Monday, May 5, 2014

yesterday i had a son

Deep breath.

I've been absent from my blog for quite some time, and a lot of life has happened in between.  In short, Sadira is now 6, I am now 32, and I have been dating my awesome guy, Christian, who Sadie affectionately calls "Chief."

We are moving into a new home that Christian designed.  We love it.

We have two dogs now, one of which is insane, and one who is the world's most perfect dog.  We forgive the crazy one, but love them both too.

We found out in December that our little family would be growing and we would be welcoming a new baby into the world in late August/early September.  We were ecstatic.

We found out about a month ago that we were having a baby boy.  We were ALL so thrilled, maybe Sadie the most, who apparently has been yearning specifically for a baby BROTHER for ages.  I was thrilled at having a son.  For Christian, who lost his oldest son three years ago, I was hoping that this was one step in helping to fill a tiny piece of his heart that has understandably been broken since his son passed three years ago.

That is where the happy news ends.

On Wednesday April 30th, 2014, at 7:30am, I gave birth to our absolutely beautiful and perfect son, Reece Christian, at 22 weeks and a few days gestation.  Sadira was just waking up in her bedroom, and Christian was out of town for work.  I had zero symptoms, and absolutely no inclination that anything was amiss that morning.  In fact, the symptoms that we had so carefully been monitoring, the symptoms which had scared me half to death and landed me in the hospital twice a month earlier, the symptoms that had confined me to "modified bedrest" for the previous two weeks had been greatly subsiding.  I thought we were doing so well.  I was feeling confident and healthy, and never thought for a single moment that that Wednesday morning would be any different from the Wednesday before.

In the moments that Reece was born it was just me and him, and for the 6 minutes he was alive and with us on this earth before departing for heaven the only thing he knew was my touch.  He grew within me for 5 months, and in the 6 minutes he was alive on the outside I was all he ever knew.  He lived in my body from the moment of conception, and he took his last independent breath while cradled in my hands.  Let that weigh on you for a moment.  It's heavy.  I have.  There was so much beauty and sacredness in those brief 6 minutes.  I watched his whole existence before my very eyes, before the sound of the paramedics running up my stairs broke me from my new birth haze.

I was pregnant with Reece during what was arguably one of the most brutal winters I've ever experienced in my 32 years.  The day he was born it was pouring.  So much so that there was flash flooding all up and down the eastern seaboard, and none worse than in Pensacola where his father was working for a few weeks.

If this were a work of fiction, we would call that ominous foreshadowing.  I wish this were fiction.  But it is not. 

I want to write Reece's birth story properly.  I want to give the details, and describe some of the unexplainable complications that I was experiencing during my pregnancy. I want to do this because I want my family and friends to be able to experience him from my perspective, the only person who ever knew him, and in hopes that my experience could help someone going through something similar.

But this is not the post where I will be doing that.

I can only describe his birth right now by saying that it was stunningly beautiful and profound for me.  So much so, that I don't want the negativeness of my grief right in this moment to ugly up the beauty of what we experienced.  I want his birth story to describe the wonderful moments I got to experience as his mother for 5 short months, and 6 shorter minutes.  I don't think I can do that properly right now.  I have too much sadness at this present moment.

I have thought so many things in the past six days.  I started writing this post on Thursday, the day after Reece's birth, and now it's the following Monday and I'm still writing.  There are so many feelings I've experienced, but I can narrow it down to three specific things surprisingly easily.


First the Sadness.

I am so sad.  So so profoundly sad.  Talk about the understatement of the year, right?  But I am.  It's an overwhelming sadness that comes in waves, sometimes paralyzing me from whatever I'm doing, and sometimes just causing me to space out for a second. 

In the hospital after Reece's birth a social worker came to talk to me.  She was talking and talking and it just kind of sounded like the adults in a Charlie Brown movie, "womp womp womp wompwompwomp..." I tried to listen, really I did, but I was just numb to everything she was saying. Until she said, "is there anything else you think you may need help with?" and I said, "yes.  I don't know how I'm going to explain this to my 6 year old daughter.  Can you please provide me with some guidance?" I think on that day, at that point, when my my own emotions for myself were just SHOT, the only things that could make me FEEL was thinking about Sadira and Christian, and how devastatingly awful this would be for them in two very different ways.  I dreaded that Christian was going down a familiar path, that I had failed at giving him the one thing he needed so badly, and I literally felt sick with worry at how I would tell Sadie that the brother she so desperately wanted had died.  How do you tell a 6 year old her baby brother is dead?  She WANTED HIM SO BADLY, AND SO DID WE, WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO US?!!?!?!?

Just the night before, a mere 12 hours before Reece was born, Sadira had laid her head in my lap while we were watching TV and felt him kicking.  How could this be?

In the hospital they stock me up with pads and mesh underwear and all the "lovely" treats you get when you're post partum.   But I am a post partum mother with no baby in my arms.  This feels cruel.

When I return home there are signs of the baby that will not be everywhere.  The happy cards that friends had sent when we announced our pregnancy are still displayed in the dining room.

