Pregnancy Loss

Losing Amos

When I  spoke at MommyCon about struggling with infertility and loss, I  knew that I was pregnant with another baby. It was my sixth pregnancy, third to get as far along as I  was at that point, but it was neither the place nor the time that I  felt comfortable announcing.

Let’s be real. I  was terrified of announcing. Announcing could jinx us. Something would surely happen to this very welcomed, very unexpected though planned miracle.

And that is exactly what happened. We announced publicly, and within two weeks, we were sharing that we had lost our sweet baby.

That day will forever be burned into my memory. At 14 weeks, my OB had not been able to find the heartbeat on the doppler and had taken me for an ultrasound. She found him right away on the screen, kicking, and waving directly at us. When I  went in for my 18 week ultrasound, she couldn’t find a heartbeat on the doppler. I  should have known then that that was unusual. Anxiety whispered in my ear that my baby was dead and to brace myself for the truth, but I    brushed that away and walked confidently to the ultrasound room, feeling only a little worried.

She found him quickly. There he was on the screen. I could make out his head and his body, but he looked odd. He was all curled up, floating there, still. My OB took a deep breath and let it out in an audible rush of air. And I knew.

“Oh, Kristen.”

I laid there in shock. My body weighed like stone upon the table. My brain was clouded. I  couldn’t compute what was going on. Giant wracking breaths struggled to leave my chest.

“He’s not moving. HE’S NOT MOVING. NO. No. no. no. no. no. no. no. noo…”

“I’m so so sorry, Kristen.”

I laid there and cried, still in shock, staring at the screen praying for her to be wrong, for there to be movement, for him to kick and wave at me like last month. This couldn’t be happening. This was the second trimester! I was in the safe zone! Everything was fine! Everything was healthy! I hadn’t had any problems! I  barely had any symptoms compared to with Everett. How could my baby be dead?

A few weeks prior at 15 weeks, I’d had a friend take some pregnancy announcement photos for us. I  had bought matching shirts at MommyCon for the occasion. I  remember Anxiety whispering in my ear then, too. What if you’re taking these photos and he’s not even alive anymore? But having had that ultrasound the week before, I  ignored my gut and tried to embrace the photoshoot best I  could with that lurking in the back of my mind.

While my OB attempted to get some femur measurements to see how long ago he had passed, that was the moment that filled my mind. I  had no reason to think that he had been gone at that point. I  thought I  had felt a real kick for the first time just days before the photo shoot. But somehow, I  knew. And laying on that table, silently sobbing while she took measurements and the buzzing and whirring of the printer printing off the last photos of him I  would ever have, what little innocence and blind joy that may have remained in thinking that any trimester was safe, left me indefinitely.

My 18 month old was in the room with us. He was very concerned as to why I  was crying. He kept saying, “Mama? Mama?” and bringing me snacks from my purse and laying them next to my head as if to say, “Here, momma! Don’t cry! Have a snack!” I  felt awful for worrying him so much. I  know he probably felt scared and confused, and I couldn’t do anything to help him. The nurses offered to take him out of the room, but I didn’t want him to leave my side. They brought him some crayons and a coloring book to keep him occupied.

She concluded that he had likely passed 2-3 weeks before that appointment. He was collapsing in on himself (why he was all curled up) and it was important that he be taken from me soon to avoid sepsis. My body had given no sign that something was wrong. I     wasn’t bleeding or cramping in the slightest. I  had continued to swell during those three weeks, but we then knew it was not because he was growing bigger, but my body was reacting to his decomposition inside me. You have no idea how horrifying and devestating that thought was to accept.

I asked about the next steps and what my options were. I  decided not to wait any longer than necessary to have him taken from me since my body had held on for so long already, and I was worried about something going wrong and taking me from my living children. Because he was so big already and so fragile from having passed away weeks before, they couldn’t do a delivery or a D & C. They had to schedule me for a D & E. I  would not be able to see or hold my baby. I  would not be able to labor him from my body on my own. I  would have no chance for photographs. They would have to remove him in pieces, guided by ultrasound, while I remained under anesthesia.

She left the room to check the surgery schedule, and I  made the necessary phone calls. I    made sure someone would be picking up my son from school. I  called my husband and sobbed loudly and uncontrollably into the phone, “HE’S DEAD! OUR BABY IS DEAD! HE’S GONE! HE’S GONE!” My husband was over an hour away. I cannot even imagine how long that drive felt for him to get to us.

