Moving Forward…and a Party for a Beautiful 4yr old!
It’s been so long since I last wrote that I struggle to remember where I was up to! Going back to work has proved slightly more intense than I originally expected it to, even though I only work 2 days a week, Alethea and I are busy every other day of the week, so going back to work has been quite exhausting! I have to say that I was a little disappointed to learn that most of my immediate colleagues have not read any of our blog, (not that I expected them to read all of it) but they haven’t even been bothered to slightly go out of their own way and read the first couple of posts which explain what happened and how we felt in those first few days after Liam died, they have no idea what he means to us and that yes he was our baby, our child and we loved him dearly, they just expect that everything is fine, and what I find even harder to handle is that when I occasionally take some unhealthy food to work (like instant noodles) I get shunned, and the comments freely flow like ‘having a healthy lunch today?’ always criticising which I try to just laugh off, but really I want to say to them, ‘I do the best I can each day, my house is clean, my clothes are clean, we eat healthy homemade meals everyday, I have a happy house hold and am proud that only a few months after our baby has died that I am able to function at the level that I am, I can concentrate on work and I am good at my job, if I occasionally bring something ‘bad’ for lunch it does not make me a bad person, it means that I am human.’ It has only been in the last couple of weeks that I have realised that none of my department (except 2 people) have read our blog, and this really affected me, it made me feel like I need not bother to continue on, as I originally started this blog to help our friends and family understand what we were/are going through without them having to ask too many awkward questions…it is all here my whole heartache, and they couldn’t be bothered to take 1 hour out of their lives to understand what their work colleague/friend has gone through, they made me feel like a robot, when I went back to work only 3 people out of a whole hospital were brave enough to tell me that they were sorry for our loss or even mentioned Liam’s name, everyone else just pretended it didn’t happen and when I did mention Liam’s name or even show a photo of him I was told to ‘put it away it will only make you upset.’ Anyway it is this reason that it has taken me so long to be bothered to sit down and continue our story.
So I think last time I mentioned that our OB had apologised to me. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me, I felt light and free and my anger dissipated almost immediately. I think I smiled the whole day, I felt like I had won the lottery, this feeling lasted until the next day when a different feeling overcame me.
Devastation, and sadness crept upon me the next day, by obtaining the apology that I had sought so hard for, it was made clear to me that had things gone the way they should have Liam should be here, and he wasn’t and my grief came back 100 fold and I wanted to hide in a small hole and never come out. (I know that many of you will read this and say just be happy, you got what you wanted, you got an apology, and I now read what I am writing and want to tell the lady who is writing this as well, but emotions are not something that are easily controlled, and this is how I felt) This feeling didn’t push me into depression (which I can see how that could have happened) and it only lasted a few days but I think all my emotions over the past few months had come to a head so for the next few days I am not quite sure how I functioned as a human/wife/mum I was going through the motions, that old saying comes back to me now ‘the lights were on but nobody was home’
That week there was another group meeting with Deb and Belinda, there were many new faces in this meeting and I sat there and shook my head feeling devastated for what these parents had just been through, and what they were still to go through. In our meeting there was one very determined lady saying that she had to have an answer as to why her baby had died and she wouldn’t be able to live without an answer, some of the mums of stillborn babies were saying that they had all the tests done and they still had no definitive answer as to why they lost their child, and probably never would, I was asked if I knew the reason as to why Liam died and my answer was ‘sort of, we know that many things went wrong in his delivery and I finally received an apology from my OB this week, but in reality there still could have been something inherently wrong with Liam that might have caused him to die, even if everything had of gone to plan, however the hospital/OB/anaesthetist and midwife never gave Liam the chance he deserved at having life, they failed their duty of care to him, to me and my husband and now he wasn’t here’ I was asked how I felt at receiving the apology and I told them that originally I was overwhelmed with happiness and that my anger had been taken away, however it had now been replaced with a feeling of sadness, of isolation, of hopelessness and that for now I just felt flat and a little numb once again. I told them that I had sought the reason for Liam’s death so hard, that now I had an answer I realised that it didn’t really mean anything, it hadn’t brought Liam back, he was still dead, all my energies had gone into getting people to own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for some of their actions. I think deep down I never expected anyone to apologise, I think I thought I would always be fighting for it, fighting for Liam and because I had never expected it to come I hadn’t let my mind comprehend what it would mean to actually get some answers/an apology, and I think deep down I believed that if someone said sorry all would be good, somehow Liam would return to us and the world would be how it was meant to be, our perfect world would somehow be restored, however this was not reality and for the time being I was just getting use to the fact that nothing was going to bring my boy back, he was dead and I needed to accept that.
