We are home. Cornwall was beautiful as always. We (Woody and I) were a little homesick, but that's normal for us. We both thought about how different our little holiday would have been had Florence been there.
The silly little things got to me, like shopping in Padstow and not being able to go into some cute little shops,I knew I would've enjoyed had Florence been with us.
We collected shellls and little pebbles from the beach, some I have next to my bed, and the larger ones we took to Florence's grave today.
Woody also bought me this Willow Tree figure in Tintagel. Maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old age,but I love this figure.
Oh yes, and I still don't believe in signs,but today at Florence's grave there was a ladybird crawling on her pink roses.
Although that's not strictly true, I can almost feel Florence sleeping on my shoulder, as I've said before. I do feel like I carry her "spirit" (for want of a better word) with me always,but how can I not? I grew her deep inside me for so long.we shared dreams,emotions,nutrition,blood...
I don't believe in angels, I don't believe Florence is in heaven with Jesus. I guess what I do believe (again, maybe not quite the right word) is that her body is nourishing the soil around her, the earth is enveloping her and absorbing her back to nature. Meanwhile the essence of her is in mine and Woody's and the children's hearts.
One day last week after a sleepless, tearful night,I stood in the shower and the sun was just coming up. the light from the breaking dawn flooded my bathroom, and my heart. I even felt myself smiling.
Later that day Angus was thrilled to find a ladybird hitching a ride on his shoe.
The next day walking home from school, through the trees on the playing fields I spotted a beautiful rainbow. It hadn't been raining.(When I told Woody later he said it must have been a proper magic one with a pot of gold...sarcastic bugger!)
Then I found another ladybird on my bathroom window.
Yesterday while visiting Florence's grave, the wind blew and a million fluttering golden leaves rained down like confetti, glistening in the autumn sun, it was breathtaking.
And another ladybird had this time hitched a ride on Sid's trouser leg.
Writing this down seems kinda ridiculous,my rational brain doesn't believe in signs.
I know that Ladybirds have recently hatched and are looking for places to overwinter, our bathroom faces east and so the dawn light fills it every morning, it must have rained somewhere for there to be a rainbow, and leaves fall every Autumn.
I don't believe these things are a sign from my baby,but I do take comfort in nature, and knowing that in a very tiny way,she is nourishing the Earth.
A rainbow from July.
On my list of things to do today I wrote "make something pretty". I thought it might stop me crying.
So, here are all the pretty things I've made today.
Firstly this beret for India, made from a felted sweater,with a little purple flower hair clip to keep it in place.
I also made some wrist warmers from the same fabric.
Then I remembered that my friend Vanessa had crocheted these lovely ear warmers for my girls last year, and I still hadn't sewn them together, can't believe it took me until now!
(Believe it or not, Eden has been off school with a sick bug for the past two days, she looks pretty healthy in these pics!)
Finally I made myself a cotton petticoat. This was on my sewing list last winter,but once I was pregnant I didn't need one. I plan to wear this under my winter skirts for warmth, and a bit of shushy girly ness!
I used my usual A line skirt pattern,with a ruffle, some lace and a simple elastic waistline. (trusty old fold over elastic).
So, there ya go, it's not all tears all of the time.
That's when this photo was taken. I was very probably *just* pregnant, but had absolutely no idea at all, and didn't until I was almost seven weeks pregnant.
A baby's heart is apparently fully formed by eight weeks gestation, so was Florence's fate already sealed when this picture was taken? Or maybe in the weeks that followed?
Florence would be three months old today, I guess it's time to stop counting in weeks. (thirteen and one day)
The early hours of this morning found me in our bathroom, door shut, trying to keep my crying from waking up Woody. He worked late last night, came home, baked bread and had to be out early this morning,he needed his sleep.
Next week we are going to Cornwall. It's half term hols, and I think walks on the beautiful Cornish coastline will be good for all of us.
I admit I'm anxious at the thought of being so far away from Florence's grave.
I do feel like I carry her with me always, I can almost feel her sleeping on my left shoulder, cheek tucked into my neck, head heavy, a golden light all around.
Going to her grave though, I feel calm, and like to take care of her space,it's all I can do for her. I can't bathe her, or dress her, or wear her, or feed her, but I can bring her roses, light her candle and make her grave pretty.
