Thursday, 1 November 2012


Day 31 Sunset. Fahamore, Castlegregory, Co Kerry Ireland taken from our upstairs window.
  I am glad I decided to participate in this project as it has allowed me to reflect on some questions which I had not answered for myself. I look at this project as a keepsake, that I can look back on in the future and remember where I was. I found some days challenging but over all it was a time for reflection. I enjoyed looking at what others captured and felt a connection to the baby loss community. I would like to thank Carly for putting this project together and allowing me the opportunity to participate. I would also like to thank all the other moms for sharing their story. 

Your Grief tell the world

Day 30 Your Grief Tell the world, I am a little late posting day 30 and 31. To be honest I found this post a hard one as there are so many things I can tell the world about my grief but I haven't sorted through them all yet myself. But here are a few that came up when I thought about it.

This is a long hard journey

Often life seems out of control

It can be lonely as many do not understand

It is important to know there is support and you are not alone

Sometimes I feel I have moved forward with my grief and suddenly without warning I find myself back at the beginning.

It is mine

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Day 29 Music, this album, doesn't remind of the twins, but it reminds me of the time I lost the twins. I listened to this album everyday for about two months after I lost Luke and Arthur. I remember when I had the energy to go for a walk I would put on my head phones on and I would just walk and listen to my i pod full blast. I think now and into the future it will always remind me of that time in my life and probably take me to that place again.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


Day 28 Memory, All I can think of is the blackness, the despair, that I felt over the past 10 months. This photo represents were I have been and where I am trying to crawl out of, it represents what I have lost and the hopelessness I have felt. It is a negative memory but unfortunately it overrides everything.

 I do have some positive memories, I met my two beautiful sons, I loved them. I got to know my son Arthur, I held him, I read him stories. I experienced being a mother for a moment. I have had supportive people around me. I have created memories of my boys. I have laughed, I have cried.

But overall the underlying theme is one of sadness....


Day 27 Artwork,
 I don't have a piece of artwork for the boys. I do love art and we have some beautiful pieces in our home. The pieces of art we own all come with a story and have a meaning to us, so hopefully I will find something that will encompass the boys story or bring me solace when I look at it.  But for now I have picked two wind chimes that were given to me by a dear friend one for each of the boys. The chimes hang in the boys room.  Their room is bare, and I rarely go into it as it is a constant reminder of what I have lost. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Their Age

Day 26:  Their Age, Luke was 24.5 weeks gestation when he was stillborn. What is really sad is he had a heartbeat up until his birth. Nobody knows what happened him but I  was told he was the comprised twin and therefore must have experienced stress during the birth.

Arthur lived for 2 weeks and 1 day in the neonatal unit, we had two birthdays for him we celebrated his first and second week of life.

Baby Shower/ Blessing

Day 25: Baby Shower Blessing

We don't generally do baby showers here in Ireland and I didn't buy anything before the babies were born. I was looking at the prams and cots but I would have got them closer to their due date. I was given a moses basket at around 18 weeks, but I put it away and it is still away.

When Arthur was in neonatal, we were advised to get some books and to read him stories. We got him books as well for his Christmas present. On Christmas morning when we arrived  into neonatal, Arthur had his own Christmas stocking full of goodies, hats, shoes, blankets and clothes. I was also given a beautiful blanket with Arthur's name on it, I wrapped Arthur in it and this is what he was cremated in. I was given some clothes for Arthur and a friend of mine had knit him some hats.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Day 24: Siblings. I have no other children just  Luke and Arthur. I do have four more frozen embryos  so there is the potential for four more siblings, but realistically I know how hard it is for me to become pregnant that I sometimes wonder will it ever happen for us. I want siblings for Luke and Arthur so badly it makes me hurt each and every day.

I have one sister and two brothers. My sister has been a huge support to me over the past 10 months. This picture is of us in India, it was taken seven weeks after Arthur died.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Their name, their photo

Day 23: Their name, their photo: Their names are Luke and Arthur Townsend. I have lots of the photos of my boys, which I am truly grateful to have. I don't want to share them here as I want to keep their photos private as that is all I have. I have included their scan pictures, which represent the days of innocence, when I believed I would give birth to my two beautiful babies and be able to keep them.

These pictures represent  the transformation that has happened in my life,  I once trusted this world but now I question everything. I now  feel unsafe as I know bad things can and do happen. How I wish I could go back to this safe place and change the outcome.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Place of birth

Day 22: Limerick Maternity Hospital. My babies were born in Limerick a city over two hours drive from my home. I was taken there by an ambulance as my local hospital does not have a neonatal unit. I remained in the hospital for five days until the twins were born. Arthur lived for two weeks and one day in the neonatal unit at this hospital.

The staff at the hospital were amazing, I was treated with such kindness and empathy. I don't know where to begin to thank the nurses who comforted me during the most difficult time of my life, the consultants that looked after me and  hugged me after labor and the nurses in neonatal who cared for Arthur and provided us with lasting memories. This is the building, where my sons lived and died.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Altar, Shrine, Sacred place

Day 21, Altar Shrine, Sacred Place. This is the first place I see when I wake up in the morning and the last place I see before I sleep...

