My heart is heavy. It’s a very physical pain. I feel the loss of our child in every moment, in different ways. A loss that now defines me.
Here is my story….
My birthday wish for my 28th birthday was to have a child. Six short weeks later we found out that we were expecting our first baby. We were over the moon with excitement. Our lives were suddenly consumed with decisions about things like what stroller we should get and what color we should paint the nursery. I spent countless hours scouring all of Pinterest for nursery ideas and baby food recipes, because of course we would make our own food. Heaven forbid our baby eat something pre-made out of a jar. In hindsight I would let him eat out of a dog food bowl if he wanted to and if that meant he was here and healthy.
After 38 weeks of an uneventful and healthy pregnancy our sweet, perfect, baby, Miles Francis came into the World. He had a full head of hair and a dimple in his chin. He was beautiful. He scored a 9 on his APGAR and being the competitive people that we were, were thrilled that he scored so high. Again, in hindsight, I don’t care what that ridiculous score was…. it didn’t save my baby. We spent the next 2 days in the hospital staring at our new baby and soaking in those utopian moments of being a parent. I have never experienced anything so thrilling.
We came home from the hospital and were welcomed to our home with balloons lining our sidewalk and bouquets of flowers. The first night home was a breeze. We set our alarm clocks and woke our baby for his feedings. The next day at his appointment, he was continuing to lose weight. We had difficulty and much frustration with breastfeeding. I had seen so many mothers breastfeed with no issues, or at least they didn’t talk about them. We had daily visits to the doctor to try different methods and ultimately had to supplement with formula. I remember thinking what a hassle it was. Again, I would gladly pump breast milk for hours every day if that meant my baby was here.
We went to Miles’ one month check-up on a Monday. We waited in the waiting room with other new parents, all checking out each other’s little ones. He was checked out and got his shot, which as parents know, is difficult to watch but we even giggled at the face he made and his little cry. It was rare that we heard him cry.
The next day he was very tired and didn’t eat very much. The next day, the same thing. I called the doctor’s office as a concerned parent. Two hours later our child was gone. He passed away at 34 days old in my arms.
The hours following all went by so quickly and some of it a blur and other moments I can remember in vivid detail. Replaying those hours over and over and over in my head.
What happened to our child? We had no answers. Only questions… many, many questions. The harsh truth is that I can and will search for answers but none of it will bring my baby back.
The next days, weeks, now, are all a blur. It has been two short months and the pain is very raw. I count down the minutes until the end of each day so that I can go to sleep and be done with day.
Losing our baby has turned our world upside down never to be back as it was. A part of us is gone. We will never be whole again.
Each moment brings a different emotion. My beliefs, my faith, my strength shift manically. I often feel crazy. I try to do “normal” things. Hang out with friends. Be social. It is incredibly difficult to be in these situations and most of me just wants to stay home and cry but part of me knows I need to push myself to be around people. Daily interactions prove to be exhausting. Again, each day, the goal is to get through it. Bedtime is an accomplishment, as it’s one more day down and then it is suddenly laced with sadness when I look over where my baby slept and see empty space. The tears fill my eyes as I take a Xanax to get me through just trying to fall asleep.
This experience is still very new to us. I do know that I would not be able to get through this journey without my friends and family and notably the people below.
My husband. I have never loved my husband more. He allows me to be myself without judgment and is the only person who shares the love as a parent for our son. My heart aches for him. His strength amazes me and he has the ability to often remind me of the good.
My sister. She has given me the opportunity to become an aunt to an amazing niece and nephew. This was my first experience of holding a new baby and feeling unconditional love at first sight. My niece and nephew have done wonders for my shattered heart. Their innocence and love is often what gets me through difficult moments.
My friends. I have had the opportunity to be raised in a small town and grow up with a group of girls that have remained friends for over 20 years. As I’ve grown older I realize more and more how rare this is. We’ve lost touch, moved, had families, but are there for each other no matter what. It’s comforting to be around people that you don’t have to explain anything to; they just know.
Anyone who has supported us and allowed us to share our son with them. Through this I’ve realized that many people are uncomfortable being around us. It may be for fear of saying the wrong thing or upsetting us. The truth is we think about our son all of the time. Nothing anyone says is going to suddenly make us remember this tragic event that we are trying to forget. It doesn’t work like that. However, I do understand this is the reaction from some people, and that’s okay. Luckily, so far our experience has been a tremendous outpouring of support from our family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. While they don’t feel the same pain (and we would never want them to!) they do care. They take time to send us daily notes, cards, messages, supper and it means the world to us. I’ve connected with other families who have experienced loss and while my heart breaks for them, it helps to hear their stories.
I’ve rambled on about our story, it is all very new and I imagine that my feelings, thoughts, and perspective will change through time. In summary I know the following to be true.
We will never be the same. I say this with full confidence that I will never be the same person that I was. Losing our son has been a traumatic experience and has changed me forever. The day our son was born was the best day of my life and has changed me forever. I can control the person that I become.
I cannot do this alone. I am so grateful for the support that we have. I hope to always remember the impact that someone’s actions can have. I am a believer that what matters in life is how you treat each other. Treat each other well.
Thank you for allowing me to share this journey.