Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Archie - A Special Angel

Today i dedicate my whole Blog to a Very special, funny and brave lady and her family, I have a special friend Louise, who is the mummy to 6 beautiful children. 5 girls and one Angel baby Archie. 5 years ago this week Louise gave birth to an angel, only special people are sent an angel and Louise has put her feelings and thoughts to paper, in the hope that other angel mummies find comfort.

Tuesday morning I woke first again. I laid there staring at my perfect baby boy, wishing I had woken up from this horrible dream. I laid there for quite a while and silent tears streamed down my face. I knew today was the day, the day I had dreaded with all my heart. I didn't know how I knew and still don't know how but I did.
I got up and packed our cards away and gathered some other bits and bobs together ready. I gave my precious angel a kiss and went for a shower.
After my shower a midwife came in to see if I wanted a cup of tea and some toast. I said "No, it was fine". I didn't expect them to wait on me. We had a kettle in our room but she made me one anyway. They were all so nice. When she came back she asked how I was. I told her I was going to try my hardest to go home. She told me to take my time, they weren't kicking me out. I smiled and said "Don't tell me that or I will never leave!". We talked a while, while Chris slept holding our son. My heart was so heavy. I would have given anything for him to wake up screaming for a feed.
Throughout the day visitors came and went. Our baby heard sobs but also heard a bit of laughter. I remember my sister saying something and everyone burst out laughing. I felt so guilty, I shouldn't be laughing! Having a room full of visitors didn't seem wrong. Even though Archie had passed away it felt so right, so calm and relaxed.
At some point on Monday Chris nipped to town for some thank you cards for the staff. Through Monday and Tuesday I wrote each midwife a thank you card. For each midwife that had any input with us I wrote a card personally for her, whether it was for listening, for helping bath him or just caring. I also left one for the rest of the staff and one for the theatre staff. The theatre staff get forgotten. Yes my baby didn't survive but they tried for thirty minutes and I did survive. They have a hard job too.
As usual I changed Archie. I dressed him in the morning and got him ready for bed at night and in between if needed. that included changing his nappy. I wasn't in denial, I was (am) his mummy and I was doing what a mummy does.
I took so many photos scared I would forget something. Its funny though because as time has gone on I remember every photo being taken and the thoughts and feelings at the time. I remember going to take a photo and I couldn't find the camera which had been next to me. I asked Donna where it was and she said on the bed. We looked all round, moved everything off the bed, no camera. Donna was checking around near the kettle where she had just been stood but it wasn't there either. As we were talking about it, eyes still wandering it was right there on the bed! Neither of us could explain it so we've come to the conclusion; Archie must have been playing games.
I realised I hadn't changed his nappy for a while so decided to do it (the meconium still comes out). While changing his nappy I noticed his skin had changed where the top of the nappy was, like a blister. I knew what to expect but it was still a bit of a shock. It had to be today. If we were to go back and see him every day, we needed to leave. It was one of the hardest decisions I had ever had to make.
We told visitors "Today was the day they needed to say goodbye". They understood. So many more tears as they kissed him and left.
I had spoken to Anita one of the midwifes about Archie and where he would be going, when he would be going etc. I spoke to her about everything, I think it helped that I knew her a bit already. I asked if it would be her that would be taking Archie to the morgue and she said "No it would be a porter". My face must have said it all. Tears in my eyes I just put my head down and cried. She told me to leave it with her and she would be back. When she came back she said she had been and spoken to the matron or senior midwife and asked if she could go with Archie and it was alright. She couldn't take him on her own but could go with the porter and that was good enough for us. Our baby would have someone with him.
We packed everything up and Chris took it all to the car so we didn't have to take it as we left. Just to make things that bit easier.
We sat with him, stroked his face, told him we loved him and kissed him. I wrapped him in an extra blanket to keep him warm and laid him in the moses basket. Chris touched him so then I had to... I had to be the last one to touch him. I didn't mind it just meant an extra kiss from mummy. All the thank you cards I had written, I left in a fan shape on the bed. I didn't want a thank you for them and I just thought it would be nice for them to find them when we left. I had already spoken to Jo another midwife and told her I didn't want him being left on his own too long and he wasn't to have the light turned out. The mothers instinct again!
As we walked out of the room, just me and Chris, I hesitated, took a deep breath and left.
A midwife saw us waiting at the door and offered to walk out with us, I said I was fine but she did anyway. She rubbed my shoulder, I looked back and walked away.
I was better than I thought though and I know it's because it wasn't goodbye yet, I would be back tomorrow and the next day and the next and every day that I could.
Louise now works closely with Chesterfield Sands group and she provides memory boxes for other families of angels, so they have memories to cherish forever. The 'Archie Boxes' are put together with love and contain as many things as possible to provide the best memories for the short time they hold their angel. Louise also always raises money for Chesterfield Sands and her just giving page is www.justgiving.com/Louise-Hopkinson. I feel privileged to call Louise my friend.


You can also find advice from www.uk-sands.org/ and Cruse Bereavement Care. If anybody needs advice or support, please click the contact page at the top of the blog and i will help you find it.


Thankyou to Louise for sharing <3




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