Second story for this week from the “Share Your Story” series while I play catch up from our time off. Last time Brandi from Not So Mommy sharing her story on infertility. Today I have Amy from Mothering a Rainbow sharing her story about her beautiful son Jason who was born sleeping. This week is Baby Loss Awareness week and Amy is sharing her story and helping to raise awareness. Over to you Amy…
Mothering a Rainbow
Hi, I’m Amy, 27 years old from Shropshire and a part-time teaching assistant supporting pupils with extra needs. I am married to Luke who I met at 15 (on Myspace!) and Mama to Jason and Ellie. I’m a bit of a geek and love playing video games. I started blogging as a way of dealing with grief however it soon became a way of being able to raise awareness and help break a stigma that comes with losing a baby.
My story really starts with my husband. We met at a young age and have been together for 12 years. We got married on 1st August 2014 and found out we were expecting our first child just three weeks after. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. I remember taking the pregnancy test and my new husband downing a shot of whiskey as we were not expecting it. I had been on the pill for around 8 years and was told it would take a while to get out of my system…it took a month. Don’t believe everything people tell you!
I feel so lucky knowing my first baby was physically there on our wedding day.
I knew I was ready to be a parent, I knew I would be a good parent too. It was something I had already had quite a bit of practice in; my younger brother has Down Syndrome, my mum suffered with agoraphobia when we were kids and so I looked after him quite a lot as my Dad worked. It was something I knew would come naturally to me. Everything was falling in to place at such a perfect time in our lives and in our relationship. My pregnancy was pretty easy-going. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I didn’t have any sickness just some aches really.
Everything was going really well. Until it suddenly wasn’t.
At 35 weeks gestation I had been feeling ill. My maternity leave was due to start. However I ended up not working my last day as I was being sick. I didn’t think much of it as I was working in a nursery at the time and germs just live in those places!
Early on the Sunday morning I had begun getting some niggly pains. I’d 5 weeks to go until my due date so I wasn’t worried at all. I joked that it would be good practice using a contraction timer to prepare for when I would be in labour…little did I know I was.
Labour happened quickly and before I knew it my baby was being born over our toilet.
Apart from feeling a bit ill I had no signs I was in labour. My waters didn’t break. I didn’t have a show. And I didn’t feel like I was in enough pain to be in labour. But there he was in the breech position. I didn’t have time to process what was happening.
My first child was born on 29th March 2015 and lived for 37 minutes before taking his last breath.
He was born at our home in Telford, Shropshire and unfortunately died before we had the chance to meet him. Jason was small for his gestation and weighed 3lbs 6ozs at birth. I begged for this nightmare to be just that, but it wasn’t. My baby died and there was nothing anybody could do to make it okay.
It is still not okay.
My life ended that day yet the world kept on turning. I couldn’t understand how people were going on their daily business and expected me to be able to do the same. Neonatal Loss is such a taboo topic and parents are expected to deal with it and move on but how can you move on when moving on means leaving your baby behind?
The weeks that followed Jason’s death are a blur. Leaving him at the hospital. Meeting with funeral directors, planning his funeral. Having to tell people he had died. Trying to explain to the receptionist at the Register Office you need an appointment to register their birth and their death.
Life doesn’t stop even when it feels like it should, even when the worst thing you could possibly imagine has happened you are still expected to make those decisions and be fine.
I felt useless, I was not able to protect my brother, my husband or my son. I’m always the strong person and have been from a young age but I didn’t feel strong all I wanted was for it to be over, to feel my pregnant belly and know my baby was safe.
We were told Jason would have been poorly. His post-mortem results showed he had a rare form of Down Syndrome passed on usually through genetics however ours wasn’t genetically, just a coincidence that Jason and my brother both have DS. Jason also had tissue on the brain which may have caused severe epilepsy and he may have had other medical issues due to this. I am still angry that none of this was picked up during previous scans or monitoring while pregnant but know that none of it would have mattered any way. He was our Son and we love him no matter what.
Things change when you lose someone you love, whether it be a parent, grandparent, friend but when you lose your child YOU change.
Your life becomes “before” and “after”.
Friends you once had suddenly stop talking to you, they don’t know what to say and you are too numb to be bothered. That’s how I felt any way. People you hardly knew become close friends. You cherish those who aren’t afraid to include your child in any way possible. Be that writing their name in the sand on their holiday, sending a balloon off for them, buying them gifts at Christmas even though they aren’t here physically. As a mother my only wish is that Jason is not forgotten, that his short life had meaning and I will continue to ensure his legacy is something he would have been proud of.
I am incredibly grateful that our Rainbow Ellie was born; for those who aren’t aware a Rainbow baby is a baby born after the loss of a child. It comes from the saying “You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.” Ellie was born on 1st November 2016 and she has brought happiness back to our lives. Having another child will never erase Jason, if anything it makes me grieve more for everything we lost. All the firsts that Ellie has taken have been tainted by the thought that Jason never got to do any of those firsts and the wonder of whether he would have ever hit those milestones.
My life will always be filled with questions and wondering “what if” but I wouldn’t change having him at all.
He is my Son, my first child and will always be loved.
Thank you so much Amy for sharing your story with us today. I’m sorry that you, and anyone else has had to go through this. It must have been a scary situation to have gone into labour and then notice Jason was breech but what followed changes a person. Hopefully your story will give comfort to someone else going through a similar situation. Or help the friend who doesn’t know what to say to their friend. The more we talk about our angels the more it will move from a taboo subject.
If you would like to follow and read more from Amy then head over to her socials;