I’m having a hard time even putting my thoughts into words because ‘SEVEN YEARS’ is the only phrase tossing about in my head- like a ball in a bingo cage. I suppose the ball would have a ‘B7’ on it, wouldn’t it? They would all have B7 on them. Birthday-7.
I’m cold. Inside and out. Not so much emotionally cold as I am physically cold. My body is just…just tired. “Struggling to write,” is an understatement. I’m shivering and my anxiety is overwhelming, but I must write. I must write, or I will fold in on myself and perhaps never unfold again.
I told myself and my family I was going to make a cake for Lorelei again this year. I put a reminder on the calendar. I have the ingredients. I made mental notes of a simple design. Have I made the cake? No. Have I made sure the cake pans are dust-free? No. Have I intended to do these things all day? YES. Will I make the cake? I simply don’t know.
I feel like a failure as a mother because I can’t even make a cake for my baby’s birthday. It’s one day every year. ONE day. If you know what it means to lose a baby, you know that the ‘one day’ is actually every day- this one is just more intense because of the pressure you put on yourself to do something for your child who doesn’t even expect you to perform!
Isn’t it funny how we do this to ourselves? We cram so much emotional and mental anguish into one day that we are nearly crippled by it. Even with this knowledge, we won’t change it because the pain feels good.
Yes, I said, “the pain feels good.” Hear me out.
Think about what would happen to us if pain didn’t exist- physical, emotional, or otherwise. It’s a necessity. If you hurt yourself, pain tells you something is wrong and where. If you couldn’t feel pain, you may lose a limb or your even your life. If I didn’t feel the constant ache my daughter left with me, I’m afraid I would forget. The pain keeps her with me always. I love her and I love the pain she left behind.
I have to get back to the game, now. The cage is rolling and B7 is coming up next- I can feel it. One more and…
What does it mean to miss? Merriam-Webster’s second definition of the word is, “to discover or feel the absence of.”
Absence means, “a state or condition in which something expected, wanted, or looked for is not present or does not exist.”
What does this actually mean for the one who misses? The one who is without the child who was expected?
I miss my daughter. I MISS my baby. She was expected, wanted and looked for. Now, she does not exist except in my heart and mind.
Who I am- who I’ve become- defines the word miss for me. Every breath I take has a faint pang of sorrow. When I look at my baby’s pictures, I have to convince myself her chest is not rising and falling. It’s just wishful thinking. My entire being- physical, emotional and mental- experiences anguish. My daughter left a gaping hole inside me when she died.
My womb and my being were void.
I don’t just miss my daughter, or feel her absence. I live it. I live with it.
My daughter and I shared a life force for 9 months. We knew each other. I knew she loved music and dancing. She knew my heart’s song. I knew she loved to snuggle. She knew my touch. I knew she loved me to sing to her. She knew my voice. She knew her daddy’s voice, as well, and bounced with joy when she heard him.
There is an empty chair in the kindergarten classroom this year, or there should be. It seems cruel the way the world goes on as if nothing happened. As if she never existed. My world was shattered in an instant. When I speak about my life, there is a very clear before and after. I find I can not tell my story without including the tragedy that struck five years ago.
Five years. She would be so big! I would give anything to hear my sweet girl’s voice read to me for the first time. To see her eyes light up as she peeks at me over her book…
…As I write this, I feel very emotionally fatigued. My brain is starting to shut down and I feel an anxiety attack rearing its ugly head. I suppose this is what it means to miss a child. It is unpredictable. I don’t think I can finish this the way I intended, but I will end with this: expectations built my world. I saw my future in my unborn child. Cruel circumstances shattered that anticipation and left me with an emptiness where she should have been and should still be.
I feel her absence with each breath. I miss her and what could have been.
Hug your babies a little tighter, hold them a little longer, give them millions of kisses, read that bedtime story one more time, then ONE MORE time, accept that gift of a rock as if it was a precious gem, and listen to their long, nonsensical stories. You could be mourning and longing for them at any moment.
Four years later and I am so emotionally fatigued, I can not make myself do much of anything today. A dense fog has settled in my head and all around me. My chest hurts.
