Four years after having a stillborn baby…not just a baby. Our son. Max Anthony.
Tonight, I backed out my car out of the driveway and the thought crossed my mind, “Which one of his brothers would he have looked more like?”
My little boys were waving to me, as they hopped into their Power Wheels to take a spin around the yard with their Daddy. I was heading out to pick up some groceries. My beautiful family was smiling back at me from my front yard. Yet, I couldn’t get our first born son out of my head.
Maybe he wouldn’t look anything like his brothers. Maybe he would look totally different, and have unique features that were all his own. He was born with black hair and blue eyes. So were his brothers, but they now have brown hair, and one has brown eyes, one has green eyes. Who knows who or what Max would’ve looked like.
Today, Sunday, August 9th Max should be turning four years old. So many things have changed in four years. Each year, since I’ve had this blog, I write a recap on the year without our first born son. Two years ago I wrote from a very different place than I am now. Last year, a little different, too. Each year, I find myself growing in new ways, and thinking of our son in different ways…
This year, back in March, I attempted to get my complete medical records from his death. When you have a stillborn baby, the child doesn’t get a birth certificate. It’s like they almost didn’t exist, except you do get a death certificate. There’s no social security number for a stillborn baby either. So, I’d have to get the medical records under my name. I filled out the paperwork and as I wrote the words “Max Anthony – deceased son of Melissa Ann” had a meltdown…
I just can’t do it. I’m not ready. I thought after almost 4 years I would be ok, but no. I know maybe that sounds strange. I was there, I gave birth to him, I know what happened. Why can’t I read through the paperwork?? Probably because I was there and I don’t want to read a play-by-play. Or worse, maybe I might find something in the records that I wasn’t previously aware of. Why torture myself when he cannot be brought back to life. I can’t change that he was born still. I can’t go back in time to realize he was not moving enough and get myself back to the hospital in time to save his life. The outcome remains the same, so I’m not in a rush to read the records. Maybe one day, but not today.
I’ve also found that it’s a heavy burden to bear, to be a mom that carried a child that died inside of her body. There’s not words to describe the feelings of guilt, sadness, and hurt that one experiences from birthing a dead child. There’s no way to describe the feelings of having physical and mental flashbacks of knowing he was not alive inside of my body. Some days, I will be in the shower and my mind will just drift off to the morning I was showering before I went to the doctor and found out that his heart had stopped beating. Strange flashbacks like that; they have the power to bring you to your knees, even four years later.
There is no way to tell you how you go about giving birth to someone so beautiful, yet so very not alive. To wait to hear the cry of a newborn that will never utter a single sigh, well, I can’t tell you how that feels.
If you’re reading this and you are one of the women who know how it feels, I’m sorry. I am wrapping my big virtual arms around you, and embracing you with love and letting you know it wasn’t your fault, and I’m so, so very sorry.
You would think that as the years pass it would get easier. The thing is, it will never be easy to lose a child. Old or young, sick or healthy. It’s not easy under any circumstances. You get through the days, and come to terms with the fact that you’ve lost a child, but “easy” wouldn’t be a word I would use to describe this.
This year, watching my living children grow, laugh, run and play, and interact with each other has been pure joy. Yet, the sinking feeling somehow always creeps in to let me know there should be three boys here. Not only two. I have three sons.
Christmas. Mother’s Day. His Birthday. These days are hard. Every year, without fail. The holidays, the celebrations, those are hard.
I know baby loss is a pretty weird thing to understand if you’ve never been through it. It’s a weird thing to understand even if you actually have been through it. I still don’t understand what happened to our son, and probably never will. I just looked through the photos from his birth and found myself saying “what the hell happened?”. It doesn’t seem real, doesn’t seem like I had a child who died. How can that be possible? I don’t have to understand, but hopefully I will continue to find more and more peace as the years continue to pass without our first son here on Earth.
I’m starting to think of my beautiful Max as an amazing, wonderful soul that I had the chance to briefly meet and protect for a few months, as he made his journey through the universe. Wherever he was heading, I hope we get the chance to meet again. I sure would like to have another look at his big blue eyes.
Happy 4th Birthday, Max. We love you always, and think of you every single day.