Once I  was alone, I  let go of everything inside me. There are no words to describe the sounds that I made in that moment. It was the most guttural, feral, anguished cries I’ve ever felt or voiced in my life.

Nurses came in and out. At one point, I  did let them take Everett out of the room because he was getting squirrelly. We’d been there for a long time. Months. Years. I  stared at the blank ultrasound screen. I  found the ultrasound photos of him that had fallen from the printer and looked. I   couldn’t make out more than his head, and the shape of his torso. His sweet little profile was gone. He was gone.

We drove home in silence. A lot of tears. I  responded to a lot of messages sending condolences and sending love. My mom came down to help that night. She took my husband to go back to the OB to get his vehicle. They left me in the house alone as I  had requested to stay and rest. More unrestrained howling and crying and collapsing onto the floor in a heap. The agony would not leave me no matter how much I  cried. The next day is a blur. I  laid on the couch a lot. I  cried off and on most of the day. I  think I    drove to Target at some point and got some groceries. For some reason, it felt really important, so I  went. I  hated everyone I  saw. The whole world continued to turn.

I had to go in to the OB office to have laminaria placed in my cervix. They brought me in the back door like something to be hidden. Can’t have the sobbing, grieving mother mixed in with the happy still pregnant ones. I’m sure they were trying to spare my feelings, but I  just felt dirty, broken, something to hide. Laminaria are compressed and dried sticks of seaweed that expand as they absorb, slowly opening the cervix to prepare for removal of the baby. ( I  learned a lot about abortion that afternoon. Did you know that miscarriage is not a medical term? The death and subsequent removal of a baby before birth is abortion, whether or not the death was a choice. That’s the word that would appear on the bill from our insurance company months later. It’s a blanket term for an experience that is not. It infuriates me. This was NOT our choice. ) It was extremely uncomfortable and emotional to have the laminaria placed. I  was actively taking steps at that point to remove my baby from my womb. It felt so wrong. It all felt so, so wrong. And as my cervix dilated slowly over the following 14 hours, I  had so many painful contractions. I  was still in such shock. The pain made me feel accomplished. I  was doing what I  could to bring my baby’s body earthside, even though it was not in the way it ever should have happened. Braving the pain gave me purpose.

On the morning of May 4th (Star Wars Day), we woke up early and headed to the hospital. I  felt suffocated in the car. We drove with the windows down and I  dragged great gulping lungfuls of cold, morning air into my body, trying to keep myself calm, trying to keep myself grounded to the earth. We arrived and were placed in a triage room; it was the same room I’d been in years before as my friend Stephanie labored while I  photographed her journey. It was a few doors down from the birthing suite where I  delivered Everett. I  hated that this place held such happy memories for me, and now this. I  would be saying goodbye to one son in the same hallway where I’d said hello to another.

There was a lot of waiting. More contractions. A lot of impassive faces on the staff until my OB arrived. She was professional while still being kind and comforting. Her eyes welled with tears. I  knew she was hurting for me and was going to take care of us in the only way she could: by taking care of me and removing my baby with as much dignity and care as possible. I trusted her to do that, and she did. She had arranged her schedule so that she could be there with me and be the one to do the procedure.

I  had cried on and off since our arrival at the hospital, but it wasn’t until they wheeled me back to the surgical area and asked me to walk into the cold, sterile operating room with the cross shaped table that I began to lose my shit. I was panicked. I didn’t want them to take him from me. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I didn’t want my baby to be dead. They helped me up onto the cold, metal table, sobbing and heavy with my dead baby inside of me, my cervix on fire from the laminaria, my back aching from the contractions. They asked me to try and stay calm, and when I  couldn’t, they said they were going to give me the sedative before putting me under the anesthesia. My doctor placed her hands on my knees, looked me in the eye, and told me, “I’ll take good care of him, Kristen. I’ll take good care of you. I’ll see you in a little bit.” The anesthesiologist was an older woman. She wore a large golden cross around her neck. I  knew why. How could she possibly do her kind of job without believing in Jesus? She injected a white substance into my IV. I  took one last breath and all went dark.

