I thought my 30th birthday post would look a lot different. I had one written up on being proud of 30. Being happy where I was in life at 30. All the things checked off – a house, husband, puppy and most exciting, a growing baby bump. Three weeks ago 30 looked a lot different than where I am sitting right now.
On October 1st, 2013 I gave birth to our son, 19 weeks early.
From that moment on my life changed course. It’s like going from the highest high to your lowest low in less than 24 hours, one you couldn’t even fathom the day before. Where we were planning showers and choosing a crib one day, the next we were calling funeral homes and preparing for goodbye. A son, which we didn’t know we were having. It was to be a surprise. A sliver of joy on the worst day of my life, was finding out he was a boy. I’ll quickly share what happened, because slowly as I venture out of my house to see friends, I can tell they all want to ask. It’s a tragic thing and a sad story, one that I don’t mind sharing if only to give his life meaning. I want to share his birth story with people to let others know he wasn’t just tissue that passed. He was a baby with perfectly formed feet and hands, little fingernails and toenails, an adorable nose and an uncanny resemblance to his Daddy. He was tiny, so tiny that I could hold him in my hand, and perfect in every way. So in sharing this with all of you, I can still be that proud mother, of our beautiful baby boy, who’s short life touched me in so many ways.
At the dog park with Mabel my water broke. Not realizing it at the time, I knew something was wrong and rushed home to Bryan. Arriving at the hospital and seeing my Doctor, it was confirmed that indeed the water had broken and my placenta had hemorrhaged. Two really bad things, but the baby’s heartbeat was still there. I was told I would be staying at the hospital until delivery, not realizing the delivery would start the very next day. Waking up to hear that your baby had passed away during the night was and will always be the most life altering moment of my life. I was calm and felt like I knew it was coming. Maybe it was that I felt like I had work to do. I needed to deliver my baby, sleeping or not. I wanted to be his strong momma and get him out safely. I never thought I would become a mother in that way, giving birth to our stillborn son at 5 months, but that’s what I felt like. I’d say the worst moment was the moment he was delivered. I didn’t want it to be over. Strange as it sounds, I felt like my courage and strength was being drawn from the hours of delivery, still bonded with him by housing him safely in my womb. The moment he was out felt too real. Holding him in my arms. Checking all his fingers and toes, and comparing his features with ours, while never hearing the cries that should have been heard. That silence was deafening, so unlike the past births I had been a part of.
I’m thankful for the hours we shared with him and the pictures that were taken. Without those two things it would have felt like it never happened. Like he never existed. But he did. Shea made us parents in those moments. We were loving and protective and showed him our strength and how badly he was wanted. He made us understand how it is to love a child. For a child is attached to your soul, and that day I learned that breath does not confirm life. For that little boy was alive and well in me, blessing me with constant little kicks and rolls, sharing moments with me that I will remember for as long as I live.
I feel as though my heart weighs a ton, as though the world is not revolving and the days are not numbered. But in moments like this I am blessed with the people that are in my life, constantly lifting me up with prayer and love. Having faith is the only thing pulling us through. Knowing he’s with our Heavenly Father, without any suffering, gives great comfort and I am so blessed to know this. Bryan, however, has been my saving grace. He’s shown the depth of his love for me, only making me love him more. The way he loves our son, makes me even more thankful for the great father I already knew he would be. I’m so grateful that during the moments of my rambling thoughts and sorrowful memories I turn to my husband, let him hold me in his arms and know that what I feel in my soul, he shares in his.
Losing Shea is like a love affair that has gone in the worst possible direction. One that I am thankful for having despite the outcome. I know the pain won’t always be so raw, and the ability to live life won’t be so daunting. Those little triggers, a constant reminder of what I lost, stinging less and less each day. I can only hope that one day we will be blessed with the ability to see our first son in the eyes of our future one.
It was a hard decision. Deciding on whether we should allow Grady to meet his cousin, but he was persistent and wanted to see me. Children are amazing. He wasn’t told why I was in the hospital, only that I was sick. As he entered the room he immediately asked me where my baby was. As if he knew. Even children need to know the truth, that our baby was in Heaven and was now an angel, and he accepted it. The picture below is such a powerful image. It makes my heart swell with pride and break into a million pieces all at once. That is the power of photography and why I am so grateful for Mel, for the ability and willingness to capture it.
A friend wrote in one of our cards, “your trial will be your testimony, and one day your testimony will help another.” I’d like to think this is true. That through my loss and suffering, I may one day help someone through theirs.
To our son Baby Shea, we will love you, honor you and remember you always. xoxo
“God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
October 21, 2013