March 31, 2010

New neighbour - warning, contains photos of Ianto's grave

Ianto's getting a new "neighbour" tomorrow, a little baby boy named Matthew. Not much information, obviously, but now we won't be the "new kids on the block", so to speak. So sad that "our" little part is filling so quickly.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do for Ianto's headstone. It won't be getting ordered for a while, but I want to make sure I'm prepared. Those on the facebook fan page will know, I went to the cemetery today and took a few photos of other graves to get ideas. Obviously they're for my personal use, I'd never dream of posting photos of someone else's grave online without permission. Ianto's, on the other hand....


This is the flag I put on his graveThe windmill Scott bought......and an overview of the whole grave.
Tomorrow I hope to go to the tattooist to get started on the final design for that - since we're "trying" again as soon as we can, I want to get Ianto's memorial tattoo before I'm pregnant again - probably jinxing myself by thinking it might not take us long...

March 28, 2010

First "monthiversary"

If Ianto had been born alive, but on the same date, we'd be celebrating his one-month "birthday" today. Instead, I went to a family reunion and was confronted by at least three pregnant women, all massive and due in the next few months. I broke down. I've been alright lately, but today, being what it was and seeing these women... I couldn't handle it. The only thing that made me smile was holding my cousin's baby and playing with another cousin's little girl.

That's right, I'm okay with seeing babies but not pregnant women. I guess because I still have that feeling of "I should be one of you."

Afterthought: I want to get that tattoo in the next few weeks. Gotta get onto that.

March 27, 2010

Taking some time out from myself for a moment...

Some (most) of you may know that I'm a member of a parenting/pregnancy site called Bellybelly. Well, on said site, there are certain forum groups for women due around the same time, called "Belly Buddies." My belly buddies group has now welcomed their second baby (Ianto was first, obviously...) and we're all delighted!

So, I hope you can all join me in welcoming little Louis!

A month already?

I can't believe it's been a month since we lost Ianto. It's gone so quickly, but at the same time it feels like I've always felt like this. Is it really over a month since I last held my tummy and complained that the baby was kicking too hard? What I'd give to have those kicks back...

Scott and I really need to get around to writing out the thank-you card for the midwives. We picked a card out the week after Ianto was born, but it's still just sitting, waiting to be written in. We also need to get on with choosing a headstone. I have a million ideas for it, but of course we can't shove everything in there.

I don't like looking at a rough patch of dirt for his grave. Scott and I were both shocked at how terrible his grave looked after it was filled in - it's not smooth dirt, it's gunky clay, piled a little too high. It had bits of glass (!) and plastic sticking out of it when we first went. We got rid of what we could but it still looks horrible.

A lot of the other graves in the Garden of Angels (the children's section of the cemetery) have windmills and other decorations on them, so we've joined in and put a rainbow windmill and flag there. It's such a bright, colourful part of the cemetery - and the most heartbreaking. I have a habit when I'm at a cemetery, I go around and look at all the other graves in the area. I love thinking of the stories the people might have. Or in the GoA's case, what stories the parents could tell me.

The kids' graves are so beautiful, whether they have proper headstones or not. I wish I could speak to some of these parents just to satisfy my curiosity. One of my big questions: Why does one headstone have the Batman logo on it? I noticed it the first time we went there - the day before the funeral - and it's been nagging at me. It's not particularly important, obviously the little boy was a Batman fan, but why did his parents put it on his headstone? Did he know he was dying, and ask them to do so? Was he just such a big fan, his parents thought that was the best way to commemorate him? Was it the parents who were the fans? I think what makes me all the more curious is that there's no date of birth or death on the grave, so I don't know how old he was when he died.

March 22, 2010

I need to be pregnant again

Yesterday was a bad day for me. It hit me really hard that I'm not going to be holding a baby in a few weeks time. I mean, I've known that for a few weeks, obviously, but there's still some strange part of me in denial about the whole thing.

Anyway, yesterday was a bad day. I cried most of the day, didn't eat or drink anything, then didn't sleep. In my weaker moments, I had terrible thoughts such as "I should go to the cemetery and tell them to dig the coffin up so I can take Ianto home." Like I said, terrible thoughts. It's still in the back of my mind, to be honest.

When I tried to sleep, I started crying really hard and woke up Scott. He consoled me for a little while, then drifted off to sleep again until his alarm went off for him to work. That set me off even more. I was utterly hysterical with crying, telling him not to leave me. I didn't want to be alone. I was terrified I might give in and hurt myself. Thankfully I didn't, all the crying had knocked me out and somehow I fell asleep sitting up. I woke up in a much better mood.