I  woke up back in the triage room. Craig was holding my hand. I  was completely groggy. My head and neck hurt so much. My throat hurt from the tubing. I  just wanted to sleep it all away. Gradually, I  came out of the fog. I  was so uncomfortable, but every movement lead to another gush of blood. If you’ve ever given birth or been through the loss of a child, you know what I’m talking about: that horrible squelching feeling, that loss of control and momentary panic. Eventually, they brought me pain meds and food. I  kept both down. My doctor came in and explained that everything had gone as well as it could have. My placenta came away without an issue. He was very badly decomposed, and she couldn’t tell much by looking at him, but from what she did see, he looked normal. The cord was normal. The placenta looked normal. She felt confident she’d gotten everything out of my womb. She said she was hopeful there would be no lasting physical damage or physical scarring. She hugged me and left.

The nurse brought in the keepsakes they’d made for us with his footprints and handprints. It was then that we both sobbed again. It hurt to cry, but I couldn’t not cry. Ten very clear tiny fingers. Ten beautifully minute toes. His feet were a little swollen. It was all we had of him, all we had as proof that he existed except for our ultrasound photos. His hand could have rested on my fingertip. His feet barely the length of my thumb print. I  am still in awe when I  look at his prints at how complete he was in such a tiny form.

They discharged me a few hours later. They wheeled me into the hall, and the nurse left to get the script order for me, while my husband left to pull the car around. While I  was sitting there in the wheelchair outside the triage room, I  heard a baby cry for the first time a few doors down. At first, I  thought, Do I  feel angry? Resentful? But I  was surprised to find that I didn’t. All I could feel was an overwhelming sense of relief for those parents, for that mother. She’d done it. She’d brought that baby safely to live on this earth. Thank God. Thank God. I  cried. I  prayed. I  thanked the Lord that that mother did not have to go through what I  was going through. I  thanked Him for bringing that baby earthside alive. I  begged Him to let me feel that relief and joy again someday.

We didn’t know yet when we lost him that our baby was a boy. I  just knew that he would be. We did chromosome testing and found out weeks later that he was a boy, and that there was nothing wrong with him or the placenta from what they could see. No chromosomal abnormalities. Normal placenta. No large clots or anything suspicious. He was perfect, aside from the fact that his heart had stopped beating somewhere between 15 and 16 weeks: just a week or so after I’d seen him alive and well on the ultrasound.

I  felt like I had failed my baby and my husband and my living boys in the worst way. I    had failed to keep him alive, to nourish him enough for growth. I  had lost our son, their brother, my baby. Logically, I  knew that I  had done nothing to cause this to happen. I     hadn’t been reckless or indulged in foods and drinks I  wasn’t supposed to. I had been on medication since December to try and make this a healthy, lasting pregnancy. We had been shocked to find ourselves successful on the first try. It was too good to be true.

I  had had the flu in February. My fevers had reached 105 at one point. I  had taken Tamiflu because I  felt like I  was on my deathbed and worried the baby would die from the fevers. Could that have been why he died?

We were getting ready to move. We’d been under a lot of stress. I’d been packing and moving boxes a lot. Did I  put my body under too much physical stress?

We had told our living children about the baby. We’d gotten them all excited. My oldest wasn’t happy about it at first. My youngest had no idea what was going on. I’d told my extended family at a family gathering in March at 12 weeks, since it was a rare occasion to be able to tell them in person. Had I  told too many people too early? Had I  jinxed us?

At 7 weeks, I  ate a turkey sandwich without heating it by accident. I  didn’t get sick, but maybe something caused an issue I didn’t see until it was too late?

Not having an answer as to why he died has been extremely hard for us. We have nothing to fix. Nothing to improve upon for next time (if there is a next time). We get to enter the most awful and uncontrollable lottery all over again. If there is a next time, I know the plan is to put me on injectable blood thinners. Every day. And I  know that that is going to suck, but it’s going to be worth every needle if it keeps my baby alive and healthy until I can bring him earth-side.

I  know that if we are ever blessed with a seventh pregnancy that it will be a very difficult  journey. There is no safe trimester anymore. I  know that I’m going to have an awful time keeping my anxiety in check, my biggest fears at bay. Some may say I’m crazy for wanting to try again. I often feel that way too. I have no idea what we are going to do or if that day will ever come that I  feel ready to face the unknown again. I’m not ready to make that decision yet. The idea of going through this again terrifies me. It’s all just too much.

I  spoke to a lot of other moms who’d lost their babies in the second and third trimesters in the days and weeks that followed Amos’ death. They reached out to me in the fog and held my hand, told me I wasn’t crazy for holding an empty onesie, let me voice my pain and sat with me through it. It was like an entire community materialized out of the shadows: all these women who had suffered the trauma of having your baby taken from you, of having to bury/cremate your child, showing up to help me through it. I  attended two different loss meetings each month for the first two months. Moving and unpacking and such has gotten in the way of going recently, but I  very much intend to go back. It’s been very helpful.

