"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Telling

I walked past a paramedic today, in his blue overalls with his stitched red name patch, and found myself weeping. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the one who got into the passenger seat and held my hand after the ambulance people had taken El Prima away, who told me I was calm while the fire fighters levered open the car to release my legs, and who used his stethoscope in the ambulance and thought he could hear a fetal heartbeat.  He did all that for me and I can’t remember what he looked like. 

He came back to Emergency to see me after he’d done all the paperwork. He came in and smiled, and asked how I was, and I had to tell him that my baby had died.  She was still there, buried in my belly which was just as enormous as it had been in the car and in the ambulance, but I think he was wrong about her heartbeat.  What made me cry this morning, though, was the memory of his face once I’d done the telling.   I had told Mum and Rima on the phone, but he was the first one I had to tell in person, and had to watch his reaction.

Aside from random encounters with paramedics, things are feeling a bit shaky at the moment. There is a lot more telling to come this year.  As some of you may know, ever since my second night in the ICU, I have been writing a book – about the accident, and Zainab, and me trying to wrap my head around it all. 

Mainly, I wrote it because I had to, and to honour Zainab and her place in our lives, but also I wrote it because you lovely lot were here to listen and encourage, and share your own experiences.  I can’t thank you enough for that.  I also wanted more books telling about the grief and what comes after, books which spoke babies’ names and dealt honestly with the strange dance between grief and hope when you are trying to conceive after babyloss. 

And soon, the book is going to be out there, telling my story all over the place, and that is a scary thought.  Less because I feel exposed, but more because I know I can’t tell this sorrow without inflicting some of it on you and anyone else who picks it up.  There may be faces like my paramedic, which crumple.  But I also wanted to take my story out of the realm of ‘tragedy’, and tell about the ordinariness of grief and trauma, and the way they gradually get woven in to what is essentially a happy life.  

Fortunately, there was a publisher willing to help turn all these words into a solid actual book – mostly thanks to the fabulous Monica Dux and her volume MothermorphosisIn preparation for all that telling, this blog is going to get its first makeover since 2009 – so I wanted to warn you that it may be on the blink or out of town for a little while in the lead up to publication on 31 July.  But I’ll be posting updates here and here if you would like to keep track.

Biggest thank yous and love,

Baby Lost: A Story of Grief and Hope is available to pre-order now at https://www.mup.com.au/items/206394