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  • Writer's pictureBeth Wankiewicz

The First Fortnight

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

First of all, Hi, I’m Beth and Clay is our first child. Myself and my husband Dan are happily married and live with our Australian Labradoodle, Miller, in a lovely town called Worksop. I had a happy, healthy, somewhat annoyingly good pregnancy. I was the kind of pregnant woman other pregnant women get annoyed at; I had very little morning sickness - never actually being sick just feeling it, my skin didn’t flare up, I had no heartburn, I rarely even woke up in the night to pee. I loved being pregnant and I hope one day I can experience it again.

We had no idea that following 3 days of labour (nearly 2 days of the latent phase though- if you are pregnant and reading this don’t worry!) it would end up in my “worst case scenario” of an emergency C-Section. Well I say emergency, it was nothing like on One Born Every Minute, it was actually more of a general conversation that they thought Clay wasn’t going to be born vaginally (I had been pushing for 1 hour 45 minutes and had already had forceps at this point) so they were going to take me for a C-Section. Clay’s heart rate was perfectly fine, ‘textbook’, as it had been referred to earlier in the day - so there was no immediate rush to get him out of me. Roughly 45 minutes to an hour after confirming I needed a C-Section, I went down to theatre, Clay’s heart rate was being monitored right up until they administered the spinal block and was fine throughout. Minutes later, Clay was born with a very weak heartbeat. 23 minutes later of not being able to hold him in our arms and having to watch the medical team try and resuscitate him, they turned around and told us there was no heartbeat. We (both Dan and I, and the medical team) still do not know what happened and we are hoping the post-mortem results will shed some light and provide us with some answers as to what went wrong.

So, as I am writing this we are actually two and a half weeks on from Clay being born (and passing away). The past two and half weeks have felt longer than my whole pregnancy with Clay, the newborn bubble is just not the same when your newborn is not at home. Our days are filled with phone calls from the coroner’s office, the funeral directors and the bereavement midwife. As most days come to an end I find myself sitting and reflecting on all the first’s that have happened that day, not the type of firsts any new parent should ever experience either. How I wish my days and camera roll were filled with Clay’s first’s, I even wish for the infamous first explosive poo!?

Dan and I have felt every emotion imaginable during these short (but also ridiculously long) weeks. I honestly think our minds still haven’t caught up with the fact that Clay isn’t here with us. I do wonder if they ever will. After months of planning in our minds, that all came tumbling down in 23 minutes. We went from preparing ourselves to meet our son (or daughter as we didn’t find out the gender) and the elation that brings to hearing words no parent ever wants to here. After all, everybody know’s that we should die before our children, fact.

My heart is heavy. Imagine a huge rock on your chest, and then hulk standing on it, that’s how much pressure it feels like is on my heart, so it came as a surprise to me that I still have the ability to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not walking around belly laughing at every given moment, but I have, on multiple occasions and probably on a daily basis laughed at least once. I honestly think that has helped tenfold, to be able to zone out for a few short moments and laugh about mundane stories has enabled me to deal with the devastating sadness and heartbreak that has come in unison. I can remember the first time I laughed and then immediately after I felt an instant guilt, how could I laugh when arguably the worst thing that can ever happen to you, had just happened days before? I quickly filed that thought away under useless thoughts but I do have to constantly remind myself it is ok to laugh, actually it feels good to laugh and joke surrounded by our family and close friends.

Now I have to say, having trailed the internet these past few weeks for blogs that I feel like I could connect and relate to, searching for that imperfect perfect mixture of sadness and hope, I have found only one. Feathering the Empty Nest, I think for one because of how closely our stories align, but also because of Elle’s positive outlook even when being dealt an utterly shit hand. Reading her book ‘Ask Me His Name’ and encouragement from family and friends, is why you are reading this blog right now. I have always loved reading and found getting my thoughts out on paper, or the notes section in my phone, very therapeutic and I truly believe this will be one of the ways I can move forward, but never on, from Clay’s death. You are probably reading this first blog post a few months after Clay’s death, when I feel ready to share our precious boy’s story with the world wide web.

I’m not really sure where this blog will lead me, but I’m mainly using it as a place to purge my thoughts and feelings and hopefully help somebody along the way. There shouldn’t be a taboo around the subject of baby loss, and if this blog spreads awareness of neonatal death and nothing else, then I will have achieved something. I never want Clay to be forgotten by anybody that his story has reached, like any parents with earth-side babies who want to talk about their babies fingers, toes and cute little nose, we do too. If you have any friends or family that have been burnt by baby loss, please don’t shy away from asking them about their children, from my own personal experience and other blogs similar to mine I’ve read online, we love to talk about our babies.

So if you want to learn a bit about my journey with grief and navigating baby loss, whether you are somebody I know, or just somebody who has stumbled across my blog as you yourself are on this unwanted journey, or somebody you know is going through baby loss and you want to gain an insight into how they might be feeling. I hope you stick around and read my rambles, I will try and be as raw and authentic as my heart and mind let me.

See you in the next one,

Clay’s mummy x

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Dec 09, 2021

It's so strange to be able to understand and relate to other peoples feelings and thought that you haven't met but reading them makes me feel little normal. Thank you. I live relatively close by in sutton in ashfield!


Jul 14, 2021

I'm sure you've connected with others in the baby loss community along your journey now, but I thought I'd share this blog about Henry here too x

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