yes they are!:
For my husband and I, the journey to complete our family has
been long and emotional.  We are so
blessed to have two beautiful children, one son and one daughter.  We also have three other babies that we carry
in our hearts with us. 
Our first heartbreaking miscarriage happened in our first
pregnancy.  After having gone through
several rounds of IVF to become pregnant, we innocently thought that we would
be taking a baby home with us.  But, the
universe had an important lesson in store for us.  One sleepy rainy Sunday afternoon, I had a
miscarriage and our hearts broke.
More IVF (one day I might share with you what that is like,
but not today), and we were cautiously excited to be pregnant again.  This time our dreams were realised and our
gorgeous son was born.  Immediately we
fell in love and felt a little more complete. 
We were made to be this boy’s parents. 
He has bought so much love and laughter to our world and taught (and
continues to teach) us important lessons about ourselves and life. 
We couldn’t believe our luck when almost 2 years later we
found out we were pregnant again.  This
time though, a different kind of miracle. 
We hadn’t needed IVF for this one. 
It was just meant to be. 
Everything was going great, I was well apart from the debilitating
nausea, but believed it was all ok.   After
all, the hard part for us was getting pregnant. 
We had a scan at about 8 weeks and saw our baby’s heart beating away on
the screen.  Then, on another cloudy day
in July 2012, we went for our 12 week check-up and scans. 
I remember being a bit cold in the room where we were having
our ultrasound.  Our son was with us and
we were all so excited to be able to see the baby in Mummy’s tummy.  The person doing the scan was talking to us throughout;
pointing out this and that, behaving like it was all ok.  She spent a bit of time doing measurements
and calculations and I thought it was all so fine, I was enjoying seeing the
baby wriggle and squirm, and loving seeing our son trying to grasp that what
was on the screen was also in Mummy and would soon be his baby brother or
sister. 
She stepped out of the room and took forever to come
back. 
She started talking about something that might need looking
at by our Doctor.  A diaphragmatic hernia.  The baby had a hole in her diaphragm and her intestines
were protruding into the cavity where her heart and lungs were developing. 
While she was talking, I was thinking that this isn’t great,
but we can get help and it will all be ok. 
I never thought that it was as serious as it was.  It didn’t really sink in for me then.  Some days now I wish that I could go back to
that place of innocent nativity.  I had
no idea what was in store or the utter, gut wrenching heartbreak that was to
come. 
It turns out that the kind lady had called our obstetrician
and explained what she had seen, and had arranged for us to go in for a meeting
that afternoon.  We had to see her colleague,
as our Doctor was away that day, and he was so caring and sensitive as he
explained a bit more about what had shown up on the scan.  We needed further testing to be done so that
we could see the extent of the hernia and if there were any other problems.  Issues like this often come up when there are
other chromosomal abnormalities, and the doctors encouraged us to find out what
it was that we were facing. 
I will never forget the kindness of several medical
practitioners that we came across during that next week.  Dr Meiri, and her assistant Tegan who did the
CVS to get the DNA data that would tell us more.  So sensitive and caring, I felt wrapped in
their love.  I couldn’t watch the screen,
even though by now my head was telling me this could be the last time I got to
see my precious little baby.  The support
staff at my obstetrician’s office and my Doctor.  They were all so quiet and respectful.  Fitting us in when there were no available
appointments, taking us to quiet rooms so we didn’t have to sit staring at
other pregnant women. 
And then, those words. 
“Not compatible with life”.

Our baby girl had an extra copy of a chromosome.  This, coupled with her serious hernia (our Dr
had never seen one this severe, or picked up so early), meant that she never
stood a chance of life outside my womb.   We had a choice to make.  One that no parents should ever have to
make.  One that we didn’t want to
make.  One that broke every fibre of my
being.  It still haunts me and will
continue to for the rest of my life.  There
is so much guilt, confusion, despair, grief and desperate loneliness that comes
with a decision like that.  It is always
there, sometimes just off in the background, sometimes in the front of your
mind.  It is just part of our story now,
a part we need to accept.
On 1 August 2012, our baby girl Hannah went to heaven.  Four years. 
Four years have passed since that terrible day.  It feels like yesterday, but also so long ago.  I will never forget the kindness of the
hospital staff.  They let my husband stay
with me so I wouldn’t be alone while I had to wait for surgery to begin.  When he did have to leave the room, the anaesthetist
Dr Danny, held my hand and kept talking to me so that I wouldn’t feel alone or
afraid.  I am forever grateful to every
one of those staff, but Dr Danny holds a special place in my heart.  When I woke up, a familiar face was there to
comfort me, a lovely nurse, who I recognised from my course at university.  So much compassion and care on one of the two
darkest days of my life. 
In the four years since Hannah died we have had to learn how
to deal with her loss.  My husband and I
grieve her differently.  I need to
remember her, to say her name, to think about what she might’ve been doing now
if she was still here with us.  I need my
two living children to know her name (and that of her brother Daniel who we
also lost in our next pregnancy), and I don’t want people to forget that she
existed. 
The hard thing about it is that generally, our society as a
whole doesn’t do grief very well.  Particularly
grief of an unborn child.  People are
very uncomfortable talking about it, don’t want to upset you, and because there
was no baby for them to have cuddled and spoilt, it quickly fades from their
memory.  But it never fades from
mine.  You see, I saw her, I felt her, I
knew her already.  She had two arms, two
legs, ten fingers and ten toes.  She had
a little heart that beat fast and hard. 
She had a nose, two eyes and a little hand that appeared to wave to us
on the screen.  In her short time with
us, Hannah made my heart grow and quickly filled that extra space.
I have one friend who is really the only person in the world
who is comfortable talking with me openly and honestly about Hannah and
Daniel.  She is not afraid to sit with me
while I cry, or to say their names.  She
remembers the anniversaries of each (the day they died, and their due date –
what should have been their birthdays).  She
always makes sure that I’m not alone on those days.  She made me a beautiful blanket for each
baby, and those blankets are so precious to me. 
I snuggle up with them on the really hard days, and am so grateful to
have them because they are the only physical thing of my two babies that I
have.  She manages to turn the loneliest,
saddest 4 days of the year each year into days that are slightly less
lonely.  I am forever grateful to you, my
soul sister, for your love of me, and each of my 5 babies. 
Last night I had to work, which was difficult, but a good
distraction.  Pilates is magic for
me.  Once I start a workout or teaching a
class, I am consumed, there is nothing else in the moment except that
class.  I was grateful for the reprieve. 
When I got home, my husband lit a candle for Hannah and we
left it on while we talked and I had a late dinner.  It warmed my heart to hear that he had lit
one at dinner with my two children, because he wanted our son (our daughter is
too little to understand yet) to know what the day was and to remember Hannah
in heaven.  This was significant to me
because I need to (at least on those 4 days each year) include Hannah and
Daniel in our family.  That little
gesture made such a difference to me. 
Made me feel less alone.
I held my babies tighter tonight.  I hope you hold yours tight too, whether they
are young or old. 
Until next time,
E xx