The Due Date

Both our Sons were born before their due dates, both born at 36 weeks and therefore before their due dates, but both in very different circumstances.

Today, 21 January 2018 was Henry’s due date, today we shared it with family who organised a baby arrival shower, as we did not want a baby shower during the pregnancy. We had cakes and were showered in gifts.

Rory’s due date was 23 June 2015, my wife and I spent this day at Rory’s garden (his resting place). There was no family, no cake and no presents.

After a loss you always remember significant dates, which seem really important and makes you feel angry when they don’t seem as important to everyone else.



After every Storm comes a Rainbow

I’ve not had much time to write a lot during 2017, this was because just before Rory’s 2nd Birthday we discovered that we were pregnant again.  When we saw the test result, we were overcome from mixed emotions.  We  were slightly shocked, as we thought we would never get pregnant, we were also very pleased and happy, but so very anxious. We wouldn’t let ourselves get too excited and kept the news very quiet, we only told very close friends and family.


We have spent most of 2017 in hospitals and clinics, due to extra scans and appointments.  It was so difficult going to all the appointments, not only did we have to visit the same hospital where Rory never came home from, we also had to explain about Rory’s death nearly every appointment.


I remember being so petrified at the 12 week scan, I thought that us being pregnant again and expected there to be a problem or to be nothing there.  Thankfully everything was ok and we could see a heartbeat, we were then told our due date was 21st January 2018.  


At 17 weeks we saw our consultant, who was the one who confirmed that Rory had no heartbeat.  He remembered us and Rory, he actually said his name a few times, which was very nice.  He said that the plan would be to deliver early around 36/37 weeks and we were to see him again at 30 weeks and 34 weeks where the final plans would be made.


The pregnancy seem to be going well, baby was growing well, but we still didn’t get carried away, as we are all too aware of the dangers that could go wrong during pregnancy.  The weeks seemed to pass quite quickly, until we reached the 32 weeks mark, Jo started to get intense itching so we went to the Fetal Assessment Unit (FAU) to get Jo and the baby checked out.  They monitored the baby’s heartbeat which was fine and took some of Jo’s blood for testing.  


The next day we had our 32 week scan and everything seemed ok and the baby was growing well.  However, afterwards they handed us the results they mentioned that the blood flow through the cord was at the lower end of normal and therefore we would have to have another scan at 34 weeks.


Two days later we were given an additional consultant appointment and the results from the blood tests came back that Jo had developed Obstetric Cholestasis.  We asked the consultant what does that mean, he told us not to worry, anyone with this condition would be induced early around 37/38 weeks, as the plan for Jo was delivery around 36 weeks, nothing changes.  He then booked a date for the C-section, 27th December 2017 and then told us that Jo would need to have steroid injections on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  


Despite the medication the Itching seemed to get worse for Jo and seemed to be worse at night for her and therefore struggled to get any sleep.  


At our additional scan at 34 weeks, on Tuesday 12th December, they found there was an increase in amniotic fluid and were told to visit the FAU again. They thought that Jo may have developed diabetes, so they booked Jo in for a glucose test for the next day, which happened to be Jo’s Birthday.


The next morning Jo had to have a fasting blood test, drink a glucose drink, then wait for at least two hours to have another test. Whilst we were there they decided to take Jo’s 34 weeks blood at same time.  A day later we were back at the hospital for our consultants appointment. The results came back that Jo didn’t have diabetes and found out her liver was improving, despite the itching not easing.


On Tuesday 19th December we had to attend a C-section class where they give information about the procedure and talk about faster recovery.  This was very difficult for us, as this was in is the same room we had antenatal classes when we were pregnant with Rory, we collected the medication Jo needed and information booklets and left early.


The next day we had our final midwife appointment, our usual midwife was on holiday and were seen by one of her colleagues.  When she listened to the heartbeat she thought that it was irregular, like it was skipping a beat. So we had another trip to the Fetal Assessment Unit at Darent Valley Hospital.


At the FAU they did a CTG and monitored Mum and Baby for nearly two hours.  One of the Midwives was slightly concerned that there were a couple of dips.  We tried to explain that the baby was moving a lot and kept losing signal.  Eventually she got a doctor to have a look at the graph and they thought it was ok, but told us to keep an eye out for any reduced movements.


Well, I think this freaked us out a bit and made us paranoid, because that evening the baby didn’t seem to be moving as much as it normally did in the evenings, so we didn’t want to take any chances and went back up to the FAU.  They did another CTG and booked Jo in for an emergency scan.


The next morning Jo received a call that her emergency scan would be that afternoon.  Everything looked ok with the scan, the baby’s heartbeat was strong, there were no problems with the blood flow through the cord and the increased fluid had reduced.  However, during the scan the baby didn’t move much, only their hands and feet, so we were told to take the results to the FAU.  Whilst there they did another CTG and decided to give Jo a steroid injection in preparation for the C-section.  They also decided that Jo would need to go in daily for monitoring until the baby is delivered.


On Friday 22nd Jo had her 2nd steroid injection and another CTG.  Then on the Saturday, Sunday & Christmas Day Jo had further CTG’s and on Boxing Day she had her bloods in preparation for the C-section and a final CTG.


