March 29, 2016 9 minute read
I miss him.
How much longer will I go on feeling like this? Sometimes I want to give up, but there’s something stopping me. Is it that I know it’ll break my husband’s heart? Or that I’ll selfishly give the burden of losing a child to my own parents? I don’t know.
Tuesday was the first day I was ever alone since losing Jeremiah. I woke up around 10:21am. I looked out the window and it was a brooding Winter’s day, about to snow. I acknowledged how beautiful it was and my mind wandered to images of having a cup of tea while my newborn was asleep and snuggled in my arms as I watched TV. Unfortunately, our imaginations are wild, and how we imagined it would be will never be so because Jeremiah isn’t alive. Isn’t alive? It’s unnatural. We lost our first child and with him the chance of truly experiencing parenthood.
Ever since I got home from the hospital my arms have felt empty – especially on that Tuesday. I wanted to hold my Jeremiah, I wanted him to look at me and smile, I wanted to hear his caveman babbles. So many thoughts ran through my head. We not only missed the life he would’ve had as newborn but his toddlerhood, childhood, teenage years, and adult life. We were grieving his life in my womb, the moments we had with him, and then the whole one hundred years of life he’d never get.
I walked over to Jeremiah’s nook and fell on the floor, calling out his name and demanding him back from God. My tears flooded our hardwood as I begged. In my rage I smashed a mason jar at my feet. I examined the shards and wanted to cut my wrist but I didn’t. I calmed down, still singing Jeremiah’s name from my lips, and I focused on the glistening shards on the floor.
Wednesday was a bit better. I remembered Amelia Barnes, whom I had followed on Instagram while I was in the early stages of my pregnancy with Jeremiah. She was happy and healthy in her pictures and did yoga poses with her big bump that I could never imagine myself capable of doing whether pregnant or not. She uploaded pictures and it warmed my heart – I couldn’t wait to get closer to my due date. But then she uploaded something devastating. Her child, Landon, had died. I was in shock, even though I didn’t personally know this woman, and I mourned with her and prayed for her for days. Matt, my husband, saw how affected I was by this, because it was unfair and heartbreaking. I remember him saying, “Don’t look at stuff like that, we’ll be just fine.” Now here we are, facing what her and her family faced – I can’t believe it.
I googled and googled until I found her page again – it had been six months since her son’s death. She seemed stronger, wiser, and more spiritual than before. Something inside of me stirred, for once I believed that I’d be fine, that if she and other angel mommies can hold on, I must and should be able to do the same. Matt said to me over and over, “God chose us, because he knew we are strong enough.” I believe this. I have to.
That night, Matt and I had a long and deep conversation as we tried to speculate why Jeremiah passed. We kept coming back to, “I don’t know,” because we truly didn’t know, we couldn’t blame anyone. I blamed myself, because my body was supposed to protect Jeremiah, I should’ve seen the signs. Matt blamed himself too. But we realized we couldn’t keep trying to place blame because it would never bring Jeremiah back to us.
I believe witnessing the strength of other woman living after loss and that talk with Matt were what changed my grief. They almost made grieving Jeremiah easier. The next morning, as I walked into the living room and into the kitchen where Jeremiah’s pictures are placed, I said good morning to him. I also placed more pictures of Jeremiah into a beautiful picture frame Matt gave me. It was therapeutic, studying Jeremiah’s face and smiling at his pureness and beauty. I’ve never seen a child as beautiful as him. He is so perfect.
It was such an honor to carry him.
Later that day, Matt came home with a Macy’s bag. I knew what was inside. It was a white Christening suit; I imagined how stylish my little boy would look in it. Then it broke my heart that we can only imagine, and never to actually see him in it. Why? I asked myself. Everyone else has their newborn at home with them. Other parents are preparing to Christen their own. But here we are, quiet home, empty arms, preparing a burial. Oh, the unfairness. It makes me so angry! It makes me want to scream: THIS IS SO HARD!
Before every detail becomes hazy I have to write this down.
New Years Eve, I waited for Matt to come home. He took a nap, then later at around 11pm we travelled to a friends house. I sat on the couch, eating a slider as we welcomed the New Year, and watched the television show Martin. We came home and went to bed. Life was nice, life was simple.
But during the night I got up twice to pee, and each time I had this feeling that something was off. It wasn’t a strong feeling, and so I ignored it. At 6am that feeling was still there, and so I waited for Jeremiah to wake up. Nothing. I got out of bed and sat on my favorite spot on the couch and I called my mother explaining that I felt funny and my stomach didn’t look normal. Then I called my aunt; I was always updating her with Jeremiah. She prayed for me, and as soon as she was finished my waters broke! Three weeks early! I was so excited. Matt heard me and got out of bed and we marveled at the fact that we were about to be parents.
As I hopped up to rinse off I noticed blood running down my leg, heavy, like a period. Then Matt asked, “Baby, is it supposed to be this much blood?”
