It was a year ago to this date that we found out you were gone. That we would never get to know you, that we would never hear your voice, see your eyes or feel your tiny heart beat in your chest. It was a year ago today that we learned that the only decisions we would ever make concerning your future would be, did we want to name you, did we want to hold you after you were born, did we want you cremated, did we have a mortuary that we wanted to contact to pick you up from the hospital, did we want an autopsy. Decisions no parent should ever have to make, decisions no parent is ever prepared to make. But we did.
In the beginning when faced with all of the questions we said no, we didn't have a name, no we didn't want to see you, no we didn't know a mortuary and yes, an autopsy, please. Please tell us why this happened, please make sense of this for us, somebody please tell us why our baby is dead.
On this date a year ago we wanted to shield ourselves from every pain we thought we could. We wanted to make it all go away. We had yet to learn that there is nothing you can do to shield your self from this heartache.
And so a year ago we walked out of my doctors office, my pregnant belly no longer a vessel filled with life but now a coffin harboring my dead baby, dark glasses covering my eyes, my breath, slow and shallow as we climbed into the car to make the drive to the hospital where you would be born and we would say good-bye to you and to our dreams of you. And in my head, the chaos, the confusion, the terror, the anger and the pain swarmed and spun, as I began my life as a mother of a dead baby.
A year ago on this date, I thought a lot about me. I hadn't yet learned how to grieve for you. Today on this date I am thinking of you. I am thinking of all that we lost when we lost you. I am thinking of all that you were denied when you died. I am trying to imagine what our lives might be like if you were here, but it is hard. I can no longer see myself as a mother without a dead child. I don't know her anymore. And it is hard to imagine you. I don't know what color your eyes were, I don't know what color your hair might have been and I can't conjure up your voice and hear you cry or call me mommy. I can feel your tiny foot in my hand as I held it after you were born and I can feel your whole chest and belly underneath my palm and fingers, warm but still. No life to be felt from within. Thinking of you means thinking of loss, of pain, of sadness. All of the things you never had the chance to know. The love of your older sister and brother, the love of a whole family who were so ready to welcome you into their hearts. You'll never have all of the firsts a new baby is entitled to, first steps, first words, first holidays, first day of school, first kiss, first love, first heartbreak. None of it. Instead of choosing nursery themes for you, we chose your urn and selected pictures of us to be cremated with you. Instead of choosing your crib bedding, we took and wrapped you in the favorite blanket of your big brother so you wouldn't be left in a sterile sheet when they took you away. Instead of sitting with you in the rocker that lulled your brother and sister to sleep on many, many nights, I held you and spent time bonding with you alone with you for the first time, on a mortuary couch and I tried to tell you that you were loved and that you were wanted and that we would never forget you. I don't know if you heard me.
And so today, I am telling you those things again. We love you, we wanted you desperately and we will never forget you.
Sweet dreams little man.