I thought today would be a good day to put together Teddy's shadow box. A place to keep his ultrasounds, footprints, blanket and cards. Almost a year has passed and the pain isn't what it was. I want him to have a place in our home. I want it to feel like he was and is a part of our family. I waited until Justin and Harrison went to swim lessons, because I wanted to take his things out alone. It has been a long time since I looked at his ultrasounds or his little footprints. It has been a long time since I held his urn. Not because I forgot, but because I remembered how to live. Life pushes you forwarded.
Today, with the sun beaming, I felt like it was time. I fell apart. I cried as hard as I did the first time I saw those tiny footprints. I have sat here and sobbed for the past hour. Grief stays fresh. I am crying for hope lost, dreams vanished. For the little boy who should be starting to sit up and crawl and giggle. For his brother who will never play with him. For his memory, which will die out with his father and I. I am crying for all the other babies lost to horrible things we don't understand, and for all the Mamas whose arms ache to hold babies they never got to meet.
His last good ultrasound was taken almost exactly a year ago. That was before I knew about Ancephaly and how ultrasound machines have levels, or that most OBGYN's don't have the training to notice the disease early. It is before the amniotic fluid washed his brain away. Before the blackness that would meet us on the next ultrasound. This one is full of hope. Even at 13 weeks, it is clear he is a boy. He is there so alive.
I looked at it and tried to imagine myself on that day. That woman who was excitedly calling her husband, who had no concept of true fear or heartache. She did not know that she would soon be forced to make decisions that would rip her apart. The pain of inducing at 20 weeks and the anger of a body that does not want to give birth. She was happy. She was confident. She had few fears.
I will never be that woman again. I have learned to be happy, but in a different way. I am confident in the fact that God will not abandon us, and I can go forward assured of His great love. I have many great fears. I know fear in a way that I cannot forget. I have to work hard to leave that fear behind. It takes prayer, faith, healthy practices, acupuncture, counseling and at times meds.
I have cried and I am calmer. Grief doesn't lessen, it just becomes more manageable. I will get this shadow box done, and he will have a spot in our home. I am blessed. I had my son for 20 weeks. I got to have his footprints and his ultrasounds. I have an urn to hold. There are many Mamas who lose babies too early for these things. Babies that they have hoped and prayed and longed for. Some Mamas lose more than one, and they have yet to get to hold any of their children. I have wiggly miracle who is almost three.
As we approach Mother's Day, please keep these Mamas in your prayers. Mamas whose arms are empty and hearts ache. Mamas who long for their baby and have waited so long their hearts are broken. Mamas who aren't sure they will ever be seen as Mamas by society. They need extra love in the next week. Please reach out to one you know and offer it.