Monday, 24 August 2015

Three & A Half Weeks

Today should have been one filled with nervous excitement, joy and quiet apprehension. We should have struggled to sleep last night but still woken up with a start, eager to get out of the house and to the hospital. We should have held hands as the midwife explained the induction process and spent the day breathing through pains, giggling at nonsense, worried about what the next few weeks would be like and eventually cried with joy at hearing our son's cries for the first time. 

Today has been one filled with sadness, heartache and all consuming grief. We have played the 'what if' game 100 times over and wondered whether in a parallel universe everything played out as it should. We've looked at eachother and not needed to say a word but known exactly what the other was thinking about. We've watched people go about their day in silence and seen everyone else's world continue to turn when ours feel as though it has been on pause today.

Today is hard. 

We're currently in Cornwall for the week, in a beautiful little cottage in the middle of nowhere. The roads for 10 miles around us are single track with grass growing down the middle, enclosed in canopies of trees. It is the epitome of peacefulness. Whilst we cannot escape our grief and the pain is still throbbing in our hearts, it feels a little easier to breathe here. I cried at the ocean yesterday. The emormity and sheer power of it made me feel so tiny and insignificant. In comparison to the rest of the world I am nothing at all and our baby was barely a speck, but to us he was everything and what we feel now is everything. I struggled to make sense of it all and being thrown around in a boat by this huge force that I had no control over whatsoever was very overwhelming. 

I think he would have liked the sea. We would have splashed about in it, made sandcastles on the beach and buried daddy's feet in the sand. I would have licked ice cream off his face in that way only a mother can do with her child without it being gross. Daddy would have carried him back to the car and he would have fallen asleep clutching his bucket in one hand and spade in the other. Imagining these things don't make me feel sad. We don't have many memories of him so it's nice imagining what his life would have been like. It's easier for us now to picture him without any of the constraints his health problems would have caused and without any of the challenges he might have faced. He's just free to live the most perfect life. 


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Three Weeks

Everything is a painful reminder of what we've lost at the minute. We are forcing ourselves to go through the motions, leave the house and do normal things which I think is helping in a way but it's so difficult and exhausting. It's the summer holidays so children are everywhere. Families are everywhere. We went for lunch earlier in the week and I burst into tears twice because there was a couple cooing over their small baby and that should be us but it isn't. Pregnant women seem to be sniffing me out. Seeing them rub their beautiful bellies with pride makes me ache with what I've lost. My hand still automatically goes to my tummy sometimes and for a second I forget, then the reality kicks me in the pit on my stomach and I can't breathe. 

Even the sunshine makes my heart ache. He will never feel the sun on his beautiful face. We will never push him in his pram in the fresh air. I'll never have to fight his wriggling to put suncream on his precious skin. We've lost a whole lifetime of tiny moments most people would never even give a second thought to.

Grief is full of contradictions. I am in a constant state of one part feels or thinks one way and the other another. I know he was poorly and part of me is so grateful he slipped away safe and warm in my belly with me rather than on an operating table or in the middle of the night in the NICU. He didn't have to go through operations on his tiny body or that difficult first year of his life before everything had healed. But the other part thinks he didn't even get a chance. Why did he have to be sick in the first place? Why was that fair? Why did my baby have to be so poorly?

I feel like I have to protect other people from our grief. It's all consuming at the minute, constantly in the forefront of our minds and it's so difficult not to talk about it. Being around us is sad and I don't want to inflict that on anyone else. I absolutely understand why infant loss is such a quiet, private experience and why people don't talk about it. It's hard because I am so proud of the beautiful baby we created and I want the world to know he existed. I want to tell everyone I had a baby with the softest skin and fluffiest hair but I can't deal with the awkwardness when people realise he's not here. I don't blame them, I would struggle to know what to say.

Thankfully we're going to Cornwall tomorrow for a week so we can have a little breather from the fear of bumping into people. Alongside the scary prospect of having to say the words 'he passed away' when someone looks at my flattened tummy and empty arms is the guilt of being out behaving normally. It may sound ridiculous but I feel so on edge when I'm out of my house that people will look at me and think I don't look heartbroken enough or question how I can possibly be dressed and not just rocking in a dark corner somewhere. I'm scared someone will think I didn't love my baby enough because I'm able to function and do basic tasks. Isn't that insane? I know that's insane but again grief is full of contradictions and it's incredibly confusing sometimes.

There are brief moments of peace where we talk about something else, laugh at something silly or get lost in something on the television and it's not that we forget because it's impossible to but it just doesn't hurt as much for five minutes. We don't always have tears in our eyes when we talk about him. We can laugh and smile at how big his personality was for someone who never lived outside my body, we can make stories up about things he would have done and we can imagine what he's doing right now wherever he is and for those minutes my heart feels so much lighter. But then a child will walk past holding his mother's hand or a dad will heave his boy onto his shoulders and the grief kicks me in the stomach and I cannot breathe and all I can think is this is just not fair.

Monday is the day I was booked to be induced. It should have been our baby's birthday and to celebrate we will light a candle and remind eachother of his chubby chin and pink fingernails and hopefully we won't have tears in our eyes but joy in our hearts. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Two Weeks

We said our final physical goodbyes to Aneurin yesterday. His funeral was very simple and intimate with just our parents, grandma and our siblings. We didn't want a big, elaborate thing and I'm glad we made that decision because it was just perfect. A car came to pick us up and we sat in the back with our son between us. It sounds strange and at first I thought I wasn't sure if I liked the idea but as with everything, I'm glad we did it. It felt nice to be able to share his last journey with him; his mum and dad literally taking him there.

