like it was meant to be. In my hysterical state, I told the breeder the story of our Alice Buttons. In turn she told me about her baby that died at 17 weeks. 15 years ago. And she told me she knew how I was feeling. And she really did. Not like the people telling you they know how you feel when you know they have no idea.

So we kept in contact. She often wrote to ask how I was doing. And she wrote to tell me that her son's friend lost her baby. Her precious baby died at 21 weeks. They were devastated. And we knew how she felt...

Molly was born after a difficult birth. I fell in love when we got the first photo. She can to live with us in March. A handful. But a delight.

Of course she is not a baby. Nothing can ever replace Alice. Not a hundred puppies or a hundred babies.

But she makes us smile as she steals the 10th shoe or another pair of knickers. As she runs off with the loaf of bread or as she offers up her warm tummy for a rub.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the things that are said

When a baby dies we know that people say the oddest things. Sometimes with good intention and mostly without thinking.

Of all the things that have been said to us, I wonder why people say how sorry they are about Alice's death and then follow it with something along the lines of 'there will be plenty more babies for you one day.'

Will there?

I wonder?

Would you say to your friend on hearing of the death of her husband 'there will be another husband for you one day.' Or when one of your best friends dies would you say to her fiancee, as you stand there outside her now silent ICU room, 'there will be other fiancee one day...'

I don't think you would. Correction, I know you wouldn't because you now know what to say when some one dies. I guess that's one 'good' thing that has come out of this mess.

People die all the time. Its not a new thing. Its a terribly sad thing. It will happen to us all. But why are people still so crap at dealing with it? I know its scary. I know its devastating. But I can talk about it. And I will and I do.

Perhaps if only we talked about it a bit more, people would know what to say. And more importantly, what not to say.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

waiting and wishing...

Autumn is here. Cool nights and sunny afternoons. The leaves are starting to turn and fall from the peach tree. We are waiting in suspense to see the leaves on the Japanese maple become golden and orange and red. Waiting to see what grows and changes in this garden at the Blue House.

These days we always seem to be waiting for something. Waiting for anniversaries. Waiting to feel happier. Waiting for some one to say the right thing. Waiting for my husband to come home from his many trips abroad. Waiting for people to finally say how sorry they are that this has happened. Waiting to stop being so angry at people who have said nothing, not one word about Alice dying.

Wishing for all to be right in the world.

Minnie and I were playing in the garden a couple of days ago. Just mucking about with the puppy and doing some digging in the flower beds. Enjoying the afternoon. She stopped playing and said 'Mummy, I wish for Alice Buttons to come back.'

So do I.

Friday, April 10, 2009

nothing to say...

I guess I am feeling like I have nothing to say. For the moment. Of course I have things to say but maybe just not the words to put down here.

I know that this blog is about this part of my life, the grieving, lonely and so desperately sad part of my life. But, like you all I have another part too. The part in which I smile and laugh and sometimes have a glass of wine. And I have a big part in which I have a 3 year old who loves to talk about the anatomy of the ear, the skeletal system and who this week will not dress in anything appropriate for the weather. In this other life we have a 12 week old Golden Retriever puppy. But, I know that this place is not about that.

So for a while I think I need to be in that other part of my life. I will still be around, here for my dear friends and reading your blogs. Sometimes writing about my sweet Alice. I will be here hoping that the lost mama will email back and tell me how she is.

Once you are in this club or community or 'family',' the one that no-one ever wanted to join, you are in it for life. I know that we are all here, for each other, for the long haul. For all the days. For all the crap bits that have been and for all the great bits to come.

Friday, March 20, 2009

lost mama

I recently had a email from a babylost mama. She found my blog and wrote to thank me for sharing my experience. And she told me about hers. Still very raw and new, she is feeling lost and alone in a country far from her home. People don't want to talk about her baby. No support or counselling was offered. 'They' didn't think it was a good idea for her to hold her precious baby. I could feel her intense pain and loneliness and anger through her writing. I cried thinking about her birth experience and about how she felt so alone.

I wrote to her and told her that she is not alone, that we are here and the we understand. We really understand. I told her that we will talk about her baby with her and scream with her and sometimes hate the world with her.

I told her we would take care of her.

I have not heard back. I need to know that she is OK. Not OK, as no-one here is 'OK' but you know what I mean.

If you are there, please just let me know how you are going.

You are not alone, even though at times you feel such an indescribable loneliness.