Where is my beautiful four-year-old? She’s not home with me. She’s not blowing out candles. She’s not playing with her siblings. She’s not throwing her arms around my neck. She’s not giving me sweet kisses. She’s not bringing me gifts of rocks, leaves, weeds, sticks and flowers. She’s not telling me long, drawn out, silly stories that make no sense. She’s not singing songs she made up when no one is looking. She’s not playing with her siblings. She’s not squealing and laughing while she scrambles up the stair because Mommy Monster is gonna get her. She’s not begging for one more book at bedtime. She can’t. She’s not here.
~Blogger: Ashley SF in Memory of Lorelei Grace (4-30-12)
Last year I did a project in honor of my daughter, Lorelei, who was born sleeping on April 30, 2012. Every day in April, I wrote something to her about my- our – pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. I thought I would share it via blog this year. As the month progresses, I will edit this post until I have added all 30 days of entries.
30 Days of YOU
Day 1 (5-15 weeks):
We wanted another baby so badly- when we saw those two pink lines, we were incredibly excited! Although we hadn’t seen you yet, we loved you so, so much. When we finally got to see you at our first ultrasound, you were SOOO tiny! It’s incredible how much you love something you can barely see. As you grew, so did my tummy, but I was so, so, so VERY sick ALL the time. I lost about 30 lbs due to morning sickness and not being able to eat, but it didn’t matter because YOU were worth every hour spent bent over a toilet.
Day 2 (17-21 weeks):
Do you know how scared Mommy was when a nurse called to tell us I had a certain protein present in my blood that would mean one of two things…Do you know how relieved I was at that next ultrasound when they told us it was the “fixable” of the two possibilities? Then, do you know how scared I was when we found out you had a hole in your belly? Or when they told us your “insides” would be on the outside and you would need surgery as soon as you were born…AND you would have to spend time in the NICU, where OTHER people would be taking care of you, and I wouldn’t be able to hold you whenever I wanted to? Did you see the tears in my eyes when I saw your beautiful face on the ultrasound, wondering how something so horrible could happen to someone so innocent? Did you see how I left my body and floated out of the doctor’s office in tears and shock because I knew somehow it was my fault? I was scared for you. I felt guilty for not protecting you the way a mother should. I felt guilty that maybe you didn’t get all the nutrients you needed because I was so very sick ALL the time and I couldn’t keep down the prenatal vitamins. Through all of it, you were perfect to me and you always will be.
Day 3 (22-29 weeks)-
After learning more about your gastroschisis and meeting the doctors who have seen it so many times before, I felt like I could breathe again and just enjoy watching my belly grow with you. I loved feeling your strong kicks and the way you rolled around and kicked to the beat of any song. I knew you would be musical when you grew up…or maybe love dancing, like your big sister…maybe both. When we saw that first 3D ultrasound, I said, “Aw! She has chubby cheeks just like her big sister did!” You really did look like your big sister in many ways. I also knew you had a good amount of hair, judging by the old wives tale…five-alarm heartburn!
Day 4 (30-32 weeks)- You were perfect in every way. In my mind, you still are. You are immortalized by the deepest love. I dyed & decorated an egg for you today. Your name is on it, as always. Tomorrow is YOUR holiday. Easter. You would have loved Easter. Every year, I can picture you in a pretty white dress with pink flowers, holding your basket, hunting for eggs. It’s the holiday that hurts the most, as you were born not too long after Easter. Just know that Mommy loves you. You stay planted firmly in my heart, where your roots run deep and your beauty blooms forever.
Day 5 (32 weeks): We started buying clothes and toys for you. Sissy picked out your first toy (a Minnie Mouse blanky) and we bought your first jammies. I got preemie size because you were measuring smaller than you should have been, and I knew you would be born at 37 weeks since we had an induction scheduled. You never got to wear those jammies or play with the toy Sissy got for you. The jammies wouldn’t have fit you, though, because you had a growth spurt near the end. You were longer at 37 weeks than your big sister was at 40 weeks. You would have been tall like mommy!