What I needed was a distraction, something to snap me out of my despair and once again I was saved by a beautiful little princess, without her I would not be the person that I am today, she makes me a better person each day, she makes me see beauty in the world every day, she sees things with such innocent eyes and guides me to see the same.
Turning 4 is a BIG deal, and my little poppet’s birthday was soon approaching, only just more than 2 weeks after meeting with the OB my little girl was going to be 4, and she was SO excited. We had been discussing her birthday for a while and she had decided that she wanted her birthday party to be held at Little Rascals (an indoor wonderland for kids) she went with me to book in her party and pick up her party invites, she excitedly told me who she wanted to come to her party and we wrote out the party invites together. I remember going to daycare with her one day and reading out the kids names in her class asking her who she wanted to invite, we sat and whispered together as I didn’t want kids who weren’t invited to hear that she didn’t want them at her party (normally I would probably invite the whole class explaining to her that it isn’t nice not to include certain people, but there were a lot of boys in her class that she didn’t want to come, and I just wanted her to be happy so I let her choose) and as we sat in her daycare class the excitement overcame her and she squeeze cuddled me as hard as she could telling me she couldn’t wait for her birthday and I gave her kisses all over telling her that I too was excited!
Choosing a birthday present was nearly as exciting as having a party, Ryan and I asked her what she would like and she decided on a ‘Dora big girl bike’ At this time I had not yet returned to work, so I had Monday’s and Fridays to find Alethea’s desired present….unfortunately there were no Dora bikes in Australia in the size that she needed, I learnt quickly that Dora bikes are only stocked in big chains like Toys R Us, Big W, Kmart etc, and not bike shops, but unfortunately all these stores were ‘out of stock’ of Dora bikes for 4 year olds, they had bikes for kids up to around 4, but if I had bought one of those it would only have lasted a few months and then she would have needed a new one. I went online try and buy one to no avail, I asked the big chain stores to see if there were any in other states of the country, but it wasn’t to be. I eventually found a Dora bike accessory kit online (at the cost of a normal Dora bike) and I took Alethea to a couple of bike stores to try out some plain bikes that I could add the kit onto and make her a Dora bike. One of the stores had a purple bike with a baby seat on the back of it and Alethea fell in love with it, however she was very concerned that it wasn’t a Dora bike….so I told a small lie and said to her that what happens is you choose a bike that you like, and the night before your birthday Dora brings it to your house and makes it into a Dora bike if you have been a really good girl, I explained that Dora was a little like Santa and would come while she was asleep and that if she was really good, on her birthday she would wake up and Dora would have made her a bike, this excited Alethea so much, she couldn’t wait for her birthday!! On the Wednesday before her birthday my friend David from Edible Designs made Alethea a sensational Little Miss Giggles/Sunshine and Chatterbox birthday cake to take to day care and share with all her friends, Alethea was in her element, she LOVED her cake and the attention that it brought to her!
When her big day finally arrived she had the best day, she was the birthday girl. Daddy carried her in her pyjamas downstairs to see if Dora had brought her bike for her and she was so excited she started talking jibberish (I’ve tried to attach a poorly made iPhone video of her reaction down the bottom, it really was very cute!). Her birthday and party were on the same day, so not long after breakfast we headed to Little Rascals where she ran around with all her friends, she had a Dora Birthday cake which David from Edible Designs also made for her (very lucky little girl!) and she had one of the most magical days of her life, she still talks about her birthday every couple of days and just about everyday she tells me she can do this or that because she is 4 now!
It was lovely to have something fun to focus on, with my anger now well and truly gone, and my initial shock/sadness/isolation and numbness at receiving an apology now also gone I truly felt happy and free, which was great, because 3 days after Alethea’s birthday we were off to Thailand for a wedding and holiday, and we knew it was going to be fun and magical. It really was from this point onwards that our family settled down, we had come to a point of acceptance, Liam was not here, we could not bring him back, but we had promised him that we would still live our lives to the fullest, we would continue on with our lives always remembering him, but knowing that we needed to be the best mum and dad that we could be to Alethea, and now was the time that this promise needed to start to be fulfilled…yes it seems like a long time to not have fulfilled this promise that we made to him back in the hospital, but in reality it was 16 weeks. 16 weeks of grieving, anger, isolation, hopelessness a process that I believe was necessary for us to go through to get to the point which we are at today, yes there are still bad days, they normally come out of the blue and there always will be, however now when they come we just accept them, but the good days are able to outnumber the bad and that has to be a positive!
- Posted in: The First Weeks