How did it get to July already! This year is flying by with every day being one more away from the last time we will ever see our baby girl and one more day into this grief journey that we never asked for. I have days where I catch myself just blankly staring at a wall shaking my head in disbelief like “what the hell just happened to us?” wondering who the hells life we’re living. I think that the shock part of our loss is very much both with Steven and me still as we honestly can’t believe that all those months of planning to start our lives with our baby girl was all in a sense for absolutely nothing .
We’re not the people we we’re before we fell pregnant and we’re not the people we were whilst pregnant so who are we now? So I guess that’s really what these last 5 months have been about for us, trying to work out who we are as people/individuals and as a couple. Where do we fit into this new world with our new way of thinking and a very big broken heart.
The biggest changes I think we’ve both made is that we have now started new jobs. For Steven staying with his old company was too much of a reminder of all the things that were taken away from him. Each morning when we were expecting Francesca he would get in his van and drive to work checking in on me and bump throughout the day, listening to music he was going to play her and planning the next 40 years of our lives around her until that day he had to drive home in it to take me to the hospital to have her reduced movements checks and then …nothing …just like that all those hours spent planning were all for nothing and all that was left was a broken daddy. He could no longer listen to the music he played (still to this days there are full albums that we can’t listen to) and instead of enjoying the hours he had to plan his baby girls future, those hours were spent with his mind torturing him with vivid flashbacks to the worst days of our lives. I am so glad to say his company were absolutely fantastic and so supportive of him with a few even coming through for the funeral which was such a lovely thing for them to have done and I know they’re support through that time meant so much to Steven. But he felt in himself it was time to move on and i’m proud to say he has a job with the company he has pretty much idolised since his engineering apprenticeship days and is doing brilliantly and I couldn’t be prouder.
For me I had to make the hard decision give up my Make Up Artistry business after growing it into a little business I was super proud of with the most amazing clients who have became friends. I worked right up until after I was 9 months with the biggest bump and daft waddle and I don’t think iv ever been as happy, sharing my work each day with my daughter in my bump doing what I loved while getting to spend time chatting to my mates and making people feel beautiful. I was by no means mentally capable to jump back into the energetic bubbly role and more importantly I was no longer physically capable to continue on. I struggle daily with excruciating back pain which travels up my spine and down both my legs. The birth really took its toll on me and frustratingly this is something I will need to live with. Francesca had moved into a back to back position against my spine and as she was unable to move or help herself she was stuck there for over 24hours which caused a lot of issues at the delivery stage. Mix that in with the years of back issues I had previously and the “botched” epidural where it took 9 goes at placing it in my back and you have a perfect remedy for a dodgy ass back. So lifting my heavy kit or standing for hours on end is unfortunately no longer an option. The day I made the final decision to let my clients know I was leaving was one of the hardest days so far, again I felt that feeling of failure creep in and that I was letting people down and I wish more than anything life could go back to how it was only last year. Sadly now I can’t even bring myself to open my brush roll or make up kit as it’s a massive trigger to me for the life I used to have and loved but was taken away. I now work for a company who I am pleased to say have been fantastic with me since starting in June and I will definitely look to write a blog on returning to work after loss one day incase it may help someone else out there worrying about this the way I did.
One of the things that Steven wanted to change when we got home from the hospital was our house. The happy memories of decorating the nursery together and baby proofing the full house was too much to bear some days. I will never forget the feeling of walking back through our front door after having to leave our baby at the hospital to a house full of darkness with the most awful empty feeling but a nursery room full of everything baby related you could imagine. We decided to stay here in the end as we couldn’t leave her room and all the memories it held. It would be like losing another little piece of her all over again. It was a struggle and still is some days. I don’t think there has been a morning that’s went by where Iv been able to hold it together after my alarm goes off and looking to the side of the bed and staring blankly to where her little crib should be but isn’t. Even silly things like sunbathing out the back with the great weather were having here has been tinged with absolute sadness as we both keep thinking that she should be chilling beside us in one of the sundresses and hats we bought her chuckling away at her daddy playing keekaboo for the gizzilionth time that day.
Health wise its been a struggle for me, mentally and physically. Grief is sometimes a physical pain and can tear you down at the most random times. I struggle from vivid memories mainly from the days surrounding Francesca’s death that hit me with all the waves of emotions that I felt in that moment and they are the hardest to deal with. It can be caused by places, items or a conversation and it creates an unnatural wave of panic that tightens my chest but I have no choice but to ride it out and wait until it passes. One of the best pieces of advise I was given from a fellow bereaved parent on Instagram was not to fight the pain, let it in, ride it out and just FEEL, it’s the only way to get yourself through the pain to healthier place one day. I decided to try and get some control over my life by doing all I could to get my body to a healthier place as I knew it was the only way I could find the strength to deal with what was to come such as our post mortem results, addressing the failings in Francesca’s care and in general just dealing with life on a day to day basis. So I took my weak ass to the gym, out tons of dog walks and did my best to eat as healthy as I could and bit by bit I felt an inner strength come out that I didn’t even know existed. . Over the last few months iv had a few other health concerns raise their ugly heads so I just take them one day at a time too and as a result of the back issues i’ve had to knock the gym on the head for time being but look so forward to getting stronger again one day and taking this tubby ass back to it!
I think what’s really gotten us through the last 5 months is just each other and I know how lucky I am to say that. On saying that, I completely understand why couples struggle to stay together after the loss of their child. You deal daily with your own inner demons and it takes a strong couple to keep the love strong in amongst the sadness you both feel. When in think back to the first couple of months, in a way I guess I did my best to push Steven away because I didn’t feel I deserved to be loved as I felt at complete fault for the death of our daughter. Every time I looked at his face it broke my heart that little bit more and I hated seeing him so sad. I felt I let him down and failed at being able to give him a long happy life with his daughter. But he was always there to give me a cuddle or just sit with me when I need him and still does each day. As a couple we have came out the absolute worst time of our lives as two broken souls that are the tightest unit that could ever be with the most amount of love and respect for each other so for that I am one lucky girl.
As always for Francesca Alexis Johnston
Born on 8/2/18 at 6.01am XXX