Today is a very special little boys 1st Birthday. I feel truly blessed to have my good friend Kerry’s consent to share little Jaxson’s story on her behalf. I am so lucky to have such a good friend with which we have both supported each other through our bereavements. Jaxson was my first real introduction to the harsh world of baby loss. I had experienced my own miscarriage a couple years prior and had spoken with other miscarriage mums before but never had I known of a much older baby passing away.
When I look back on my pregnancy with Beau I am envious of the girl I once was. As soon as I got to the twelve week mark I never considered anything could ever go wrong. I was so innocent and naïve as I sailed through the pregnancy without a care in the world. Never did I consider that my pregnancy could upset people, never once did I second guess complaining about pregnancy symptoms on social media. I wasn’t aware of the baby loss world, I presumed all if not the majority of babies eventually come home, even the sick ones.
I was thrilled when I first knew I was expecting Silver at the same time Kerry was expecting Jaxson. We lived only a couple doors away from each other at the time and were only 9 weeks apart, Jaxson being due late January and Silver being due early April. I was looking forward to having play dates already and that we could both go through the same stages together. We had been friends since attending the infant’s school together and most of my other friends were still so career focussed that I was pleased to have a friend on the same wavelength. It’s always a girls dream to be able to carry a baby at the same time as her friend, especially if you have grown up together and now you hope for your children to do the same.
I don’t fully remember the day we found out the bad news, where we were or what we were doing. All I remembered was having a missed call from Kerry. I’m not very good at instigating phone calls so I texted her to see if all was okay and that’s when she texted back the awful news. My memory of finding out is pretty foggy but I remember crying my eyes out, shocked and in disbelief. She was twenty-three weeks after all so why or how could this happen? She was in the safety zone and had had a perfect twenty-week scan too. Of course, I now realise there is no such thing as a safety zone. Until your baby is in your arms and breathing you do not know if you will be taking a baby home.
Perhaps I should explain exactly what happened to little Jaxson. Kerry was blessed with feeling regular movement from sixteen weeks pregnant. He would always wriggle when the alarm would sound on a morning and they’d wake up together. Unfortunately, on the 9th October Kerry noticed some reduced movement but presumed it was more due to the position of where Jaxson was laid rather than anything worrisome. When the alarm sounded the next day however there was still no movement.
As she was at work so early she decided to still attend and spoke with some colleagues. They decided at the end of the shift due to still no movement that it was best to call the doctors. The doctor’s surgery informed her to go straight to the local hospital, a most terrifying journey for Kerry. Arriving at hospital she was directed to the maternity ward who then took Kerry to the assessment room with several beds, one I am all too familiar with. After using a doppler to check they discovered there was no heartbeat. I can only imagine how this must have felt for Kerry. A feeling that unfortunately I now know has happened to all too many people whom I have connected with online.
She was then taken to a separate more private room where they performed a scan, also showing nothing. They had one last attempt with a better-quality scan machine only to confirm her worst fears. Somehow her little boy had passed away in utero, at this moment in time not knowing her little baby was actually a boy. Thankfully they gave her plenty of time to contact all the family and friends she needed to inform and receive support from, me being on of them to receive the missed call and then the dreaded text. Once she had done this she was taken to the maternity bereavement room where all was then explained of exactly what would happen next. After all she would still have to give birth to her little baby boy, something I think a lot of people sadly forget. She was sent home after taking a tablet to be induced, with the arrangement to return in two days to deliver her baby.
Naturally any labour of a baby you know will not take a single breath is going to be emotionally taxing to say the least. Kerry attended the hospital with her partner, sister, mum and her mums’ partner on this emotional day. Surrounded by the support of her loved ones the day commenced with regular checks and more medication to help the induction along. By noon she was unfortunately beginning to struggle physically and felt a desperate need to sleep and feeling rather out of sorts. After a sleep the pain unfortunately got much much worse, she was feeling drowsy and low blood pressure was setting in.
It was all quite a traumatic occasion physically, including blood tests and cannula’s which triggered immense panic attacks alongside the many other emotions going through her head. The pain became unbearable and for twenty minutes Kerry had the support of gas and air before welcoming their tiny little baby boy into the world. Every person in these situations reacts differently. I know some people who never want to see their baby and some who don’t want to let their baby go. Until you are in that situation yourself you will never know what decision you would have made. Kerry and her partner decided to allow Jaxson to be taken away to be cleaned and dressed before properly meeting him.
