• Beth Wankiewicz

The Baby Loss hub - Neonatal death - Charlie’s mum

I’m Sam. I’m 36, a Nurse, wife to Matt and most importantly Mummy to Rosie, Ben and Charlie. Im writing this in my bed, on the eve what should be Charlies 2 month birthday. I have beside me a little white bear which was given to me by the hospital after Charlie was born, along with an identical one which was given to him. My other 2 children are asleep in bed, excited for a camping trip we are going on tomorrow. Everyday I am painfully aware that life is moving on. Let me go back a little. My children are 9 and 6, and I was always adamant I was only having 2. So to say Charlie was a surprise would be a huge understatement! But with this came a stress free, easy pregnancy. Charlie was born at 39 weeks, after a planned induction. He was closely monitored throughout a straightforward labour, and was born at 3.13 in the afternoon on Thursday 3rd June 2021, weighing 7lbs 4oz. I was lucky to have immediate skin to skin cuddles with him, listening to his cries as he entered the world. Very soon after I remember panicking that he had stopped moving. The next few hours are at the minute too painful and hard to write. The next time I held Charlie was a few hours later after the neonatal consultant tearfully confirmed what I already knew, they had tried everything they possibly could to save Charlies life. I held him in my arms as they stopped breathing for him.

The rest of the time we spent with Charlie is a blur. We had visits from my Mum, sister and best friend, who got to meet and hold Charlie. Most importantly, Rosie and Ben came into the hospital to meet their baby brother. We left the hospital in the very early hours of the morning, when it was dark, quiet and still. Leaving Charlie was gut wrenching. The pain of coming home to a house prepared for the arrival of a baby, with a body that has just given birth, but arms that are empty is indescribable. We are still in the very early days. Charlie died only 2 months ago. Trying to navigate through this dark, foggy path of grief is overwhelming, scary, and lonely. What I learnt quite quickly is that there is so many resources out there to help mothers and families who have experienced the loss of a baby, when you are ready. What has helped me? In the first couple weeks I was desperate to find comfort anywhere I could. Matt and I took to visiting beautiful spots around where we live, just to sit and be still around nature. It gave me a sense of peace, allowed me to clear my mind even for a short moment. I’d like to continue to do this as much as I can, to sit somewhere with a beautiful view and just be. I have found words a great comfort. From the first few days after Charlie died I was gifted, and bought books offering advice and support, all which have been written by someone who has experienced the loss of a baby. I am re reading, and would highly recommend The Baby Loss Guide by Zoe Clark-Coates. I found it easy to read, painfully relatable, but full of wisdom and support. I liked the day by day resource to help navigate though grief, and the stories from parents who have lost a baby help with the realisation that you are not alone in this. Another book I would recommend although not about baby loss is ‘How to be Sad’ by Helen Russell. It looks at how we should accept sadness in our lives to ultimately be happier, and is really insightful. I have never kept a diary, but about a week after Charlie died I started one. I don’t write in it everyday, but have found it’s the perfect place if I need to have a good cry. Sometimes I write to Charlie. I may never read it, and I don’t know how long I’ll continue to write in it for, but for now getting my thoughts down on paper, and trying to verbalise how I am feeling has been really beneficial. A friend of mine gave me some beautiful affirmation cards from ailaandlior.com They are recommended to be used as part of meditation, I must admit I have tried to switch off my mind for meditation a few times and failed miserably! So I use them to look through if I need so focus my mind, or hear some kind, positive affirmations. ‘I thank my baby for the joy that came with the expectation; for the dreams and love that their life brought’. ‘It was an honour to carry another soul within my body. My baby knows my immense love and is forever a part of our family’

Lastly, it has helped hugely to have Charlie present around our home, and in our lives. My cousins had a star named after him, and the beautiful certificate is framed in our home. We have decorated stones that have been placed under rose bushes that have been bought for us. I have 2 necklaces, a silver locket with Charlies photo in, and another with his initial. His nursery has been left untouched, with the door open. His photos and footprints are framed and on display amongst our family photos. He was here, he exists in our hearts, and so to see his name, his face, and his memory brings light every day.

What I am finding hard now, is that life is moving forward. I am assured that although the sadness, the missing and the grief will always be there, over time it will be easier to deal with. I look forward to a time when instead of feeling paralysed with sadness, I will think of Charlie and smile. Sam x




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