Monday 18th December I woke abruptly into instant confusion. It took a while for my brain to take in the situation. The bassinet empty next to the bed. My hand instinctively went to stroke my bump. Gone. What was going on, was I still dreaming. And then it hit me. She’d died.
When people say they feel like they’ve been hit by a truck I’d always imagined they were exaggerating. I’ve nothing I can compare it to but that. My chest felt crushed the air pushed from my body. There was that sound again, a desperate struggle to breath and cry out at the same time. Muffled sounds of my heart breaking inside.
Just as every other morning before Luke woke and called out to me. I got up and went to him. “Where Lexi gone?” It was a question Luke would ask me every morning, seemingly every minute for the next few months. I sat and explained again. “Lexi died sweetheart. Do you remember? She’s gone to heaven.” He looked puzzled. “Lexi in your tummy mummy?” “No darling. You came to get her from the hospital didn’t you. Lexi’s not in my tummy anymore. Lexi’s in heaven.” “Want Lexi come back. Want hold Lexi.” We sat there crying together.
As Annabelle woke I explained she didn’t need to go to school today if she didn’t want to. There was only two days left before the Christmas break. She said she wanted to go. She wanted to go for the end of term celebrations. So, some how I got dressed, got her ready and quickly emailed the school. I told them Lexi had died, I would bring Annabelle in after normal drop off time to avoid seeing anyone. I explained to Annabelle she could come home whenever she wanted to. I took her into school and spoke to her teacher and the head teacher. I don’t know how I had those conversations. 24 hours before I’d been sat in a hospital where my baby had just died. Now I was calmly explaining to the head teacher I needed her to find someone to help Annabelle cause I didn’t want her to be damaged by this. I wonder what I was saying in that meeting. If I was making any sense. I was totally numb apart from this crushing feeling in my chest which felt like my heart might stop.
The world was completely surreal. I walked out of the school and back to the house. There Luke was busily playing with Andrew building legos. “Where Lexi mummy?” “She died sweetheart. She’s in heaven.”
I wasn’t aware of anything I was saying or doing that day. It seemed so much like a dream.
I went back to my room and hid under the covers. The pain all too much to bare. Who knew you could feel your heartbreaking. It would have been so easy to have stayed there. No one expected anything else. It would have been so easy to have shut the world away but I was scared i’d never emerge again. Scared to be depressed. I knew what it was like to be enclosed in depression, fighting to get out of the darkness and I didn’t want to go back there. I so wanted to make sure Annabelle, Luke and Andrew were OK that I pulled back the covers and got back out of bed.
It was in that first day I found comfort in talking about what had happened. Whilst my sister was looking after Luke we went over to my neighbours house. We sat in their lounge and explained what had happened. I say neighbours but they are more like family to us. They were just as excited about Lexi’s arrival as any of our family. Only a few days before as we had left for the hospital when my waters had broke I had called out to them that we were going to the hospital. Sharing in our excitement then, we now went to try and rationalise what had happened with them.
When I look back now it still seems unreal how much I did that day. Knowing that my husband was due to have his medical infusion that evening I wanted to get out the house. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear the medical equipment working as Andrew had his infusion. The alarms the equipment made I knew would be too haunting to hear. I didn’t need to hear it though in truth. My ears were still ringing with the sounds I’d heard the day before. With one sister and her partner at my house with Andrew and the children safely in bed I went with my other sister and her family to the local church. There we lit candles for Lexi. Listened to the vicar pray for our family and let the tears flow.
From there I went to my friends house. My three closest friends had gathered to be with me. They enclosed me in their arms and their love. The support they have given me has been immense. I know I would not have survived this far without them. They sat and listened as I told of the unimaginable nightmare that had unfolded the day before. They listened and that was exactly what I needed.
I was beyond exhausted. I had filled my day to avoid any moments of silence. As I climbed into bed the tears were uncontrollable. I sobbed for hours that night starring at the empty bassinet. Wrapping myself in Lexi’s blanket and burying myself in Andrew’s arms, neither of us able to find any words to comfort the other. Finally I fell asleep before waking at 3am. A time I would become very familiar with. Waking to the same confusion. Was she really dead or was it all just in my head.