We are here with you on this awful journey.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today is 6 months since Alice was born.
Born because of complications beyond any ones control.
Born at 20 weeks. Tiny and perfect.
Tomorrow is 6 months since Alice died.
Died because of complications beyond any ones control.
She has been dead now longer than she was alive, safe inside me.
A nightmare.
Remembering, grieving, thinking about what should have been.
Thinking about how everything has changed.
But how everyone else has stayed the same.
Knowing that I will always think about her every day.
Wondering if other people will.
Trying to never forget every little detail about her.
Trying to forget the baby urns and coffins at the funeral home.
Thinking about the other babies and their mama's.
Wishing with all my heart that this doesn't happen to any of us again.
Gratefull that I can share her here with people that understand.
Sad everyday that I will never be able to hold her again.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I remember holding Alice, holding her close to keep her warm. I wrapped her, adding extra layers around her tiny little body, trying to keep out the cold. I spoke softly to her, my warm whispers settling on her cheeks. Holding her delicate perfect face to mine.

They dressed her in a pink knitted hat and jacket. Keeping her warm. I made her a quilt. To keep her warm.

I tried so hard but, nothing I could do would stop it.

The cold came slowly creeping in, forcing out the warmth, taking over Alice and the room and our lives.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

other people

I sent a message to an old acquaintance last week asking after her baby that had been due in February. I also told her about a mutual acquaintance, updating her on the birth of her daughter. I thought I had better say that Alice had died as the last time I bumped into her, we were both happily pregnant. I thought it would be odd if I didn't say something, given that I imagine she would have been wondering about our baby.

So she then called. I asked after her baby and we chatted about our mutual acquaintance. We chatted about some other people we knew. Then I explained, that although it must have been a little shocking, I needed to let her know about Alice in that message. Then she told me that she knew as she ran into my best friend last year and she had told her about Alice. She said knew all about it but said that she was 'too chicken to call as it was just all too difficult.'

I said that it was OK and for her not to feel bad.

But, what I felt like saying was 'you have no idea what 'too difficult' is.'

What I should have said was that even if you cry, if you can't find the words and if you feel like vomiting, the next time you know someone who has a baby that dies, you damn well call them or send a card.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Yesterday I went to visit a tiny, baby girl. I waited until she was home as I am not ready to visit people in the same maternity hospital in which Alice was born and died.

She is perfect and small and perfect.

She slept in my arms for hours.

I cried a little.

I was happy for her family but I felt empty and sad on the inside.

I watched her asleep. I took photos.

And for a tiny, fleeting, fraction of a second I thought about taking her with me when I left.

Friday, February 20, 2009

honest scrap

Thank you to the wonderfully sweet Sarah and Monique for awarding me this. They both write so beautifully - I wish I could find the words that they do. And apologies that it has taken so long to respond. I think the award has done the rounds so I am not tagging anyone - join in though if you haven't.

Here goes;

1. I have a very short fuse (at times) and can fly off the handle over nothing.
2. I don't like tight underpants.
3. People assume I am far more organised than I actually am. They ask about my work and family and 'how do I do it?' Well I don't - my studio is a complete mess, I have orders waiting to be finished, a week or more of clean clothes are waiting to be put away, at least a days worth of dishes are on the sink most of the time... But I keep the bathroom clean...
4. I didn't drive until I was in my late 20's. Well I drove earlier but, I didn't get my licence.
5. I have lived in London, the US, travelled around the world but I have never been to the west coast of my home state - the tiny Island State... It’s only a 4-5 hour drive my home town and I have just never got there.
6. When I was young I pretended I was adopted from the Netherlands or the Czech Republic...
(I have 2 adopted sisters - one was born in Thailand, and the little one was born in Macau)
7. I have great ideas and plans but often they don't get any further than that.
8. I am terrible at keeping in contact with friends. Luckily they understand and are generally just as terrible. We love each other dearly though.
9. I accidentally left the hose on the pumpkins for 6 hours last week - for any locals they will know how naughty and illegal this is. There are very strict water restrictions in the eastern states of Australia.
10. I spend a lot of my waking time fantasising about home renovations.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

its hard, for everyone...

I think there is a misunderstanding that because I have a daughter, loosing Alice is not as bad some how. People don't expect that I 'need' to talk about Alice because I am 'lucky' that I have Minnie. Yes, I am lucky. Not that I believe in luck. I am fortunate and I know this. Everyday I am reminded of what I have and what I have lost. I see Alice in Minnie... I know I could be one of the many women I know that struggle to get pregnant and struggle even harder to hold on to their babies. But, I am also sad and missing the girl I don't have with me.

I do imagine that loosing your first baby adds another layer of complexity to this awful time. When everything you imagined would happen doesn't happen.

