Two years have passed since I was in the doctor’s office to see if my baby’s heart was still beating. My mom had been with me and even before the doctor confirmed what I already knew due to the lack of a beating heart on the screen, I told my mom in a flat tone, “Baby’s dead”. Nurse and the ultra-sound technician said their condolences and slipped out into another room.
My mom turned to me and asked me what I wanted to do. “Just go home,” I cried, not being able to keep the tears at bay. I didn’t want to sit around and have the nurses to pretend to be sorry. They are used to this, they don’t truly care. (Later I realized how much they truly did care, as several broke into tears when I returned for my check up when I first found out I was pregnant with Braedon)
My mom drove me to get my car where it was left sitting at my office job at the time. On the way, I, of course was crying. My almost 24 weeks of imagining I would be a mom against all odds, was just crushed! I didn’t really look at my mom, but I did notice that she too was crying. I only ever saw her cry one other time in life and it was several years before. She was trying to be strong for me. You could tell that she didn’t want to make it worse for me. We got to the office and I slipped out of her car and into mine. She left and I just sat there crying. I hated where God had me in that moment.
At a memorial service we had had a couple weeks prior, a friend of Justin and mine said, “God won’t let this baby die. It is a miracle that you are pregnant, so there is no reason He would take your baby away.” I despised that comment. As much as I agreed with his sentiment, I knew God’s ways were not always our ways and wanted to keep from having such thoughts that He wouldn’t let her die because what would the point have been of this miracle pregnancy that I wasn’t supposed to have, much less past 8 weeks? I kept telling people that would make comments like that, not to say things, because they aren’t God. I do know they were trying to encourage me, but unfortunately it was getting my hopes up too much.
Then I had people who felt that we were not hopeful and that we did not believe in the power of God’s healing hand because we stopped renovating the spare room and stopped looking for baby items. Do you know how hard it is to buy baby items, redo a nursery room for a baby and then have that baby snatched from your arms within a couple weeks. Do you know how hard it is to go past that nursery room every day to see it empty of your child? No, and I knew it would be hard if we were not able to keep her with us, so I did not want to make it harder on ourselves than we needed to. But, hey, everyone else knew our situation better than ourselves.
We had a lot of people telling us about this person and that person who’s baby was given an impending doom but is happy and healthy and that we just need to believe He has the power to Heal. Every time someone would encourage us with another person they know who had such a story as ours it encouraged me…until they would say, and they always did, “You just need faith!” As if we didn’t have faith in God. It hurt. It hurt bad! We truly believed God could and would heal our baby, but yet, we wanted to be a vessel used by Him if He chose to heal our baby when she went to Heaven.
Obviously, He chose the latter alternative, and we still don’t know why. Through it all we lost a LOT of people close to us. We had some say we caused too much drama due to talking about how we felt on social media. We had others say that I didn’t care about her anyway because I didn’t cry enough (who determines if you ‘cry enough’ when someone close to you is hurt or dies?). I even had someone who heard that Justin and I talked about our experience in front of church, that we were acting and enjoyed the attention? Yeah, none of those people who said those things are in our lives any more. It is sad when someone is critiqued with how they handle sickness and ultimately death!
I am just thankful for the people who, after two years, still want to be my friend. Who still comment on my posts of Alexis…who still message me around this time saying they are praying for me, and those who pray for us throughout the year in secret.
As we drove to the hospital two evenings later, I randomly checked my Facebook messages and saw I had a message from another mother who had two angels waiting for her in Heaven. In the message she suggested a funeral home for our daughter’s casket and burial. Wait, what?! For many weeks we knew Alexis’ health had been declining more and more with each check up and even after finding out that she had passed from my womb to Jesus’ arms, I still didn’t think about her having actually died. Not once did we think about having to plan a grave side service. And people said we were acting as if she died already.
August 17th she was born and our church family, and immediate family was around us, physically and emotionally and with prayers. The son of the funeral home arrived and I remember looking up at him as he entered the room, nodded at us with sad eyes, and lightly touched someone’s shoulder, to let them know he had come to take our daughter. That is when it hit me. I was about to lose my daughter all over again! After the doctor told me a few days prior that our baby (we found out the day after she died, that she was a girl) had died I felt like I was punched in the gut. Then I went in to a trance for several days and only now…when the morgue was ready to take her, did I feel another punch. This one as if someone was ripping out my heart as well. He left our family say our good-byes before taking her body from our arms. He was so delicate and respectful of her. I had worked for many years in two different nursing homes and seen how they take out those who had deceased in body bags, but he didn’t. He carried her out of the room as if he was holding a live baby in his arms. I learned that he had brought a body bag, but he had left it at the entrance of the hospital so we wouldn’t see that part. I just wanted out of the nightmare I felt I was in.
Our church elders helped plan a beautiful grave side service as well as meal for many who made it. I don’t remember who was there really, but in the picture book that my sister-in-law made for me, I see faces of people who made it there…not for Alexis, but for us. I have been, and still am touched with the number of people who came out on that hot day to just be there for us. And now it is almost two years since we said our final good-byes to our daughter’s body, and it still feels like just yesterday.
I just had someone message me asking when I will get over the grieving process and move on with my life “because you are hindering your bond with your son” they had said. I didn’t realize that was happening. I don’t feel I will ever get done with the grieving process or ‘move on’. But I am NOT hindering my connection and bond with lil B! I feel that, by remembering our daughter who is waiting on the other side of those pearly gates, it reminds me how special B is to us…even as he wrecks the clean living room and grabs another cheese puff to smash in his fingers instead of eating it.
We are blessed with our almost-1-year-old son, and even in the times I struggle the most with being a loving mom and wife, I don’t ever take him for granted. I know too well how wanting something so much, and having it be pulled from you, can feel. So while the other moms are complaining about how frustrating their children are because they won’t leave them even pee in private, or how they exhaust them, I am going to be thankful. I know it is hard, and I am sure having multiple children is even tougher, but I am going to remember Alexis. My firstborn. My daughter. My angel. And remember that I am not guaranteed another day…hour…or even moment with Braedon. I am blessed.