Lexi Jayne , gorgeous Angel butterfly

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I dont know if anyone will ever read this, im unsure if I actually want people too. This is just somewhere I thought I would jot down my idea’s and thoughts as an Angel Parent.

Before I go any further, maybe it’s best to define what I mean when I say Angel Parent. In basic terms it means my child died. Her name was Lexi Jayne and she was as real as could be, I held her in my arms and kissed her little head and fell in love with her as soon as I saw her. I didn’t used to believe in love at first sight, but since it happened to me twice (the only other time was with my wife) I guess I have no choice.

I guess maybe I should also give a bit of back story. That’s where most things start isn’t it? The beginning.

So, I was fortunate enough to meet my wife at work, I still remember when she came for her interview, she was stunning (and you still are babes if you read this). I never thought I would have a shot. You have heard the term “punching above your weight” or “well out of your league”, this was the ultimate definition of this. But after becoming friends a little romance blossomed and the next thing you knew we were together (yay go me). What followed were a lot of ups and like any relationship a couple of downs. We got married on August 5th of 2012 and our next thought was “let’s start a family”. We tried and tried for a good 4 years. We were told that in theory nothing was wrong with us so everything was to do with weight. We tried diets and our weight went up and down over the next however many years. We were still unsuccessful. We eventually blamed stress from our workplaces at the time and decided to hold off until we were in a better mental state to attempt to conceive.

This was around February 2016. We had lots to look forward too in the year ahead. We had a trip to New York planned, We were discussing a family cruise on the Disney Magic, so much was going on. We decided to be one of those couples who would just holiday for a while and come back to the baby thing later. We after all had plenty of time. Nature is a funny thing though isn’t it? It was June 2016 around the 28th to be exact. Now this may be a bit too much information here so apologies in advance. But Rachael had been having funny periods for the past 2 month, something was off and she was, understandably, concerned. We scheduled a Doctors appointment for the 30th of June to see what the hell was going on. On the 29th of June Rachael decided to do a pregnancy test JUST IN CASE. There it was, the line we had always wanted to see, it was POSITIVE. More tests were taken just to be certain and every one positive, positive, positive. We were overjoyed. We were finally extending our family.

Our next step was telling our parents. At this time my in laws were currently on a cruise, so they were unreachable. But my parents were around. I know you’re meant to wait until 12 weeks to tell people but we had waited for so long we thought, fuck tradition, lets tell people now. We bought some pacifiers and put them into a gift bag and presented them to my mum. She was, at first, confused. Until it all clicked. I don’t think I have ever seen her so happy. I then told my auntie who had the same reaction, though honestly, not as grand. Which we totally understood, she has never really been a kid person, if we got a puppy it would be so different haha. The next day my in-laws were to arrive home. We were going to pop down that evening but decided on a facetime conversation instead. I still have the pictures (im sure I will upload them soon). The tears of joy and happiness still makes me smile. Things were looking good.

As you can imagine the next few months of our lives was filled with excitement, planning, buying and obviously nerves. We went for our first scan thinking we were at 12 weeks. We were wrong, just so much anticipation, turns out we were only 8. But they checked our baby out anyway and everything was progressing nicely. Finally got our 12 week scan and could see our little baby properly for the first time. Yes she was small on the screen but features could be made out. I’m not going to lie here, tears were shed. Its one of those moments when you finally have something that you have always wanted. Your own flesh and blood on the screen in front of you. It’s something you can never prepare for. I’m sure my fellow fathers understand this. Things were now real.

