I haven’t written anything in almost six months but I feel like writing might be the best source of therapy for me right now. On Saturday, April 23rd, we had our diaper bash. It was a fun time full of friends, bbq, and kids in the pool. We hung out until 9pm. Aiden and I were exhausted so we went right to bed. The next morning, Aiden came into my room and kissed my belly (something I really loved) and it occurred to me; I hadn’t felt the baby move. I definitely hadn’t felt him that morning and I couldn’t recall feeling him the day before. Maybe it was because we had so much going on that I just didn’t notice it. Either way, I was concerned. I called my OB who sent me to labor and delivery to be monitored. At this point, I didn’t think anything serious was going to happen so I insisted Brian stay home with Aiden.
I arrive at labor and delivery around 10am. My OB had already called ahead so they had a room for me. The nurse was cold and gruff. I changed into a gown and laid on the bed. With big sweeping movements she tried to find the heart beat. Twice, she found mine sending me on a hopeful emotional roller coaster. After what seemed like an hour, she stopped. She stated that she couldn’t find it but would get the specialist in immediately to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came in. After a very quick scan she put down the ultrasound, grabbed both of my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eyes. She didn’t have to say a word. I knew. “I’m sorry, sweetie. He’s gone”.
When the nurse told me she was getting the ultrasound tech I called Brian and my mom. Brian couldn’t find anyone to watch Aiden so he brought him with him. As soon as the tech told me the news, my OB came in, crying, and hugged me. She held me and cried with me until Brian and Aiden arrived. Then she took Aiden in the hallway but not before he heard me tell Brian, “He’s gone”. As she took Aiden into the hallway he asked her, “Why did mommy say Sawyer is gone?” She replied, “Because he was so special that God needed him with him”, to which Aiden replied, “That’s so they could keep me”.
My mom arrived shortly after that and she was hysterical. She screamed, “No! God, no! Why?!” She later explained that she wasn’t just upset about Sawyer, but for her daughter too. She knew what was going to have to happen next. He still needs to be born. The nurses told me that birthing a still born is usually more difficult and could take days because the baby doesn’t “help” at all. I was fortunate in this sense. I was induced at 11am, started contracting, got my epidural, had my water broke, and was ready to push by 7pm. This, I was not prepared for.
It is clear to me now that during that entire day I was in shock. I didn’t start to come out of it for a few days. It didn’t take long for him to come out, but it definitely took longer than Aiden did. He was 7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long. When he was born, the umbilical cord was TIGHTLY wrapped around his neck….twice. Poor Brian has that image burned into his brain. He had to sit down and couldn’t hold him. He said he didn’t want to remember him like that. I didn’t look. I couldn’t. They cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and brought him to me. I held him for….not long enough. How long is long enough? The only words I said to him was, “We tried.” I didn’t tell him I loved him, or that I was sorry. I didn’t tell him about how much he was wanted or what a good brother he would of been to Aiden. I didn’t even kiss him. I didn’t even cry… and I tried. I had six pairs of eyes staring at me, waiting to see any emotion, and I couldn’t even make my self cry. Again, shock. This is by far, the part I feel most guilty about. If I had it to do over again they would have to pull him from my arms. My mom, on the other hand, spent a long time with him. She kissed him and told him all about us, and told him how much he was loved. I am so very thankful for this!
I sent everyone home that night so I could sleep. I was exhausted. They gave me medicine to help me sleep so I drifted off quickly. The next morning was terrible. I woke up in the hospital room, by myself, and realized that everything had actually happened. Our baby boy really did die. I really did birth him. And we really were going home without him. We would have to “make plans” as everyone put it, as to what to do with his body. Brian, Aiden, and my mom came back to pick me up. I went into the hospital a day prior with a full term baby in my belly and left with a memory box. The box included a blanket, hat, footprints and a hand print. We had professional pictures done of him but we haven’t received them yet. I am told that they will be in black and white and edited to look like a peaceful, sleeping baby. I hope so because as of right now, I can’t even remember what he looks like and that breaks my heart.
The most surprising part to all of this is the overwhelming love and support we have received since this happened. Two GoFundMe accounts were created for us, we have received card after card, phone calls, meals, etc. We would not be where we are now, one week later, without the support from our friends and family. I have heard that distraction is the best medicine. So far, it is true. We have tried to stay busy and spend a lot of time with Aiden. This kind of loss really makes you cherish what you have.
Thanks to the donation money we will be having a butterfly release ceremony at a local park in June. We also just purchased a commemorative brick from the zoo in Sawyer’s honor. It will say, “In loving memory of Sawyer Elmore 4/24/16 Taken too soon but loved for eternity”. It should be ready in about eight weeks and it will be placed in front of the carousel. We thought it would be neat for Aiden to find his brother’s name every time we go to the zoo. After the medical bills and ceremony, we will be starting Aiden a college fund. It will be a sort of gift from his brother. We wouldn’t of been able to start one on our own. I bet that will be a “Everything happens for a reason” situation people will try to point out to me in the future. Unfortunately, I am having a really hard time with that saying right now. I think it is still too raw.