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Day: 20, These are the three charity's that have supported me on this journey of grief.

A little lifetime foundation have offered me  a lifeline. I have received support  from them on their forum, parent support meetings and workshops.

Feileacain gave me the boys memory boxes at the hospital, which contained their teddies and blankets and a camera, which I used for Arthur while he was in neonatal.

Glow in the woods allowed me to connect with the wider baby loss community. I remember in the first few days after I lost Arthur I needed information on stopping lactation and baby loss and I found the answer on the glow in the woods website.

The people that run these charities are truly amazing and I am internally grateful for all the love and support that I have received.  Also to all the baby loss mothers who are part of this community,thank you for listening to my story and for sharing yours.

isands home page


Friday, 19 October 2012


Day 19 Project
I attended a workshop and made these two patches, which still remain unfinished. The patches are to be added to a quilt and the quilt is displayed at various events that take place around the country. It was the first workshop I attended and I went on my own, I found it extremely difficult, I was very nervous and cried for the first hour. My head was all over the place and I was telling my story and listening to the other mothers stories, so I wasn't doing much with the patch. Now that I have attended an event I feel a little more confident to attend another. 

Normally I am a physical person and I enjoy recreation sport such as cycling, running and walking. I would like to get involved in a project or event to help raise money for the neonatal unit where Arthur lived. This is something I plan for the future.

Family Portrait

Day 18 Family Portrait, This is a picture of our family album, it is the most precious item, which contains the photographs of our two beautiful sons Luke and Arthur. It was a gift to me from my partner, which I received on the babies due date. I love it and I love their photos. I also got photographs taken from the charity now I lay you down to sleep, which I only got  two weeks ago, I was really thrown when I  received them, they were taken the day before we cremated Luke.When I looked at the photos they made me cry as I didn't recognize myself.  I was looking at grief head on and the emptiness in my soul was so exposed in all the photos, I found it hard to look at them so  I put the photos away until I'm stronger.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Due date

Day 17: Due date,  This photo is of my first hospital record I was 8 weeks pregnant and my due date was written down for the first time the 29.3.12. I was looking over this form tonight and as you can see it has a heading that says pregnancy problems to date and they wrote No Problems. How I wish it continued like that and I remained innocent about baby loss.

What did I do on my due date? I donated two memory boxes in the boys name to the hospital. I got a piece of memorial jewelery to hold the babies ashes. I got a present from my partner, which was a picture book of the babies, which I can honestly say was the nicest gift anyone has ever gotten for me.

On the babies due date I also had a follow up appointment with Arthur's consultant from the neonatal department. The meeting was hard, but the consultant took his time with us and we talked about Arthur for nearly two hours. As the day was busy, it went by quickly. It wasn't till the following day that I felt the sadness take just caught up with me..It was like we filled the due day with symbolic gestures, which helped to distract..but then it just became black again.. I retreated to my bed..I was tired..

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Day 16: Release, Today was a simple yet uplifting experience. I decided to release two blue balloons in memory of my two little boys Luke and Arthur. The weather in Ireland today was unsettled. When I arrived home from work, I really didn't feel like going out in the elements, facing the wet and windy conditions. Thankfully our 16 year old lab mix had other ideas, so we headed down the beach with my two balloons. The beach was beautiful, there was a strong onshore wind with nice clean surf, to be honest it was a perfect evening. I had the two balloons tied together and one broke free, I was a bit upset as I wanted the two balloons to be released  together, but thankfully as the wind was onshore I was able to retrieved the balloon that got away and tie them together again. Then after a few photos, I let them go, they blew to the waters edge and back onto the beach, and I watched as the balloons danced down the beach, as though they were playing in the surf. All I could think about was the souls of my beautiful boys playing in the surf, beautiful..

Monday, 15 October 2012

Wave of Light

Tonight I joined in the wave of light and lit  candles in memory of Luke and Arthur and for all the babies around the world that couldn't stay.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Day 14: Community, I have no photos of a community gathering that I have attended, but I have attended two. The first gathering was at a patch making workshop. I remember I was very nervous attending and I burst out crying the minute I entered the room. I was very emotional and to be honest I found it hard to make the patch as my head was all over the place. I did settle in after a while and I got chatting with the other moms and listening to their stories. I was drained after the experience but it was really great to attend and to make something for my babies. I met another mom there who lost her baby two years ago but is at the same place as me with fertility treatments. What is really great is now I meet up with this mom on a fortnightly basis to go walking and have a chat. The patches that we made are to go on a quilt that is displayed at services and gatherings nationally.

The second gathering I attended was a parent support meeting which was held in September. Once more I was nervous attending and I cried for most of the evening. The beginning of the evening involved listening to a bereavement counselor discuss the various stages of grief as described by other baby loss mothers. After a few mothers stayed back and talked. I found the evening good but very sad.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Day 13: Signs, I like to think that I do get signs from the twins.  As I said in a previous post I need to see all my signs in two's for it to represent the twins. This morning as I walked the beach I saw a double rainbow and  it took me straight away to the twins. But I guess fluffy white feathers are what most represents to me signs from the twins. As I live on a beach I am constantly  finding white feathers, but its when the white feathers show up in unusual places that it really strikes me as a sign.

