Category Archives: Baby loss

Curve Balls

If there is one thing I have learnt in life it’s the harsh reality that nothing ever goes to plan.

When I was a little girl I had this idealistic plan in my head. The whole marriage, 2 children, ‘perfect family life’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful for what I’ve got and I have a wonderful marriage to my amazing husband. I just didn’t imagine that I would have to have a funeral for one of my babies, that I would fall in love with someone who already had a child and that I would end up disabled after my second birth.

For the record I love my Step Son with everything I have, I have helped raise him since he was 2 years old. We have a bond like no other and for that I am so grateful. He’s a wonderful boy and I am proud and grateful to have him as my Step Son, or as a friend refers to her Step Daughter as ‘my bonus son’! However, being a Step Mum hasn’t been without it’s difficulties over the years. That’s the part that wasn’t in my plan. The forever struggles of being a Step Mum, I don’t want to say any more as it’s personal but if you know you know.

I envisaged a career as well as being a Mum. I thought I could have it all and be great at it all, however life has a habit of throwing curve balls so to speak and you have to be ready to catch them.

I might not be working in my field of study right now but I did get my degree and worked for 15 years overall in Cardiology, Respiratory and Sleep. That’s something that no one can take away from me. If you didn’t know I am a qualified clinical physiologist specialising in respiratory and sleep.

I also thought I would be a ‘Pintrest Mum’ but it turns out being a Mum is a lot harder than it looks!! Who would have thought!!! I mean aint no one got the time, ability or energy to cook from scratch every day, organise fun activities for the family every day, planned trips as well as keeping the house clean, tidy and washing done and put away!!!! (Shit I’m exhausted just reading about it all!!)

I also didn’t plan to be disabled and need help off my husband to get dressed some days!! However it is what it is. I hate that I’m disabled I won’t lie. It’s robbed me of so much, however I have gained things too. Maybe I’ll chat more about it on another blog. However basically being disabled comes with challenges as well, it’s a full time job in itself just managing everything that comes with it;

Read these about pain

Meditate every day

Take time for you

Manage your stress

Pace yourself

Try and walk every day but not too much

Exercise every day……

This is everything that’s expected of me along with all the other stuff that comes with life as mentioned earlier with the cooking etc. Not to mention keeping up with your kids social calendar and events too. I’m yet to add in the whole school aspect yet with my youngest but that’s only a few months away now.

My point is (after babbling on for a while!!!!) life might not be turning out the way you planned, it might be harder than you thought. Life might be taking a different direction to what you had planned but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to awesome. Yes it might be hard and yes you might get loads of curve balls………but surely the curve balls just lead to better things in the end?

What do you think?

Much Love

Mrs Shep

Reflection. The build up. The heartbreak.

It’s been 6 years now and I still remember those feelings you get surrounding the day your baby dies.

It’s never usually about the day for me these days. It’s the build up.

Remembering those last few innocent weeks before your world came crashing down around you. Remembering a time where you were blissfully unaware that not everyone went into hospital and came out happy with a lovely baby to hold.

Did you know some people come out with a box instead?

I do. The only thing is, is that I knew I was coming home with a box instead of a baby. I had a few days to process that my baby in my belly was going to die in a few days time. I knew I was coming out of that hospital with a box.

I didn’t always know though and that’s what hurts.

I think if you speak to other parents of angel babies they will most likely tell you the same. It’s the build up that’s worse.

I often wonder if it’s a self preservation you know.

My son dying was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to me and the feelings surrounding that are completely indescribable. If I told you it felt like your heart was ripped from your chest, it still isn’t equivalent to what a parent whose baby died in their arms went through.

They say that your brain shields you from traumatic experiences in your life to protect you.

It’s probably why there are still things I don’t remember from the week surrounding the day I had Ethan.

However because it was one of the most traumatic experience of my life, each year sometimes some of those memoires come flooding back.

How can I explain this……

Ok, imagine you are driving along the motorway and as you drive along, you can see in the distance that you are going to crash. You can’t stop it, but you know it will hurt. That fight or flight kicks in, your heart races, you start sweating, maybe you start crying. You imagine the pain and what it’s like. You feel everything. Then it gets harder to breathe and panic sets in as the crash approachs, you keep getting nearer. You are getting more and more upset, the pain you are going to feel you can feel in apprehension, the fear, the loss of control. You can’t stop it from happening. Nothing you do will help this situation.

You take a deep breath. You whisper I love you. Close your eyes and brace yourself. Head swirling and all consumed in thoughts.

Hang on……what happened. Where’s the crash? It’s gone. It’s 6 months later. You know no idea how you got there. Can’t remember much. Over time things start coming back to you, memories and vague recollections.

