On Saturday, me and Steven attended our first ‘St Mary’s Rainbow Clinic’ coffee morning. A special gathering every 3 months for all the stillborn parents at St Mary’s in Manchester (where Avery was born).
To say we were apprehensive is an understatement, a room full of grieving parents in the hospital they lost their babies sitting together crying and having coffee? Not my idea of a perfect Saturday morning together. But, the reality was far from this, and it was actually the most positive day we’ve had since we lost Avery 9 weeks ago!
You really can’t expect what events like this are going to be like, you just have to put your big girl pants on and embrace it, because you’ll never know if you don’t try things, and what’s more, you could even enjoy yourself …
Before we left the house, we had agreed signals for what to do if we wanted to leave/ it was too much. I would squeeze his arm twice if I was ok and handling it, and three squeezes meant get me the hell out of here, I also asked him to do the talking to begin with in case I choked up.
I think it’s important in the beginning to prepare for events/ big outings, it takes away some of the fear if you have a plan – even if its a simple squeeze of an arm or an agreement of who will talk – it’s good to know you’re on the same page.
It’s always strange being back in the hospital and I’m sure everyone feels different emotions about it, but I personally feel content when I’m there. That’s the place my angel was brought into the world, where I got to spend precious hours with her and make memories, it’s also where I was a warrior as you’ll know from my posts I like to refer to us women as warriors – so hospital is a reminder of mine and Steven’s strength and beautiful baby – nothing scary about that.
When we first walked in, it was a little awkward, we didn’t know where to sit so we just plonked ourselves next to our bereavement midwife Vicky, who was taking to another young looking couple. The room wasn’t what I expected everybody was spread out on different tables doing crafts and generally having a nice time.
After Vicky spoke to the other couple, she came over for a hug and a chat – it’s always lovely to see the bereavement team in person – they’re miraculous people. Then, after she left we got talking to the young couple, and soon enough another young couple came over (I’d say we were all the youngest ones in the room, so naturally we were all drawn together).
Speaking to other baby loss parents was a revelation
We instantly all bonded, I went to high school with one of the mums, Mel – she was a few years above me which is just crazy – and they live just up the road from us. We all lost our little girls Avery, Alexa and Evie-Belle within 3 weeks of each other so we spent a couple of hours proudly taking turns to talk about our angels.
It was so comforting to speak to young women who’ve shared the same traumatic experience as me and feel everything I do, we had all the same fears and emotions and I got more from a couple of hours talking to them than I have in the past 9 weeks since Avery passed. It makes me sad that such brave, beautiful and inspirational women like Caroline and Mel have been through such a tragedy, but also in a strange way – it helped me and Steven to realise that we weren’t being punished, in fact bad things do happen to good people.
The dads are grieving too
The biggest thing for me was seeing Steven speak to two men his age about their experiences – people sometimes forget about the man but they’ve suffered just as much and its important they speak to people who have been through the same shit! (To read Stevens experience of losing Avery, read his guest blog)
We’ve all exchanged numbers and us mums even have our own angel mums Watsapp group now – something which I know I can go to if I ever just need to speak to them, because I’ll know they’re going through the same thing. We’re not alone and it makes it just that little bit easier knowing that!
It was such a great day, we’ve made new friends and it was great to see that the room was full of new-borns by the time we were leaving – lots of beautiful rainbow babies, which filled us with hope. I’m so glad we decided to go, and I know for sure we’ll be going to them every three months going forward!
One day at a time .. XO Nicole