Two weeks ago I was attending a training  session for work. I was very nervous attending as I knew there were going to be some people at it that I would not have  met since I was pregnant. I was driving into the training and it seemed out of nowhere a white feather appeared on my lap. At first I was shocked as it really felt like a sign that the twins were with me. When I logically thought about it, I came to the conclusion that the feathers must have been in my bag and when I took my phone out the feathers must have come out as well and floated to my knee. However that it happened at a time when I really needed it as the feathers were probably in my bag for weeks was comforting. I love moments like this and thankfully I have had a few.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Day 12: Scents Todays entry was an easy one for me, there is one scent that takes me right back to neonatal and that is antibacterial hand wash. Every time we visited Arthur in the NICU we would wash our hands again and again. It was like preforming a ritual each day of his life. I remember being scared all the time that I would give Arthur something. I was on a lot of antibiotics, I was run down and my lips broke out in sores.  I used to scrub my hands, if I touched something I would wash again. What is so sad is that it is an infection that was the cause of his death in the end.

Luke was with us in the hospital room for the first couple of days of Arthur's life. After we cremated Luke and I was discharged from hospital I went to stay with my SIL as she lives close to the hospital. I was pumping milk at the time, and I set up a table in the bedroom for the pump and the steamer. My SIL gave me this bottle of anti bacterial hand wash, I used it everyday, I washed before and after I pumped.

After Arthur died, I bought the same bottle of hand wash and when I smell it, I am instantly back to Arthur's little lifetime. I love smelling it but I do not use it everyday. I keep it for my special time with Arthur, when I can absorb all of him xx

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Supportive family and friends

Day 11, Supportive friends/family, todays entry I picked a photo that was taken a month ago. I am smiling and was really having  fun. These two women have been with me every step of this journey, week in and week out they called to my door, they got me out walking and cycling again and even got me to do a scuba dive. They listened to me and mentioned my babies names. These women have made me smile again and for this I am truly grateful.

What I liked about doing this post is it made me think of all those who have been supportive to me and they are many. As I have already written in the past, I  have had a hard time with people I thought would be there for me and who were not, so it was good to do this exercise to think about those who were. My partner has been the most supportive person in my life,  he is right there with me everyday and night when I cry myself to sleep. My mom was amazing and really supportive and also suffered a huge loss, her first grandchildren. My sister has been my rock. There are many more and just thinking about it has made me realize how many supportive people I have had in my life these past few months. Thank you


Day 10: Symbol that reminds me of the babies, this is quiet challenging. I have a lot of symbols for the twins, such as butterflies, feathers, flowers, shells but as i thought about it they only become symbols if I see two. If I walk the beach and find a feather it means nothing to me unless I find a second one. So there it is I have a symbol for my babies and that is the number two 2.

I remember a few months ago I was driving to the clinic for a scan starting off my first FET , I was very emotional and it was early and two white butterflies flew in front of me, at that moment I felt the boys close. On my first day back to work , I was all over the place with my nerves and I found two small fluffy white feathers, I immediately felt a connection to the boys. I have had a few of these moments, whilst it makes me sad to think this is all I will ever have with my boys, these are also very special moments.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Special place

Day 9: Special place. I have a special place where I go, it is the beach which is a few minutes walk from my house.  It doesn't so much remind me of the boys but its where I think about them. I visit here most days to walk our dog. Our beach is 12km long and in the past few months I have got my partner to drop me off at one end where he fishes and I walk back. Its a great way to clear the cobwebs and to think and scream if I want as there are few if no people around.

I love this space, I collect white feathers and white shells, I write their names in the sand, I talk to them. In the middle of the beach behind the sand dunes there  is a lake where the boys daddy has a boat where he fishes with their grandfather. There are a lot of swans living on the lake and it is truly a beautiful place. My partners uncle had his ashes spread there during the summer he passed away a few days after the twins. I always thought I spread our boys ashes at the beach but I am now leaning towards the lake as their grand uncle is there, in a way that gives me some comfort and also their daddy spends almost every day there during the summer. So it is indeed a very special place!

Monday, 8 October 2012


Day 8: Jewelery, I picked the one piece of jewelery I wear everyday, it is a silver urn, where I carry a little piece of my boys ashes with me. I love this piece of jewelery and it is always close to my heart.

I was wearing it about a week ago and I was with a mom (client) and her two year old son who doesn't really talk and was really shy around me, he pointed to the necklace and said baba, baba. It felt like a sixth sense moment as these are the only words this child has ever said to me. I later discussed my encounter with my partner and I was trying to figure out why he was just pointing and saying baba, all I could think  of was that maybe he could see his reflection in the silver as it is so shiny or maybe he could sense the babies who knows but it did highlight that this necklace has become a symbol of my babies and I love wearing it close to my heart. 

What to say

 Day 7: What to say, I had a lot of lovely things said to me but the most important one is that my boys names are mentioned, that they are acknowledged and that I can speak out loud about them and that somebody is willing to listen. I also want to be told that I am a mother, as I am a mother to two beautiful boys whom I love much  more than words can express, so validating that was and is hugely important to me.

