Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Difficult, and hard to please.

Sometimes, it's hard to say the right thing to me, sometimes I'm an awkward bugger and nothing you say or don't say will be right. I'm grieving, and pretty much reserve the right to sometimes be awkward, and possibly a bitch.
Sometimes, people I love and who I know love me say the "wrong" thing and I don't mind one bit, because I know their heart is good.
Mostly, I'm blessed to have a life full of wonderful friends who are truly supportive.
Christmas though means that on occasion I've been out of my comfort zone, of home, my family, my closest friends, and "out there" with extended family and family friends, all of whom I know do have a heart, and probably do care,but for whatever reason choose to ignore my beautiful daughter, choose to not say her name. Maybe they are afraid I will cry.
There is the odd stroke of my arm and a meaningful "how are you ?" and I appreciate that, but it cuts me like a knife when Florence is glossed over, ignored, forgotten.
I guess by next Christmas she'll be nothing more than a footnote.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All Done.

I can hear the rain outside, I haven't looked out of the window yet,but I imagine the rain has washed away most of the snow by now.
Christmas is done.I'm glad.
The decorations will stay up until New Years day,but that's it Christmas 2009 is over.
You know, actually it wasn't that bad,it wasn't that different to our usual Christmas'. The kids got up early, we opened presents, we ate too much chocolate.
The only difference was the visit to the cemetery in the morning. We took Florence a helium filled Christmas balloon, some roses, and some decorated gingerbread biscuits.(for the birds). We had to use a flask of hot water to defrost her headstone, and to release the frozen roses from their vase,it was cold and snowy. I tried not to worry that Florence was cold under the snow, I always remind myself that she was buried in cashmere booties to keep her toes cosy.
The cemetery was the busiest I've ever seen it. I'm rarely there alone, but on Christmas day there was even difficulty parking, there was almost a party atmosphere. I found it really touching to see so many people visiting their loved ones. Yes, some were red eyed from crying,but some were smiling, and some even having the odd snowball fight.
I rarely cry at Florence's graveside,but the tears were stinging my eyes, and I found it harder to leave than usual. I just wished she could come home with us,to the warm.

Christmas evening we lit a paper lantern for Florence, the children watched from an upstairs window, Woody and I from the garden, we could see it's light floating waaay off into the distance for longer than we imagined we would.Christmas wishes and kisses for our much loved and much missed baby girl.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Light


Christmas Light, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

For Florence, we miss you sweetheart.x

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I don't believe in fate, I don't believe things "happen for a reason", maybe I did once.I'm not at all offended by those that do, but for me to believe in fate or in reasons would imply divine intervention, and I definitely don't believe in that.
I guess I believe the universe exists in all it's randomness, and complexity and chaos, and we are just part of it. (And I know for many many people that's exactly why they do believe in divinity.)

Florence, like all of us came into being from two tiny cells, to paraphrase her paediatrician,it's really amazing that the creation of human life goes as well as it does so often.

What I do know is that Florence was loved for the 40 weeks and 3 days she was in my womb, for the 6 hours she lived, for the forgotten number of hours we held and cared for her body, and for always and forever. She is our fifth child, and our children's little sister, and always a part of our family. Always missed. Always loved.

I accept that she is gone, I don't understand it, and I will always wish it otherwise. I will always ache to hold her, and I continue to cry every day.

The post mortem didn't give us the answers we perhaps hoped for,but it did give us some answers, and threw up more questions, I'm not certain they ever do otherwise?

As, I often do, I'm rambling on, making little sense, and most probably confusing those I love who read this blog. I'm sorry.

I'm also so thankful, thankful for all the kind and thoughtful comments left on my last post, for all the emails and phone calls, and for all the love that has come this way over the past five months. You are all wonderful.