The women who have shared their stories with me have all been more helpful than they know. And no one made me feel guilty. No one told me my pain was not as great as theirs; although, many attempted to downplay their own pain in comparison to mine because their loss had been earlier. I  assured them that there was no need for that here. Pain is pain. Loss is loss. In those very dark first months, the fact that those women (who had been through so much more than I) had reached out only with love and understanding was so healing for me.

I  cannot tell you how much it meant to us that we were showered with support and love and meals and gifts that helped us memorialize and honor Amos during that first month after he died. We were taken care of by our village when we could not see to swim. To those men and women, family and friends, acquaintances and even some strangers: you saved us. God placed you in our lives for a reason. We are so thankful He did. You fed us, cared for our children, invited us into your homes or came to ours for company. You never let us feel like we were alone in our grief. You honored our son. You said/say his name. You remember him with us. For that, we can never thank you enough.

Below is the journaling I  did from the moment I  lost him until today. It was the only thing that helped me process and unload my grief apart from crying.

May 2nd

I’m sitting in the ultrasound room waiting for Craig to get here. Our baby has died. This can’t be real, but it is. Please pray for us. This is so unfair.

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This is going to be raw because that’s all I can be today. Today we discovered that our baby has died in utero. This is all some kind of terrible horrific nightmare, and I want to wake up, but I can’t. It doesn’t feel real. This can’t be real. There are no answers. This is not fair. This is loss. Please pray for us. I go Friday for surgery. Everything is so disjointed now. I knew this was too good to be true. I waited so long to share our joy because I was so scared. My rainbow has faded.

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I want you to know that if you are expecting, I will continue to share in your joy. I do not want you to shelter me from your joy and your excitement. You deserve to celebrate. I will be happy with you and for you. There are so many of you right now, and I could not be more joyful for you. Please let me be joyful through you. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. There is nothing you can do but pray for us, and those prayers are very much appreciated. Thank you for lifting us up in love and prayer. Thank you for being there.

May 3rd

I woke up, and it’s all still true. How can this be?

Relaxing with my baby before I have to say goodbye tomorrow morning. Please pray for us. I’m scared for tomorrow and drowning in my grief. This isn’t fair. It’s just so unfair.

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Thank you to all of you who have commented, messaged, texted, called, or reached out in some way. We appreciate your love and prayers lifting us up. Silence is the hardest part about loss. You have made sure we have not suffered in silence, and that is so appreciated

May 4th

Final bump shot as we head out to say goodbye. Please pray for a smooth procedure with no complications. I know my baby is with my grandmothers, rocked and loved and safe. I know my big kids are with their grandmother fed, and loved, and safe. I know my husband will be by my side for as long as they’ll let him today until I see him in recovery, holding my small shaking hand in his warm comforting one. I know my tribe is thinking of us from near and far, loving, praying, hoping. I woke up with more peace than I have felt in days, even though my heart is still broken. Your love surrounds us. God’s love surrounds us. I can do this. We can do this. We are doing this. I know I will need a lot of grace in the time to come. I know there will be no timeline for my grief, and I know you will not expect that of me. Please keep reaching out even if I fall silent. Love you all, thank you for your support the past few days. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone during a time when it’s hard to feel anything but devastated. Love you.

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Everything went as well as it could have. Thank you for all your prayers and support. I may not have been able to see or hold my baby, but I can count his tiny perfect toes and fingers. I can plant forget-me-nots in the garden at our new home. I can pray for him and know that he is safe and whole with God. Now, back to my medication induced resting and healing…

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May 5th

Why does no one warn you that the day after surgery you will feel like you’ve been hit by a truck because of the anesthesia? It hurts to breathe. I ache all over, inside and out.

We went to the funeral home today to sign permission for cremation and the death certificate to be filed. How is this real?

May 6th

It’s hard to believe the world keeps on turning for everyone else when you feel like yours has stopped.

It’s a hard thing to grieve while life still keeps moving forward. My boys are no less silly, my husband still makes me laugh, and yet at the end of the day after the kids are in bed, I’m overwhelmed with sadness. I hug his baby bear onesie and rock and cry until my head hurts. Because I miss him. I want him so much. I wanted to bring him home. I wanted to feel the way his head nestled against my neck and his heart beat against my chest. And I’ll never get that. Ever.

