Big Sister / Little Sister? {Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017}

Big Sister / Little Sister? {Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017}

I originally wrote this post for Mums the Word.online as part of baby loss awareness week which runs from the 9th – 15th October. As the story is quite emotional and deeply personal one, I wanted to share it here too, but you can find the original post at Mums the work here: Mama Speaks : Emma Faith

I’ve always wanted to be a Mum. For as long as I can remember I’ve been making mental notes to myself about places I’d like to visit once I had a family or areas I’d like to live in ‘once the kids were at school’. I even chose my career path on the basis that it enabled me to have full flexibility over my hours once I became a ‘working mum’.

When my husband and I decided to have a baby, we were lucky and things happened quite quickly. A few weeks into January 2015, I pee’d on a stick, the line turned blue and my husband and I experienced that huge surge of emotion every new parent will recognise; of excitement, happiness and nervousness at the discovery that we were about to bring a new tiny human into the world.

Unfortunately that pregnancy wasn’t meant to be and at our 12 week scan we learned that our baby girl (although we didn’t know her gender at that point) hadn’t developed her right fibula, one of the bones in her leg. The doctors tried to warn us it might be a sign of something more serious, but I didn’t want to hear. We were given a number of options, most of which I couldn’t comprehend, so we decided to carry on with our pregnancy regardless fully preparing ourselves to have a child who’d most likely require a wheelchair.

Unfortunately that wasn’t meant to be either and on the 12th May 2015 my body gave her up. It was – at the time- the best and worst day of my life. On the one hand we got to meet our beautiful baby daughter who we’d loved, cared for and nurtured for the past 21 weeks, but on the other hand we had to come to the devastating realisation that we had to say goodbye to her too. When I look back on the day now, all I feel is sadness. She was so tiny, we were so unprepared. It shouldn’t have happened to her.

Edie was our daughter, part of our family and we’d been making decisions about her welfare like any other parent would for the past 5 months of her life. In the weeks that followed, our friends and family were amazing sending love, but also giving us space when we needed it. Face to face no one really mentioned what happened, but if i’m honest I don’t really know if I wanted them to. If anyone looked at me ready to say ‘i’m sorry’, I’d feel myself tensing up, willing them to move onto the next subject hoping it would go away. Baby loss is such a huge social taboo, it seemed easier… and much more British to sweep it under the carpet and carry on, which we did. We had Edie’s funeral a few weeks later, released some balloons in her memory and I returned to work.

Five months – and a lot of tears later, we were pregnant again.

And there began the issue.. how did we address this pregnancy? I remember being asked so many times as my bump developed .. ‘0h how lovely, is this your first?’ and I remember trying to be strong for Edie, standing up and replying ‘no we actually lost a daughter last year, so this is our second’. But I also remember the look of disappointment on people’s faces when I realised I’d ruined their happy moment and that was crushing too. I couldn’t have been happier about my second pregnancy, it was everything to me, but it also felt ‘wrong’ just somehow forgetting about my first. In the end I gave up and just nodded along excitedly when people asked. I felt like a complete fraud, like I was failing Edie in some way, but I didn’t want to dampen the excitement surrounding my second babies development so held the pain inside.

Our second daughter Ettie was born in June 2016 and she was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t believe it, asking Stuart and the midwives over and over again if she was ok before allowing myself to breath after my c-section. I stayed awake for the first two nights in the hospital just watching her breath – something I still do to this day. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of Edie and I genuinely believe she is up there watching over us both, being a little guardian angel for her little sister. I’ve heard stories about mums being harder on their first born, trying to battle with routines while they learn the ropes of becoming a new parent. I didn’t experience any of that and perhaps its because, to me Ettie is actually my second born, my littlest girl.

We still have the issue of people asking if Ettie is my first when we’re out and it still tugs a cord with me when I have to reply, but I do reply yes these days and feel comfortable with saying it. I know inside Edie will always be part of our family. She’s the big sister, the first born, the ‘sensible’ one to this crazy little rascal and I know that she’s out there somewhere looking after her. Ettie is amazingly lucky to have that and I’ll be telling her all about Edie as she grows up xx

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16 Comments

  1. 18th October 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Aw that really is a hard question to answer! I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it’s wonderful that you have written this post as it will help so many others. x

    • 18th October 2017 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks Becky, yes that was my intention. It’s been two years since we lost Edie so I feel a lot stronger now and hopefully her story will help others xx

  2. 19th October 2017 / 3:02 pm

    What a beautiful yet heart breaking post – it must be so hard for you when people ask you that question. Sending lots of #coolmumclub love your way xoxo

    • 19th October 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you it was really hard at first but I’m used to it now. Thank you for reading xx

  3. 19th October 2017 / 9:38 pm

    It’s awful losing a baby at any gestation. You can never forget. I totally understand the fine line between wanting to acknowledge her existence yet not wanting to talk about it. I’ve lost 2 children, 1 aged 2 and one before birth.

    • 19th October 2017 / 10:22 pm

      Oh Jenny im so sorry going through it once was devastating but twice is inconceivable. You are incredibly strong. We dont need to talk about them all the time as they are alwats with us but sometimes a brief mention is enough to acknowledge their existance to others. Sending lots of love xxxx

  4. 20th October 2017 / 9:59 pm

    This brought me to tears. Its so hard. I lost three in between the boys but very early on. And there was a reason which we fixed. So in someways that made it easier for me and although we were on edge the whole way through with Kipper. I knew the drugs I was on gave us a fighting chance. I talk about it now if people ask why the 4 year gap. As I think theres probably someone out there now going through the same thing and its good to know you are not alone. Beautifully written post. sending love x

    • 20th October 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Thankyou, I really appreciate it when people share their experiences, it really helps knowig you’re not alone and that actually not everybody falls pregnant ‘just like that’. We have lost another since having our daughter so I’ve made an appointment at the Dr’s to make sure there’s nothing wrong. I’m so glad you got Kipper, but I am very sorry for the pain of your three losses, and yes I can imagine it was hard to relax for the whole of the pregnancy xxx

  5. 23rd October 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute you’ve written. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is to lose a child and hope that I never will, but to write about it and talk about it so openly is just beautiful. I don’t think there are any other words. Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x

    • 25th October 2017 / 12:00 am

      Thankyou Kelly, I find talking about it helps acknowledge it happened. Thankyou for your kind words xxx

  6. 25th October 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Thank you for bringing awareness to baby loss! So sorry for the loss you went through! You are helping so many others by sharing and speaking of your loss! You are amazing!

    • 25th October 2017 / 6:12 pm

      Thankyou Natalie that’s very kind to say and I really hope so. There is such a taboo around the subject I hope that by speaking out I help other mums talk about it too xxx

  7. 7th November 2017 / 11:23 pm

    This is so beautiful , I’m so sorry for your loss. Telling your story will be so helpful for other families big sister my not be here to steal toys and boss about but she’s still around in you talking of her to her little sister

    • 7th November 2017 / 11:29 pm

      Thankyou, that’s how I feel too and I really hope I can help other mums with our story xx

  8. 8th November 2017 / 12:39 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This is something (that I’m so fortunate) not to have had to think about, but yes, how should you reply when people ask “is this your first?” It must be so hard feeling like you’re not honouring Edie’s memory. It sounds like you’re pretty strong though xxx

  9. 8th November 2017 / 10:21 am

    This is so beautifully written and it brought a tear to my eye to read. I can only imagine how difficult that question must be to answer. This is such a moving tribute to Edie’s memory. Much love to you xx

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