Today as I celebrate four months since Finn’s birth and mourn the 4-month old baby who isn’t here with me, I looked back at Jaxton as a 4-month-old, and I see what I am missing out on right now. I have a video of Jaxton, a chubby baby with arm and leg rolls, his face lighting up as Phillip tickled him. I have another video of him sleeping peacefully with a full belly, occasionally peeking through one eye to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. Now I watch as Jaxton talks, sings, plays, and grows into a smart and independent little boy. I will only ever be able to imagine what it would be like to see Finn grow up, only guess who he would look like and act like. I’m not just idealizing; I also think about the sleepless nights, numerous diaper changes, tantrums and messes. Last week after Jaxton flooded our bathroom, I actually felt sad that Finn would never be able to do that. Even as I think about what I am missing with him, I know that in his death he is more alive than I will ever be here on Earth, and by heaven’s standards he is experiencing far more than I could ever imagine. Here’s to 4 months of missing Finn, and 4 months closer to being with him again.
When we think of motherhood, we often think of mothers with a few healthy, cute stair-step children, doing Pinterest worthy activities together. But the reality that is often not seen are invisible mothers with no living children and mothers with invisible children. The suffering that nobody sees as you feel your missing child’s absence every single day for the rest of your life.
I’ve experienced the more rewarding parts of motherhood – getting to watch one of my son’s grow from a tiny baby into a smart, funny little boy. I’ve also experienced one of the worst – outliving one of my children.
Most pregnancy/childbirth/postpartum articles will list out a myriad of issues you might deal with during each stage of having a baby, but most wrap it up nicely by saying something along along the lines of “but it will all be worth it once your baby is in your arms”. Except sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way.
Yesterday, I had to go back to the building where Finn was born for a doctor appointment. It was bittersweet to walk through the same doors I walked out of just a couple of months ago empty-handed, into the only building where Finn was ever with me outside of the womb. Emotionally it was quite turbulent for me. I filled out my appointment paperwork in the waiting area. The prior pregnancies section is still really hard to see summarized on paper:
My silent prayer for strength was answered by this verse on the wall, one of my all-time favorites: Continue Reading
Recently, I was telling Finn’s story to a lady who has known me for a few years. She wanted to see pictures of Finn. Looking at the pictures of me holding my lifeless baby, she remarked with surprise, “You look so… happy.”
And I was happy. And sad, numb, in shock, confused, and excited, all at the same time. Even in that haze of emotions, I knew I wanted to look back on the short amount of time I had with Finn and remember the happiness above all. His birth really wasn’t the saddest part of the whole experience. Giving birth to him was part of the original plan; it’s something I was expecting to experience. Our photographer captioned one of our photos with “Nothing is worth more than this moment.” and there couldn’t have been a more fitting description of the moment she captured. It was one of the happiest times because Finn was still with me, or his body, rather. He was in my arms and my little family was together for the only time it will ever be on this earth. I experienced the happiness mothers feel when they see their older child meet their new sibling, and for a short time, both of my babies were snuggled up next to me. Continue Reading
To think about it from the outside looking in, finding out your baby is dead and then still having to go through the process of labor and give birth to him, and then the subsequent recovery, sounds nothing but torturous. The reality, like many experiences I’ve had so far in this grief journey, was bittersweet.
For seven months my baby was connected to me by a cord, plugged in essentially, and he was in constant, vital need of me to survive. He needed me to eat, take vitamins, and stay hydrated. My blood flowed through his placenta, supplying him with the oxygen and nutrients he needed to grow and thrive. With every beat of his heart, that demand for sustaining his life was there. Continue Reading