I knew something was wrong.
We got dressed, grabbed our hospital bag, and head off to the hospital that’s five minutes down the street. Once we got there I attempted to get out the car. Blood gushed from my body. I knew something wasn’t right. I continued to walk to the entrance of the Women and Children building and was becoming increasingly weak and dizzy; huge blood clots fell from my body to the ground. I knew I was on the verge of death, I felt it. I prayed for myself and our child.
Matt frantically got a wheelchair and wheeled me to the Maternity ward, everything was becoming blurry as I weakened. Once we got to the ward they filed paperwork, which frustrated us as I was bleeding and most likely harming my child. Then, once they saw how much blood I was losing, they wheeled me into a room and told me to undress and give them a urine sample. The urine sample was just blood and clots.
I was placed on a bed as they wired me up to monitor his heartbeat; the nurse was searching so hard trying to get a reading. Then a doctor came in and performed a sonogram and she kept saying, “I am concerned for your baby.”
Something was definitely wrong.
I prayed and spoke to Jeremiah saying, “Please kick mommy, please wake up baby.” I repeated that over and over, but the doctor just kept on repeating, “I’m concerned for your baby.”
Then our own doctor walked into the room and checked the sonogram herself. She looked at the screen and said, “There’s no heartbeat.” My heart sank. My Jeremiah! I was in shock and I couldn’t cry. I just kept telling Jeremiah to kick me as I watched Matt break down. We lost our child, our world. I didn’t believe it; I couldn’t believe it.
Later we were transferred to another room, my mother and father sat there waiting – waiting for me to begin delivery until Matt broke the news to them. I don’t really remember much of what happened next because I was so numb. I just remember the moment I finally cried, when they gave me Pictocin through my IV to help dilate me since I was only 2-3 cm.
Every couple of hours my cervix was checked by my doctor to see how much I’d dilated, and every time she said, “Whenever I check this child does something new.” It was like Jeremiah was still cooperating with my body to make sure I would have the optimal birth.
The time came when I was 10cm. I was ready. It was an intimate birth, just my doctor, my nurse, Tina, my mother, and Matt. The birthing experience was beautiful, painful, and sad. I didn’t push for long, I just remember the doctor saying, “He’s out.” I prayed to God to please give us a miracle and allow Jeremiah to cry.
He never did.
Right away, the nurse took him to get cleaned up. I was nervous to see or hold him – Matt held him first. But when I held him I loved him even more. He was so perfect, so warm, and looked just like Matt. This was my son. Our son.
I’m thankful for the 26 hours we had with Jeremiah, it brought us happiness, sadness, and appreciation. The most pain came when it was time for nurse Tina to take Jeremiah. It broke my heart seeing the two people I love the most say goodbye. As Matt held Jeremiah, I remember him saying, “It’s unfair, we’ve done everything right.’’ I broke into a million pieces. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand to see my husband so broken. It felt so much more unbearable because Jeremiah was his twin. I felt like I failed them both.
Tina opened her arms to receive Jeremiah and I looked at her with disgust and anger. I thought, “How dare she take him?!” I didn’t want him to go – I wanted him to stay with us. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I handed Jeremiah to Matt for one last kiss and then Matt handed him over to the nurse as I wailed. My baby is gone, he’s gone forever! A piece of me left with him as well.
I spent more days in the hospital after that. We were placed away from the new crying babies, and were given the constant reminder in the form of that postcard with a purple leaf and teardrop taped to our door. I missed him every hour, every minute, every second.
The doctors still aren’t exactly sure what happened. They know it was an abruption of the placenta, but they don’t know what caused it. Some doctors believed I had preeclampsia but in reverse. Instead of seeing symptoms first, Jeremiah’s death came first then symptoms of preeclampsia arose. The doctors do agree that both Jeremiah and I weren’t going to come home, either I would’ve pass away or Jeremiah. Matt said Jeremiah chose to save me; I would’ve save him.
I do still wonder why. Is there a purpose God wanted me to fulfill? Am I being tested by God by having my firstborn taken away? I don’t know. God did something I’ll never understand: my sinful soul was survived over the beautiful pureness of Jeremiah.
I was crying, so I decided to write this instead. It’s snowing now but earlier it was raining. I wonder if the sky was tearing up, crying with us, because we are getting closer to Jeremiah’s burial date? The snow is beautiful though, and I wish Jeremiah could see it for himself. Who knows, he could’ve been the one to ask God to give us snow because he knows his mommy thinks it’s pretty. It’s beginning to thicken as I type these words; it might actually stick to the ground.
The present day
I just received an email from my pregnancy app that my baby would’ve been 11 months this week. Every day we miss our little one, especially now all our memories of him have been intensified. We’ve grown and changed into better people and we have strength we never knew we had. Everything we do is for Jeremiah.
Just the other day we learned of this quote: “Someday this pain will be useful to you.”
-you can follow more of Tina’s journey on her private Instagram account here.