To the point of this post!

I want to have another baby as soon as possible. No, not even "want," I need to be pregnant again. I need to know Ianto being conceived wasn't just a one-off occurrence, that he was my one chance at being a mum. I need to hold a screaming, warm baby in my arms and think "you're mine." I need to throw birthday parties, to watch my baby grow up. I need to do all the things I won't be able to do with Ianto. I need to have a completely positive birth experience, where between contractions I'm not thinking "my baby is dead, I don't want a dead baby, I don't think I can love it..."

I seriously have the feeling that I can't be properly happy until I have another baby. I can fake being happy. I can laugh at things, smile, etc., but real happiness? Nope.

March 21, 2010

A poem

I wrote this poem while I was in the hospital listening to other babies being born...

In The Still
In the still of the night
A baby cries
Hurt.
In the still of the night
Another baby fusses
Upset.
In the still of my room
I ache for my baby.
Heartbroken.
In the still of my baby's heart
No life. No hurt. No upset. No heartbreak.
Born Still.

March 20, 2010

Designing a memorial tattoo

I'm in the process of designing a memorial tattoo. I've come up with a few ideas, bits and pieces I'd like in there, but they won't all fit together...
Here's what I've thought of so far:
  • Ianto's name & date of birth (these are non-negotiable)
  • Angel wings
  • His footprints
  • Pink-and-blue ribbon (it's the "symbol" for baby loss, apparently)
  • Something tying it to the tattoo I have on my thigh (it says "I believe in Love surviving Death into Eternity")
So far, I'm able to put them all together except the ribbon and the wings - it seems I'll need one or the other. Ah well.

I need to find a font for the wording, too. Not many of the fonts I like have good "I"s - they seem to all look like "J"s or lower-case "L"s. Not to worry though, the wonderful ladies of Bellybelly have directed me to some good font sites, and I'm whittling it down.

Here's hoping I'll have some pictures to put up here soon!

In other news, I've just created a Facebook fan page for this blog - I wonder if I'll start getting more readers? Only time will tell...

March 16, 2010

All over the place

It's bizarre how things can slip your mind sometimes, even if they're as huge as losing your child. I've found myself at times forgetting that Ianto died. It's mainly when I've just woken up, and I rub my belly for a moment wondering if the baby will kick... then it hits me - he won't. Or, worse still in my eyes, I forget I was even pregnant to begin with. That used to happen quite a bit when I actually was pregnant - I didn't feel like I was most of the time, so I had to remind myself not to do certain things.

All the books and pamphlets they gave us in the hospital said that men and women grieve differently, so don't get annoyed at your partner if they're not "doing it right." I didn't think that would affect Scott and I, but it is. I know I shouldn't hold it against him, because it's the way he's been the past few years, but I really wish we were able to talk things over rather than try to distract ourselves with stupid games or the computer. When we first met, we'd talk for hours upon hours about silly little things, but now it's not the same and I hate it. I don't want to forget.

March 14, 2010

How it's been from the father's side...

Well, here's my first one....

While it's been hard for me, it's been harder for Tenielle. I mean she did have the privilege to carry him for those 32 weeks.

For those who don't know what kind of person I am... I'm the person that tends to leave things unsaid because i let others talk more, or because they're too hard to say. I'm the guy that stands in the corner, and being there is enough for people to know how much I care.

Having said that, these past few weeks have been very hard! I've mostly left all the crying and raw sad emotions come from Tenielle, whilst I've kept myself distracted from it by doing everything else that needed doing, like telling our landlords where to shove their house.

I returned to work, an almost full work week, on the Monday (just 2 very short days after the funeral). It seemed like everything was going well, I was even getting along with people I didn't like because (and their exact words were) "You've got balls to be able to do what you have done". I spoke to my bosses and told them that even though it still hurts, I am better at keeping busy and not letting the emotion of it overwhelm me.

On Friday morning at about 8 am, not enough sleep and too much thought finally broke me down. I was snapping at staff everywhere for little things that didn't really matter (eg the arrangement of the bakery products in the display). I went back to them after distracting myself from my anger for about 15 minutes and told them that it wasn't what they were or weren't doing, it was that I rushed myself back to work thinking that it would help me. They were understanding and said that they actually expected it sooner once they found I had returned to work on Monday. I set about just focusing on anything i could get done and just wished that 2 pm could come and i could sit in the car for a few minutes to gain myself properly before coming back to the place we now call home (Tenielle's parents place).

