I showered and got in my pyjamas as I was informed I had to remain in hospital for 24 hours due to my temperature. It didn't bother me though as I wanted to be in the same building as Sebastian for his first night alone.
Bronwyn, the amazing midwife had opted to work overtime and stay for as long as she could to support us. She is an amazingly strong woman to have supported us through our journey along with the other mums-to-be screaming and yelling as they delivered their babies, (however their births ended with a healthy baby and crying to me was soul destroying). One mother though who our midwife was also working with really annoyed us, she was under the influence of drugs and obviously had an addiction problem, along with her team of supporters. She yelled and abused the midwives and made the unit unsettled. She had her baby removed by the authorities and was screaming "I want my baby back", when we heard this James and I looked at each other and I said "lady, you have no idea"
When we heard what was happening next door I said to the midwife, "it's unfair isn't it? It's unfair that she gets a healthy baby and we really want Sebastian more than life itself, but we can't have him." I said this with tears in my eyes and the midwife looked at me, unable to say a word but just give a very sad and sorrowful look as she nodded lovingly. I could tell she was trying to not be emotionally invested.
Bronwyn made sure to give us as much support as we needed. She provided us with little memory books of all Sebastian's information. She gave us a Bears of Hope Package which contained lots of little items to support us, including a bear donated by another family who had lost their daughter in 2012. Bronwyn would also call me two days later to provide me with after care tips and to help locate the blanket and beanie Sebastian was wearing so I could keep them forever. She was an amazing midwife who was in the job for the right reasons (we hope she got her gift we left her on a return visit).
It had been suggested that I return to the women's health ward to sleep that night as being around pregnant women and their babies would be difficult for me. I agreed and after signing all the autopsy documents (which was a difficult decision) I was supported back to the ward.
They had organised a staff member to take me to the ward in a wheelchair. At this stage another midwife was supporting me. The male staff member said to the midwife " I was told I was picking up a lady who just gave birth, where is the baby?". My heart sunk and I looked away, it had begun I had no physical child to show what I had gone through, my eyes were sore from crying but a tear was still produced. If only I could show him the emotional scars I had endured. The midwife took him away and explained the situation. They retuned and supported me to the ward with James carrying my bags.
When we arrived at the ward it was explained that I was meant to have my own room but there were none available, so I had to share with another lady. James was invited to stay the night but I told him he could leave once I was settled, it was nearing 2am and I knew he would prefer to be in his own bed. As the midwife wished me well I started to cry again, she reassured me saying "I will see you next time with a healthy baby up in the maternity ward" I nodded and wondered if there would be a next time, and that despite the optimistic sentiment I really just wanted Sebastian.
James stayed another 10 minutes and set everything up for me. Before he went home I made him promise he will come back first thing in the morning as visiting hours did not apply to him. He agreed and left. I didn't stay awake long, but I only slept 2 hours.
With the curtains closed I laid in bed sobbing as I recounted the last 24 hours. I watched out the window and prayed Sebastian was ok. I felt like a zombie as I moved around the ward that morning, I showed no emotion and I didn't care about what was going on around me. I did see one pregnant woman in bed near the bathroom, she was being induced and was at full term. I couldn't help myself, I just stared at her belly as I fought back tears. She did look at me but I just quietly prayed she wouldn't have to go through what I just did.
As I was told that Sebastian would be taken to the children's hospital at Westmead for his autopsy at 8am that morning, I stood at the window of my room just in case I could catch a glimpse of him being driven past. I never did get to see him go past, but I needed to believe he had left.
The rest of the morning consisted of me lying in bed crying. I had never experienced a heart break, but I knew that is what I was feeling.
I did have a nurse come In who had obviously not read my file or observed the symbolic butterfly on its cover...Despite me sitting on the bed crying she pulled back the curtains and exposed me to the other patients, she demanded i get out of bed so she could make it. I refused and asked to be left alone but she kept insisting. I sat and continued crying and shaking my head, I had only been in bed for 4 hours and I was not getting out anytime soon. The woman in the bed next to me yelled at her to leave me alone, and she did.. But only for an hour.
I messaged James to hurry up and come, I didn't want to be alone anymore when I already felt so empty inside. He was still asleep and had slept through his alarms - a much needed sleep. But regardless he was at my bedside within 30 minutes.
I had started to fill out the forms to register Sebastian's birth when the evil nurse returned.. "Oh good you're not crying anymore. Why were you crying? It's not time for crying. You should stop crying", speechless and unable to look at her I just allowed her to continue collecting my obs info, but thankfully she stopped when the lady in the bed next to me once again yelled "mind your own business, she doesn't have to tell you". The nurse rolled her eyes and left. I looked at James shocked and he shook his head. I am so grateful for the lady who I shared the room with, I wish I spoke to her more. She had closed the curtain back up for me and gave me flowers she had received as a gift. When I thanked her for standing up for me she said "oh don't worry I was about to punch her in the head" I couldn't help but smile, I had no idea who this lady was or what she had heard about me but she was my guardian that day.
After having to stay in until 1pm to ensure my temperature was down, I couldn't wait to go home. We had met with the social workers, more midwives and doctors and I was given more medication and prescriptions - but the time came where I was finally allowed home.
As I walked out of the ward and then out of the hospital, I cried. It was all over and I was returning to an empty and quiet home. It was not how I had pictured the "going home" routine and I just prayed that Sebastian had already left the hospital. I couldn't stand the idea of me walking out and leaving him (it was later confirmed that he did leave at 8am and he left wearing his blue beanie so his little head was warm and covered up until he would arrive at the funeral home one week later).
We drove home in silence as I sobbed for my little boy. There should have been a baby seat in the back of the car and we should have driven ridiculously slow to ensure he got home safely, but there wasn't and we were left with little knowledge or closure of where his precious little body was now. We hoped that those who would be privileged to meet his body over the next few days did not gaze at his imperfections with disgust, and instead met him with as much love and care that any other baby would be met with.
As a side note to this story (and I will explain more in a later post) but to read more about the Bears of Hope package we received and to help us provide support to other families in the same situation, please visit: