Six years. I absolutely cannot fathom that six years ago was when my most perfectly beautiful nightmare began.
It feels like yesterday although the details have slowly faded. I had an appointment with my high risk doctor that morning. I knew in my heart it wouldn’t be good. We packed our bags the night before. I had been on bed rest for about 6 weeks at this point and each appointment (I was going upwards of 3 times a week not including home health and triage visits) included worsening news. My favorite ultrasound technician was there and we started. I could tell on her face it wasn’t good. We went into Dr Christianson’s office and he told us that today was the day. Reid was no longer growing and coupled with all of the other problems his only fighting chance was to deliver today. I was 35 weeks and 6 days. Dr C prayed for us. He prayed for peace and for healing of our boy. He sent us straight to the hospital where my charts (yes charts) were stacked high. Dr C came even though he didn’t have to. We were checked in….we waited….they prepped the OR. Reid wasn’t strong enough for an induction….he had to be delivered via c-section.
We were sent to the OR. I cried. I cried more because I knew that I could no longer protect my son in my womb. I knew what was to come. Dr Cacciatore struggled to deliver Reid. He was our tiny little boy…3 lbs 13 oz but he was stuck. When they finally got him out he was immediately passed through the window into the NICU. It was over an hour before we heard anything. It was excruciating….But I knew. When Dr Lugo came I cried. He told us how sick Reid was…that they were able to intubate him but that he was incredibly sick and they still didn’t know why at this point. A short while later we were able to see our boy. It was one of the most beautiful most heart wrenching moments of my entire life. We watched our Reid for the next 4 days. He had surgery…he had every specialty possible…He had a team of world class doctors unable to tell us what was wrong with him (6 years later no one still knows). He would be in kindergarten this year.
The point of my story is you cannot look at me and know that part of my heart is missing. You cannot see my story. We each have our own unique and perfect story….even when it has heartache. You see Reid brought out a part of me that I’m not sure was fully there before. He brought out compassion and understanding. I see the world a bit differently and I truly try to give grace to each person I meet because I know that sometimes our pain cannot be seen by others.
Losing a child is by far the worst pain. I don’t care if your child is 4 days old or 30 years old…the pain is still the same. You grieve differently I’m sure…but I frequently hear people try to compare the loss of an infant to an older child and how it would be way worse to loose an older child. Its not worse….its different but losing a child is “abnormal”. It is not in the realm of the natural progression of life. You expect for your children to outlive you. You make plans for your children. You dream about their futures, about what they will love, who they will love and what they will do with their life. So if I call bull sh*t on you know it comes from love. When you loose part of your heart you loose part of your heart. I look at our photos and as we grow older and make new memories…the only memories of Reid we have are those 4 days.
Grief is a funny thing….some days are filled with pure joy and others are filled with pure heartache. And sometimes your days are a mix of in between. For the last 6 years I have chosen joy on this day. I take this day for myself….to be with my family and to be with my thoughts. I will share my Reid with you each year on this day because honestly its therapeutic for me. Knowing that his 4 days here on earth can serve purpose is everything. So today in his honor please chose kindness. Show love to someone in need. Call an old friend and say hello…let that person cut you in line. Share Reid. Choose greatness and love. And send a sweet prayer and happy birthday to my boy in heaven.
PS…a little fun fact….Averee was so excited today to look at our church calendar to see if today was a Saint Day. And well it is…St. John of the Cross…the patron of Contemplatives, mystics and Spanish poets. He was a reformer.
Another fun fact….My favorite ultrasound technician….Her very last day at the office was the day we got to go in and were cleared from high risk with Caiden. I was 37 weeks. She hugged us and prayed for us and it was the perfect full circle moment. She had changed her whole schedule around that day to be sure she was our tech. She was the absolute best.
(Thank you Ashley Poole Photography for capturing our goodbye.)