On my six week visit post natal, my consultant spoke about the boys and she said that every child comes into this world and leaves an impression, and we can learn from them and that my boy's can maybe teach us something that will benefit their future brothers or sisters. That statement has really stuck with me and even in the depths of despair, which is where I was at six weeks post natal, she gave me hope, for which I am truly grateful. 

Upon reflection, the people that said the right things were the people that were there and still are, the ones who took time to listen and wanted to hear the boys story. Others that were not as close but simply said I'm sorry also said the right thing as they took the time to acknowledge what had happened and  that is important too.. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

What not to say

Day 6 : What not to say. If I am honest I think I have been very lucky in terms of people  not saying the right thing. I have had very few bad comments, most people have been good. I think what has been the most hurtful is people saying nothing, pretending nothing ever happened.

The first what not to say comment I wrote is 'I feel your pain'. This was said  to me several times by someone really close to me.  At first I said nothing but then I answered back, how could you feel my pain did you loose a child. It made me feel angry, even though I know that it was said by someone who did feel very sad that I had lost the twins, but still how could they know how it felt.

The second comment 'maybe it is for the best' was said to me by a lady who also lost twins and has a child with a disability. We were discussing baby Arthur and his neonatal journey, she was saying how difficult life is with a severely disabled child. I was a little taken a back. I think I answered that it doesn't matter when your child is in front of you that is all that matters in the world and I would make any sacrifice for them as all I wanted was for him to live. 

Last week I met someone I hadn't seen since the babies were born, and they said congratulations what did you have, I was floored. I'm still recovering from that one but I think they are too.

Friday, 5 October 2012


Day 5 : I have chosen the certificate we got for planting an Oak tree in the national park close to where we live. I re-posted a picture of the forest where this is, it's beautiful, tranquil and by a small stream. I love it!!
Also included in the picture are two cards which were sent to us acknowledging a donation we made on behalf of our two boys to support the purchasing of memory boxes for local hospitals. These were the same memory boxes given to us which are now filled to the brim. At the time when I was given the boxes I was so sad all I could think of was here I was leaving the hospital with two boxes whilst everyone else around me had their babies. The cruelty of this still haunts me, but now I am glad to have something, I have boxes filled with love.

The following is the poem we read at Arthur's funeral, poor old Luke didn't have anything as everything was so out of control..

Precious, tiny, sweet little one
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure, and innocent
Just as you were meant to be.
We dreamed of you and your life
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come
And join our family.
We never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.
I’ll always be your mother.
He’ll always be your dad.
You’ll always be our child,
The child we never had
But now you’re gone…but yet you’re here.
We’ll sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy.
There’s love in every tear.
Just know our love goes deep and strong.
We’ll forget you never-
The child we had, but never had,
And yet will have forever.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Most treasured item

Day 4:  For most treasured item, I picked the beanie hats worn by my sons. When Luke was born he wore the white hat. The day we cremated Luke I gave him Arthur's first hat, and kept Luke's white hat. The yellow is Arthurs second hat, he wore it neonatal for about three days, it was a little small for him and there is a spot of his blood on it. In the initial stages after the boys death I kept their hats with me all the time, I took them everywhere and I slept with them. I used to smell them and I could smell baby Arthur. Now I keep them in the boys memory box.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

After loss self portrait

Day 3:  After loss self portrait, this one was hard for me. I don't have many pictures of me since the loss of the twins. We did a few trips away and those are the ones I have, so I picked this one. It is a picture of me in Paris, I picked it because of the necklace I am wearing it is where I carry the twins ashes. So even when I was feeling lonely and tired on the trip I had the babies close to my heart. This portrait of  me picking up the pieces and trying to assume some sort of normality in my life. I may be smiling but inside I'm sad.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Before loss self potrait

 Day 2: Before loss: before I knew what I know now, innocence, happiness. I was doing fertility treatments but I had hope, I saw a future I was happy .  It was my birthday we had a picnic. It makes me sad to see this picture..

Monday, 1 October 2012


I have decided to try at least try to participate in the Carly Marie project and document my grief for the month of October 2012 as part of the pregnancy and infant awareness month. The project starts with the sunrise on the first day of the month and ends with the sunset at the end of the month and then lots in between..So here goes!

Day 1. Sunrise, this photo was taken on the 1st of October 2012 in Co.Kerry Ireland at 7.45 am.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Nine months

Its nine months  since baby Luke was still born. Nine whole months since my life turned upside down and inside out. It is the same amount of time that one is suppose to carry their baby. Its sad to think of all that time and I still sit here with empty arms and a broken heart.

I'm confused as to how I feel at the moment, I can be happy, sad, angry and quiet all in a matter of minutes. I fleet through all these emotions, talking to myself all the time. I tell myself I am doing well, look how far I have come. I tell myself I and we will be OK. I tell  myself I will have my rainbow baby. I dream about that baby and then I dream about my dead babies. I'm up, I'm down. To be honest I don't really know what I feel, I feel confused.