The hardest thing for me in regards to Ianto, has been placing the lid on his coffin, that tiny coffin that looked like it could have been part of a coffin styled Tupperware set, and seeing my sister after she flew down from Brisbane to be here for us on behalf of herself, mum and Bob. Dani had been trying for ages to have children, but nothing, the sight of her face lighting up when we told her she would be an Auntie was the best. When she walked into the funeral place and gave me a hug while I was welcoming everyone in, we both broke down and cried into each others shoulders!

We've since had help both emotionally and financially from family members and even the government, but... the hurt is always there. Even just earlier, when i was reading over what Tenielle had written here for the first time, i cried. Typing this I've teared up several times, but that's good... To me that means there's a bit more of me still longing to get those emotions out into the world.

March 13, 2010

How today was supposed to go...

Today was meant to be my baby shower, and our housewarming. Instead, Scott and I slept in at my parents' place, and went window-shopping for another little something to put on Ianto's grave. It's really hitting home that all these little things we planned aren't happening. Ianto's death (that terrible D-word!) has affected so much - even that we're not moving into where we were meant to. I guess I should tell that story... I'll cut it down though, it's quite long.

We were living in a "granny flat" out the back of another family's house. It was a dump - no insulation, a joint lounge/dining/kitchen area, and worst of all - we had to keep the dog inside. So, she grew up doing her business on the floor in her area and it being cleaned up by us - well, Scott cleaned it up, I'll admit that I was lazy (and squeamish) and never really helped do that job. The family weren't that great as people, but we mainly stayed out of their way. They did a lot of things as landlords that we knew were immoral, but we've since found out were illegal - rent rises with no notice, etc...

Anyway, we were supposed to be moving into the larger house on the 27th of February. The week before that, however, the landlady told us that they needed "one more week" and then we would be allowed in. These dates should be familiar to anyone who's read all my posts so far... In preparation for the move, we put Angel (the dog) outside to start teaching her where she should "go".

Scott, having stayed with me on the Friday night that we found out Ianto's heart wasn't beating, went home on Saturday (the 27th) to grab a few things we thought we may need in hospital. He also cleaned up after Angel because neither of us had been home since Friday morning and she had "gone" on the concrete. He was accosted by the landlady's husband as he left - the husband wanted Scott to clean up after Angel. Scott explained that he had done, and the husband just kept repeating himself - "clean up after the dog, she poos everywhere, you need to put her inside again" - and being stubborn about not letting Scott leave. Eventually Scott snapped and told the husband that we'd just lost our baby and all he wanted to do in that moment was be back with me. At which point the idiot just repeated again that Scott needed to clean up after Angel, and if he didn't move her, he'd let her out of the gate to be lost. He didn't give a s**t what was going on in our personal lives. Scott stormed back in, put Angel in the back shed with some water and food, and left for the hospital.

A few days later, after all was done and we were home, we talked about it and decided that there was no way we were moving into that house and giving them our money if they would continue being a-holes about it. We wanted our bond money back. So Scott went and told them this, copping a huge amount of abuse.

Long story short from there, my mum camped out on their front porch until Scott got the money back, their son threatened to wreck our stuff, Scott found out that the legal period from notice to having to move is 28 days, and we're now living with my parents until we find a place to live. And we're reporting some of their illegal practises to the Rental Tribunal.

Ohhh, something else, I was meant to be shaving my head for charity at the party today in the World's Greatest Shave - but I was counting on more donations and I've only raised $30 out of my goal of $2000. So I think I might leave it for now, and explain to the organisers what happened. I'm happy with the $30 still going to the Leukaemia Foundation, and I never got any cash donations so there's nothing I have to return to people... But I feel horrible for not doing what I promised...

March 12, 2010

What if...?

I keep having horrible thoughts, a lot of "what ifs" running through my mind about Ianto's death. I'll get some of them out here. They pretty much all run into each other. I guess I read too many "miracle stories" about babies being brought back to life, or not being dead when they were assumed to be...
  • What if Ianto's heart was just beating really slow and they just weren't looking for long enough to see it? Mums are built to regulate their babies' bodies, and I know my heartbeat can be quite slow at times, maybe his was the same?
  • What if he was alive when he was born and just wasn't breathing, but because no-one checked, he died?
  • What if, rather than dying inside me, he died in my arms and I didn't even know?
  • What if by placing him under my shirt rather than on top, he could have been saved?
Oh, damn it, I'm going to have to leave it at that because I'm upsetting myself thinking of all the doctors' appointments where Scott and I smiled at each other and said the baby was strong because "her" heartbeat was strong... I really hate my mind at times...