It’s 6 years down the line now, almost to the day. Every time you drive down that motorway at that time of year, as you get closer to where it happened, those feelings you got that day repeat themselves over and over again.

That’s what it feels like at this time of year. I’m heading down the motorway waiting for it to happen. Those feelings I felt that year are more than a memory, I feel them.

It’s just the build though. On the day I shall remember him and be proud that I was the one that got to be his Mummy. I am one of the few people that got to meet him and hold him. I’m one of the lucky ones. I met an angel. I kissed an angel. I held an angel and I love an angel. I get to call him my son.

What Mother’s Day means to me…..

I remember growing up when it was just myself and my Mum. Seeing how hard she worked to provide for us, look after me and play both parenting roles. I just remember just wanting to always show her how grateful I was for everything she ever did for me. I still feel like that now. 

Then I had children of my own and the realisation of how hard being a parent was kicked in I wanted to spoil her more in Mother’s Day. Showing her how amazing she is for all that she does for me and my boys. 

Being a Mum your not just a Mum.

You are the mediator, the cook, the cleaner, the organiser, the friend, the boss, the educator, the party planner, events organiser, the singer, the dancer, the soother, the nurse, the doctor, the maid. You are the glue. 

To me, Mother’s Day is everything. Mother’s Day is the one day where I hope to be spoilt. Not in expensive material gifts. Breakfast made, my daily jobs taken over, cuddles, my choice in what’s on t.v, family time, a nice meal chosen and cooked for me, a bunch of flowers and chocolates. Maybe even a trip out for walk or something.

To me Mother’s Day is everything. It’s the one day where your children and Spode can show their appreciation all that you do for the family and the children. 

Much love 

Emma xx

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover is one of my favourite sayings. 

You never know what someone is having to deal with. You don’t know what’s going on inside.

I remember the early days after I had lost Ethan, looking around and thinking that everyone who had a baby where lucky. That they had everything they wanted and they where lucky. 

The truth was I had no idea if they had suffered before like me. If they’d lost a baby, struggled for years to get one or adopted because they couldn’t have one.

That parent in a shop who’s battling with her child yet again, who’s probably close to tears. Look a little harder. It might not be a naughty child, may be there’s underlying problems they aren’t discussing with anyone yet. 

Maybe they are battling a long term health condition. Maybe a loved one died. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they are struggling in ways you can’t imagine. 

Never judge a book by its cover. You never really know what’s going on inside. 

Cold Cots – why they are important

If you are reading this and you have never lost a baby then firstly you are very lucly and I hope it never happens to you. Secondly I appologise that you may find this blog extremely dfficult to read.

If you have been in the unfortunate position to have lost a baby then my heart goes out to you and please be warned that this blog may be a trigger for you.

The reason I started blogging a few years ago was because of my son Ethan. I wanted to share with you the true reality of someone who had suffered a loss like no other. I wanted to help those who had also lost a baby to let them know that they are not alone because I can tell you in those first weeks and even months, you definitely feel alone. Like it’s only happened to you and no one else understands.

I also wanted to share the true reality of baby loss to those who didn’t know what it was like. The harsh reality, the difficulties, the reason why we raise money for baby loss charities and also to help you help someone who has lost a baby.

So when you read this blog or any of my blogs about baby loss, it isn’t to make you sad or cry. It’s to reach out to those that feel the same pain as me and to hep others understand our pain and teach those who don’t know why we raise money and how to treat us.
So with that in mind, let us discuss the harsh reality of a cold cot.

If you don’t know what a cold cot is, it is exactly that. A cot that’s cold. Why does it have to be cold? This is a stinger but it has to be cold in order for the baby not to decompose too quickly. Once the baby has died or has been born sleeping, there is no blood circulating the body and therefore needs to be kept cold for as long as possible to slow the process down before the baby has to be taken to the mortuary. Sounds awful I know but those are the facts.

So why is it important I tell you this I hear you ask.

Cold cots are funded by a charity and money donated to the hospital. It is not usually funded through hospital funds. This means it may be that you could only have 2 cold cots in the hospital and yet 4 babies that day that have died. That means 2 families have to say good bye to their baby quicker. That means they have to watch their baby change in their arms. Cold cots do not come cheap either, they can cost around £2,000.

When we had Ethan he was born at 1.12am. We stayed with him until around 10:30am in the morning. We were so grateful to have the use of the cold cot, not only did we get to spend those few precious hours with him it also meant that Ste’s Mum and Dad and my Mum got to come up and meet him. Without a cold cot, none of this would have been possible.

