One Year Later

It has been one year since we held our sweet son for both the first and last time. I don’t really know what to say or where to start, I am at a complete loss of words. I miss him every day and wish he were here. I thought having Elliott and Harper would make this day easier and it does – when Rohen died we lost our son and we lost the family we were dreaming of. Elliott and Harper make that part of this easier, but the ache in my heart for Rohen is just as strong as the day we found out he had no heartbeat.  It doesn’t seem like a year has passed, it feels like it was just yesterday that we were leaving the hospital empty handed after giving birth.

This morning when we got to the hospital we found this:

IMG_7550Our primary night shift nurse made this for us, it was so sweet of her!!! Thank you so much Crystal, it means so much to us.

A lot has happened this year, a lot of really great things followed his death. I married the love of my life on January 23rd, we found out we were pregnant on April 21st, we found out we were expecting twins on May 14th (Rohen’s due date), and up until about 24 weeks we had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Even with the roadblocks we’ve experienced with Elliott and Harper they’re here and they’re healthy. Elliott is home and Harper should be discharged tomorrow morning. Today is a difficult day for both Devan and me, but it is also a day worth celebrating. We have SO much to be grateful for in the midst of a terrible tragedy. Thank you to everyone who has been there for us for the past year, we appreciate your kindness so much and wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

Rohen, we miss and love you so much.

Love you all!

Ashley, Devan, Elliott & Harper

30/31 Week Updates, Flooring Replacement, Baby Shower and the Nursery!

Wow, I am so behind! The last couple of weeks have been INSANE. I can’t believe we missed TWO weekly updates posts… Whoops! We had the flooring in our house replaced, both got sick with gnarly colds, had our baby shower and then completed our nursery (finally!). This post is obscenely long, I am sorry!

First, and most importantly, the babies are doing well. With everything going on, we missed our 30 and 31 week posts! We had two perinatologist appointments and an OB appointment and everything is stable. Two weeks ago, Harper was measuring in the 7th percentile (7.9 to be exact) and that was down from 8.5 two weeks before that. If she continues to fall behind, we will have a c-section to prevent her from going into distress or suffering from lack of nutrients. Going forward, we will have two appointments with our perinatologist per week. One will be an ultrasound for a biophysical profile and fatal doppler and the other will be a non-stress test. Every other week, we will measure them for growth. Tomorrow is a growth ultrasound, so we are hoping Harper is looking great. She was 2 lb, 12 oz two weeks ago and Elliott was 3 lb, 3 oz. Ashley met with our OB on Monday (it was the first time I’ve missed an appointment, I had to work) and the plan right now is to take them as soon as Harper falls any further behind. While so far things are great, we could potentially meet our kids tomorrow. It’s terrifying but also exciting! We are still aiming for 34 weeks for their safety, but everyone is just so happy that we have made it this far. 32 weeks is truly amazing considering the challenges these peanuts have faced, especially since there were points along the line when 24 weeks was the goal, then 28, then 32 and now finally 34. We are ready when they are!

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Sometimes you have to go back and re-read

I am a re-reader. I will post something and read it 10 times that day to reflect on what I said, check for errors and think of anything I missed. I re-read Devan’s post that she wrote the day before we found out I was pregnant with the twins. It is her tribute to Rohen, her perspective on what happened that dark day in December.

She put our story into words so beautifully and eloquently. She is so talented, and in light of some of our blogging buddies hurting right now, I figured we could all re-visit this story and hopefully show that we are here with you guys – even though we are now expecting, we’ve been there, we’ve been in the darkness just waiting for the light.

I can’t begin to explain how therapeutic I have found blogging to be and how you have all become a little family to me. I check WordPress at least 5 times a day to read your updates and my heart aches when your heart aches, and feels joy when you feel joy. Just remember, the sun must set to rise, your sunrise is coming.

I just wanted to re-share the story of losing Rohen:

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❤ Ashley

Heartbeats.

