I am a fallen tree

When life becomes a little overwhelming, and the past threatens to interrupt the peace of the present, I go for a walk.

I was on such a walk when I saw a tree stretching right across the path. It must have fallen many, many years ago: the ground is settled, and the earth has built up again around the base; leaves turning to dust under the feet of passers-by.

Had this tree stood alone in the middle of a field when it toppled, it would have crashed to the ground. Its leaves would have withered. Sap would have dried from the trunk until the tree became nothing more than an empty, rotting shell. It would have died.

But this tree grew in a forest. It stood surrounded by other trees; some smaller, some larger. And when the tree fell, all those years ago, it was caught by other trees. And it lived.

I am a fallen tree. We all are: those of us who have lived through unimaginable grief, who battle daily with thoughts of what we could have done differently; what we could have done better.

I am a fallen tree.

The tree’s roots have been wrenched from the ground: nerve-endings exposed and vulnerable; brittle and dead. But just enough reach into the earth still to keep this tree alive.

I am a fallen tree.

As the tree fell, whether from disease or storm, it was caught. It rests in the arms of others, who have silently kept it from falling to the ground. They have saved it. They continue to save it.

I am a fallen tree.

The slant of this huge tree trunk is absurd. It lurches across the path like a drunkard bent on self-destruction. Surely a tree cannot grow at such an angle? But slowly, carefully, over months and years, the branches have learned to adapt. They have changed their path; twisted upwards, and pushed their way towards the sky.

And so the tree grows. It makes no pretence at normality: it leans upon others, and it finds a way to live, to breathe and to grow.

I am a fallen tree.

http://www.justgiving.com/justiceforrebeccaflorence

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104329

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Hi, how are you?

“Hi, how are you?” is probably one of the most simple and common things people first say to one another.

Before Rebecca was a part of our lives I would easily be able to honestly answer this question. Whether I was behind my desk at work, on the school run, catching up with friends or during a conversation with my husband in the evening over dinner… I was able to be honest, open up, spill the beans and always thought ‘a problem shared was a problem halved’ (if I had one!)

Now my whole world is different, it’s nearly been five months since my world changed, nearly five months since I held a real angel in my arms, nearly five months since Rebecca was cruelly taken away from us and nearly five months I have being living my new life.

Now when people approach me with a cheerful “Hi, how are you?” I wonder if it’s right to answer openly and honestly, whether it’s right to spill the beans and whether it would even help by sharing my problems.

If I were to be honest, would people want to hear it? Would they regret asking me? Would they never ask again out of fear for what they might hear? Or a fear of upsetting me? But people can’t upset me, I reached the limit of sadness and pain and crossed over it nearly five months ago.

My honest answer would be the same everyday;

“No, I’m not ok. My world now consists of dreaded fear, horrendous guilt, sadness which can ache right through to my bones and the most gut-wrenching pain that fills my body, mind and soul.

This is me, this is it. From the moment I open my eyes to the moment I lay them to rest again.

For I have buried my daughter, my beautiful precious daughter who should be alive, growing and thriving with each day. I gave birth to a sleeping angel who was taken from a family who longed for her and loved her so much already. I have watched my husband struggle each day with the loss of his little girl, I have seen his world crash down, I witnessed his heart shatter in that hospital room. I broke my living children’s hearts by telling them their baby sister couldn’t come home.

My days now consist of waking up to the fear of walking amongst pregnant women or seeing pushchairs passby with tiny bundles of joy inside. I watch new mothers coo over their babies and show them off proudly to the world… I have extreme jealously that eats me up inside, jealousy that comes with a side order of knives through my heart – For I long to push Rebecca in her pushchair in the fresh air, to see the sun shine on her pretty face, to hold her close to my chest in her carrier as we explore on a family walk, to refresh her nappy bag with her essentials each morning and to look in my rear-view mirror to see ALL my children sitting safely in the back of the car. To hear Rebecca’s cute noises, to hear her cry, to smell her skin, to see her eyes looking up at me – these are the fantasies that now fill my mind. 

I feel so alone, even when surrounded by a supportive husband, friends and family, I’m so alone. I feel the whole world is against me, staring at me, like I caused this, like I am bad luck, like stillbirth could be contagious. I feel like I have been punished but with no idea what crime I could have possibly commited to have this life sentence placed upon me. At times I feel Rebecca is ignored. Like I should have ‘gotten over it by now’ This will never happen. Only the parents who share this pain know how it changes your life, how you’ll never be the same again.

Yes, nearly five months down the road into this ‘new life’ you may see me looking like I’m having a ‘better’/ ‘easier’/ ‘gentle’ days, but please don’t be fooled. This calm is shortlived. A gentle way the human body takes over and allows you to have a peaceful moment. Respite for a moment to regain a little strength. The pain is still there. Still raw and as fresh as the day Rebecca left us.”