March 10, 2010

A letter to Ianto

I've written this for a humour site I frequent - they have a weekly "Question of the Week" and this week's topic is "Letters they'll never read"... I thought I'd join in with a short letter to Ianto.

To my darling beautiful son,

It's been a week and a half since I gave birth to you, and I just want you to know just how proud I am of you. How much I love you. How perfect you are.

You have your dad's face, you know that? You should know, I told you a million times, I'm sure. But my nose. You were always going to have my nose - there's no way you were getting out of it. It's a good nose. Your perfect little arms and legs, all long and gangly, they're your dad's. Your feet, your hands... Perfect.

I cherish every moment of my pregnancy, every little kick I felt. Even the times you would scare me by not kicking for a while, then trying to karate-chop your way out of me when I got too worried. I even cherish the heartburn you were responsible for!

You're so loved, little one. I spent the whole two days we were in hospital after you were born stroking your little face, amazed by your soft skin. Your dad had a lot of cuddles when I could bring myself to give you up.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand why your heart stopped beating while you were inside of me. Even if all the tests they did on the two of us show a medical reason, I'll never know why I was fated to be the mummy of a stillborn child. I'll never know why I had to plan a funeral for my baby when I was meant to still be pregnant.

I'm happy I was able to give you life inside me, that you seem to have died happy. At 32 weeks, you would have discovered dreams recently. I hope they were nice, baby boy. Did you dream about me like I did you? Could you hear me planning for your birth? Are you as proud of me as I am of you?

I'm glad we were allowed that time with you - I never knew that I would be allowed to keep you in the room with me after you were born. I'm glad we got a lot of photos of you. Do you know that the photographer that came and took your photo is putting some up for selection in an exhibition especially for pictures of sick or stillborn children? Your dad and I are so incredibly proud of that fact - even someone who sees a lot of children all the time knows how beautiful you are!

I was so scared every time someone would come into the room, thinking they were coming to take you away from me. Having to walk away from that hospital room was the hardest part of my life up to that point - it's now been succeeded by having to place the lid on your coffin.

I can still see your little face when I close my eyes. I hope those images never fade away. I hope I never forget the feeling of your sweet soft skin under my fingertips. I hope I continue to smell your scent in quiet moments. I know I'll never forget you.

It's been a week and a half since I gave birth to you, and I'm sure you know how proud I am of you. How much I love you. How perfect you are, even in death.

Love always,
Your mummy.

March 06, 2010

Tears and rainbows


Today was Ianto's funeral. It's hard for me to write what I'm feeling, because it still feels like I'm dreaming. Did that just really happen? Is it true I'll never see my boy again?

When I woke up, the sun was shining. It was such a beautiful morning! I can't go into much detail about the actual funeral, because it's really not coming to me as easily as the memories of his birth did... I have a few little thoughts though...
  • The coffin was just so tiny! Even though I knew it would be small, for some reason my head had conjured up a child-size coffin - so seeing it so - well, tiny - really hit me hard. It seemed so cramped in there for him...
  • The funeral director, Paul, and the celebrant, Robyn, were fantastic.
  • We were scared to begin with that we wouldn't be able to hold him again, because he was already wrapped up in the coffin and looking so peaceful (though his mouth was open, which I didn't like) but Paul said we could take him out, rearrange his positioning, etc. Of course we did that as soon as we could!
  • I'm so happy we found the ACOCP to take professional photos of Ianto - Jessie was so fantastic, and we've already seen a few of the photos, they're amazing.
  • I can't believe I managed to get through the poem I read out - "All those Months" - I found it while I was still in labour, and it was so perfect for our situation. The songs we played were perfect too, none more than "Smallest, Wingless" which was played in the middle of the service.
  • Putting the lid on the coffin was so hard to do. I tried to capture every last moment of looking at Ianto's face.
After the funeral, we went to the cemetery to bury our little boy. We were supposed to be doing a balloon release, but there was a mix-up with who was organising them so it didn't happen. That's okay, I think we'll do it for his due date. I couldn't stop staring at the coffin. I don't think I stopped looking at it until I had to walk away.

Scott and I went back to mum & dad's place while a lot of other people went to the wake at uncle W and auntie M's place. We had about an hour alone together, collecting our thoughts and just talking about what had just happened... Neither of us had tears left to cry though, so it was more exhaustion than anything else.