Devan and I were given a fetal heart doppler from our friends from their past pregnancies and we use it almost daily, honestly if we skip a day I will have anxiety the entire next day until I hear the sweet sound of their hearts beating. It is absolute music to my ears, and is the greatest comfort after losing Rohen.  During my pregnancy with Rohen we had the doppler then too and I vividly remember the week he died, and thinking about checking his heart beat but for some reason didn’t. Then on December 27th, 2013 we had a routine OB appointment and the doctor came into the room and started taking my blood pressure and doing all the normal doctor appointment stuff. I started having anxiety then about hearing his heart beat and was relieved (only for a moment) when she grabbed the doppler so that we could hear that wonderful comforting sound. 10 seconds went by, then 20, then we were at a minute with no heartbeat. My heart started racing, I knew something was wrong; it never takes more than a few seconds to find his heart beat especially at 20 weeks. Then Devan said the words “something is wrong, isn’t it? This isn’t normal right?” the doctor replied with “no, this isn’t normal you need an ultrasound”. My world stopped, my little boy may have been gone for a few days already but to me this was the moment he died.

I opened with that story, even though there are entire posts devoted to what happened during that awful time because something similar happened last night and scared the crap out of Devan and me. We hadn’t checked the heart beats for a day or so, so naturally I was itching to hear those beautiful sounds. I got out of the shower and told Devan to grab the doppler  she put aloe all over my tummy and put the doppler down…normally I can point to a spot on my stomach and she can put the doppler right on top of Harpers heartbeat. I pointed, she put the doppler down and we heard my heartbeat but not Harpers. She moved slowly to the right, to the left and from the top to bottom – nothing. We spent about 45 seconds looking for Harpers heartbeat and found nothing, so we moved over to where Elliott is at and it took us about 30 seconds to find his, he usually takes longer because he is underneath my pelvis still, but even 30 seconds is a little long. We both gave sighs of relief after hearing Elliott but knew we still had to find Harpers heartbeat. We just looked at each other with fear in our eyes, fear wondering are we going to go through this again? Are we going to hold our dead child in our arms again? I’m already thinking about getting in the car and heading to the emergency room because that would have been our next step… and then we found her. We found our little baby girl after over a minute of searching for her heart. Both of my babies had perfect, strong heart beats but apparently they wanted to test how strong their mommas were.  We both laughed and talked about how much it scared us and how they need to “knock their shit off”. We can’t do it again, we aren’t strong enough. I can’t hold another one of my babies in my arms, lifeless. I don’t know if I’d recover this time. I don’t want to go back to the darkness & the sadness. When I was pregnant with Rohen it was the happiest I have ever been and the happiest Devan and I have ever been as a couple. We were on cloud nine, complete and total bliss. Then he died and I thought I’d never feel that again, even with another pregnancy, but I do. I am truly happy again, feeling true bliss. Getting here was hard work, I had a lot of guilt to work through because we had lost Rohen only a few months earlier when we found out we were expecting our twins, and while I still mourned him we celebrated our new babies. It is the hardest and most confusing feelings to have at the same time (grief and happiness). While I still grieve Rohen daily, and always will, I have made peace with his death.  I have allowed myself to feel bliss again, and be truly happy for the lives growing inside of me. It would be unfair to Harper and Elliott to not have as much joy for them as I did for Rohen. And it would be unfair to Rohen to stop living my life, after all Devan and I made a promise to him that we’d live better for him and I intend to keep that promise.

So aside from not being able to find both twins heartbeats right away, we had ANOTHER scare. We were leaving our neighborhood and sitting at a red light. I had my phone and was looking down waiting for the light to change over to green. The light changed and I didn’t notice it right away so I didn’t start going immediately…I look up to see a car flying through the red light going at least 50mph, had I gone right when the light changed to green I would have been slammed into (drivers side – I was driving) and I just know it would not have been good. I was shaken up from it, and we didn’t even get into a car accident, I wanted to follow that guy and pull him over and beat the shit out of him. I wanted to scream at him and tell him he has no idea what he could have done, that there weren’t just two people in that car, but four, and that he put my babies lives in danger. I wish we would have called the cops and followed him so that they could have pulled him over, I can’t stop thinking about what could have happened, and feel so grateful that it didn’t happen.

