Friday, November 28, 2008

Alice's quilt

After Alice was born and died I came home from hospital lost, sad and panicked. I didn't know whether to sit or stand or to run or scream. Amongst the million thoughts going through my mind I knew that I had to make something for our baby girl. Alice missed out on the handmade clothes, the bibs, the appliqued tee-shirts and the little blankets for her dolls and bears. She missed out on my terrible knitting, my printing and my not so neat embroidery.

The need to make her a quilt was overwhelming - I had to make her something. So I came home and did just that. I went up to my sewing room, carefully picking out fabric that meant something to me and to us and carefully cut my squares. I am generally a speed sewer but this time I was careful and pressed all my seams and lined up all my joins and was as neat as I could be.

I chose the Japanese double gauze for the inside as it felt like a babies muslin. Something that should be close to her skin.

I appliqued some mementos on the inside - some things that would be close to her, some things that had been close to us.

I worked on the quilt, hand binding it the next morning and finishing it throughout the day. I took it back to the hospital, where she still was. I went to see our baby again to wrap her in this gift that I made. I wrapped Alice in the quilt with a small bear my mother made for me many years ago. This was the last time I would see my baby.

In some unexplainable way I felt calmer. I wanted her to be safe and warm and not to be alone. Some of the fabric was new, some was vintage and some was recycled. There were stories in the fabric and they would keep her safe.
(This post first appeared on my other blog

11 weeks...

Today is 11 weeks since Alice died. 11 weeks and 1 day since she was born.

Its raining and grey and miserable today and somehow that feels appropriate.

Yesterday I took Minnie to a park I started chatting to a mum who had 2 little girls. Her little toddler had brown eyes and white blond hair and was a little pixie like our daughter Minnie (almost 3yrs old). Of course I was thinking 'would Alice have looked like her.' I watched the little sisters play and felt sad. Sad that Minnie may never have another little sister. Not one that she can play with and giggle and have special secrets that no-one else will ever know. I have 2 sisters, and one is as close in age to me as Alice would have been to Minnie. Although we live in different parts of the world, we still share secrets and giggle over the email whenever we can.

The mother asked THE question 'just the one child?' No, I said. I have 2 daughters. But my baby died. Her name is Alice. She said sorry and quickly moved onto another topic. We talked about sewing and she made a reference to sewing quilt for her third baby. Then I noticed it. In the bottom layer of the Phil and Teds pram I noticed little pink feet. It was a tiny 3 week old girl. She was beautiful. I felt sad and happy all at the same time and I am so proud that I didn't start crying. But we left soon after...

I think about Alice all the time but I have never really dreamt about her. I have had some awful dreams about being in labour and about sick babies but no dreams about our baby.

I hope that one day I will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Really, I am (not) fine...

I am so tired to telling people I am fine.

For the most part I am fine. But some days you don't have to scratch too far to see that I am not.
I am tired of people saying things like 'I know how terrible this is for you' when they really have no idea how terrible this is. Unless they have a dead baby. Then they would know.

I have had family members die. My dear, sweet, beautiful friend died when we were 25. I know how it feels to loose someone.

But it doesn't prepare you for loosing a baby. A tiny 20 week old baby. A baby that lived for a little while and died while you held her. A baby that never got to be the little sister, never got to sleep on your chest, tired out from feeding, and never got feel the sun her face.

I am sad and angry and frustrated today. I don't want to hear about peoples plans to conceive or for them to ask when we are going to 'try again.' Like we failed the last time. Like we need to have another go at it to see if we can get it right this time.

I want to be the one making babies clothes and nappies and blankets. I don't want to be sitting here on the side reading about other people doing it.

Being sad and angry and frustrated is not what I had planned.

So far from it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

‘…we also know that we shall remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute, no matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else. And actually, this is how it should be…it is the only way of perpetuating that love that we do not want to relinquish.’

Sigmund Freud, in a letter to a friend after the death of his daughter.

[Freud, S (1929) Letter to Binswanger in EL Freud (ed.) Letters of Sigmund Freud, New York, Basic Books]