Agust 5, 2016
Your Daddy went back to work today. I missed him so much even though it was not a whole day. I did OKAY. I woke up, I took care of Mowgli and I even took my medicine. TI took me 4 hours, but I eventually ate my breakfast (and lunch). I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I watched TV. I never realized how many TV episodes have pregnancy, birth or baby loss in them. One episode featured the birth of twins. I thought I was fine. I thought that if I could watch, I’d get closer to being able to go places. When the babies gave their first cries, I totally lost it. I knew I was missing out on cuddling you, nurturing and loving you. I didn’t realize how much it hurt that you were silent and still when you were born nearly 3 weeks ago. I guess it didn’t hit me because I was so out of it that night. I don’t even remember what it felt like to push. I just remember how you felt coming out (it was nothing compared to the contractions, though). We were robbed of that happy moment when the baby finally comes out and cries. At least it was peaceful, I suppose.
Your grandpa reached out to CHOP to help us find the best medical care for the future. We ended up speaking to one of their doctors. She was nice as can be. She can’t treat me, but she can help get us the right team. She already had someone in mind for us to contact. She basically confirmed my suspicion that you and I didn’t have sufficient medical care. I am so sorry I did not realize it sooner. She did, however, put some hope back in Daddy’s and my life. She said we CAN try again. She also suggested that trying could commence at 4 months instead of the 6-12 months we heard previously. It would still be risky. Now that I have had HELLP Syndrome, there is a 1 in 4 chance it will happen again and it would likely happen earlier. BUT if it happens, they would catch it sooner. Things didn’t have to end that way and, hopefully, they never will again. Mommy couldn’t bear it.
I am so broken over losing you, but now I have a spot of hope on the distant horizon. I have to get healthy, to eat well and to exercise. It’s what I know you would want and what must happen for the sake of your future sibling. I will still count the days and weeks from your birth, still count down the days until your due date, until we could have taken you home. But now I can also count the days until we can try again. To be fair, “trying again” seems wrong. We succeeded, the first time. We made a wonderfully beautiful miracle named Isaac. Nothing can ever change that.
Love you to pieces,
August 3, 2016
I still can’t believe that it’s August. I keep finding myself mentally arranging furniture to make room for your bouncer or other accessories. Then I remember you’re in another place where you don’t need a bouncer. I hope it’s a better place, baby boy. I miss you dearly. Your magic butterflies and goldfinches were still here today. I think all things happy and whimsical will belong to you in my mind. Beautiful birds, butterflies, and even rainbows will belong to you. Although, you will have to share rainbows with your great Bup Bup Sandy.
I’m writing to you with my new Isaac pen. Your daddy and I each have one and will forever think of our love for you when we use them. They are beautiful and have your name engraved on them. I also love how it writes (never underestimate the impact of a great pen).
Daddy had some appointments today and I was alone at the house. I struggled with his absence. I am terrified about being here alone tomorrow when he goes back to work. I even forget to eat when he isn’t here. I panic. I find myself doing dangerous research about what happened to us and what it means for giving you siblings. I get myself worked up and we won’t have any answers until we start going to doctors again at the six-week mark.
I swear I do not want to replace you. I never could and I never would. However, I do need hope. I do need to fill my days looking to the future. I just don’t know what I will do if the doctor says that this hopeful future simply cannot be. This ordeal could have taken both of us. I’d trade myself for you in a heartbeat. I just need this future that involves your baby sibling in our lives.
I sought help today. Your grandma insisted on it. It was a very hard phone call to make. It only took five tries, but now I am going to see a bereavement next Tuesday. I told her our story. I know from past experience that talking helps. Unfortunately, talking can be the hardest thing to do. I have a lot of processing to do still. I hope this helps. I’ll never get over this – never get over you. I do need to find some way forward. However we get “forward” we will do it together.
I love you very very much, even more than I love myself.
August 2, 2016
Today Daddy and I went through the boxes that came while we were in New Hampshire. Lots of great things came for you from people who loved you. There was so much to love in such a tiny package. We tucked some away for another day, but other things I had picked for your room we decided to keep out as reminders of you. We kept and adorable bright textile from Australia. We kept a mini globe that says “Adventure Awaits”. I hope you are on a fantastic and dreamy adventure somewhere.
