The night before Max was born, I wrote “Tomorrow will be one of my most important and special days, and the anticipation is killing me. I can’t wait to see what he looks like (and what we end up naming him…) and see my children hold him and meet him. I’m excited to see my husband interact with the tiny being he helped create. I feel closer to heaven during this time than any other time in my life. I’m so lucky.”
Ohhh I wish I could go back and give myself a hug. My children never held him, they never met him, Jazz never got to hold him while he was alive. But yes, I felt closer to heaven during Max’s day than other other time in my life. I really am so lucky. He is special.
To Max, on the second anniversary of your birthday-
Tomorrow we are celebrating your little life and the big impact you left on our family. Tonight I read through everything I wrote about your birth and the weeks following your death. I’m so thankful I took the time to pull myself out of the thick heavy grief and write down the events of those days. My memory tends to fade and it helps me so much to read and think about your life.
I thought about how excited we were to pull into the hospital, bags in tow.
I thought about sitting in pre-op, sending selfies to my sisters with funny captions about drugs.
I thought about the surgery, the anesthesia, Jazz holding my hand and handing me tissues for my tears.
We heard you cry. There is not a better sound in the world.
Tonight I remembered how it felt to hold your little body. My biggest baby, but still so small and froggy. I remember I sang Happy Birthday to you. The nurse wanted to take you to check on your breathing- she held you next to my face and said, “One more kiss for mama!” And I thought Yes! The first of many many kisses!
I thought about being in recovery, sitting with Jazz, waiting for you to return to me. Pink and happy.
I remember the nurse coming in, frantic for my chart.
And I will never forget my OB coming in, shaking her head, the look on her face as she told us that our little baby had been coding for thirty minutes.
Coding. What does that even mean. The nurse prayed with me. I didn’t cry. I didn’t know.
Tonight I thought about the sound of Jazz coming down the hall, sobbing, his orange shirt coming around the corner. The news. I remembering crying out to God. Literally crying out.
And I remember them wheeling your little bassinet into the recovery room. Wires and tubes and lines removed. Wrapped up. You looked asleep. You were perfect. You were pink and warm and I thought at any point you would wiggle and wake up and open your eyes and see me. But you didn’t.
I couldn’t even sit up to hold you. Stitches held my body together. Medicine dripped into my arm so I could be comfortable. I remember I wished there was something they could give me for my heart ache. For the gaping hole in my soul. It was much more painful than the cesarean.
I remember that we held you and looked at your fingers and toes and ears. I traced your face and your features. Your skin was so soft. Your hair so fluffy.
And after hours and hours, when it was time for you to go, the nurse came into our room. And I physically could not hand you over. My mind was telling my body to hand you to the nurse and I couldn’t do it. A few more minutes. Just a few more minutes. I remember my mom telling me that no matter how long I held you, it would never feel like enough. She was right. No time was enough.
I thought I would be able to sleep that night. Babies were being born. I could hear them crying. My room was quiet. I couldn’t sleep. Drugs helped. The nurse came and wrote in my chart on the computer. I noticed that I was flagged as “fetal demise.” Not quite accurate, as you were a neonatal death, but I asked Jazz to turn off the screen so I didn’t have to see those words by my name.
Tonight I thought about how it felt to leave the hospital and drive home with an empty car seat. Come home to an empty house. Our preparations for you had been tucked away, out of sight.
Tonight I remembered going to the funeral home to hold you one last time before you were placed in your casket. Dressed in white, swaddled in a white blanket, crocheted by a dear friend. I sat in a rocking chair and held your body, and prayed over you, and showed you to my family. That day was sacred.
I thought about the funeral we had to honor you. The tiny casket. Blue ribbons. Margo sitting on my lap. Children eating fruit snacks and trying to be reverent. I remember the lullaby that Sean played on his violin. That song will never be the same to me.
I thought about the days and weeks following. Sort of numb, going through the motions. People brought food, I remember that, lots of food.
Even now two years later I am desperate to talk about you. To tell your story and remind people that I have three children, not just the two they are familiar with. I have a son so special and so perfect that his mission was short, his job done, his body resting while his spirit waits for the rest of us to catch up.
Tonight I let myself listen to the short videos we have of your life. Little cries and grunts, just a few seconds of your body moving around, taking in the world, your eyes open and alert. I don’t do this very often because it shakes me to the core, I long for your SO MUCH it physically hurts, and I cry until I have no tears left, and no energy to do anything but to close my burning eyes and sleep. I miss you desperately.
Tonight I opened the archival safe box I have with your memories. Your blanket, your hat. Your hospital tags. Hand and foot prints. A binder full of thoughtful cards sent by people who love us, and love you too.
Max, we love you. We miss you. We think of you everyday. We feel your presence in our family. Sometimes my mind wanders and I think of our reunion, and how that will be, and it makes me cry happy tears. Thank you for changing our family two years ago, and forever more.
|“one more kiss for mama”|