July 26, 2016
I cannot believe you were born 10 days ago. It simultaneously feels like a lifetime ago and the blink of an eye. I’ve already told you how I wish time would stop. Part of me is just scared that people will forget about how important you are or that they will fail to understand that it still hurts so badly. Your Daddy and I will never forget you and will never forget how important you are to us. You made us parents and you are our son.
I left the house today by choice (not for a doctor). Daddy and I went to the Squam Marketplace in Holderness. I was trying to be strong for you and I did alright at first. I picked some wine and browsed a bit while Daddy ordered our sandwiches. I had forgotten that the store sold onesies that matched our T-shirts (yes – we accidentally wore matching T-shirts from where we got lunch). I avoided that section but got upset when I remembered. Then I realized there were little boys all over the shop and got too upset to stay. Jealousy is not cute, but I was sad and angry that we would never get to be those families. Your daddy comforted me (as always) and took me home.
I did my best to keep busy. I learned two more of the stitches I need for our rainbow embroidery. French knots are SO hard for me, but I will keep practicing. I also started practicing with the Dremel! My first “I” was pretty rough. Things seemed to improve when I tried cursive. I wish I had better handwriting. I will probably make at least twenty signs before I start to think they are good enough. I had been feeling this sense of urgency on these projects, but am realizing it is better to really practice and make them as nice as you deserve.
I just hope wherever you are you can feel how much I love and miss you – your Daddy too. Goodnight, sweet baby.
Love you the most,
P.S. Daddy and I looked at the stars for a bit tonight. We know you’re out there.
July 25, 2016
Today your Grandma and Grandpa brought you home to us. For obvious reasons, it was really hard. Your Grandma went to pass you to me in your alarmingly tiny red velvet bag and I froze. Fortunately, you have the strongest Daddy in the world and he stepped in. We took you to our NH temporary home (The Bunk House) and looked at the pictures from our brief time together. I hugged your tiny hat and held your baby hospital bracelet. Daddy and I had a good solid cry and tucked you in for now.
Your Grandpa brought me back a Dremel to use to make some “Isaac” signs. He’s an incredibly generous man. When I was maybe 13 years old (maybe 11?), my parents sent me to an overnight camp. The camp was primarily for sports. While I got significantly more athletic as an adult, I was an asthmatic wimp back then (some would joke that I still am). I hated camp but for one activity. In the woodshop, we would use a router to carve wooden signs. When I came home, I insisted on making them for al of the New Hampshire houses and more. Hopefully eighteen years or so later I can still figure it out.
I also started practicing embroidery to make the project I had once planned for your nursery. It will say, “When it rains look for rainbows. When it’s dark look for stars.” I’m hoping these words I meant to encourage you as you grew will both remind me of you and remind me to find positives in the darkest of times such as these. I’m an amateur at best, but hope I can make something as good as you deserve.
Your Daddy and Grandpa went rowing in the double today. Your Grandpa is one of the top rowers in his age group, in the world, and it turns out your Daddy is a natural. You should have seen them flying across the cover. I wish they could have taught you. I know you would have been tall and a natural as well. Your Daddy is such an athlete. He runs fast, he hikes fast and now he rows fast. He’s just so good at everything he puts his mind to. He’s the coolest daddy around and I so wish I could have seen you together. I bet he’s dreaming of you right this very moment. I love you more than anyone else ever could, but your Daddy is the closest second. Goodnight, my sweet boy.
Love you forever,
July 24, 2016
Tomorrow, we get a piece of you back . . . a physical piece that is. On the one hand, this is not at all what I want. I want to hold you in my arms. I want to cuddle you. I want to sing to you, to feed you and change your diapers. I want to know what color your eyes would have been. I want to watch you flourish and become the amazing son and man that I know you would have been. On the other hand, I know that is not possible, and a small physical piece of you is better than nothing at all.
Mommy had a hard day of missing you, Isaac. I keep waiting for someone to wake me up from this twisted nightmare. This was never how it was supposed to be. If Mommy and Daddy’s love alone had been all you needed, you would have lived forever.
I’m sorry to be such a downer – I did, after all, promise lighter and happier things. We made “progress” today. Daddy convinced Mommy to get in Big Brown again. You see, we went out on a lunch and ice cream adventure to Squam Marketplace in Big Brown the day before we lost you. The idea of going without you terrified me. I decided I just had to push through the sadness and go for it, or risk never getting in that beautiful boat again. Daddy and I sat in the way back. Sure – I bawled the first few minutes (I miss my baby), but slowly I let Daddy, the beautiful day and the gorgeous lake remind me that life (as terrible as it may seem at times) is still something to cherish. You aren’t here to enjoy things like boat rides; so I have to appreciate them for the both of us. I am choosing to live and enjoy my life, and be a better person while doing so, because you deserve it.
Also, your Daddy was amazing. He comforted me and sheltered me from the cold spraying water. We even had a date (of sorts) tonight. We watched a cheesy movie (Terminator), ate Meatloaf and had some wine. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone as much as I love him.
The rest of the family went out. We considered going, but Daddy decided I am not ready and he is almost always right. If I am overwhelmed by the family dinner table, how will I feel in public? Right now? Raw, exposed and vulnerable. Plus the idea of pants or other clothing makes me way too uncomfortable. Besides, the alone time with Daddy was much needed. Did I mention I’ll love him? I’ll have to start telling you stories about our nearly 6 years together. If someone had told us 6 years ago where we would be today, we would not have believed it, but despite the pain I would do it all over again for the time we had with you.