When we went to the wake, we spent a while inside because we couldn't face being near people again all at once - we just said hi to everyone that came inside. Then the food was ready and we had no choice (haha) so we went and filled our plates. A lot of people didn't realise we were even coming at all, so that was okay. Just after I sat down and started eating, the heavens opened up and it started bucketing down (after such a beautiful morning!) so everyone moved inside. After that we hardly saw anyone because the smokers (the majority) went into the garage and my desire to breathe was stronger than my desire to be near people.

Finally, we left, taking my brother Brent with us. As we were walking out, I turned to say something to Scott, and my breath was taken away - in the sky, as clear and bright as anything, was the perfect rainbow. A double rainbow. I'd never seen one so strongly coloured. I burst into tears, knowing it was Ianto smiling down on me and telling me everything would be alright. It was so beautiful, just like him, and faded much too quickly. Just like him. I know every time I see a rainbow from now on, it's my perfect little boy smiling at me. I think we may put a rainbow on his headstone when we get around to it...

March 05, 2010

Funeral tomorrow

Well, tomorrow is the funeral. Final things were finished today - Scott paid the cemetery fees today, we went shopping for something for me to wear, we finalised what Robyn (the celebrant) is going to say, and what music is going to be played... Too much. We went to see the site where Ianto will be buried, it's such a beautiful spot. He'll be the 31st person to be buried in the new children's section of the cemetery. Already it seems that bit's almost full - too many children...

When Scott was reading over the service, he teared up because it hit him that it was real. I thought that was good, he's been "strong" for me all week, seemingly ignoring his own feelings, so I'm glad he's been able to cry.

As for me, I don't know how I haven't cried yet today. I shut down the other day simply thinking about what's going to happen tomorrow, but today? Not a tear.

March 04, 2010

Stupid body!

My damn body keeps playing tricks on me. Muscle twitches in my belly feel like kicks, cramps feel like labour pains (only a little easier to deal with!)

I just feel empty.

Last night I slept on my back with my hands on my stomach, and it just felt so flat. It felt like Ianto's belly did, actually, his was fairly flat and soft...

Funeral plans

One of the hardest things in the world has to be planning your child's funeral. Especially with something as unexpected as this. How do I tell people about a life that only he and I shared? Yes, others watched my belly grow, some felt him kick from the outside, but I felt every kick he made. I nourished him, he only knew me. Didn't he?

There are so many things involved in planning a funeral. Paperwork to be signed, meetings about his life... I got angry at the celebrant because she didn't ask about his life outside of me. Yes, he wasn't born alive, but he was born. I held him. Scott held him. He was loved. He was soft, that's my lasting memory. His soft gentle skin.

Every song I listen to now is tainted - every line I try to fit into my life, and if it doesn't fit, it just irritates. I can't listen to "happy" music right now, I only feel like listening to songs of loss and despair. I've found a song to play at Ianto's funeral - "Smallest Wingless" - it's absolutely perfect. It's been so hard to find songs of loss that don't reference god in some way. What about those of us who have no faith in a deity? I do believe that there is an afterlife, but god? No. I believe that Ianto is watching me right now, he's here with me. At the same time, I feel that he's in some way still with his body. Why else would leaving him in the hospital have hurt so much?

I half don't want Saturday to come, because it means I'll never get to see my son face-to-face again. The other half can't wait to see him, stroke his tiny little face again.

Ianto's life

WARNING - SOME CONTENT MAY DISTURB - I HAVE GONE INTO DETAIL ABOUT EVERYTHING, EVEN THE BIRTH.

19th August 2009 - Exactly a month before my wedding, I took a pregnancy test. It had been sitting in my underwear drawer for a few weeks, and to be honest I only did it because I was bored while my husband Scott was at work. I'd had no symptoms of pregnancy other than the lack of a period, but they're fairly irregular with me anyway. I was astounded when that little line went pink - I didn't even have to wait the three minutes suggested on the box! I walked around the flat for what seemed a lifetime, staring at the stick. I eventually called Scott, and asked if he was sitting down. He was, and I blurted it out - "Uh... I'm pregnant." He was silent for a few seconds, then choked out "Oh my god." When he got home a few hours later, we stared at each other a few seconds, then burst into tears simultaneously and hugged each other. I'd been looking at pregnancy websites all night, and found out our baby was about the shape of a chicken nugget from McDonald's (where Scott works) so for the next week, baby was nicknamed Nugget.

20th August 2009 - Scott was at work again, and I walked to the doctors clinic to get the pregnancy confirmed. It was the same - the doctor was amazed that the test came up positive so quickly. I sent a text message to Scott - "Nugget's on the way!"

