This is going to be a hard letter for me to write, but I feel in my heart that it’s time.
Tonight, I want to talk to you about how perfect and beautiful you are.
Before I get to that, though, I have to mention how angry I am with my body. I’m trying very, very hard to let myself believe that none of what happened to you is my fault, and it’s all just stupid chance and biology. While that’s true, it’s incredibly difficult to get past the fact that my body failed you. My placenta should have blocked those antibodies from reaching your heart, but it did not.
And for that, I’m mad. I’m mad at my body, I’m mad at statistics, and I’m mad at lupus for existing in the first place. I’m mad that I have it, and I’m mad that it hurt you. As your mother, I am your protector. My body should have kept you safe; instead, it failed you.
This is one of the hardest pieces of my grief to deal with, Jonah. I know in my heart of hearts that this is not my fault, yet I cannot keep the pesky blame monster out of my head. It creeps in when I’m most vulnerable and blames my body for failing at keeping my son safe.
It’s a struggle, but I’m working on it. I’m learning how to love my body again, slowly but surely.
Now, I want to tell you just how beautiful you are. When you were growing inside me, you developed hydrops at week 25. That means that your little body filled with fluid, and it was hard to keep going when that fluid was pushing on your heart and lungs. But you were so, so strong, and you kept living for another 5 weeks, fighting through the fluid. I’m so grateful for that time that I got to spend with you <3
I wasn’t sure how you were going to look when you came out. I knew you would have lots of fluid, and you wouldn’t look like other babies who are born living. But, when the nurse was cleaning you up and wrapping you in a blanket before putting you in my arms, I was so excited to see what you looked like. I could barely wait for her to bring you over!
When you were handed to me, I saw that you were perfect. Your face had fluid in it, but Jonah, you were so beautiful. To me, you were perfect. Your perfect nose and perfect lips and chubby cheeks were exactly what I thought they would be: your loveliness made my heart burst with love.
We had pictures taken with you – just a couple, because I was running a fever and needed tending to by the nurses, and lots of sleep. A couple weeks later, when we got those pictures back, I saw your face and I cried. I cried because to me, you were so perfect, and I miss you so much. I kept that picture to myself, though, because I just needed to be selfish for a while. I needed to have that beautiful memory of you with me, and only me, for a while.
It’s been two months now since we said hello and goodbye on January 22nd. Two months of your daddy and I keeping you to ourselves. Today, though, I’m ready. I’m ready for the world to see how beautiful you were, and how much you looked just like me and your daddy.
World, meet my beautiful Jonah.