Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going Home With Empty Arms

We left the hospital with empty arms.
We had a book with Sybella's hand and foot prints, a disc of photos, her hospital band and the pink blanket she had been wrapped in.
I dont remember picking up Jack or driving home, but when we got there, the flowers started arriving in droves. Beautiful flowers for a beautiful baby. I remember feeling so so grateful for these flowers. I knew that if Sybella had been born alive, we'd be innundated with flowers and cards, and I was glad that most people were still acknowledging her birth by sending a bouquet or a card. I got cards from people I barely knew, which was even more touching. The flowers and cards symbolised her existence and acknowledged her life. For that, I was thankful.
By the end of the week, our home looked like a florist and we had run out of places to put the vases. We even ran out of vases!
I wish I could write more about this time, but I truthfully cant remember it. There are a few days that stick in my mind, but for the most part, it was a haze.
Upon arriving home, I shut the door to Sybella's room, such a beautiful room it is. I cleverly did the artwork on the walls myself and spent hours picking out the frilly pink lamp. After a few hours, I opened the door and windows because I thought that she needed sunlight and fresh air. I sat on the pink mat on the floor and cried into her hospital blanket. I talked to her while in there. I told her how I was looking so forward to bringing her home to her pretty, girly, frilly room. I sat there for a while, and the animal grief returned. I had my face in a pillow on the floor and by the end, the pillow was saturated...and covered in snot (sorry). The only reason I stopped crying was that a midwife had rung and wanted to talk to me, so I spoke to her through tears. She arranged a visit for the next day, which was mostly a counselling session, and organised for a midwife to ring me each day to see how I was travelling.
Kelvin organised life for a while. He cooked, washed clothes, bathed Jack and made the beds. I moved from the bed to the couch and back to the bed again, that was about it. I was mute most of the time, except when I was sobbing. I spent some time writing a letter to Sybella. I made a copy to keep, and put the original into a beautiful envelope to put into her casket, when the time came. Jack and I spent some time painting a picture to put into Bella's casket too. That was something that he enjoyed doing. The phone rang a lot, but I couldnt speak to many people. I only really wanted to speak to a handful of people, mainly Mum and Barb, Kelvin and Jack. As time went on, I'd let the phone go to message bank or ask Kelvin to deal with it. Talking made me tired. Even though I couldnt speak, the fact that people were calling and leaving messages was comforting. It was beautiful to know that we had so many people thinking of us and caring for us. I got some gorgeous messages on Facebook and Mamamia, which I have kept, printed and have glued into an album of memories for Sybella. If you were one of these people, please know how much your words meant to me and how supported and nurtured I felt. In a time of turmoil and fragility, these messages were my guiding light.
Eventually I had to start thinking about planning the funeral. I had no idea what I needed to do, as I had never planned a funeral before, let alone a baby funeral. All I knew was that I needed time to make it perfect, my last testament to my daughter. I'd never plan a birthday party, I'd never help plan her wedding. But here I was planning her funeral. What an upside down world.


  1. It's just so wrong having to organise your baby's funeral. Looking back the first couple of months are still a blur to me and I don't really have any idea how I've got to here. But keep breathing and it will happen.

    Her room is beautiful.

  2. Her room is beautiful. I am sure she smiled when she saw it.