I Have a Confession

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been honest with you and I’ve struggled with coming clean. I feel like I’ve been living a horrible lie since we haven’t shared this with anyone.

Most of you know Emmett’s story. You know that doctor’s suspected our baby had developed Turner’s Syndrome, and that was the reason for many of the complications during our pregnancy. Babies with Turner’s Syndrome only have one X chromosome so it only affects females. Because of that diagnosis, we picked the name “Emma” shortly after the ultrasound for our baby but we only told a few family members.

After I delivered, the nurses and doctors took the baby away for measurements. I asked to hold “Emma”. They came back in asking, “What makes you think your baby is a girl?” We replied, “The doctors told us our baby had Turner’s Syndrome and that she’s a girl after our ultrasounds.”

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A Different Kind of Mother’s Day

This weekend is Mother’s Day.

Last year, I was still numb and in too much physical and emotional pain to even care. It didn’t occur to me that friends from afar were sending me messages on that first holiday for me as a mother. I had nothing to celebrate because I didn’t think I was a mother. My baby was no longer with me. I still have difficulty believing that I’m a mother some days. But, I am.

mother's day

There are a lot of us “hidden” mothers out there. We don’t have living children alongside us. We don’t get the cheerful, handmade cards. We don’t get breakfast in bed with extra snuggles.

We watch from the sidelines all of the joy upon other moms faces as they get to embrace their little ones during brunch. We stifle back the tears so you don’t see the hurt on our face. We’re the mothers that are so often forgotten.

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Happy Birthday, Emmett

Happy birthday my sweet baby boy.

I can’t believe it’s been 365 days since I held you. My heart has never loved another thing so greatly until it met you. I think of you each and every day. I still wish for all of the moments that were taken away from you, me and daddy.

I miss you with all of my being but I know you’re in a better place where you aren’t in any pain and nothing can hurt you. But, oh, how I wish I could’ve protected you from that.

Birthday Quote - Emmett

There’s a whole world of family and friends that love you and who never were able to meet you. I hope you look down on them sometimes and see just how loved you are even though you’re so far away.

Your tree is starting to bloom. There are tiny little buds on it ready to blossom in the warm summer breezes ahead. Your Nana sent a cute little solar figurine of a little boy with a turtle that’s sitting under it now. Your Uncle Bumppo sent flower bulbs that me and Daddy will plant this weekend. Your fur brother Dakota sends the biggest cuddles and wet kisses.

Daddy bought a cupcake for your first birthday in heaven. We’ll blow your candle out tonight together and snuggle listening to Disney music for our little Mouseketeer. I hope we can see you in our dreams where I imagine you’re bouncing around and giggly, loving all that life has in store for you.

We love you Emmett. Always.

 

Reasons Why I Share Emmett’s Story

Some people wonder why I’ve been so vocal and willing to share our story about Emmett this year. There are several important reasons that I’ve made this decision. No, it’s not because I want to be that annoying person that is constantly filling up your newsfeed with dead baby stories.
 
Some of the reasons are:
 
1. It helps us heal. It validates that my son was real and that I will always love him no matter how much time has passed. I will never forget him or those few months that I carried him as a part of me. I don’t have much to remember him with, very few photos and only 18 hours of time to hold him next to me. I can never get those moments back.
 
2. I am 1 in 4. They say that 1 in 4 women will experience a pregnancy loss. I don’t buy it. It has to be higher. Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t record all losses. I’m still so surprised just by the number of women who have reached out to me with their own stories of loss in the past year alone. If you think you’re alone, you’re not. This is the hardest club you’ll ever be a member of. Period.
 
3. It’s helps others. My experience has helped others in the past year deal with their own losses and grief. While it’s painful to share, it’s also comforting to know that you’re not alone in this. There is always someone to talk to. Even if you can’t talk with your family or friends, there are support groups, mental health counselors and other resources available to you.
 
4. It spreads awareness. The sad truth is that not all pregnancies are successful and not all babies survive. I was naive to think that once we made it past the first trimester we would be ok and guaranteed to have a healthy pregnancy. That wasn’t true. By sharing Emmett’s story, I hope my honesty helps dispel this myth that is propagated by the media and we can shift the conversation to make this a less taboo topic to discuss.

Struggling

Since losing Emmett almost a year ago now, my social media feeds now seem full of a lot of little ones in NICU’s, thanks to all of the targeting from various algorithms.

It has me struggling with our decision a lot lately, wondering if we should’ve tried to wait longer. I know deep in my heart what we did was right. I talked with my longest friend about it a few days ago and she agreed.

But, I hate myself for it. I feel like such a failure for not being able to protect him. I hate all the what-ifs.

Going Full Circle

Tomorrow starts the beginning of going full circle. It will be one year since we first heard the words “cystic hygroma” at our first ultrasound. Emmett had developed a large, fluid-filled cyst on the back of his neck, what doctors told us is usually caused by chromosome issues such as Down’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, etc.

We went from being perfectly elated hearing our baby’s heartbeat the first time and seeing a bouncing blob on a monitor to being completely petrified and devastated in the matter of minutes.

EmmettUltrasound

At that appointment, we were instructed to get a follow-up ultrasound later that week at a different medical center to see if the findings were true. They were… but the news got worse. The advanced u/s machine also detected he had developed fetal hydrops, a condition where his organs were filling up with fluid. This causes them to work much harder and in a fetus that can be difficult to do for a full-term pregnancy.

The chances of Emmett making it the full 40 weeks was going to be a long shot since he had developed the cystic hygroma and hydrops so early. The chances of him ever making it outside a hospital was even lower. The chances of him celebrating his first birthday, lower than that. There was also the risk that I could develop maternal hydrops, putting my health and life at risk. It was a lot of news and information to absorb in such a short time.

They gave us the option to end our pregnancy that day or wait it out to see if things would improve. We did the latter and it was the longest April of our lives.

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