Fortunately for those who approach me with “Hi, how are you?” get a standard, pleasent, albeit pessimistic “I’m ok thanks” or “Taking each day as it comes” – for that moment in time I may be ok, but mostly I am pardoning you from being kept there for hours detailing how I really feel!

There are only a select few who now know the new me. Only those select few know not to ask how I am, for they already know the answer.

“If you are my friend and you’re worried about mentioning my baby, for fear of reminding me that they died.

Don’t worry I remember that every single day.

To mention them is to remind me that they were here and that’s a wonderful thing.”

http://www.justgiving.com/justiceforrebeccaflorence

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104329

Rebeccas epetition

We are calling on the Government to review/change guideline for the practicing of External Cephalic Version (ECV), primarily outlining the fact there needs to be more monitoring for these babies and more information given to the expectant parents regarding risks, complications, statistics and aftercare.

Please sign and share this petition.

We need 100,000 signatures for the Government to debate this issue.

For more information and more importantly to sign please click this link:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104329

*Please do not forget to check your email to validate your signature – just click the link on email

Father of an Angel

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is usually such a fun filled day in our house. Usually starting with my husband being woken up early by his son, stepson and daughter. The excitement on their faces as they gently open our bedroom door and greet him, by jumping on our bed! Then the exchanging of gifts and cards they have secretly kept hidden for days. Cards so carefully made at school can now be shown off.

The children then help me prepare his breakfast and quietly take it upstairs for him to enjoy in bed – I say ‘enjoy’ but for anyone who knows my husband well will know that he detests eating in bed! But he does the right thing and ‘enjoys’ his breakfast in bed. Although his tea may be too milky or his toast may be burnt he savours every last bit and tells the children it is the best tea and toast he has ever had. The joy on our children’s faces warms my heart. They are so proud of themselves.

The day then consists of a family day out, picnic in the park or ‘Dad’s Choice’ of restaurant. Either way, whatever we do, it’s together and we make happy memories.

Tomorrow will be slightly different. Although the cards the children have made are indeed safely hidden for the morning and we have planned a lovely day for him – hopefully the weather will be kind – But we all know there is one less card to open, one less present to unwrap, one less kiss to share, one less cuddle to recieve and one less person present in the memories we now create- there always will be.

Rebecca leaving us has broken my husbands heart. Unfortunately the stereotypical perception of a ‘mans’ way of dealing with grief – being that they go back to work, go back to life and move on – is so far beyond what’s real. Only the mothers of an angel know this is not the case – not in the slightest. Father’s are heartbroken too, they grieve, they hurt and yes, they cry. They too had dreams and hopes for their unborn child. Their hopes and dreams have been shattered too.

Father’s Day will be so hard, but my husband is still a father, a father to his son, his stepson and our daughter. He is now also a father to our angel daughter.

I wish him a gentle Father’s Day, surrounded with love, love from us all.

Don’t cry for me Daddy,

For I am right here.

Although you can’t see me,

I can see your tears.

I visit you often,

I go to work with you each day,

And when it’s time for you to close your eyes,

On your pillow is where I lay.

I hold your hand and stroke your hair,

And whisper in your ear.

If you’re sad today Daddy,

Remember, I am here.

God took me home,

This we know is true.

But you’ll always be my Daddy,

Even though I’m not with you.

We will never be apart,

For everytime you think of me,

Please know I’m in your Heart.

http://www.justgiving.com/justiceforrebeccaflorence

Just an insight…

So, just over 24 hours after making Rebecca’s story public this blog has had over 13,000 views, worldwide. This is thanks to Facebook and to everyone sharing it. I knew social media was great for these sorts of things which is why I decided to do it – admittedly this outlet was first going to be used to get signatures on the petition I will be starting (hopefully the government will pull their finger out soon to enable me to do this) But to be honest, the awareness is more important and this couldn’t wait.

People around the world are reading of the senseless death of our daughter, learning about a procedure most people would never have known about and most people will never need to know about. But one day you may come across someone who is pregnant, who has a breech baby, who is considering ECV. I’m sure you will remember that ‘poor baby who died’ Please share that memory – this mother-to-be will now know the added risk, this mother-to-be will now be able to make a more informed decision as to whether she attends for ECV.

This has already happened, word has got out. I have had private messages from women who were booked in for ECV. A few of these women weren’t even given a leaflet to make them aware of ANY risks. They were just booked in, no choice, no literature given, no advice. This is not fair. These women need to know. These women have decided not to attend their appointments.

Like I have said, none of this is to attack ECV, hospitals, midwives or doctors. I am just a firm believer that we should all be aware of any risks, no matter how small. These little babies whole worlds are turned literally upside down, they need more protection, more care and more monitoring.

I just wanted to give you all an insight as to how amazing this help has been.

