Let me tell you, there is nothing more strange and awkward than taking pictures of your baby in the hospital. At least, this was my experience.
I’m not talking about the adorable milestone and NICU graduate photos. I mean the baby-might-not-make-it-through-the-night, let-me-capture-one-more-moment-while-I-still-can photos.
One moment was more horrifying than the next. One moment, it would look like things were improving and the next, it would all come crashing down. But with every new phase, we took pictures, even the ones that were hard to take.
People tend to judge what they don’t understand and to some, it seems odd that we would be taking pictures of or sharing these rough moments. I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad or uncomfortable, but in the hopes that I can help more people understand.
For 5 of the 6 days of my son’s life, he was hooked up to hospital machines and yes, it can be hard to look at. But if you look past the tubes and tape, you’ll see my beautiful baby boy. The hope is that every baby will make it out of the NICU/PICU. For some of us, thats not the case.
As hard as it was to take pictures, I’m so glad we did. This was his life. This is his story.
Go easy on us grieving mamas. We would give anything to be sharing perfectly composed photos of healthy little babies in our homes next to letter boards, but sometimes, that’s not the way the story goes. Sometimes, this is all we have.
We’re doing it. We’re surviving. Last week, we started homeschooling again after taking the entire month of December off. Today, Randy went back to work. I won’t lie- I was scared. I was afraid that the steps ahead would be way too hard. Most of the time, moving forward feels completely wrong. Last night, we started feeling peace about the idea of resuming normal life.
Today was a good day. Tears were shed. Difficult questions were asked by little ones who don’t quite grasp the concept of heaven (I mean, do any of us really?). And I barely made it through our morning devotion about prayer and how God is still good even when the answer is no. (Relevant, right?) But today just felt a little lighter.
The past 2 weeks have been the hardest, even worse than our time in the hospital and worse than the week right after Sterling died. I didn’t expect that. For a while, it seemed like every day was worse than the last. We’ve been treading in this space between a dream and a nightmare for so long. And while I know the waves will wash over us again, for now we’ve come up for air.
I know some of you were praying for us today, specifically because Randy went back to work and I want to say thank you.
You died one month ago today. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, but most of the time, I just wonder how we’ve all survived this long without you.
Time crawls by so slow, it feels like I’ve already lived a lifetime without you. This moment was one of the most excruciating, but still somehow incredibly peaceful. You were gone.
Your physical body was here with me, but you had already crossed over into paradise. There was no amount of time that would’ve been long enough. I knew no matter how long I chose to spend holding your little body, it would just never be enough.
Even with all the pain this moment brought me, I would give anything to go back to this moment. Even just for a minute, to feel the weight of you on my chest again.
They say grief comes in waves. Right now, I’m drowning.
We would’ve been sitting on the couch right now, you asleep on me, probably freshly bathed and nursed.
I would’ve been composing some sort of 1 month post with all your baby milestones.
The other kids would be getting ready for bed and coming to kiss you goodnight a hundred times. They would probably wake you up and make you all cranky and I would laugh because you’re all so adorable.
I wonder if these thoughts ever stop. Or will I always wonder what we’d be doing if you were still here?
It’s only been 25 days and I’m not sure how we’re supposed to do life without you.