I’m struggling to remember the days properly. I seem to be regaining use of my faculties rather slowly, if i’m honest. When we came home from the hospital, i had literally lost the ability to control my body temperature, through shock or tiredness or 11 days in SCBU and shivered all night unless i was right up against Max. Perhaps it was just hormones, or perhaps it was needing to be sat with a little warm baby body in my arms and the aching loss that goes with not having that.
I’m learning that accepting death has occurred is a very different thing to learning to live with loss. And accepting that other people deal with death and loss in different way and at different speeds is hard too. Hard to do without getting angry, anyway. And understanding how quickly the monumental gaping hole that has been torn in our life can become unimportant to people who ought to care more, is more than hard. It is, honestly, impossible.
I’ve learned very fast this last few weeks who the people who love us most are. I’ve had some shocks too. I’ve got a shelf full of cards, a blog full of comments and an phone full of texts from the people who care. And i’ve also had a houseful of people ready to drop everything to help us without asking anything back from us.
More pressingly, i seem to have lost my memory rather and i’m feeling rather marooned inside snickering flashes of what i can remember – without enough people, or enough instant access to people, who can remind me. Having to remember that sometimes not only i count and the person i most want to unlock them for me is in too much pain to do so. That’s hard too – trying not to ask for help because i’m not the only person who counts. I want to be the only person who counts. But i’m not.
Today, i am hurting from loss. One month from Freddie’s birth, i’m hurting from a body that already knows it isn’t breastfeeding, a body that mocks me if i have a bath because there is no sign left of my baby, a body that is still tired but with no reason to rest. A mind that is stopping me from remembering. A body that gave birth, finally and triumphantly the way i always hoped for, but is shattered by not having a baby to hold. On my birth plan i asked, if my vba3c was successful, to be the first to hold my baby, some skin to skin time and a cup of tea. It wasn’t much – i didn’t remember to ask for a healthy baby. I’m hurting from empty arms, breasts that haven’t fed a baby again,Â body that needs to remember not to over-eat, a bed that i can rest in without due care, washing that doesn’t have baby clothes in it, children who are not having to remember to be quiet and gentle.
Josie said sadly, quietly, that she “isn’t a big sister any more.” She is hurting too, as i feared she would every time she kissed my bump goodnight. She carries Freddie Monkey with her everywhere. Max is hurting because i can’t get through a day without crying. I’m hurting because he wants me to.
But this week i have had love and hugs and texts and calls and comments and cards and visits from everyone who needs to matter to me.
On Monday we had an afternoon with Zoe and the girls, which was lovely. Then i took them dancing and after all my careful planning, i forgot that Josie’s ballet teacher had been on honeymoon and of all my children, it was little 5 year old Josie that had to tell a cheerful adult that actually her new brother had died
On Tuesday Michelle and Chloe came and we met up with Zoe and co at Burghley House for a day together. I wasn’t in a good place that day, but they carried me through and let me be – that is friendship.
On Wednesday we were surrounded by people from Freddie’s world, who came to be our friends outside what was asked of them. The girls had my mum, and Little Flower and Auntie Sue – and that was what they needed. In the distance, from a distance, our friends and my sister held us up, hugged us and sympathised as the day unfolded in ways we had and hadn’t quite expected.
On Thursday we had The Portico for a flying visit, more hugs, more tears, more talking, more love from people who put us first. And a lovely parcel that made me cry and proved again that good can come out of the worst of things – and that friendship is not to be thrown away lightly. I’m so glad of that consequence.
On Friday i had my little heart shaped lump cut off my hand – i’m expecting it to scar as a perfect F shape or something
Kate looked after the girls and we had a chance to chat, before she went on to do brilliant things with them that made them all happy (and probably consider putting in for a mummy transfer!) Kate and i who are now so shockingly thrown into reverse – the unspoken belief between that one day she would have to bury her child while i, the lucky one, would have all of mine. And now suddenly it turns out that while her role for us was to live a life that would show me my future and give me courage to make it otherwise, my place in hers is probably going to be to put my arms around her and say “i know how this hurts, i will lead you. I will help you.” How life alters.Â And how much i admire her, knowing even more than i always have, how brave she is.
On Saturday Max’s dad came and brought us pieces of pig. See? People need family My brother, far too faraway in Oz, phoned me and let me rant at him about how angry i am at the way life has kicked us all.
Last night i dreamt that a plane crashed on the village i grew up in on to my birth family, and another in front of me and i ignored the village and climbed into the wreckage in front of me and stole a living baby from the arms of an injured woman who wasn’t dead. I wrapped her in the blue blanket that i knitted for Freddie, fearing secretly but not knowing that it was the blanket i would use only to wrap in in until he died. I don’t know whether to be more angry that i’m mad enough to dream of stealing babies or that my dreams would let me replace him.
Today i have mostly cried. Tears that just well up from nowhere and go away just as fast. Tears that don’t even have the sound of sobbing to accompany them any more.
(Edit: I added this to the babyloss letters category later on. It isn’t a letter but I wrote it one month from Freddie’s birth and have kept that date as a time to write later letters. They help me to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.)