I missed you so much today. Hardly a second went by that I didn’t think of you. Today’s fixation was your smile. I think I can imagine what it would have looked like. Gosh – you were cute. I would do anything to make you smile. I would also do anything to hold you again one last time. I also wish beyond anything that I had known our time together was about to end so abruptly. I wish I could have said goodbye, or known that I needed to memorize the way your kung fu kicks felt in my belly.
Today we saw one of those things that is as close to magic as we will ever get. It started with your Daddy convincing me to go outside with Mowgli. Then I saw a big yellow butterfly. No big deal – right? But then I realized that the entire bush below was covered in perfect yellow butterflies. I don’t know why they were there, and they were gone a few hours later, but they were so perfect in that moment. I called your Daddy out to show him and he found a way to top the butterflies. The trees next to our house were filled with tiny gorgeous goldfinches. I’ve never seen anything like it – there were tiny yellow creatures flying all around us. It had to be you.
Until that moment I felt so lost today. Even eating felt like a chore. It scares me. Your Daddy has a haircut and an interview tomorrow, and I wish I could say that I will be OK tomorrow. I just haven’t felt up to the chores of daily life. Daddy wants your Grandma Cindy and Aunt EB to come up and keep me company and take care of me. I don’t want them to see me so broken. I don’t enjoy not wanting to get out of bed and not wanting to do anything. I am embarrassed enough that your Daddy has to see me so destroyed and pathetic. Anyways, Mommy could use an extra dose of strength from you tomorrow, baby boy. I know that’s a bit backward. The Mommy is supposed to be the strong one. I promise I will be your strong Mommy again.
Love you forever,
August 1, 2016
Grief is a funny beast. One second I feel like I see a path forward or I pause and I think I can enjoy things, the next I fall totally to pieces. I miss you, I obsess over you and I feel like my heart and soul have been torn out. Being back in Pennsylvania feels like torture. Your Daddy continues to be a champion, my hero and my rock. I know how lucky I am to have him. He keeps reminding me that we are a family. It just feels so broken right now. I have told you before, but i will tell you again – I will someday fill this journal with happy stories. I will tell you about your Daddy, your grandparents, your aunts, and uncles. I’ll tell you about fun things we do. Someday, I’ll tell you about your little brothers or sisters. For now, I will vent. I keep feeling guilty about it, but I’ve promised to always be honest with you. To be honest, things are still too raw to write letters with any joy.
We took Mowgli to get some much-needed grooming today. We dropped him off and went to the grocery store. Your mommy stinks at grocery shopping. We did get some good frozen ingredients. We bought a freezer to fill with meals in preparation for your arrival. I had always wanted an extra freezer. I said I would fill it with meals for rainy days. I do wish I had filled it sooner. The days sure feel rainy right now. I will fill it eventually.
After the store, we picked up Mowgli. He is fluffy and adorable. As I write this, he is rolling around in our bed like a big goober.
We received some news about you today. You were a beautiful, perfectly normal baby. In my sadness and anxiety, I had convinced myself that something was wrong with you – that perhaps I thought you were perfect just because you were my son. I can see how someone might get blinded by love. The doctors, however, agreed that you were perfectly normal. There were not infections, not a hair out of place on your adorable head. In part, I am relieved. Yet the guilt – however unfounded – is overwhelming. But for my body’s failure, you would have been okay. I’ve never wanted to change something so badly in all my life. In fact, I can’t remember wanting something so badly in life that I could not obtain with some amount of effort. Maybe with things I wanted previously I did not put in the effort, but I always could have. Losing Bup Bup was similar, but despite how much I loved him, it is nothing compared to this. There is nothing I can do to bring you back.
I hope, at least, that I can be a person, a mother, you would be proud of.
I love you,
July 31, 2016
Today we went home. Every second of it felt wrong. I know you are with me and Daddy always, but it still felt like saying goodbye. Bringing you home in a tiny box, containing an even tinier red velvet bag, felt so wrong. Traffic was brutal, I cried until I was sick, and both Mowgli and Cali ended up sick. Daddy held you in his lap the whole ride home. It’s not a ride in a car seat back from the hospital, but it is the best we will ever have.
This house feels like a prison of memories. Seeing the nursery returned to a guestroom brought me to my knees. Thank goodness your Daddy was there to catch me. I found the package of positive pregnancy tests I had saved. The so comforted me once, proving that you really existed. I couldn’t believe we could be so lucky and so I proved it to myself every single morning. I’ll never part with them – my concrete proof that this wasn’t just a terrible dream.
