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Hi all - here's my story about my daughter Paris. Thought I'd share it with you.

Dreaming of Paris

When I was four months pregnant, I dreamt of a little girl. She was aged around two, with a head full of dark curls, and big blue eyes looking up at me. I woke and shook my partner awake. I told him we were going to have a beautiful little girl. A ultrasound later confirmed this.

We decided to call her Paris
.

My pregnancy was an easy one. Apart from the awful praying to the porcelain god every morning for the first three months, I had no other ill symptoms. My work colleagues all commented how fantastic I was looking (I had that beautiful pregnancy glow that outshone any airbrushed supermodel!) But why did I have that continual gnawing feeling that I was going to lose Paris? I was reassured by girlfriends who had had children of their own, that it was normal to feel apprehensive.

I approached 35 weeks and was feeling fine. I had no swelling, no stretch marks (smothering myself in cream and smelling like a coconut seemed to help), and was doing really well with my weight. My only concern was that Paris was still a 'footling breech' and hadn't turned yet. Not to worry, plenty of time for her to turn.

I hadn't felt her move

In the early hours of Monday morning 15th of Jan 2005, I woke up and sat upright in bed. Something was wrong. A feeling of sheer panic gripped at my heart. I hadn't felt Paris kick. In fact, I had only felt her kick once on Sunday. Rubbing my swollen belly I tried coaxing some movement from her….nothing. I woke my partner and he reassured me that she was probably sleeping and not to worry. I lay there for what seemed like an eternity, softly crying. Finally I managed to drift into a restless sleep.

Morning finally came. I still couldn't feel any movement. I mentioned this to my partner and he suggested that if I was concerned that maybe I should ring my obstetrician, and with that he kissed me on the head and went off to work. It was 8.00am and I made my way to the office. As soon as I got there, I took one look at my work colleague and burst into tears. After telling her everything, she picked up the phone and told me to ring my obstetrician NOW. My obstetrician was in the middle of a procedure and I was told to make my way to the nearest maternity hospital. By the time I got there I was a wreck. I was alone and trying desperately to hold it together. Maybe Paris was just having an inactive day. Maybe she was sleeping, oblivious to her mothers panic. I was taken to a private room and a foetal monitor was used to try and detect her heartbeat. The midwife tried for what seemed like several minutes. I asked her what the worse case scenario would be. She looked at me and said "I think you know what that is".

Emergency ultrasound

I was wheeled away for an emergency ultrasound. There I could see my baby's heart. I asked the sonographer if her heart was beating. He ignored me. I gripped his arm with all my strength and yelled at him 'IS MY BABY'S HEART BEATING YES OR NO?' The poor man looked straight ahead at the monitor and said very quietly, "....no" A screen was pulled across for privacy as I wept and sobbed into the midwife's arms.

The rest is all a blur. I was placed in another room and my husband was called to come and collect me. Ironically they put me next to a birthing suite, and I could hear the gurgles and sounds of a new born that had just been born minutes before.

The longest journey

I delivered Paris and stayed in hospital for roughly another three days. I refused to take calls or see anyone.
I just needed time to think and hold my baby. But I found it a little difficult with people constantly wanting to see me. I had the ward's psychologist visit me asking me how I felt (oh just dandy thank you, in fact would love to do a spot of retail therapy and maybe duck out for a quick champagne lunch and goss with the girls…..how did she think I felt?!!) The hospital parson popped in offering advice as to which funeral parlour best dealt with such a tragic event (lovely), midwives were handing me forms on birth certificates, social security benefits - if I was eligible of course, (you mean I can get paid for this? Ugh, has a tacky element to it).

My partner chose to hide at home and deal with his feelings there….. and on and on it went.
I started to wonder if I would get too comfortable staying there in my little cocoon, protected from the outside world. So I decided to go home. Coming home was surreal. The lounge looked like a florist. Everyone from my work colleagues to my beauty therapist had sent me flowers and cards. The stillness in the house was deafening. I sat at the kitchen table, looked at my partner and said, "This is where the journey begins".

How to end my life?

One of my girlfriends had rung my naturopath for me and explained what had happened. I managed to get in the next morning which was great as she had a four month waiting list. Somehow I had to get my body's chemistry back into some working order - my mind and emotional state was up to me. So I gave myself permission to grieve in any way I thought fit.

I couldn't bring myself to go into Paris' room for a long time. Instead I spent days curled up crying and rocking in our bedroom corner sobbing "I want her back, please…I just want her back." The first week back home was a very dark period for me. I just wanted to be with Paris. I had thought about suicide…after all, was there any point in continuing on with life without my little girl?

I looked at all the ways that I could end my life. It went something like this:
Throwing myself off a tall building, cliff ... (No good, I'm afraid of heights)
Taking poison (A no-goer, can't swallow something that tastes bad and afraid of spiders)
Drowning (What am I, nuts? What if a shark collects me?)
Car crash (What if I survive and end up a vegetable…or even worse, what if I hurt someone else in the process, survive and end up in jail?)

I wanted to end my life, yet I was coming up with excuse after excuse not to. It was then I asked myself the following "Right girl, what do you want to do, sink or swim?"
I chose to swim.

Returning to work

The next two weeks were spent howling and doing house work simultaneously. I had to keep myself active and as a result my house was beginning to look like a display home (haven't been able to achieve that one since).

In between the emotional vacuuming and toilet scrubbing, I was taking calls from caring friends.
Mind you I lost quite a few as well. Those who ran away obviously didn't know how to handle such a tragic event. Or better still, I even had some who pretended that Paris' death had never happened…yeah, like I just had a belly full of wind for nine months, that would obviously explain the expansion. (Where were these people's heads at?)

