Thursday, September 22, 2011

R U OK? Start a conversation that could change a life

September 15th is R U OK? Day. A national day of action to prevent suicide.

Gavin Larkin, inspirational suicide prevention campaigner and founder of R U OK Day passed away yesterday after a 19 month battle with cancer at just 42 years old leaving behind 3 children, a loving family and an amazing legacy. I encourage you to watch his story on

I was deeply moved by Gavin's passion, commitment and his own story and willingness to make a difference. Gavin experienced the loss of his own father, who took his life and ironically Gavin spent the last 19 months of his life fighting to keep his life. My uncle also took his life. It came as a huge shock to everyone in the family. He 'seemed' to be 'ok'. He had 2 gorgeous little boys, a new love in his life, and all the material things that deemed him as successful. Only a few weeks prior, he had visited his family, taking a vacation. Looking back on it now, we realize that he was probably saying his goodbye to us all. To think that we could of prevented him taking his life, by keeping in touch with him and making sure he was ok will stay with us forever.

Suicide is a serious mental health issue, and help is available. You are never alone on your journey, in your thoughts and feelings, there is always someone, somewhere out there that can help. I know as I too have suffered depression and many years ago thought of taking my own life. I was very lucky to have someone there to ask me if I was OK, and to pull me out of the depths of my depression. It made me a stronger person, and made me even more determined to live my life to its fullest.  

Its OK not to be OK, its OK to cry at times, its OK to not feel right, its OK to not want to ask for help... but its OK to know I'm here to help. Its OK to cry on my shoulder, its OK to tell me whats going on, its OK for we all get like this... R U OK today?

R U OK Day
Lifeline 24/7 13 11 14

Saturday, September 10, 2011

24 hours

It would be heaven to have just one more day with Yasminah. 24 hours......with my firstborn daughter.

1. I would hold you in my arms.
2.  I would introduce you to your big brother
3. Take LOTS of photos, especially of your sweet little face, your hair and your feet.
4. Invite everyone to meet you and hold you.
5. Insist that the rest of my family meet you and hold you in their arms.
6. I would take you outside so the wind could kiss your cheeks
7. Record a video of you, so I could watch it when I feel like I'm forgetting parts of you
8. I would smother you in kisses from head to toe
9. I would comb your hair and put a pretty bow in your thick black, curly locks
10. I would dress you in the most prettiest purple dress I could find ( I think you liked purple)
11. I would sing to you, or maybe daddy should sing to you, just like he always did
11. I would read 'Always' to you as I did when you were alive in my womb
12. I would arrange hand and foot casts
13. I would arrange hand and foot prints for jewellery
14. I would arrange a photographer, so we could have a family portrait
15. Sleep with you lying on my chest
16. Change your nappy
17. I would give you a warm bubble bath (every little girl deserves bubbles)
18. I would take you for a walk in your pram
19. How I would love to just look at you one more time, and soak in every gorgeous detail
20. I would wrap you in the blanket my poppy made for me
21. Eat breakfast with you again
22. I would hold your hand
23. We would eat cake to celebrate you on your birth day
24. I would whisper in your ear, how much I love you.

Every hour of every day is precious, don't waste it, grab it with both hands, treasure it and make it count.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to break the news......

To you I might sound like I talk about my daughter all the time, but to me I miss and choose to remember and honour Yasminah's memory by keeping her as a part of my life in everything I do. She is and will always be our first precious daughter.

The moment we lost Yasminah is often revisited in my thoughts and memories on a daily basis. Especially when I learn another little angel has grown their wings, and another family is now going through the same heartache and swirl of emotions we experienced when we lost our daughter Yasminah. Knowing they are probably struggling to share their heartbreaking news with those who care about them.

How do you tell the people around you, the people who love you, the people who are waiting to hear news of your beloved child's arrival, that instead your baby has passed away. It is an incredibly hard hard thing to do and something you never ever think about or dream one day you will have to do.

I was on bed rest and waiting to reach that magic milestone of 38 weeks. My reasons are my own, but I felt it was in my child's best interests to be delivered safely into this world via an elective cesarean and to avoid any complications that may arise if I chose to have a VBAC, knowing Yasminah would require some special care once she was born to have casts to correct her feet. At least if we had some control over her arrival, all the care and assistance she needed would be available.

However I only made it to 37 weeks and 2 days when very unexpectedly Yasminah passed away in utero.

We realised we had no control over anything, and as much as we had planned and prepared for our daughter's arrival, we didn't know that our much anticipated and loved first baby girl would be born sleeping. All plans went out the window. Inititally I still wanted to have a cesarean and couldn't believe it when the hospital told me that they thought it would be better if I had her naturally, as having a second cesarean would mean all future births would be cesarean and I would also be limited to how many babies I could have. How on earth could I deliver a child naturally who had passed away. Why wouldn't they take her out straight away. Our medical team knew that we wanted more children and urged me to consider having a VBAC. They would monitor me closely to ensure my scar didn't rupture during labour and that things wouldn't progress too quickly. I was given the option to allow nature to take it's course and for me to go into natural labour which could take a few days or a few weeks, or to come back the next day and start the induction process. I have told Yasminah's birth story briefly before so wont re post it here tonight.

But one thing that was incredibly hard was telling people our daughter had passed away. Everyone was waiting for the phone call to tell them we had our baby, but I don't think anyone expected to receive the news we had to tell them. We decided we would only tell immediate family and friends. Many of our friends knew I was already on bed rest in hospital and waiting to have her later that week, so it was hard to avoid. Many of my friends had sent me text messages the very morning of the day she passed away. One friend sent me this message: Take care and if you are still in there on the weekend without a baby we will come keep you company otherwise we will see you at home with the bub! 

Another one ~ Not long now! xo ~ Keep me up to date on everything ~

The announcement: I wasn't strong enough to call anyone to tell them of our loss. At the time they were confirming that there was no heartbeat, my best friend, who was 39 weeks pregnant was calling me, instinctively knowing something was wrong. I couldn't answer the phone. Then the hospital staff asked if they would prefer they call my husband to let him know. I wanted to let him know, but not like this. He already knew from our earlier conversations that afternoon that I was concerned something was wrong, but I don't think he ever thought he would hear my next words whispered through a sea of tears "Leave Zach at home, don't tell anyone but she has passed away".

It is a grief and loss and incredible pain that a much as you can try to explain to someone, unless you have lived through it, unless you have been there you will never truly understand.

My incredible, strong, supportive, loving husband, fighting back his own tears had to tell everyone that Yasminah had passed away. The evening that she passed away, the 24th of March 2009, we called our parents, then our siblings, then our close friends from our bed. Both lying down touching my big belly, willing her to move and for this to all be a nightmare that we could wake up from. It became too much to call everyone, so we made the decision to hold off telling anyone else until the following day.

Hi all, Yasminah fought well, however she passed away peacefully last night. She is now playing with the angels in heaven.  

Then when we arrived home, we discovered that someone had posted a message on our Facebook page, so we had to let everyone else know what had happened.

Thursday 26th March at 09:58am our precious little girl walked into our lives and left footprints on our hearts

I was in shock, but I was also so incredibly excited that I was going to finally meet my baby girl! I had been dreaming of meeting her and probably a few days before her birth I had a dream that Yasminah was born but for some reason I couldn't hold her. It didn't matter how much I reached out for her, my arms could not reach her. I remember discussing this with my husband and he shrugged it off, putting it down to the possibility that she would be admitted to special care to have casts placed on her feet and maybe that's why I wouldn't be able to hold her straight away. Maybe someone was trying to break the news to me, about what was about to happen..........