Today marks six months since the absolute worst day of our lives. The day that everything fell to pieces. The day that our lives went from being happy and carefree and full of anticipation to sad and grief-stricken and heavy. Six months ago, when I woke up in the morning, everything in my life was still normal. I was a little nervous, but Scott had reassured me that everything would be fine–we’ll just move up our scheduled doctor’s appointment a couple days so that we can make sure.

I called the doctor’s office the second they opened and got us in for a 10:15am appointment. I setup my laptop in the kitchen and got to work on sending some e-mails for work. I let the staff know that I might miss the beginning of our 11:00 staff meeting, but I’d be in as soon as my appointment was over. Everything is fine. I kept repeating that to myself over and over again. Everything is fine. At the same time, I remember trying to retrace my steps and thoughts and remember. It had been a busy couple of days during the holiday weekend.

On Saturday, July 2 we had gone to the fireworks in Springboro with some dear friends. We laughed and talked about how next year we would be the crazy parents with a little kid in pajamas at the fireworks. I remember feeling Alexander move a lot that night. Was he trying to tell us something? 

We had spent Sunday afternoon driving over to Columbus to hang out with our friend TH and see our friends on the Ohio Spoke Folk tour. We had eaten a delicious dinner with our friend TH at Melt and spent some time walking around Easton and taking some goofy photos in Restoration Hardware. My friend KM had given me a huge hug at the Spoke Folk program and asked if she could put her hand on my belly to feel the baby move. Did we feel him that night? 

On July 4, we spent the morning hanging out at home and then went over to visit my parents who were on vacation at John Bryan State Park. That was the day they dropped off the car seat that they had gotten for us as a baby shower gift. I remember sitting around under their canopy at their campsite (it must have been raining just a little bit) with my hand on my belly. I recall thinking that I hadn’t felt as much movement that day, and thinking to myself well, he must just be sleeping. I even made a comment about it as I laughed and visited with my mom. Looking back, I was so incredibly uneducated. People actually tell you that babies move less as you near the end of pregnancy. Anyone who tells you that has no clue what they are talking about. I just wish I had known that then.

That evening, on July 4, as Scott and I laid in bed and watched the PBS special documenting the fireworks in Washington DC, I remember saying something to Scott about how I was a little worried. I hadn’t felt the baby move as much that day, but I really thought I was still feeling some movement. He assured me that it would be fine, and that we would call the doctor in the morning. That evening haunts me now. If we had gone in that night or earlier that day, would it have made a difference? Would Alexander be here?

And so we headed to the doctor’s office for our 10:15am appointment. I remember sitting in the waiting room with my hand resting on my belly and just feeling a little bit uneasy about the whole thing. I tried over and over again to tell myself that everything was fine. After all, my whole pregnancy had been perfectly healthy. A textbook case as my doctors said over and over again.

They took us back into a room I hadn’t been in before for a non-stress test. At that point, I didn’t even know what a non-stress test was. I was hooked up to a heartbeat monitor and given a button to press each time I felt the baby move. I could tell almost immediately that something wasn’t right as the nurse moved the monitor several times trying to locate the baby’s heartbeat. Try laying on your side. Let’s try over here. Maybe he’s just turned around. It had never, never taken that long to find a heartbeat at any of my other doctor’s appointments. I looked over at Scott, absolutely terrified. What is going on? When the nurse left again, I told him that I was scared. It shouldn’t be this hard. What’s happening? Something isn’t right here.

The nurse practitioner RF came in and let us know that they were going to do an ultrasound. They moved us to an exam room while we waited for the ultrasound tech to be available. As Scott and I sat in that room alone, I could feel the lump in my throat. The tears in my eyes. I was so scared. Scott just held my hand. He was so strong. RF came back into the room and said, oh you must be so scared. She offered some tissues and held our hands and tried so hard to help us be brave.

They escorted us across the hall to the ultrasound room as soon as it became available. I remember the ultrasound tech. She was the same one who had done our first ultrasound at 11 weeks. The same one who had shown us our lively and healthy and perfect baby boy for the first time as he flipped and turned and spun and moved around. This time, the look in her eye was different. “Do you want to look at the screen?” I opted to not look. I didn’t want to see unless the news was good. I think I knew already at that point that it wasn’t good. I didn’t know what it was going to be. I hoped that the worst-case scenario was an early arrival and a stay in the NICU. But I knew. I could tell by the look in her eyes. She called RF back into the room, and then it happened.

I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat. 

noheartbeat

Shock. I couldn’t breathe. When I heard those words, I just lost it. What do you do? Where do you go from there? What’s next? 

They gave us a few minutes in that room to just start processing. To just cry. Then we were escorted across the hall to a small room that is there just for parents like us. Parents whose babies are no longer living. Parents who are grieving. RF came in and sat with us and prayed with us. She was the only witness to those darkest first moments of our grief as we tried to grasp onto anything–anything. She walked us through the next steps, and allowed us to just sit in that room as long as we needed to.

I don’t know how long we sat there. All I know is that it was in those tiny rooms in that doctor’s office that our lives changed forever six months ago.

Six. Months. Ago.

Six months ago, we heard those words instead of a heartbeat.

Six months ago, we had to figure out what on earth we were going to do next.

Six months ago, we had to process that even when your baby dies you still have to go to the hospital–to the maternity ward–and give birth.

Six months ago, we had to call and text and message our family and friends to tell them the heartbreaking news.

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Six months ago, we came home to a living room full of baby gear and a ready-to-go nursery and we sat on the couch and stared at the wall and just waited to hear from the doctor that it was time to go to the hospital.

Six months ago, I was admitted to the hospital to deliver a baby that would never take his first breath.

Six. Months. Ago.

Today is a heavy day. How is it possible that it has been six months? July 5 feels like it was yesterday and at the same time it feels like it was lifetimes ago. In many ways, I still feel like my entire existence hinges on that day. On those moments. That was the day that everything in my world changed.

So, today is hard. I’m moving a little slow this morning, trying to take it in but also trying so hard to cling to the light and the hope that we have been able to experience since that day. I’m trying to remember the pure joy and happiness that I felt on July 2 and 3. I’m trying to remind myself that while this will never be okaywe will be okay. I’m relying heavily on the prayers and love and support of our dear friends and family.

I’m now officially five for five with crying in 2017. Every day. The changing of the calendar from 2016 to 2017 has been harder than I thought it would be. I trust that there will again be days that I don’t cry. Where I don’t feel this lump in my throat constantly.

Until then, I’m trying desperately to train my eyes to see the light in the darkness. And I’m listening to this song from JJ Heller on repeat and trying desperately to cling to the hope of a new year.

This year
I’m not looking back to who I was
Because I’m gonna be someone
I’ve never been
This year
I’m not focused on the cracks in the walls
Not keeping track of all the times I fall
This year

So long to last year
It’s all becoming so clear
There is no use living in regret
Let’s fight a good fight
Train our eyes to find the light
That makes this year the best one yet!
Starting right here
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

This year
I plan on thinking less of “I” and “me”
I resolve to think of “us” and “we”
This year
I can’t wait to see what good will come
To feel alive instead of feeling numb
This year

So long to last year
It’s all becoming so clear
There is no use living in regret
Let’s fight a good fight
Train our eyes to find the light
That makes this year the best one yet!
Starting right here
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

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2 thoughts on “July 5. Six Months Later.

  1. I’m so sorry. 6 months, plus the New Year totally freaking broke me and left me not functioning for days. I’m hoping 2017 brings more light, and I’m sending you continued strength. xoxo

    Like

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