Tuesday, 29 May 2018

#StillOurBaby Poppy.

My second in the series of #StillOurBaby. Today Ceri is sharing her precious little girl, Poppy. Please note, this post contains images. 


When I fell pregnant with my second child, it was a little bit of a shock as we weren’t actively trying. We were still in shock but it was easing into excitement when I had a heavy bleed at around 6 weeks. A visit to the GP ended with us being told we were likely to be miscarrying, but we were directed to go to EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit) for further tests in case it was an ectopic pregnancy.  The long wait in EPU was difficult only to be sent home after being told it was very likely to be a miscarriage, but a scan in two weeks would tell us if it was all gone. Just that terminology, if it was all gone was devastating. The two weeks that followed were so hard. Trying to keep the faith that baby had hung on in there. The sonographer was phenomenal at both appointments (2 weeks apart) showing us that baby had hung on in there and was oblivious to the worry it was causing.
The pregnancy continued with usual symptoms. I had quite bad morning sickness and nausea, but once we found out at 20 weeks it was a girl, it kind of made sense. The excitement and hope within all of us, including our 5 year old son was beautiful. At 24 weeks Poppy had some irregular heartbeats, but by 28 weeks, as we have been told is quite normal, these corrected themselves to a wonderfully strong heartbeat. 
I had struggled in my first pregnancy with lower back pain and was told at 28 weeks I had left it too late to get help, and with my job at the time, I was on my feet all day. I had hoped that my lifestyle this time round would help me. This pregnancy I was determined to do everything right. I started private physio weekly and took up ante-natal yoga also. The pain started at 14 weeks in my lower back and continued throughout. The pain was getting worse and I wasn’t feeling relief in what I was doing. I went to the GP on 4th December desperate for him to refer me to an osteopath for some medication-free support. I had noticed that Poppy’s movements reduced when I took paracetamol and didn’t want to take any pain killers because of this. I was told I hadn’t tried everything until I had tried 8 paracetamol a day and then gone back for other pain relief, but reluctantly he would “introduce” me to an osteopath. I was also told that pregnant women feel pain differently, that in a study women were tested with the same needle every day over the course of the month and hormones made women’s perception of pain think it was getting worse, when in actual fact it was no different. I had got to the point when it was painful to walk the 5 minutes to school for the school run, I had to shuffle with small steps and wearing a girdle. I left the Drs feeling that I hadn’t done enough, so I took some pain relief.
At around 5pm on 5th December I started to get quite bad cramping and pains In my abdomen, I rang the Daily Assessment Unit and was transferred to Delivery Suite. They told me to come in. I was checked and monitored and all was fine. I took a picture of the graph showing Poppy’s heartbeat. I was told she was fine. I was sent home with a codeine tablet. I came off the machine at 7.30pm.

 At some point between 7.30pm and 10am when I returned to the hospital for a routine growth scan and was meant to be monitored (at the Drs request from Delivery Suite the night before), our baby fell asleep. I woke up the morning of the 6th December feeling odd. I woke up with the word “peaceful” in my head and tried to shake it off. I noticed that Poppy wasn’t moving like she would normally do, but put that down to being given the codeine the night before. I had some fizzy drink and some chocolate to get her moving ready for the scan.
My friend was with me that day, I went into the scan room, expecting to see my beautiful baby. I remember commenting on how strong her thigh bones looked. The sonographer was taking her measurements. The moment, that still makes me cry months later is when she put her hand on my arm and said “Ceri, I’m really sorry there is no heartbeat”. I screamed and screamed. “Crying no, not my baby, check again”. I was hysterical. Beyond hysterical in truth. So much of that time I have pushed so far back as it just too painful to think about and remember.
My husband and I were told that we would need to collect some items for Poppy to wear and items that I would need for labour. Looking back now, we were told we could go away and come back in a few days. I’m so very glad we didn’t do this. I hadn’t even thought about that I would still have to deliver her. I needed it to happen quickly, I wanted to hold my girl. The midwife rung ahead and asked the local Mothercare to put aside some tiny baby outfits for her, We knew from the scan she was about 4lb. We went into auto-pilot mode. Collecting our belongings and the items we needed for Poppy. 
We arrived at the Bereavement Suite and had a “few” I think it was about 20 vials of blood taken from 2 cannulas in my wrists, which weren’t successful, so the midwife had to use a vein further up. We were warned that starting labour could take a few days. I was numb. I couldn’t believe my world had shattered and so had my families. I had text my best friend in Canada, within the hour she was on a plane to be with me. I couldn’t believe she was coming, we hadn’t asked her to come but it was very much needed. Darren and I needed her support. Hayley will forever be a huge part of our good memories of this difficult time.

 I opted to have morphine for the pain relief and everyone in the room was on “light” watch, to press the button to dispense more as soon as it came on.  I was out of it, I needed to be. I couldn’t take any more pain.
Our beautiful baby girl Poppy Rosalyn Snowflake Crannis was born on 7th December at 6.39pm weighing 3lb 140z. She was beautiful. If I could go back to that moment of holding my girl again, I would in a heartbeat.
I know everyone deals with grief differently, and some may think that the way I have dealt with Poppy’s death to be distasteful, but what I have done and how I have done it, has been the only way I could get through. Losing a child is hell on earth. 

 What has helped me to come to terms with losing Poppy:
·I read various texts, books, blogs about baby loss and stillbirth, only very recently have I been able to ready about Pregnancy after loss
·I talked to friends initially, but that soon changed to just wanting isolation and not leaving my safe place, home.  
·  I removed negative people from my immediate circle that tried to the make the situation about them
·I cried, I sobbed,
·I listened to music
·Darren and I planned a wonderful funeral for Poppy, it was important for us that her funeral was in 2017, the funeral directors and church worked with us to help make this happen
·I had her hand and footprint made into a necklace which I wear every day
·The hand and footprint casts have been framed and a set made as cold metal casts, so we can hold her hand and stroke her long feet whenever we need to be close to her
·We visit her grave, and take flowers to her
· I have started pilates and kickboxing- I did eventually make it to see the osteopath to find out why my body was causing me so much pain.
·I have had reiki treatments once a month which has really helped with my grieving
·Monthly meetings with the bereavement midwife
· We talk about Poppy, we will always talk about how loved and wanted she was, she was and will always will be Joshua’s sister and our daughter.
We know from our 12 week follow up appointment with the consultant, that there was no reason for Poppy’s death, they said they consider it to be sudden cardiac arrest, like cot death. Quick and sudden which meant that Poppy didn’t suffer. 
So many friends and family told us how brave and courageous we were and still are, we weren’t either of those things. We have no choice. We have to keep going. I believe true bravery and courage is to put yourself in the path of pregnancy and having the faith that all will be ok for another baby. Maybe one day.

You can follow Ceri on Twitter @LifeafterPoppy

Thank you so much to Ceri, for such a heartfelt post and for sharing beautiful Poppy. If you'd like to be a part of this series, please send me an email or message on social media. 

Katie xx

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