I passed the early days and weeks at home surrounded by the presence of my whole family, takings days off from work, university and training.
I started feeling restless and I felt inside I had to do things. For Ida and for me. For this reason I decided to make a long list. And to try to accomplish some of them every day. The impression was that time was already starting catching up on us, passing way to fast for my mind and my heart to recover. I wanted to stay in the moment longer, to realize and reorganize my memories and feelings and I was fearful of forgetting details, important things.
Here the list helped me like an anchor to the passing time.
I needed to write a letter to my amazing sonographer, to write to my amazing midwife, to deal with an auntie I staved off since I got Ida's diagnosis, I had to start this blog, to decorate Ida's memory box, to crochet a cowl out of the yarn I made Ida's blanket and the list went on and on, everyday shorter and shorter...
My blood lasted around 1 week and a half, my milk came in on day 2.
Contrarily to what I read from many mums I was happy. I was sincerely happy and proud of finally see my breasts in action for their real purpose. They were striving to nurture my baby, they knew she needed it and they started working hard, burning my fat, my body nutrients, to make this gold milk for Ida. I didn't express the milk on the first day, but on the second day my breasts became engorged and very painful. On the afternoon I decided to hand express some milk to relieve the pain and fullness of the breasts, put hot compress before and cold cabbage after. The day after the same, four times. The day after I used a electric pump, collecting 150 ml of milk each time. I decreased the number of times I pumped the milk, waiting for the maximum time I could wait without pumping, passing from 4 times a day to 3, 2, 1, none. The whole process lasted 1 week and I'm glad I didn't just ignore it. The milk collected couldn't go to a milk bank, we have none in Sicily, couldn't go to the tub, my heart would break doing so. I poured it ritually every time to my plumeria tree. It became so green and healthy in just few days!
I had my mind sad but busy for the whole day. I was crushing under the shower when the water takes care of your tears and your cry quick enough not to be seen or heard by the many surrounding you. In bed I found myself with my hands on my womb, empty. Everyday was separating me more and more from Ida, every task off from my list, every day with less and less milk, was making me closer and closer to facing the naked reality. Me, in the 'now', in the now in which my first daughter is dead.
I listened to the songs from her playlist whilst making her memory box and whilst doing some of the tasks from my list. Every wednesday/thursday I had my body reacting to her death, physically disturbed, remembering it too. I still have this sensory memory every wednesday night/thursday after 1 months+ 2 weeks.
In the early days Jonas became tired too. He missed my happy-me, he wanted his girlfriend back. 'It looks like you don't want to feel better.'
Maybe it was true, I didn't want to, but what could make me feel better.
But I tried anyway. I stopped talking about Ida in front of him, my sister-friend Emily was there for me to let me grieve as I needed to, walking by my side in this necessary journey. Later he understood, he accepted and reassured me.
Those are the early days. Up and downs, trying to grasp everything you can to slow time for a little and remember. Remember everything.
Ida Saoirse Scherer,
our first baby girl, who was born and died at 16+5 weeks on the 30th November 2017.
Resources about Termination for Medical Reasons
Sister-friend Emily writing for her first son Amari Regan (Fragile X Syndrome)
Katrina's blog for her second daughter April Rey (Trisomy 13)