It was difficult for both of us to get any sleep Boxing Day night, Jo was worried about the procedure and the epidural, I was terrified that something would happen to the baby before we got to the hospital.  


We arrived at the hospital at 8am and were taken through to a recovery room, where they started to prepare Jo.  We were told that we were 2nd on the list, so should be in theatre between 9.30 and 10am.  However, there were complications with the first C-section, which meant we had a delay.  The longer we waited the more nervous we both got.


What seemed like an age we were taken through to theatre at around 10:50am, it was quite daunting walking in there seeing all the people, the lights and all the equipment.  The anaesthetists were amazing with Jo, they tried to put her at ease and got started with the epidural.


Once the epidural was working, a screen then went up and the rest of the team got to work.  After a few minutes they dropped the screen and revealed that we had a boy.  The screen soon went back up and I went round to cut his cord. They then brought him back round so Jo could see him and then they weighed him, he weighed 6lb 4oz and was delivered at 11:25am.


At this point he didn’t like being naked and was screaming his lungs off, which we were so pleased about, it meant he was alive. They then put him on Jo, skin to skin, and instantly stopped crying and settled down. He continued to have cuddles with his mummy whilst they were stitching Jo up.


Before they finished, myself and a midwife took our son to the recovery room to dress him. Once we got him dressed one of the Midwives took him across to the baby care unit to get him checked out.  He was only gone for about 10 mins and he was well enough to be with us.  I then gave him his first bottle, whilst Jo was given tea and toast.


About an hour later Jo and our Son were taken through to the ward.  They both spent two nights on the ward and I stayed with them both, sleeping on a reclining chair.  We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl we wanted to keep it a surprise, as we didn’t find out when we had Rory.  We had thought about names and had more girls names than boys.  So, it wasn’t until the day after he was born we finally decided on his name.


Please welcome, Henry Rupert Sowden, our little miracle baby who doesn’t know how special he us!!!



We have a Son

We have a Son, Just like you.

He’s got 10 little fingers, 10 little toes, dark hair and he looks perfect in every way,

Just like your Son, the only difference  is, our Son didn’t take a breath.


He was born in a hospital and delivered naturally,

I cut his cord and dressed him, just the same as you did with your Son.

However, our Son didn’t make a sound when is was born.


We have a Son, just like you.

We love our Son, just as much as you love yours,

We talk about our Son, just as much as you talk about yours,

The only difference is that your son lives here on earth and

Our Son lives up in the Stars.


Just like you we buy presents for him every Birthday and Christmas,

However our Son’s presents are for his grave and will never get to play with them


I am a Daddy and my Wife is a Mummy,

We have a Son, Just like you!!!


Sorrow & Joy

2 years ago today, 28th May 2015, we found out that Rory had died.  Our world has been flipped upside down and hearts have been shattered since that day.


During the weekend before we lost Rory, we visited Lullingstone Country Park and walked along the river. This was the last place that us three all visited together and therefore the place is very special to us


On Rory’s first anniversary we visited the park and laid yellow roses into the river and watched them float down stream. The reason why we chose yellow roses is because we all dropped a yellow rose into his grave at his funeral.


This year we thought we would get a toy boat and write a message to Rory and let it float downstream as far it can go.  

We put some artificial blue flowers on the boat and tied our message to Rory and dropped the boat in.  Daddy thought I would be a good opportunity to play with his radio controlled boat.


Rory’s boat was gently trotting along the river nicely until it started to approach the first hazard. Daddy thought it would be a good idea to put his boat near the hazard so Rory’s boat wouldn’t get stuck.

Rory’s little boat soon passed the hazard a continued to float down stream. However, Daddy’s boat got caught up in the weeds and was stuck in the middle of the river.


So guess who had to take his shoes and socks off and wade into the river to rescue the boat, you’ve guessed it, silly Daddy. Meanwhile Rory’s boat continue to miss all the hazards and float down stream.


Silly Daddy!!!!

Daddy decided to not risk getting wet again and not put his boat back in.  We walked along the bank and watched Rory’s boat continue its journey.  It was very peaceful and relaxing watching the boat gently float along.


Eventually Rory’s little boat came right up to the side where we were standing and didn’t move.  So we thought Rory wants us to take his boat back home and not leave it there.


Rory boat’s resting place

So Daddy tried to lean over to pick, without falling in, the boat slowly started to move out of Daddy’s reach. Then when Daddy grabbed a tree to stop himself from falling in the boat moved closer to the edge.  I think Rory was playing a trick on Daddy and trying to get him wet.


Eventually I was able to reach Rory’s boat and pulled it out. We went and sat on the same bench, two years previously, when Rory was with us and watched the world go by.  Whilst sitting there we saw a Robin on the opposite bank looking at us, soon we saw a second Robin and later a third.

Despite all the noisy dogs and children we found it quite relaxing and peaceful and thought it was a nice way to mark the day and found it slightly easier than last year.


I’m already thinking about next year and thinking we may either try and organise a charity duck race or get a memorial bench somewhere along the footpath along the river.