It gave Kerry they opportunity to physically recover from the birth and freshen up with a shower and some food. More family had arrived throughout the day and there was now Kerry’s dad and her partners mum present. The next two hours were spent getting to know their little boy. They held him, took photo’s and took the time to memorise his features. He was presented in a mosses basked looking ever so peaceful with his blue hat, a cardigan and a blanket. Kerry has very kindly sent me some special photos from this moment with the consent to share these below. I feel truly honoured that she would trust me with such a responsibility of introducing these photos into the world and being blessed to share the story of her precious little boy.
I am of course sadly all too familiar with memory boxes now after receiving one myself. Kerry very kindly showed me through their precious memory box on one of the nights I had gone to sit with her and keep her company after the birth. Many of these items are similar to what we received, her particular box included: two teddies, two bracelets, a candle, a book named Guess how much I love you? And a card with Jaxsons hand and footprints. The duplicate items were of course so that Jaxson could keep one and Kerry and her partner Ryan could keep the other. The teddy had been swapped many times in hospital so they could exchange scents with each other, something I also did with my mini boo’s with Silver. I have no doubt this memory box provides much comfort to them even one year down the line, just as mine does with Silver’s seven months down the line.
Despite being born after twenty-four weeks Jaxson was actually classed as a late miscarriage due to passing away one day before Kerry turned twenty-four weeks. It is a harsh reality of how weeks pregnant can mean the difference between your baby being acknowledged legally and simply being a baby lost before it had a right to life. This is what I hate about the abortion limit, I know from currently being twenty-four weeks myself how she is so active and shies away from sounds or being prodded, they can feel pain and respond to touch, light and sound. They were still alive and have then passed away. Because of Jaxson passing away one day too soon in the governments eyes he was not entitled to a birth certificate and in the eyes of the government didn’t exist. Thankfully hospitals do acknowledge this life and provided their own certificate which I think is imperative for all grieving parents.
Kerry and Ryan proudly named their little boy Jaxson Lee on the 12th October last year after welcoming him into the world. It has since been discovered that the reason for their tragic loss was due to placenta abruption. It’s something I had never heard of until researching it myself and I am praying that they are soon blessed with a healthy rainbow. I know they are such proud parents of both of their little boys, Jacob and Jaxson. Jacob kisses a photo of Jaxson every night and often sleeps with the little teddy from their memory box whilst Kerry and Ryan take it in turns to wear the bracelet from the memory box. They forever cherish his memory and keep his spirit alive in this way and through talking about their loss with trusted loved ones.
I know they have some lovely plans for his first birthday today to celebrate the beautiful life he had within Kerry’s womb and to share with friends and family their everlasting love for him. No loss will ever feel justifiable or fair, nor will a grieving parent ever stop wondering about missed milestones or stop missing their child. The only choice we have as grieving parents is to honour the memory of our loved one, live each day for them and keep their memory alive through talking about our children like the proud parents we are. I wish me and Kerry did not have such a tragic truth in common and yet I am also glad to have someone so close who can relate and understand how I feel.
I know just how hard it is to celebrate other people’s happiness when your own life is so dark. I know how much I hurt even now seeing pregnancy announcements and how sometimes seeing new born babies can trigger the tears to fall. I am so lucky to have a friend that despite it probably being completely heart wrenching to see me get pregnant with our rainbow she has still celebrated my happiness. She has still babysat Beau for me to be able to go to scans and doctors’ appointments and asked how my scans have gone. She is always pleased when I have yet another set of good news and was always there for me during my first twenty weeks when I was absolutely terrified of losing Leilani. She offered reassurance and support as I was fearfully navigating pregnancy after loss, despite most likely wishing she too was in the same boat.
I can guarantee that the day she is blessed with her Rainbow I will gladly hold her hand and support her through every step just as she has done for me. I will forever remember her little boy and think of him being with Silver as they look after each other in heaven or wherever they may be right now. Kerry’s birth was classed as a miscarriage due to one day. I hope everyone remembers that life begins at conception and every single loss from that moment forward is a baby gone too soon. It is still a life lost and I know each year there will always be milestones where we will wonder what our child would have been doing and how old they should have been.
And lastly, I just want to say a big Happy Birthday to Jaxson Lee Simpkins, today is your day and you are still very much loved by all your earthly family and friends.
Until next time,