When I said to you “But, my baby died!”
Your response was “But, my baby lived!”
When your son was born, you got to hear him cry. You got to listen to his voice.
When my son was born, he was silent. His mouth not moving. His body still. He looked as if he was peacefully sleeping.
When your son was born the nurses and doctors smiled and teared up as they congratulated you on your healthy new child.
They congratulated you on your hard work during labor.
When my son was born the nurses and doctors shed tears and then averted their eyes as they couldn’t bear witness to the immense pain.
When your son was born you watched his eyes open as they immediately looked for you.
His eyes locked on his mommy. Mommy. The one that had held him for nine months. His eyes will lock with yours forever.
When my son was born, his eyes were closed. Never to be opened. Never to gaze into mine. Never.
When your son was born, he looked perfect. No blemishes.
A head full of hair. Perfect.
When my son was born, most of the skin on one of his legs had slipped off. Leaving his leg bare.
Most of the skin on one of his arms was gone. Leaving his arm bare.
He had a cut on his face from the doctor pulling him out of me. He was bruised. He looked so hurt.
It killed me to see him that way.
When your son was born you nursed him; you cuddled him, you started performing all acts of motherhood possible.
When my son was born, I wiped the blood coming out of his nose as the nurse washed his face.
My one true act of motherhood towards him.
When your son was born, you got to hold him, kiss him, hug him, talk to him, read to him.
When my son was born, we got to hold him, kiss him, hug him, talk to him. I shed every tear imaginable onto his face.
When your son was born family members flooded the room as they couldn’t wait to meet him. They entered with joy, smiles. They came bearing gifts.
They were elated that after nine months, the new baby was finally here.
When my son was born few family members entered the room. They came in silence.
After nine months they were finally able to meet. But in the same breath of hello, they also whispered goodbye.
When your son was born everyone pushed and shoved to be the first to hold their prized possession. They oohed and awed while gazing into his sweet little face.
When my son was born people tried not to look at him. People refused to hold him.
Those that came sat as far away as they could because they couldn’t bear being near a dead baby.
My baby. My child.
When your son was born you examined his tiny body taking it all in. You counted ten fingers. You counted ten toes.
When my baby was born, I did the same. But I did the same knowing that I would never see his body again.
I would never watch as his feet grew.
I would never hold his hand.
When your son was born, he was the most beautiful shade of pink with silky baby soft skin.
When my son was born his body immediately changed. His lips started getting blacker and blacker. His mouth was wide open; it never closed.
His face turned from pink to light pink to white to ashen and bruised within hours. He started to smell.
When your son was born you cherished the thought of holding him for the rest of your life.
When my son was born, I started questioning how long it was acceptable to hold him.
How long I could kiss him.
How soon I would have to give him away.
How soon would they take him away.
When your son was born you excitedly introduced your older son to his new baby brother. You smiled and cried as you watched the very beginning of their new bond this new relationship, one that will last a lifetime.
When my son was born, I couldn’t bare bring my older son into the room. He never and will never meet his baby brother.
When your son was born, you took a family picture and now you have a beautiful family portrait of the four of you on your mantel.
When my son was born, we had pictures taken too. Instead in these pictures, no one is happy. Tears are being shed as we feel so uncomfortable.
How do you pose for pictures of yourself with your dead child?
When your son was born, you decided what cute outfit you wanted him to go home wearing.
When my son was born, we decided what outfit we wanted him to be cremated in.
When your son was born, you started making a plan for visitors as you didn’t want to be spread too thin.
When my son was born, we started planning a funeral.
When your son was born, you left the hospital with him.
When my son was born, I left with a box containing his footprints and a tiny lock of his hair.
I left without my stillborn son.
I left with empty arms and a completely broken heart.
And now it has been one year. One whole year.
You have watched as your child has grown and developed.
You have seen him wear the same adorable outfits his big brother wore.
You reminisced as he reminds you a bit about your older son.
You have smiled at the ways he is different.
You have lost sleep because having a newborn at home is not easy.
You saw your sons first smile.
You were so proud when you saw your son roll over for the first time.
You hold your son’s hand every day.
You cover your son in kisses and hugs.
You pointed out his first tooth with so much joy.
You sing to your son before putting him down to sleep.
You watch as he sleeps.
You have taken countless pictures.
You look back at them with a smile as you think about how much he has changed in one year.
You have nursed your son creating an unbreakable bond.
You smile as he starts to recognize you.
Your heart skips a beat when his first word is “mama.”
You watched as your two sons started playing with each other.
You watched as they started getting to know one another.
You watched and smiled as your son took his first bites of solid foods.
You have read book after book after book to your son.
You know your son’s favorite book.
You loving gazing into his eyes as the color makes your heart happy.
You witnessed your son take his first steps.
You tell him stories, talk to him, entertain him.
You smile as people ask you about your boys.
You smile as you talk about them.
You planned a first birthday party for him.
You received birthday cards and birthday presents and everyone is happy.
You watched and laughed as he took his first bites of sugar.
I light candles to help my body relax.
I sleep with my son’s blanket every night.
I no longer take drugs to help me sleep.
I kiss his urn before I go to bed.
I go to acupuncture.
I see a counselor once a week.
I cry in the shower.
I cry in the car.
I cry everywhere.
I struggle reaching out to friends.
I struggle to talk to strangers.
I feel lonely.
I feel angry.
I am sick and tired of other people judging my grief.
I am sick of people trying to tell me how to act.
I am sick of people telling me how to feel.
I am sick of people assuming something was wrong with him.
I go for long walks.
I go for long hikes.
I learned to crochet.
I tell my son about how good of a big brother he is even though they will never meet.
I “pull my son’s string” so he knows that I am thinking about him, as that is all I can do.
I look for him in the sunsets.
I look for him in the sunbeams.
I collect pennies as they make me think of gifts from him.
I wake up and go to work each day.
I have anxieties as I have never experienced before.
I spent money like crazy.
I got pregnant.
I lost their baby brother too.
I dream of his eyes.
I imagine his favorite color is blue.
I didn’t jump off the cliff.
I watch the sunset.
And for his first birthday, I watched the sunset.
You get a lifetime.
I get a sunset.