Frozen

Yesterday, as I stood outside on an early fall afternoon, I watched my dogs run around under the enormous maple trees in our front yard. The trees have been turning colors and I’m not nearly as excited about it as I usually am. Fall has always been my favorite season, but I feel as though my life has frozen since my son has been gone. I often have to remind myself that it is actually September, because I feel as though it should still be mid June.The last two months have been a complete blur. I feel as though I live in a haze, I go to work every day, and do chores at home. We pay our bills on time, and have dinner every night, but it feels like a dream, a fog, or more realistically, a nightmare.

Last night, as I watched my crazy girls run at full speed around my front yard, I gazed up at the trees I’ve always loved so much. They’re beginning to turn into the gorgeous fall tones I’ve always loved. The seasons changing is hard for me. I feel like I am leaving my sweet boy in the past. 

As I watched the leaves fall, I admired the cool breeze. I had opened all the windows in the house so we could enjoy the cool weather. For a brief second, I thought I heard a baby cry from Skylar’s room. I glanced at the green curtains blowing in the breeze and felt excitement, as I knew my baby needed me, and I was going to go pick him up and love on him. I used to be so excited to hold him. 

I then remembered this couldn’t be true. My boy was gone, and has been for months. Hearing him cry sometimes is usually something that wakes me up at night. I think it’s my hormones or something. Its as if my body knows there should be a baby in my life. 

I came back inside, and sat on the couch as I opened up my phone and scrolled through the pictures I have of my sweet boy. I stared at his perfect features, my emotions were yet again, so intense that I literally felt nauseated. As I looked at his pictures, and remembered how it felt to hold him, I felt very real, physical pain. Because my arms are so very empty, they literally hurt sometimes. My chest hurts as my heart breaks all over again. My throat burns as I choke back tears, and sometimes it’s even heard to breathe.

The world I’m in has been very dark lately, as I suppose I am entering the depression phase of the grief process. I don’t write as often as I did, because in the past I have tried very hard to share only positivity. I think quite a bit of my deep sadness branches from the seasons changing. Saturday will be my birthday. Last year for my birthday, I was so very sad that I was not yet a mommy.. yet here I am, back at square one, feeling the same way. 

Last October, I got pregnant. Last November, at thanksgiving, we announced to our family that we were finally having a baby. And last Christmas, we shared it with the world. These next few months will be very hard for me. In the changing seasons, I will be leaving my only baby behind.

I went to see one of my doctors recently because of deep depression and memory lapses. Both or which, are normal for what I’m going through. But, at my visit, she asked me if I had talked to anyone about how bad I’ve been feeling. My family doctor that has known me for as long as I can remember. I was honest with her when I said no. I have been shielding everyone in my life, including my best friends, my parents, and my husband, from how very bad I have been feeling. I have been pulling myself together for the sake of everyone else. I have been putting on a fake smile, and hiding all my pain. My doctor stressed that this will not help me. If I can handle being told my son was gone while still thinking I felt movement, if I can handle being in labor for 20 hours, if I can handle giving my son away to be cremated, everyone else should be able to handle my very raw emotion. I’ve since decided to share my darkest parts. My physical and emotional pain that comes with missing my baby boy with literally every fiber of my soul is something I will no longer hide.

Two and a half months ago I lost my son. People often tell me that one day, I will be a mommy, one day, I will have my happy ending. Though I do often wish I could fast forward to the next chapter in my life, I often also worry that it will never happen. Even if I do get to have another, who is to say something bad won’t happen in the third trimester again, or at birth, or while they’re an infant, or when they’re a teenager? I live in fear that I will never have a happy ending. I sometimes feel very lost, isolated, and alone. My world is filled with pain and fear, and it seems even antidepressants may not help me. 

Advertisements

Questioned 

In the times following the loss of our boy, some people have been very brave. Where some are distant, and don’t know what to say, others are intrusive, and sometimes make things more difficult than they should be. They ask me about things that I’ve had to learn how to answer carefully. They sometimes want to hear answers that I don’t even know. 

While I was in the hospital, about half way through labor, family members were showing up by the carload. This was something I hadn’t intended to have, so it was a bit difficult to handle on its own. I had originally wanted to spend the time we had with our sweet Skylar alone. Though looking back, I’m glad we had such a large amount of unwavering support. But, with a large volume of people, the questions soon followed. 

Why did this happen? 

What an awful question to ask me in the thick of it. To this day, this is probably the most difficult question I’m greeted with. In the days following his birth, we had no idea what we had done wrong.

Since then, we have found the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasoning. But, there are still far more tests to be done before we will have concrete answers. That being said, putting what we’ve learned into words is very difficult for me. Explaining where I went wrong, and how my body failed him will never be an easy conversation. 

Will you try again?

This question is less difficult these days. At first, people would try to offer me hope when it was too soon. You’ll have more, you’re still young, you can try again. I recall thinking I didn’t want to ever go though this again. As I sat in the ultrasound room when they were verifying my son was gone, I recall thinking I would never be pregnant again, that this would be the last time I ever saw an ultrasound. 