Daddy keeps trying to comfort me, saying there will be another baby. While I so want a baby, there will never be another Isaac Immel.
Unfortunately, I’ve become a bit obsessed over what happened to you. I know my body failed you, but I can’t help wondering if there was something else we missed. Maybe your toes, while perfect to me, might not have been normal? For all I know you were genetically perfect – I mean you were perfect and we love every millimeter of you. I just want to know why I am not laying here cuddling you. What did we miss? Could we have prevented it?
The doctor in New Hampshire said we would have results in a few months. I need answers now. The wondering is eating me alive.
Mommy’s are supposed to be strong and I promise I am trying. I will be better for you. I just need more time.
Your Grandpa almost finished your signed for me today. He sanded it down and hammered on a gorgeous copper border. It still needs varnish, but it came out better than I imagined. I am certainly going to make one for home. We also got a letter from Grandpa’s friends. They’re going to get us a pin oak for home too. I can’t wait. We want to have a physical place to feel close to you. We will put a bench under it and it will be lovely. This isn’t how it was supposed to be, but we will try to make the best of it.
July 30, 2016
Happy two-week birthday-versary. It seems today was our last day in New Hampshire. I say “it seems” because I won’t believe it until Daddy has managed to drag me out of here kicking and screaming. I know we have our physical pieces of you, but I can’t help but feel like I am leaving you behind. We brought you here a bouncing baby in my belly, who we absolutely could not wait to meet. We leave with a tiny (impossibly tiny) bag, broken hearts, and lonely belly. This is the last place we were together as a family, the last place I felt you rolling around inside me. This is the place where we lost you, the place I had to live on without you, the place I labored, and the place I delivered you with Daddy firmly by my side. The is the place where we held you, cried for you and played “Crazy Love”, our first wedding dance song, while cherishing our final moments with you. This is the place your Daddy worked so hard to help me heal physically and emotionally. This is the place where I realized how strongly I could love (both you and Daddy). This just feels like our place and I don’t want to leave it.
Home will be empty without you and lonely without my parents. Home means life is one step closer to a new normal that I so desperately want to avoid. Home means seeing your nursery returned to an unassuming guest room. Home means pretending all of this didn’t happen if I want to function. I love home – I do. But it feels like I am leaving part of my soul in New Hampshire.
I hope you will follow me home. Everyone says that you will, but I struggle to believe that you won’t feel a bit more distant.
On a different note, I finally carved your sign with your Grandpa’s help. We didn’t have some of the finishing tools, so your Grandpa is going to sand, varnish and frame it for us. It should come as no shock that your Daddy picked red paint for the lettering.
Speare Memorial Hospital is naming our room there after you. Hopefully, we can return Columbus Day to see it. Your Grandpa gave a beautiful toast during our chili dinner tonight. There were a number of tears shed. There were no jokes, just kind complimenting words. He told us we were parents now because of you and that nothing can change that. It is so very true. I am so proud and honored to be your mommy, no matter the pain.
I love you so dearly,
July 29, 2016
Two weeks ago today, at the very moment, I was severely in labor with you. You were about to tear into our lives less than two hours from now. It really seems like just yesterday that you changed out lives forever. Today was a big day. I wrote to our lovely fertility doctor about developing a path to a baby sibling for you. She may have thought I was crazy, but the idea of a plan keeps us sane.
Mommy and Daddy went into Meredith with your Grandma and Lisa today to check out some shops. We shopped for a few hours and only ended up with a bit of candy. We also went to Lakeside View for a burger, sandwich and Mommy’s first postpartum beer. We even got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cones after. For a brief moment, it was like being a little kid again.
On the way home we stopped at Squam Marketplace and got your cousin, Harlan, a stuffed animal Moose that matches the one we have for you. Neither of you will understand, but it will be nice to have that connection. Mommy and Daddy will hold onto yours for you and smile when we cuddle it.
Your great uncle, his girlfriend and two of my cousins arrived here in NH today. I am ashamed that I had a full blown panic attack upon their arrival. Seeing new people who knew me so pregnant with you feels like a punch in the gut every time. I know they love us and you, but that’s what kills me. There was supposed to be a baby, a baby named Isaac, who was so loved already. You were perfect but you are already gone.
Daddy rowed with your Grandpa again tonight. He’s such an incredibly gifted natural athlete. Let’s hope you would have had his good genes. I think you would have loved watching fly across the cove.
