Guest post by Sharon Louisson in memory of Isabella Marie, Born sleeping May 2012.
Today, 2 and a half years on I still remember the day we had prepared ourselves for, the day we lay Isabella to rest, next to her Great Grandmother.
We had known at 21 weeks our baby only had a 5% chance of survival, but on the day she died, I was still so unprepared. I had not thought about the funeral plans, until after she died, as I still had hope.
Suddenly, we were home from the hospital, without a baby. We had to start planning a funeral. I remember thinking what if I make a decision I would regret, what if I forgot to do something on the day and felt guilty. Out came a note pad and lots of To Do’s.
The funeral director was too much for me to think about, so my mother in law did that for me. Ringing a friend I knew through work to do our service leaflets ended in sobs, with again my mother in law taking the phone when I could no longer talk. Some things were just too overwhelming and seemed impossible.
I remember going to see the florist, again a friend through work. I had texted another friend to ring the florist and warn her I was coming in. I didn’t want to have to explain why I was there, I just wanted to go, look, choose and go. But I really wanted to do it myself. Choosing the flowers was so important to me. I walked in and got a great big hug, tears flowing, but I was glad she knew already. The relief of not having to explain was what helped me. I organised balloons from the town we were heading to, and gave family members jobs to do that I couldn’t or didn’t feel I could do. I remember telling myself, its ok, you can’t do it all.
We drove an hour and a half to another town for the funeral. We had decided to bury her next to her Great Grandmother. We lived in another town, but thought, what if one day we move, she will be alone. I felt at peace knowing we could have her there. My grandfather sorted all of that for me. Again, another job I just didn’t feel I could do. How do you ring and ask about a grave site for a child?
At the funeral I felt numb. I don’t even remember feeling like it was real. I stood next to my husband as he read out a poem I had written, I had no emotion. I didn’t know how to feel. Nothing had prepared me for this.
Nothing could have prepared me.
The whole day felt like a blur, like a weird dream. We had lunch together at a Café, and it just felt like a family outing. I remember going back to the cemetery after lunch to say goodbye, and again it just didn’t feel real. We had the funeral, five days after she was born sleeping. I think by the time the funeral day came, I was tired, all cried out and just focusing on this day being over. I just wanted to be at home, cuddled up with my husband and my two and a half year old daughter. I just wanted my bed.
Sharon is currently fundraising to purchase a Cuddle Cot for Mackay hospitals. If you would like to donate and support this worth cause, please visit the link below.
Queensland Health and Sands Queensland – What to expect after the stillbirth of your baby brochure
Sands Australia – Life, Loss, Hope – Surviving the Death of Your Baby booklet
Sands Australia – Caring for your other children booklet