I’ll be 16 weeks on Thursday, were getting closer to the anatomy scan and my anxieties are continuing to rise with that. I just want it to be August 6th so I can see that my babies are growing strong with fat little cords & placentas. Maybe then I can relax a little, but I doubt it. I just want them to be here, I want to really start our family, being pregnant is a piece of it, but until they’re here we play the long waiting game. I am having awful ligament pain with these little babies – for obvious reasons, there are two of them. But sometimes it scares me… If I do too much (and by too much I mean go grocery shopping) it will start to hurt way more, so I try and listen to my body and take it easy, but the groceries need to be bought and I can’t be locked in the house all day (unless a doctor orders me to) so I’m hoping that it eases a little bit soon. I am having trouble sleeping because my hips ACHE all night, but I look at all of this as a good sign that these babies are demanding my body gives them more room so they can continue to grow bigger and healthier. As long as their healthy, they can beat me up as much as they need to.

I hope everyone had a nice, uneventful weekend. More updates to come soon, we don’t have any appointments or ultra sounds until August 6th, so we won’t have much to update you on until then.

 

Love,

Ashley, Devan, Elliott & Harper

10 Week Update – A New OB, Lots of Growth and 4D Ultrasounds!

So here’s the deal… we are spoiled rotten brats when it comes to seeing our babies. One of the biggest perks of going through our RE is getting to have weekly ultrasounds during the first trimester. In fact, we got so close with our nurse while we were pregnant with Rohen that we kept on coming in through almost 16 weeks just because we liked to see him bouncing around in there. In retrospect, I’m really glad that we saw him so many times, because it feels like we were spending time with him and got to know him a little before we lost him. In addition to the scans at Dr. Nemiro’s office, we also had a NTS (and gender reveal!) at 13w6d with Dr. Russell, who is a perinatologist. At our 18 week anatomy scan she told us that Rohen was measuring 6 days behind and had placental abnormalities, and at 20 weeks she confirmed that his heart was no longer beating after we were unable to hear a heartbeat at our routine OB appointment. Even though our last experience ended horrifically, we are excited that we still get to see so many amazing moments of growth inside the womb. Our twins grow bigger and stronger each day, and we are so fortunate.

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With the twins, we have had weekly ultrasounds since the 7th week, including one on Friday which was 10w2d. The twins looked GREAT and were moving around like crazy, B even opened his/her mouth like a fish. They were both measuring ahead, with B at 11w0d and A at 10w6d. Both heartbeats were still in the 170s. (B is first in the video, followed by A)

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A                                          B

Today, we had our first OB appointment. We are using a different OB this time, since we found our last one to be a little cold and strange. We chose our new doctor based on an astounding number of recommendations from friends, family and coworkers. It seems like almost everyone we know has either used her or has heard of her. We saw the NP today, and we were very impressed with the energy and humor of the staff. (We’re loud and like to mess around, so we don’t usually do too well with stuffy folks.) We have a doppler that we used to listen to Rohen with, and we have not been able to find any baby heartbeats so far with it. Our NP was a little luckier and we were able to hear one heartbeat! Not sure which twin this was, but it was music to our ears.

We told them that we would love to see Dr. Russell as much as possible during the pregnancy because we feel that she is familiar with our case and knows what to look for to make sure the twins’ placentas don’t have the same problems that Rohen’s had. They obliged, and Ashley talked the staff at Dr. Russell’s office into seeing us this afternoon for a “viability” scan (even though we really are way past that point, ha!) I had a hard time being there… technically the last time that we saw her was the day after the memorial when we brought her a memorial card, but I still remember waiting for an ultrasound to confirm that Rohen was gone. We sat in these seats on December 27th… they still had Christmas music playing.

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We went back for our ultrasound and lo and behold… the same room in which we saw our son on ultrasound for the last time. The same exact chair that I was sitting in when I heard the worst news of my life.

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Even though it was so hard to remember that hurt, we let our love for the twins take over and couldn’t wait to lay our eyes on them. The pictures we got were so awesome, including 4D pictures that are so wonderfully detailed. The twins are still measuring ahead and Dr. Russell was overjoyed to tell us that every single measurement looks perfect. It’s relieving to hear such positive news from her. (It almost feels too good to be true.)