Love you always,
July 21, 2016
A week ago today I felt you wiggle around inside me for the last time. Of course I woke up bright and early wishing for a do-over where I realized you were trying to tell me something was wrong. It seems so obvious in retrospect. While part of me realizes I am not a doctor and that I could not have known, another can’t believe that of all the people in the world, your overly cautious mother missed such a major problem. No matter whose fault it is, or even if it’s no one’s fault, I am so terribly sorry.
Physically, mommy is starting to feel better. I find myself missing the pain that made me feel closer to you (you perfect little munchkin). I know that’s weird, but I don’t care. I will never be over losing you and signs of life returning to a new normal terrify me. I know you would want me to be happy, so I promise to try.
Your G.G. (great grandma) and Great Aunt Sisa arrived last night. It was relieving to tell your birth story (traumatic as it was for us) to someone who loved you so much and was not here for it. Lisa made salmon pasta for us. Isaac, some day you were going to love that stuff as much as Mommy and Daddy. I wasn’t quite ready for a post-dinner boat ride. My last ride was with you and I just wasn’t ready to go without you. I’ll never be “ready” but I may try tomorrow.
Speaking of boats, my parents and I talked about naming the forthcoming boat for you again. It’s so great. It’s going to be the nicest wooden boat on Squam Lake. You’re going to love it.
Love forever and always,
July 19, 2016
Your Aunt Izzy got me this journal so that I can write to you while we wait for yours to arrive in the mail. Losing you has woken up some dormant part of her that has been missing while she has been sick. It may not last, but listening to her sing has been nice these last days. I’m sure she would have sung to you all the time and you would have loved it.
Today was hard (not shocking). It felt like all of my motivation just disappeared. I know it will pass and that you wouldn’t want me to feel this way.
I think we are going to plant oak trees for you. They’re big and strong and live on for so long -just like our memories of you. I hope you love them. Speaking of your taste – your daddy informed me that your favorite color would be red. Your daddy loves red. I sometimes wonder if he loved red before he joined the NC State Wolfpack. I do know that you were going to be the cutest, sweetest wolfpack fan there ever was. You are Mommy and Daddy’s cutest, sweetest everything. We love you.
July 18, 2016
Well, baby boy, today was day two. If at all possible, I missed you even more than yesterday. I was admittedly angry this afternoon at the realization time was still passing in your absence. There were a few times when I felt my body screaming to be close to you, to nourish you and cuddle. I spent hours remembering your adorable face, your soft skin and you precious hands and feet. Your daddy remains endlessly proud of how big you tiny baby feet were. We talked about who you look like. You have my tiny mouth and puffy eyes, your daddy’s brow bone and perfect nose. It blows my mind that we made you.
Your Aunt Isabel helped order a beautiful journal with your name on it today. You and I are going to talk. As you have likely picked up on, I am chatty – watch out.
On another note, you need to know how much I love your daddy. Losing you collapsed his world, but he has been so strong when I have been a mess. Don’t get me wrong – I have always known I loved your dad, but the last four days have really illuminated how deep that love really runs and what a great man he is. If you had turned out even a bit like him, you would have been set. We are lucky to be so loved by him.
We are going to plant some trees for you. I can’t decide what kind you would like. Whatever we pick, we will have one here in New Hampshire and one back in Pennsylvania to let us feel slightly closer to you. I hope you love it. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a laughter tree. Your name means “he will laugh” and I had somehow forgotten that until now. It seems extra fitting now, since while pregnant with you people were always commenting on how when I laughed, you and my whole belly would heartily join in.
I won’t say my pregnancy with you was a blast, but gosh we did have our moments and it was all so easily worth it just to see you come into this world.
Always remember, despite your parents’ endless grief, that you were worth it. You are, after all, perfect.
Love you forever,
July 17, 2016
Today was my first day in the big bad world without you. I know that’s sort of a backwards thing for a mom to say to her son, but over the last 7.5 months, I became so devoted and attached to your presence that it’s really how I feel. I missed you every second of every minute of the day. I know that I will at least subconsciously do so for the rest of my days. You, Isaac, will always be my first born. I never realized the significance of that until July 16, 2016 (your birthday). There aren’t really words that express what that means, but its import is limitless.
I was admittedly heartbroken today but had so many conflicted moments of joy as I watched the impact of one beautiful little boy, who never even got to take a breath of air, irrevocably changing the lives of what seems like hundreds of people. Even the amazing nurses of Speare Hospital hailed the story of your unexpected birth, despite being trained to withstand stories like our own. Your daddy’s parents and siblings along with your baby cousin came together in Hilton Head to laugh and cry. Your dad and I returned to Squam Lake and watched your impact on my own siblings and parents. Your grandma, Jane, cooked for the first time in what must be 5 years. She made an old favorite of mine, kugel and flank steak. You should know, this little action was a HUGE gesture. It just isn’t something she does, despite loving us very much. But, today wasn’t just another day, and I want you to know how deeply this messed up world felt it.
Even your puppy brother, Mowgli, knew something was different when we returned home. In fact, he has been (second only to your father) the most confused by your absence from my belly. You see, he only ever knew us as one. When we picked him up in January, I was already carrying you under my heart. He doesn’t understand mommy without Isaac. To be fair, neither do I anymore.
I think it is going to take me a good bit of time to figure out who this new person is. I should clarify. There will never be a me without you for the rest of my time, but I don’t get to physically carry you with me everywhere anymore. That was hard today. That will be hard tomorrow. It will be hard forever. I have to think that there must be a reason for all of this. You will never be president and I will never get to kiss your bumps and bruises away, but you also will never be heartbroken or disappointed by this crazy world of ours. A small consolation I suppose. Perhaps it should be a bigger one – only time will tell.
Anyhow, I love you to the stars and back. You will always be my perfect first born baby.