Without hope it felt impossible. We were given a sliver of hope he possibly could make it to full term and be a candidate for surgery. That sliver allowed us the ability to be present with our reality. It allowed me to love fearlessly and unconditionally.
The day the doctors told us our dear Teddy had no hope for life outside my womb felt like we were hit by a tsunami. Our world was destroyed and left in emotional shambles. We knew our only hope of surviving this storm would be by holding onto hope and focusing 100% on love. Love was our driving force. There was no room for anger, blame or even fear. Our time together was going to be short and this precious boy deserved to feel a lifetime of love in a few short months.
The day we were told his heart had begun to fail and the end was near felt heavy, our hearts cracked a little bit deeper and our love for him poured out like a waterfall. I felt desperate to ensure he had all the love he deserved and was Mothered by a Mom who loved him more than words can describe. He deserved it all.
Ten days later the end and a new beginning emerged. Theo was born. Our hearts felt peace. The room felt warm and full of love. His heart beat it’s last beat against mine and all things wrong were made right. It was as it should be. He was never intended to live long but he was intended to deliver purpose and that was accomplished.
6 hours later we said our goodbyes. My whole being broke as I handed my beloved baby over, to never feel his weight again, to never kiss his cheeks or hear him cry. He was gone and my heart was shattered as it screamed for my baby back.
For weeks after my arms physically ached to hold him one more time, my chest was heavy as if bricks were laid upon it and the world around me kept turning as mine halted.
Today the fog has lifted, my chest is lighter and the most valuable and cherished lessons have been learned. My days of feeling heavy, and stuck in the mud with fog all around aren’t over but they come less frequent and don’t stay as long. My days of wishing things were different aren’t over, maybe one day I will give up wishing, but today isn’t that day.
October is Pregnancy and Infant loss Awareness Month. 1 in 5 pregnancies result in a miscarriage and 1 in 100 births end with a baby passing away before, at or shortly after birth. I personally have experienced both. My early loss was my first son Jack’s twin early in pregnancy in 2012. It was physically painful, extremely scary, and emotionally heartbreaking. Our second loss was December 9, 2015 when our third son Theodore was born and passed away from a Congenital Heart Defect. This loss is profound and has taken our family on a beautiful journey learning to love fearlessly and unconditionally.
Reflecting upon my early emotions from these losses I realized both times we felt alone. We didn’t openly talk about our first loss and with the loss of Theodore we choose to be open in hopes that those who walk this journey after us will find comfort knowing they aren’t alone. No two journeys of loss are the same, but there are threads that are woven in the fabric of a heart broken from the loss of a baby that are mirrored in each loss. I have found being able to speak and write openly about our journey to be therapeutic.
I often wonder why, with something so common, do we have a culture which is uncomfortable talking about miscarriages and infant loss. What I know to be true is that healing happens when the pain is acknowledged, when the name of your baby is spoken, and when you are loved through your journey no matter how messy it gets. Living your forever without your baby is hard, mothering a child you can only hold in your heart feels incredibly overwhelming and impossible at times but with the love and support of your community this can feel lighter. It can feel bearable.
The day Theodore was born and left our physical world was the day a new me was born. I have had to be gentle with myself as I struggle to figure out whom that new me really is; how to navigate the world with a broken heart that will never mend and with a void that can never be filled. I see my son missing from every moment of my life. It is impossible to see my two boys and not see the third missing. I also see him present everywhere. He has many ways to tell me how close he truly is especially at times my heart hurts the most.
Experiences like these leave you at a crossroads choosing between walking the path that allows you to form a hard shell over your shattered heart or becoming open, vulnerable, and honest. Knowing the path would be harder but so much more rewarding, we chose the latter. Our family is forever changed in most beautiful ways because we are walking this journey by choosing the route that leads us to love fearlessly.
Many couples have silently carried the loss of a baby for decades. A parent doesn’t get over a loss like this but the loss can feel lighter with time and sharing helps lighten this load. Throughout this month, share your experiences with one another. Talk about the babies we no longer can hold, use their names, and ask questions. It is time we break the silence and embrace the truth about life. Babies die. It is heartbreaking but true. There is no shame and it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. We can comfort and lift each other up, if we can be open with the reality that this happens to many.
Theodore Rutherford Williams. Also known a Theo, Teddy, and my forever baby. He is a son, a little brother, a Grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. He was a boy who was loved long before he was transferred to his forever home, my womb. He spent 3 years in the freezer and 3 months of that with his brother Jack. He is a teacher of all things to do with love. He has been my biggest blessing and largest heartache. His life was short but full of purpose. Every second of heartache is worth it to have spent 3 years in my heart waiting to be transfer to my womb, the 30 weeks in my womb and the precious 22 minutes after birth. My gratitude for him choosing me as his Mother is unending. He shows me how close he is in a multitude of ways, I feel so blessed.
I wasn’t able to capture a Sunrise on October 1st so I have chosen to use my picture of the sunrise on December 9, 2015. The morning Teddy was born. It was beautiful and we were so grateful to watch it as I was labouring and had a few hours left before meeting our beautiful baby.