Today we are baking Christmas cookies to take to Florence, where they will feed the birds, unless the local foxes get them first!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Massive Pulmonary Haemorrhage

Forgive me for the brutal title, but that's it. The cause of death, Massive Pulmonary Haemorrhage.
We don't know why, and never will. There was no evidence of any infection or anything else for that matter. Her heart,brain,everything were perfectly normal. There was some evidence of damage due to being ressusitated for five hours,but nothing more.
She was our beautiful girl, and then she died. Life is random. (and sometimes shit.)

Five Months

Florence would be five months old today. Old enough to enjoy the twinkly Christmas lights, and old enough to have fun with wrapping paper, maybe not quite old enough to enjoy the snow.
Instead the snow covers her grave, a thick blanket of frozen snow, and I'm wondering what I can take to her on Christmas day? A poinsettia? Maybe a Christmas wreath? Balloons? What do you buy your dead baby for Christmas?
I've decorated the house, made her a stocking, and put up the lovely ornaments bought in her memory by thoughtful friends.
I could feel the tears welling up in church yesterday. The end of term carol service for my littlies. Songs and stories about birth and a little baby.
Today we go to the hospital to hear the post mortem results for our baby.
I'm so scared,last night I dreamed the results simply said "Mother's Fault".
I'm so scared, and so sad,and right now all I can do is shuffle through the days and hope my living children have a good Christmas,and we'll all remember Florence, miss her horribly and wish she was here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

No Words


Mantel, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

Garland

Dove (thank you Mary)

Thank you Angela

Wreath

Candle

Thank you Mary

Friday, December 18, 2009

Post Mortem Results (again!)

Just got home to the post (which was very late), and a letter from Florence's peadiatrician to say she has her post mortem results, and would we like to make an appt to go over them? Of course, there's no one in her office now, and it's the Friday before Christmas, so at the very least I'll be waiting the weekend before I can speak to her.
I want to know what happened to all the promises from the SUDIC team corroner that we'd be the first to know as soon as the results were through? She promised to deliver the pm results as soon as they were released, in person.
My tummy is flipping over knowing that the results are there, and I don't know them.
She's my baby I should know them!

ETA, I've just noticed the letter is dated 10th December, she's had the results for at least 8 days, f'ing post!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Shopping (attempt no 2)

My first attempt at Christmas shopping one day last week was a disaster. I managed one shop before the world started to spin, the tears were stinging my eyes and I had to find fresh air and somewhere to sit down very quickly. All I bought were two tiny frames to hold pictures of Florence, then I caught the bus home and spent the rest of the day crying.
Thankfully most of the Christmas shopping was done online over a month ago,I just needed a few stocking fillers, and I thought I could cope with that, clearly not.
Today though, Woody persuaded me to go into work with him. He's working in Chester part of the week, so I could get a lift in with him, go shopping, then meet him for lunch before coming home. I was nervous,but I was ok. I think exploring an unfamiliar, and very pretty town helped to keep my mind active. I managed to get a few nice gifts and I only almost cried a few times, mostly when I saw cute little gifts I so would've wanted to buy for Florence.
I'd see something, look at it, pick it up, and wonder "should I buy it anyway?" but then realising that no, no I shouldn't.
I walked past a beautiful little boutique selling the kind of baby clothes and toys I love. I stopped, I looked, I fought back the tears and looked about me guiltily wondering who had seen me looking, and if they knew...
I didn't go in.

I was glad to see my lovely Woody walking along the canal to meet me at lunch time.

...
...