Another 8 weeks later we finally get our 20 week scan. I am so nervous but excited, I get to see my child again but only this time we get to know if were having a boy or a girl. Like every father the thought of a son slightly edges in front of a daughter. I never understood why this is but it happened (on a side note the reason I mention this is because I want this blog to be fully honest, im not going to lie about feelings etc and if you think im wrong for wanting a boy, im sorry its just how it was). So we have the scan we are told it’s a girl. My wife was elated and truth be told, so was I. Yes its not going to be my boy that I will play football with etc but its going to be a girl. I came to actually liking the idea of a girl more than a boy. Just that daddy daughter bond, being wrapped around her little finger, scaring away her first dates etc. I was excited. The 20 week scan also showed us something that we didn’t expect. She had an anomaly. It was on the umbilical cord and thought to likely be a cyst but we would need further testing to be sure. We left the scan room, honestly, nervous. But we were reassured that these things pop up on a daily basis and its nothing to worry about. This just needs to be confirmed by a specialist and things can continue as normal.

So, assured as we were we left, we started discussing names and told our proud parents they were due to have a granddaughter. We decided on the name Lexi Jayne. It just fit. Lexi it was. Our family happily shared the news online that Lexi was our decided name and how proud they were, typical mam n dad stuff really. We were booked in with our next scan the week later to see what was going on with this anomaly. We spoke to a new Doctor who scanned my wife and advised us that this is something more serious than a cyst. We needed to see another speciality doctor in another hospital. So a week later another appointment was made at the hospital in the centre of Newcastle. We were told to arrive for 3pm but expect a bit of a delay. 6pm, we finally get called through for our scan. We speak to the doctor and her nurse who inform us Lexi had what was known as an Umbilical Vein Varix. If you want more information on that, google is your friend here people, in general it means the vein in her umbilical chord is swollen at a point. We were again assured that this is fine, this is a very rare condition but death rates were low, in fact the number of recorded deaths due to this varix is 0. We were told we need to be monitored every other week to check on growth as that’s the only thing we need to worry about.

So again we left happy. We had another scan of our daughter where it looked like she was yawning and had her hand over her mouth. I won’t lie, this had to be my favourite scan pic. It showed us a bit of her personality, we also got a pic of her massive foot which had been kicking Rachael for some time now. We then understood why it hurt so much haha. So more scans came and went and we got to watch our daughter grow every 2 weeks. Though we did have 1 more visit to the hospital in Newcastle centre. The doctors did a 3d scan (though I think they’re called 4d and I can never figure out why). He stupidly left it on the monitor as he went out the room, so free snap from my phone later and we had the perfect image haha. At this point my wife is starting to panic a bit, we haven’t really had time to start on Lexi’s room yet. Its getting close to December and Lexi is due in March. I assured her things would be ready on time and I have plans in place. I don’t think she believed me but I genuinely did have plans. We were to move the furniture out that we currently had in the beginning of December (which did get done) then around the 2nd or 3rd week my mam was going to start on the decorating of the room and the new year would bring in all of her furniture we would need. Speaking of decorating we decided we were going to have a Lilo and Stitch themed room. For a few reasons, one, we love stitch, stitch is awesome, don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. Secondly the message in that movie that “ohana means family, family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten” is something we thought was a nice motto for our family. Decals were bought and ready to go on walls. Everything was coming along nicely.

Thursday December 15th 2016. This is a day I will never forget for the rest of my life. It started out as any normal day would with the exception that my wife had a routine midwife appointment. I did my usual, get ready, kiss my wife goodbye and go to work routine. I was sat at work when I received an email at around 12:00. “I need you to come pick me up, somethings wrong with Lexi”. Okay, I was nervous. I left work and went to collect my wife who was waiting in the doctors surgery. During this time I had tried to contact my mam to let her know what was going on. No answer, sometimes getting in touch with the pope is easier than getting in touch with my mam haha. But I got to my wife, she gets in the car and tells me that her midwife cant find Lexi’s heartbeat on the doppler device. I wave this off immediately thinking she is just being awkward like her dad.  My mam calls me back and we tell her the news, she is exactly the same, waves it off, she will be fine, of course she will.