25th August 2009 - It was a very windy day in Melbourne, and it turned out well that our wedding dance lessons were canceled because of that. I had cramps all down one side that were worrying me. We went to the emergency department at the hospital that would become so familiar. They thought the pregnancy might be ectopic so they scheduled me in for an ultrasound the next day. That turned out well - not ectopic, and again, someone was surprised by how strong our baby was! The radiologist said it was the earliest he'd ever been able to pick up a heartbeat. We nicknamed the baby "Smudge" after what he (or she) looked like on that ultrasound.

19th September 2009 - Our wedding. The night before, we had told Scott's sister that we were expecting. The look of complete and utter joy was brilliant. Our baby would have such a doting aunty! Although she lives in Queensland she stayed in touch my entire pregnancy through facebook, always sending me messages asking how everything was going... I'd still not suffered any morning sickness or anything else commonly associated with early pregnancy. That night we broke the news to Scott's mum.

September 2009 - February 2010 - Everything was going fantastically. I had been into the ER a few times with various niggles, but each time everything was okay. I was just a hypochondriac. Smudge was developing a great little personality in my tummy. We weren't finding out the sex, so we chose to say "she" to keep from using the word "it." "She" loved AC/DC, always kicking along with the beat when I would play their music. "She" hated Robbie Williams, to my sadness, because she'd stay still or kick me in the ribs when he would play. One day, while Scott had his head on my belly listening to her, "she" kicked him hard in the face. There were bad times as well - the ultrasound place that made me angry, the doctor I never want to see again (but then had to)...

Friday 26th February 2010, 2:00pm - I'd had a very lazy day at my parents' house. My biggest problems were that someone was tailgating me that morning and that my car still wasn't back from the mechanic. I slept a few hours, had a massive laugh with my mum and brother, then went to pick Scott up from work. I was so annoyed with him for not coming out straight away, and chose to stay in the car (in the sweltering heat) so we wouldn't miss each other in the carpark. The heat got too much for me, and suddenly Scott was at my window asking me to wake up. I'd fainted. Eventually he got me into the passenger seat and drove me back to my mum's place. I fainted again in the car on the way, and was in and out for about an hour. Everytime I'd come to, I'd ask if the baby was okay and go out again. They got me back to the car and Scott took me to the hospital. I was checked, and aside from being a bit dizzy still, I was alright. I was sent to a delivery room so they could use the doppler to check Smudge was okay. Our biggest fear was that something was wrong and I'd have to give birth early.

4:30 - They had trouble finding a heartbeat. I wasn't too worried at that point, I knew she'd moved recently so her heart probably wasn't where they thought it might be. After a few minutes, I was starting to worry. Another doctor came in to try. Nothing. So much gel was on my tummy, it was disgusting. Another doctor. This one tried an old ultrasound machine to try to see the position - there was a tiny flicker where they thought the heart should be, but then nothing again. A better machine was brought in. Again - nothing. I had been staring at that screen so hard, I couldn't look at Scott because that made real what they were saying. I heard the doctor murmur "there's nothing there" to a midwife - not to me, to the bloody midwife, and I lost it. I choked out Scott's name, and he reached down to cuddle me. They left us for a few minutes, in which time we were both pretty much not breathing from crying so hard. They came back and gave us a little hope again - they were sending me down to Radiology to make absolutely sure there was no heartbeat. Even if they did find something, I'd have to be induced because there was obviously something wrong. I was put in the wheelchair and sat for a few minutes near the midwives' station. In a room near us was another woman in labour. I listened to her new baby's cries and grinned. I'm sure the midwives thought I was crazy, given what i was going through myself, but to me that was the best sound in the world. My world had turned black, but that woman's life was just given a rainbow.

7:00 - I was wheeled down to Radiology. I lay on that table, knowing in my heart that nothing would be found but hoping I was wrong. I wasn't. The radiologist was almost crying herself. She left us, and this time I couldn't cry - I was out of tears by that point. I was wheeled out again, and she phoned up to Delivery - the poor girl from bed 20 had definitely lost her baby. Scott went outside to call work, and I watched a bit of the Winter Olympics - the ice skating. That poor woman that lost her mum a few days before she won a bronze - how strong she was, smiling through her tears. I cried, my whole body shaking. I was wheeled back up to Delivery, eyes dry again. While I waited in that room for Scott, I cried again. It would become a pattern - since then, it's been rare for me to cry in front of anyone but him.