I had two days away last weekend with friends, I had fun. I kept it together, for two days. I was proud of myself, I even enjoyed myself. On the way home I stopped for teas and cake with one of my friends and she asked that question, how are you. It was not the how are you that others ask, where you answer I am good, or doing as well as you could expect. It was a deeper and more meaningful how are you really. I felt all my emotions rising, the ones I managed to control for two whole days, and tears filled my eyes. I answered I am coping but I am sad, I am still lost. I blurted out about our recent fertility failures and how it affected me, she listened, we ate lemon meringue pie. It felt good to be honest to someone, to say I am finding it difficult. It was good that she asked. 

Its tree planting season, so the tree for the boys should be planted in the next few weeks, I visited the forest two weeks ago, the  picture below is of some of the trees, which sit beside a river. This is the same site that our tree will be, it is beautiful and tranquil and I look forward to making my pilgrimage to visit this place when I need to.

I am still waiting for my AF to arrive after my hysterscopy. I am two weeks late with no chance of being pregnant. I contacted my clinic and they said this happens. I was hoping to be doing my scan for my next cycle by now, but nothing. In some ways it is good as it has slowed me down, but I also want to just start. I have a built up tension, which I need to release with my cycle, but this has been going on for weeks. I am trying to nurture, my mind, my body and my soul. I am exercising, eating well, drinking herbal teas, taking baths,and burning candles. Theses practices make me feel good most of the time, but at other times I find it hard to motivate myself, or to feel good or to even care.

I got all my blood work results back, I tested for immunes such as NK cells and thyroid.  All came back clear. I am within the normal range for everything. I have taken another step forward at eliminating why I sit here with a broken heart and empty arms. I have also read some research that doing a hysterscopy can have a positive effect for implantation even if they don't find anything as it helps clean out the uterus. So I wait for my AF patiently, praying that all this work pays off for our next cycle and then in nine months my arms will be full and my heart healing.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Its been a good week. I have had moments where I have felt good, I have had snippets of who I was and for this I am grateful. I laughed, hiked, ate out, went to see live music and felt alive for the first time in a long time. I feel my grief has changed, maybe only for this week, but its nice to feel a change. I still guarded myself from the world and stayed close to people who have been by my side throughout this journey. I am grateful for these friends, my few friends, the ones who saw me at my worst, the ones who called without fail even when they were turned away as I couldn't bear to see anybody. The ones who still plan little excursions for me to get me out and doing stuff. The friends who still remember my two sons and allow me to mention their names. The friends who care about me and have given me time, their time, which is the most valuable gift of all.

I have been making an effort to do stuff and to engage more. Whilst I go to work and participate in my basic existence, I have been trying to do more. I don't feel terrified walking to and from work anymore, I still look down and avoid eye contact but its getting better. I exercise, still only a little but I feel it benefits my mind body and soul. My mussels ache, the pain I can bear, I can manage, I know it will go away in time. Physical pain is much more tolerable than emotional pain, physical pain I can control. I have been feeding my body with vitamins, and good food. I am burning candles, worshiping everything and nothing. I am trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for more fertility treatments.

I haven't thought much about my treatments, I have just been waiting for my results to come through. Its been good to take a break if only for a few weeks. I had the biopsy results this week. The results are that I have a poorly developed secretory phase endometrium. whatever that means. I had no phone call to explain just a letter and a good luck on my IVF journey. Google has not given me any answers either. What I have gathered is that the the secretory phase is when the body secretes progesterone and the lining prepares for implantation, mine is thus poorly developed in one part. I sent my results to my clinic, and they said that I will need extra estrofem and I will be on Viagra to increase blood flow to my lining. Everything else inside my uterus is normal, which is positive I guess. In a sense I am happy that there is a bit of a change in my protocol going forward, it makes me feel more confident.

Now I await my AF to arrive, so that I can start the journey again. I am four days late, but there is no chance that I am pregnant. Its funny now I just want AF to arrive, usually I pray that it won't. What a messed up world I live in. A few weeks ago I was determined this would be my last treatment, but I met a brave baby loss mom recently and her words have given me courage, she said she will never give up until she has a baby in her arms. This will not be my last cycle if it fails, but it will mean that I will take a break before going again. I just needed head space to think about it and I will keep trying until I can't anymore.

I picked this picture as it really means something to me, friendship has been an important theme for me throughout this journey. I value my friendships but still find it hard to reconcile those that should have been there and who weren't. I know this is part of my journey and it is something that I will have to find peace with so that I can move on. They say forgiveness is the key, but I am yet unwilling to forgive or forget but I am working on it.   

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Rainy Days

I am taking a few days off work after I had my hysteroscopy last Friday. The procedure went well and they found nothing wrong. The consultant did say that part of my lining was a bit thick so they biopsied it and I will get the results during the week. So another bridge crossed. To be honest I was hoping they would find something so I would have a reason for my last two failed cycles. I know that it is better to find nothing but its frustrating as there is nothing I can fix.

I have had a hard week, felt down haven't been doing much, still spending a lot of time at home, then a friend from my days of living in the America came to visit and it really picked me up. I am really grateful, to feel a bit of life in me again. I had a nice few days, eating ice cream, getting out for walks and chatting.The first day was a long chat about the boys and a good cry and then I had a bit of fun. It is nice to have a bit of fun, to feel light, to feel motivated.