I drop my wife off at the door and I go park the car. On the way in I smoke a cigarette, I have plenty of time. I go to the ward my wife is meant to be on. As I walk in…. the only word I can use to describe this next feeling is, Fuck. The ward is quiet apart from 1 voice. That 1 voice is screaming and crying and is a noise I will never get out of my head for the rest of my life. The other thing that was very distinguished about this voice is I recognised it. I knew immediately who it was. It was my wife. I walked to the reception head down asking for her, they sent me to another desk, I asked again for my wife, they sent me back to the original desk. It’s at this point I see someone I missed earlier, a nurse. I ask again for my wife. She has that look in her eye and I know what she is going to tell me. Her words were “are you Neil?” I say “yes” she is just about to go onto the whole I’m sorry I have bad news speech and I had to cut her off “I’m not stupid” I said “I can hear my wife screaming, my daughter is dead, where is she?” I was taken into a room where my wife is sat (thankfully with my sister who seen her come in) we all just embraced for a few minutes while things were confirmed 100%.

The next part of the day is all a bit of a blur. There are things I remember, things I try not too remember and because of this the order of stuff is a bit all over the place. We were sat in the same room being told that the next steps were we need Rachael to take a tablet, this would start to dissolve the placenta and start the process of getting our daughter out. At this point were trying to phone families to explain what the hell is going on. Were clearly in shock, I managed to get in touch with my mam again (which is rare, see pope comment). This is one part I will never forget. I had to tell my mam that her only grandchild was dead. How do you do this. I was choking back tears and all I could mutter out was, “it’s bad news mam, she’s gone” Unable to comprehend she was replying “what do you mean? Who’s gone?”. I knew what I had to say, it was difficult, it took all of my strength but I got the words out “Lexi is dead”. Everything on the phone went silent. You could hear the tears forming from my mam as she was trying to comprehend what her son was saying to her. Through muttered crying my mam asks how and I cant give her an answer. She said she will meet us back at home and see us soon. Her hanging up breaking her heart will live with me for the rest of my life. During this time we are trying to get in touch with my in-laws, who for once, are harder to get a hold of than my mam. We finally get through and I cant answer much for this as I wasn’t on the phone, but they’re told, I know they’re upset and they make their way to the hospital.

We sit for what feels like an eternity as we are told what the next steps of our journey will be. We finally have the tablet, the 3 of us are sitting in a room of sadness, a room of tears and a room of disbelief. After a while my in-laws appear and provide some much needed comfort to us all. We explain what has gone on and what is happening next. During this time we get moved to another room to get our heads around and prepare for the next few days. We are told we will be send home and we will need to return on Saturday. My wife wants to drink but due to the tablet she cant. So we opt for smoking again instead (my wife had stopped when she was pregnant). All I remember at this point is pacing the floor, my in-laws asking if I am okay and drinking coffee. We finally gather the courage to leave the hospital. We all go to the shop and pick up some essentials. For us cigarettes, for my in laws, food to keep our strength up. We arrived at the house first followed quickly by both sets of parents. We sat, we cried and we had cups of tea and coffee (yes the British way to sort ANY problem is a good ole fashioned cuppa). We talked a lot and for a long time. Eventually everyone left and it was just us. As much as we probably didn’t know it but at the time this was just what we needed. We needed time as a couple and just as a couple to figure our own shit out. We decided we would buy Lexi a star so she would always be remembered.

The next day was a bit of a blur. We had to go shopping and return some items we had bought (bottles etc) and also buy the kind of items women need when they are to give birth. On a side note with that, there are few places you can go to collect these supplies, if by chance you are reading this and working in one of these type of shops, please move it away from the baby aisle. Yes this is great for someone who is due to give birth to a healthy and alive child, to someone who has been told their child has died and is going to have a stillbirth, not so much. One of the things I remember about this day was trying to hold back tears in public. It’s strange as a male, were not meant to cry. Even when going through the worst pain imaginable all I could think was don’t let anyone see you cry. Also I was thankful that my mam was free that day to drive us around. The lack of food and lack of sleep since the day prior would have made driving a difficult and stupid task. I think to my mam she saw this as a small thing, but she will never know how much we needed this and how thankful we were. Another foodless day and sleepless night followed. The next day was hospital day.