I honestly couldn’t imagine not having that time with Ethan that I did get. It was precious.
I believe since I had my angel baby Ethan that there are also cold cots that are able to come home with you of that is what you wish. There have been many changes since I had Ethan.

At the end of the day it comes down to this, I will always do something small or large to raise money for SANDS because I couldn’t imagine not having the opportunities that we had and missing out on memory boxes and cold cots.

If you ever have any questions surrounding baby loss, please ask,
I hope this was insightful for you.
Much love

Why I can’t leave Ethan at home

If you follow me on Instagram or you read my blog on wheelchair assistance through the airport you will know we recently went away.

Something that might not have crossed your mind but when we go away we have to find someone to look after Ethan.

Ethan, my son who died.

Now let me take you back to 2014 and 2015. The first year after he was born then died.
When we were expecting the arrival and imminent death of our son, we where given a lot of information. “He may be born alive”, “he may not have fully developed we don’t know”, we also got told when we where planning funeral that we may not get many or any ashes from his cremation.

Now as you may or may not be able to imagine when going through all this, delivering your dead baby or a baby that will die, planning your child’s funeral. I can honestly say your head is everywhere. You can barely manage to remember to wash and eat let alone anything else.
We very slowly managed to get back to some sort of a normal life.

We never got a phone call about Ethan’s ashes so we assumed we didn’t have any. I mean he weighed 440g so it was understandable.

However I was on the arc forum website (antenatal results and choices) reading and chatting to other parents and something hit me and I had a huge break down. It was that uncontrollable sob where you can’t breathe. I phoned Ste in a panic thinking oh my god what if I have left him somewhere, I felt lost without him, I felt like a terrible Mum and I felt incomplete.

I got home that day to find my hubby had been phoning round places that day, only to find that we had Ethan’s ashes waiting for us at the funeral home.

Now this all happened in February 2015, 8 months after our son was born and then died.
Eight months without him and feeling empty and lost. That emptiness is the worst feeling ever.
So as you can imagine when we finally got him back we didn’t want to let him go. So Ste and I had a chat and that’s how his ashes came to be put in a bear. So we could keep him and cuddle him.

Those 8 months without him where unbearable. We had painted his nursery and planned his future and the suddenly he was gone eithout a trace. Nothing left behind other than an unworn baby gro.

So you see, the though of leaving our son home alone for more than a day extends to more than “what if someone stole him” it feels like we are leaving him, abandoning him. So you see, if we go away, he comes with us or stay’s with family or his Godmother. My son is loved and will always be cared for and looked after. Even in death.

That’s why he will never be left at home, because it took so long to get him back the thought of leaving him alone at home just fills me with dread and horror.

He’s still part of our family and he will always be looked after.

Much Love


What if the worst happens again?

I always think the worst.
If you have also experienced organising a funeral for your own child then you too will understand the sheer indescribable pain that comes with watching your child take the first and final breaths.
I have written various blogs about what it’s like experiencing baby loss. What I haven’t talked about though is how this experience has reflected on the rest of my life.
I saw a post a while ago now which led me writing this blog as I related so much too it.
This might seem sad to some of you or even silly. The thing is having experienced the worst thing possible and not being prepared for it (FYI, you are never actually prepared just so you know) I now fear the worst in most cases of things.
I fear loosing another loved one. I fear something happening to Alfie or Ste. Or even myself.
I dread going on the motorway now and feel like I’m crying inside through shear fear that we will crash. I can’t actually watch what’s going on it scares me that much. If Alfie is with me in the car I’m worse.
If Alfie gets poorly I instantly come up with a plan in my head of what to do if something happens. I think of everything that might be wrong and how to fix it if needs be or what do pack if we have to go to hospital.
I worry if Ste isn’t home when he usually is. Ridiculous I know because he’s a grown man but I worry that something might have happened to him.
Whilst I was undergoing tests to find out why I couldn’t walk properly anymore, I was so worried that something would happen to me and I wouldn’t see Alfie grow up. I thought about how Ste would manage and what I could do to help if that might happen. Drastic? May be. I was scared though and had no idea what was wrong.
The thing is. Loosing Ethan broke me. Literally. It was a huge shock and I didn’t know how to cope. As humans we honestly are not designed for that amount of pain. Trust me. If your brave enough, try and imagine living without one of your children, that pain and sadness you feel? Triple it. That’s what it’s like.
So as you can imagine, that pain I felt was so bloody painful and unimaginable. I can’t go through that kind of pain again I just can’t. The thing is though now, I just imagine the worst things in so many different circumstances. May be it’s to prepare myself just in case I don’t know, I try not too. I take deep breaths and rationalise with myself. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There you have it though. Another insight though into the world of an Angel Mummy xx