Does having a child make it 'easier' when your baby dies? What a question. I don't know and I will never know as I have Minnie. I don't think it needs exploring or examining. I don't think I need too. What I know that it is sad for everyone. I know that my sweet friend with 7 children will tell that loosing her baby was devastating in every way, shape and form. And still is.

I am not for one minute saying that I am worse off ,or better off for that matter. I am just saying that its crap and I am sad and that I grieve Alice while I am being a mother to Minnie.

Loosing a baby is beyond awful. For anyone. Regardless.

I don't need to tell you all that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

explaining the unexplainable...

From the day Alice died we have been open and as honest as we can be with our daughter Minnie. We continue to explain that Alice Buttons was born too early and was too little and too sick to survive. We tell her that sometimes people die when they are little and there is nothing that we can do to stop this happening. We have read lots of books about animals and people dying. We have had conversations about all our loved ones that have died. Like her Opa and her Big Papa and my sweet friend Zoe and my dear Jackie's husband. And like all the other little babies that Alice is now friends with...

Minnie often talks about of Alice and plays games where Alice is the other 'character.' They play 'together' so sweetly in these games. Sometimes Alice is the little doll that Minnie carries around and tucks safely in bed. My heart is ever so heavy when I am sitting watching and listening to 'their' special games.

Several days ago Minnie caught me off guard when she asked if we could 'colour in this cardboard box to put Alice Buttons in the ground.' She was holding a little empty cardboard box and some pencils. Minnie understands that sometimes people die and are buried in the ground. I didn't know what to say to Minnie as Alice was cremated. I could not think of a way to explain this to a just turned 3 year old without terrifying her.

We coloured in the box and I wished that she wouldn't ask where Alice's little body was.

I never like to think about that.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Alice's due date was this week. 28th January.

I also miscarried a little baby at the end of January last year.

Minnie had her first day away from me at pre-school on 28th January.

This has not been an easy week.

So I cried and felt lonely and thought about all my babies that day. I drove and cried and busted a tyre on the gutter. So I sat and waited for the road side assist people and didn't cry so much. I came home and did housework like a whirlwind so I didn't have too much time to think.

Some beautiful friends sent flowers that I didn't expect. Flowers to remember Alice.

I should not be on this computer writing and reading. I should never have met you all. We should never have met each other. We should be doing very different things.

When Alice was born and died my dearest friend sent flowers and a card that said 'Sometimes life is Shit.'

She was right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I knew this month would be bad. Of course is would. But once upon a time in a land far away January was going to be a wonderful month. It would have been the last few weeks of my pregnancy - I would have been big and round and hot and bothered. I would have spent a lot of time floating in the sea or the pool and sitting on the veranda in the sea breeze.

But you don't always get what you want. The Rolling Stones where right. You certainly don't.

I have a lot to write and I have nothing to write. I am not sure where I am with this. I am finding it hard to put down what I want. I am living in a parallel universe here. One blog is happy and shiny and the other blog is sad. So I think I will write here when I feel I can. I will visit you all often and email and post comments. I am not going. I need you all too much for that.

So January. I don't think it will ever be the same. My eldest daughter turned 3 on the 4th January and my other daughter, my baby, should have been born on the 28th. The month with a happy beginning and a sad end. That's how it goes. Happy and Sad.

I wonder if there will be some more happy?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

back home...

We are back. I am happy that we are back here. The weather is lovely and somehow this makes me feel that this new year ahead will be a good one. A good one for all of us. With good things to look forward to and good things to celebrate. I know there will be happiness for all of us, in same way, whatever way that may be. Happiness and sadness at the same time. I guess this is how things will be for a long, long time.

Things went well. Not much talk about Alice. And sometimes I like that. I like to keep her for myself. Of course I want people to think of her and how sad her death is but sometimes I like to keep her all to myself - she is mine and sometimes I am like a spoiled child and I don't want to share her. Odd, I know. But that's how it is.

And sometimes I want to share her and sing her name from the roof tops. But that is for me to decide. I don't like being forced to talk about how I feel.

I thought about Alice as I watched Minnie play with her cousins and felt sad that Alice will never get to play with them. She wont get to play at my childhood home in the country. She won't get to sneak to the enormous gardens and pick raspberries and strawberries hot from the sun.

I am not religious or overly spiritual but you know, I think somewhere Alice will be with her new friends. Her most special friends that I can't meet, not until one day in the distant future... She will be with Ezra and Hope and Sam and George and Douglas and William and Ciaran and all the other babies that couldn't stay here.

I see their photos and hear their stories and feel their mothers pain and grief and anguish. They don't have their Mama's but I am sure they have each other.

I wish you all much love in 2009 and I am thankful that we have each other too...