So the big day is here, we get Rachael packed up take a few supplies, pop to the shop on the way and pick up some cigarettes, just enough for the day as we suspect we will be home in a few hours. Boy were we wrong. We arrived at the hospital at around 11:50 am, we stand outside taking everything in and before we go in, we have a quick smoke. We can see other people judging us, and we understand it, were pregnant and smoking. The only difference is smoking cant harm our baby, nothing can anymore. We go to the birthing suite and settle in to our room which in this hospital is known as “the Willow Room”. Our main midwife comes in and introduces herself. Her name is Jenny. She is a specialist bereavement midwife who deals with these sort of cases (actually if you google Jenny you will also see she has won awards for this, she really is amazing). She explained the procedure we would have to go through to get Rachael induced and to get Lexi out. The plan was every 4 hours she would have to have a tablet inserted into her cervix to basically force labour. After putting our minds at rest about our own worries and everything else she left the room for us to settle in. The willow room in the hospital is very different to other birthing suites, We had tea and coffee facilities, a sofa that turned into a double bed and the room was generally quite a bit bigger. There was also a book and a box with a camera in for us to take pictures with when our angel arrived. We looked at the book and it was stories of everyone who had been in the willow room prior to us. It was a deeply harrowing experience to read other people’s stories about their loved ones who were taken away so soon, but at the same time, it was comforting to know we weren’t alone, again more tears were shed.

It was around 2pm when Jenny came back to our room and we got things started. I remember asking Rachael how it was with the tablet and she kept a brave face and said as much as it was uncomfortable going in it was okay and she was fine. So we settled in to what would be our home for the next while. We chatted between each other and with the midwives when they appeared, went for a few cigarettes, watched tele, played on our phones etc, just like you would do normally. I really liked this room. It became our own personal bubble. The day turned to night and Rachael had already had another tablet. Nothing was moving, In all honesty, we expected to be home by now. We thought this would be a very quick procedure, induced couple of tablets and boom Lexi would be out. I remember phoning my mam saying things were taking longer than expected and I needed some things brought to us like food and more cigs. My mam being the gem that she is was down immediately with a bag full of goodies to snack on and more cigs to keep us going. She didn’t stay for long but we were grateful for the company. Another thing about being in the Willow Room, you get whatever you want. As most of you will know, hospitals have set visiting hours, not in the Willow Room. We could have visitors at any time we wanted, if there was stuff we wanted we only need ask (I even got meals brought to me and this hospital food was nice man). The other difference was a very subtle one, our room had a blue butterfly sticker on the door. The butterfly system is a great idea and again I recommend you look into it if you are curious.

One thing that made us quite popular with the midwives was our box of heroes, every time someone came in chocolate was offered. It was a small way to show the midwives how much we appreciated the care they had given us so far. So the night passed again being woken up every 4 hours for a tablet. Rachael was getting quite uncomfortable now which is understandable. Basically, the tablet would dissolve around her cervix and every time a new one was added it would feel gritty. It was one of those helpless moments where there was nothing I could do but hold her hand, tell her how amazing she was and how proud I was of her. Another slight tangent here, because we were on the birthing suite quite often during the night we would hear other women come into the other rooms, scream and then hear the baby cry. As you can imagine this was quite distressing but thankfully we had the TV to drown this out. Plus midwives would always come in and check on us make sure we were okay. Also it was during this time me and Rachael decided that when we have our rainbow baby, we don’t want a big deal made of it in the hospital, which means no balloons or anything substantial brought in while we are there. This can be saved until we are home. The amount of distress this caused to both me and the wife when we were going outside or for a walk just made us decide that’s how it will be. We don’t want to put other angel parents through that.

