photo credit: http://24.media.tumblr.com
So, I have just bought between $800-$900 worth of swimsuits. Really.
No, I am not wealthy. No, I am not manic or a hoarder. I will return all but one, really! I just happened to be gaining weight after a misfortunate event and am a tad out of control these days, in more ways than one, and have never had a reason to own a one piece suit until now, until I got a little more sensitive about my body. Let me back up…
Yesterday I would have found out if my husband’s and my first child was a boy or a girl. We were going to go to dinner to celebrate and then start selecting nursery items (flamingos or sailboats, perhaps). We had names picked out. We had cleared the back bedroom for the baby’s arrival. At three months, my parents announced the arrival of their 10th grandchild at their 40th anniversary party with more than 150 guests. I had waited 4 months, but then gave in and made the pregnancy “Facebook official” with a cute announcement with a tiny, stylish baby carriage. Against all odds, we found out we were having a boy 3 weeks earlier than we expected to receive the news.
I went for my 16.5 week check-up. My husband and I decided he didn’t need to come since it was just a routine check-up. Afterall, we’d seen the baby and its heartbeat at 8 weeks, and then again heard the heartbeat at 12 weeks. This is when I realized sometimes you fall into the 1%. Sometimes your baby’s heart just stops. You’ll never know if you were sleeping, running, working or laughing, but the little soul inside of you just slipped away quietly.
The details could take hours to divulge, but here is the short version. The ultrasound tech looked at me with tears in her eyes. The doctor sat beside me and explained it wasn’t my fault – I couldn’t have protected the little one against fate. I called my husband. I called my mother. Somewhere in there the reality started to sink in and I allowed myself to cry. I packed a bag for the hospital without diapers, a tiny onsie, or the baby blanket my sister gave me less than a month ago.
I received the staff’s stares when I checked into the labor and delivery floor because they were all expecting me and were curious about this girl, this couple, having to deliver a dead baby. I was poked up and down my arms until, on the fifth try and third health professional, a vein was found that would accept the IV. I spent 4 days in the hospital with drugs being delivered, by people I had just met, through my arm and between my legs, largely consisting on ice chips, popsicles and pain killers.
I cried, I slept, I accepted love and prayers from visiting friends. On the third day I asked if I could please shower, and my husband had to come in with me since I couldn’t bend one arm, compliments of the IV entry. On the fourth day, I delivered a healthy-looking baby boy at 5-6cm dilation, moments before the doctors would have to make the difficult choice to put me through complicated surgery to remove the contents of my uterus. My husband and I held him. We prayed with him. We gave him away forever.
We named him Adam Gabriel. Afterall, he is our first son and is quite literally an angel now. We put all his things in the back bedroom that my husband can’t enter anymore without getting choked up. I kept bleeding and crying as we accepted visitors, meals, flowers and notes. I went back to work. I started running again. I stopped bleeding and, mostly, stopped crying. Then, I bought swimsuits.
I bought swimsuits that might help me forget that my body has been through war but I don’t have Adam to cuddle and kiss. I bought swimsuits that would leave me less rigid at the upcoming bachelorette party as I try to hide the layer of fat left on my stomach – and the pain threatening to roll down my cheeks – that reminds me something happened.
Dearest Adam Gabriel, our angel baby:
I have faith in our Creator that you lived the life of your soul’s purpose. I have faith you were warm and know you were loved by so many, so many whom cried with us in between patients at work, cried with us at the movies, or cried with us at the grocery store when they heard the news. I fervently worry that you struggled to breathe – to let someone know – but know that won’t do either of us any good at this point.
I feel great pain at your absence, but I need you to know that you gave me immeasurable happiness in the time we had together. It has been a hard year – and of course now I have this new struggle with your departure – but you provided me with 4 months of joy, excitement, hope and love. You provided me with 4 months of stealing sweet, unbridled nectar. You will always be the one child who could do that for me in pregnancy. You will always be the first born, the first light. Please be well, visit often, and wait for me and your daddy. We’ll meet you under better circumstances once again.