Day 6 (33 weeks): The first picture is my favorite one of you in Mommy’s belly. I never had a professional maternity photo shoot, so I had to do something. My phone and the bathroom mirror had to be enough. I love it for what it is. You and me. The second picture was taken on Easter Sunday 2012. You were born a short three and a half weeks later. That’s why Easter is the most special holiday to me and why it hurts the most.
Day 7 (34-35 weeks)- Weekly NSTs and ultrasounds, daily prayers, constant kicking, and wiggles. It was going so well! Despite your gastroschisis, you were doing SO well!
Day 8 (36 weeks)- Picture #2 is the day we went in for our routine weekly ultrasound. When they checked your heart, they told us you were in tachycardia and we would need to have an emergency C-section. Picture #3- They admitted us to Labor & Delivery, started me on an IV and told me I had to fast to prepare for surgery. I was smiling because I was so excited to meet you! Yes, I was also scared. They monitored your heart and movement all night. Your heart rate leveled out and had “only” one more spike. The next morning, two doctors came into the room and told us they were sending us home because your heart rate looked okay now. We BEGGED them to take you anyway, just in case. They refused, saying you MUST be exactly 37 weeks because of the gastroschisis. No sooner, no later. Still, we pleaded. No luck. Picture #4- So, we went home. I posted this picture and said, “Well, she’s still in there! LOL I’m glad, though, because I would rather go through induction than 6 weeks of healing time for a C-section. LORELEI GRACE FELIX, 36 weeks 3 days.” HOW STUPID did I sound? How SELFISH! Losing a child sure does change your view of EVERYTHING. To be continued…
Day 9 (36 weeks 6 days)- April 30, 2012.
12am- I fell asleep to your hard kicks and frisky wiggles.
6am- I woke up only to realize I didn’t remember you moving since I went to bed…Day 9 is proving to be the hardest yet…*breathe*…ok…I tried everything I could think of to get you to move, but nothing was working. Daddy and I jumped in the car and rushed to the hospital 20 minutes away. I called Labor & Delivery to tell them we were on our way.
When we arrived, we had to wait what seemed like a lifetime to be seen. It may have only been a couple minutes. I just don’t know. When they finally took us to triage (this part is very fuzzy because it was so…traumatic) They rolled the ultrasound machine in, I lifted my shirt to expose my quite large, round belly, which you had lived in for 9 trying, but beautiful months. I don’t remember how long the tech tried to find your heartbeat before she got a very concerned, solemn look on her face and called for someone else to try. The OB doctor on call tried, too. It felt like a millennium. At this point, I guess I knew that you were gone, but I was still so hopeful. Hope was fading fast with each silent second that passed. The ultrasound tech left and the OB doctor gently put down the ultrasound wand, as if the world would shatter if it made a sound. (Ironic, since, “Silence,” would be our theme song for the next few days.) The words that DID shatter the silence began a journey- one spiraling out of control to the deepest chasm of darkness and despair. We could have NEVER prepared ourselves for those five words and for the Forever that would follow.
“I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
THAT is what broke the world. OUR world. No one else noticed. Well, the doctor who spoke the words noticed. He had a shattered world of his own. He offered his sympathies as he, too, knew the sound of Silence. He admitted that there is nothing anyone can say to make it easier and that he wouldn’t even try. I am still grateful that particular doctor was on call that day.
Sobbing and a lot of disbelieving, “No’s,” filled our tiny triage cubicle. Still, I tried to make you move. They made a mistake, right? We were going to be induced the next day, meet you, and then you would be whisked away to surgery so your tiny belly could be fixed and we would all live happily ever after. A mistake. It had to be.
It wasn’t. You, my beautiful, perfect baby girl, said, “goodbye,” before we ever said, “hello.” I wish I had known before you left, so I could have said, “goodbye,” too.
We were given two options- either to be induced or have a c-section.
“If you have a c-section, you will have a visible scar to remind you every day.” One of our doctors made what I thought was a valid point at the time. Since then, I know that it wouldn’t matter because the scar your death left on my heart is a constant reminder that you are not here. It’s much worse than any scar seen on the outside. NOTHING…no, doctor, not even induction…would make it any easier.