Aunty Hev will be popping in on her while we are gone, and we'll bring shells back from the beach. I wish it could be different.
When I was 17, exactly one month before my 18th birthday, I went to school in the morning, and when I came home in the afternoon my Dad was dead. He died very suddenly at the age of 43 from a brain hemorrhage. I adored him.
Over the next few years a whole lot of shit happened,and I really thought that was how it was being a grown up.
Then I met Woody, we had a family, and I thought life was good. Just days before Florence was born,I thought how lucky we were.
Now, I'm walking in a dream.I'm loving my living children, and my husband. I'm scared for them and for myself, and I'm desperate to hold Florence in my arms.
Did it all really happen? Has the past year just been a dream?
I grew and birthed a beautiful daughter and she's gone. I can't even believe I'll ever see her again. My only hope is that when I die, as the last electrical impulses are surging through my brain,I'll think she's there in my arms.
I'm so sorry Florence, forever is forever.
Oh how I hate the flashbacks. Most common at night, either in that twilight time before sleep takes hold, or in the early hours of the morning when sleep has abandoned me. Sometimes even during the day, on the train,walking along the street,in the playground,while folding laundry....
Usually she's lying on that table, doctors all around. She's trying to push the tubes out of her throat with her tongue, and trying to open her eyes, then she's given more morphine.
I said before that she never opened her eyes, but she did try. I think I saw a glint of pale blue.Then the morphine shut them tight.
I wonder if she could see? There were cartoon characters on the ceiling,but her newborn vision would have only been programmed to see from Mothers breast to Mother's face.She never saw my face.
I hope she knew I was there, holding her hand,stroking her cheek.
I ran up these trousers today for Sid, they are upcycled from a wool dressing gown I bought in a charity shop for a whole £1.
I made use of the pockets by cutting out each back panel to include them, and I added a cute lamington lane label just to finish them off.
These should keep him cosy when we go to Cornwall in a weeks time. They have lots of growing room too, so will see him through a couple of winters.
I used the same pattern as for these trousers,but with a few adjustments.
I'll post modelled pics when he wears them, the light is already too poor here for good pics.
" All of the children in our family go to school, except Florence,because Florence is dead, and you are sad all of the time. We need another baby, maybe it will be a boy,or a girl."
If only it were that simple sweetheart.
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day across the world. We would like to invite you to take part in the global 'Wave of Light'. Simply light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least 1 hour to join us in remembering all babies that have died during pregnancy, at, during or after birth.
This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be joining a global wave of light in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.
For more details please see here
A short while after I wrote yesterday's post, Sid came up to our bedroom with a present for me, a jar full of fairies from the garden! He said I couldn't see them because they were invisible. I suggested the fairies might be happier in the garden, but Sid insisted on releasing them in our bedroom.
So there you go, I now have a bedroom full of fairies, just when I needed them.
I'm a planner, I like to make lists, to organise and have something (many things) in the pipeline.
These notebooks are just the ones on my desk, I have several others dotted around the house, and of course one (actually two) in my handbag for making notes on the go.
Thing is, since Florence died I just can't organise my thoughts at all. My mind skips here, there and everywhere. My thoughts are always of her, even when I'm thinking of something else.
Some of these notebooks on my desk are full of lists of "things for baby", "things for birthing kit", and sketches of baby clothes I planned to make.
Sometimes I think I know where to go from here, I start to make plans, I reach for my trusty notebooks, and nothing happens.
Where do I go from here?
Everything seems so untidy (especially my mind). I want to organise, to make lists, to make decisions, but I'm dazed and don't know where to even begin.
I remind myself it's early days, and even though I feel ok today, I thought I was ok a week ago, and now I know I wasn't.
I don't know myself anymore, I don't trust my own judgement. The old me is gone forever.
The new me buys candles to burn in remembrance of her dead daughter, and writes boring posts on her blog about nothing much at all.
I apologise to all my readers who used to read this blog for the fluffy fun sewing stuff.
This wasn't how I planned it.
I should be posting cute little baby toes, and fingers and gorgeous little outfits in all the fabrics I saved "just incase we have a girl".
