He was perfect. Yes, at fourteen and a half weeks, perfect. He had his Pawpaw’s feet and already looked so much like his big brother. At first, it was confusing. He didn’t look sick, he was beautifully formed. I kept thinking, “just put him back. He will be fine.” My mind just couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that one minute I was happily pregnant with triplets and the next minute I was holding a tiny, lifeless baby in my arms.
A few weeks later, after lying in a hospital bed putting up the fight of my life, I found myself living the nightmare once again. In the early hours of the morning, I again held a tiny baby who no longer drew breath. This time there were two. The "unbreakable" stitches that were suppose to hold them in failed, but there was no one to blame but myself. My body had failed my babies. I had contracted a horrible infection from delivering the first baby, and my body just couldn't fight anymore. We said goodbye to two more beautiful little boys who never got to run, play, or grow old. Just like that my womb was empty and my heart was shattered.
What I didn’t know then was that one in four women will experience the loss of their baby. While each story is unique, there is one thing we share. Those of us parenting after loss will so often be taken back to the day our baby died. A moment of joy or grief will sweep in and transport us back to that moment we lost everything.
I’ve come to realize that as hard as I try, I can’t go back to the day before my baby died. I search my memories for that naive happiness I once felt, but it is no where to be found. When your baby dies you experience things that will forever change you.
On the day my babies died…
Our son’s little brothers died. All of the snuggles, disagreements, wrestling matches, and hugs they would share disappeared.
I felt my babies kick inside my womb even though they had been gone for hours.
Milk leaked down the front of my hospital gown while I sobbed and begged for someone to make it stop.
I begged God to take my life instead.
My husband put aside his pain to comfort me. On the outside he was calm and steady, but on the inside he was flooded with rage and heartache.
I sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to each baby as I held them tight and committed every detail of their tiny faces to my memory.
And a woman I’d never met covered my babies with a blanket and rolled them away for the last time as I stared in disbelief.
A thousand other memories from that day will stay with me for all my days. My experience with pregnancy loss continues to impact the woman and mother that I am even after years have passed. A parent doesn't walk through that loss unscathed. That deep love and deep loss propels me to do more, to be more. It unleashed a strength inside me that I never knew existed. I continue to share my story because I want others to know that it is okay to be changed after pregnancy and infant loss. There is no right way to grieve. Day by day the pain hurts a little less, and little by little the joy will find its way back into a broken heart.