Thomas' story - long

(153 Posts)
Marina Thu 05-Sep-02 20:28:35

This is a long post, and sad, so I apologise in advance if it upsets anyone. It was helpful for me to write it, I have to say; and I sincerely hope that in future it might be of some help to someone facing the same situation as us - this is what happened to us after our second trimester baby died in the womb.

Thomas was born at 12.55am on the 25th August. As some of you might recall, I had already started havering about VBAC, so I am proud of the fact that in the end I got through his birth (with wonderful support from dh and our midwife) on just gas and air. I decided I wanted to try and give him the birth I'd have tried for if things had turned out differently. I do also react badly to morphine both physically and psychologically, before anyone thinks I am a complete masochist.

I was admitted Saturday morning and finally went into the Delivery Suite at 10.50pm. During the day I was given two lots of prostaglandins vaginally, and then one lot by mouth. I only had major contractions for about 2.5 hours.

Thomas was very small and fragile, so although we were able to see him and spend time with him, it was not possible to hold him or dress him which we had been told we might be able to do. He was very beautiful to our eyes but at 20 weeks did not look as though he ever had much of a chance. We have some photos and a smudgy set of footprints. We chose the name Thomas because it had no family resonances (nor did we know any little Thomases), but when we met our dear boy, he was so small all I could think of was Tom Thumb. The hospital wrapped him in a shawl we had brought for him, and supplied a tiny Moses basket for him.

I was out by late morning the next day. While there, we saw at least three people who looked after us when DS1 was born, and they remembered us (or said they did), which was very kind. The hospital relocated in 2001 and the new building has a special room for people in our situation, endowed by parents who went through something similar last year. So for all of the time except for three hours in delivery, we were in a quiet room, aside from the main action, and equipped with its own bathroom, a double bed, CARPET, TV, fridge, sink, kettle etc, and a sofa. Not unlike a Travelodge, to be honest. We had plenty of company when we wanted it, as staff kept popping in to chat, and one-to-one care right through the night.

I will never forget the midwife who helped me deliver Thomas. She only qualified last year and her chosen speciality is helping young single mums on two local estates with severe social problems. She was simply wonderful. The hospital also has a new, pilot project which funds a part-time Bereavement Midwife. We had to wait over a week for her to come back from leave, which was hard, and if I’m honest, there were times when I felt abandoned and forgotten after we were discharged from hospital. But we know about the terrible staffing problems there and we know the intentions were always good. When we finally met the Bereavement Midwife it was like meeting the best sort of well-informed old friend. She knew ALL the answers to ALL my questions – and being an A* nosy parker I had a lot of them.

We decided to have a postmortem for Thomas and that has now been done. We will get the results, along with all my test results, at the beginning of October. We have only a 50/50 chance of finding a definite reason for his death, which is one of the hardest things to take at the moment.

In the meantime we are planning a service of thanksgiving for him at our parish church. We have friends (one of them is married to the Assistant Parish Priest who will conduct the service) who have been through similar hard times and they have helped us with making arrangements. Someone had to tell us that with very small bodies a lot of crematoria will not supply ashes, and I’m glad that someone was not an undertaker.

I am so relieved and touched that throughout what we went through Thomas was referred to as our baby and not a miscarriage. He had his own hospital notes and ID tags, despite what we all knew in advance. I'm up and down emotionally, as you can imagine, I don't need to say more than that. Physically I'm OK and recovering well. I didn’t get any milk, thank goodness – at nearly 21 weeks it can go either way and no-one could predict this for me.

Life goes on at home. DS1 took the news (simply told in response to a question) sadly but was playing cheerily with Brio ten minutes later, which we found reassuring given he is only three. He has been such a source of comfort to us – we had his picture with us in hospital to remind us of what we had to be thankful for back at home, and that what happened to us last month (it feels like 1,000 years ago sometimes) is NOT the way it usually is.

