Monday, June 06, 2011

Babies Born Sleeping

It's odd that I haven't really blogged about this or tweeted about it or even hardly spoken about it. Babies Born Sleeping is a project I've been in the process of setting up alongside some really wonderful women.

TheBand doesn't know much about it, nor do my family or friends. I have unconsciously kept it separate from the rest of my life. I've confined it for fear that it might spill over, perhaps even burst through the very neat, convenient and surprisingly sturdy wall I've been building round my heart. Today it did.

I'm such a narcissist. Forgive me, invisible readership. This is not about me. it's far bigger than that.

Round the corner from my house is a smallish public hospital with a high risk maternity ward. The aim of BBS is to be there for moms who go through stillbirth.

The tragic reality is that the maternity ward of a public hospital is a busy, chaotic, under-resourced place.

The tragic reality is that moms of stillborns recover from labour in the same ward as all the other new moms with their visitors, their smiles and, of course, their babies.

The tragic reality is that these moms would have little to no understanding and no answers offered as to why their child is dead, whether it was their fault and whether they can have more children.

We hope to be able to be some semblance of comfort to them. We will pray, we will listen,we will most likely cry with them, we will ensure that their babies are wrapped in a soft blanket and given a hat, we will take photos where possible and we will honour their babies.

I went to the hospital today to meet the matron. We are prepared now and its time we got started.

There is no morgue at this hospital and so dead babies are left in the laundry room. The. Laundry. Room.

Today my friend, who was showing me around, showed me this cluttered, untidy, utilitarian room. She pulled out a plastic crib from under a counter explaining that this is where babies are placed before they are collected by a funeral director. And then she swore in shock.

There was a baby. He was wrapped in plastic. Plastic. Stored in the laundry room. Stored.

The rest of my day was a busy one. Work. A friend came over to tell me about her blossoming romance. And then.

And then the friend I'd gone with to the hospital smsd to check on me. Isn't it always human kindness that breaks us?

I'm not crying for me, or even Sophia. I'm crying for the tragic reality of our public health system. The tragic lack of dignity. The countless additional wounds that moms will suffer.

I hope and pray our project will bring even a small bit of dignity and love and hope.


Gina said...

You are awesome! #thatisall

B said...

Jesus Caz, that's appalling and so, so sad. I'm so glad that you and your awesome friends are able to do something positive to support the women who will, sadly, be going through this.

Sending support xx

Michelle Roberts said...

I think BB'S is a fantastic group of special people. Thank you for what you're doing!
I'm sorry you had to experience that today.
Good luck and sending you all the love and prayers you and all the moms need. Thinking of you always!


Nes said...

Such breaks my heart. You are such a brave person and I know that your Babies Born Sleeping project will really help people. I wish I could write something that could take a bit of the pain away but I know I can't. Just wanted to say that I do think of you and Sophia and Tandia and your husband a lot. I read your whole blog in an afternoon and my heart goes out to all of you.

Caz said...

thank you all xxx

Anonymous said...

Flip. Heartbreaking.
I agree with Gina... U are awesome. U really, really are!

Lynette said...

You do realise that you will have to see someone on a regular basis to debrief...don't you? If you don't you will ultimately burn out...what you are dealing with is traumatic and shocking, you have to find somebody that you can talk to about it.


Shayne said...

U are incredible. Know that.

And listen to what Lynette is saying, she's knows what she's talking about.

Angel said...

Oh Caz... What a glorious endeavour! I know I'm behind the times, but I will ad BBS to my prayers.

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