The video shows the twins WAVING at us! So amazing!

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BABIES_42(Ashley says she sees a penis on B and doesn’t see one on A and is completely convinced that she has determined the genders! I think that’s a little farfetched considering they all look like penises at 10weeks, but I won’t be upset if she turns out to be right!)

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I felt like I had to ask her what would happen in the case that one baby’s growth were to slow or stop. Luckily, she assured us that everything looks great right now and there is no reason to believe that something will happen again. However, if something did happen there is a lot that could be done to save the other twin. It’s all theoretical, but sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine that fairy tale ending. I just have to keep reminding myself that losing Rohen was truly a freak accident, and these twins are set to be entirely healthy, robust little fatties!

We had such a big day, full of so much laughter and adrenaline. It’s hard to believe that due to scheduling we actually won’t be seeing them again for a while. Our next scan isn’t until June 19th, which will be 12 weeks on the dot. (No 11 week scans!) Then we will have our 13 week scan on the 27th of June, and it will be our last scan with our RE’s office. On July 2nd, 13w6d, we will have our NTS and we will attempt to see the genders for a gender reveal party on the 4th of July. It’s going to be a busy couple months, because Ashley’s best friend and cousin Tiffany and her husband Steve are going to be here for two weeks with their three kids and will be going with us to two ultrasounds! It’s hard to contain our excitement.

As always, I miss my son with all my heart… I had his hand tattooed over my radial pulse so when I touch it I can feel my own heart beating… a reminder that he lives with me in my heart, always. I don’t think it would be possible to love my twins this much had I not loved Rohen first. He is truly my greatest inspiration.

Best of luck to all my fellow future mamas working towards your families… you are always in my heart!

❤ Devan

Eight/Nine Week Update, Missing Rohen

EIGHTWe saw the twins at 8 weeks on the dot last Thursday! While waiting to be seen, we realized that we both have some anxiety before appointments. After thinking everything was OK with Rohen only to lose him so unexpectedly, we are just wired to worry. I’ve said that we are mothers, even though we can’t physically hold our child, and I suppose that this insane worrying all the time is just a part of motherhood. We will worry about them for the rest of our lives, and to us that is really wonderful.

The babies were doing so great, no movement yet but the heart rates we perfect! Little Baby A was measuring 7w6d and had a speedy 161bmp! Baby B was also measuring 7w6d, and had a similar heart rate of 167bmp.

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This week we also went out for sushi (fully cooked for Ashley) with my Mama to celebrate the twins and my birthday. (It was on the 1st… but hey, we got free ice cream!) Our spirits are high, we feel great.

 

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Finally, we saw some wiggles in there! We saw Rohen move for the first time at 9 weeks and it was so much fun! Seeing both of them dancing for us this time was great. Both babies are measuring within 1 week of their target growth which is perfect.

Baby A seems like he was standing up straight so we got some great whole-body profile shots. He’s measuring 8w5d and has 172bpm.

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Baby B was laying down, looking like he was lounging around in there. He was measuring 8w4d  and had 176bpm.

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After we got home, Ashley decided that A is a girl and B is a boy because A was doing the hula and B wanted nothing to do with it. I can’t say I agree with her logic here, especially because if either baby takes after me, they won’t be dancing unless they have had too much to drink (regardless of the sex!)

Rohen is with us always… the first thing we thought when we saw Baby B’s picture was that it looked JUST like Rohen’s 9 week picture. Of course, they all look like alien kidneys at 9 weeks…

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(Rohen)

We are feeling so great these days, and I think that has actually been one of the things I’ve really been struggling with. It’s a very curious thing to be the happiest you’ve ever been and the saddest simultaneously. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that if Rohen had lived, we would have a newborn right now and not have two twins cooking. It’s a vicious circle… Feeling happy about the twins leads to guilt for moving on from Rohen and grieving for Rohen leads to guilt that I am not focusing on the twins. Round and round I go… It’s all hypothetical, but I sometimes wonder what I would choose if I could pick Rohen or the twins and it keeps my heart in a vice. It’s a question that cannot be answered. Was my sweet boy truly a sacrificial lamb to make way for the lives of two others? Of course, not believing in intelligent design or an afterlife eases this pain for me… I don’t have to have anger about it because there is no one to be angry at. I just get to be sad, and I get to love Rohen blindly and with all of my heart. I know that I will forever dream of his tiny face, especially that dimple chin, and wonder what could have been. Grief is a bitch, but the harder I grieve the more I love that boy.