My biggest challenge was going back to work. Oooh boy was that hard. Walking into the building and facing everyone was tough - but not as tough as facing those who didn't know about my ordeal and were asking me what I had. Nor was I ready for the onslaught of people bringing in their newborns for all and sundry to see.
I even had the maintenance guy bring in his twin granddaughters, all but a month old, for me to view.

Code Blue, Code Blue

The receptionist (bless her) would ring me up with "Code Blue, Code Blue, newborn arriving, heading your way - make your way to rooftop". And that's what I did. I escaped to the rooftop where I sat and watched the ocean until my work colleague came and collected me. For some reason I was like a magnet to first-time parents, who felt compelled to push their healthy, breathing babies under my nose and say "Look! here's our new baby girl/boy - what do you think?" As if in some bizarre way they were asking for my approval.

I still shake my head at those memories and to think that these people knew what I had gone through (they had even sent me condolence cards). Maybe if I was a bitter, cynical cow I could have responded with something like "Ohh lucky you, all I've got are some hand prints and a box full of ashes - bit hard to swaddle and burp those".

But realistically, looking back, I guess some people just didn't think or didn't know how to cope with someone else's loss. And quite honestly I couldn't get angry. I just felt incredibly sad and realised that the world didn't and wouldn't stop for me.

People would keep having healthy babies and getting on with their lives, and the merry-go-round of life would keep going round and round. I had made the decision to get back on that merry-go-round when I went back to work, and that meant I had to play by life's rules and surge forward. (a formidable battle).

Four years, a new husband, and a new pregnancy

Now that I'm pregnant (four years later) I worry about my unborn son. Paris's death is still in the back of mind as are the hypothetical "what ifs", but I try not to let these negatives reside in my head rent-free.
I have a new husband (let's call him GH, for Gorgeous husband). Paris' father and I had gone our separate ways after Paris' death.

I decided when I fell pregnant that I would enjoy every moment of it. And that meant every time I bolted for that damn toilet during the first three months of 24/7 nausea (go on, ask me about bile - I'm a whiz on the stuff), every ache, every waddle, every little kick and hiccup from bubs. Hell, I'm even going easy on myself with the migrating cellulite and ice cream fetish (it's not a craving, I'm just a pig, and we have machines now that can suck out fat!)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we all have options on how to cope with our loss. We can remain fearful, or we can give ourselves license to enjoy our pregnancy and deal with any trauma if and when it happens!
I made a pact with my new husband that I wouldn't let Paris's death overshadow this pregnancy.
And you know what… I've spent more time laughing than worrying these past nine months.
True, there have been some frightening moments where GH and I have rushed ourselves to hospital because I hadn't felt bubs move, and re-lived the horrors of the midwife trying to find the baby's heartbeat.
But to counter balance that, there were some funny moments too, like the time where I was strapped to a foetal monitor, and GH made me laugh so much that the needle went off the scale.
We spent a good 10 minutes trying to convince the midwife that it wasn't a contraction but a hysterically funny moment, which had me nearly peeing in my funky big undies whilst simultaneously giving me the most incredible wedgy that was nearly sending me cross-eyed!!

Move forward to today; I have Paris's photo in the nursery surrounded by her fluffy toys, plus a few new additions. Now and then I'll talk to her in my head, other times I'll just find a quiet moment and reflect.

And my inspiration to share my experiences comes from all of you incredible women who have gone on trying for another child after previous loss/losses. I admire all of you and your strength to continue with your dream of becoming the beautiful mother that each and everyone of you deserve to be.

Mary Winning

Ned arrives !

On Thursday, the 17th of February 2005, I delivered a beautiful little boy by Casearean section...

'Knowing what you want, not compromising your goals and channelling your drive into your vision, will inevitably guarantee your dreams into reality - but the secret to this success is surrendering into the journey and not into the result....so let it begin' - M.Winning.
 

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Mary,
I am so sorry about Paris. Too many of us here go through this type of heartbreak that we shouldn't have ever even thought about.

Mary
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Marywin

I decided when I fell pregnant that I would enjoy every moment of it. And that meant every time I bolted for that damn toilet during the first three months of 24/7 nausea (go on, ask me about bile - I'm a whiz on the stuff), every ache, every waddle, every little kick and hiccup from bubs. Hell, I'm even going easy on myself with the migrating cellulite and ice cream fetish (it's not a craving, I'm just a pig, and we have machines now that can suck out fat!)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we all have options on how to cope with our loss. We can remain fearful, or we can give ourselves license to enjoy our pregnancy and deal with any trauma if and when it happens!
I made a pact with my new husband that I wouldn't let Paris's death overshadow this pregnancy.
And you know what… I've spent more time laughing than worrying these past nine months.
True, there have been some frightening moments where GH and I have rushed ourselves to hospital because I hadn't felt bubs move, and re-lived the horrors of the midwife trying to find the baby's heartbeat.
But to counter balance that, there were some funny moments too, like the time where I was strapped to a foetal monitor, and GH made me laugh so much that the needle went off the scale.
We spent a good 10 minutes trying to convince the midwife that it wasn't a contraction but a hysterically funny moment, which had me nearly peeing in my funky big undies whilst simultaneously giving me the most incredible wedgy that was nearly sending me cross-eyed!!

I'm so sorry for your loss, but I wanted to thank you for this. We're discussing trying again and I love being pregnant and I was afraid my "fear" would overshadow the pregnancy. I would love to be able to take the same approach that you did, and I hope I'm able to make that a reality. Thank you for sharing your story.
 
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