I had an awful nights sleep. For starters my tail bone was so sore that I struggled to get comfortable and the drips in my arms made it awkward to position myself. I took some sedatives to help, but the dreams (or nightmares) I had were vivid and horrifying.
I can’t remember them all, but in one dream I was being attacked by a group of which one had an axe. I managed to wrestle the axe from them but they kept advancing towards me, and I had to swing the axe around to try and fend them off, cutting off limbs and body parts as I did.
I then dreamt I was being attacked by a huge snapping turtle which was ripping the flesh from my legs.
I tried to stay awake between each dream but the sedatives kept sending me back to dream land.
The last dream was a nice one. I dreamt of Ed Sheeran. He was hugging me and singing “All of the Stars” whilst we looked into a night sky. As I woke, that very song was playing on my mobile phone and I lay there for several minutes thinking of our angel who was now a brilliant sparkling star.
The midwives gradually raised the head end of my bed up a little throughout the morning, and just after lunch I was able to stand, with help and go to the bathroom and shower myself.
The first shower in three days, and I imagine this is what showers in heaven would be like. I dried and brushed out the huge matted dreadlock which had formed on the back of my head in the past few days, and put on some make up. I looked like a new woman. And as I looked at my body in the mirror, I didn’t recognise myself. My stomach had deflated yet my breasts were still engorged and heavy. I had entered this hospital pregnant, but now I was empty. Part of me had been taken away when they took Arran away
I got dressed and relaxed on my bed. This was the most normal I had felt in days, and albeit still sore in my lower back and tail bone, aside from a little light headiness, I felt quite well.
An anaesthetist came to see me (not Dr Beaux Yeux, thank goodness) and gave me the all clear to go home. I called my husband who said he and the boys would come straight away.
I tidied away all my belongings and placed my bags near the door ready to go. Then I stood and stared out of the window, and was overcome by emotion. The trauma of the last few days was coming to an end, but now a new trauma would have to be faced. The trauma of grief, of acknowledging what all this means, of accepting our baby is gone. In hospital, I was protected, safe and more importantly, close to my baby. When I left that hospital, I was ultimately leaving my baby, although I felt comforted to know he was in the place that he was born and so brilliantly cared for. In hospital it was just me, with no responsibilities. If I needed to cry, it was safe to. If I needed to ask for help, it was okay to. In hospital I was allowed to be vulnerable. Yet back home, I am a mum. I am a wife. I am a frienf. I am a teacher. I am a singer. I have to be strong for my family. I have to be upbeat and enthusiastic for my students, friends and audience. Everyone who knows me, knows me as a positive and happy soul, and I can not allow for them to see me weak or low or broken.
I was leaving my place of safety. Just like Arran left his place of safety when I gave birth to him. And now we both have to face the unknown, and try to be brave and strong as we do so.
Hearing the sound of the boys footsteps in the corridor outside my room was like music to my ears. And I cried as I hugged the midwives goodbye and we shared hopes of seeing each other again in the future for reasons with a happy ending.
But I refuse to see this as anything but a happy ending.
Every challenge or struggle offers chances to grow or learn more about ourselves and to become better than we were before. Every loss or heartache gives way to opportunities, if we only open our eyes and allow ourselves to see them. For instance, I see this trauma as an opportunity to raise awareness of anencephaly, to share my experiences with others who may be faced with a similar occurrence and to bring hope to those who feel they have none.
Just as Ed Sheeran and Danny Gokey’s music has done for me, in raising my spirit and helping me find strength I didn’t know I had, I perhaps will be able to do the same for others.
Creating and carrying a life inside of me was a blessing I can only be thankful for. And although my baby doesn’t physically cradle in my arms, nor will ever physically waddle beside me or hold my hand when I’m grey and old, they will always be with me. The love for them will always burn fiercely inside of me like it does with all of my children. And there is no greater gift than love.
And I will still cry or feel sad at times, because I am human, and I have lost something so special to me. But I will feel comforted by everything these past two weeks have shown me about people, love, compassion and belief. And more so what it has shown me about myself.
I have decided that as my Arran can not live in the physical with me, I will live for him. I will honour each year he would have lived by doing something new or courageous. I will see the world as though I have just opened my eyed for the first time. I will run on the grass bare foot. I will dance in the rain and jump in puddles. I will try new foods. I will take time to play – and I mean, really play. I will not care what anyone thinks of me and do what makes me happy. Just as my Arran would have done. And in doing so, I am keeping my Arran alive, within and through me.