Our next appointment is going to be next week on the 6th, followed by another on the 9th and our first OB appointment on the 10th! We are feeling so rich, so fortunate and so much love these days. It’s all uphill from here.

Until next week,

Devan

And the verdict is…

Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to introduce you to the Davis Twins!

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Both babies are measuring in the 6th week and have strong heart beats in the 130s/140s! They are fraternal twins, and we are hoping for a boy and a girl!

We will have weekly ultrasounds, just like we did with Rohen, so we will have lots of updates for everyone.

Today is Rohen’s due date, which is why we chose to have our first ultrasound today. Such a bittersweet day, we are so full of love. ♥

Battling Emotions

When I found out I was pregnant again, I thought that having the ultra sound to see our baby for the first time on Rohen’s official due date would have made it easier to get through the day…boy was I wrong. I haven’t even had the ultra sound yet and I am a hot mess. I just miss him so much, and while I am more than excited for this child growing inside me, it doesn’t ease the pain of losing Rohen in the slightest bit. Sometimes I find myself wishing that I was still pregnant with Rohen, but then I wouldn’t be pregnant with this baby, it’s an inner battle. I just wish that Rohen lived, and that this baby came later on down the road when we were ready to have a second child. Instead, we are having a second child all while we mourn the loss of our first child; and really if you count Devan’s miscarriage this is our THIRD child. While Devan’s miscarriage impacted us we didn’t get to hold or even see that baby, so it wasn’t as real to us as Rohen. We got to know Rohen, we saw him kick around in my belly, suck his thumb, lay with his legs crossed like he was too cool for school, we developed a relationship with him; we held him when he was born. He is our son. The love that I have for this baby growing inside of me is unmeasurable, just like the love I have for Rohen. I already feel so much joy and happiness for him/her/them. I am so excited to be with my wife tomorrow at a place that we feel safe to share our raw emotions with and see our baby for the first time. I have to say though; it makes me miss our nurse Lisa even more, because I would love to share that moment with her. I know that my emotions will be mixed tomorrow…I won’t be able to mask my sadness with the happiness I feel for this baby, and it would be unfair to Rohen to do so.  Something that Devan and I have been working through is feeling guilty because we are happy about this baby, almost as if we were “cheating” on Rohen. Yes, these feelings are irrational, but they come from a real place to us and it is hard to work through sometimes. We just have to remind ourselves that Rohen is Rohen and this baby is this baby. We can feel sadness for him while we feel happiness for our new baby – both deserve our love and feelings as they are, they don’t deserve for us to mask our feelings in any way. We are allowed to feel on top of the world when we see our babies heartbeat tomorrow, it doesn’t mean we love Rohen any less. And we are allowed to feel at the bottom of the world while we mourn the loss of our son, and that doesn’t mean that we are not excited for our new baby. I think that a big problem is you think you SHOULD feel a certain way, and when you don’t you start to question yourself. Our feelings are just that, feelings. There is nothing that can be done to change them and only time will heal the raw hole in our hearts; and even then, we will always have a scar, and sometimes it will feel as if it is a gaping hole in our heart all over again, it’s just something that we have to live with forever. So, to Rohen, I miss you…more than I know how to put into words, you will always be my firstborn, and I will love you forever. To the baby growing in my belly, I love you so much, and I can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Your momma and I have been waiting 24 days now to see you and we even think there might be two of you in there; I can’t wait to see your little heart beating on the screen and to watch you grow week by week until you make your appearance in January.

Ashley

Struck Dumb

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It’s very hard to get me to shut up. Anyone who has known me for more than 15 seconds can attest to that. Finding words has been one of my strong suits for my entire life. I find it natural and calming to tell stories and to write out my feelings, and I have done a thorough job of that for years through journaling and blogging. The stresses of trying and failing to become pregnant and losing my pregnancy were lessened through words, and I had no trouble laying out the nasty details of my pain and fear here on this blog. But damn it, Rohen stumped me.

