Today is Emmett’s due date. Sept. 26, 2016.
I know it was probably going to be a long-shot that I actually delivered on that date. He could’ve come anytime in September or even early October. How many babies really come on their due date anyways?
Still, that was the one date that we could hold onto. It was something tangible. We’ve been waiting for it, dreading it for months. As I’ve said before, I’ve wished I could just skip over September all together. I’m writing this post a few days before as I’m not even sure what mindset I’ll be in and I’m already emotional and crying typing this out.
I’ve talked to my therapist and others in my support group to hear their thoughts. Should we plan something special? I’ve just been so wishy-washy about the whole thing that I’ve barely been able to focus on it. I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know how I’ll be. I could be a huge jumbled mess of tears or I could be something relatively close to “normal”. I don’t honestly know. That’s why I can’t really make any plans for this “milestone.”
Right now, I’m taking the day off from work with Brett. We’ve just got a couple’s massage scheduled. Other than that, no big commitments. I’m not even sure people will contact us today since not a whole lot of people knew what Emmett’s due date was. I not-so-secretly hope they’ll acknowledge it in some way and let us know they’re thinking of us. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high so I can avoid any disappointment.
Some days I feel like Brett and I are the only people who are mourning Emmett and who ever knew he existed. There are just times where I feel that people who are close to us, family included, just expect us to already be over everything. What’s happened has happened and there’s nothing we can do to change it. I feel like they don’t understand and they never will. They’ll never comprehend the overwhelming loss and guilt. The moments that will never be. They weren’t with us in the hospital to see Emmett’s tiny little body; so to them, he’s just this phantom child that never existed. Just a wish, a fleeting dream that is no longer with us. To them, we can just try again and have another child.
What they don’t get is…I don’t want another child. I want the one that was taken from me. What I want is something that no one else can give me. I want my son back. The one that I was only able to hold for a few short hours. The one that I only have a handful of memories with.
There are a few handful of pictures that we took with Emmett while we were at the hospital in late April. The first picture anyone has seen of me at the hospital with Emmett was the one my Mom shared in her recent post.
There’s only one of him and I together and I’ve been hesitant to share it online. Firstly, I didn’t know how people would react to seeing something like that. His body is so small and the cystic hygroma enveloped him in a sac of fluid making his entire body look puffy. Secondly, I’ll never be able to have any other photos ever taken of us. There was something so personal about that moment that I wanted to keep it to myself for a while. It was like a secret between a mother and a child, and I selfishly didn’t want to share it with anyone else.
Today, I felt comfortable enough finally sharing that photo with the world. Thanks to apps like Instagram and Prisma, I can turn that one photo into something new with artful filters.
That one picture that Brett snapped of us captured a moment so perfectly. As sad as my heart was knowing that Emmett wouldn’t be going home with us from the hospital, I was still at peace holding my baby. He was just 7 ounces and 17 cm when he was born. The nurses found the tiniest of knit hats to bundle his body up. His mouth just slightly open and his eyes shut so he looked like he was just quietly sleeping in my hands.
I wish with all of my heart that I could’ve left that hospital with my baby. How I wish we could’ve finished decorating that nursery for him with the Winnie-the-Pooh decor. I would’ve loved to have put him in the little monkey swing to sway him to sleep. Put the little heffalump rattle toy in his room. Have the baby monitor sitting on my nightstand as I listen closely to any gurgles or cries in the night.
The thing is I should be having sleepless nights. I should be diapering a baby, nursing and all of those things with my husband. But instead, we can just go to bed like a normal couple without kids. We don’t have to find a baby-sitter if we want to have a night out alone. We didn’t have to baby-proof the house with stair gates and door locks or fill our cars with baby seats. We didn’t have to get Dakota, our four-legged baby, prepared for his new brother.
Instead, I have sleepless nights because things didn’t go as planned. I get anxiety thinking about if we’ll ever try to get pregnant again and wonder if things will ever feel right again. I wonder if my marriage is strong enough to withstand an emotional roller coaster and tragedy like this. I wonder if my heart will ever feel even partially full again. I wonder if my family and friends will ever truly know how broken I am and how this experience has forever changed me. I wonder if I will ever find the strength to trust God and this journey he has us on.
My support group shared this poem with me and it was just so perfect to end this post with:
I need to find the attribution for this poem so I’m looking into the book and author so I can update this and credit it properly.