I debated whether to include this in part of my general sixteen week pregnancy update blog since it was obviously part of my week but this I feel warranted its own blog as it was rather a special occasion. After all, we can’t go to Newcastle for her one year birthday as originally planned with our baby due so close so this was a very special trip for us. It was a very last-minute decision to go up for her six months so I can’t say it was the most well planned or thought out “celebration”.
I was so happy when I initially came up with the idea of going to Newcastle for Silver’s six month birthday and getting her memorial tattoo on her birthday only to read it is controversial getting a tattoo whilst breastfeeding. I had been getting rather upset about not being able to travel for her birthday with our baby due on the 29th Jan and her birthday being the 12th Feb. My tattoo plan had given me such a sigh of relief to still make it a special day for her, knowing I couldn’t get it done during pregnancy. Since then I’ve done some research and found mixed reviews of the safety. I guess if I had a C section again too I would be at a high risk of infection, something I don’t want to effect baby or breastmilk. I am going to speak with my consultant however to discuss this further and perhaps closer to the time dependant on what the doctor says I will seek out a reputable tattoo artist.
Now that I’ve possibly given you an insight into her first birthday let me take you through the day of her six month celebration. As I said, it wasn’t well planned and only a last minute decision. Something I decided after realising we had committed to a weekend dog sit (the dog stayed at our house overnight while its owner had a weekend away). Thankfully the owner is an amazingly kind friend and was happy for us to take the dog back to her house at dinner time on the Sunday so that we could still go to Newcastle.
Not only this but when she came to drop off her gorgeous Alaskan Malamute (we also own one!) she had brought us a present, I believe as a thank you for having Loki stay. When I came downstairs that morning and saw it was a Yankee candle I was already a very happy girl but it was an angel wings scent one! I struggled to even find the small jar of this scent at my local shop for Silver’s shelf so I can’t tell you how elated I was to have a large jar! This means I can now light a candle for my little girl as often as I like whereas my small one I save for special occasions, such as her birthday each month and the 28th each month (when she passed away). I am blown away by the generosity and kindness of such a thoughtful gift, especially a rather expensive gift too.
I also want to touch on the point here that of course I don’t expect gifts every day but what this candle symbolised to me is what most grieving parents appreciate and need. Its not the money spent on keepsakes and reminders, it’s the fact someone has actually thought about their child. That is the best gift any grieving parent can be given. Most people don’t talk about Silver anymore and it is us that brings her up but I can’t tell you how much my heart sings when someone else mentions her name. I hope this inspires you to talk to others about their babies or if you have lost a baby I hope someone mentions their name today for you. I keep seeing a quote online which is something along the lines of “don’t be afraid of mentioning a child’s name in fear it will remind the parent that the child died. They didn’t forget their child died. Saying their child’s name shows that person you remember that child lived”. And isn’t it true? Every day we think of our child and the fact they are gone, hearing their name is just a sweet reminder that they lived and touched other people’s lives too.
As I said, we took Loki back to his owner’s house for around lunchtime and set off on the two hour drive to Newcastle. This would be my first time going back since the day we had gone to pick up her body. Fabian on the other hand had been once since for my brother’s stag do, something I know was difficult and very emotional. I would say I had mixed emotions on the drive up. One minute I’d be happily singing along to the music and the next I’d feel myself choking up and trying to hold back tears. There were times on the drive when we just sat quietly thinking to ourselves and times when we would talk about her and also the baby I was carrying within me.
One thing that was almost cathartic yet triggering at the same time was a couple of songs which kept playing on the CD we had in. Both me and Fabian have always used music as a coping mechanism through life and also as a way of communicating to each other how we feel, through sending each other songs. We were listening to five finger death punch and there are two songs on their most recent album I connect to Silver and this pregnancy. The first song is “Gone Away” and is actually pretty self-explanatory in its lyrics and how they relate to losing a loved one and grieving. Lyrics such as “pulled away before your time, I can’t deal, it’s so unfair” and “it feels like heavens so far away” are so relatable for probably a lot of grieving parents. This is a relatively tame song for them but unfortunately, we did feel it was a bit too heavy musically for the funeral!
Another Five Finger song on this album which I find quite upsetting is “I refuse”. I really choke up on this one and find it hard to sing. Its not directly about what I’ve been through but “wake me up, when this is over, I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream” and “please wake me up, when its all over, I’m tired of living right here in between” really sticks with me and my experience. I easily correlate this with the time when we found out Silver was unwell and the many weeks of tests and not knowing whether she would live or die. There were many times when I didn’t want to make the most of my time with her due to how painful it was and I just wanted to wake up once it was over. I guess the problem with this is it’s all over now and I want nothing more than to be back with her and of course the most painful part was once she was gone, naturally. A nightmare I can’t wake up from and I will forever have to live without my little girl. The only relief I get now is not having any uncertainties anymore, bittersweet.
As I mentioned at the start of the blog post, we were not at all organized with this trip out and despite all dressing smartly we completely forgot to pack nappies. I don’t know why but we never take a changing bag with us anywhere anymore and we always forget nappies! We don’t feel Beau is quite ready to potty train at the moment while we are still working on his routine but he wee’s for England! So a two hour drive on its own was pushing our luck. I just didn’t realise how bad his nappy was… We went to a Sainsburys just outside Newcastle and somehow me holding him as I was looking for flowers while Fab paid for nappies was enough to “burst the banks” so to speak. I’ve had Beau leak on me before but no, he must have been going wee and it literally started dripping on the floor… Fabian thought it was from the flowers at first but nope, I got completely soaked and embarrassed! I had to buy an emergency new top while Fab did a swift nappy change.
