Before writing this, I re-read my post from 2016. In general, it said that the beginning of 2016 was the worst of our lives between the infertility and my miscarriage, but that the end of 2016 was wonderful because I was pregnant with our rainbow. I went into 2017 thinking it would be the best year of our lives because we would welcome our baby boy. I never even imagined that 2017 would go on to take the crown as the worst year of my life.
It started out just fine and dandy. We were preparing for the arrival of our little man. Pop-pop had painted his nursey and we had the whole room ready for him by the end of January. My OB appointment at the end of January showed that everything was going well. We were moving right along. On February 14, 2017, I got my Tdap shot and four days later my son’s heart stopped, along with my world. Of course, as you know, they have no reason for why his heart stopped, but you can bet that if I am lucky enough to ever get pregnant again, I am not getting the Tdap shot with that pregnancy.
Since the moment they told me my son’s heart had stopped beating, I have been navigating the mires of grief and learning how to live in this new normal. As we end 2017, I am no longer the same person I was at the end of 2016. I am irrevocably changed. And can I be honest? I miss me. I miss the person I was before my heart was shattered into a million pieces when Asher’s stopped. I miss what it was like to not know this pain. I miss what it was like to not have to pretend to be a normal human on some days. I miss being the person who was always up for spending time with friends and family, instead of just preferring to stay home and hide from the world some days. I miss not having as severe anxiety, as I do now. I miss being that friend that everyone could count on, the one who worked hard to maintain my friendships. I miss a lot about the person I was before I lost Asher. Parts of the old me are still there, but as a whole, I am a different person than I was this time last year.
While nothing can make losing Asher better, the absence of him has connected me with some pretty amazing women this year. I have met so many other loss mothers, many of whom I speak to on a daily basis. Some that I have met in person and some that I have never met in real life. They get what it is like to experience this loss and they understand why I feel the way I feel. The loss community is so supportive and I’m honored to be a part of that support system for others with the Lucky Anchor Project.
The loss of Asher has given me a purpose, to share him with as many people as I can and to help others who know this pain. Child loss seems to be a taboo subject in our society and it’s ridiculous. After losing Asher, Steve and I donated 36 Comfort Cubs to our local hospital to fill the arms of parents leaving without their child. The bears arrived in May and I received notice this week that they opened the last box. That means 30 bears have been given out in 7 months. Each one of those bears represents a child that was loss. THIRTY BABIES in our area alone! It is NOT uncommon and it is not something that should be hidden from the world. I will continue to share my son until the day I die, regardless of who it makes uncomfortable. Yes, I have a son. Yes, he died in utero. No, I will not stop talking about him. If it makes someone uncomfortable for a few minutes, so be it. I have to live with that feeling for the rest of my life. Thanks to starting the Lucky Anchor Project with my friend and fellow loss mom, Brittany, we have been able to donate to several loss non-profits and give back to the community that has helped us with our grief. Being able to give back to the community in honor of my son, is something that has helped me tremendously with my grief. It is comforting to know that good is being done in his name.
In 2017, I learned that we have are surrounded by so many amazing people. After losing Asher, people rallied around us to be there for whatever we needed; food, a shoulder to cry on, distractions, or just to sit with us in silence. We still receive texts from people on holidays and other events that they know are going to be tough on us. The loss of Asher did not only rock our world, but the world of our friends and family. We are not the only people who miss him and think of him every day. Others are hurting for us and with us. It’s nice to know that we have such wonderful, caring people in our lives and that Asher has touched their hearts as well.
While 2017 brought me Asher and allowed me to hold him in my arms, it also only gave me one day with him. I was given one day with my son and a lifetime of pain over the loss of him. I would never wish this experience away because it would mean Asher never existed and I so cherish the time that I had with him. Being pregnant with him was the absolute greatest joy of my life. However, I am happy to say goodbye to this year. I can only hope for better things in 2018, but after the year 2017 has given me, I am fearful of that hope. I know how devastating that hope can be when the rug is ripped out from under you. I approach 2018 with hesitation and I intend on taking it just one day at a time because at this point, that is all I can do.