Thursday, June 16, 2016

Love, Mom.

My Little One,

I don't know if I can put this all into words, but I'll try my hardest. You deserve that, and I think it will help me too. I hope.

You appeared so quickly, far less than the expected 2 minutes we were instructed it would take. You were a surprise, but the best kind. Your dad and I were pretty quiet that first night as we both processed everything, but went to bed knowing that an amazing adventure awaited us. We both couldn't wait to be parents together, it was scary but we knew it would be so worth it.

Just a few short days later we headed off to Boston as a family of 2.5, though we were pretty much the only ones who knew. The race didn't matter to me anymore, at least not in the sense that it did a few weeks prior. You gave me a good explanation of why the last few weeks felt so off, and why my motivation was lacking. We enjoyed the weekend together, I loved showing you and your Dad around Boston.
Come Patriot's day, I was very conflicted. I wanted to run, but I wanted to do what was best for us. I started with a very loose plan, but come the halfway point I knew that the best thing for us would be to pull the plug. So I slowed down and we took it easy- something I will never regret. I crossed that finish line with my hand on my stomach, and said this was for you. The 2016 Boston Marathon was for you.

After returning home, you and I spent all of our time together. You got me to slow down, relax and take a much needed break from running. You wanted me to rest, and I did. We ate a lot of food, we grew together, and my body started growing with that. 

At 8 weeks, we heard your heartbeat. I think my heart skipped it's own beat in awe of how strong and amazing you sounded. You were growing perfectly, you looked like a little peanut and we had our first picture of you. We felt safe, and comforted knowing you were growing up fast. We went to bed early, we ate well (and often!), and we did everything we could for you.

We spent the weekend before you marked the eleventh week up at the cabin in The Thousand Islands. We shared that time with my parents, and we all talked about the things you would do as you grew up creating memories here- just like your Aunt Megan and I did. Your dad and I started making plans, talking about names, and sharing the news. Family and close friends knew about you, and soon everyone else would too. 

As we were about to end the first trimester, and since we had heard your heartbeat already, the risks had decreased drastically.We went to the doctor to check up on you and get some genetic testing, we could even know if you were a baby boy or girl soon from that! We were so excited for the next step, and went in with hope and love. 

It was a Tuesday morning, and everything changed in an instant.

We found out that your heart had stopped beating, and we instantly felt like ours had too.  I still looked, and felt pregnant, you were still there but at the same time you weren't. It was confusing and scary and incredibly sad. Your Dad and I cannot stop hearing those words and that is something that will take time to process but it's something we will go through together.

We're sad, and mad and we keep questioning every breath from the last few months. The cold fact is there was nothing we did wrong, though we will always wonder. Because we cared about you, and wanted to keep you safe. It's hard knowing your heart just wasn't strong enough, regardless of how much love we had for you. We know we're not alone and we know that many have suffered like us. We have hope for the future together with kids and we know that some will never have that- I promise not to take that for granted.

We were ready to share with the world, we had it planned and we couldn't have been more excited. At first I wondered if we got too excited, if we got too far ahead of ourselves but then I realized I wouldn't change a thing regardless of the outcome. I don't think it's possible to detach and not be hopeful just to try and preserve yourself in case something happens. Expecting the worst is not the way to live. Regardless of how we felt and who we told or what we did- it was still going to hurt. Putting a wall up doesn't make things easier, it just prevents people who love you from supporting you and being there. 

Your Dad and I spent a lot of time just sitting, talking and being together. We had each other and I cannot tell you how important that is. While I was the one carrying you, WE made you, and it was something WE both have to process. Together we also decided I would still join your Aunt Heather on our planned trip to Utah shortly after this all happened. We believed it would be good for me, even though being apart during this time would be tough for us. The days would be filled with adventure, and the nights we were only a phone call away from each other when things were harder (okay, the nights were really challenging).

The trip to Utah did indeed help, even if some wondered why or how I could go. I put on a happy face and allowed myself to experience things. Not because I wasn't sad, not because I wasn't hurting. But because sitting down and letting the silence take over would have consumed me. So instead, I focused my energy on taking care of myself, supporting one of my biggest supporters, and experiencing things that I could only have hoped to do with you one day. One of the mornings, it was just you and I listening to music as we drove up a dark winding canyon road in search of a good spot. We found that spot, and we sat while I cried watching the sunrise over a reservoir nestled in the mountains. While I knew I had a long way to go, I feel like that moment gave me a piece of hope and a sliver of acceptance.
I flew home late on a Monday night, I was beyond ready to be there with your Dad. It had been 6 days since we got the news and those words still felt like they were a broken record in my head that I couldn't turn off. On that 7th day we spent a few hours with people who helped us get the closure we needed.  My body hadn't yet realized what was going on, and simply waited until I was in a safe place with your Dad and some incredibly caring nurses and doctors. As hard as that last week with you was, I'm grateful I had that time to process and grieve at my own pace. While you're gone now, we know it will take time. Sad just takes time.

In your few months you saw and did more than some do in a lifetime. You ran a blizzard half marathon with me being your unknowing Trojan horse to the finish. You welcomed your cousin Max into the world with us. You took part in the 120th Boston marathon in a blazing time of 3:16 (it took me 6 tries to get a time like that, you did it in one!). You flew on a plane, went hiking in a canyon, and so many other things I could have only hoped to do again with you. Perhaps the most important thing that you experienced though, was love. You were so incredibly loved, and I cannot express that in any words that will do it justice. You were loved,  you showed your Dad and I even more love in each other and those around us.

I debated sharing this letter with anyone but you. But you were a part of my life, something your Dad and I were happy to have even though it ended too soon. I don't want to pretend you weren't there, because you were and probably always will be in some ways.

Love, Mom 
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