Despite any other opinions, we opted for induction. We were escorted to a room and settled in…as much as one can “settle” in the midst of such a heartbreak. I was given IVs (extremely painful ones- “gentle” was probably not in that nurse’s vocabulary). Then came the induction drugs. Nothing happened for hours, then I started getting uncomfortable. Light cramping then BAM the painful stuff.
Since it wouldn’t affect you, I took every pain med they offered me, except for an epidural, and begged for more. I don’t think I was trying to take away the physical pain. I was trying to drown out the anguish I felt in my heart. Mental and emotional pain surpass ANY physical pain. So much so, that they can cause physical pain. I’ve felt that strain on my heart from missing you- a real pain that makes me grab my chest.
During pushing, I gave up at one point because I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I said something about it not being worth it. Don’t worry, baby girl, you were SO worth it! Mommy was just drugged out of her mind. Drugs and emotional distress made me say some crazy things.
One final push.
I can’t really describe the sound Silence makes when a baby is born without a heartbeat. It’s the loudest, most ear-splitting, gut wrenching sound you will ever not hear. I know that makes absolutely no sense to some of you, but others know exactly what I mean.
You were a perfect 5 lbs 8 oz, 18 1/4 inches long. You were pink, warm, and looked very much alive. We wrapped you in blankets, took your hand and footprints, held you, and spent time getting to know your beautiful face.
Before bed, I rocked you in the rocking chair and sang, “You Are My Sunshine,” to you. I could barely get it out through my tears, but it was important for me to sing to you at least once outside of my belly.
That night, and the next, I slept with you in my arms. You were SO snuggly. So soft. So much a REAL baby.
May 1, 2012
When I woke up the next morning, you were WARM! Was it possible?! Had you come back to us?! I excitedly checked to see if you were breathing. I could have sworn I saw your chest rise and fall over and over.
I had been mistaken in my foggy-heartbroken-just-woke-up state of mind.
Day 10 (May 1, 2012)- I will always remember your first and last bath. It’s one of my favorite memories of you. I ever so gently cleaned the ink off of your hands and feet. I could not apply much pressure because your skin was so fragile. I can still smell the Johnson & Johnson’s baby lotion. I rubbed it all over your arms, hands, chest, and in your beautiful, dark, wavy hair, Your skin and hair were SO soft! We dressed you in one of the outfits daddy bought for you. You looked so pretty in pink. You were my perfect little doll baby.
Day 11 (May 1, 2012)- Holding you was like looking into Heaven from Hell. You were RIGHT THERE. We could feel you, see you and breathe you in, but you were just out of reach. We were living a nightmare- a tragic story- with the most beautiful leading lady at the center of it all. It’s funny how you can be so happy and so very sad at the same time.
Day 12 (Your Hands)- Hands have been important to me my entire life. Hands can tell you a lot about a person. Hands can hurt, kill, and steal, or, Hands can nurture, comfort, and save lives. It is no surprise to me that you had some of the most beautiful hands I have ever seen. Your fingers were long and lean. Your skin was so, so soft. You had those perfectly shaped fingernails that were a pretty red color. I know they were not supposed to be like that, but they looked perfect to me. Your big sister was spending time with you, stroked your tiny little hands and asked, “Did her mommy paint her nails?” I wear your handprint on my arm so I can see it all day, every day. Sometimes, if I close my eyes and think back, I can still feel your little hand wrapped loosely around my finger. Your hands were so special, that’s the very last picture daddy took of you when he went to say his final goodbyes in the funeral home. One day, sweet Baby Girl, you will hold my finger again and lead me to the place where you created something for me with those precious hands. Until then, I hold only your memory.
I knew you would have a lot of hair when you were born because we could see it in your ultrasounds. When you came out with all that beautiful, dark, wavy hair, I was over the moon! One of my babies had MY dark hair! It was incredibly soft. I bet you would have brown eyes, too, just like mommy. Turns out you are my only baby who looks like me in every way. Every time I see a little girl with dark hair, I have to quickly leave the scene. I cry if I stare too long. I really wonder what you would look like today– dark curly hair, pretty brown eyes, fair skin…a modern day Snow White.
