I absolutely hate the term “Trigger Warning” but this blog post is so personal to myself and Dexy but I have so many questions from parents asking me about it. So if you can’t deal with what a stillborn baby really looks like when they are born without clothes then I wouldn’t read on. But if you are a parent who is here because their babies looked the same or because you want to know how it really is having a stillborn then please read on.
This blog post is going to be about the condition of Dexy’s skin and everything we couldn’t do with him and everything they never told us to prepare for. I’m also hoping this blog helps people understand why I only share certain pictures and also why I am so jealous of mums with alive babies because they will never understand how much I couldn’t do with my son in the little time we had with him.
Skin To Skin.
When you have a baby you imagine them being born and put right onto your chest or if you are in theatre they get lifted up in all their glory screaming their little lungs off. Well that is what happens in every episode of One Born Every Minute, Every antenatal lesson you get told they will be crying and as soon as they go on your chest they calm down and in movies the women cry and look at their partners with this look of relief in their eyes like “fuck we made this screaming machine”. I always planned to have a natural water birth with no painkillers, I imagined phil being in their with me and we self deliver while a midwife just looks at us sharing this precious moment, I wanted to have delayed cord clamping so my baby got all the nutrients possible to set themselves up. What did I get? All the painkillers, in a bed with my husband next to me with nothing but sadness in his eyes and a baby with no cry. This was the furthest thing from what I wanted. For a long time I found no beauty in my birth to Dexy. I just greeted the memory with such sadness and desperation for it all to be a bad dream and I would wake up and he would be crying in my arms.
Skin to skin is apparently the moment to help you bond immediately with your baby but the first time I held my son he was wrapped up tight in a blanket so his limbs couldn’t flop about. I didn’t even see his fingers until about half an hour later. How am I meant to feel like a mum if my baby cant even lie naked on my chest. Even thinking about it now is making me so upset knowing that I was robbed of that precious moment with my son.
About 45 minutes after I gave birth I saw his skin for the first time. I was pretty medicated with painkillers at this time so how I saw his skin was I thought that the wax that they are coated in was coming off where he had been rubbed but this was not wax, it was his skin.
Why Was His Skin Like That?
Dexy died four days before he was born and this mean he had no oxygen going to him, no nutrients, nothing to keep him “normal” looking. In them four days he had absorbed water and his skin had blistered up and when he was born they all burst. I’m not talking a tiny blister on the back of your heel I’m talking a blister the size of his stomach. I never even got to see my sons back or tiny bottom.
We never got warned that his skin would be in this condition. We never got told that his skin would fall off when you touched it or moved him. The first time I really noticed it was about 2am and I had him on the bed with me cuddling him and I went to move him and his neck just bled. I thought I had done it because I didn’t remember his skin being that bad when he was born. I then stroked his hand and instead of soft baby skin I was touching red raw skin that was open. Why didn’t we get warned about this? I was completely heartbroken that my baby, my perfect baby’s skin was just breaking and falling apart. My heart screamed out because he shouldn’t be like this. I should be able to carry him and cuddle him instead every time I moved him his sore body just broke that little bit more.
A Little Nose For A Little Nose Bleed.
When Dexy was born and in my arms he had a little nose bleed, this was also taken with a bit of shock because it really rubbed in it that he was gone and it was his body letting go. Throughout the next couple of days with him the nose bleeds got more frequent and I found myself being a pro at spotting them and cleaning them up. But it wasn’t just from his nose he was bleeding, it was also his mouth. It was trying to escape anyway it could and every time it happened it was a bit more than the last time and towards the end when we decided to leave his mouth was bloody and his nose was also becoming more bloody. It’s like a sign that your baby tells you. An alive baby would tell you when they need changing but our babies tell you when it is time to let go. When their body is no longer that little munchkin doing twists and turns in your belly, or the baby whose heart was beating strong only a few days before. They let you know.
I will always remember this one moment when we were saying goodbye to him. Me and phil wrapped him in clean blankets, and made sure everything he was being sent off with was with him. When we put him down in his crib and starting saying goodbye he let out this air or something inside him gave a noise. it was such a high pitch “eeeeeeee” and I took that as the only noise my son would ever make and it’s him saying goodbye.
What Couldn’t We Do?
Now I’m hoping this part makes it clear to people who haven’t gone through baby loss about how much we lose out on. We don’t miss out on just their lives or our memories we should be making together. We miss out on the small parts that everyone takes for granted.
I never got to put a nappy on my own son because his skin was too delicate and I didn’t want to break him. I never got to dress my son in the only outfit that we would wear (which by the way was a gift from my dad why he found out Dexy was going to be a boy). I never got to bathe him or wash his hair. I never got to feed him or feel his breath against my chest. I never saw my sons eyes or see him with pink skin. I never got to feel what it likes to hold your baby and be tired from no sleep at nights.
I missed out on everything but what I did get was the title of a mother. I felt unconditional love. I felt appreciation for the fact that I met my son as many people still don’t even get that. I felt the pain of loss and I still do now because I love my son more than anyone could ever imagine.
I’m glad that some of you reading this never feel the pain that I do or we as bereaved parents do. I hope it opens your eyes as to why we are the way we are. No matter how old we are or where we come from this is a life experience I hope no one ever has to go to. No matter how much a grieving parent says things that hurt people that is nothing on the pain are going through.