The clothes that we had been given, or Sadira and I had picked out excitedly sit in a giant Tupperware box.  I don't want to look at them.  But I don't want to get rid of them.  I ask my sister to put them in the basement for now.

I remember the stroller that I obsessed over.  That I asked for recommendations because I am admittedly a "stroller snob." I see it.  I remember how when I got it Sadira tried it out and was so impressed with how easily it handled.  "Wow Mommy, I bet my brother is really gonna love did a good job!" she had approved.

The only clothes I have to dress myself are maternity clothes.  Some still with tags on them.  All of my "regular clothes" have been moved to the new house.  I am too small for my maternity clothes, yet don't quite feel comfortable in my "regular clothes."  I don't even know how to dress myself.

The balloon that we gave Sadira just three weeks prior when we told her the baby was a boy still floats at the ceiling.  It's deflated like my belly, but still proudly declaring, "Baby Boy!" I can't look at it.  But I can't get rid of it ether.

And my body.  What a strange vessel I am right now.  When Sadira was born everyone commented on how quickly my belly went down.  I thought this was so strange for a number of reasons.  One, it's not a compliment I've ever heard before so didn't quite know how to respond.  Two, I've never really had a ton of enviable physical traits.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very confident in my own body and like the way I look, but I've never had someone say, "you're so lucky because of your stomach! I'm so jealous!" Weird.  And three, it really WAS weird.  For nine months I grew this belly that became bigger and rounder with each day...and then BOOM. In one day it was almost back to normal.  The whole thing was just strange to me.   This time it happened again.  By Thursday there was almost no trace of the baby that grew within my belly. It was startling to me.  I wanted it back.  Bring me back my belly and the baby that should be in it still!  How could it go away so quickly?  It makes me feel like it never happened.  Like being pregnant with Reece was just a dream.

My breasts ache as my milk comes in.  Mother Nature is a bitch, and although she made my baby come too soon, she is still sending my body all the signals that it needs to sustain a new life.  My breasts are hot and engorged and ache and leak.  I wrap them up tightly with sports bras and hope they go away, but in the same breath am grateful to have some sign that YES, I did have a baby.  YES, I am a new mother. YES, my body would've taken care of Reece, even though it failed him in his gestation.

At night I wake in the middle of the night.  Wide awake.  My internal clock telling me, "Wake up!  Check the baby!  Feed the baby!" But there is no baby there for me to check or feed.

I have a recurring dream where I can see Reece and he's perfect.  And it's this beautiful moment because I SEE him again, and that's amazing.  But he's behind a thick pane of sound proof glass and I can't reach him.  And he starts to cry.  I can't hear him, but I can see him.  His face red from screaming, his arms shaking and legs kicking, and I cannot get to him.  I CANNOT GET TO HIM.  I can't even hear him. I'm on the other side of the glass screaming for someone to help him, but no one can hear me.  I wake up.  There's that exquisite sadness again.

I calm myself, it's just a dream.  But then I remember, it's really not.


Second, the Anger.

I'm so fucking pissed off.  I'm mad.  I'm angry.  I want to scream and yell and throw things, and break things and curse and scream and yell some more.

But I don't.

Well, I do curse.  It helps.

I walk out of the labor and delivery unit on Wednesday, the day Reece was born.  There are people getting off the elevator going to see the new babies in their family.  Kristy my angel nurse had asked me if I wanted a wheelchair on the way out or if I wanted to walk.  I only want the goddamn wheelchair if I'm wheeling out of the hospital with my baby in my arms! My baby is en route to the fucking morgue and I'm walking out without him.  THIS IS SO FUCKING UNFAIR!

I tell her no, I can walk.  There's no sense in acting like I just delivered a baby, even though I did, when there is no baby to take home.  

I check my email and I see a BabyCenter email, "Your baby at 22 weeks!" Fuck you, Babycenter, my baby at 22 weeks is dead.  I race to the website.  There are two bubbles at the top that say "your child:" one for Sadira, and one for Reece.  I click on Reece's link, which takes me to the page of details of what happens at 22 weeks.  ALL OF THIS ISN'T HAPPENING ANYMORE BABYCENTER!  I click "edit" and see all of the information for my pregnancy with Reece.  Due Date: September 1, 2014. Gender: Boy.  I hover the cursor over the link that says, "Remove from my account."  I click it and instantly feel horrible.  The option says, "Delete all information about this child and remove from Babycenter."

I can't do it.  To delete his information feels like I'm denying it happened.  I can't deny him.  He was my perfect son. I close the browser.

I get a voicemail from a number I don't know.  There are lots of them these days, but as I check this particular one, the voice is bright and cheery.  "Hi Nasrene!  It's Lynn your nurse case manager here at United Health!  Just calling to check in on your pregnancy and see how you are doing.  At your earliest convenience, please call me back at...." Go to hell, Lynn.  My baby is dead, I guess you didn't get the memo.  Don't ever call me again. 

I feel badly.  It's not Lynn's fault.  She's just doing her job.  She means well.  I'll call her back next week.