As others have said on this site, you find out who your fearless, committed friends really are when the chips are down. Our house and phone have been shunned as though plague-stricken by some people whom we had hoped would ring or even e-mail. Other friends have been fantastic. I implore all Mumsnetters who might ever have friends in our situation, don’t hesitate – pick up that phone. I can almost guarantee they will be touched and delighted to hear from you, even if they are not up to talking much.

And all the messages posted about Thomas here have helped so much too. We will be printing them out to add to his Memory Book. Every evening (and there have been some) that our home felt like a place of doom, it was cheering to remember that so many people were thinking of us – and the Slagging off the Childcare Gurus thread brought a smile to my face when nothing else worked! Thank you all.

aloha Thu 05-Sep-02 20:44:13

Dear Marina,I read your post with tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for telling Thomas's story. It was beautiful.

jenny2998 Thu 05-Sep-02 20:45:50

Marina, I don't think we've ever really had much contact, but I feel so moved and saddened to read Thomas's story. You have been so brave throughout what must have been a terribly difficult time. I can not even begin to imagine what you have been through in the last few days and weeks. I am pleased to hear the amount of support you have had, and how well the hospital handled the situation, I imagine that must have been a comfort. And having your ds, continuing in his own sweet way, must also have helped. I'm glad that the childcare guru thread made you smile, as I seem to have done nothing but piss everyone else off!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say in my own clumsy way is thank you for sharing this touching story. My thoughts are with you at this time and I wish you and your family lots of love. Best wishes, J xxx

musica Thu 05-Sep-02 20:46:37

Marina, thank you for writing about Thomas - having never been in your position, I cannot hope to know how you are feeling, but I will remember your beautiful story. It is clear you dearly love Thomas - I said I would pray for you and I did, I will continue to.

ks Thu 05-Sep-02 20:48:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

janh Thu 05-Sep-02 20:49:22

Oh, Marina. I am filling up writing this. You are so brave. Thomas would have been a very lucky boy to have parents like you.

I promise that if anyone I know goes through your hell I will do my best to be there for them. I hope your thanksgiving service helps. Have you been to a site of the Compassionate Friends? They have these lovely words to give you some comfort - the Queen borrowed some of them for Sept 11:

"Grief is the price we pay for love. We did not lose our children. They died, taking with them our hopes and dreams for the future, but never, taking away their love. Though death comes, love will never go away. Hold it tight through the storm of grief and bring it with you into today. Love never goes away."

Thomas will always live on in you. Take care. Good luck. love from Janxxx

Alibubbles Thu 05-Sep-02 20:53:55

Marina, you are so brave. I didn't add anything to your original thread as I was away on holiday but have caught up to date now.

I have never been through anything like this but know people who have. One thing that stands out very clearly is that you were very aware of everything that was going on and that happened. Friends of mine say that at the time emotion overruled and they can't remember the details. They wished they had more memories and feel guilty that they know so little.

I am glad that you can remember it all, sad as it may be, but Thomas was real, a part of your family's life and special to you all. May he rest in peace, he will always be with you

With love and hugs, Alison

bossykate Thu 05-Sep-02 21:04:43

you have been so kind and considerate to post thomas's story here during this sad time in the hope that it might help others. you're being very brave. your friends are just afraid of saying the wrong thing and making it worse - they will come back. it must be very difficult not to know the cause of death - please try not to torture yourself with what ifs - probably impossible.

thinking of you.

beautiful quotation, janh.

PamT Thu 05-Sep-02 21:06:08

I don't know what to say, Marina, just that Thomas's story brought tears to my eyes and I wish I could take your pain away. I hope that the doctors can give you some answers to at least give you a reason why Thomas died and that you never have to suffer this way again. Thinking about you, your family and Thomas. Pam xxx

Zoe Thu 05-Sep-02 21:09:10

Marina, thank you for sharing Thomas' sstory with us. He was truly blessed to have you and your dh and ds as a family.

I think that you are incredibly strong, and I hope that you find the strength to continue to work through this sad situation.