9:00 - I changed rooms. Bed 19. This room had a TV. It went on, and we were left again. Doctors and midwives kept coming in and out, telling and asking us various things - did I want to be induced tonight, or wait until the morning when they had the full ultrasound report (tonight, you stupid woman! I don't care if it's policy, I want this over as soon as it can be!)? Was I willing to hold the baby after he or she was born (Are you kidding me? Of course I do!)? Everything got too much for me after a while, so I lay down and napped. They came and talked with Scott, telling him they would induce me but they don't think they should. They woke me to get my consent, which I gave, and they left again. The TV was on all night.

Saturday 27th February 2010 - They put the gel in around midnight, and again at 6am when I hadn't dilated at all. In the early hours of the morning, I sneakily turned my phone on and updated my facebook status thanking those who had already heard and sent their love. I had a few visitors over the day - my parents and brothers, Scott's dad (who I didn't want to see) and aunty... There was a bunch of flowers from the rest of Scott's family in Queensland. I napped on and off, watching TV in between, and waited for the gel to start working. They put more in at 1:30pm, and this time told me I wasn't to use the toilet for an hour. I wasn't even allowed to raise my bed for half an hour. No wonder the first two lots of gel hadn't worked - I'd been to the loo within minutes of them being put in! I was a bit angry at that. I started having mild cramps around 11:30pm. They were so bad I gave in and asked for a bit of pain relief - funnily enough, I had a pethedine injection before I let them give me Panadeine and a sleeping tablet. They worked, and I slept for the longest I had since Friday.

Sunday 28th February 2010 - 3:00am - I woke up, the cramps getting worse. At 4am, I asked for another peth injection. This one knocked me out a little, but didn't take the pain away. It was coming at 5-minute intervals and getting worse. They came and checked my dilation (finally!) at 7:30, and I was fully effaced but only 3-4cm. I told them to call my mum in.

8:30am - The pain was amazing! I was grunting through what I now knew were contractions, and rolling towards Scott with each. The first time I did it, he thought I was falling off the bed, so he started pushing me back. Big mistake. I grunted at him that I needed to "grab onto you, you idiot!" and he understood - Do Not Mess With A Labouring Woman. The midwife and anesthesiologist came in (I'd consented to a morphine drip and had a cannula in already) and they started doing their thing. The drip was explained to me, so I pushed that damn button every time I could. It didn't work straight away so the gas was given to me as well. That worked a treat - I still felt the pain, but it was okay. I think I moved up the bed at some point and handed Scott the gas tube, because with one of my contractions I was yelling at him that this time I wasn't reaching for him, I was reaching for "THAT!!" Between contractions, I told him that I was never having any more kids - I couldn't do this again (I was half talking about going through labour, half saying I couldn't deal with the possibility of losing another child.) In a moment of clarity, I asked Scott whether he thought I was possibly in transition. "Nah, you wouldn't be asking if you were" he said... WRONG!

8:45am - My mum still wasn't in the hospital. The midwives gave me the choice - did I want my waters broken now, or when she arrived? I wanted them done now - this would still take hours, right? (Turns out that's why mum wasn't there, she thought the same thing and had a shower before she left.) Another contraction and I was pushing. The waters were visible from the outside so they pushed back on them and waited for the contraction to subside. Mum came in as they cut. There was a tiny squirt of water. Another contraction and urge to push. POP! One of the midwives almost got hit in the face. Scott told me later that it looked like someone had burst a water balloon between my legs. Another contraction, another push... I needed a poo. That contraction felt as though it lasted forever, but I yelled I needed a poo. Everyone around me told me it was okay to go on the bed, which confused me - didn't they know I was just telling them so they could clean it up when I was done?

8:52am - It wasn't a poo. Two pushes after my waters were broken, my Smudge had been born. No-one had been expecting him, so he came out onto the bed. They asked one more time - was I sure I wanted to hold the baby? I got angry and snapped that I did - Smudge was put on my chest and I cuddled "her" while they got the cord sorted. Ohhhh that pain was almost worse than the labour - a short cord, so it was pulling at me. Scott was asked if he wanted to cut it, he did, and relief again. I was still contracting slightly and was annoyed that they were distracting me from the cuddles with my baby, so I agreed to the injection to help get the placenta out. I couldn't even tell you where they stuck it in, I was just entranced by this little baby in front of me. The placenta came out, and was the most disgusting feeling ever - so slimy! I was asked pretty much the stupidest question I've ever been asked - Did I want to know the sex of the baby? Of course I did. I told Scott to tell me, and after a few seconds of trying to compose himself, he told me Smudge was a boy. Ianto. We'd agreed on both boy and girl names long ago, so we didn't even discuss it. I felt something moving on my arm, and I realised the cannula had come out. It would emerge that it hadn't been put in properly to begin with, so I hadn't had any morphine at all! I'd done it with just gas (which in my original birth plan had been the most i'd been willing to have re: pain relief) I noticed the TV was still on, and quickly told someone to turn it off - there was a Johnson's baby wash ad on. So not what I needed to see when I was coming to terms with the fact my baby was gone. Gone, but right in front of me - how strange.

