This is such an unreal post to write. I still can't wrap my head around how it's possible to be told you have a perfectly healthy baby at 13 weeks, who showed no signs of issues on the genetic screening test and was moving around like crazy in front of us on the ultrasound screen, to being told your baby has no heartbeat at the 17 week visit. There's nothing that prepares you for the grief of being blindsided by that. All I could do was writhe on the table screaming out in shock, disbelief, and pain as I watched a second doctor look at me with sympathy in her eyes and shake her head "no", confirming my nightmare was real. I wanted to crawl out of my skin, run out the room, catch my breath again, take the last five minutes of my life back. As I sit here five days later I've accepted he's gone, but I'm nowhere near a place where I can understand why. And I realize that day may never come.
We did everything we were supposed to do. I took my vitamins, I ate right (ok, minus a few donuts and way too many fries), and we waited the standard amount of time, 13 weeks, to announce the pregnancy online and tell our son he was going to be a big brother. Yet, apparently just days after this picture announcement, our boy was gone. And I had no idea for the next month. Despite all the reassurances from my doctor, friends, and family, believe me when I say I spent the first few nights asking myself what I did wrong. At the end of the day, MY body is his home, I am his one and only caretaker, yet he apparently wasn't taken care of. But there's a tiny part of me in my soul, my spirit, that knows it's not my fault. The hardest part is wanting answers I most likely will never get, at least not until I get to see him or God or both again someday.
I wonder how I will tell my three year-old this news, the one I was so careful to protect by waiting until we got the "all clear" (which was, in my mind, that threshold of the second trimester and the promising results from our genetic screener that the baby appeared healthy). Still, I have to admit that when we told him he was going to be a big brother, I had that tinge of doubt that it was the right thing to do. Just like Easton, this baby was wanted more than anything in the world, but for some reason, without any previous problems with fertility or carrying a child, rather than feel I could shout my pregnancy from the rooftops, I felt a hesitation in my gut anytime I told someone the good news. I guess I just chalked it up to the anxiety all mothers feel at some point about their babies being okay...maybe it was my intuition telling me something wasn't right.
I can truly say I sit here five long days (and brutally tear-filled, sleepless nights) later a changed person with a changed worldview. I've heard sounds of agony come out of me that I never thought I would. I've cried until I felt drained of tears. I've watched tears fall on my shrinking breasts and flattening tummy. I've felt the ache of emptiness in my gut where my baby once was. I've stared off into space, feeling completely numb. I've cursed myself for ever saying I had the baby blues after Easton. Don't get me wrong, that was something...yet in contrast it was nothing. Waiting for the removal of your child from your womb is a different level of baby blues.
Yet I've also watched grief unite my husband and I to each other with a force like gravity and fully realized the depth of his love for me. I've watched my living, healthy son sleep when I couldn't and marveled at each one of his breaths--not cursing God for denying my second son this chance, but feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for giving me a healthy child in the first place. If having a child is like living with your heart outside your body, grieving a child is like living inside out--everything feels raw and exposed and sensitive--no barrier there to protect you. I've always felt gratitude for my son, but I feel it--and everything else--so much more deeply now. He is so full of life--what a miracle!
I have a new realization for the fragility of life and it's made everything that matters come into sharp focus, while all that I thought mattered before now falls to the wayside easily. I've learned it's not the length of time you've known someone that makes them a true friend, but rather their willingness to be there during uncomfortable times or share their own personal pain in order to help you feel better. I've had co-workers I've worked with for only a month let me know they're praying for us and take time to send loving, heartfelt messages...a neighbor I only casually visited with from time to time check on me regularly and drop off a care package...employees at the doctor's office jump through hoops to help me in a time of need...and family that said "I don't know what to say, but I am here" and just got down to the business of being there in whatever way we needed. During a time when we feel abandoned and empty, it helps so much to know others care and I've been touched by so many people's generosity.
I don't know what life will look like going forward, all I can think ahead to right now is getting through the day that lies before me, if I'm given that gift. The most important thing to me now is making sure my precious baby boy is not forgotten. He may have only lived a few months, but HE MATTERED. I thought to myself the first night, "If I smile and laugh again one day, will he think I don't grieve for him anymore? Or that I forgot?" Well, I laughed today at something on the radio while simultaneously aching in my heart, so I answered my own question.
My precious baby boy, you will NEVER be forgotten. Mommy might move on with my daily routine, I might laugh or smile again, but I move through that routine, I laugh at that joke WITH YOU permanently etched on my heart, not until the day I die, but for eternity. Your life might have been short, so short we never saw your face or got to hold you, but that doesn't mean you didn't matter--you meant the world to our family, especially your Mommy and Daddy. I'm sorry for so many things: that you missed out on such a loving big brother and that he missed the chance to love on you, that you missed out on such a caring, devoted Daddy, but most of all that you were denied a life. But I'm not sorry I experienced all this heartache, as hard as it's been, because you also brought me immeasurable joy, and if I missed out on ANY part of it, that would mean I missed out on YOU.
I love you forever and always, baby boy.