One of our conversations stuck with me, I was explaining how low I have felt in this grief, the lack of control over my life and its outcomes have been difficult to bear. I have always seen myself as a cautious person but sociable and determined. In our conversation it is evident at how lost I am, how different I am and how much I don't care about things, I thought were important. We talked about depression. I work with people with depression and in my family members suffer from depression but I never really truly understood what was going on for these people. Now I know, it is dark feeling. I see people around me who seem happy and are doing stuff and are living and I feel  dissociated from them and their world, I feel like I have nothing in common, I am alone, my world is so far away and so much darker.

I know that I have been and perhaps still am depressed. I have had an insight into a dark part of my soul. It is OK to feel like this, after all I have something to be depressed about, but I also need to make goals to allow myself some light time. I use the term light as depression is heavy and it is tiring. My friend said it would be an idea to start making some goals to achieve steps to move forward. I have been told this in the past and I have told myself that, and I have done it, but then I lose my way again. The failed cycles have been really difficult and painful. It takes time to get back up after such hard knocks, but I will.

So today my friend is gone, and I am still off work, I walked in the rain and it felt good. I felt good for doing it. It was my chicken soup for the soul. I need to push myself a bit more, I need to do a bit more outside of thinking about IVF, tests and babies. I dreamt about having a baby last night and it felt OK. Tomorrow I am getting my immune bloods done, another test off the list and on Friday I will meet another baby loss mum and go for a nice long walk.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

What next?

I have taken a break over the past week from thinking about fertility treatments. We decided to go away for a few days and tour around Ireland. It was a well needed break and gave us time together to reconnect. I find at home, I have gotten in to a bit of a rut.  I did two fertility treatments back to back and thus I limited my activity and people whom I saw, so my life was put on hold . Now I don't know what to do with myself so the best thing I could think of was to run away for a few days and sightsee.

We visited the rock of Cashel, which is a castle and a cathedral built on a rock. It was the home of the kings of Munster, which is the area of Ireland that I am from. There was an old graveyard attached to the cathedral, which I found myself wandering around. I stopped at graves were babies were buried, and wondered what their story was, I feel a huge amount of empathy for all these babies who never got a chance to live. It was sad but also cathartic.

We then went on to visit Newgrange, which is a world heritage site, built 5000 years ago. The site is a place for ritual and burial. The ancient people used to cremate their dead and place them the chamber in the center of the structure. On the shortest day of the year light  from the morning sunrise enters the chamber. The site represents the living and the dead. There are symbols of fertility positioned around the site, life and death side by side. These ancient people  did not live long lives, most died by the age of 40 and the infant mortality rate was extremely high. These people built this amazing structure to worship their dead, whilst celebrating life. I wear a locket with some Luke and Arthur's ashes in, so whilst in the chamber I was compelled to leave a few grains of their ashes alongside these ancient people. It is a little ritual for me to participate in, which I guess is all part of the healing process.

Now I am back home and once more fertility treatments become the main agenda, what next? I have decided to do another fresh cycle. I am going to get a hysteroscopy before the cycle as I want to ensure that the inside of my uterus is OK. After I gave birth to the boys part of my placenta retained, so I had a manual removal and a DNC.The procedures went well, but I want to check to see if there was any scaring. I have asked to get a biopsy while they are in there and I hope to get tested for NK killer cells. I have also decided to get some immune bloods done. I was given a list of bloods to check, I have had some of the blood work done already but what I will get this time is Anti-Thyroglobulin Ab, Anti-Histone Antibodies, Anti Throperoxidase Ab and Anti Nuclear Antibodies. Then if all is clear I will do the fresh cycle in either October or November. My clinic is not recommending the blood tests, but at this stage, I have done every test in the book except these so my thought is this time I might as well throw the kitchen sink at it. If something shows up at least I have a better understanding, and if all is clear I know in my heart I have left no stone unturned.

I must admit I am weary of all these  treatments, I am tired and I feel my life is on hold. The truth is right now I don't have a life, which I know is not healthy. I have also been goggling, when do you decide to end fertility treatments and from the suggestions that others have written, I am getting close to that place. I hate having to wait again to do the treatment, but in another breath I need the time as I am so broken after the last one. I have always found fertility treatments hard but since loosing the twins it is now so much harder.

Epictetus,' One must not tie a ship to a single anchor, nor life to a single hope'...

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One more time

Well its all come to an end once more.. I tested on Saturday and it was a BFN.. I am sick of writing that word. I became a little bit crazy on Saturday, I spent the whole day on the internet trying to make sense of why my embryos are not taking and where do I go from here.. Before the transfer I had decided to try another fresh cycle, but I want to ensure that if I go again that I am giving myself the best opportunity to succeed.. I didn't grieve on Saturday, in fact I didn't think at all, but then on Sunday it hit me harder than ever before, I was numb, silent and in pain. I spent Sunday and Monday in a daze, it felt like an out of body experience, things happening around me but I was somewhere else observing from afar. Today I am finding my way back to myself but it isn't easy. I am filled with fear about the future and what will happen next.

