After having a baby, your hormones do all sorts of crazy things that make you feel, for lack of a better word – crazy. Most new moms struggle a little bit with the new needs at home of adding a baby and these crazy hormones don’t help much.
We were in a position where my postpartum hormones were definitely in effect and I was certainly struggling with that. Then you add in grief of the loss of our baby. It was the worst feeling. I had gone through nearly 8 months of pregnancy, then labor for 36 plus hours, then delivery of our baby, holding our baby and now I go home with nothing, just empty arms and I still had to deal with everything postpartum so kindly blesses upon us – not.
We were awaiting her services on the following Thursday morning. Brandon and I went to a local shop, Banburry Cross, to pick out an outfit for Sawyer’s service. It took everything out of us to accomplish this. This is the kind of store that brings happiness to new parents and others celebrating new life. It isn’t supposed to be for this, or at least that’s how we felt. They had some of the most beautiful gowns in this store and that’s exactly why I wanted to go there. We picked out a white gown with pink trim. I also had a cross for her and a matching one for me to keep. We took a ride to the funeral home to give it to them, another stop on our list of things you shouldn’t have to do after you have a baby. All of this was so difficult and a constant reminder of our painful reality. We picked out our stone for her. Brandon picked the pink stone and I loved it. We chose to engrave a rose on it, because we had pictures taken in the hospital of her with her holding a rose. We also had one rose set aside that was later placed in a glass case to honor her memory. We also chose a small angel baby kneeling to be engraved on her stone, since we referred to her as our angel baby, like so many others who lose an infant.
Somewhere in the midst of this my milk came in. That was pure torture. I couldn’t stand a single second of that. It was a constant reminder of exactly what I didn’t have. I remember trying to tell myself, “this is good, this means my body works like it should.” I would then change how I felt about it, and rewrap them and apply more frozen cabbage leaves. Yes, women really do that. I actually recall my cousin, aunt and uncle coming to visit and I greeted them with, “I’m so sorry I stink. It’s the cabbage.” That got everyone laughing for a minute of course.
The Wednesday before Sawyer’s service, we attended bible study at Brandon’s office. They have one every Wednesday and our pastor usually leads. We met with our pastor right before this to discuss her service the next day. Pastor Mike Haman was amazing to us. He said all of the right things and it felt so good to hear it from him. We knew that Thursday would run smoothly for us simply because of him.
Thursday morning rolled around, and it was pretty difficult to get up and get ready but I knew I owed that to our angel and I needed to give her the proper service that she deserved. I had asked through word of mouth for everyone attending to try to wear pink to honor her. I was rather impressed with the amount of people there to support us and I can’t be more thankful for our support team continuing to show support. Pastor Mike spoke at her service and shared a bible verse that resonates with me daily. It was Acts 2:28. I loved the fact that this specific verse is what stood out to him. Her birthdate and time was 2/28 at 2:28 so it was so perfect and so fitting. Brandon and I took our last moment with her, alone and by her side before we parted. Everything in this moment was so terrible, so painful but still so perfect. We reminded one another that this wasn’t the end, but now we had our baby girl waiting for us in heaven, our eternal home. And we knew that one day we would, in fact, hold her again.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.
Following all of this, things slowed down a bit, which had some good sides but also so difficult sides. Brandon was back at work and family members took turns sitting with me on and off at home for the next few days. I made sure I opened my curtains every day to let the sunlight shine bright throughout my house. I got out of bed when he did and I dressed myself to be sure that I was not susceptible to the devil’s work. I gave him no chances. I was and am a child of God and I would find a way through this and I was determined to find peace along the way. I whole heartedly believed that this loss, as terrible and painful as it was, was not just for me to hurt, I knew and trusted that God had more in store for me. I just had to find the way to believe that day in and day out while I waited for my reasons.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As soon as I felt physically healed, I began to go to work with Brandon. Luckily he works for himself and this was not an issue for me to tag along pretty much everywhere he went. This was huge for me because I did rely so much on him. It was also nice to see people at his office so I could maintain interaction with others and keep my mind busy. At night, I would take time to myself and soak in the bathtub, usually with some cool bath bombs some sweet friends had gifted me. In this time, I would cry, think, pray and most importantly I would reach out to other women who had walked this road. I did best hearing from women who had lost their first baby, but delivered healthy, full term babies following. I would text a few different women about every new emotion I was feeling, or any thoughts that I had that I was sure were normal. For instance, social media was a gut check every time I looked at it. Another weekly picture of someone’s precious pregnant belly, another baby shower, another birth announcement, another newborn picture. This was really hard. I was actually happy for all of these people, but I was battling jealousy in a bad way. I would pray about it and then ask myself, “What’s the alternative? For them to experience this pain. No way! No one should feel this.” So then I would redirect my attention or focus elsewhere, but it always started with prayer. I was not always on top of this and sometimes the jealousy would eat me up. I just did my best to recognize it and change those bad thoughts.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Almost two weeks after Sawyer’s birth I could tell I was needing an outlet of some sort, and likely something that allowed Brandon some time to himself as well. This is when I came across Sarah’s Laughter. I wasn’t to sure what it was but I knew it was a support group for loss and they met on Thursdays at 7pm, and that was perfect. Brandon had weekly meetings at 7pm on Thursdays. So I talked myself in to going and the day I decided to go I realized one of my friends, Margo, was going to be there. I knew she was going for support through her walk in infertility. This immediately reassured me that this was the right move. I really had no idea the impact that this night would have on me over the next few years. Sarah’s Laughter has provided me with so much faith and support through our loss and I can’t wait to discuss this further.