21 April 2012

Losing Pippin...

I haven’t shared this story here in full before. But I think stories of loss are just as important as joy filled birth stories. I’m not sure why death and miscarriage are so taboo. They are sad, but in them we can find such beauty and raw emotion. They stay with you forever. The little hole left by Pippin is still there for me, three years later, even though another babe has filled his place. He left just after the first flutterings began. I felt his presence from the beginning and on some days, I swear I still feel him around me… Anyhow, this story was written two days after his birth/death. It was Samhain in the pagan calendar, a particularly apt time. A time where death, quiet renewal and drawing inward was happening all around us…

The year ended with a choice of two plans for the following year…
Plan A – have baby now so we have the same 3yr gap and keep life interesting.
Plan B – have baby later when Little Owlet is more independent and have a stable year with no major changes or plans, for a change.
We chose Plan B. Then plan A chose us. So we welcomed the idea of a little one into our hearts and prepared for the year ahead. Huz was particularly excited at the change in plans. The pregnancy proceeded as the others had. All was normal. All was well. The owlets were so excited to have a new sibling and made all sorts of plans for its future. Big Owlet wanted a brother. Little Owlet wanted a sister. I had dreamt about a boy, but it was a swirly, intangible dream…

At eighteen weeks, Huz had to leave for a few nights away for work. For some reason I really didn’t want him to leave. I made plans to go to Melbourne to be with family, but begrudgingly accepted that I needed to stay at home. We kept ourselves busy with friends and waited for Huz’s return. On Wednesday I sat down against a cushion that had been warmed by the sun and felt an instant relief for a pain I hadn’t noticed in my lower back. Later, I noticed a little blood when I went to the loo. Strange. Sinking feeling in my gut. Then the cramping really started. I called Huz who felt confused and helpless. The owlets and I hopped into bed and watched movies. After midnight I noticed that tightenings were happening regularly and the blood was increasing. Not good. In the morning I told the girls what I expected was happening. Big Owlet burst into tears and said “But I don’t want the baby to die!!” Which Little Owlet repeated and then said “Its ok, Mama, we can make another one”. I called Huz and let him know what was going on. More confusion and helplessness, but he was coming home later that day so we would just wait and see. I couldn’t wait to see him. When he arrived home he looked ashen and exhausted, but relieved when I fell into his arms and it began…

At around four o’clock Little Owlet crawled into bed with me for a little breastfeed and  tightenings started up again. Stronger this time. Huz entertained the girls while I walked around breathing and stretching. Big Owlet didn’t want to let me leave her sight. She kept checking on me all day. She wanted to do something, call someone, get help. She thought I hadn’t eaten the right foods or something like that. We talked it through, reassured her this was a normal thing and part of life and our family’s story. We couldn’t contact our midwife and Huz and I both knew that hospital wouldn’t help much at this stage… At around 6 o’clock I was pacing and Huz suggested some music. Perfect. Joan as Police Woman popped into my head for some reason and in the middle of the first song I burst into tears, holding Huz, crying and dancing while contracting. Just the release I needed. It was the perfect choice of album, in hindsight. All about death and life and living and loving. I have a habit of picking the soundtrack for events in my life… By the second song, things were in full swing. I crawled and breathed, danced and belly danced and pretended to be a frog with the girls for the contractions. Little Owlet cuddled and kissed me and said “Mama, I love your tiny baby”. Big Owlet continued to observe me with a little concern, but the dancing seemed to put her at ease. At 7 o’clock, Huz put the owlets to bed with a DVD. I felt a pop and quickly made a nest in the bathroom with candles, towels and a heater. A short time later Pippin was born.

At first, I was almost afraid to look, wondering what I’d find… Such a tiny baby bird. So perfect and small. Beautiful and lifeless. He was in a little bag of water that somewhat resembled a jelly mould. I called Huz and we had a look together, through tears. So small. Tiny ears and hands and feet. We took photos. He was a boy. The owlets came and had a look and touched his tiny, perfect hand. I moved to the bath to try to birth the placenta as tightenings were intensifying again. We watched the water turn red. The owlets didn’t want to leave my side. Particularly Big Owlet, who was coaxed back to bed very reluctantly.

Two hours later, Huz began to worry about the blood I’d lost and the time it was taking to birth the placenta. I was in a huge amount of pain, like none I’ve felt before, or since, and feeling woozy from it.  Huz called around for advice online and called our last midwife who suggested going to the hospital. She said we’d probably face an ambulance, five hours waiting around and a D&C… Um, no thanks!! After seeing Huz’s look of distress though, I agreed to calling an ambulance… And that was all the impetus I needed to birth the placenta. It arrived while he was on the phone to the stressy Ambo guy who was shouting in his ear. Phew! Relief. Its over. We can go to bed. Huz was overcome with the emotion and stress of it all and burst into tears while I hopped in the shower. Then he got a blood nose. Blood everywhere. From both of us! It looked like a crime scene. We had a giggle and a cry while we cleaned up and snuggled into bed with some food, while our amazing owlets snored and sighed near us. I called Dad and Mum and told them the news… I felt a strange sense of calm and like all was right. Sad, but right.

We got through it. Together. Our little family all working to help and love one another and create a protective, comfortable and warm space to welcome little Pippin. We have gone somewhere we never thought we would and will come out the other side with love and stronger as a family for it. In the next few days we’ll be finding a spot in the garden for Pippin and a tree to plant over him. We’ll be relaxing as much as possible and planning our future again. Back to plan B.

In the following days, we felt cocooned by love from family and friends around us. My sister flew down and nurtured us beautifully. Listened to us recount the events of our amazing, sad week. It really was a huge turning point for us. It cemented our relationship and enabled us to communicate and work as a team as we hadn’t before. It highlighted the love that was there and strengthened it tenfold. Birth, death and everything in between will do that… 

** The photo above was taken on my birthday, three years ago, just before losing Pippin. 


  1. Reading this through cramps & tears just 2 days out from the anniversary of our own similar experience.

    Much love as you remember Pippin <3

  2. So terribly sad, and yet you have told this story in a beautiful, raw and honest way. Pippin will be remembered through your story.
    Thank you for sharing x

  3. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Lauren, for sharing this. Sending love to you and your extraordinary family.

  4. Oh sweetheart. There is such dignity and beauty and loss and sadness in the words you wrote. Such a profound tribute to Pippin and to such an essential piece of your history. x

  5. Love to you.
    Thank you for sharing Pippin's story xx

  6. Oh Lauren. Goosebumps. Tears. Amazement. Respect. Hugs. J x

  7. Thank you for sharing. It is something I fear every pregnancy, and yet somehow reading how beautifully your family loved through the pain gives me courage that if we were to go through the same loss, we would survive. I am currently around 12 weeks pregnant with my 5th child.

  8. I don't think i've looked up to someone so much as i do now... your beautiful story has moved me so much. I don't really know what else to say. I'm sorry you didn't get to spend more time with Pippin but i'm happy he was here for a little while.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear about loosing Pippin. I'm also so moved by your courage and strength. Women, particularly mothers, never fail to amaze me.


  10. Beautifully written, so sad for you all.

  11. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way to record his birth - so much love there.


  12. This was very touching. Strangely, we never hear of miscarriages that are so filled with love. Yours sounds as though you were able to be more peaceful than most people have. I am so sorry for your loss...


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