This blog post was first published at Still Standing Magazine.
A few months after our one-week-old son’s funeral, we moved.
But as the years passed and the boxes remained unpacked I began to wonder, did we move? Or did we run?
I was six months pregnant when I had to have an emergency C-section in an effort to save my son’s life. The two weeks leading up to that decision happened rather quickly.
During a routine doctor’s appointment, it was discovered that my son was experiencing intrauterine growth restriction. I went from a happy first-time mother with a growing baby bump, to a mother running from doctor to doctor trying to save her baby’s life.
Related: Neonatal Death; A Silence.
After an alarming visit, my primary obstetrician referred me to a high-risk perinatal specialist. Before I could even learn his name, that doctor was sending me off to another specialist. I remember there being a sense of urgency. It wasn’t the usual, “call the office and schedule your appointment in two weeks.” It was more like, “go to your car and before you pull out the parking lot, the nurse will call you with driving directions.”
It was urgent.
Within days, I was calling my manager to let her know that I would be home on bedrest. I was advised not to use my computer, so this would not be a working bed rest. But still hopeful, I told her that maybe I only needed a moment and soon I’d be ready to return to work. A few days later I called to let her know that my bed rest was moving from home to the hospital. And maybe I wouldn’t be back to work after all.
My new doctor had decided to have me admitted to the hospital for 24-hr monitoring. My life was quickly changing. It was indeed urgent.
Back at home, we were remodeling in preparation for our new baby. We were redoing the floors throughout our home to make them perfect for a crawling little one. We were rearranging spare bedrooms so that one could become a fully functional nursery. And I was so excited about our brand new kitchen. We had installed a beautiful granite breakfast bar that would be perfect for a high chair.
I was working closely with our building contractor. I wanted everything in tip top shape when we brought our new baby home. It was disappointing to have to call him on the way to the hospital and cancel an upcoming appointment. Things were changing quickly and I wouldn’t be at home to make our next design decision. I told him to surprise me and finish the design himself because this was more urgent.
That was one of the last phone calls that I remember making before my life would change forever.
I checked into the hospital nervously, but still as a doting mother preparing to welcome a beautiful baby boy into the world. And a little over a week later, I was being wheeled back to the car as a mother with crushed dreams and empty arms.
I was riding home alone. And I was never given a chance to take my son home with me. I was alone.
It WAS urgent.
After that emergency C-section, our son lived for seven days. During his stay in the NICU, I told him all about the new home that we were preparing for him. We had a picture of ourselves posted on his incubator. But I couldn’t wait to fill our home with new pictures, pictures that included him. However, it didn’t happen that way. Our only family photo was laced with tears capturing the last second of our baby’s life.
The memory of that photo is ingrained in my heart. I never have to view it again. I see it in my scars every day.
After a few months of staring at the empty walls in our home, we decided to move. The walls that were designed to be a backdrop for new family photos had become the reflection of our broken hearts.
We scaled back and finished the remodel, put our house on the market, and we moved. We moved away from our home.
It was our baby’s home.
We were loading boxes onto the moving truck before the sale was even final. Our house was no longer a home. And we had to go. Our move had become urgent.
It was late one summer evening when my husband and I picked up and moved from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Atlanta, GA. Our entire lives had changed. And we packed it up and placed it in a bunch of boxes.
When we moved into our new home it took us a few months to unpack.
As we got settled into new jobs, things continued to move quickly. We started going to new places. And we began to meet new people.
But one day while unpacking, I came across the order form for our son’s headstone. Suddenly things began to slow down. And our home no longer felt new.
As I sat on the floor covered in puddles of tears, I began to wonder… Did we move?
Or did we run?