I am totally honored to be part of a small group of people that get to feel how you are feeling through your words. My heart is literally breaking for you and your hubby.
I’m sitting on my couch, it’s way too early to have been up for two hours. My house is cold, I’m too stubborn to actually turn on the furnace. So, until I give in, I’m cuddled in with a big blanket, a cup of hot coffee and the fireplace on.
I woke up at 4 this morning with three things on my mind, you and Adam, my mother-in-law, and my business planning meeting on Monday (the last two, I’m not going to deal with right now).
Adam, you will not be forgotten. You are real. Your little life has touched people more than you will ever know, including me. Your mom and dad had the opportunity to love (you) in a way they have never known, and that is a gift. But your absence creates a gap and a pain that is equally real. Selfishly, I hope to never know that pain.
To Adam’s Mom, I love you. And I’m praying for you. Let’s not forget Adam. Let’s love him and celebrate him and remember him.
P.S. Buying swimsuits is not the unhealthiest reaction you could` have to losing your little buddy. 🙂
A Mixed Bag – Stealing Nectar
Thank you so much for your post! Words can’t begin to express how much your words touched me and how your letter to Adam Gabriel blessed me. I just had a similar experience with my third child, Isaac Edwin. At a routine prenatal checkup (about 3 weeks ago) my midwives were unable to find his heartbeat and an ultrasound confirmed that he had passed at 15 weeks and 4 days gestation. My husband and I had also announced to all that we were expecting and my 5 year old was super excited to be a big sister again. Packing that bag to go to the hospital, checking in, getting hooked up to machines, feel contractions, gently pushing him out, holding his lifeless body, watching him depart from us, and leaving the hospital with nothing in my lap but a box of momentos was excruciating. However, I believe that my husband and I will have more children one day and I’m praying the same for you and your husband (if you aren’t already expecting). God bless you! My scripture for Isaac is 2 Samuel 12:23. Praying for your peace and full healing
April, I am so deeply sorry for your loss of Isaac Edwin. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your experience. The pain is other worldly, but integrating Isaac’s story into your life will be a blessing because of your love for him. I am so happy you came across this post. Knowing there are others of us out here, and hearing similar experiences, is such a blessing, isn’t it? I will be praying for you as you navigate this new reality. Thank you for reaching out. These connections mean the world to me. Xoxo
I found great comfort in your story. Thank you for sharing such a sensitive moment in life.
Kila, thank you so much for your comment. I always say that the only good that can come from this horrific loss is a connection and support of another woman’s journey. I am so glad you found comfort in mine and Adam’s story. Xoxo
To the Women Holding Up the Sky – Stealing Nectar
Buy yourself 900 dollars worth of sunglasses, sandals and cover-ups to go with your suits, and God bless you.
That is a totally awesome idea! Thank you for the stress free perspective!
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This is such a moving post. I never would have known that my reaction to your son’s (beautiful, strong) name was based in such heartache. Thank you for sharing your story and your strength. I feel like life is richer for hearing other people’s experiences, however poignant they may be. You articulate your experience so beautifully. Go out and shine for Adam Gabriel in your many swimsuits! x
Thank you so much. Did you think AG was in this world with us at first? I am sorry for the misunderstanding too. However, your reaction is perfect. We celebrate him (mostly privately).
Yes, I meant I was looking forward to reading it because I like hearing people’s success stories when it comes to dealing with infertility. So I’m sorry if that was insensitive or presumptive… I’m new to blogging and I haven’t worked through all the back posts yet.
I love that you talk about AG. You should. He’s your firstborn, as you said. I think the best tribute we can give to those who have passed is to talk about them, remember them and celebrate them.
Definitely! I didn’t find anything to be insensitive – please don’t worry! We haven’t been lucky enough to parent yet, but we are 1.5 years into an adoption from Haiti! Hope for a referral before the year is over..and then probably another year of waiting. It will all be worth it in the end! We thought we would have a bio first and then adopt, but we are adopting first…and then we will see where life has taken us…:)
Wowzers! You must be almost there. I know a few people who’ve adopted in recent years. I wish you all the best with your little one and I look forward to reading all about it!
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