The following days in the hospital were long and exhausting.
There was a funeral to organise and some visitors to greet, but on the whole we seemed to be sitting around a lot waiting for something to happen. We’d have moments of quiet and then times when one or both of us were just wailing away in our little room.
In terms of the funeral, it seems like there is no set format of what people do in these situations. The funeral director explained that when it comes to children, undertakers don’t have so much to do as there is usually no need for hearses and drivers etc. Still, he was great to deal with and helped us to make arrangements with the cemetery and provided information on what people generally do in these circumstances.
The hospital counsellor, as I mentioned, was feck all help. She kept appearing with forms and leaflets to add to the pile, and asking if we had an questions. I don’t think she liked me as on our first meeting when she said to my wife that “today has been a tough tough day” and I piped in with “and tomorrow will be a hum-dinger” she failed to see the humour! ( I have a bad habit of cracking jokes in circumstances like these. I don’t mean it. I promise.) We never really warmed to her and she didn’t seem to have a great ‘bedside manner’. I’m sure she was doing lots of phone calling and form gathering in the background but we were happy to minimise our dealings with her.
We contacted the priest who had married us and christened Littleboy. He was willing to do a service for us so it was comforting to know that we would be dealing with someone who knew us and vice-versa.
Finally, we decided that instead of putting friends and relatives through a public service for Littlegirl we opted to have a family service in the hospital chapel and then drive back home to our local cemetery. I don’t think Irishmam and I, or our families, wanted to be dealing with the many people who may have turned up.
My brother agreed to drive my car from the hospital to the cemetery so with that we were all set for a funeral on Thursday 11th of December, two days after she would have been born if everything hadn’t gone wrong.
The staff continued to be perfectly sensitive to our situation and set me up to stay in the room with Irishmam for two nights, even giving me a nice cocktail of drugs each evening to send me off to sleep! I must say, it was nice to be able to descend into a dreamless sleep for a couple of hours and escape reality for a while.
Our consultant dropped in as well, on his way to watch Leinster play rugby in the RDS! (A match I probably would have attended myself during my previous life) He asked after Irishmam’s well being and repeated how sorry and shocked he was at how things had turned out. He has kids himself so he was also offering his personal condolences. I wondered if he would be able to walk out of the hospital and turn his ‘work-mode’ off and enjoy the game?
Littlegirl was moved down to the mortuary and we were given the key so we could come and go as we pleased. My wife, ironically, was making a great physical recovery after the c-section so she was able to move about slowly and go down to see the baby.
We had to go through staff areas of the hospital. I remember being quizzed by a lady at one stage as to what I was doing back there so I snapped “I’m going to the mortuary to see my daughter.” She just stood out of the way and let me pass.
Going to see her down there was just grim. She was on her own in a little moses basket in this room out the back of the hospital where the only sound was the hum of the air conditioning. Even though she was all wrapped up Littlegirl just exuded cold. She was like ice, it was as if she was the source of all the chill in the room and the weather outside. It was terrible to think of her lying out there on her own.
As I mentioned before, the nurses would all drop in to Irishmam and tell her that they had been down to check on Littlegirl. This brought us great comfort.