My profession is wonderful. Midwifery that is. It has some kind of beautiful to it day in and day out. Many shifts are over in the blink of an eye and other shifts are long, exhausting (both mentally & physically) and stay with you for days, weeks, months, years on end. One of my first shifts as a Student Midwife (almost 7 years ago), still to this day, sits stagnant in my mind when I count my blessings and realise how blessed I am to have 2 healthy, happy babies. I guess as a Midwife, you never ever ever forget your first fetal death or stillborn baby. How could you? That mother that I can still vividly see weeping with her head turned away facing the window, still today, 7 years on, would wake without her baby. She would still yearn for her child & endure an ache that many could only imagine. Sure, it may lessen slightly, I couldn’t say. I wouldn’t know. What I do know is, our profession means to be ‘with woman’.. You see, we see the gift of life being born right in front of our very eyes. Us, as Midwives, are one of the first to welcome these babies into the world & ensure both Mother and Baby are cared for at all times…. how incredibly blessed are we? Sometimes, 6 times a day in Australia to be exact, we care for a mother who is about to birth her baby, only this time her baby will be born sleeping. It is hard, but we get on with it. These mum’s need us to be strong for them, so we do. They are mother’s after all. They go home without their babies and that is the only bitter painstakingly awful difference. As Midwives, we feel a privilege to care for these women. For them, their partners, their families and most of all their precious baby. We have just passed October .. the ‘Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness’ month. The month where every mum feels an extra pinch to the heart, a month where every mother wishes there didn’t have to be just a ‘month’ for everyone to remember their little babies and a month parents will wish would hurry up and be over. Their nightmare doesn’t really end you see. Sure, life goes on… but their babies, their sons, their daughters, their sisters, their brothers, their cousins, their nieces, their nephews, their grand children remain a bright star in the sky, gone but never forgotten. Below, Super mumma Laura from @linkandluna kindly shares her story about her beloved firstborn son Link, who was born sleeping almost one year ago on the 14th of November 2016. For some reason, I always think of Laura and Link. The heartache she has endured & how unfair life was to her and her James, like many others, makes me feel sad. But, as resilient as she and James are, they find comfort in sharing their story and openly showing us, their beautiful baby Link. As the sun continues to shine for their son and every baby & infant that is no longer here earthside, life is starting to become brighter for them both. They are expecting their second son (and second child) early February 2018. As this year comes to a close, Laura & James will celebrates Link’s first birthday, Laura entering the third & final trimester of her pregnancy and a booming business selling unique, handwoven & versatile moses and plant baskets. Laura is gorgeous, her story is amazing and her desire to spread awareness into pregnancy & infant loss is heartfelt. She makes me, as a Midwife, embrace my profession even more and miss caring for beautiful Mumma’s & Baby’s like Little Link. Grab some tissues, a cuppa and squeeze your babies tight. Her words & photos below are raw, yet graceful, show sadness but beauty and instil in us all, that our babies, born sleeping or with a beating heart is human kinds most brilliant creation.
There’s a certain type of love that I think we all crave in this lifetime. A love that mends a broken heart, a love that fills a void. A love that comforts us, a love that feels like home. A love that makes us feel whole, like we’ve found our special place in the world. A love that let’s us breathe. Finally…
In 2016, I found this type of love. I grew, nurtured, protected and fiercely loved this love for 8 months.
It was the perfect manifestation of my entire life’s dreams. The dreams I had as a lost little girl, a desperate teenager, a reckless 20 something young woman. I longed for this love, and for this life, from the deepest depths of my soul for as long as I can remember.
Finally, a baby. My son, Link.
Like all expectant Mothers, I was eagerly anticipating the birth of my baby. Nervous, excited, emotional. All the feels.
To add to all those feels I was seriously stressed. We decided to have a shot gun wedding in Sep so I had that to plan, a house to renovate, my relationship was struggling and was just so, damn, tired!
My last day of work was a Friday. The 11th of November 2016, Remembrance Day. I was so ready to finish. You know them feels right? I was exhausted. The long days. The heavy traffic. I just wanted to be at home. I remember waking up on Saturday morning, my first day of maternity leave. I was so excited. For the first time, since the dawn of time, I had the one thing that no one ever has… time. I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do first. Would I have breakfast? Play with the dogs? Sleep in? All of these things at once? I could do anything! But, something just didn’t feel right.
With my Husband at the gym, I thought I’d just make a quick call to the midwife. Just to, you know, check in. Just in case. I felt embarrassed to call. I didn’t want to seem like one of those paranoid mothers that called at the slightest feeling of discomfort. I’m pretty tough, I can handle more than most, ’I can handle anything’ I thought.
But not this…
Two days later, it was the 14th Nov 2016, I was 35 weeks into my pregnancy & the moon was full. That night, with the help of the almighty Mother moon’s power, I gave birth to my breathtakingly beautiful, sleeping baby boy, Linik ‘Link’ Allan Grzelak. His heart was still and for a minute, so was mine.
He was placed onto my chest and I couldn’t bare to look down.
I couldn’t face it. I had to deny it until it wasn’t true. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real.
When I finally had the courage to look at him, at my beautiful baby boy, my world as I knew it, my soul as I knew it, everything as I knew it, changed, forever…
My whole life had led me to this moment.
His pure, innocent beauty and the deeply intoxicating love that I felt in that moment, just took my breath away. A moment that can only be described as transcendent, sacred and profoundly heartbreaking. A spiritual awakening, unfolding in slow motion.
It’s funny you know, I was sort of waiting for his presence in this physical realm to fully and finally heal me. To make that lost little girl, that lonely teenager, that reckless young woman, whole. And in those moments when we found out he was gone, I thought I’d lost not only him, but I’d lost my chance at peace. Like I was so close. I nearly made it. But I couldn’t quite get there. I felt like it had slipped through my fingers and I’d be better off just giving up.
But, as the days unfolded, I realised that I have still found peace. Link still completed my puzzle, I still feel his presence, I still feel his love and he has still made me whole.
I’ve spent the past 11 months trying to figure out who I am, without Link. What is my purpose in life, without my baby? Why was I chosen for this experience? What the f$%k is ‘normal’ and will I ever be that again?
I realise now that I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to trust the process.
So, I’m getting out of my own way and letting the universe do its thing.
With the strength that Link gave me, I took the plunge and started my own business, aptly named LINK & Luna. Throughout the process, I have encountered extreme depths of fear and anxiety so acute that I found myself literally unable to breathe or swallow. I feared judgement, I feared failure, I feared success.
Exposing myself like I have has been terrifying, but not making an impact or a difference wasn’t an option. I had to make sense of losing Link, I had to find the positive, I had to make him proud. I had to somehow make his existence one that mattered. I was desperate to find the meaning, to create a ‘reason’.
I know my heart will never fully heal, but Link has given me so much strength and taught me so many invaluable lessons. I feel sadness every day. I miss him terribly in every moment, but Link gave me peace after all.
He also gave me something else… Another little soul hand picked for earth by him in heaven. Another little boy, our rainbow baby, due Feb 2018.
What a soul and what a gift.
To help me raise awareness, to help me raise funds, to follow my journey or to purchase a beautiful basket please head to www.linkandluna.com, sign up to my newsletter or join me on Instagram @link_and_luna
With nothing but love in my heart,