Sunday came around and still no movement. It got to 2pm and we were told that Rachael now gets a 24 hour break from the tablets, this came as great news to us, finally she could relax and maybe sleep without being woken through the night. We were introduced to some new midwives along the way, we met Anne who was a bubbly Scottish girl and who in the evening just sat and cried with us and tried her best to get us smiling again. She was very much like a mother figure and was a very open and honest person. She was amazing at comforting us and was there for us during our time of need without being in the way. We also met Judy. Now Judy was a funny one. I wasn’t sure about her at first she seems a little less friendly than Anne and Jenny but again maybe I was tired. Turns out, that’s all it was. After a late night cigarette the wife got slightly triggered again by people taking their healthy babies home. We got back to our room and she just broke down and cried in my arms. Judy clearly saw something was wrong and joined us. She was so kind and understanding and we sat talking for what must have been an hour. Showing pictures of our pets and family pets and discussing their personalities etc it really was a welcomed distraction.

Monday morning rolled around and still no Lexi. We knew that the tablets would be starting again soon so we made the most of our morning.  Take a bit longer in the shower than normal and just generally have a bit of a relax before the afternoon rolled around. 2pm quickly struck us though and Rachael was prepped for another tablet. It was still painful but we tried to make light of the situation (Rachael at one point offering me to get my prostate checked, at the snap of the glove I politely declined). By this time we had another visit off mam to bring us more goodies and more cigs and a bit more general conversation. During this time I was keeping the rest of the family updated via text or Facebook Messenger so they knew what was going on. Because of how far my in laws lived we didn’t want to make them do such a long journey when my mam was closer, even though I know they would if we needed them too. It got to Monday night and there was still no movement. Rachaels cervix hadn’t changed and Lexi showed no signs of appearing any time soon. It was December 19th and we feared we would still be here on Christmas Day.

Tuesday December 20th. Rachael had been on tablets all day Monday and nothing was moving. She got a tablet at around 2-3am and she was in pain. The tablets really had taken their toll on her, I have never felt so helpless. Rachael finally opted to take some gas and air to help with her pain. I folder up my bed and sat with her to keep her company and try to help with her pain. Judy was our midwife again and she would periodically come to check on us. As the hours went on Rachael’s pain got more and more severe. She went to the toilet and something unplugged (im not sure on the terminology here, I probably should be but im not). I was told to tell Judy about what had happened. This was at about 5am. Judy came back and checked on her, things were moving along now and very quickly. We were told we could have dihydromorphine when labour started to help with the pain. Judy told me to let her know when things moved along again and she would go get this for her. It got to approximately 5:10 am and at that point Rachaels waters broke, This was again one of those things I’d never forget. Normally when waters break (from what I’m aware) this should all be clear liquid. This was not the case with us. When Rachael’s water broke it was red, it was a lot of blood. This was the sign of things happening. I’m not going to lie people, I panicked. I needed to find the call button as there was no midwife I could see. I followed the chord but couldn’t see the button, it was in the cupboard but my brain could not comprehend it. All I knew is I couldn’t see it. Finally when I wracked my head to being able to open the cupboard door I pressed the button, Judy was there immediately. Turns out we didn’t have time for the dihydromorphine, Lexi was coming and she was coming fast.

The birth was a standard birth apart from Lexi coming out butt first. I held Rachael’s hand as she pushed and she delivered Lexi on only gas and air, she did so well. It was weird as much as there was people in the room once Rachael stopped pushing a Lexi was out there was a silence, the crying you expect to hear and pray to hear wasn’t there. I remember for about a good 20 minutes I just sat there, looking out the window crying. I couldn’t look at Lexi and I couldn’t look at anyone else, although I did look while they gave my wife a huge injection in her leg to flush the placenta and being amazed that she didn’t feel it. We did have a laugh about that later. Once the midwives had finished up with Rachael I finally got the courage to look at her. Wow she was beautiful, I know everyone says their child is beautiful but she really was. Perfect little nose, eyes were kind of open so we could tell she had brown eyes, unfortunately she had my nose and not Rachaels and she had little wisps of brown hair. She was born at 5:18 am and when she was weighed she was 2lb 9oz. Judy stayed with us for a while and helped us to bathe Lexi, She asked if I wanted to do it but I didn’t have the strength. We got plenty of photo’s though and got her wrapped up in a towel. Next some clothes were brought in as she was too small for the clothes we had for her. She was wrapped in a little pink blanket and we finally got to hold our angel. Rachael had first hold, as she should I might add. You could see the pain in her eyes as she stared at our first born child. Tears were strolling down her cheek and she could not stop apologising even though she was not at fault. Lots of cuddles and kisses later it was my turn. Dear reader I have a confession to make here, holding a child has always been a huge fear of mine, what if I drop her, what if I don’t hold her right what if I make her uncomfortable etc etc. But I sat down and took her into my arms, it felt so natural. I have never felt such a surge of love and sadness at the same time before in my life. I just broke down. Here she was, my precious little daughter in my arms, I was finally a dad. The only difference is I couldn’t take my daughter home. We took lots of pictures and let our parents know Lexi was finally here and arranged their visiting times.

