When Time Stands Still

When the worst news I’ll ever hear filled the ultrasound room, time as I knew it came to a screeching halt. I forgot how to breathe. Speaking became a great effort. Making eye contact was nearly impossible. My hands were shaking, my mouth dry, though I didn’t want to eat or drink a thing. I suddenly didn’t care what time it was, or what day it was. Thus, time stood still. 
Terrible things like this happen every day. In fact, every 20 minutes a baby like my sweet Skylar is born in the United States. So many other terrible things happen each and every day, and time never really does slow down.

Everyone remembers the worst day of their lives. How their chest felt tight, as they tried to process whatever it was that changed their life for forever. Your throat closes up, and words become impossible. When Michael held our first baby for the first time, time halted. My, how differently I had imagined that moment would be. 

The saddest part, is that life goes on. You could be on your way home from the hospital after getting the worst news of your life, and you might find yourself being on the wrong end of a rage filled driver. You could be anywhere, and someone could be complaining about how terrible parenthood is, not realizing how painfully you wish to be in their shoes. 

Of course most people I encounter every day don’t know what happened, but because life has begun to move on, I don’t feel the need to tell them. In the time since I lost my boy, I can see the sting that comes with sharing such terrible news. To be frank, I’m tired of being the person everyone feels sorry for. 

I’ve recently had to tell another patient at work what happened to my sweet boy. There have been a few times that I’ve been greeted with seemingly harmless questions like “did you have that baby yet!?” Of course, I always have to tell them what happened. 

The most recent time I had to break the news to someone, it hurt me all over again, but not in the way you would think. The question was asked with such uplifting joy and excitement. When I said I had my baby, but he was gone, her face changed so very quickly. The sorrow was so deep as her eyes filled with tears. 

I sometimes wish I could lie to everyone, because I know I am on their mind for days and weeks afterward. Their hearts break for me, I can see it in their eyes weather or not tears come with the emotion on their faces. It’s one thing to have a broken heart, but to break others with the news of what’s happened to me is so much harder. 

But nevertheless, life has moved on. I’ve noticed it has become less acceptable to be upset about everything, and it’s only been 8 weeks ago. Though I have had two months to learn how to function in the world again, I will never be the same. I appreciate life and everything in it in a completely different light. As, you never know when everything important to you can be turned to ash in a tiny wooden box. 

Bills still come, as do condolence cards. Hospital bills have started flooding in. But there is an extra sting that comes with all the formula coupons, parenting magazines, and different “congratulations on your new baby” mailers from places like target, and diaper companies. 

I try to take one day at a time. Because two months ago time stood still. I understand in other moments, not just the bad, time stands still as well. Time for me stood still in the moments I married my husband, and when we first heard our baby boys heartbeat. I know one day, time will stand still for much better reasons. 

For three consecutive nights before I learned my boy was gone, I had a dream that I didn’t quite understand. I dreamt that I was in the delivery room meeting my baby for the first time. It was a beautiful birth, and that baby was crying to no end, just as I had begged for Skylar to when he was born. 

What was strange was, that baby was a girl. I recall waking up each time following this dream thinking, what? I’m having a boy? And I’m happy he’s a boy! Why am I dreaming this? I’ve clung to that dream ever since. It made no sense to me at the time, and I just told myself I must have been all my hormones. Now however, I hope that dream was a sign. 

The dream was so very real to me. In that dream, time stood still. I can still picture it clear as day. One day I hope time for me will stand still because of something good. But, until then, life moves on. Every day takes me further and further away from my sad, sad story.. and I’m okay with that. I try to look forward to what life has in store for me. I look forward to time standing still again. Because next time, it might be something good.

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Light

When I first found out my boy was gone, he was still in my belly. Looking back now, it really is hard to believe I’ve been through as much as I have. Sometimes it doesn’t even seem real. It’s almost as if the last six weeks of my life have been a terrible dream that won’t end. Often people don’t know what to say. There is one thing most people do find the bravery to say, that my sweet Skylar is now in heaven. When I found out he was gone, and before I was in labor, I recall thinking I wasn’t sure if there was a God, or even a heaven, because surely no God would willingly put someone through this. 

My opinion of God was changed pretty quickly. When the pastor from our church came to see us after my sweet Skylar was born, he changed my heart. When I told him about how angry I was, and how God could have just as easily just told me “no” when I asked for a baby, he understood. He looked at me with tender eyes as he said “but wasn’t he beautiful? Aren’t you glad you had the time you did with him?” 

My entire outlook had been changed in an instant. My precious baby boy was a miracle. Though I would have given literally everything to have more time with him, I still wouldn’t change having him for the world. Before I even left the hospital, I knew there was a God. I didn’t know much about him still, but that was simply because I didn’t have the need to know him. Life has always been so good to me. That is, until my worst nightmare came true.

In the first days that I was home, so many people reached out to us. So many of them mentioning that our son was now in heaven. This of course, was something that I wanted to believe. The idea of my sons existence ending just as quickly as it began was simply something I couldn’t handle. Thus, I began looking into heaven. 