Day 14 (Staff): If I had to go through it, I was grateful for kind, supportive nurses, doctors and hospital staff. Some of them had seen this happen before, some had not. The sadness and pity were obvious on their faces. I don’t know if it was that blue rose on our door, or if it’s just the way they always are, but when they entered our room, their graciousness was prominent.
Day 15 (Daddy’s Girl)- YOU, young lady, were a Daddy’s girl. Every time he would talk to you or touch Mommy’s tummy, you would kick and squirm around. Daddy loves and misses you more than words could ever describe.
Day 16 (Mommy’s Girl)- It’s no secret how much I love you. Since the moment I found out you were growing in my belly, you grew in my heart as well. As you got bigger, my heart got bigger. You can imagine how deflated my heart became when you were ripped away from me. When you blow up a balloon and let it go, it flies wildly and out of control around the room, until it runs out of air and crashes to the floor- deflated, soggy, and cold. Deflated…broken…into a billion tiny pieces. I miss those nights when I would get in bed and binge-watch, “Melissa & Joey,” “Happily Divorced,” and, “Cake Boss,” on Netflix with my hands on my belly, enjoying every wiggle and kick. I would sing, “Hush Little Baby,” to put your big sister to sleep and I could tell you enjoyed it, too. Your movements would slow down, become more tranquil- as if you were dancing a water ballet. I hope your time spent in Mommy’s belly was the best it could be. I hope that you didn’t suffer before your heart stopped. My most important job was to love and protect you and I was only able to fulfill one of my blessed duties as a mother.
I was supposed to buy you cute clothes, play dress-up with you and your sister, and let you both give me “makeovers”…
I will never let you go, my sweet little girl. I held you your entire life and now I hold you in my heart, until I can hold you in my arms forever.
Day 17 (Your Brothers & Sister)- I really can’t even say much about this without bursting into tears. Even though you never got to meet your siblings, you knew them, especially Peyton, who talked to you and played with you and planned your entire life together. I think my heart is more broken for her than anyone. She was only 3 and didn’t fully understand why you couldn’t come home with us- she just knew what was supposed to happen. She knew you two would play together and be best friends forever. Even your baby brother knows you. He points to your pictures, says your name and gives your pictures kisses…as the quote says, “If loved could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”
Day 18 (Keepsakes)-
Things we bought you before we knew,
Things we bought you since;
Things we were given before they knew,
Things they gave us since.
Things you touched? Things that touched you?
Many are those things which touch us, too.
For, things are things- until they aren’t.
Things such as these ARE you.
Things become important
When that’s all we have to hold.
Though, things cannot replace you,
They are lifeless, and they are cold.
~AAF for LGF 4/18/15
Day 19 (You’re The Inspiration)- Even though your heart no longer beats, you live on through those who love you. Whether it’s through art, music, or written word, you are an inspiration and you will live forever.
Day 21 (Holding You)- 3 out of 4 mothers take time cuddling their warm, wiggly newborns, nursing, changing diapers, bathing…1 of those 4 has to do a life time of loving in a matter of hours, or a couple days, if she’s lucky. When I held you for those 2 nights/2 days, I cried for you. I cried for me. I cried for your dad. I cried for your siblings. I also smiled at your beauty. I imagined what it would be like if your heart was beating and if you were wiggling around, snuggling in close…then I cried again. I also imagined what your entire life should have been like. Those couple days were some of the most special days of my life, because I was able to hold you close, breathe you in, touch your soft skin, and kiss your sweet cheeks. It’s extra special to me because that was the only time I had with you on the outside. Two days of holding you, which I will never forget.
Day 22 (Anger)- Realizing on Day 22 that I don’t have 30 days’ worth of memories of you to share is really…well it sucks. It’s not fair. It’s not right. While irresponsible, abusive people get to have all of their children- I’m left with only a memory- and not even enough to write about for 30 days. What is wrong with this picture? Who decided I shouldn’t get to keep you? Who thought your life wasn’t worth living?