Logging back on Facebook is a personal test in itself for me. I left due to nothing else mattering anymore – pointless posts, smiley faces etc – just isn’t relevant to me now. Facebook even emailed me to say ‘Welcome Back’. I felt like replying ” I’m not back, this isn’t me anymore, I’m a different person.” Which I am. I’m not on Facebook to scroll down and nose into other peoples lives, I won’t be sharing pointless stories of how amazing my children are (which they are!) I’m on Facebook for Rebecca, to help my new goal in life. Any posts you will see will be in relation to this awareness, petition and fundraising. This is to cause no offence to any friends, I still love you all and wish you all well in life but I just don’t have the time, emotional or mental capacity to scroll through and read it all. Don’t get me wrong, if you see you see me out and about I would love to stop and chat!!

It’s been over 3 months since my family’s lives changed – It’s not just me who has lost a child, my poor husband lost his daughter too, our 3 beautiful children lost their little sister, grandparents lost their granddaughter, brothers and sisters lost their niece and Rebecca’s cousins will always have one less person to play with at family gatherings. Anticipation of the announcement on Facebook of a healthy baby being born bewildered friends when they saw our announcement of her sudden death.

This is my first experience of grief, I was too young to understand fully when my beloved grandparents and Uncle passed away. Grief is soul destroying. It rips the innocence out of you, the naivety gets thrown out, your hopes and dreams turn to regrets and guilt. The guilt I personally feel has taken a huge part of me away. In my eyes, Rebecca died ‘under my watch’ she was inside of me, I should have protected her. But I failed. The guilt and regret that fills my soul will never leave. Grief doesn’t get smaller. The pain doesn’t get ease. The pain I feel now is the same I felt on the day Rebecca grew her wings, the pain will stay the same until the day I’m with her again.

I write this as I sit with my daughter, at her resting place – or as some parents like to call their ‘forever bed’. I sit here everyday. I talk to her, read with her, read to her, sometimes I just sit with silent tears falling. Her Daddy visits her each day after work. At weekends we visit as a whole family. Rebecca is, and always will be, such a huge part of our family.

I always knew Rebecca would be destined for great things. Just like our other 3 amazing children. Death hasn’t stopped Rebecca making her mark on the world. She would no doubt be so happy she has helped other parents and their babies, whether that’s through awareness, changes to ECV or the amazing donations to Swindon Sands – who really are a lifeline to these parents.

Sharing our daughters story with the world scared me a little at first. I wasn’t sure what reaction this would create. I didn’t want to hurt any family members by making this public, I know about internet trolls and how they can be so hurtful and just say things to be evil. But Ben and I discussed all this and came to a conclusion that Rebecca isn’t a secret, she isn’t something we hide, we’re not embarrassed nor ashamed. We talk about her to anyone that will listen, we can talk about her for hours. We thank her for being with us for those amazing 36 weeks, the precious days after her birth and days spent with her before her funeral. They mean everything to us. I’m so proud of her, but yet so sad she couldn’t stay and that’s exactly what she heard me say when we brought her here to this resting place. We are both so proud of her, we always will be.

Thank you all so much for reading her story. Whether you have donated, left a comment for us, shared my blog, intend to come back and sign our epetition or just had a quick read and left. Thank you. Ben and I are so thankful our daughter’s memory is being kept alive.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Just Giving

So a huge thank you needs to go out straight away, I never thought Rebecca’s story would reach so many people so quick.

Unfortunately as previously said the government have put a stop to new ePetitions starting until the dust has settled after the general election.

But that doesn’t mean the awareness can’t make a head start.

I thought in the meantime I can spread the word about my Just Giving page where I am trying to raise money for my local Sands Charity who help parents like me who have lost a child through stillbirth.

Please take a look if you would like to see why I am looking for donations, if you would like more information on the Sands charity or if you would like to donate to my local Sands charity. I would appreciate any donations, no matter how small.

Thank you again xx

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

https://www.justgiving.com/justiceforrebeccaflorence

Hello world!

This is my very first post.

I don’t have much to say other then thank you for coming onto my blog.

Please keep your eyes peeled for my up coming ePetition that I will be starting soon.

I tell my story and share my blog to inform you all I will soon be campaigning to send a petition to Parliament to in turn be directed to The Department Of Health to review current practices in ECVs and to extend the monitoring time before and more importantly after an ECV procedure, I believe mothers and their unborn babies should be monitored overnight. I will also be requesting a review into the data on risks of ECV and to make sure my daughters death is acknowledged in data and statistics. I want ALL risks, including this apparent new risk, clearly outlined on every leaflet and website for ECV.

I would appreciate as many shares and signatures as possible.

At the moment we have a lot going on for Rebecca, looking into as many avenues as we can to get some sort of justice for Rebecca. I will not allow my daughters death to be brushed under the carpet by the NHS . My daughter didn’t just die.

http://www.justgiving.com/justiceforrebeccaflorence