Chloe's Story - Chapter 4
This week (9-15 October) is Baby Loss Awareness Week. Throughout the week, bereaved parents and their families and friends unite with others around the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth, or during infancy. Chapter 4 of Chloe's Story is painfully poignant this week, as her Dad, Jamie, shares his difficult memories of the loss of her twin sister, Phoebe. For more information on the campaign, please click here.
We got to spend time with Phoebe in the five days we were in Worcester before heading to Bristol. We were told that we could see her to say our goodbyes and it was our choice if we wanted to or not. We decided together that we would like to see her.
The hospital staff brought her into the suite in a little crib which was refrigerated and we finally got to meet our beautiful baby girl. She was peaceful, dressed in white, her skin was soft to the touch and everything about her was perfect. We had been warned that she would be purple, as when her heart stopped beating the blood pooled in her body causing the skin to look that colour.
We held her, cuddled her, talked to her about the things we had wished and hoped for, in her life. We had the option to take photos, which we did. We did this a number of times in the 5 days we were in Worcester after the birth. Not knowing Chloe’s prognosis at the time, we got to take photos of Chloe and Phoebe together, so if we wanted to show Chloe pictures of her twin sister in the future, they had that moment together. I can tell you that I haven’t looked at those pictures as of yet, but I take comfort in knowing I have them if I choose to in the future.
While in Bristol, we needed to organise Phoebe’s funeral; we are not religious so chose a humanist funeral. Picking flowers, songs, colours and text for an order of service and writing words for a head stone for our baby daughter is probably the hardest thing we will ever have to do. We returned home from Bristol during January to organise the funeral, met with the funeral directors and the humanist celebrant, all of whom handled the situation with such care and loving attention.
Phoebe was to be buried at Westall Park, a natural burial ground set in the rolling hills of England. We chose a tiny wicker casket for her and carefully selected the music and poems for the order of service. I was determined to carry her into the service, stand in front of my family and friends and speak to them about the love and support they had given us and how much that meant.
I carried my beautiful baby girl out of the service in tears, with my brother and father supporting me, took her to the park and lowered my daughter into her resting place. How do you express how this feels? It's impossible to describe. I’m just thankful that my family of 5 was surrounded by our family and friends. It is often said that they couldn’t begin to imagine how hard it had been for us, but I know how much our friends and family care and love us, so I’m sure in that moment, seeing how difficult it was to carry our daughter out of the service, that they felt that pain with us. Their love and support have meant so much to me and has helped me get through the most difficult thing life can throw at you and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Chapter 5 to follow soon...in the meantime, please consider donating generously to this important cause. CLICK HERE to donate.