Never in my life had I felt like I had so much to say and no way to say it. Honestly, what can be said about a mother losing her child? What could I possibly say that has not been said before? This pain is so sick, so raw… What could any human being come up with to summarize it? I’ve been working on it mentally for months.

When I was on bereavement, I decided to take some notes. I wanted to write down my fleeting feelings, because in the shock of loss there is a sort of emotional whiplash that occurs. It was blurry, rushed, confusing. Everything was gray. I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes, and during the day I would feel absolutely nothing. I would close my eyes and wish for anything, any emotion. I would search the depths of my heart for sadness, but it wouldn’t come. All I found within myself was still, terrifying, misty emptiness. I realized as I worked through this that it had begun the moment we couldn’t find a heartbeat. I have the most vivid and disturbing memories of knowing what I was supposed to do, how I was supposed to act. “Devan, you sick woman, why aren’t you crying?” I made all the phone calls with only a quiver in my voice. Save for a handful of moments, I shed very few tears at the hospital. Surrounded by chaos, I cleaned. I tidied, I entertained, I paced, I made phone calls with updates to our friends who couldn’t be there. I felt hardly anything. I didn’t lose it until I had to let him go. When Ashley and I took his tiny body in our hands and put him into someone else’s. The weight of what I was doing hit me hard, took the breath from my chest. It knocked the wind out of me, and then I fell back into the stupor I had experienced up until that point.

The week following was the same. An endless parade of people at the house, checking in, bringing soups and casseroles. We picked a tiny urn from a shelf full of tiny urns for tiny babies born to parents as fundamentally wrecked as us. We chose the inscription “Our Sweet Son”. We went through the dozens of pictures of him that we took at the hospital and printed them out. We received what seemed like a tsunami of well-wishes and financial contributions to keep our heads above water while we struggled to stand upright again. I found the memorial to be just like the hospital. Smile, hug, thank, entertain, “Would you like something to drink?”, “Thank you so much for coming.”, “Yes, this is the urn.” And later, shame. Shame for not crying more. Shame for smiling. Shame for not grieving the way I should. Shame because I had a sinking feeling that this meant I was a poor mother. This was the fear that started my emotions back up again, like being shocked back to life.

The feelings I had wished for started to appear in quick secession with no order or meaning. Violent swings from one end of the spectrum to another, leaving no room for thought, no room for reflection, no room for a breath of air before being dunked under again. I was visciously angry when I thought of the people who refused to lay eyes on my son, and it’s an emotion I am still working through. The disgust they must have felt reverberated through every cell of my body and echoed back out from me. I felt so fiercely protective and proud of him, I couldn’t find an ounce of space in my heart to understand why someone else could have been afraid to look into a face so peaceful, so wonderful, so handsome. The weight of the fact that my son was dead and ugly to people ate away at me constantly and escaped me as seething anger. Anger that intensified when a picture of his memorial card was reported on Facebook for “graphic violence”.

Next came the ache. The ache in my heart that spread slowly like a cancer to the edges of my soul, into my bones, into my gut. I ached all over like the worst flu I had ever experienced, the ache of a son missing from my heart. The weight of the love I had for him was unbalanced… The love of a lifetime, unrealized. All the love in the world in my heart, in every tiny part of me, and no child to give it to. No face to kiss. No hands to hold. His tiny body turned to ash and contained in a silver heart. He was so close to me, beside my head every night as I slept, and yet I was unable to touch him, unable to hold him. The true evolutionary roots of emotion were realized in me, I was like an animal separated from her young. Confused, disoriented, every instinct in my body telling me to find him. Find your son. He is supposed to be here. This is not right. It was wrong to have a heart so full and arms so empty.

Depression settled in like a dark veil. The sun’s warmth was cold and lifeless to me. Showering, changing clothes, feeding myself, cleaning my home… useless to me. I wallowed in the grief and faded in and out of that same empty mist. I suppose, looking back, that this mist existed for a reason. Shock exists for a reason, medically and emotionally. The true weight of the emotions I was blocking out surely would have killed me. On the nights that I felt the ache, there were breathless moments of terror when the pain would reach such a pitch, such severity, that I thought for sure that it was smothering the very life out of me. Anything more than what I experienced would have left me dead.