Last night I hesitantly watched a tv programme called "Out Of My Depth" It was about an actress being trained to become a midwife. I was ready to switch it off if I couldn't handle it,but I surprised myself. Sometimes I can cope with the obvious stuff, it's the unexpected that can send me into a tail spin.
During the programme, the midwives did touch on the subject of loss, and I was glad they did, even if I found the resus demo on the doll a little uncomfortable. Two nurses took it in turns to breath for Florence that way, for five whole hours.
The thing that really hit me though was when a screaming newborn was placed into his mother's arms. He was crying that delicious newborn cry, that "oh my goodness, what's this? Air, rushing into my lungs, cold skin, touch, light" cry, and I realised Florence didn't do that. She cried a little,but mostly she mewed, and then she whimpered.
I'd forgotten that healthy babies cry (usually), healthy babies are pink.
I had four healthy screaming babies before Florence,but since her, all I can think of is how she struggled, and then how still she was in my arms. She looked like she was sleeping, smiling even, but she wasn't.
I've lost faith in birth, in my body, in life .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Tiny Step Forward

Woody and I met with the consultant Obstetrician this afternoon. He seemed like a really nice guy,very understanding. He couldn't really tell us anything more than the consultant paediatrician we saw a few weeks ago,but he is going to try and use his influence to get the post mortem results released for us. We are really hoping he can.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SANDS Petition

I came across this information on A Sucker For Gerberas blog.It seems due to the changing of some wording on several NICE guidelines publications that parents may in future be denied the chance to hold, see and spend time with their babies after they have either been still born or died after birth.
This horrifies me. I can not imagine not being able to hold Florence as she died, or not being able to dress her, cuddle her, walk with her, just be with her for those precious hours. I know Woody feels the same way, and I know it helped the children to be able to hold her, and have photos taken with her. To be denied that doesn't bare thinking about.

See here for more details, and please consider signing this petition in the hope of NICE changing the wording.

Thank you.

People Are Good


Violet, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

I've written and deleted so many posts on this subject,but I'm lost. I just can't articulate what it is I feel each time I receive a message, a letter an email or like today this beautiful watercolour, from Ann Marie.
I'm overwhelmed by the kindness of people, by how much Florence has touched their lives, and I'm so thankful to know so many wonderful people hold my family in their hearts.
But in the words of my good friend Jacqui's Grandfather, "People Are Good".

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Something that made me smile

Totally stolen from Creative Mother


A Tiny Update

Still waiting to hear news about the post mortem, but I've been told that although the results are through, they may not be released until the inquest, which isn't until February!
Also been reading about Group B Strep, and it seems there is a possibility that this may have been the cause of Florence's death. I'm talking to an obstetrician on Thursday to find out more,but something as simple as GBS, which is routinely screened for in many other countries may have been what killed my baby.
Of course, we know nothing until the post mortem results are released, and even then there is a possibility of them being "inconclusive".
The huge amounts of antibiotics Florence was given on admittance to hospital means if she did die from an "overwhelming infection" we'll probably never know which one, as any cultures taken will be clear from the antibiotics.
Woody says I shouldn't be googling all this stuff, and I need to just wait and see,but I can't help it. I need to know they cut my baby open for a reason.Afterall, we had no choice. The post mortem was required by law...and I still don't understand that.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Apologies

To those waiting for their 25 days of giveaways gifts from me. I was so excited about the give aways that I totally forgot I would have to actually post them, and that would mean braving my local post office, which I haven't been in since before Florence was born.
The ladies that work in my local post office are lovely, and over the past seven years or so, I've been a very regular customer with my little online business, but after Florence died I found it too difficult to go in many of my local shops, the post office was no exception.
Anyway, after a week of walking past the wrapped and ready to go parcels in my hall, I finally today plucked up enough courage to face the Christmas queue and post them.
I was nervous, and a bit shakey,but I got the window of one of the lovely ladies I know, and she said she didn't want to say too much,but she wanted me to know how sad everyone was to hear about Florence. I think I said "thank you", I hope I did, I may have just smiled, I'm not sure.
So I did it, faced another fear, and your parcels are all on their way.

....

This morning I was thinking about music, music that reminds me of Florence. I'm not much of a music follower really, something a couple of my friends frequently tease me about. I'm more likely to be found listening to radio 4 than dowloading tunes to my ipod...never downloaded a song in my life and I don't even own an ipod!
I guess I have fairly diverse taste in music when I do listen to it, I like everything from The Velvet Underground, Trex, through to Barry Manilow and Shirley Bassey!
Anyway getting to the point. I narrowed it down to two songs. This one first.