Day 23 (Acceptance)- I cannot imagine that your life is worth more in death, but I often wonder if it was necessary to change lives- even just one (my own)? You have changed me- for the better, I believe. Your life and your death have molded me into a new vessel…though imperfect, love and compassion spills from the cracks. I hope it feeds others’ desire to pour out their new understanding of loss upon those who need that same counsel. www.facebook.com/loreleislegacy
Days 24-26 (Introductions)- Know what’s hard to do sometimes? Introduce living children to people who don’t know you existed. Until I say, “My middle daughter died,” or “My second daughter was stillborn,” it’s all smiles and, “Nice to meet you.” Then, smiles fall away and the awkward fog of sympathy settles in. This will never stop me from including you in introductions. You are still as much my child as your brothers and sister- and just as important and loved.
Day 27 (Music)- There are 2 songs which I associate with you- the one in this video (Craig Cardiff’s “Smallest Wingless”) and “You Are My Sunshine”. Our NILMDTS photographer introduced us to, “Smallest Wingless,” but, “You Are My Sunshine,” is the song I sang to you as I rocked your tiny, lifeless body in my arms in that wooden rocking chair the night you were born. The second verse is especially hard:
“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head, and I cried.”
I choked out the words as my tears fell into your soft hair. It was the sweetest moment I had with you- it was just you and Mommy- I will not soon forget.
Day 28 (Awareness)- Pink & Blue. Those are the colors of the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) awareness ribbon. 1 in 4. That’s how many women/families are affected by pregnancy & infant loss. 1 in 5000. That’s how many babies are born with gastroschisis. 10% of those babies will be stillborn, just like you, my love. It’s sad to think of you/us as a statistic, but that is what we are. If the shoe fits, it doesn’t fit very well. It was uncomfortable at first, but I guess we stretched it out a little.
Day 29 (Tradition)- Tradition keeps memories alive, therefore it is very important to me. We have several traditions in your honor. We send up paper lanterns every year for your birthday. I make a cake for you- complete with a number candle, which I clean off and put with your keepsakes every year. We sing “Happy Birthday” to you- well I don’t, because I CAN’T. I cry the whole time. I try not to, but it’s impossible. Every time I step out of the shower and the mirror is fogged up, I either write your name, draw baby feet and a butterfly on the mirror, or all three. Every Christmas, grandma gets a beautiful gift for you to be placed on your memorial and we hang your ornaments on our tree. It’s the little things that make life so special. If you can’t be here with us, we will manifest your memory in every day life. You WILL NOT be left behind of forgotten. OHANA.
Day 30 (Birthdays)- Happy Birthday, to you, my sweet girl. You would have been 3 today. How we get through each year is beyond me, but we do. Maybe it’s all the touching support we get from our friends and family. Maybe it’s because we know we will see you again one day…Whatever it is, I am grateful for it. Before your baby brother was born, I had a few moments when I didn’t think my life was worth living any more. Thanks to the promises of Jesus- and the fact that I need to hold you again- I got through that. You have no idea how hard it is for Mommy to think about the birthday parties we SHOULD be having for you every year. I’m sure you would love princesses, just like your big sister. This year would probably be the first time you really understood what was going on…you could blow out your candle without being coached and tear open presents with that passion I know you would have for everything in life. Today is full of tears, but I love you, Lorelei Grace. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I had never known you. Happy 3rd Birthday, my Little Love. (Lorelei would be 4 now as of April 30, 2016)
I’m sure we can all agree that the Facebook memories app is both a blessing and a curse. Looking back on pictures “before” and pictures now, while I am smiling in both, it’s different. I can see the change in my countenance.
Before, there was no shield up. There was no…no leash on my happy. Now, I can see the pain. I can see the time it has taken me to be able to smile again. I can see the ache in my heart- the sunken hole she left in my soul. I can see the hesitation behind my smile. I can also see how much wiser I have become to the fragility of life. It is a heavy burden to bear. It weighs on me every day. It creeps up when I least expect it to crush any positive interactions I might be having at that moment.