Most people who work with those who grieve will tell you that the “stages” of grief are mostly bullshit. There are no stages in grief, no path that leads to acceptance. It’s a violent, murky, jumbled mess, with emotions overlapping, fading, intensifying and disappearing altogether. Some experience all of these 5 stages at one time, some will skip over some of them altogether. For example, I have yet to feel denial or experience bargaining, though I assume this is because of my atheism.

Atheism is a very important part of this, and has been an immense comfort to me. People have a hard time understanding that and it’s something I feel that I need to explain. First, some people assume that I am an atheist because I am angry at god or feel somehow unworthy and use disbelief as a coping mechanism. Fortunately, I was an atheist long before losing Rohen, and anticipate being an atheist for the rest of my life. More people than I can count have said something along the lines of, “You’ll find down the road that there was a reason for this.” or “You have an angel watching over you from Heaven.” I have found peace in accepting that there is no reason, more peace than I can imagine finding in searching eternally for an answer to why a loving god would take an infant from me. I have peace knowing that my son is not in Heaven, perhaps grieving for me as much as I grieve for him. I find peace in his peace, in his stillness, in his rest. The questions that arise from the idea of my infant son residing in the sky in an unknown state (is he still only 20 weeks?  A child? An adult? Does he know English? Can he see? Can he hear? These questions are silly and cause more confusion, more worry.) I could continue for ages about religion because my scientific mind is robustly passionate about it, but this is not the time or the place. While I find peace in my lack of belief, I also find peace in the belief of others. I find peace in people such as  my mother in law healing from the loss of her grandson by imagining being able to meet him in Heaven. I have no anger in this regard. Frustration, perhaps, but that is a hazard of loving differently minded people.

Acceptance is not a destination. It is not the ribbon at the finish line. In fact, there are times that I don’t think it exists. I can’t imagine one day accepting that he is gone. I plan to pine for him for the rest of my life, though perhaps not as violently.

The most important part of this experience has been learning that it’s not only possible but ok to feel joy. This realization of that hit me while I was drunk on love and gin, standing outside of a saloon in New Mexico, staring up at some of the darkest skies in the country. It was only three and a half weeks after losing him. I was positively buzzing, because only hours earlier I had married Rohen’s mother. The love of my life. This endless, brilliant, shining love had come to be a legal union, something we were not expecting to happen for years. I held tight to her, and let myself feel beauty again. I marveled at the scope of human emotion, how endlessly inward our hearts went on in the scope of the universe expanding endlessly outward. I found joy in knowing my place in the universe, and knowing my identity as part of a unit, as a wife. Together, we were and are unstoppable. Together, we are mothers. That is the most precious and beautiful joy in the world. It’s a sick joy, because we can’t feel that pride of motherhood without also realizing that our son was with us for only 20 weeks, followed by 8 short hours spent staring into his tiny face, and then finished with a lifetime of loving him through dreaming of what could have been. Though we may not have him to hold, to read to, to scold and teach and be in awe of… we are mothers, and we are joyful.

I’ll finish with this: At about 2am, with only an hour to go before Rohen’s body was to be picked up and we would be allowed to go home, we were laying in the bed together with Ashley falling asleep on my shoulder. Between glancing at the TV for a Britney Spears documentary and falling in love every time I looked down at Rohen on my chest, I had a moment of great clarity. My heartbeat and breathing were causing movement in him. If I looked hard enough, each breath that I took looked as though his tiny lungs were inflating. Each beat of my heart caused a tiny movement in him, as though his heart was beating in time with mine. As I watched his body move with each of my breaths and heartbeats, I saw clearly that my life would forever be lived through him. Each beat of my heart was for him. I knew that every step forward from that moment on would be for his honor, and I silently promised my son that I would live twice as beautifully for him, I would experience twice the wonders, twice the sorrows, twice the lessons in his place. I promised him that I would never take anything for granted again, and everything I did would be a reflection of the example I would have worked tirelessly to set for him. I suppose if you insist on finding meaning in my son’s death, it is this.