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Ten tiny perfect fingers, ten tiny perfect toes. He was real. He is ours. Now, he is with our other angels. Today is Bereaved Mother’s Day, but I know that for those of us who have lost our babies, every day is Bereaved Mother’s Day. To those who have reached out and shared their pain, offered a listening ear, and sent their love as we’ve grieved, thank you. I am so sorry we are in the same club. I am sorry for your losses, and I send my love to you as well. Our grief has no timeline, and our love and strength has no limits.

May 8th

Mother of Angels. #iamoneinfour #fourtimes #iamoneineight #fear#doubt #miscarriage #thereisnosafetrimester 

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May 15th

Grief is a not-so-funny thing, lies sleeping in the hustle of the day and comes in waves in the silence of the evening or a still moment.

We pick up our baby’s ashes this week. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. I am thankful I found an Etsy shop owner who creates beautiful custom orders. She’s making this keepsake box for us in which to keep baby’s prints and ashes. (Shop: FlamingArrowPyro)

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May 17th

Sitting in the waiting room for my post-op appointment with my doctor. This was supposed to be a happy day, the day we’d have our anatomy scan and see how well baby was growing, the day we would know if we were having a son or a daughter. Instead, after this is over, we are picking up the baby’s ashes from the funeral home. It still doesn’t feel like this should be real.

May 18th

Yesterday, we learned that my heart had been right all along. Our baby was a boy, and he was perfect. We will continue to miss and love our sweet boy, and we will always wonder why he did not get to live earthside with us. There were no chromosomes out of place, no problems with the home I had made in my womb for him. We mourn that we never truly got to meet him or know whom he would grow to be. I loved you for every second of your life, Amos Atlee Biehl, and we will continue to love you for every second of ours.

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May 26th 

One of the hard things about grief is that you can’t enjoy when you’re feeling normal/fine for a little while because all you can feel is awkward and guilty for having forgotten about your pain in those moments, and when you’re not looking, the biggest emotions can drown you out of nowhere. What makes me most sad is seeing bigger families and wanting that so much and feeling heartbroken that this fall, we won’t be adding another seat to our table.

May 28th

It’s been 24 days since they took him from my body. It still doesn’t feel real. None of it does. Maybe it was all in my head. Because how could this be real? The daytime hours go by as usual with busyness and errands, punctuated into sudden stillness with reminders (like when I get dressed and still put on maternity shorts, or walk by the nursery decor at Target, or see a mom with three boys at the grocery store) and when the quiet of night arrives, my heart lets loose its grief, and anxiety holds me hostage: sitting on my chest, restricting my breaths, exhaustion in every cell with no release. The last of the flowers have faded. His ashes sit on my dresser, waiting to be scattered. And nightmares have begun about laboring and delivering nothing but afterbirth. I am doing okay, considering, but this isn’t over for me, and I know it never will be because my love for Amos did not end with the beating of his heart.

June 3rd

May felt like an eternity. A month has passed since we lost Amos, but it feels like longer; it feels like maybe I made him up, maybe he never was growing in my belly; maybe I made up those kicks; maybe it was all some horrible nightmare that day I looked at the monitor and saw him lifeless…that day I walked myself into the OR and climbed onto the table…but I know that can’t be true because my heart still misses him; my arms ache to hold him, and when his name passes my lips, it feels both completely normal and yet entirely awkward at the same time. Seeing the world, our world, move on without him is hard. Smiling during a month when my baby died makes me feel guilty. I’m healing a lot; I’m finding a lot of peace, but it’s still hard. Knowing how happy and hopeful we were just before we found out and then what came the next day, it was like being hit by a train of grief…but realizing that we had moments to be joyful about in the days and weeks after gives me hope for growth, hope for less pain, hope for more happiness than longing.

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June 8th

We’re moving, and I’m having to pack up the cards of love and sorrow and the books and tokens of love and support and Amos’ ashes. I dried a few blossoms from each bouquet of flowers that were sent to us after his passing, and they now line the temporary slate box where his ashes rest. When we scatter his ashes, we will keep the flowers and place them in an empty ornament at Christmas and write his name and the day he came earthside on it along with three small butterflies. I’ve made ornaments from blossoms from the funerals of each of our grandparents and the births of my two boys; Amos will make three. It ensures our loved ones not with us stay on our minds during a time when we are celebrating the joy that is knowing God loves us, for He sent His only son to save us, and I know that given the decision, I would have made the selfish choice to keep my son and damn the rest. Thankfully, God knows better than to present that choice to me.

