Jonah’s anniversary of meeting his grandma Kelly in Heaven is 8 days from now, and his birthday is 9 days away. I’m not sure how it’s possible that it’s been a year, but I also feel like it’s been forever since I’ve held my son. Some years fly by while others crawl, and this one feels like it flew. There was so much day-to-day grieving for so many months that days sort of melded together into a big grief lump. Grief really does change acutely over time and it’s been interesting to see that, but those early weeks and months feel sort of like an amorphous blob, without much semblance of time.
On this date one year ago, I was anxiously awaiting an appointment where more of a plan would be formed, and I just couldn’t wait. Not having a plan for an exact day we’d try to deliver Jonah via c-section was driving me crazy, as I just had no idea every day if he’d be alive when I woke up, in the middle of the day, at the end of the day. I’ve never been through anything so anxiety inducing as that period of my life! I carried a sick baby with a poor diagnosis for months, each day wondering if he would live. It was the first thing on my mind every morning when I woke up, and the last thing as I was falling asleep. Every morning, I’d lie in bed in a ball of nerves while I changed positions and pushed around on my belly to see if he’d move. Was he okay in there, or was this the day he’d be gone?
When we finally had the planning appointment, it was pretty disappointing. I had made it to 30 weeks, and I thought we might try to deliver him. Unfortunately, the very best fetal heart specialists decided I’d need to wait for 32 weeks in order for his little veins to be big enough to save him. They admitted me to the hospital that day, a Friday, to give me an experimental dose of steroids to see if they could possibly help increase his heart rate. On Sunday morning, though, we discovered he was gone.
For months, I tried to prepare myself for that news. I never gave up hope, but his prognosis was so grim, I had to be realistic. I knew there was a strong possibility he’d be stillborn, and I tried to prepare myself mentally for such an experience. Really, though…you can’t. There’s nothing that can prepare you for the pain of losing a baby, no matter how long you’ve sat with that strong possibility.
Hope sneaks its way in and binds with love in a link between mother and baby so strong, there’s no way to fully accept that diagnosis. No, I couldn’t accept it until it happened, and when it did, it wasn’t any easier because I had known it was probably coming.
Colin had gone out to his work’s winter party the night before (I told him to get the heck out of the hospital and have some fun), so he wasn’t there when I found out. I immediately told everyone to get the heck out of my room so I could call my husband. I’ll never forget having to make that call and hearing his voice when he understood what the call was about. I found out later that he was actually cooking an omelet, which he turned off and left on the stove to come be with me.
These moments approaching Jonah’s birthday are on my mind today. The rest of his birth story is for another time <3