I listened to this a lot once Woody went back to work.We both love this song anyway,but I found in those early days, and actually even now it speaks to me. It describes how I often feel since Florence died.

Then



I think one night not long before Florence was born I woke up and Woody was half watching Glastonbury on the tv, and this was playing. I remember it waking me, and feeling...oh I don't know, something!

Anyway I'm clearly in a waffly mood today, just thought I'd share these with you.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Date

We have a date for the inquest. I'm not holding my breath though, I know how often these things are postponed. What I'm wondering now though is if they've set a date, then the post mortem results should be back ? Of course, it's Saturday so I can't ask anyone.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Florence's Garden


Flossie's Garden Stone, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

There is a border in our garden that I've been taking care of over the past few months, and thinking of as Florence's garden, so when my lovely friend Sarah told me she had commissioned a stone in memory of Florence, I knew exactly where I wanted it to go.
Today Sarah brought over the stone and put it in position for me...I'm still impressed by her strength, it is really heavy!
I do think it's lovely, and I especially love the dove which is modelled on the dove applique I used on Florence's burial gown, and on the baby carriers I made while I was pregnant. (amongst other things.)
I know how nervous Sarah was about this gift, but it's lovely, and I'm so thankful.
I'm so touched by all the wonderful things people have done for my family over the past few months. We are truly blessed to have so many thoughtful and caring friends who have sent cards, messages, food, flowers,and most importantly just been there for us.
Thank you to all of you.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Nativity

I'm just warming up after spending the afternoon in the church watching the infant nativity and then fighting my way home through the driving rain,wind and cold with three grumpy children in tow. I can't feel my toes yet!
This afternoons performance was the second, we all went to watch Sid as "head sheep" last night, and I went alone this afternoon.
I've sat in that church countless times, for nativity's, carol services, school leavers,all the usual stuff you'd expect from a CofE school.
I admit I usually go through a sense of duty and sit numb bummed and bored throughout. Last night though,and more especially today when I sat alone I felt both super proud of my gorgeous little sheep, and sad that I was sitting alone, when I should've had a baby snuggled up and nursing.
My eyes were full of tears,but the smiles and waves from Sid and his little friend stopped me from just spilling those tears.
I watched the little stars in the costumes I made several years ago and I thought of how I'd never get to see Florence wearing one and dancing with the other children.
Christmas is changing for me, and I'm not sure how yet.

Buddies


Buddies, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

I do love a parcel of fabric arriving, and this print has turned out pretty well, wish I'd ordered more now!
The organic cotton interlock is a lovely quality, and suits this print nicely, though actually I think I might order some in quilting weight cotton too.
I'm so pleased with it,I've made it available to buy too. (click on pic below)

Buddies

These are pretty good too, firstly printed on organic cotton interlock,

Blue Dahlia and Dahlia Stripe

And these printed on quilting weight cotton

All three

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December

The advent calendars are up, and I'm sewing decorations. The presents are bought and wrapped. Tonight is the first performance of the infant school nativity.Looks like it's going to be Christmas.
We have been planning ways to include Florence this Christmas. I think that's why I'm not freaking out, at least not yet.
Honestly I'm not at all sure how I feel about the forthcoming celebrations, apart from the obvious.

Today I went back to Slingmeet for the first time in months, and the first time since Florence was born. I knew I had to go back today or I never would. Actually it wasn't too bad. Lots of newbies who don't know my history, and a few regulars who I feel safe with.
I think I may have rambled on a little more than usual when doing demos, I was definately nervous, and I very almost cried on a couple of people,but mostly I coped.
There was one awkward moment chatting to a lovely pregnant lady when I thought the conversation may turn to the dreaded question,but I was rescued by my co leader who was keeping an eye on me.

Maybe I can get through this month if I just keep on keeping on, that's what has worked so far.