Help me to help her please

(11 Posts)
Jasmum Tue 17-Feb-04 14:38:06

My sister lost her baby 2 weeks ago at 23 weeks. It was/is tragically sad & she's devastated. Baby was diagnosed with spina bifida (this is first baby after 7 miscarriages) She's gone through the labour & is so upset.
It turns our that our aunt has spina bifida but never told anyone & has only come to light in the past few days & as it's such a mild form she never knew till she had an x-ray for her back trouble a few years ago. This has set my sis back & she's now very angry that she never told anyone so increased folic acid could be taken. She's rowing with our Mum about it, she nows she's bring slightly irrational but she feels very hard done by. She had cancer at 20 & had chemo for 6months but is Ok now...so really she has had her fair share of bad luck.
I know this is part of getting over something, the anger but it's breaking my heart. I know she needs to grieve & I've cried & cried about this whole awful nightmare.
What can I do for her? I am there for her - I've got a 17mo baby & she doesn't want to be swamped by a baby right now - is there a book you could reccomend I could get for her, or something I could do that I'm not thinking of?
Any advice gratefully recieved please....?

OP’s posts: |
twiglett Tue 17-Feb-04 14:46:20

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SenoraPostrophe Tue 17-Feb-04 14:57:55

Your poor sister.

When I had an m/c I think the thing that hurt most was the idea that maybe I would never have children - if your sister has had 8 that must be almost unbearable for her. But at least she knows what caused this one - I think in her shoes just more information about that would help (could spina bifida have caused at least some of the other miscarriages? if so it would certainly help her to know that)

The thing that helped me was reading about other people's experiences - in letters from friends and on the internet. Can't recommend a book, but one along those lines might help.

Also - and this depends on the type of person she is - since it was such a late m/c, would some kind of a memorial help? A tree maybe or a poem.

Lastly, has she actually said she doesn't want to be swamped by a baby, or are you assuming that? For some people company helps, even with painful reminders.

lazyeye Tue 17-Feb-04 15:11:25

I've no real advice, other than I have had 2 much earlier m/cs myself. Such a late one must be devastating.

For me, just having pple around who are willing to talk about it when I wanted to was great. It sounds like you are doing that for her.

Lots of love

suedonim Tue 17-Feb-04 18:19:34

My niece lost her 22wk baby girl last year, also with spina bifida, Jasmum. Ironically, she used to nurse women who'd had miscarriages so she maybe knew almost too much about it. She's now pg again, due in May, but it's been a difficult time getting to this point, and her dad dying at New Year hasn't helped. It helped her to have all the baby stuff removed from the house, so she wasn't constantly being reminded. NCT could give you some contacts for support. Call them on 0870 444 8707. Hth.

aloha Tue 17-Feb-04 18:49:28

I'm sorry, but was this a termination? I don't mean to be insensitive but you said she'd been through the labour and it sounded like it. Forgive me if I'm wrong. If it wasn't a termination did the spina bifida cause the baby to die? People I know who lost a baby late or even at term like my friend say that it helps if people DO talk about it, quite a lot. Did they name the baby? Talk about her child by name. Don't call the baby 'it' and remember the anniversary. I do think there is a limit to what you can do though. She is being unreasonable but that's grief for you.

aloha Tue 17-Feb-04 18:51:46

One of my closest friends had a baby that died literally as it was being born (had a weak blood vessel in the brain and the stress of birth caused bleeding). That was 14 years ago and we still talk about him sometimes.

Marina Tue 17-Feb-04 20:06:09

Having lost a baby at the same point myself, Jasmum, I can really understand why your sister is feeling angry about your aunt's spina bifida - the wish to wind back time to the moment when it must have all gone wrong for your baby is very powerful indeed. And although it must hurt you all, being irrational is part of the grieving process for her. I hope your aunt and mum can cut her some slack in the circumstances - you sound as though you are being a great sister and doing your best for her.
Agree that talking about the baby by name if she named him/her will always be welcomed; remembering the date of his/her birth and also what would have been his/her due date is also appreciated.
SANDS provides all sorts of support for people affected by the death of a post 20-weeks gestation baby - that includes you as well, as the baby's aunt. They publish an excellent book, When a Baby Dies, as well as leaflets on aspects of bereavement.
Antenatal Results and Choices provides special support to people who are faced with the prospect of termination after screening results, if this applies in your sister's case.
I'm so sorry for your sister and for you. What an awful tragedy.

Twinkie Wed 18-Feb-04 10:16:41

There are quite a few books you can get on Amazon - my sister's baby died (she refuses to say lost - she never lost it!!) last year at 24 weeks - it was harrowing and to be honest there is not much you can say or do to make it better - I was very matter of fact and spent as much time with her as I could bare but made sure I spoke openly about Miles (her son, the baby) but nothing you can say or do can change the cycle of grief and anger she has to go through - my sister even went to the degree of getting cross at people mentioning burning things - Miles was cremated - irrational but we all are when our feelings are all over the place - just be there for her if she needs to talk - listen and never stop talking about the baby - it is/was a person and will be part pf your sister and your family forever.

Has she said that she does not want to be swamped by a baby when Miles died my sister said my daughter, Harriet, was a great diversion - funnily enough Harriet knew that she was pregnant but has never asked what has happened to the baby - anyway do a search on Amazon (type in bereavement and baby and it should come up with something).

You could also see if she can see a counsellor - both my sister and I did and I can say that it has really helped.

You can contact me by email if you want to talk about it - am super busy at work butwill ty and reply ASAP XXX

Jasmum Wed 18-Feb-04 15:00:04

Thanks - It's so upsetting, the cremation is next week...and she is seeign a counseller thru' the hospital. She did have a termination as the baby also had water on the brain & would of been brain damaged & had severe handicap if it had gone full term, or even survived the birth. At the time her & her husband didn't want to know what sex the baby was but have since been back & been given the photos & the details that the hospital took. They haven't told me what sex it was & when I asked they didn't want to talk about that part of it, but that was a couple of weeks ago.
I still feel like I've been kicked in the stomach & sometimes that I want to run away from myself & then I imagine that she must feel 100 times worse than that & my heart is breaking for her. I still find it so upsetting & the next week is going to be even harder with the cremation coming up.
I talk to her a couple of times a day & am always there for her but there's just nothing I can do & it's so sad. I don't know what to say about the baby, I don't wnat to push her about what sex it was and the name.
Marina, I'll contact Sands thank you...antenatal results & choices I've already spoken to & they weren't a huge amount of help - I think I called at a bad time......

OP’s posts: |
Dmum Wed 18-Feb-04 15:25:40

Jasmum, I'm so sorry to hear that your sister lost her baby. IMO, there's nothing as tragic as the death of a baby. One of my closest friends had a full-term stillborn baby 3 days after my son was born. I felt really guilty because my baby was ok. My friend just wanted to talk about her baby. She wanted people to acknowledge that he had been a part of our lives. Just being there for your sister is exactly what you should do. You're right, your sister does need to grieve and you need to grieve for your niece/nephew too. I still cry when I look at my DS and think about his friend that we never got to know. I know there are websites that my friend visited (SANDS, etc). I don't think I've really given you any advice, sorry, but I just want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with your family.

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