There is nothing that prepares you for a silent birth and there is nothing that prepares you for going home without your baby. I often refer to the moment that Sophie was born as a deafening silence, and I know that this is a contradiction in terms. So I thought I would write a series of blog posts, not to upset people, but to explain what happens during a silent birth, why the silence is deafening, and what happens after the birth. This is just my experience, and other people’s experience may be different… I would like to hear other experiences so please write a comment or send me an email if you wish.
In the series are:
- The Induction, labour and birth
- Your sleeping baby and the first 24 hours
- Going home without your baby
- Supporting your children
- The post-mortem
- Planning you baby’s farewell
- Life after the funeral
- Help that is available
Going home without your baby
Nothing can prepare you for the emotion you feel when you arrive home without your baby; I remember leaving Sophie in the hospital baby loss room and walking to the lift, the whole time holding Paul’s hand and I remember the midwife promising to look after my baby girl. I remember the journey home; sitting in the car and feeling completely numb… like all my energy had been sapped while I was trying to make sense of what happened; and I remember the walk from the car to the front door… it’s only a few feet but it was definitely the longest walk of my entire life.
When you arrive home you will have a sense of loneliness… no matter how many people are in the house you will feel like you are alone. You may want to go and look at your baby’s belongings as a way of feeling close to him or her; or you may find that you can’t go near your baby’s things… both of these reactions are completely normal and you should never allow anyone to push you to do anything before you are ready. Personally, I found that I couldn’t look at Sophie’s possessions for the first couple of days; and as her moses basket and other items were in our bedroom, I slept downstairs for two nights… I just couldn’t go in the room at all. You may find that you have people that want to help you to sort your baby’s things out to take the pressure off of you… this is entirely your choice but again don’t let anyone do anything before you are ready. I found that the day we came home from hospital a family member said ‘we will pack Sophie’s things in the car and take them away so you don’t have to look at them’… at this point I saw red, and if they had attempted to touch my baby’s things then I am certain that I would have turned into a ninja!! They were my baby’s things and it was up to Paul and I to go through them. At first I couldn’t bring myself to look at her things; but going through her belongings was part of the healing process, and it was something that we needed to do together.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes before you sort through your baby’s belongings… Sophie’s were untouched for over a month. When we started to sort them out we put everything in the loft (and that is where they are staying for the time being!). Don’t allow people to tell you what to do with your baby’s things… people mean well but it is up to you what you do with them.