I see my grandmother, whom I love with every cell of my being, and she looks broken and fragile.  She just keeps saying, "Nas, I think you need to talk to your doctor, there HAS to be a reason this happened. You need to know why this happened so you're prepared the next time, I mean, there HAS to be a reason." I tell her there is no reason, but she insists.  I want to scream.  There is no fucking reason!! If there was one I'd be the first to know, but there is no reason, stop asking me for one!!! I don't know what to tell you!

And then I feel horrible.  She is grieving too.  She was excited for this baby and happy for us.  Genuinely.  She is still grieving the loss of my grandfather.  We all are.  And then this happened.  It's just too soon.  Too much. Not fair.

I see a young woman with two children in the parking lot of a grocery store.  A little girl who is a little older than Sadie, and a little boy who is probably about two.  She yells at the little boy who's toddling behind, "come the eff on!"  He starts to cry and she snaps at the little girl to go get her brother.  I am outraged that she speaks to her baby child like that, and then I'm outraged that she has these two children.  You god damn piece of TRASH, WHY do you get two healthy children and mine had to die?!  WHY THE FUCK??  Why does this person get to have her kids and I can't??!  

I grab Sadie's hand and walk away. Everyone's life and situation is different. I don't know their struggle, and frankly I don't care.  I can't compare my life and the things that have happened to someone else's blessing.

I get a Facebook notification that the cloth diapers I had ordered just a few days prior should be coming in a couple weeks. Sadira and I had picked the patterns and couldn't believe how small they would be on Reece's tiny hiney.  I don't want the goddamn diapers anymore.  I have no use for them.  Leave me the hell alone.

But it's not true.  I do want the diapers.  I just also want the baby who was supposed to wear them. I don't respond.

I get a few pieces of mail.  It's a bill for one of my last ultrasounds, and a doctor's bill.  I have a $3500 deductible to meet to pay for my obstetrical services, and then a 20% coinsurance after that.  As of last week we were already up to $2100 worth of bills.  My stay at the hospital after he was delivered hasn't even been submitted yet.  Fuck you Advanced Radiology!  Fuck you Physicians Associates!!  I will pay you if you give me my baby back!  Why do I have to pay for obstetrical services when I don't even get the baby at the end? FUCK YOU!

It is what it is.  It's not their fault that Reece died.  I am not the first mother to go through this, and I won't be the last.  There aren't always happy endings.  There aren't always perfect pregnancies.


Third, the Love.

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to start this part, and asking The Lord for eloquence, because the amount of love that we've been shown since Reece's passing has been unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life, EVER.

The morning that everything was happening, I called my mother first.  She came immediately and I remember her asking on the phone "how's the baby? Did he make it?" and I had to tell her no. Saying that one little word "no" felt impossible.  Like my tongue was made of cement.  Because I knew the ramifications of that realization.  I knew the emotional roller coaster that would begin from saying that one single word.

No mom, he didn't make it.  Please come. I cried.  Oh my God, Nas, oh my God.  She sobbed.  Oh my God, I'll be right there. And she was.

I often make fun of my mother because she has difficulty taking off her nurse hat whenever someone in our family is in the hospital, or having some type of medical procedure.  But that day she was my mother, and a grieving grandmother, not a nurse. It's what I needed.  Someone to walk that path with me.  There is nothing like a mother's love.  I hope Reece felt that on April 30th just like I did from my own mother.

Immediately after Reece was born and the paramedics arrived I called Kerri.  I just said, "Ker, please come.  I delivered the baby, please come," and within minutes which honestly felt like seconds, I saw her running up the stairs.  I needed her to take care of Sadira.  And she did.  She took the day off and kept Sadie with Sean for me while I went to the hospital.  Having a friend like Kerri in my life is like having another sister. I don't have to explain, I don't have to elaborate.  She just knows and she just does.

Over the course of the past five days Kerri has done so much for me, and Sadira, and Christian, that I can't even write it all out in one blog post.  It would take days just to list it all out.  From the daily check ins, to the dinners, to taking Sadie to dance or Sean's baseball game to keep her occupied and keep some sense of normalcy going for her.  I don't know how Kerri is doing it.  All the while, she's still taking care of me. She has been my right arm and my left arm, and my oxygen, and everything else you can possibly think of.  I wouldn't have survived this half as well as I have without having her in my life. I am so so so grateful.  There isn't a word to describe my appreciation.  To me, she represents all of my friends who are rallying around me, praying for me, crying with me.  She personifies all of them.

Thank you Ker.  You've done absolutely everything I needed before I even knew I needed it.  I am so blessed to have you in my life.

I text my sister to please call, it's an emergency.  She is in her clinicals for nursing school, but calls.  I tell her the unthinkable news, and hear her begin to weep on the other end.  My heart breaks.  She has been wanting a nephew since the moment Sadira was born, and she loved him so intensely before he was born.  I knew this was breaking her heart.  She leaves her clinicals and is there in an hour.

My sister is stoic in the face of an emergency.  I know she is grieving, but the whole time her concern is me and my well being.  She is going to be the best nurse one day.  She gets what I need, does whatever I need, and anticipates my unspoken needs in a way only a sister can.

