The service was really beautiful. The midwives, chaplains, social workers and other staff were lovely in how they put on the service for bereaved families.
Two women shared their personal stories of loss, poems, prayers and songs were said and listened too and a rememberance candle was lit. At the conclusion we were able to hang out babies names on the memorial tree while their names were called out. Oliver took this important job on, carefully choosing what branch to hang his sisters name on.
We were given candles to take home to use in the Wave of Light that would be happening that night at 7pm.
Afterwards there was a morning tea to enjoy and talk to the staff and other families. I caught up with two friends that I have made through the Bears Of Hope Support Groups.
I spoke to some of the midwives and thanked them for everything they do for the families who pass through the hospital never to take their babies home.
While I was talking to Shirley (NUM of the ward where Ava was born and the midwife who accepts the donations from Ava Grace No Footprint Too Small) she asked me if I would mind if they sent some of the packages we have donated to Blue Mountains. Lithgow and Hawkesbury Hospitals. Of course I said yes and told her to send them to where they are sadly needed. I also gave a small bag on of recent donations that I had collected in the last fortnight.
Attending services that acknowledge our babies lives, whatever their gestation are emotionally draining but I also find them lovely in a way I wouldn't have thought. I love hearing Ava's full name said aloud. I love writing her name down. I love being able to discuss her with people who just "get it" and the midwives who talk proudly of the babies they get to deliver and meet regardless of whether they are alive at birth or not. I like being able to hear the names of the babies who are now playing with Ava in heaven. If you haven't experienced loss than perhaps all of this makes you feel uncomfortable, sounds morbid or just not normal - but you have to remember that this is our NEW normal.
My heart is broken and will never be able to be completely fixed but I also will never regret having Ava. I will never regret holding her little hand in mine, or kissing her forehead or her tiny lips. If attending services that are emotional, sad and lovely at the same time is part of my new normal than I'm ok with that.