Much love and hugs to you all

crystaltips Thu 05-Sep-02 21:20:48

Marina,
How humbled I feel. Priorities change daily. We have to remember that the most important of those are health and happiness - one hopes that family brings those.
I am so moved by your story and can only say that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
God Bless you and be comforted that Thomas will be the Angel watching over his family.

Lots of love to you C.XOXO

janh - Thank you for that quotation

robinw Thu 05-Sep-02 21:26:14

message withdrawn

leander Thu 05-Sep-02 21:30:18

Marina, you are so brave to tell Thomas's story,I dont really know what to say but i'm thinking of you and your family.
L xxx

WideWebWitch Thu 05-Sep-02 21:35:29

Marina, thank you for telling us about Thomas and I'm glad it helped to write it down. I'm thinking of you and your family too.

ionesmum Thu 05-Sep-02 21:36:33

Marina, thank you so much for sharing your's and Thomas' story. You are a remarkable person to be thinking of others at a time like this. I can't find the words that I need to say, I feel for you so much. Still remembering you and your family in my prayers. God bless xxx

florenceuk Thu 05-Sep-02 21:56:00

Thanks Marina for your story, hope it helped a little to put it into words and share it with us. I know from other threads how much you had looked forward to a second child - I can only add my regrets to all the others posted here.

And I must also add how impressed and touched I've been by the response of people here - it makes Mumsnet feel like a real community

mears Thu 05-Sep-02 22:06:02

So glad that you feel you have support here. It was very moving to read your story of Thomas. I am sure you have been given support group numbers from the hospital - do contact them as you will get a lot of support there from others who understand what you are going through.
Take care, mears

fms Thu 05-Sep-02 22:19:53

Marina
You've been so brave, not only going through with the birth (not that you had the choice..), but telling us all about it, too.
I hope that you find a way through this... and I'm sure you will one day, although it won't seem like it now.
Big hugs to you all, and keep in touch with us all. We're here to listen...

pupuce Thu 05-Sep-02 22:22:09

Oh Marina.... how I feel for you... and I was thinking yesterday that I hadn't seen you on Mumsnet for a while and wondered how your pregnancy was going.... This is just sooo sad.
I am glad you were able to have a VBAC (if one can say that... because it was an important matter to your heart).
Little thomas, your DS, DH and you are in my thoughts... and especially this WE as we are off to France- a place I know you love....
Good luck - take good care of yourself and don't feel alone... there is always someone here to keep you company and listen

Love
Pupuce

lilibet Thu 05-Sep-02 22:28:39

Just sat here crying reading this. I nipped into my ds's bedrooms just to give them an extra kiss and thank God for them. Marina you are a wonderfully brave woman, Thomas was blessed with your love for all of his life. Thank you for telling us his story. xx

thumper Thu 05-Sep-02 22:34:28

Marina. Thank you for sharing Thomas's story with us. You have been part of our thoughts since you first posted on 'having a bad day'. It was truly humbling to read your words. With love to you and your family.

emsiewill Thu 05-Sep-02 22:35:46

You are very brave, Marina. You should take strength from the thought that sharing your story may one day help someone else through a similar experience. You are in my thoughts.

jodee Thu 05-Sep-02 22:39:52

Dear Marina, those must have been some of the hardest words you have ever written, thank you so much for sharing it. It was lovely to have met you, I know Thomas couldn't have wished for a more loving mother. Thinking and praying for you still, much love, Jodee xxx

Enid Thu 05-Sep-02 22:55:11

Dear Marina, how much you have moved me with that beautiful story. Thomas couldn't have been more loved and wanted and you should always take comfort in the love you felt for him. I'm sure he felt it too. Lots of love E xxxxxxx

Jasper Thu 05-Sep-02 23:00:42

Thanks for sharing Thomas' story with us, your online mates.
I cried and laughed at your lovely post.
Do you have a garden? Perhaps in due course you could plant a tree for little Tom thumb?

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