I never experienced grief so closely and because my oldest daughter was having a baby I was so excited, that I was going to be a grandma. On her 21st birthday we had the first scan I went with her and her partner and the excitement turned to a numbing phase. I say phase because it went on for a few months. The amniotic fluid was being lost and we were told that the baby would not survive full term, I think the clinical word they used was 'not viable.' I attended most appointments with her as she went to one and the Dr was trying to persuade her to terminate the baby even though she had said it was not what she wanted, I was able to support her the next time that it came up which took the stress out of future visits. The approach because slightly different in the language they used as well supporting her decision rather than trying to change her mind. One of the last things she could do for her child, with her child but knowing it was going to come to an end.
As a family we supported them both to get through the dark weeks until my grandson was born. Tiny and needing help to breathe as his lungs had not developed properly. He was alive for 10 hours and we made them count. 10 hours old when he died but he was so loved, we made sure that we captured that in every way we could.
We invited the family over that my daughter and partner wanted to say good bye. Grandma's, cousins, great aunts he deserved to know how much he was loved. The hospital gave us the number for someone that came in and took pictures for us, and we spent time in the special suite with him as he took his last breath.
I can honestly say in all my years of being a mother it was the first time I felt so de-skilled in knowing what to do, how to help, what to say because I had never experienced giving birth to a child and then losing them in this way.
Professionally it doesn't matter what you do when you can't take that pain away for your child. I knew that my grandson was just as special as my girls and their christening gown was going to be for him. We had the christening gown that his mum and his aunt had been blessed in tailored and made him a suit in which he was laid to rest in. He looked so peaceful and how spiritual to have a part of his mums gown that she was blessed in on her special day, to be laid to rest in on his.
As a family we go and visit KAMM and make birthdays, Christmas, Easter and all the holidays special for him. We make our own flowers which makes it so much more personal, so we have learnt new skills that help us to stay connected to him in a special way.
I hope my story helps another grandma or loved one feel that things will get better, but we celebrate his short but impactful life and will continue to do so.
After about a year after we lost KAMM I went back and complete my training with The Infant Loss Foundation so that I could help other families like mine, the good thing was I also got a colleague to complete the training too. There will never be enough counsellors and therapeutic staff to support families that experience such loss but I am hoping that I have helped to pave the way for greater understanding of what we go through, and a greater dialogue about infant loss which is such a taboo subject because if the pain it resurrects. How deskilled you can feel as a professional because you are a parent, or a relative and affected too.
I miss KAMM every day and I still buy him little treats when I go and see him, but it's my way of dealing with missing out on spoiling him. I hope that when I am on the road to becoming a grandma again the worry is not too much, and the end goal is a happier time for me and my family and yours too.
But that's my story.