Unless you have walked in the shoes of someone who has lost a child you can't even begin to imagine the pain that we have daily. We wake up missing a part of who we are. We have one less toothbrush to put toothpaste on, we have one less head of hair to brush, mouth to feed, tears to wipe, diapers to change, bottles to make, hand to hold and one less face to kiss goodnight. These babies we are missing were planned for just like any other baby. Weeks were counted down, names were picked, rooms decorated and coming home outfits were packed just to leave the hospital with aching arms and a broken heart.
I'm just a few days shy of marking the 19th month since I said goodbye to my sweet, Eli. I didn't hold a newborn baby for 10 months and 21 days (the day my rainbow was born). I still haven't held a baby boy and don't plan to anytime soon. My arms were made to hold MY son and they will not hold another baby boy until the day that my new son is placed in my arms (no, I'm not pregnant) or Eli is in them again. I wanted to share with you and try to make you understand just why infant boys and subsequently boys that would be Eli's age are such triggers for me.
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Imagine getting a + on that pregnancy test, going to dozens of doctor's appointments, feeling every kick, hiccup and flip, watching your belly grow, seeing your baby grow on ultrasounds and imagining how beautiful he was going to be when you finally got to hold him in your arms. Now imagine rushing to the hospital because you are gushing blood. You are sitting in the car crying and trying to convince yourself that everything was ok and begging your baby to move to let you know he was okay but getting nothing in response. The ride seems like it's taking forever and once you get to the hospital the nurses seem to move at a glacial pace to get you into a wheelchair and into the elevator to take you up to labor and delivery. You get put into a room and the many nurses who surround you are getting you into a gown, taking your vitals, starting an IV, prepping you for a c-section and trying to hook you up to monitors. The room is loud with all the people talking and yet somehow very quiet because none of them are looking at you or saying anything. They check with the monitor and can't find his heartbeat, doppler and no heartbeat, portable ultrasound and no heartbeat. All these machines and no heartbeat and also nobody saying anything. They call downstairs for another ultrasound and say the doctor is on his way. Not your doctor though, the guy on call. The ultrasound tech comes in just before the doctor, he sits next to you on your bed puts his hand on your leg and tells you "I'm sorry, we've lost his heartbeat." What is it that you do now?
Crying, screaming, pleading, praying that this doctor and all these machines are wrong. You lay and you labor for hours and then you give birth and what should be a joyful moment with lots of happy crying and congratulations from the people in the room is filled with nothing but silence. No crying baby, no congratulations, nothing but silence. Your mind never really processes what has just happened. You spend time admiring your baby: smiling at how beautiful he is, trying to figure out who he looks the most like, crying over his body and squeezing him close because you just don't know what else to do. Then the time comes and someone from the funeral home comes and takes your son away and you will never hold him in your arms again. What do you do now?
You plan a funeral. Something no mother should ever have to do. You don't sleep. You don't eat. You do well to breathe. The day of the funeral comes and you walk into this room and at the very front is a very small casket with your baby laying peacefully inside. People come by and tell you how sorry they are and how beautifully your baby looks but really all you hear is the echo of their words. You sit next to your baby and just stay at him trying to remember every single detail of him. After a few short hours with him they usher you out of the room and they slide the lid over his casket. At that moment it finally sinks in that you will never see your baby again as long as there is breath in your body.
Imagine now that everyone around you is announcing they are pregnant. Every single announcement stings. Then a few months later you hear from them those dreaded three words, "It's a boy!". Those words are like a shot to the heart. Those words bring sadness, fear, jealousy and lots of pain. When they have that baby and post pictures all over facebook or send you texts with pictures attached it's one of the most painful things. I'm very happy that that baby made it safely into the world but in my head I think "Why is it that this person can have a healthy, live baby and mine had to die?" Alot of posts on FB get blocked and texts go unopened so that I don't have to expose myself to the hurt. Some people may call that selfish or rude but I do what I have to do to protect my heart from hurting. I'm sure there will come a day when it won't hurt so bad and when I can look at a baby boy and not want to run to the bathroom and cry but that day isn't today or any day anytime soon.