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A Rose to remember.

by Tom Slack about a year ago in grief

My story of loss - and what I would have done differently.

A Rose to remember.
Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

My partner and I were over the moon. We had done it! Pregnant, a little miracle. A miracle, as my partner suffers with PCOS, which makes it very difficult for her to have a period, let alone conceive.

We had been trying for a while. It was what we wanted, and we were so happy...

Until the day it fell apart.

Believe it or not, on her birthday in June ‘19 we went for our scan. We had a couple before, as we knew we were high risk. The last scan, everything had been fine and the sonographer gave us some prints of this tiny bean growing inside..

Birthday came round, and we had booked a private scan. We went in, eager to see how much baby had grown, hopeful to hear a little heart beat.

The sonographer took ages, saying nothing. I could feel my partners hand growing tighter and tighter. Dread came over me, and turning, she gently said to us

“I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat. Baby is no longer with us.”

With calm professionalism, she contacted the relevant people, informing them we would be coming into hospital early, for a procedure to help baby leave us.

We barely made it home, both of us in bits, my partner staring numbly out of the window, as I tried to drive us to her mums. We had come away knowing that baby had died a few days after our previous scan.

The day after, we went up to the maternity suite for medical management, a process to trigger labour, and bring out what little is there. For the lady, it is not a pleasant process, as it is labour, without the happy ending of a baby’s cry.

For me as a father, I felt helpless. I was bereft and lost, trying to stay strong for my partner. She wanted to be left on her own overnight, and all night I could hear her gently crying, trying not to wake me. The few times I went in, I just sat and held her hand. One thing I learnt, is touch at this time, is neither wanted or appreciated. My partner, hated her body for betraying her, and wanted no reminder of what it had done.

The helplessness doesn’t end there. During the process, you as a man, can do nothing, aside from fetch snacks and water, and hold on tightly, as her body twists and writhes in agony as it pushes and tears. There’s vomit, and expelled product and all you can do is sit and watch and listen as your partner literally gives birth to nothing.

Luckily, her mum came with us, and was and is a star. She was all that my partner wanted, and I sat ready to help. That’s another lesson. Help where you can. Dampen a cloth and help her cool down. Open a window. Wipe the tears away.

Once over, we were sent home, the remains taken away for testing, with a promise for the chaplain to call us to arrange what we would like to do. We asked if there was anything we could have done, and were told it was impossible to tell what had caused baby to die.

So we went home. Hearts heavy. Tears and days of silence followed, as we tried to process and connect again. Here again I leave a lesson. Guys - let her come to you, even if it’s just to hold her. Be around, be present. Be ready to talk. Talk. You need to talk. She will want to talk, and analyse what might have gone wrong. It’s her nature to explore this, after all, her body let her down. Don’t dismiss the ideas, talk it through with her.

Our journey was not over. The medical management hadn’t worked, and product was left inside the womb, making my partner very ill, with a further admission and surgical procedure to ease out what was remaining.

Guys - be there. Be there before, and after this process. As soon as she gets out of recovery, she will ask for you. Be there with snacks, a change of clothes, a drink.

The process was over, and home we went.

We decided, even though too early to tell, our baby had been a girl. We called her Rose. All that remained was a tiny box of ashes, and a memorial box for her.

We took her to the cemetery, and scattered her ashes onto the graves of her auntie, taken too soon, and great grandmother. Praying for them to watch over her. My partner finds solace in this, knowing she is with family.

Our journey started again in May this year with the birth of our twin boys, Carter and Reuben.

We all know, Rose looks down and smiles. We can’t wait to meet her someday.


Tom Slack

Father of Twins.

Avid reader, Scout Leader and Musician. A lover of high fantasy, crime and action novels, who firmly believes in the existence (current) of Dragons.

A writer to be, with my novel - "Orphan Jones" out in 2021.

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Tom Slack
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