I am hoping it’s a top which will accommodate my growing bump over winter as I’m finding even my winter clothes are struggling to accommodate what is now an eighteen week bump! We also decided to buy some roses, after all her name was Silver Rose. I couldn’t find any nice white ones so we went with pink. It was starting to drizzle as we left the shop but thankfully the five minute drive to the Angel of the North was enough time for the rain to subside. When we first arrived I did have a lump in my throat and felt generally emotional but once we walked closer I actually felt okay. Probably because it wasn’t actually somewhere we ever went with Silver so had no direct connections to her except it being a significant monument in her home town. Of course she is also my little Geordie baby, my Angel of the North.
I also found once I started taking photos it distracted me and I was too busy concentrating on making sure I got some lovely pictures. I am hoping I didn’t forget anyone but I had compiled a list ready of the baby’s names of other parents who I have spoke to that have lost their child. I wanted all of Silver’s friends in heaven to be a part of her birthday celebration so took a picture of Silver, her special elephant and our miscarriage Stork along with all the names of other babies in heaven. I was a bit taken aback realising just how many names there actually was, it never ceases to amaze me how many people have lost babies and saddens me. The worst part is knowing these babies are such a small portion of the hundreds and thousands of angel babies out there.
We tried to take some family photos too and individual photos of each of us in front of the statue. All I can say is this was just the start of Beau’s not so great behaviour for the day. In reality it was our fault completely. We got him down for photos but then wanted to put him back in his pram which of course he didn’t want to do! This was an issue for the rest of the day, stopping him escaping his car seat each time we stopped and trying to stop him climbing out of the pram. I don’t blame him after such a long journey to want to run about but with no reigns in a city with a toddler who never wants to listen it was too dangerous. This did really impact our day emotionally and distracted us from fully focussing on Silver. In hindsight next time we will either have help with us, take reigns or leave him with my parents.
On walking around the grounds we found an area where a lot of people had left memorials for other loved ones. We would have loved to have left something if we had known but instead decided to leave one of the roses from her bouquet against one of the trees for her. Its nice to have somewhere to go to remember her which is linked with her life since she was cremated and we don’t have a grave to visit. We don’t plan on always living in the same place so didn’t want to have a fixed place for her which might only be convenient for five years. I am hoping once finances are available to have a ring made with her ashes!
We took a few last pictures in front of the statue before deciding to head into the city. We had no particular plans for what to do or where to go. It did feel quite emotional that Google Maps took us the same route we always used to take, straight past the hospital which brought a lot of memories back. Attending appointments so often at Newcastle and then living there for three weeks it became a second home to us, and will always feel that way. I wanted to experience that feeling of being “home” and in familiar surroundings. The only problem is it looked completely different. I think because it was summer plus a Sunday it was both quiet but also not covered in snow as I was used to seeing it.
We had planned on walking around to the park which the hospital overlooks as I had always wanted to go for a walk in it when we were up there with Silver. We had planned to take Beau for a snowy walk there one day as he came to live with us in Crawford House a couple days before Silver passed away. Unfortunately, we never got chance to take him and when Silver passed away my parents took Beau home that day so that we could enjoy the last bit of time with Silver before she went for her post mortem and we came home. I still never got the chance to go this time either! We were too exhausted from walking around and decided instead to come back and do this another day despite wishing to go lay a rose in the park for Silver.
I did briefly mention in my sixteen week pregnancy update that we had a rather awkward pregnancy incident where I desperately needed a wee with this new little one pressing down on my bladder. The only problem is not many places were open with it being late on a Sunday and as we were near the hospital and knew exactly where the toilets were I just had to go in. It wasn’t somewhere I had planned on going back to, it was difficult knowing she wasn’t there but at the same time I do have all of my fondest memories of her in that building too. Thankfully we just quickly nipped in and out and actually were no where near the end of the hospital where we used to have appointments or where she passed away so it was a manageable pain.
We hadn’t really budgeted or planned eating out but were absolutely starving so decided we had to relent and actually feed ourselves! I had originally planned for Silver’s one year birthday to go to The Bohemian where we had a meal the night before Silver was born however with Beau’s restless behaviour we opted for takeaway in the car. When at Newcastle I was fed a very limited vegan meal plan, basically they had two vegan options and if I was lucky they would mix it up and give me the other one for my lunch instead of tea one day… So a couple times we had takeaway and discovered Wagamama has an extensive vegan menu.
I’m pleased to say my pregnant belly was finally at a point where I could order my favourite tofu curry. On the other hand, however I let Fabian go order food while I sat in a courtyard area. It was a reminder of when Silver had been born and we went to a Starbucks surrounding this courtyard on our way to the train. This was the day we nipped home to bring Beau and our belongings up to Newcastle, preparing to live there for quite some time. This was the last time I remember feeling so hopeful for Silver and her future, a couple days before she passed away. I sat there contemplating life and remembering those moments as I looked through all the photos of my princess on my phone. This was the first time that day I had cried. It finally hit me and it hurt so deep within I felt I couldn’t breathe. I took a photo of the monument from this courtyard which I felt the inscription was rather relevant “Memory lingers here”.
After a very long day, full of many mixed emotions we travelled back home, hand on bump, Silver’s blanket on my lap. I dread her one year birthday and wonder how I will feel. I think I will be very confused no doubt due to the elation of hopefully bringing a healthy little baby home, yet at the same time overwhelmed with the loss and grief that will still hang heavily on my heart. Time doesn’t heal, you just learn to live with the pain. I’m not really sure how to celebrate her birthday and its something I will be thinking about over the next six months.
Until next time,