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Bringing Lily Home

I can't exactly remember how it came about - whether I asked or if one of our amazing midwives first mentioned the possibility of taking Lily home.

I do remember wanting with all my heart to have Lily home with us, even if just for a short time, but also being full of fear about what people would think. My main concern was what if one of our lovely neighbours saw us returning and thinking Lily must have arrived safely and perfectly into our arms, came over to congratulate us. I wasn't ready or capable of explaining the truth to anyone yet.

The solution was provided by my parents who visited our closest neighbours to explain what we were going to do, they gave us their love and blessings, and I felt secure enough to fulfil my deep wish to have Lily home with us for a while. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped make that possible.

I do remember that our midwife found out all the relevant information for us, it wasn't something I'd researched before Lily's birth, and she notified the police for us - they just needed to be given our car registration number incase of an accident so that no one risked their life trying to rescue our baby.

Our funeral director brought a wicker crib to the hospital for Lily to travel in, this we could easily secure on the back seat of the car. We were advised to keep her cool, and that if we wanted we could keep Lily with us overnight. Although I would have loved to keep her with us for as long as we could, I was all to aware that by now it had been over a week since she died, so we arranged to phone the funeral director later that evening when she would come and take Lily to the chapel of rest.

Preparing to leave the hospital seemed to take me forever, we had been there a week and so many friends and family had sent cards, gifts and flowers, plus all the precious mementoes we had made whilst we were there, there was so much to carefully pack up. I am now aware that my need to so carefully pack was about controlling the things I could - at a time when everything feels out of control, the act of lovingly packing up all Lily's things became a way of expressing my need to Mother my precious girl, and to contain my emotions.

I remember feeling the strangest mixture of grief, numbness, fear, otherworldliness, as we left the security of the labour ward to walk to our car with Lily. Carrying our dead baby, we passed other new parents with their beautifully healthy babies - why.... Oh why... kept running round my head... Why do you get to keep your baby and we do not? I couldn't wait to reach the safety of the car. I wanted to enjoy taking Lily out into the world, but it was much more scary than I could have imagined, but only because I was stepping out of the safe bubble of the labour ward where we had spent the most intense week protected from the outside world. I felt as if all my nerve endings were on the outside of my body, everything was heightened, bright, fast, loud, too much, to normal!

Once we were all together in the safety of the car I could settle again, take a deep breath and focus on us and the journey we were about to make as a family.

We took the scenic route along the coast, meandering through the country lanes and down to the shore - talking to Lily along the way. We stopped by the sea, the sun was bright and reflecting off the sand and water, I took photo's to record this special time.

 

      

 

Arriving at home Patrick got Lily and I inside along with all our belongings, then went to collect something from a friend in the next village. He was only gone a short time, I set about making a beautiful space for Lily. It was in this time while I was alone with Lily that I experienced my first connection with Lily's energy since she was born. I had begun to make her special place in our dining room, when I needed the bathroom, without a thought I set off upstairs. Nearing the top it suddenly hit me - a huge wave of grief, crying uncontrollably at the truth that I would never bring my baby up in this house, all at once I was completely overwhelmed. As I made it into the bathroom and sat on the loo suddenly what I can only describe as a ball of energy hit me - landed on my lap nearly knocking me off the loo. I know it may sound strange, but I believe - well it felt like just knowing at the time - that  this was Lily's energy rushing up the stairs to comfort me and jumping into my lap. I was laughing and crying now, smiling through my tears just in awe of what I had experienced. From this moment I knew Lily's energy was with us, I just wanted to embrace her for as long as she would stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Patrick returned I explained what had just happened, I am forever grateful that he let me 'have' my experience and didn't try to explain it away or take it from me. He knew I needed to be heard and believed. 

 

 

 

We together set about making Lily's space, lighting candles, burning essential oils of rose and chamomile, lighting the fire, playing some beautiful music and spending this sacred time with our precious girl. We scattered rose petals, surrounded her with her teddies, books and blankets, read her bedtime stories and showed her where she would have lived.

Having her with us while we made some food and did some 'normal' things, just having her home with us for a few hours was what I needed, I know it might not be for everyone, and for some it might not be possible, but for me it helped, to have our baby where she was 'meant' to be, with us, at home, for a little while.

It helped me with acceptance, it helped make it all real when everything felt so surreal, and it help with not having regrets later, it is wishing I'd done things which I didn't do that bring the regret and pain, I haven't regretted one thing I actually did.

 

 

This time was for me about fulfilling the deep yearning I had to nurture and protect my child. It was like answering a powerful call of nature to tend to my baby at home. Away from the hospital environment I was better able to adjust to the knowledge that Lily would have to be taken from me. At home I could gently do things that would ultimately be healing rituals that enabled me to be ready to let go. Sharing this time together made the letting go more gradual and a tiny little bit less wrenching. 

I had control over when we called the funeral director to come and collect Lily. I could play her lullabies and read her my favourite childhood book that I'd been saving for her. 

Watching Patrick make Lily's space 'right' was beautiful, witnessing him tenderly placing her things about her, both of us needing to express that imperative urge to Mother and Father our child.

Only when we felt some sort of calm completion did we ring the funeral director to come and collect Lily. It was still utterly desolating to let her go, but at least we were home, safe and surrounded now by some memories of her here with us.

 

"Bless you darling little one, this is your home, you will always have a space here. We will always share you with the world, your light will go on - in a myriad of ways your presence will be known."

Your ever loving Mother x x x