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June 13th

I know it’s hard to know what to say, so many say nothing. Know that talking kindly about someone’s lost child is better than remaining in awkward silence.

Amos’ name does not make me cry. Talking about him is as normal for me as it is saying Everett’s name or Lucas’. I miss him every day. I still lose myself to grief more often than not, and that’s okay. But you know what? He’s still my baby bear. I’m still his momma. And while I can not protect him anymore in life (he needs no protection where he is now) I can protect his memory.

When you say his name when speaking to me, it lets me know you recognize his existence. You remember him with me. He didn’t disappear from my heart or my mind when he died. Let me know he didn’t disappear from yours, too.

We chose his name because Amos means “brave, strong, carried.” Atlee means “refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” His name holds so much meaning, just as his life did. Don’t be afraid to use it. It’s not morbid. It’s not wrong. It’s our son, Amos.

 

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June 22nd

Boxing up our life and moving. It was the plan before we lost Amos, but even now getting a fresh start somewhere else feels so needed. It’s not that I’ve been hiding from my pain or my sorrow; I face it head on, but there’s just something about changing environments that makes moving forward feel complete. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting or that we pretend Amos’ existence is less; moving forward means learning how to live and exist as a person, a friend, a wife, and a mother once again to both angels and earthbound children. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel guilty for finding joy again, for finding peace. It’s really hard; you work for it; and even those of us who have been shattered deserve to live life glued back together again. Our brokenness doesn’t have to define every moment. Our lives don’t have to be shrines to the sadness. I think that’s why moving feels so necessary; an opportunity to create new spaces to both live and love and mourn loss in the ways that feel best to us. So when you see a person taking steps to move forward after tragedy, know that they haven’t forgotten (they can’t) they’ve not “moved on” (that’s not possible) they’ve just found the bravery and peace to move forward and find the new version of themselves and life itself, so be proud of them, be happy for them, and love them through it.

July 3rd

I’m supposed to be in my 3rd trimester now with Amos, my belly round like I’m smuggling a beach ball, feeling constant kicks that thrill me and comfort me. He was higher up than my other boys; maybe I would have felt more comfortable because of that. Maybe I would have carried higher, been preparing to get the birth that I wanted, been working on painting and designing his nursery instead of scrubbing baseboards in closets on my hands and knees (who are we kidding- I‘d still be doing that, too). Today at the grocery I almost knocked into the shelf and said, “Makes it hard to steer the cart with you three in it.” I don’t know why I misspoke, maybe because I’m always thinking of Amos, but I instantly felt shocked at the fact I’d said three instead of two. I wanted to fall to my knees and cry right there in the baking aisle. But I shook the deer in headlights look from my face and continued on with collecting baking soda off the top shelf. Everyone else who shared a due date with me is glowing radiantly, and I’m so happy they aren’t feeling how I am. I’m so relieved that their babies are healthy. I truly can’t wait to see that they’ve delivered safely so that I can stop holding my breath for them. But I’m jealous, and I wish that was me with the popped out belly and sweating profusely in this ridiculous summer heat. I wish I were painting his nursery, instead of our spare room. I wish I were celebrating his impending arrival instead of mourning his absence. I miss him, and I’m feeling sad tonight.

July 11th

Exhaustion. Grief has leant to anxiety and fear for the future. Anxiety keeps me awake and focused on the never ending unpacking from moving. I should be resting as if I were preparing to welcome my son earthside in a few months. Instead, I feel the ache of that longing to hold my baby in my arms and wondering if I’ll ever feel safe enough to try for another. It’s terrifying. That fear is exhausting.

July 17th

I added Amos to my motherhood journey tattoo. He is represented by the large blue butterfly, and his actual footprints (they’re to scale; she scanned them from the prints I have) walk behind his brother bears. (When I’m not so swollen and bloody, you’ll be able to count his perfect little toes.)

August 6th

I found and had to delete Amos’ due date from my calendar today. So there’s that. Grief is sneaky sometimes. It’s like a wave that comes out of nowhere and pulls you under, leaving you gasping and sputtering for breath. Your heart feels flooded and heavy all over again, even though you’ve spent months bailing water and trying to keep your head above the waves.

It’s a never ending story. It’s a never ending post. Each time my grief becomes too heavy for me to keep it inside, I’ll share it here, too. Thank you for reading our story.

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