Happy Birthday, Lake
365 days and I can’t even begin to type this without fighting back tears. 365 of the darkest days I’ve known in my life. I’m embarrassed for still being so deeply affected by this loss. Ashamed in my inability to work through it when so many others have gone through the same thing. Desperately searching for answers and peace. Selfish for needing help and literally sickened by my complete incapacity to ask for it.
For 365 days I’ve reflected on every facet of this and of you. Why? What is the purpose? There must be a purpose. Is this a lesson? Was it never meant to be? Was it precisely meant to be? Did I create this through my own fear and reluctance? Will I never know? Is there a God? Why can’t I feel it? Why can’t I just believe in anything...anyone that offers peace? That would be so much easier. What am I supposed to do now? I want another baby so badly that it tears at my soul. I am so afraid to have another baby that it tears at my soul.
I didn’t even want to get pregnant. I was totally content with the family we had built. I was so scared and so nervous. We weren’t prepared and the timing felt terrible. Could I do this again? Did I have the capacity to raise two boys and carry this precious baby? Did I have the energy and dedication to pour what little I had left into another precious and SO deserving soul? We got rid of everything! How would we afford it? We would need a new car, another bedroom, a name, a plan.
And then there was you.
And just like that I fell madly in love with you just as I had with our boys. I could feel you, I could feel your soul. I heard your heartbeat. I watched your perfect little arms and legs move right before my eyes on ultrasound. Nothing short of a miracle, you were the manifestation of unending love between your daddy and me. You visited me in my dreams. Every night for 3 months I fell asleep with my hand on my belly. I sent you all of my love and gratitude and I dreamed about the day I would cry tears of relief and joy as I held your slippery body against mine for the first time.
On this eve of your birthday, a day that I’ve so dreaded and rejoiced, I can no longer fight back the memories that have haunted me for the last 365 days. NOTHING has rocked my existence like you. I think some subconscious part of me suspected that you might leave me too soon, yet I refused to accept it as a possibility. Right up until the very moment I held you in my hands, I didn’t truly believe it was really happening. I had listened to your heartbeat with my own ears just an hour prior. There will never come a day in this lifetime where the memory and vision of your tiny flailing body in my hands will ever leave me. It felt like you were just as shocked and horrified as I was that you were outside of me. The precise details of the minutes I spent alone watching your heart, through paper-thing skin, stop beating, are mine and mine alone. They are a gift and a burden that I alone will continue to carry.
As I cry myself to sleep tonight, I embrace the memory of the last night we spent as one. Our hearts beating in unison for the last night in this lifetime. I continue to cling to a tiny spark of hope that I will either see you again or cease to exist. The statistics simply do not matter. For 365 days I have missed you and will for a lifetime more. Understood or not, this is our story.
Happy 1st birthday Lake J Redwine!
*Photo cred to my sister, Auntie Aubs, who made a strenuous hike to this beautiful spot to send us a photo of the most lovely lake she could find to remember our Lake by. (somewhere near Mukilteo, WA)