I forced myself to write this today because this is day 8 post IUI, meaning a positive pregnancy test is potentially around the corner. Before we have another pregnancy, I felt that Rohen Copper Davis deserved this from me. He deserved my undivided attention. Rohen is forever my first child, my son, the breath in my lungs and the beat of my heart. I learn and grow every day because of him, and I have hardened and regrown in ways that never would have been possible had I not loved him so much. He is still my Paradise. Forever and always. My heart has grown to be 4.2oz heavier, and I’ve strengthened to carry that extra weight.

(I’m hoping that this is the emotional equivalent of breaking the seal.)

– D

 

Updates

It has been 7 weeks and 2 days since our little man left us and we are still missing him like crazy. You have good days and you have bad days. I am sure many of you are wondering what our next step is, so I figured I’d write up a blog and update everyone on what we’ve been up to since Rohen passed away.

First, we got married J Most of you already know this but for those of you that do not, on January 23rd, 2014 I finally made it legal with the love of my life. We have lived as a married couple for years now, but it wasn’t a legit marriage. When Devan started her job at Chandler Regional Hospital we found out that they offer GREAT medical/dental/vision insurance but would not recognize me (or our future children) unless we were legally married. Luckily, they will still recognize a marriage from another state even if it is not legal in Arizona. So, at the very last minute we planned a trip to New Mexico where our friends Trisha & Ethan live and got hitched! Trisha and Ethan did such a great job making the night special for us. Devan and I were expecting to blow through town, sign some papers and come home; I’m thankful for my friends who made our experience so beautiful.

Shortly after getting married I had my first doctors appointment with the fertility docs to check out all my lady parts and the news was not good. We were told that there was something in my uterus right on the lining and that if it didn’t come out with my first period we would need to have it surgically removed. Devan and I were so upset, we wanted to start trying again immediately and were not anticipating any additional roadblocks. Shane, our doctor, decided that he would wait until I had my first period and check me again, if he still saw something, he would want to do a SHG (Sonahysterogram) to find out what it is (his guesses: placenta, fibroid or polyp). After starting my period he still saw that there was something in my uterus and decided to go forward with the SHG. On day 7 of my cycle I went in for the procedure and was happy to see that whatever it was had cleared out. At this point we had already passed the point in your cycle where you could begin taking clomid (days 5-9 of your cycle) so we would have had to wait until my next period to start trying. I decided that I wanted to try it naturally, something I’ve wanted to try since the very beginning. I am 25 years old and healthy, I don’t NEED fertility drugs to get pregnant (of course they definitely help). I don’t know why but I felt very strongly about this, I feel like wasting a cycle is wasting an opportunity to get pregnant again, even though this cycle is very unlikely to result in pregnancy. The IUI success rate is on a bell shaped curve so you are most likely to get pregnant between your 2, 3 possibly 4th try. If you aren’t pregnant by your fourth try then you likely have an underlying fertility issue. I figure, even though it’s unlikely to happen this cycle, it brings me one cycle closer to it succeeding and that’s obviously our main goal. Friday, I went in for an ultra sound and had one egg. I got my trigger shot Saturday night at 9pm, and today I will be inseminated at 3pm. Unfortunately, Devan cannot be there because of work, and because she had to take three weeks off when Rohen died, immediately after starting her job at Chandler we don’t want to push our luck and have her take the day off to be there. I would do anything for her to be there with me today, as I know it will be very emotional for me. Being in that room again, getting ready for an insemination, it’s going to remind me that I’m there because I was pregnant, and now I’m not again. Not that I don’t think of Rohen daily, and am reminded daily that he is gone, and that I’m not having a baby in May. It’s just salt in a fresh wound I guess. I brought his blanket and urn to be with me today and am wearing a necklace my grandma bought me for Christmas that has his name and birthstone on it. Lisa, our nurse would normally step in to be there in place of Devan but she has a class today. Luckily, none of those people have to be in the room for me to get pregnant J

So today is the day. We are starting the journey to pregnancy and beyond all over again. My only hope is that our dreams will finally come true.