I ask her to call my father and our younger sister.  I don't have the heart to tell them.  I know how hard that phone call is to make, and I appreciate that she was able to do that for me.

I have several amazing groups of friends in my life, but one of them is a group of moms that I've been friends with since Sadira was born.  I know I need to communicate what happened to them, not only because I know they need to know, but because I know that I need the love and support that they will provide.  I decide to text Lindsey for a number of reasons.  She's one of the gals I've known the longest in the group.  Literally since we were pregnant with our '07 babies.  And while we are very different, we are also very the same.  She's also a doula and has been off and on studying to become a midwife, and along this process of being pregnant I've confided quite a bit in her about my symptoms and things I was experiencing.  I feel like she has been a big part of Reece's life so it feels natural to reach out.

I text her. Linds, awful news.  The baby was born very suddenly this morning.  He didn't make it.  I'm at the hospital, Christian is flying home.  We are all heartbroken.

She texts back immediately.   Nasrene. Oh no. No no no. I'm so sorry! I'm devastated for you. There are no words.  Please tell me if there is anything I can do. Seriously I can be on a plane.

I answer.  I feel like this isn't real.  i delivered him.  He was so tiny.  I don't even know how to explain this emotion.

She answers. I'm so glad you were the one to hold him first.  He was beautiful I bet. And listen to me: there is nothing you did wrong.  You did everything right.  You fought for him.  This is not your fault.

 I didn't want to talk to anyone.  I couldn't bear to bring myself to even call my father.  But the next thing I knew, I had typed the words, "Can I call?"

And she said yes.

And in that conversation she wept, and I wept, and she said lots of things that I needed to hear, and lots of things that I will hold in my heart.  But one of the things she said that will forever resonate with me was, "don't forget that today is Reece's birthday."  It's no secret that I am a lover of all things birthday.  And that tiny reminder that this day should be a day of celebration was such a necessary thing to hear.  It reminded me to find some joy in the day, some beauty.  And for the rest of the day I sought to find beautiful things.  From the kind way I was treated by everyone who cared for me, to the beauty in Reece's tiny hands and feet, with little tiny fingernails and toenails so perfectly formed, to genuine love I felt from everyone who knew me, to the sincere way the ambulance driver came in to talk to me when we got to the hospital to tell me, with tears in his eyes, that he and his wife had experienced something similar and that he would pray for me, to the gentle way my paramedic dressed me as we left for the hospital, like I was his child (even though he was probably younger than me) saying, "here we go mama, one foot in at a time," while he held my pants for me to step into, to the absolute beautiful moment when I first laid eyes on my son.  There WAS so much beauty in Reece's birthday, and I didn't want to forget that.  And I probably would've had Lindsey not reminded me.

I asked her to tell the rest of the ladies what had happened.  I knew she'd find the right words.  We hung up and a few minutes later the Facebook notification came through on my phone that she had posted.  Immediately all of the ladies, my friends, started sending their love.  They were so concerned, so worried, so devastated.  Crying with me from all over the country as I cried from my hospital bed.  I could feel their concern and their devastation.  I could feel that I wasn't alone and they were wrapping me in their arms from coast to coast.  All of our babies are community babies, and they wept this loss as if Reece was a member of their own families, because in a way....he was.

I get a call from the nurse's station.  "Your cousin is here, can she come in?"  I say yes, but have no idea who I'm saying yes to.  I can't think of a cousin who is local who would know, and I know instantly it's a friend feigning a familial relationship just in case.

In walks my friend Lauren. 

I am happy she is there.  I hug her and she hugs me back and I sob on her shoulder.  She is there when Father Gregory, the Catholic chaplain at the hospital shows up and offers a blessing and prayers for Reece. It was beautiful and deserving of it's own post, which I will do in the future.  But I am so glad she was there for that.  To be present as we welcomed Reece into heaven, with my mother and my sister.

She offers help.  To help with the dogs, to help with groceries, to help with anything. I love her for that.  I love all of my friends for their love and offers of help.  I need the help.  I am sustaining on your love and your help.  It's what's getting me through.

As I was discharged my sister drove me home. I was struggling with how to inform everyone of what had happened.  So many friends of mine were excited for this pregnancy.  Sadira is loved communally by so many of our friends, I've always felt like I've shared my children with this larger village.  And Reece was not exempt from that.

I told my sister, "I feel like I need to post something to Facebook..." but I'm struggling because should this be a private thing?  How can it be?  What happens when I show to to work or school or anywhere and there's no bump and no baby?  Do I just stop posting about being pregnant? I can't not say something.  Had Reece survived I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

Why should this be any different?

I asked my sister for a few minutes of stillness in the car.  And as the rain poured outside I wrote an update.

Today has been both beautiful and devastating. This morning at home at 7:30am, I delivered into my own hands our perfect baby boy, Reece Christian. And just as peacefully and swiftly as he came into this world, he left us. Born perfect, but too tiny, just too soon. We do not know why The Lord allowed this to happen, but in the brief moments he was here, he was peaceful and perfect. I am comforted knowing that he is being well taken care of in heaven by Poppop. If you pray, please pray for guidance and healing, as our minds are reeling and our hearts are broken.

