Warning, this post contains details of baby loss that some may find difficult to hear.
I’ll never forget the day I found out I was pregnant. A month after I had married my partner of 8 years and only 2 months after coming off the contraceptive pill. To say we were quite shocked is an understatement. We had discussed trying for a baby once we were married but we hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. However I was fortunate enough to have a perfect “textbook” pregnancy. We were so excited.
We were ready to meet our little one.
At 35 weeks things suddenly changed. I had caught a sickness bug and started getting pains. With 5 weeks left to go of my “textbook” pregnancy I wasn’t concerned and put them down to the bug. Overnight the pains got slightly more uncomfortable and I joked that I’d practise timing them for when real labour was to start. After a few more hours of feeling uncomfortable my little boy decided he would make a very sudden arrival - while I was sat on the toilet – feet first. I’m so grateful my husband was home at the time as I didn’t know what to do. We had to wait for paramedics to arrive and eventually a midwife. The birth was traumatic, I wasn’t fully dilated and due to his small size (3lbs 60zs) his head had gotten stuck while I was trying to deliver him.
Jason was born alive and took his first breath in his Daddy’s hands but due to the traumatic birth was hurried off to hospital without us. When we arrived at the hospital we were told he had some health issues which meant they weren’t able to save him and he died without ever seeing how much we loved him. We later found out that Jason also had a rare type of Down Syndrome and tissue on the brain which may have caused severe epilepsy. I love and miss my boy every day but I’m glad he never had to suffer or live in pain.
Ever since Jason’s death I’ve felt the need to “do something” to remember Jason and make him a legacy he deserved. We have held raffles for charity and partnered with a small business, The Little Sensory Box, to raise money for The Down's Syndrome Association. I have taken part in #adventtoremember, a supportive and creative way to show all parents they are not alone at Christmas time and they are NOT alone in their grief. I talk about him to anyone who will listen and make sure he’s included in our family as much as possible. Jason’s little sister talks about him and knows her big brother is somewhere in the stars. He is just as much a part of our family as she is.
To anyone navigating the loss of their child, whether this was a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a neonatal death or TFMR - In the darkest moments it’s hard to imagine anyone can feel the pain that you do but please know you are not alone and there are so many people you can talk to about your child. I know how difficult it can feel at first but I found people wanted to talk about our loss but didn’t know how to talk about it through fear of upsetting us.
To anyone wanting to help a friend or family member through the loss of their child, my main advice would be to ask them about their child, say their name proudly and don’t be scared of a few tears. It hurts to remember but it hurts more thinking others have forgotten they existed.