Last night I dreamt that I was traveling on a boat with my DH and some other passengers. I went to the bow of the boat and could see that a ship had been shipwrecked ahead of us. The ship was sitting on top of huge boulders and the waves were crashing all around. As we approached, a huge wave lifted the ship off the rocks and and it came crashing down on the boat we were in. I was screaming we need to jump, we need to get off this boat. I ran pulling my DH behind me (if it was real, I don't think that part would be true!!). When we reached the stern of the boat we jumped holding on to each other. The boat was sliced in half and was sinking, we were trying to keep our heads above water, I went down a few times but reached the surface again, it was so frightening.. we were close to the shore so with all our strength we started swimming. Witnesses on the shore waded into the water to help people, a couple carrying a baby pulled me and my DH out.. we were saved.. Now analyze that !!!

After some research on Google, this explanation makes the most sense to me.When you are drowning in your dreams, it is likely, you feel out of control in real life. You are overwhelmed with your current situation. In fact, you are so overwhelmed that your troubles are figuratively drowning you. You are sinking further into debt, experiencing lack of progression or even depression. Dreaming of drowning with a loved one often means that you are not just overwhelmed. It could mean you feel someone else is being affected by your lack of competence. In other words, you are drowning and taking them down with you, or vice versa. I think Freud may have a different perspective but this makes sense to me. I'm not sure what to make of the second part of my dream. We did start swimming and saved ourselves and were helped by a family and a baby, which perhaps symbolizes that by persevering we will get to our ultimate goal of having a baby.

So where do we go from here, I emailed my clinic this morning and they didn't recommend any more tests but felt that a fresh cycle would give better results. I asked them about doing Immune bloods, and a procedure called IMSI, which is similar to ICSI, where they select the best sperm but in IMSI it is magnified 6000 times. I received an e-mail back and they said that the sperm was fine and they didn't recommend the immune testing. I have a consultant here in Ireland who is away on holidays at the moment but when she returns I will put those questions to her. I am going to take a few weeks at a less frantic pace and see what if any tests I will do, but will try again in October. I am aware it may fail again in October but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.. I found a great quote that seems fitting to my current situation 'Our weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time' Thomas Edison.

Monday, 23 July 2012

5 days to go

I have five days left before I test and I have no symptoms.. a few cramps from the progesterone. I wish the time would go quickly but on the other hand I don't want my hope to be taken away so I am glad of this time. I wish I was positive but I am struggling to find that positivity.

My cousin called on Sunday, and it was OK. We engaged in general chit chat but she never mentioned the twins, how the past few months have been for me or how was I feeling. It wasn't worth trying to make an issue of it, and now I am glad as it allows me to move on. We will always be related, we will see each other and thats OK. Our relationship will probably remain the same, I just perhaps thought it was something different.

A neighbor dropped by last Friday, she has lost two of her sons to tragedies one at 3 years old and the other in his late twenties. I never had any contact with her previously, but as we sat in the living room our two souls could understand each other. I am really grateful to her for making space for me and asking about my boys, when her own losses are unimaginable. I could speak freely to her about the birth and about all of little Arthur's milestones in neonatal. One thing that struck me is she was genuinely interested in talking about the boys and telling me of her experience of grief. When she asked to see some photos of the boys, I was delighted to pull out their album as I don't show many people that visit their photos. I am very grateful that I had that opportunity to sit with her and talk so openly. Afterwards I was shattered and emotional but it was good.

Lately I have been finding white feathers. A forum that I frequent, discusses white feathers as a sign of our children reminding us that they are near. I really like this idea. I don't remember ever seeing feathers before but now I am finding them and it is a good feeling. Today I picked one up as I was walking into work just lying on the street. I'm not sure what I believe in or where we go after we die, but the white feathers put Luke and Arthur at the forefront of my mind and that makes me smile. I have kept the feathers and placed them in the boys memory boxes to hopefully one day put in their scrap book.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

It's been a while

Its been a while since I last wrote anything down. I have been avoiding it, I don't know why I just didn't want to write. I have had a hundred different moods and a lot of white noise inside my head. I also did another FET and am currently on another 2 week wait but I have a gut feeling it didn't work. I hope I am wrong and I am staying quiet relaxed, I just don't think a frozen transfer is as good as a fresh.

I transfered last Saturday, once again I traveled to Kiev on my own. The trip went well, the clinic defrosted six embryos to get the best two. They said they all defrosted well and they re-frosted four and then transfered two. I really wanted to transfer three as the odds are so much less for a frozen but I couldn't as I really don't want another high risk twin pregnancy. There is always hope, but I have already made plans to go again in October with a fresh cycle if I am unsuccessful. I just feel really tired of scans and medication and more scans. Its like a never ending saga!!!

I am back to work now two weeks and I called in sick this week because of the transfer. I am not happy to be back, I haven't gelled with anybody yet and spend most of my day wanting to go home. I don't think some of my co workers really get what has happened to me and I really don't care about their plans or what they are doing. I know I am being selfish but hey what are you going to do. I know that with the whole IVF process going on my mind is full so I really don't have time for others. I just want to be pregnant with a baby and that is where all my energy is directed. I just don't know when enough is enough.