Now I vaguely plan for those fabrics to be used in products to sell, but who wants to buy baby clothes from a dead baby mama?
Even on a good day (and today is a good day) life is shit!
Today was our local hospital's annual baby memorial service. We didn't know what to expect, and not being believers we were a little wary of a service held in our local church.(some people reading who know me, may now be wondering why my children go to the church school, but that's a question for another day!)
Honestly, I wanted to go just to see some other real living parents of dead babies,just to reassure myself that we don't all have two heads.
I also got to see my lovely midwife.
That's Florence's balloon floating off.
The fair itself was pretty dissapointing. Firstly it was dark in there, how can you buy clothing and jewellery in the dark? ( Do I sound ancient? I did kinda feel it.)Then, most of the stalls comprised of severely overpriced charity shop rejects, plus a few dodgy stalls of handmade stuff..Mary and I did a lot of eyebrow raising and knowing looks to one another when inspecting a few hand sewn items...I know we are horrible!
Oh yea, and the one place I didn't expect to be faced with a teeny newborn baby was the student union, but there he was. Gorgeous little thing,but not something I needed to see.
Despite all that though, it was lovely to spend time with a good friend. We had a cuppa and a chat in the eighth day, and I've even forgiven the young man behind the counter for being more interested in flirting with the young girls in front of me in the queue rather than serving me, and for giving me cows milk instead of soya milk, because in his words he made "an informed judgement"...hmmmm.
Oh and I didn't cry on the train.
Well, they are moominesque! This cotton was bought from Ikea quite some time ago, and this week I finally got around to making it up into pyjamas for my big girls.
They are off to a "pyjama disco" this afternoon.
Honestly, I'm not at all happy with the finish on these. I was constantly distracted while making them, and I made some stupid mistakes.
The girls love them though, and I guess that's all that really matters, even if I am going to feel cross at myself every time I look at them.
( the pj's not the girls! )
I'm meant to be going to a vintage clothing and textile fair this afternoon, but after finding out there are a couple of distasteful demo's happening in town later, I'm not certain what to do.
I need the inspiration, and was looking forward to the good company, maybe we'll be brave and still go.
There is laundry to do, even ironing,lunches to make, dinner to prepare, children to take to school, and to collect and bring home again.
Today I should have been somewhere else, but it was just too soon, so now I'm home alone. That's ok though, I need to be alone sometimes.I've got so much to do, and I've promised the girls new pyjamas, and India a new coat, and Sid new warm trousers.
I ran out of tracing fabric, stopped to eat some soup.
The mistake was stopping.
I can use baking parchment to trace the patterns, no time to sit here crying, got to keep busy.
Weekends are safe,cosy,my sanctuary. I look forward to being with Woody and the children. We don't have to do anything special,our routine of Saturday night pizza is enough.
Even days like today when we lost track of time,and missed Angus' swimming lesson,and the children have been in a bickering mood,are still good days.
This morning two parcels I've been waiting on arrived, the locket pictured above intended to carry Florence's snip of hair, and a book. "An Exact Replica Of a Figment Of My Imagination" by Elizabeth McCracken.
I can't remember the last time I read a book in one day.
I'm not certain what I want to say about it,except I understood it. I almost wanted to highlight every paragraph that described exactly some of the feelings and thoughts I've had since Florence was born.
Part of me wants to give a copy to everyone I love to help them understand more,but maybe they still wouldn't. Maybe you can't unless you've been there.
I would definately recommend it to babylost parents though.
Right, now to get on with all the hoovering I should have been doing instead of reading.
(sorry the pic is not great, self taken in crappy light.)
How can I be so blessed in so many ways, unyet not have my precious baby Florence here with me?
Today, a parcel came. I wasn't expecting anything and was confused by the return address, recognising the name as one of my friends from an online sewing group,I've been a part of for a looong time now.
We've supported each other through many ups and downs of life over the past eight or so years. Some of us have met, and some of us haven't.
Inside the box was a card with the message "A warm woolly hug from all of sns chatter", and the most beautiful blanket I've ever seen.
I'm guessing my beautiful friends made a square or two each and then someone was nominated to sew them all together.
I sat and cried and admired each square trying to guess who made each one.
I'm so lucky to be part of such a lovely group. Thank you guys, I love you all.