The first person to arrive was my Auntie, now you may recall I mentioned her earlier in the story, she was the prefer dogs to kids lady. She sat down with Lexi, had a bit of a hold and got lots of photo’s taken. You could see the pain in her eyes, this is not what we expected and I don’t think she expected it either. You could see the bond form between them instantly. We still joke to this day about how I would have understood more if it was our puppy who died. It just shows how much of a big heart my auntie has and she still to this day will cry when Lexi is mentioned. I know that if she had survived they would have been inseparable. We left my auntie babysitting while we went for our first smoke of the day. Later was time for my in laws to arrive, they brought us some McDonalds as a bit of a snack to get some other food in us which was greatly appreciated. Again more cuddles were had and more photo’s taken. My mam and Steve (her partner) followed. I was again surprised by the reaction of Steve. Bit of background here (ie another tangent). So, my mum had only recently got together with Steve earlier in the year. He had known us less than a year when Lexi was born. I will always remember when he walked into the room he just burst into tears. He came over and got himself some cuddles too and we made sure to get photo’s so he could keep that memory alive forever. Something like this I believe shows true character and his reaction to Lexi well and truly cemented my opinion of Steve as being a genuinely nice guy with a heart of gold. More photo’s later and lots of discussion (it was a noisy room at this point) Rachael’s sister walked in. Unfortunately it did get to the point where Lexi was becoming to deteriorated to hold anymore and needed to stay in her cold cot. Vic (Rachaels sister) did manage to give her a kiss and old onto her hand for a while so she did get some bonding time. A Little about Victoria, (again another tangent). Ever since I have known Vic she has always been strong willed and strong minded and VERY strong emotionally. She rarely shows when she is upset unless it really gets to her, she is a proud person and has every right to be and its an honour to be able to call her my sister in law. She can hold people together when needed and be that support that you want without being condescending toward you.

The reason I mention above is due to what happened when Vic walked in the room. She came in all happy and hey everyone being bubbly as normal. Went to Lexi’s cold cot, took one look and immediately turned away to try to hide the fact she was crying. She was clearly too late cos I saw her and went to give her a hug. So we all just kind of chilled in this room and eventually we got notice that the bereavement officer was here to see us. Her name was Kara. We took this as a sign for everyone to leave (apart from Vic, we wanted her to stay as she hadn’t been long, she waited outside for us to finish up with this next part). Kara introduced herself as the person no one ever wants to meet. We made a joke about this and complimented how lovely she actually was and we would happily speak to her again, just preferably under better circumstances. We got through the paperwork that was needed and immediately afterwards the registry officer was here. Another while of getting all of her details registered. She didn’t get a birth or death certificate, she got a certification of stillbirth. This means she will still have a record of life in a way and will still be acknowledged. What did get a bit creepy was towards the end of the registration, the lady doing this kept looking at us funny all throughout the process. It got to the end and she asked, are you married? We said yes, she asked when we got married and where. We told her and the penny dropped. The lady registering the death of our daughter registered our marriage. It was a nice but shocking revelation. Eventually everyone left and we spent some time Me, Rachael, Vic, and Lexi. More bonding later it was time for Vic to go.