I think DH is tired of it too, as I haven't been up to doing anything we are drifting a bit. DH has moved on, I know his heart is broken but he is coping much better on the outside anyway. During the whole IVF process and especially a frozen cycle DH has had very little involvement, so it is hard for him to really get the emotional roller coaster. It is completely understandable why we are in very different places. I just wish we weren't. I remember when the we were in the hospital room the night the twins were born, Luke was dead and Arthur was in neo natal, that night we were the most emotionally connected ever, it was like we were on a higher plane just the two us and our children. I guess that type type of extreme emotion can only last a short time and then we return to trying to get on with it..

I'm battling a lot over friendships at the moment, I know this has been a theme over the past few months but it is some of the white noise that is circling in my head. I would love to let it go so it doesn't take up so much head space.. I have had two friends who have been extremely good to me. My best friend has been good as well but she doesn't live nearby so I don't get to see her much. My cousin whom I thought was a friend has been awful,she called in February for half an hour that was it.. I got a few texts to meet for lunch and a happy birthday text. I grew up with this girl we are the same age we used to meet for lunch every second week, we socialized together, we were friends. I feel so betrayed. Now she wants to call at the weekend and to be honest I don't want to see her but I also know that I can't avoid her as we are family so we will meet. I am just so conflicted. I'm dreading meeting her, I will get my sister to be here as back up, I hope I can be polite, but I really don't feel like investing anything into this relationship. It just makes me sad, I have lost so much and I am still loosing, but at least I have control over this loss. I am also afraid that she is coming to tell me that she is pregnant as I know she has been actively trying.

I have quiet successfully sheltered myself from pregnancies, I don't mind seeing people I don't know but can't bear the thoughts of seeing people I do know. Its like a double edged sword, all I want is to be pregnant but I don't want to be around babies or pregnant women...

I went to a local support group to make patches for the twins for a national quilt that is displayed at different events. I still need to finish them, but I am delighted to have made something for the boys that will be displayed .. I will post here when I am finished. When I arrived at the group I just couldn't stop crying I found it so hard. The other mothers were fantastic, and it was great to connect face to face with other mothers.

The journey continues and my two peas in a pod are forever in my mind. I am hoping my 2 little embryos are developing, I test on the 28th of July so fingers crossed .. Somewhere in the photo there are 2 little embryos!!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Baby Arthur

It is six months today, that I said goodbye to my second born Arthur Townsend. I promised that I would have his story written for his six month mark but I have been unable to find the strength to do so.

 I loved that little man who stayed with us for two weeks and one day. It breaks my heart to think about him as we really got to know him. Today six months ago was the worst day of my life, we had lost one son and were barely surviving, we were kept going because we had a miracle baby, our second son. Then he died and our world came crashing down around us. Arthur's death was so sudden, like his birth. The day before he was doing well, he had a great night and within a few hours he was dead. Arthur died in my arms, he was not alone, his daddy didn't make the hospital on time. Nothing about his death seemed real and even thinking about it now at this moment, is heart breaking for me. My son died in my arms..

Arthur was perfect, he was a fighter, he beat the odds for two weeks, but he couldn't fight an infection which finally took him. I am still angry at everything, everyone and at the world for taking him. I am grateful that I had two weeks with him and that I held him, that I read him stories, I spoke to him, I changed him, I cleaned his face (he was the image of his daddy), I loved him...

Where am I today.. I am sad so very very  sad...

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Here we go again

Today is the first day of trying to conceive again. I'm day one of my cycle and its all ahead of me, the scans, the transfer, the trip to Kiev, the two week wait and the pregnancy test...

Its been a testing week. I flew to Paris last Monday, it was a nice distraction but at times I wish I was at home in bed away from the world. I missed hubby, as I took the trip with a girlfriend. At times I felt hollow, or I was going through the motions, watching as a passerby. Watching the world continue on, the happy families visiting the sites. I wondered did they know pain, have they experienced loss.. I drank wine, I got emotional, I enjoyed the atmosphere, it rained (I loved it, as often I think it suits my mood), I was exhausted, it was a change. Now I am back and I'm day one of my cycle.

This time last year I was preparing for the cycle with the twins, I had egg collection on the 6th July and transfer on the 9th.. This transfer will be on the 12th or 13th of July. I was so innocent this time last year, hoping to get pregnant, thinking that was the hard part out of the way, not knowing what lay ahead. I was hopeful and a year on I still am as I don't think I would be trying again if I wasn't, but I am no longer innocent. I have fear, of what can go wrong and a knowledge that it can happen to me.

In the past year, I have know a mothers love, I have known a mothers greatest loss. I have lost friends and gained a deep closeness to others. I have reflected on what is important to me and what is not. I have taken time out from the fast pace of my life and I have slowed down. I feel a stronger love and a deeper understanding of my DH and I know I am with a wonderful, patient, man who will care for me in sickness and in health. I have experienced my greatest joy and my deepest sorry. I have experienced trauma, depression, loneliness, self hatred and a hatred of the world. In the past year I have grown up.

I start back to work tomorrow. I am dreading it, I have thought up of a thousand excuses to extend it another week. As I will need time off to scan this week, I may just go in for two days this week and then three days next week. I will have to wait and see how I feel in the morning. I know it will be good to get the first day over with and go from there, I just wish it wasn't tomorrow... I wish a lot of things but life continues on and time does not stand still.