I hit post.  I looked at my sister and said, "get ready."  I knew my village would rally, I just didn't know in how great a way.

Almost immediately the love and prayers started pouring in.  Over 300 comments on that status alone of love and support.  Messages.  Texts.  Posts on my wall.

"My heart breaks for you Nasrene for my little bff Sadie and for the Chief. The Mirjohnston family is with you as you grieve the loss of sweet baby Reece, though his time here was but a moment, he will live forever in our hearts."

"I have absolutely, positively no words at all. My heart is literally crushed for you. I pray peace and comfort for you, Christian, & Sadira. If you need me for anything, PLEASE don't hesitate to say so. God bless you all."

"Still struggling with this news, and knowing that I should have something comforting to say, but I don't. My heart is crushed for you.

I realize, that sweet angel, is cherished beyond his time here. In that brief miracle, he was surrounded by so much unending love. You have loved him with all your heart and soul from the moment you knew you were pregnant, through all the wiggles and kicks, and worries. He felt all of that love. And the hidden blessing is, he knew his mamma was holding him, and loving him, every moment of his beautiful life. You are an amazing mother to both your babies.

"Can't sleep...thinking about you, Christian, Sades and sweet Angel Baby Reece. I'm shocked and heartbroken and pissed and sad and I just want to scream, yell and cry. It's not fair. You shouldn't be living this nightmare. I am just so sorry, Nas. I hate that you're going through this and I wish there was more I could do. Praying for you all, especially your beautiful baby boy."

"Hindus have a belief that you are born on this earth merely to pay for your Karma, as long as you have negativity you can not attain nirvana, you will be reborn and suffer the cycle of birth and death. Your perfect little boy had so little negativity that he was here but for minute and now he is one with the cosmos. You gave birth to an almost perfect soul and now he is a can shine on you, Sadira and Christian with all his perfection. I know these words may not offer any comfort but you my friend are strong and brave and you may never get over this but you will use it to change the world, because from the years I have known you, that is what you do."

This is just a sampling, and let me tell you.  I read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  Multiple times.  I read EVERY. SINGLE. MESSAGE.  And I read EVERY. SINGLE. TEXT.

At night when I cannot sleep because I'm a new mother again and new moms don't sleep I read them all.  Over and over again.  When I awake from my nightmare and my heart is racing because I can't comfort my baby, I let everyone's words comfort me.  It's brings me peace, and allows me to rest.

I will never be able to fully articulate how much everyone's messages of concern and love have helped me.  I've been on the other side when friends have lost babies too soon. Friends like Debi, and Karen, and Kia who lost their babies TOO FUCKING SOON, and I didn't know WHAT to say, because words just seem like empty filler when you KNOW someone's heart is so very empty, but being on this side now I see things so very differently.  It helps TREMENDOUSLY.  I will never again NOT say something when I know someone is suffering.  Because it's in the silence that you think people have forgotten.

I have friends who check on me daily.  Tassie, and Amanda, and Kerri, and Lindsey, and Bridget, and Erin, and Alix, and so on and so on...and they preface it by saying, "I hope I'm not bothering or being overbearing, but I'm just so concerned..." and my response is, "you are never being overbearing. You are uplifting me and keeping me afloat.  It's the only way to get past it.  The only way to know that yes, this really happened, and it's AWFUL, but it's okay. I have people that will pull us through this.  And for that I am eternally grateful."

I've had so many people reach out to me in confidence and share their similar stories, from miscarriages to stillbirths.  People who have lost babies recently, and people who lost babies 37 years ago.  They never forget.  They assure me that I will never forget.  They thank me for being vocal about this and not keeping it private.  They say so many people hide away when this happens, and that somehow me being public about this journey is helping them.  I don't quite understand that yet, but I'll take it.  I am so sorry, so goddamn sorry that so many people I know have gone through similar situations.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

I've had friends, Karen and Heidi, who quickly mobilized to organize a fundraiser for the March of Dimes in Reece's honor.  And several more who walked for him. Brenda, and Shannon, who joined teams, or added Reece to the team they were walking for.  All over the country this past weekend so many people walking for premature babies, and Reece was included in those walks.  It's amazing how much of an impact his brief life has made already.

I've had friends that have just stopped by.  From my baby sister Tessa, who just showed up on Thursday and loved on me, and Sadira and Christian, and made us smile in a way that only she can, to my friend Emanuelle who is in town from HAWAII visiting family and friends, and just showed up as a surprise with a bottle of wine and shared laughs and tears with Christian and I, to my friend Melissa who came over yesterday, bringing more love, and prayer requests, and saying just the things she knows I needed to hear.