Without warning, I can’t breathe. Any little trigger- even the ones that have nothing to do with my loss- just sinks it’s long, boney fingers into my throat and chokes the air from my lungs. My heart feels like it will implode. My lungs won’t fill up with air. I’m writhing in panic inside my own skin, but I can not call out for help. I’m violently vibrating and drowning inside myself. In that moment, I feel no hope for survival.
I can see each one of those attacks behind my smile now. I am no longer an Innocent. My most painful experience has caused me to struggle toward normalcy with every breath. I am corrupt. I am 1 in 4.
This sweet mama is offering to make blankets for those who have lost a baby. She writes, “I would try to make it according the size their child would use, so I would need to know how many weeks along they were [at the time of loss]. I would do this on a first come, first serve basis with a waiting list. The blanket could be framed with an ultrasound photo or kept in another way the parent feels comfortable with. I welcome special requests regarding blankets.”
Isn’t this incredible? Thank you so much for offering this special service of healing, Rhiannon! You are a blessing!
My first official blog post EVER will be a copy & paste job of something I wrote a couple years ago. This one is close to my heart, and I feel it is very important…
October 15, 2014
Raw. That’s how I feel today, so I won’t hold much back.
Normally you see pictures of families cuddling with their newborn bundles of joy, all smiles and joy.
Naive. It’s a wonderful word. It protects you from the agony of knowing.
Knowing. After the loss of a child, “knowing” is synonym for words like, “nightmare,” “torment,” and, “broken.”
Have you ever suffered a broken heart? I don’t mean, “My boyfriend dumped me,” Or, “My dog died,” I mean a BROKEN heart. When you cry so long and hard it feels like your heart is ripping in half. Agonizing pain radiating from your chest. You can’t breathe, because it hurts too much to think about moving forward. Every beat of your heart feels like a dagger tearing through your chest from the inside. The only way you can sleep is when your body is so exhausted from sobbing day and night you finally close your eyes and beg God that it will be the last time.
I have. My baby is dead. She’s DEAD. She was alive for almost 9 months in my womb, then one morning she was just dead. Gone.
“I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
NO heartb…no heartbeat? No! You check again! You check again and you FIND IT! You bring somebody else in here and let them find it!
My baby girl’s heart broke, and with it, so did mine. OUR heart broke. WE were dead. Does that word make you uncomfortable- make you squirm in your seat a little? “Dead?” It makes me uncomfortable. Actually, it hurts me, but if you ever have an empty shell where your heart used to be, because your baby died, you will understand why it’s important to speak the words that hurt the most. After Pregnancy or infant loss, Pain is all you have. It’s the only thing you have that makes you FEEL alive. If the pain goes away, you lose everything.
You see, when you find out that you’re pregnant, and that little Life starts growing inside you, a piece of your heart becomes a home for that new life. Love is woven into the fibers of your very being. When that Life is just gone one day, like a dream you woke up from too soon, that piece of your heart is torn from you and unravels your entire life.
Life. That’s another good word, but only if you truly know what LIFE is. What LIFE means. Sadly, I believe it takes a broken heart to KNOW what life really is-what it really means. Life (as we know it on this earth) means “frailty.” Life means you can be blissfully happy one day then your entire world can be burned to ashes in the blink of an eye.
Ashes. That’s what my baby girl is now. My entire world was burned to a handful of ashes. My world, my heart, my BABY was placed inside a cold, metallic grave, cradled by a burgundy, heart-shaped box. Now, she sits on a bookshelf.
If you take away one thing from my letter, let it be this: Do not take for granted one single second with your child(ren). Cherish every moment of your pregnancy, and your child’s time outside the womb, as though it will be your last.
October 15th is Pregnancy And Infant Loss Awareness Day. 1 in 4 of us have suffered this tragedy. 1 in 4 of us know what a truly broken heart feels like. I am 1 in 4. ” -Ashley SF (Mother of Lorelei Grace, a child born still)
“Life is not measured by the number or breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” -Unknown