We sat for a while just the 3 of us now, s a few nurses we spoke to throughout the time came in to see her and tell us how beautiful she was and offer hugs and support. Finally it hit around 5:30 pm and we decided for Lexi’s sake, it was time to say goodbye. She was deteriorating quickly and we didn’t want her to anymore. We also met another bereavement midwife called Nira. We told her it was time for Lexi to go.  We put her teddy in her basket and sent her on her way re-assured we could get her back any time we wanted. We decided we would stay another night in our little hospital bubble. My mam brought us more McDonalds, a meal this time though and we all sat and chatted for a bit. We fell asleep ready to depart in the morning.

We awoke around 8:15 am after a rough night sleep, we decided to quickly go for a smoke before getting ready to go. On our way we passed Kara again who advised she had a little present for us but was nervous about giving it because of our stance on religion (we’re both atheist). We were absolutely gobsmacked that someone had thought of us who we barely knew and told her not to worry and to pop up and see us when she is free. We finished our cigarettes, went upstairs and had some toast and started to pack. Kara turned up and presented us with this little Christmas decoration of an Angel with Lexi’s name on it. It was beautiful and we thanked her profusely. We were later told that Kara never does this, she was just so touched by us and our story she couldn’t resist. We have spoke to Kara since and she really is an awesome lady. We finally went home and prepared for what would be a very strange Christmas.

I will skip over Christmas because I am sure you can guess how it was. Lots of tears, lots of alcohol and lots of what ifs. Its to be expected.

I will skip to just before new year. We finally got notice that Lexi’s body had been released after post mortem. We will be made aware when she is in the chapel of rest ready for us to go visit her and finish off the rest of the funeral arrangements. Actually (I swear I make a lot of tangents) on a side note. This again goes to show how amazing the hospital was. Once we got everything sorted we were also advised that Lexi’s funeral would be paid for by the NHS/hospital trust. This was a HUGE weight off our minds. Not a single expense was spared, we got cars, the chapel of rest, coffin all made for to our specification. All we needed to pay for was flowers. The funeral was organised by the co-op and I must admit, they were brilliant from start to finish. I will discuss the funeral more in the next section.

So once we found out Lexi was available to be visited again we got everyone who wanted too together and we went to see her. I went in first to make sure she hadn’t deteriorated too much. She was still perfect. Her teddy was still sat with her protecting her and making sure she was not alone. We organised songs with the directors and the priest guy who was going to do the service. We ordered flowers and everything was set for the day.

It was a cold morning, the wind was blowing and the air felt very crisp. The flowers were delivered, the family was here. All we were waiting for now was Lexi. We got in the car, the coffin was not on show, and took the small drive to the crematorium. We had come to the decision that I was to carry her down the aisle. That’s all I could think about on the way. How can I do this? Am I strong enough? Am I going to break down? Am I going to drop her? Etc etc. We pulled in and everyone was inside the building due to the weather though a small smattering of people waited outside. One of those people was a friend of my grandmother. She was stood right where the first car stopped. I am so thankful for this as seeing her was like seeing my gran and that gave me the strength to do what I had to do. I walked over gave her a big hug and thanked her for coming. Immediately turned to the right and picked up my daughters baby pink coffin. There is a saying, “the smallest boxes are the heaviest”. Never before has that felt so true. I walked my daughter down the aisle for what would be the only and last time as precious child played in the background. I somehow held it together. The service was the same as any other, slightly less religious for us but it was still beautiful. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a perfect funeral, but if so, this was it.

I guess the last thing to mention story wise was getting post mortem results. It was found to be that Lexi had the Varix which was an issue and also had a Whartons Jelly Deficiency. Basically this means her cord wasn’t protected. Both of these conditions are very rare and we know that we will not get these again. But for now, we work on our rainbow baby and doing things for baby loss charities.

If you have read this far thank you. More will be coming soon on the life of an angel parent.

Neil Henry-Larsen

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