In the few short weeks it’s been since I’ve lost my sweet boy, I’ve read stories, books, and even bits of the Bible. I find so much comfort in thinking that what people say is true. That maybe, just like mommies point out their babies in the nursery, claiming how cute they are, maybe my sweet boy is pointing at me saying “look, there’s my mommy! Isn’t she pretty?” 

From the small amount I have learned about heaven so far, there are no doubts that I will do literally anything to get there. I’ve also found quite a bit of comfort in learning about God. All the questions I had in the beginning, about why God allowed my baby boy to be taken from me, or why so soon, I’ve found answers for each and every one of them. 

I’ve learned to accept why these things happen, and I’ve learned to have hope for what my life has in store. I do find myself scared sometimes, because I know it can be concerning to look forward to the next life as much as I do, but it’s only because I know where I’ll be going, and who is there.

I’ve found such comfort in learning all I can about heaven, and all things related. Doing anything to get there will bring me comfort as well. It is rare that a child gets to save their parent, but my Skylar has turned me toward the lord. My faith is far stronger than it has ever been. My sweet boy has saved me. His little hands now guide me toward the light. It is unclear if I would have made it into heaven before, but I will do anything to get there now.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Skylar Franklin

When the labor and delivery nurse asked me if we had a name for our son, I couldn’t speak. Tears welled up in my eyes, and the lump in my throat wouldn’t allow it.

I heard my husband tell the nurse our sons name. It then became so real. It’s astonishing how quickly your life plans can change.

We had just begun the labor induction process. It would be an estimated 24 hours before I would get to see my sons face, but we already knew his eyes would never open.

We had such a hard time choosing a name. I had collected a long list of possible names, with the intention of listing them in rapid fire at my husband the next time I caught him unoccupied. 

Skylar

When I said his name, amongst the list of several he said, “that one”, and I was sold. 

The idea of picking our sons name was so exciting. I had waited my whole life for this.

Franklin

It was the middle name of my grandfather. He had died when my mom was 16. She always talked about her daddy as if he had hung the moon. Using his name was a precious token to me, I’d never met him, but from what I had heard, he was loving and kind. Carrying on the name of someone like him was important to me.

I remember the morning before we shared his chosen name with our family, I laid in bed saying it over and over in my mind. I imagined what he would look like, oh how I couldn’t wait to see his face.

I rolled over to my sweet husband, Michael, and said our sons name with conviction. “I’m a southern girl” I said, “I have to make sure it sounds good when I yell at him” 

He saw the uncertainty in my face.

“You better make up your mind”, he said. My husband, though sweet, has always believed in though love. Plus, he already knew we had made the right choice.

I said our sons name again, and I remember thinking to myself, that’s him, that’s his name. We’ve named our son. I was so excited to be a mommy.

Three days after he was born, my tattoo artist had me verify the correct spelling just before he began marking that very name into my skin permanently. 

Oh, how I love the way it sounds. That’s his name, my only son, our boy.

Skylar Franklin.

My memories of him aren’t always sad. I remember my entire pregnancy as the happiest time in my life. The anxiety I had over such big decisions now, seem so silly.

Brown Recliner

In this brown recliner I bought at a garage sale, I weep. Holding a tiny light brown teddy bear, and a soft white blanket with my sons name printed all over it in blue and gray, I weep. These being the few sentimental items from my hospital stay just weeks ago. This, the blanket he was wrapped in when we said goodbye, and the bear the hospital gave us after they took pictures of them together.

This recliner, in the corner of the nursery I put together with so much hope and joy. I look at the clouds my mama and I painted on the wall, my baby’s name was Skylar, it all seemed so perfect. I follow the clouds on the wall until my eyes fall onto the corner shelves my daddy helped me hang. On them, a framed picture of my first ultrasound, a willow figurine of a mother and father with their new baby, and a small wooden box that now holds my precious baby boys ashes. 

I sit here sobbing in this brown recliner. The recliner I planned to spend countless hours and late nights in, rocking my baby boy, my Skylar. I remember sitting in it for the first time. How I tested it to be sure it was just perfect, proper swivel, rock, and reclining were all necessary. On a hot summers day I tested this chair at an older gentlemen’s driveway garage sale, boasting to him about how my sweet husband and I were having a baby boy in just a few short weeks. I’ve never been so proud or excited in all my days. 

It’s funny, how you get so much advice from even strangers about how becoming a new mom will be. Most will tell you how hard it is, how tired you’ll be, how your life is over. You’ll never have time alone again, you’ll never sleep again. Some will tell you to enjoy every second you have, because babies are miracles, and they grow so fast. Not one person warned me that my life could literally shatter in an instant. No one mentioned that I could be sent home from the hospital empty handed. Now I weep in a brown recliner in a nursery I have no need for. Wishing I had my baby boy in my arms. My, what I wouldn’t give to suffer exhaustion at the will of my beautiful boy. I would give anything in the world to hear him cry.

If I could give the world advice. It would be to never say negative things about motherhood to a pregnant woman, or her family. There is no possible way to know what they are about to be put through. Think about your words. Do you want them to echo in her mind? Your statements of negativity about your sweet baby. 

I read something recently that said “the love of a parent of loss is so much greater”. 

Love your babies. You never know who might be wishing they had them. 

You never know how lucky you are.

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