Unused birthday

Shoes never worn
Birthday hat never used.
Invites lay un-written and your birthday cake you never got to try.
As I look around the room, I wonder what would have been
Pen in my hand and birthday card in front of me.
What do I write to the boy who had nothing and never was. Never lived.
Nothing but pure love and yet such a broken heart.
Do I wish for a party, or cake, do I wish for presents in heaven. Or do I hope your heart was fixed, that you can feel me hug you. Oh what to write in your birthday card?
No friends to invite, no excited face. No memories or pictures to look on with delight.
Just an unused birthday.
Just a day of memories and scars. Heart break and hurt. A party for two, no invites or smiles. Just a loving memory, a small picture-less cake with a candle. Mantelpiece empty. Wondering what would have been. Just an unused birthday.

I love you with all my heart and more Ethan.
Much love xx

Guilt is a funny thing……

Guilt is but a funny thing.
My head is telling me it’s ok and tries to rationalise things but heart tells another story.
I feel so guilty that I don’t go to the cemetery as often as I feel like I should. Then I remind myself there’s no set amount of time per year or week or months that I should go.

I guess it’s because I can’t offer Ethan the same as what I can offer Alfie. I wish I could but I just can’t. I can’t buy gifts in the same way. I can’t cuddle him the same way, I can’t speak to him properly.
If I do speak is he listening? I’m mean none of us really know if there is life after death do we. So sometimes when I speak I wonder if he can even hear me. Is there a point.
Yes guilt is but a funny thing. Your head and your heart in conflict.
Life passes by so quickly after a while and yet in the beginning it was oh so slow. I take a breath and weeks have passed by and I remember I need to freshen your flowers.
I think of you baby I do. Your in my heart and my mind always.
I just wish I could show you and tell you the same way I could show Alfie.
Guilt. Doesn’t really matter how much time passes. When it comes to you my darling boy I will always feel a little guilty. Nothing will ever be enough when it comes to remind people that you existed and I still feel that pain for you xx

Mother's Day 2019

I’ve started this Mother’s Day blog so many times and if I am honest I feel lost on what to say really.
Whilst Mother’s Day is important to me it also makes me sad. I just feel like there is so much pressure on who has the best day, who got the best gift, who had breakfast in bed, who got treated the most. Why is it that instead of celebrating Mother’s Day and just being in the moment that instead it feels more like a competition?
It’s no surprise that since I lost Ethan, I have found Mother’s Day hard. My first Mother’s Day as a Mummy when I was pregnant with Ethan, we told our parents I was pregnant, so it was all very nice and exciting. A year later I was visiting his grave instead and pregnant with our rainbow Alfie wondering if we got to keep this baby. Since then I feel like I have been caught up in what I’m meant to do, what’s expected of me. Along with social media showing us what everyone is doing and seeing these people that spend all day being spoilt, rather than enjoying it, I just end up feeling sad, like my day wasn’t good enough. Which then makes me sound ungrateful but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is social media makes us feel like we should live up to certain expectations. Social media just feels so fake, a fake view on what we should do say act, but and how to be on those special days. In truth, whatever I actually do on Mother’s Day and whatever I get I absolutely love them because it has come from a place of love. (Hopefully this came out right!)
This past twelve months has been a struggle, thanks to this illness I have. It’s taken so much away from me. As I said in my recent blog ‘who am I’ I’ve lost who I am and I honestly don’t really know what I want now when it comes to Mother’s Day. All I know is that I feel like I want to celebrate the fact that I did a flipping good job at managing to get through this year whilst being so poorly!
Being a Mum is hard at the best of times, we all have our struggles if we show it or not it’s still there.
People don’t say much about the hard parts of being a Mum. So let’s share the good, the bad, the ugly and no matter what just support each other.
I’m hoping to be having a nice relaxing hot shower today, with hot brews. I’m hoping not to be in charge of a tiny human wild child toddler aka Alfie. I’m hoping for all three meals cooked for me and for me not to do any washing up!
Being a Mum is hard. It’s hard being an angel Mum. It’s hard being a rainbow Mummy and it’s hard being a Step Mum.
So let’s embrace the fact that we did our best this past year, we got by, we stuck together, shared advise and our kids still love us.
Let’s embrace this day and enjoy, let’s not make each other feel bad on what we did or didn’t get, let’s not show off, let’s just have a good day, whatever works for us and be happy.
Much love
Emma xx

Pictures are from last year’s Mother’s Day (2018)