That is, until my doctor placed the most beautiful boy I had ever seen on my chest the second he was born. Once I stopped holding my breath and finally admitted the fact that he wasn’t going to cry, and my miracle was gone, I knew I needed to try again. The first time Michael held our son, in fact, the first time he had ever held a baby, he said the same. He looked at me with the most tender eyes and asked if we could try again, just one more time. We do intend to try again, but we don’t really know when. There’s quite a bit of healing that needs to happen before I’ll be ready. 

In the first few days after we had lost him, I remember thinking I didn’t want a replacement. I recall often telling Michael that I didn’t want another one. I wanted the baby I had, and no one could fix that. This hasn’t changed. When people tell me we will have another, it often rubs me the wrong way. I don’t want another one, I want my Skylar. Another baby will not heal me. One day we will head down that road again, but I don’t think it will be very soon.

What will you do with his things? 

To be honest, when I came home from my appointment, anticipating a call to begin my hospital admission and labor induction, I was terrified to go home. Just inside the front door, there is a nursery entirely complete, and ready for a baby. A baby that slipped from our grasp far too soon. 

It’s been six weeks since our son was born, and some still ask this question of me. His room has not changed. 

The bassinet that was in my bedroom is now packed away in a closet. The baby swing that was in the living room has now been moved. However, his room remains the same. Putting together his room brought me so much joy. I had waited to be a mommy for years, to finally be able to put together a nursery was the happiest days of my life. Not to mention, in this room is the nicest furniture we’ve ever owned. The room is perfect, just like our boy was. 

Even after our Skylar was gone, his room still brought me joy. Of course, there was the hurt that came with knowing it is a room that is no longer needed. But, I have always admired when things look nice, and my hard work has paid off, and his room is the nicest one in the house. 

His room is decorated with clouds, anchors, ships, and cars. Plus, planes, maps, and compasses. The day after Skylar was born, Michael wheeled me around Walmart while we waited for my prescriptions. A small decor item caught my eye. It was a small bottle with a ship in it. I recall initially thinking how perfect it was for our boys room, and them remembering we had said goodbye to him less that 24 hours before. As I lost every ounce of composure I had, Michael placed the bottle in the cart, and we brought it home that day. I wept as he immediately placed it in his room when we got home.

I don’t intend on changing his room whatsoever. It will remain as it is, until we are pregnant again. For now, there’s an urn on the shelf on the corner of the room. With that, there are clay castings of our sons hands and feet. His hospital bag is still packed, and sitting on the changing table. In his crib, there’s is a memory box filled with special things to me. The hat he wore with his name on it, forget me not seeds from the hospital staff, his footprint cards. The alphabet book my best friend had made for him from the baby shower, all the condolence cards we received, all his ultrasounds, and his birth certificate. 

This room belongs to Skylar. The soft white blanket he was wrapped in at the hospital with his name all over it in blue and gray is draped over the back of the recliner I sit in this very moment as I write. 

I often spend time in this room. It is where my son is. It is where I spent so much time and effort building the life I thought my son would have. This room is where I go to be close to him. 

His things are going nowhere. The white letters that spell out his name still hang on the wall, and the ship in the bottle we bought after he was gone still sits on the end table next to me. One day, life will have moved forward enough that I may change my mind. But for now, I sit in the recliner in his room, and remember how happy he made me for every second he was here. 

Family Tree

I found some statistics on the internet earlier this week that really hurt my heart. I’m talking chest tightness, throat closing, stomach turning kind of hurt. The whole time I was pregnant, I knew losing my boy was a very realistic possibility. I recall thinking it happened more often decades ago, when mommas had babies on farms. Looking back at family trees, you would always see the babies that lived a couple days, or weeks. Even the babies like mine were on those branches. The chilling obviousness that came with a single date, rather than two below their name used to haunt me. I remember thinking how terrible that must have been, and begging god to never put me through that. The truth is, it happens just as often now, as it did all those years ago. However, I feel as though we handle it differently. People care less, we don’t speak about it, and we don’t do family trees.

Statistically, 1 in every 4 women will become a mother of loss.

Yearly in the US, there are approximately 600,000 pregnancies lost through miscarriage.

26,000 mothers give birth to stillborn babies every year in the US.

This means that there are 71 mothers every day in our country alone, that give birth to babies that will never cry, and never open their eyes, babies like my Skylar.

The loss of a baby is the most heart wrenching, breathtaking pain there is. But odds are, everyone knows at least one person it has happened to. If not, I can guarantee you know a mother who has experienced a miscarriage. Most of the time we never have explanations. We’re simply told sometimes, these things just happen.

What hurts my heart the most is that these things aren’t talked about nearly as much as they should be. In the time since Ive lost my son, I’ve found that most often, people choose not to talk about it. Some will even behave as if it never happened, as if my Skylar was an almost baby, and doesn’t count because we never brought him home.