Later in the evening we found out that my niece had a little girl this afternoon. It is really weird that on the same date that we found out Rory died, 2 years later our family is celebrating a life.  However, we are relieved that my great niece wasn’t born on Rory’s Birthday.

Almost another Year!!!

Rory’s 2nd Birthday is fast approaching and I can honestly say i don’t know where the last year has gone.  The first year was a complete blur, as we were completely engulfed by our grief and felt time had stood still.  This past year has seen to flown by but still feels that everyone around us has moved on and carry on with there lives as normal, whilst our lives seem to be on hold.


Two years ago today, 26th May 2015, wife had her 36 week midwife appointment, which ended up being the last time she heard our son’s heartbeat.  I didn’t attend this appointment due to work and now wished I was there. I can’t actually remember the last time i heard Rory’s heartbeat, which i feel bad about, it was probably only a week or two before this appointment, but for some reason the date doesn’t stick in my mind as much as the 26th May.


Another date that I will always remember is 28th May 2015, this has to be the most horrendous and traumatic day in my life.  It was the day we heard the words, ‘Sorry, there is no heartbeat’, the words any expecting parents would ever want to hear.  That day and those words will haunt me for the rest of my life.


Rory was then born 2 days later on 30th May 2015.  Last year we couldn’t bring ourselves to call this day his birthday, we called it his anniversary.  However, this year we have realised that the 28th will be the anniversary of his death and the 30th will be his birthday.  My wife gave birth to Rory on this day and therefore is his birthday.  However, it will not be a happy one, how can it be, Rory is not here with us to celebrate it.  


As we cannot buy presents for Rory, we can only buy him things for his garden (grave), we have decided to decorate his garden with a Roary Racing Car and Disney Car theme.  We have bought cars, flags and balloons for his garden.  It was difficult buying these items, as we were thinking we should be buying presents for a two year old and wonder if Rory was here, would he actually be into toy cars.  I’m pretty sure he would have been, if not his daddy would have certainly played with them.

Just Another Day

Tomorrow will be our 2nd Christmas Day without our Son Rory.  While most people are celebrating the festive period and excited about what Santa will bring them.  To my wife and I tomorrow will be just another day, just another day we have to live through without our Rory.


Last Christmas was extremely difficult being the 1st Christmas after losing Rory.  What made it particularly difficult was that we announced to our family on Christmas Day 2014 that we were 14 weeks pregnant and gave them a copy of our 12 week scan picture.  Everyone was so happy and excited for us, everyone all talked about how this time next year it would be the little one’s 1st Christmas.


The build up to Christmas last year was extremely awful, Myself and Jo didn’t want to celebrate Christmas at all.  We absolutely hated hearing any christmas songs on the radio or in any shops, especially ‘Last Christmas, by Wham.  We didn’t exchange gifts, we hid away at home on our own and  decided not to have a ‘traditional dinner’.  I particularly didn’t want to sit around a dinner table, pulling crackers, making small talk with in-laws and playing happy families, when our hearts have been shattered into millions of pieces.


We have tried to embrace Christmas a little bit this year, but it still very difficult, we still hate Christmas songs.  We have visited actually few christmas fayres, we decided that we were exchanging gifts and after a lot of persuasion we will be having a traditional lunch with Jo’s family, but we are not planning to stay long as we have decided to go away for a few days on Boxing Day.  


I still find it difficult to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Christmas’ to anyone, because I find it difficult to be ‘Happy’ or ‘Merry’.  We haven’t put up a traditional chrsitmas tree, instead we have only put up Rory’s tree (pictured above) with decorations that we have bought for him. 


For any angel parent who are experiencing their 1st Christmas after their loss, I would say to you, be kind to yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to enjoy or to pretend to enjoy the day.  Spend the day how you wish and what feels right for you.  


To all angel parents I hope the day passes as peacefully as possible.

A message from Rory?

To some people, Butterflies have a spiritual meaning and they may believe that they are a sign from loved ones who have passed.


On the Day of Rory’s funeral, just after he had been laid to rest, we all saw a tiny blue butterfly fluttering around the cemetery.  Could this been a message from Rory?

Then after we returned home from Rory’s funeral my wife and I both saw a tiny blue butterfly fluttering around outside the front of our flat and outside the window of what would have been Rory’s room.  Could that be a coincidence?


Since that day we have had a few quick sightings of blue butterflies, but nothing significant.


Last weekend myself and my wife gave Rory’s garden a makeover.  We took everything off and cleaned everything up.  I then added 3 bags of topsoil and planted some plants that we bought from the garden center in that afternoon.  It took a lot longer than we thought and we were still at the cemetery at closing time on the Saturday evening, so we had to leave rest until the Sunday.


On the Sunday we were putting the finishing touches to his garden and then a blue butterfly landed on the garden and seem to sit there for a few minutes.  It then fluttered around and kept landing on many different areas of Rory’s garden. Was this Rory saying that he likes he garden?   

Are these messages from Rory, maybe or maybe not, or maybe that are they just coincidences?  Either way, every time we see a blue butterfly we will always think of our angel Rory.