To my friend Shannon who sent the most beautiful keepsakes for me, and Sadie and Christian, to the flowers from Brandon and Ashleigh, and memorial plants from Courtney, Carla and Yolanda and Lisa and Erika, to the trash magazines, and chocolate and wine from Lindsey and Dawn and groceries from Steph, and dinner from Sherri, the flowers from Liss, Brandi, and Tracey, to the star that has been registered in his honor, and the bereavement books for me and for Sadira that arrived (and I don't even know who sent us these amazing gifts) and to my friends Amanda and Shantel who invited me out for dinner, and for Amanda to find peace because I know she hurts so badly for me, just as Melissa does, and Shannon does and Kerri does. It's hard for them because they love me so much and I know they are among my friends who feel this loss more personally. As if it was their own.  While I hate that they are suffering so much for something that happened in my life, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I have these types of friendships in my life.  It's like when they say that twins can feel each other's pain, I just know that I have a select few friends in my life some that I've mentioned and some that I've regretfully missed because my head is reeling, who feel what I feel more innately.  And that's just incredible.

And then there is Christian who I can't even bring myself to write about right now because I feel like what we went through this week was just too personal and sacred, but I feel like I love him more than I thought was actually possible.  It actually scares me to realize how much I love him, and I don't want to go all co-dependent on him and freak him out, but I just realize that he was put in my life for a reason.  And while I hate that he has to go through this, I am grateful to have him beside me and Sadie through the process. I look at him and I can see little similarities to what I saw in Reece.  And I look at him and love him the way I do Sadie, unconditionally and pure.  Even if he's being a shit head.  I don't care.  I've never really felt that I needed a guy in my life, but at this stage I cannot imagine Christian not in mine.

I don't know how long I will be on this path, though I know this is something I will never forget, but Christian told me that he knows that one day we'll be happy again, and I believe he's right.  This has been a test of faith, of love, of friendship, of strength...of so many things, but I feel like there is something amazing to take from it. I'm still working on figuring out what that is.

I'll never forget how beautiful my son was the moment that he was born.  And I am forever grateful that God chose me to be his mother, even if for only a very brief and sacred time.


AllisonDacia said...

I love you Nas. You have a beautiful and perfect little Saint up in Heaven. Reece pray for us.

dzd1116 said...

Beautiful post Nas. You are far better with words than me. There are so many things in this post that I have thought and felt and never knew how to put it into words. You are so amazingly strong and you have so many people to lean on. Reece will never be forgotten. Everytime I think about Sydney I think about Reece and all the other Angel's I know.

Anonymous said...

Your words touched my soul. Thank you so much for sharing! You are in my prayers daily. Xxo

Beth said...

Nas, that was the most courageous, beautiful, angering, and saddening post that I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing Reece's birth, death, and your feelings with me. I know you may not always feel it, but you are SO strong and brave, and Reece is so lucky to have you as his mother. I work as "that social worker" on the Mother/Baby floor and let me tell you, it is SO hard to have the right words to express the sadness you are feeling for the family, as well as offer information and support to them. They are the absolute worst visits that I have to make and they never get easier. I am still so very sad and angry for you :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing Nas. My keyboard and shirt are soggy now. I think of you, Sadie, and Chief daily. Praying for you all. I have been trying to think of things.....something to send you but nothing seems to convey how deeply my heart aches for you or like it will be enough. Please know that you are in thoughts and prayers daily. I'm glad you have an enormous and wonderful support system. If you need another link in your chain, please don't hesitate to call on me.

Beth D. Carter said...

My heart weeps. Sending hugs and blessings.

Mindy Goldman said...

Nas, this is absolutely beautiful. (Yes, even with the sailor talk). You, Sadira and Christian are in my thoughts and prayers. Reece is now a beautiful and perfect addition to the rank of Angel. Like you said, you have a very large "village" here for you. Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Much love to all of you.

Liz Long said...

You are amazing! I cannot imagine how you are all holding up right now, but then again you are - for each other. I have a couple of friends who have had very similar experience and with both of their families I felt their sadness too. I love all of your emotions and I too am a cursor .. one good way to express yourself when all other words fail, you go for it! Your friends and family are so awesome to just do what you need. My thoughts are with you all and may your days ahead become less heavy with grief - time ( what a word!) .... love and light xoxoxo

Colleen Cali said...

Beautifully written Nas. :(

AshleyH said...

Such beautiful words. It breaks my heart knowing you had to go through that. I know one day, someone will find comfort in your words knowing they are not alone. Something you said really struck a chord with me... about silence makes it feel like they forgot. You are right, I felt that way when I had my mc. I hope I never make someone feel that way. Thank you for sharing <3

Kim Robinson said...

Nassy... I love you so much and this post so beautiful. My shirt is wet from the tears I'm wiping away... Like Tiffany said, I keep thinking about what I can do for you... Or if I should stop by...and it never feels like enough. But I want you to know that I'm here. I think of you so often... I said a big, long, ugly-cry prayer with one of my very religious residents for you on Friday... sobbing. A hot mess actually. Please, let me know if there is anything I can do... You are amazing and strong. I know that you will take this tragedy and turn it into something beautiful... I will stand beside you every step of the way.

shannnn said...