His coffin was beautiful. Covered in white cloth embossed with flowers and a silver plaque that read; 
Baby Aneurin Davies
Born Asleep
31st July 2015

We drove the whole way there holding hands on the top of it. When the car pulled up and I saw it sitting there in the back of the car my legs gave way and I honestly didn't know how I would be able to do it but I knew I had to do it for him. All other choices and decisions for his life have been taken away from us but this was the one thing we could do for him.

It was really difficult. Seeing my beautiful, brave husband carrying our baby's tiny coffin is an image I will never get out of my head. It fit so neatly in his arms. We laid a little bouquet of sweet peas my mother in law picked from her garden on top. I don't think I took my eyes off his coffin once. Our vicar was wonderful. She married us and it seemed right she lead the service for him. We had written a little tribute to him but obviously neither of us were capable of reading it so she did it for us as well as a poem my mum found. Watching the curtains close was awful, I couldn't breathe. I know it's symbolic and necessary for closure but all I could think was 'I am never going to see my son again'.

Knowing my baby is physically gone is...I can't think of a word. Heartbreaking just doesn't cover it. I feel completely empty. I continue to be amazed at how incredible being pregnant felt. It was tough and exhausting and I felt like shite 90% of the time but growing this little life inside of me that was purely made up of me and the person I love so fiercely is insane. He didn't exist and then he did and he had little pink fingernails and thick fluffy dark hair. It felt like magic. And now that's gone. He's gone and I have no idea what I'm meant to do. It feels so cruel that something we wanted so desperately and never thought we would have could be snatched away so quickly. It's a strange feeling only having known your child being a part of you because we never knew what it was like to know him outside of my body. He spent his whole life with me and will always be a part of me but knowing his physical body has gone is still difficult.

There's nothing left to do now but live our lives and right now that seems so impossible. I've made a list of things to do over the next few weeks so we have something to focus on. Mostly just bits around the house including deciding what we want to do with Aneurin's bedroom. Thankfully we hadn't even nearly finished it yet so it's not a big a task as it could have been. We've decided to send back the big items but things like clothes we're going to keep and hopefully make use of in the future. I've also had all the photos we took in the hospital printed along with all my bump photos and various ones from my pregnancy to put in a scrapbook. We were given a SANDS memory box in the hospital where all the little bits like his cot card, my hospital bracelet and such are so we'll keep the scrapbook in there. All the beautiful cards we've been given will go in there too. It also contains my most precious thing in the world at the minute; a card that has his hand and footprints in along with a cutting of his hair and his tiny hospital ID bracelet. I look at it every day. Mostly to marvel at how bloody enormous his feet were haha! Having all these things in one place is lovely because it means we're not caught off guard discovering something without meaning to but when we want to we can sit down and just get lost in our boy for a while. I hope that one day we'll sit down with our second child and show them just how precious and loved their big brother was.

Little Snowdrop

The world may never notice
If a snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty
Our hearts know what to do.
For every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

One Week (Written 7th August)

I keep finding myself measuring time in strange ways. People say the only thing that helps is time so maybe that's why.

5 anti blood clot injections, finished. The mark on my hand from my cannula, gone. The teabags we bought for my labour, gone. Finished, final, end. That's how everything feels. 

We registered his stillbirth last Wednesday. It is so lovely having official documents with his name on, confirming he was a real, proper person who mattered but it felt so final. Everything we do is one step closer to the end. One more meeting with the vicar to finalise his funeral means all we have left to do is the funeral itself. Meeting with the funeral director felt so final. We need it to be done and we need to be able to put his body to rest but I'm not ready for it to be over because all that's left to do after that is live. I'm not ready to live without my baby. I'm not ready for a week, month, year to pass without watching him grow and revelling in all the magical things he should be doing. 

One week since I brought our precious, soft skinned, big footed boy into the world. One week since we had to leave him. One week until his funeral. One week after that until we go away for one week. And then there's just time, lots and lots of time. 

Clothes are horrible. My maternity ones are too big but I'm not ready to put my pre-pregnancy clothes on yet. I don't want to not be pregnant. Material sags where my bump should be and drapes over my reappearing waist. I can't bear to look in a mirror yet, it's just too soon. Haydn put me in the bath last night and I covered my belly with a towel because I can't bear for him to look at it. He knew though and took my towel away and gave my tummy a kiss. He's so good. I don't know how I would get through this without him. You hear about couples who don't make it through the loss of a child, who grieve separately and grow apart. I was worried that would happen to us but it has only brought us closer. We are clinging onto eachother for dear life and it is working. It seems cruel though that something good can come from something so horrific but I have so much love for him at the minute. It's as though all the love we had stored up for Aneurin is being poured into eachother. I'm amazed at how much love I felt for my baby, when I was pregnant, when he was born, when I held him and even now he's not with me, it's so powerful. 

I thought the day we heard the words 'I'm sorry but your baby has died' would be the most difficult day. Then I thought the day we came home without him would be but it just keeps getting worse. Planning our baby's funeral is something we should never have to do. It's not the natural order and it feels so incredibly wrong. I wonder if that will be the most difficult bit or if actually just waking up every morning to the loudest lack of baby cries and knowing I will never hold him again is the hardest. 

It's only been a week, I know it's not going to get easier yet but I wish someone could tell me when it was. My whole body aches with sadness.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Aneurin Davies

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, Aneurin Davies. He was born peacefully sleeping on Friday 31st July 2015 at 1.03pm, surrounded by love and serenity. 

Your words of support and love are very much appreciated at the moment, even if we're unable to reply. 

Mrs D 
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