I dreamt for the first time in a while last night. I dreamt that you were very much still with us. I was trying to make you smile for a picture. I don’t remember the rest, but I woke with a start and quickly came to realize you weren’t here. I had vaguely similar dreams before I was pregnant with you. I always woke up supremely disappointed that I had not had a baby. This was so much worse. I got a tease of how beautiful our lives as a family could have been and woke to remember that it ended before it ever began. I am so sorry I never got to make you smile.
I love you so much,
July 28, 2016
Today was extra emotional for Mommy. Losing you still feels like some weird out-of-body experience that must have happened to someone else. I just couldn’t work on my Isaac projects because I missed you too badly to focus. It’s possible that yesterday was so busy that I didn’t let myself miss you enough. When I woke up, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I made a real effort for you. I know you want me to try to be happy. The garners brought and planted your tree today. It’s about 15 feet tall and a Pin Oak. Daddy, Mowgli and I watched them dig a great big hole to plant it. It’s like the tree was meant to be here. Pin Oaks grow fast and strong, just like you would have. Some day, we’ll put a bench under its shade so we can read to you and feel close to you. That’s all I can get, so I will take it.
Mommy and Daddy also went to meet your Grandma and Great Aunt Lisa at the League in Sandwich. We got a really nice mug for Daddy that matches the one he has been using here.
We also went out to dinner for the first time. We went to Squam Lake Inn. It was a bit much for me still. There were foods I couldn’t eat while pregnant with you. I was trying to protect you (although it turns out I couldn’t after all). I also couldn’t have alcohol despite constantly craving a margarita. So tonight I decided to have some of the banned items. I had tuna tartare and a margarita. They were a huge let down. I don’t want to be able to have them and they have therefore lost their appeal. You see – I would rather have you in my belly. I’d do anything. I would even sacrifice my own life in a heartbeat to bring you back.
I know I have so much to be grateful for, but you are the most beautiful and innocent thing I ever was responsible for. Daddy and I made you and we worked so hard to do so. You were our miracle.
I never understood why people needed heaven until now. Now, I get it. You must be in some heaven. I can’t understand a world where your spirit doesn’t live on. We just love you too much.
Sweet dreams, Isaac.
July 27, 2016
Today was a busy day. Dadd and I went to my second blood pressure check. My medicine is working and my blood pressure has finally returned to a normal level. I also had to get some blood work. I was so scared after the difficulty they had when I was having you. The nurse was the one who had to get down on the floor to draw blood from my fingertips. She could not believe how different I looked. Retrospectively, my face was SO swollen. The nurse told me her sister-in-law went through the same thing we’re going through with her first and went on to have three normal pregnancies. Daddy and I would love to give you three healthy little brothers or sisters. I promise to tell them all about their handsome big brother.
On the way to the doctor, we stopped and got a new dress for me at a totally out of place boutique in Ashland. We are going out to dinner with my family and I no longer have any clothes that fit since I have lost at least 25 pounds since I had you. We also stopped at two hardware stores to find the right sized Dremel bit for making signs. I’m determined to make your signs perfect. Your daddy found his favorite southern soda, big Red. We even stopped for ice cream before heading to Speare.
When we finally got home, we found out that 23 people donated to Speare’s Labor & Delivery Department in your memory. It’s amazing to see how much you affected people and also oddly relieving to know that your passing can help other families somehow. If we can’t have you, at least we can help someone else.
I practiced writing your name with the Dremel and have moderately improved. I didn’t have a ton of time because I took the 13 foot Whaler out while you Daddy practiced rowing in a single for the first time. He looked great, he didn’t flip, and his smile melted my sad heart. I bet you would have had a smile just like him.
Lisa made Shepherd’s Pie tonight. It’s such an amazing comfort food and I really needed it after such a (comparatively) busy day. As I finish with the day’s distractions and get tired, my mind wanders to “what-ifs” and anger, and fixates on losing you. I’m supposed to be almost 34 weeks pregnant with you rolling around in my belly. I’m supposed to be finishing your nursery. Daddy and I are supposed to be waiting for you and looking forward to meeting you. Instead, we are heartbroken and missing you. An actual piece of me is gone. I actually slapped myself earlier to make sure I wouldn’t wake up and realize this was all a terrible dream. I’m trying to tell that I miss you, I love you, and that I would do ANYTHING to have you back where you belong.
Love you to the moon and back,
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.