having a baby

The Pain Of Losing An Infant Never Leaves You

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lit-candleMy husband Brian and I entered the room amidst feelings of both shock and devastation. It was our first time here. The mood was very solemn: a bunch of young men and women speaking in hushed tones. We quickly found a table with our new friend; someone whom we had met only hours earlier. One by one, grief stricken individuals rose to light a candle. They also spoke a name. Soon it would be our turn. “Liam Jude Sullivan,” my husband said full of obvious despair. It was still very raw. We were at our very first bereavement meeting. It also happened to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance month. If you have never heard of that month, you are not alone. Neither had we, until we had to do the unthinkable. Until we had to bury our firstborn son.

Besides that church basement, Brian and I hadn’t really been getting out much. Liam had died just a month earlier due to a severe congenital heart defect. He was only nine days old. It was October of 2008 and Halloween was on its way. It should have been a happy time. Instead, we set up a couple of little pumpkins and a ghost at Liam’s grave. We had been spending a lot of time at the cemetery. In fact, friends and family would probably argue that we were there too much. We didn’t care. It was what we needed at the time. It was the only way we could parent a child that was no longer with us physically. Besides, what did they know? They were all blessed with beautiful children and families. We, on the other hand, were in hell.

As autumn inevitably turned into winter, I realized just how much the anger and bitterness was eating me alive. I had very little contact with anyone besides my husband. Everyone around us thought it unhealthy that we were isolating ourselves. The truth was, it was just too hard for us to be around others and their happy families. It reminded us of what we didn’t have. By this point I had stopped working, so I just stayed home. Most days were spent looking at Liam’s pictures and crying. I also went through the memory box that the hospital gave me. I wasn’t living, but merely existing. I didn’t think I was going to be able to go on. I didn’t think I would survive. At times, I wished I was dead myself.

A funny thing happened one day at the cemetery. Brian and I were arranging some flowers when we noticed another couple nearby. They put down a blanket. “Noah”, the woman said. I assumed it was the name of her deceased loved one. Trying not to be nosy, I turned back to our grave. A couple of seconds later, as if by magic, I noticed a beautiful baby boy had joined them. I became quite emotional at this; crying both happy and sad tears. Little brother was visiting his big brother’s grave. Yes, I thought to myself. As sad and heartbroken as we are in this very moment, there were smiles to be had again in the form of another baby. A second little baby to love. Someone to make us laugh despite our tears. It would happen. One day.

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