A time to remember...#miscarriagecare

*graphic description of my miscarriage in post - feel free to pass this one if you'd rather*

Sunday was a day of mixed emotions for me. 
The day started on a high as my youngest daughter took her first communion at a happy service attended unusually by all of my brood plus one nervous looking girlfriend.

There were smiles all round and lots of "aaahs" as the younger smaller children knelt at the altar rail, heads bowed, and after taking bread and wine walked back grimacing at the taste of the wine!

We all headed back home after church for a nice slap-up Sunday roast with friends and family all chatting and laughing and eating far too much.

After a short break it was time for me to head back to church with DH to be sidespeople (where we welcome people into the building and hand out books and service sheets etc) for the annual All Souls service.

Its a quiet, calm but very emotional service where people are invited to come along and remember their loved ones who have died. It's traditional in our (C of E/Anglican)  church to take flowers or the herb of remembrance, rosemary, to lay on the altar before lighting a candle as an act of remembrance and our priest had thoughtfully prepared a dish full for people to use.

For weeks we have had a list at the back of church for people to write the names of people who have died on to be read out during this service. Although I and DH have lost people we are close to we didn't add names to this list- none of our losses are recent and we remember them without the names being vocalised.

But I did take a tiny sprig of rosemary tied with pure white ribbon - not for anyone I ever met, or saw or heard, or kissed. But for the person I never got to meet but loved, no, still love, as much as if I had.

Most women I know have had at least one miscarriage. I have had a couple of very early losses and although sad I kinda accepted it as a biological event.

But my last, what would have been my eighth baby, I still mourn three years on.

None of the medical staff seem to have been able to tell how pregnant I was. Scans were inconclusive. I reckon at least 12 weeks or more. I know after I started to bleed I experienced contractions and although the doctor sedated me I remember very vividly the urge to push. I never had this before (7 caesarians) and oddly it is the one small comfort to me that at least just once in my life I did experience this most primal of urges.

I remember my husband's pale shocked face as he watched me go through hours of pain - he, as always, was a rock as I veered between drug induced restless rest and sobbing despair and anguish from the physical and emotional pain.

I remember a couple of days later, being discharged and knowing I would not, could not go home to face the sympathy of friends who would not know what to say. My neighbour, my close friend was pregnant too and I could not see her for months without wanting to cry.

I know, I know, I have 7 children. And more than anything this experience makes me very, very grateful for the gift of motherhood and so sad for those who can't have children easily, or at all. I know all this but yet I remain selfishly very sad about my loss.

I remember walking round the seaside town we ran to straight from the hospital for a "holiday" with the children. They kept asking about the baby, and why it had died. We kept doing the parent thing and explaining that it's one of those things etc etc. Everywhere I looked I saw pregnant women. I felt like I was looking at the world from under water, not quite able to see or hear properly.

I remember returning home and DH taking the children off for a weekend of camping with church. One friend, who I didn't know very well then, turned up on my door with a DVD, a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine and just one word.

She sat with me and chatted about the food, the film and the weather. I don't think she will ever know how grateful I am for that one act of braveness and kindness.

Another friend bought me a tiny shiny crystal star. She had experienced a loss far worse than mine many years before and said quietly to me that she knew I'd always remember my "baby" even when everyone else had forgotten. The star hangs in our kitchen, on the wall overlooking the dining table and is there for all our meals, homework time, craft sessions and celebrations.

I remember my friend's baby being born and not wanting to hold him.  I remember desperately hoping that we would get pregnant again. I remember the anger I felt when I realised my body clock had ticked its last tick and my hormones could no longer support a pregnancy. I started HRT and slowly, bit by bit, came to terms with this new stage of my life.

And it's OK. I'm OK. I am very lucky and I love my large family. But on Sunday, I held that little bit of rosemary to my heart and just for a short while focussed on the one who never was before placing the herb on the altar.

This is an old post I have re-posted in support of the Mumsnet campaign to improve care after miscarriage.
From Mumsnet -
Did you know that half of women who miscarry wait over 24 hours or more for a scan, and are treated alongside women with healthy pregnancies? These are just two of the shocking shortfalls that have come to light as a result of our survey.

Our aim is to get all three of the main political parties to pledge to improve miscarriage care, based on the principles in our Code, by the end of the next parliament. The code proposes a series of simple principles, supported by best practice guidelines which, if fully implemented, would significantly lessen the trauma of early pregnancy loss.

Mumsnet is asking as many people as possible to tweet using the hashtag #miscarriagecare.
TWEET: The three politicians who can make this happen areJeremy HuntAndy Burnham and Norman Lamb. Mumsnet wants as many people as possible to tweet the following, asking for their support:

Hi @jeremy_hunt, @andyburnhammp & @normanlamb please pledge to improve #miscarriagecare http://tiny.mn/1xUnSpQhttp://tiny.mn/1sbGQYv