I personally know someone else this has happened to. In fact, I know a few. But there’s one family I am close to. Three years ago, my husbands cousins lost their baby girl. Their story, so similar to my own that it sometimes gives me cold chills. I recall feeling for them so deeply when I learned what happened to their little family. My heart broke even more every time I saw  or thought of them, but I never brought it up. I was afraid to upset them. I was terrified that I would somehow remind them, and cause them pain.

Now that I am no longer on the outside looking in, I know how absurd this was. I can honestly say that I think of my sweet boy every minute. Nothing anyone says could simply remind me of him, as I will never forget him. He was the most perfect little boy I’ve ever laid eyes on, and remembering him brings me so much joy.

It is so much more hurtful to me when I feel as though what I’ve been through is being ignored. Weather it be for someone else’s sake or my own. I understand that my situation may make others uncomfortable, but what happened to us is something that needs to be talked about. Making arrangements for your first child with a funeral home before you’ve ever seen his face is the hardest thing I had ever done. That is, until I had to say goodbye. Leaving the hospital empty handed was something that should have sent me into a crippling mental state, but it didn’t.

Mothers go through these things so very often, and as time goes by, people behave as if it never happened. I’ve seen the change in people’s faces when I mention my Skylar. I sometimes choose not to mention him, because I don’t want others to share the hurt I have in my heart every day.

Every twenty minutes, a baby is stillborn in the US alone. It’s hard to imagine that 70 other little families went through what I did on the very same day. That is, because people don’t talk about it. Some people even behave as though were lucky we lost him as soon as we did.

Finding these statistics hurt me so deeply, because these numbers are so alarmingly high. How can it be possible that this happens so very often? Everyone handles grief differently, but there are so many others that feel just as I do.

My entire pregnancy I knew this could happen to me. How much harder might it have been if I had no idea it was possible, if I had no way to prepare myself?

These things need to be talked about. These babies must be remembered.

My family tree has a branch with Skylar’s name on it, and a single date below his name. It happened to me, and so many others as well.

Time Heals All Things

There was a point not long ago that this very expression would upset me. I remember thinking to myself, how could this hurt possibly get any better? But, those who said it were right.
Time heals all things.

It’s been almost a month since I found out my little boys heart was no longer beating. I recall telling myself it would be okay, telling myself I was strong, and then immediately questioning how I thought I would ever make it through something like this.

In five days, I will be 4 weeks postpartum. In five days, I would have had a 1 month old.

Last night, when my husband and I got home from my parents house where we had dinner, there was a small box on our porch. In this small box, was the hand made ceramic urn I had ordered to put our baby’s ashes in. I wanted something a bit more than what the funeral home did for us, the new one has his name and birthdate on it. It’s absolutely beautiful. The moment my honey saw what was in that box, he was on my heels at every step. He’s been so very good at making sure he’s there for me every time I break down, and I could tell he was expecting it.

I looked at the new urn, and headed toward the baby’s room, Michael at my heels. The room doesn’t upset me anymore. In the first weeks, I wouldn’t even look in. But, we never closed the door. I have spent some time in the baby’s room since, holding the blanket and teddy bear from the hospital, weeping to my hearts content. But now, his room doesn’t upset me if I’m having a good day. Yesterday was a good day.

I opened the beautifully hand carved box the funeral home gave us. It brings me back to the Wednesday after he was born. The funeral home called to say his remains were ready to be brought home. Michael and I went as soon as we could. It was exactly one week since we found out his heart was no longer beating, exactly one week, down to the hour. As we walked into the funeral home, we were asked to sign a few last forms. Thankfully, Michael, was responsible for all the forms, as I could not have done it. Then, the director offered to “lead us to him”, as she put it.

We followed her down the hall of the old funeral home we were not unfamiliar with. We’ve said goodbye to many family members here. As she opened the parlor doors, my heart stopped. Much unlike the first time I was told my baby was gone, and much unlike the moment I first saw my baby boys face, my heart stopped. Seeing rows of chairs spaced out facing a small table surrounded in magnolias, sat a tiny dark finished box with forget me not flowers hand carved into the top. Unlike everything else, this was something I hadn’t had the chance to prepare myself for. I hadn’t realized going to get our sons remains would so much resemble a legitimate funeral service. In that moment, it all became very real.

The first time I held this box, Michael almost immediately took it from me, as I was trembling. Thinking about this now, I find it so remarkable that magnolias surrounded this little box. Magnolias, the favorite flower of so many of my family members, and the state flower of my home state. A magnificently old magnolia tree probably stands outside my grandparents home, the grandpa our sweet boy was named after. Magnolias have always brought me so much joy.

Yesterday, I picked up that very box from the funeral home, opened it, and removed the small velvet bag that held my baby boys ashes. I then placed them in the new urn, as I could feel Michael’s eyes on me, making sure I was alright, and as surprising as it sounds, I was. Yesterday I managed to do this without tears in my eyes, and without a lump in my throat. I placed the urn next to the first ultrasound picture we have of him, and I diddnt even cry.

Today, I even took the baby’s swing out of the living room, and put it in his room. Today, I took the bassinet out of my bedroom without a single struggle.

There are still bad days, but people are right when they tell you that time really does heal.

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.

WordPress.com.

Up ↑