There have been several moments over the last week and a half where it feels like it didn’t happen. Moments where it feels like all of it didn’t happen; I wasn’t even pregnant, I didn’t give birth; let alone, give birth to a stillborn; his ashes aren’t upstairs in his crib. It seems very surreal, and yet this is our reality.
Hubby went back to work yesterday. Which means, I am now alone for a large portion of the day. He said it felt wrong going back to work; like things were going back to normal; like we didn’t lose our son only a week and a half ago. I felt awful for him. I know it broke his heart to go back but I also know he was looking forward to the welcomed distraction of work. Something to keep his mind busy during the day and give him something else to focus on other than the immense loss we have suffered.
Luckily, the past two days my brother and my mother came up to help keep me busy during the day. Yesterday, was the first day I put on real pants (not maternity pants) in months. I put on my pre-pregnancy jeans and they fit perfectly. Was I even pregnant?! My body has bounced back so quickly, it seems like I wasn’t even pregnant at all. It broke my heart that my pants fit. A week and a half ago, he was in there and now it is completely flat and squishy. I have already lost 15 pounds of the 20 I gained while I was pregnant. I miss feeling his movement and seeing his kicks. I miss the firm round belly. I wore it with such pride and loved the fact that I finally had a baby bump. I don’t understand what happened?!
Did I really even give birth?! Did I have an epidural, something I was terrified of for years? Did both of those events actually occur? It doesn’t seem real. My labor was a total of 24 hours from start to finish, and just like that it was over. It was like it never even happened. Most people get to go home with a baby and they get that reminder of the physical feat they just completed. I got to go home with a teddy bear so I didn’t leave the hospital empty-handed (which is a wonderful gesture and as I said before I am so grateful for the hospital and nurses that we had.) It’s a week and a half later and physically, I feel 95% back to normal.
Was our son really a stillborn? It still seems like something I imagined. I held him, held his hand, and kissed his forehead. I touched him. We only spent a few hours with our son and even those few hours spent with him, he was never alive. He was here, and now, nothing. Instead, we have an incredibly small urn upstairs in a box, laying in his crib. Each night we go into that room and look at the crib and say goodnight to our son. I take the teddy bear the hospital gave me when we left and the blanket I crocheted that he was wrapped in, out of the crib and bring them to bed with us. Instead of having a newborn in our room with us, I sleep with a teddy bear and my son’s blanket because it is the only tangible thing we have that he touched. Then every morning, I put the teddy bear and the blanket back in his crib so they can be with Asher and say good morning to my son. In a week and a half, this has become our new normal.
What happened?! How did this happen?! Why did this happen to us?! I know God has a reason for this but it is very hard in the midst of it to not ask “why”. Why does everyone else get to have their healthy babies and instead we have the ashes of ours? Why did his heart suddenly stop beating when all the tests seem to be normal? Why do we have to look at a box of our son’s ashes in his crib instead of him? Why do we have to bear this pain instead of the happiness of having a child? Why to all of it!?
Every morning I wake up and it just doesn’t seem real to me. Everything was taken away so quickly, it doesn’t seem like any of it happened. But then the realization hits, it did happen, all of it. My son was born stillborn and now we are left to try to pick up the pieces and find our way back from every parents’ worst fear. I am terrified of him being forgotten because it all happened so fast and everything changed in an instant. As life slowly returns to normal, I am afraid that the memory of him will fade for others and that they will forget that I do have a son and I am a mother too. I’m afraid to do anything I did prior to losing Asher. I feel like it would mean it didn’t happen and life has just resumed as normal. I need to remind myself that nothing will cause him to fade for us. He is and always will be our firstborn son. His memory for us will never fade, it could never because we are his parents. All we can do is try to move forward and honor his memory the best that we can.