That morning after our family left the hospital it was just Kevin and I. I had to get dressed. I put on the same clothes I had entered the hospital in, but now there was much more room. My belly had collapsed so quickly. The nurses processed our discharge, but it seemed so easy that I stopped at the front desk to ensure we were okay to leave. The nurse knew who we were, and quietly told us we were okay to leave, with pity in her eyes. I walked towards the elevator and there was a statue with a mom holding a baby. I just stared at it - heartbroken. I had arrived 27 hours earlier with contractions, knowing that things were not great, but never believing that I would walk out of the hospital with empty arms and an empty belly. Koen was gone. Already at the funeral home. How did we get here? Rain was pouring from the skies as we exited the hospital doors. The heavens were crying with us.
Last Saturday I went into Koen's bedroom, not something I do often, but I had put Hackett's winter comforter in there and needed to get it back out. I walked in the room, stopped, looked at the tiniest pair of socks, and collapsed into the rocking chair. I sat holding those little socks and the onsie that said "Little Brother". I had purchased it just hours after finding out that Koen was a boy. The only item missing in that sweet little outfit was the hat. The grey and white striped hat was placed on Koen's sweet little head and buried with him. I looked over at the CD player and pushed play. I already had a pile of lullaby CDs in Koen's room. When I was still pregnant I would sit in the rocking chair, rub my belly, sing, and talk to Koen. I had time last year during my pregnancy and I was given the gift of time with Koen. I am so thankful that I stopped and savored that time with him ... my only time with him. Last week as I sat and rocked I looked at the dust that has piled on the CD player and other things in Koen's room. The dust has settled, time has passed, and life has changed.
There are constant reminders. Every time I walk in my bedroom I glance into Koen's empty room. As we drove to a birthday party for Hackett this weekend we drove by the cemetery and I watched as both Kevin and my head turned and gazed at Koen's resting place for as long as we could. This week yet another large hospital bill arrived. Oh how that hurts my heart that not only have we had to pay a large price emotionally, but financially as well. We left the hospital with empty arms. I pray that someday I will have the strength to raise funds to help ease families financial burden when they face loss.
I went to church today for the first time since I had Koen. I can't explain why I have stayed away, even though my faith has remained strong, church just seemed overwhelming emotionally to me. I tried to turn my emotions off as we entered the sanctuary and I made it through the first song without tears. Then I glanced to my right and saw a couple holding a tiny baby boy and no praise lyrics left my mouth for the rest of the service. Another reminder of our loss. I was unable to sing as tears poured down my face. When Praise and Worship finished they had a large group of people come on stage as they talked about missions work being down at our church. That couple to our right and their baby boy went up on stage too. I just s. The guest pastor continued on with the missions message. I struggled trying to connect, but it began to hit me that maybe this is my mission. At the end of the service they called two families up on stage. One of the families was that same couple with that same baby boy. They were in need of financial support as they were preparing to go into the missions filed (overseas somewhere - I missed the details as I stared at the baby). Their prayer request was that their 10-week-old baby, the same age Koen would have been, would be used as a vehicle to share God. Maybe this is my mission and my Koen is being used as that vehicle to share God ...
A friend sent me a message this week, sadly one of her family members lost their baby at 22 weeks. She wanted to know what to do for this family. Koen has taught me so many lessons in his brief life. How to help those that are grieving, raw, and broken is just one of those things.
Emotionally I have had a tough string of days. I have sat down to write in hope to help process. When I write, I cry, and at other times I seem to stifle the tears. There seems to be no "good" time to cry. I am working so hard to carry on. From the days following Koen's birth I made the decision to not have Hackett live under this dark cloud with me. I don't want to look back and feel like I have lost time with Hackett. I have already lost a lifetime with Koen, My days now consist of being with Hackett or being in my classroom. I put Hackett to bed and correct papers. Rinse and repeat. Kevin has been on shift now for over a month and the last two weekends has been working 12's, which is only adding to the chaos. There seems to be little time to process, little time to feel, and little time to grieve lately. I need that time. I can't keep everything all wrapped up and pretty without that time. Tears flow down my cheeks at random moments, and within seconds and I am wiping them away to answer one of Hackett's many questions in my normal mommy voice. I am nearing my breaking point. Juggling these balls in the air would be difficult under normal circumstances, but adding in the grief and the fear of the future is wearing me out. I am thankful that I have stepped back and assessed all that is swirling around me, in hopes to carve out time. The time I so desperately need.
Initially when I sat down to write today the only thoughts that surfaced were how much I ache and miss my Koen. So often this week I had thoughts and visions of holding him. Walking around, carrying him, singing to him, and kissing his sweet little head. Then the realization that it is only a dream shatters my heart. Even my arms are aching for him.
I am Jackie.