The rest of that day - It was both the longest and shortest day of my life. I spent all day staring at my little baby boy. My son. My angel. My sweet, soft boy. He has my nose. Everyone said he looked like Scott, but I couldn't see it until they were together - exactly the same face, only Ianto had my nose. He had a bath, his foot and hand prints were taken. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the first day was the tiny little differences to a live birth - like they didn't need to hold him to weigh him, they just placed him on the scales and left him there while they took the information down. Unlike pretty much everyone in my immediate family, he had some hair when he was born. We cut some off and put it in the memory book the hospital had given us. We dressed him together. One of the things that really got to Scott was how Ianto's head was "clicky" - like any baby, his skull hasn't fused, so the bones were clicking together each time his head moved. Heaps more visitors that day - my family. My dad had come in at the same time as my mum, when he came into the room he just broke down. This huge strong man, just sobbing his guts out. He couldn't stay more than a minute or two. I told him it was okay, I could understand. I got a few more bunches of flowers. Midwives and nurses from all over the hospital came to speak to me, either for medical reasons or to give me some emotional support. Scott and I kept cuddling our son, only leaving him when my brothers came in (they couldn't bring themselves to come into the room and see Ianto) and when I needed the toilet or a shower. The weekend social worker came in to talk to us. I ended up sleeping with him in my bed that night. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving him. I still can't, after I already have.

Monday 1st March 2010 - Another long day. Not long after I moved Ianto to his little plastic cot so I could have a shower and change my pad, it all started again - more visitors, more people coming to talk to me and support us... I was asked when I wanted to go home. I said as late as possible and the time was set. I was going home at 7 that night. I spent the entire day in tears, aside from here and there watching TV and staring at my boy. I kept stroking his face - his soft skin. I redressed him, making sure his shirt was nice and snug. He had a new hat, a white one that was knitted for a prem baby. It was still too small so I fixed it best I could to get it snug on his head. The whole day was a blur again. I spent a lot of the day taking photos of Ianto, trying to get every last detail - his nose that he got from me, his ears and lips from Scott. His nose had started to leak a little bit of fluid, so I cleaned that up. I kept fussing over him, straightening his clothes, making sure he was comfortable...

6:30pm - A knock at the door. My heart froze as I thought it was someone coming to take him away before we left. It was just the lady bringing my dinner in - another disgusting meal. I held Ianto as I ate. I don't think I put him down the whole day.

7:05pm - My heart froze again when I looked at the clock and saw it was past the time they said I was leaving. It meant they were coming soon. I started bawling again. They came in, talked to us a while, we got a few more photos, and... The hardest part of my life. I had to leave. I kissed him a million more times, took a few deep breaths, and somehow got the strength to leave the room. Leave my baby behind while I went back to my mum and dad's. I cried the entire way there, and was just dead inside. I couldn't go in for a while. There was a funny moment though, which I'm attributing to Ianto's obvious cheeky side - as I left the hospital, my pants suddenly fell down under my bathrobe. Again, I'm sure people thought I was mad because I went from hysterical crying to hysterical laughing in two seconds flat.

March 2nd, 2010 - Another long day. We went to organise Ianto's funeral in the morning. I was swinging between completely heartbroken and cracking up laughing at all the funny and strange memories we have of Ianto (almost all of which are in here.) My facebook page seems to have exploded - so many messages of love and support. So many people updating their own statuses to feature us and our amazing little boy... We've all been talking about Ianto here at mum's place, thinking of what kind of person he could have been. The general consensus is that he'd have been one of those cheeky little boys who could get away with anything (because he would go a few days without moving in my belly, then kick for a full day so I would forgive him for scaring me) and he would have been a footballer or a dancer (because his legs were so long)... He would have been a tall boy (my cousin's full-term baby was 44cm, Ianto was 43) and he'd look like his daddy (well... he did!) I keep looking at all the photos we have - the last few are the worst, simply because there's no more left. The one of me putting him in the cot so we could leave... I can't even look at it.