I wish I could take your pain away just as much as I wish mine wasn't so fresh. I lost my baby five days before you lost your sweet boy. I can't help but feel as though you completely understand everything I am feeling. After reading this in the bathroom at a restaurant I was supposed to be eating dinner at....I failed to show up back to the table for 20 minutes because I was in tears in the stall and couldn't collect myself to be in the real world. Reminders of the pain are everywhere. It does seem like such an awful thing to do to loving families like ours. We are not the first and won't be the last. I wonder if I'll ever be comfortable in another pregnancy ever again. Probably not. :'( I feel your pain. Your story is beautiful. I am crying with you over here, every day. Love you Nasrene. Hug your Sadie for me. We should get Sades and Lucas together to play soon. ♥

Daphney said...

Nas, again I am so sorry for your lost!!! If you need too, or Christian or Sadie anyone needs to get away we got room in NC. Come anytime...If there is anything you need let me know!!!

Anonymous said...

I am literally sobbing. You have done your little man justice and that is so significant. Even though he is not in your arms, you are being an amazing mother to him. The grace and honesty you are showing your daughter is incredible.

Noah sends his love to Sadie. I am sending my love to your entire family and it is so inspiring to see the love surrounding Reeve. His short life has so much meaning. I know you are angry, what else could you feel? You are ALWAYS his mommy.

Love you. Cindy

Stacy said...

This is the most beautiful piece of written work I've read. I am so proud of you and so sad for you at the same time. Even though I have not personally list a child, I know your willingness to talk about your experience is going to help so many people. You are a strong, beautiful woman. Reece and Sadira are so lucky that you are their mother. ((( hugs))) and prayers!

Melissa Florence said...

Thanks for sharing. As I read your story my heart broke again for you and as the tears rolled down me check i realiazed that you are truly the most amazing person I know. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bree said...

Oh Nas, that was so incredibly beautiful. I can't hold back the tears for you guys and all that you've lost but also for all you've gained. What a gift Reece gave you all in being able to be wrapped in the arms of your people so wholeheartedly and lovingly. There are many who never truly know or understand the depth and degree that their friends and family have and want to walk with us through our darkest moments. I grieve for Reece knowing that mother's heart of love for a child. I ache for you guys and the hole that is left behind. There is no real way to fill that whole, I think. Only ways to mend the edges and learn to embrace the scar since it is a reminder of him. I've been thinking of you guys and will continue to pray for comfort and peace.

Anonymous said...

Nasrene. .I'm sure that must have been so hard to write, but I hope it helped you in some way too. I'm in absolute tears reading it. I always said you should write a book.. You have the power to touch people with your words. I love you, and I'm honored to be counted among your friends.

Jennifer Rebboah said...

Wow what a powerful, emotion evoking post. My heart breaks for you and any mother, father, sister, brother.... That has been faced with this kind of unthinkable situation. While I don't know you in person and we aren't all that close on the plan b page, I can't help feel your sadness, anger and love at the situation you are faced with. I'm so "happy" for you that you are obviously surrounded by friends and family that are there to support you, Sadira and Christian now and in the future. Your family of four is in my prayers. Jen Rebboah

Anonymous said...

Wow Nas! Such a heart felt, beautiful, beautiful story. I only wish the loss was a story of fiction. I cannot imagine the heartbreak you, Christian, Sadira and your family feel. My heart is broken for you. I was going to bed on time tonight but I could not tear myself away. I have cried and prayed and cried and prayed some more. I'm so glad you have such wonderful supports covering you. Keep, blogging, screaming, yelling, cursing, crying whatever your heart feels. Inadvertently you are helping so many as you are working towards healing. Your blog reminded me of a good friend of mine loosing her baby several years ago. I didn't know what to say and I thought talking about it would make her feel worse so I said as little as possible. I know now that was probably not the case. I feel like I need to apologize so many years later. Thank you for sharing your heart. Reece went from your loving hands to the loving hands of our father in heaven. I will continue to pray for your strength as you work through all of these feelings. Erica Zachary (((HUGS)))

Melissa Dell said...

I saw Michele's post and i know how incredibly close all of you ladies are. My heart breaks for you and your family. No words will ever seem right from strangers. But I will be praying for your family. and for Reece. Thank you THANK YOU for sharing and bearing your soul to us all.

Cynthia Duarte said...

I know there are no words to truly comfort you. I know that although you know others have gone through similar situations, you still feel alone. I know, because I am one of those women with a similar situation. Reading your story felt very real, it took me back to 6 years ago when I was feeling all of the emotions that you are. You are strong, and you will get through this. Your man is right, you will be happy again. The pain will always be there, but it will fade. And maybe one day, you will click on a link, knowing what your about to read, and cry... but feel a sense of community that you didn't think even existed. I pray for your comfort in knowing you will hold your son again.

Leah Miller said...

I am so very sorry Nasrene. I don't really know you personally, but have known you through the 2007 baby group. You are such an uplifting, positive person. Your posts always make me laugh. I have been thinking about you and your family constantly and am so happy you have so much support. You seem like a VERY strong woman and you seem to be coping the best anyone could in this situation. Much love to you and your family. <3

Heather Rosendale said...

