The creation of human life is one of the most complex and shockingly beautiful things that our bodies are designed to do. The microanatomy that goes into this task is so astonishingly complicated that it's a miracle any of us walk around at all. And yet, most of us do. Most...but not all.
When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.
It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved. They are loved.
I found out I was pregnant with our first baby on July 9, 2007.
I remember the day precisely because I was several weeks into an archaeological program in Rome. It was my first time abroad, and although we'd been trying to get pregnant, we'd had no luck for several months. I was... thrilled. Ecstatic. Overwhelmed. Grateful. Excited. I just wanted to be home. A friend who was in the program with me came with me to a payphone to call my husband and parents.
I came home from the program a little over a week early. I felt good, had an easy pregnancy, and enjoyed every minute. I had a little queasiness here and there, but no real sickness. I tried to eat well and stay active, knowing I was starting pregnancy out overweight.
I just wanted to be the best mom I could be.
We slowly started buying things, little pieces here and there, and designated a room in our tiny apartment as a nursery.
We picked out names, struggling over a boys name for weeks and weeks.
We finally settled on Aodin, a play on Odin and pronounced like Aidan, as a unique spelling of an otherwise relatively normal name. We wanted something different without condemning our kid to a life of easy jokes.
Everything was awesome.
We were planning and dreaming.
I felt great.
My sister came to visit on a beautiful weekend in the end of September.
The leaves were starting to change and the weather was cool enough for long walks. We walked the 2 miles or so down to the beach, right after lunch on September 30.
After the walk I laid down for a nap, only to be immediately struck by the now-familiar feeling of needing to pee.
I stood up and immediately I knew something was wrong. Before I could figure out what, I felt... wet. I thought I'd wet myself, but when I got to the bathroom I was soaked. My water had broken at the brink of 18 weeks. I yelled for my sister and husband, and I called my mom. We tried to be calm about driving to the hospital, with me sitting on a towel as I continued to seep fluid.
I was immediately admitted to the antepartum ward, specifically designed for women who shouldn't yet be giving birth. I got a scan. He was happy in there, his heart beating strong. It was then we found out it was a boy. The doctors were encouraged by his strong heartbeat, and they let me know that I might have a chance since fluid replenished sometimes. They'd watch me, measure my fluid levels, and keep me comfortable.
A week passed. No infection. No continued loss of fluid. No contractions. A strong heartbeat still beating away. They warned me that he might have issues from the reduced fluid, that his limbs might not develop properly. I didn't care. I laid in the hospital bed every night and prayed for him.
I sang to him.
It wasn't enough.
Here's what I posted on October 8th:
Aodin R. Hurd was born at 4:02 am on Sunday, October 7th, 2007. His strong, tiny heart had ceased to beat hours beforehand, just one and a half days before his nineteenth week of gestation. He weighed 9.6 oz and had beautiful, big hands and perfect tiny feet.
He was beautiful.
His father and I, as well as my parents, were given the precious opportunity to say our goodbyes to him while I held his tiny, perfect body in my arms for the first and the last time.
Our hearts are broken, but Aodin’s life will be celebrated forever. He is our son.
I am his mother.
Thank you all for your sweet thoughts and fervent prayers. I firmly believe that he awaits us in heaven, wrapped securely in the arms of the loved ones we have lost over the years. No child will be better kept, and in his short time here he knew only love. Not a moment of pain or fear or sadness ever crossed his sweet, perfect heart.
Healing is a process that we are only just beginning. The hospital sent us home with a beautiful memory box including a butterfly bracelet, symbolizing new life flying away, and some beautiful pictures of our son. When I am stronger, I will post them.
For now, every time we see a butterfly, we will consider it a tiny hug from our tiny, perfect son.
Healing is a process that we are relearning every day. It's been four years now, and I find myself assaulted by the grief even now. Dive bombed, ninja attacked. It takes me by surprise every time.
I'll be in the middle of something - work, television, a phone call - and it hits me, like being side-swiped by a locomotive. The pain never stops, but it does get easier. I've finally stopped being angry with God, furious at the world, and begrudging other pregnancies.
I'm not going to lie.
Every time a friend or family member shares a picture of their new little boy - it hurts again. I don't begrudge them their children. In fact, I take joy in their happiness. But still... it digs at me a bit, reignites an ember of that anger, reminds me that it's always there.
I still say hello to butterflies.
It's a lot like this.8 Comments