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.
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 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.