Nas, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I sobbed while reading(ok, still sobbing). My heart has been breaking everytime I think of the loss you and your family have been experiencing. It's all so fragile, this life. We are lulled by the day to day, our healthy children, the constant seemingly real promise of tomorrow. It's so fragile and you've reminded me to hug my kids a little tighter and feel the blessing of their presence just a little stronger. To remind everyone I love that I love them. I wish you peace and comfort,Nas.

Suzanne in NC said...

Thank you for being brutually honest about all the things you are feeling. I cried from beginning to end. I am not good with words, but wanted to let you know I pray for peace to be with you and your family. When this happens we often don't know what to say - but I won't ever say nothing again, I won't let "you" be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but we have a friend in common. I was so touched and heartbroken for you by your story. It takes so much courage to write this and I can tell you loved your Reece so much! I have a child but I could never know how it is to lose one..You are such a strong person and I know that little boy will be watching over you and your family. I send you and your family love and prayers! God bless!

Anonymous said...

That was so beautifully, honestly written, and I imagine it will help others going through your hell. I'm so sorry. Prayers for healing and comfort for you and your family. You must be a very brave woman, even if you may not feel like it. Prayers for abundant happiness in your future, and only precious memories being made from happy, love-filled experiences in your life. Prayers for only joyous stories that need to be shared with your amazing collection of friends. Prayers that your dreams will eventually turn to dreams...not vandalized by sadness and fear. Prayers that you will be able to breath during a memory of your son, with less pain and more love. These are the prayers I will keep sending up for you.

Samantha of the Ojibirish11 said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. My heart just aches for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I was incredibly moved by your blog, and so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am keeping you and all your family in my thoughts and prayers. Although you and I have never met, my sister and I knew your Mom and Dad when we were younger, and you also went to school with my niece Kristen. I wish there were words I could say to help take away your pain, but I can only offer my heartfelt hope that your strong faith will sustain you. Embrace all the love your family and friends offer. God bless you.

Meredith said...

I don't know you, but am so achingly sad for your loss and this nonsensical situation. You told your story with such amazing heart and honesty, I am crying with you. So wordlessly sorry and so many prayers.

Carrie said...

I, like many on here, do not know you personally. But I would like to encourage you in your unabashed emotional releases. And encourage your daughter to do the same as needed.
I pray that you will be surrounded with those who love and support you. And that you will continue to feel the same love and support for the months and years to come. Those special ones who will remember always with you and keep asking how you are doing even when it seems like it's been "long enough" to stop asking. It will never be long enough.
Let your village carry you when you can't carry yourself.
I also pray that as a mother and a father, you and your man grow stronger together through this thing.
Love will win!
From Carrie in Georgia

Pampiress11 said...

I send all my love and prayers to you. To have lived a version of this myself, I can understand your pain. I love your strength that you are showing already and understand the anger and sadness. Reece was perfect, as God wanted him to be. Your little girl would have been the best big sister a little guy could ever ask for. I can feel the love that everyone had for him before he was born and even more after he went back to our Lord. Let your friends and family love on you. I know it can feel smothering at times, but these are the people that care the most. Your lil Reece is in Heaven with my sweet Dalton, playing on those streets of gold, waiting on us to come home to them.

Abby Standar said...

My dearest mommy,
You have touched me so dearly and so close to home. I am so incredibly sorry to hear your story. My son, Finnigan Scott, was born April 23, 2014 at 40 weeks, 2 days. He had absolutely no signs that anything was wrong with him and the second they cut the umbilical cord, he died. We are still waiting on the autopsy report in hopes to find out why we couldn't live without me. Your posts are so similar to all my thoughts that I have, but have not taken the time to write. I am so sorry for you, your family, and your sweet Reece. My thoughts are with you. Thank you for taking the time to write these blogs.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything profound to say, just know you touched my heart today. I ache for your loss.

Jen Jame said...

From Jen: Your story deeply touched my heart and soul. My precious little girl,Adrianna Elizabeth,was born at 17wks 5 days. She was my first child and you NEVER forget!!! My children (3) and my husband and I celebrate her birth every March12. She would have been 15.The ache and sadness,but also the joy and love are always there but much more in March.I wonder sometime if she would have looked like her sister,tall darker hair so sweet and kind or short,skinny ,blond like her first brother,or her little brother short, chunkie,toe head , with the cutest round punishable cheeks. One day well know when we meet her in heaven. All my love to you and your family. Keep strong!

Jessica said...

I am at work, someone posted this on my mom's group on Facebook, and I have been crying on and off for the better part of an hour when I come back to the page. This is beautifully written, I felt every emotion as I thought of my little one year old daughter, how thankful I am to hold her and so very sorry I am for your loss. Thank you for sharing the rawness of your experience, you are so strong to deal with this, to see the beauty of what his short life has brought to all whose lives your story has touched. Sending thoughts, prayer and light to you for love and healing to your family. Thank you for sharing, I hope it has helped with your healing process.

Dr Mom said...

A beautiful post about such a tragic experience. I found you through Alix who recommended your post. Thank you for sharing. My sister-in-law lost her baby yesterday and I will pass on your post for her. There is such healing in the sharing process. May God's grace continue to cover you.

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