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

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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:

Struck Dumb

❤ 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.

Rohen Part 3

Shortly after losing Rohen, the song “If I die young” came on the radio and I immediately changed the station because I knew the song would have a whole new meaning to me, the lyrics would be more than just song lyrics, they’d be something I can relate to. Today, I decided I wanted to hear the song and it got me thinking; specifically about these lyrics:

“Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh,
And life ain’t always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby”

It got me thinking about my faith (or really lack of) and how grieving as an atheist is SO hard. I think what people don’t understand about atheism/agnosticism is that believing in a higher power can give you comfort in these dark times. How much easier would it be to think my son is up in heaven with Jesus watching over me. That every time I see a rainbow I can be reminded of him, that is he safe. I feel like I have so much to blog about this entire situation, about loss and grief and I feel the words in my heart (usually when I’m not near a computer) and then get to the computer and draw a blank. I think that is why this is now my third blog, and definitely not my last about Rohen. I have been binge watching 19 kids and counting the past few days and Michelle Duggar went through a similar situation, losing her daughter, Jubilee, at 18 weeks. I watched the episode yesterday and they filmed the very minute she found out her little girl wasn’t alive anymore. She just kept saying over and over again “In the good times, praise the lord; in the bad times, praise the lord; blessed be the name of the lord” and I wished I could have said those same things when I lost Rohen. I wish there  was a why that I could attach to his loss, but there isn’t. I believe there is no rhyme or reason to this world and that bad shit just happens, even to good people…ALL the time.

We are coming up on a month since he died and I can’t believe 3+ weeks have already gone by. Every time I think of him, see his picture or hold the little blanket he laid in my heart breaks as if I was seeing him for the first time again. Before Rohen was born I saw him rolling over for the first time, his first birthday, his first day of kindergarten and his high school graduation. I saw him getting married and having his own kids. I saw him becoming a kind, loving gentleman. I know what his first Christmas was going to be like, his first trip to Disneyland. I saw him having a great relationship with his Grandma & his Mommymom, I know he would have loved both mine and Devan’s mom SO much. He would have brought so much joy to this world, and it sucks that it didn’t turn out that way. I saw his relationship with Devan. It would have been so pure, so much love. Lastly, I saw his relationship with me. The bond only a mother can share with her son. I imagined him being such a boy – farting, playing in the dirt, crashing cars around, breaking things in my house and getting into all sorts of mischief. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the moment I took my pregnancy test and got a positive test I immediately pictured this. I pictured a son, right away. A cute little boy with a crazy personality just like his mommas. I wish I had more than just what I pictured, I wish I had real memories with him.

The number one thing both Devan and I want is a family, we want kids to love on and make memories with. Then we want to be grandmas to our kids kids and so on. I know that we will have that, I know we will. But all I can think about right now is that I want Rohen. I tell Devan everyday, I want my baby and that I miss him. He would have been such a great kid, I know it. He would have been a harry potter, disney loving, smart ass who acted just like his mommas.He would have been tolerant of others differences, and I believe would have been truly “color blind” to race, sexual orientation, religion etc.

He would have been the best son in the world.

 

I love you Rohen.

 

Ashley

Losing Rohen (Part two) (Ashley’s POV)

I already posted a blog about losing Rohen, but I feel like I have so much more to say. Today marks the two week anniversary of his death, and so far time isn’t helping at all. I know it hasn’t been long, but I really don’t see this ever becoming “easier”.

I wanted to write about all of the things bottled up inside my head the past two weeks, most thoughts I’ve only shared with Devan. I really like the blog because its a great way for Devan and I to talk about our true feelings without having to actually see people. Neither of us are good at expressing how we truly feel in person, unless it is to each other. For some reason we are okay expressing most emotions to our friends and family but sadness and grief is not one of them. The past two weeks we’ve spent a lot of time alone. We’ve had friends and family stop by, but the bulk of our time has been spent alone. We both find it exhausting to be around people – because we are not the type to show our sad emotions in front of people we immediately put on our “happy face” — this creates comments like “wow, you are doing so well, better than I thought you would be doing”. The truth is were not doing well. The honest truth is when we get home from being around people and pretending to be happy we feel as if we have betrayed Rohen and his memory. Like were pretending he didn’t matter, when he is ALL that matters. I have told Devan this many times in the past two weeks – If I could express my grief and the loss I feel through words, or tears I would be sobbing hysterically and loudly at all times. The inside of my heart literally ACHES for him, and I really truly believe it will never stop. No matter how many kids I have down the road, I will always think about my precious boy. Now, I know life has to go on. I know that the other part of the “happy face” is simply helping us relearn normal. We have to be able to socialize, and go back to work and be functioning members of society, and in order to do that, you have to start somewhere; even if you are a numb to it the entire time.

I am 25 years old, and I never thought for a minute I would be in this situation. When I found out I was pregnant with Rohen I was SO paranoid until I got out of my first trimester – after that I thought to myself we’re past the scary part, in a few months you will have your little man in your arms and you and Devan will finally have your family. I can’t believe that it turned out the way that it did. Everyday I have to remind myself that this is reality, that my son did die and that there is nothing I can do about it. I have to come to turns with the fact that the same day my son died, terrible people who murder or molest kids continued to live. Its unsettling, and I hate that there is literally no rhyme or reason to life. My son died, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I am anxious about returning to work, I feel like right now Devan and I are still feel somewhat surreal about the situation and that once we have to go back to our normal daily routines it will really hit us. I am blessed to work with amazing people, who I know will help me through anything, but I think its going to be a very hard transition. I’m terrified that I am going to start crying randomly at work (something I have done every day since he has passed). I guess we just have to take it one day at a time.

I have so much more to say, but don’t know how to say it. I know that Devan will be writing a blog soon…she is such a beautiful writer, she will say it all. I’ll leave the rest to her.

– Ashley

Losing Rohen (Ashley’s POV)

I honestly don’t even know where to start. There is a hole in my heart that I think only time will fill and the ache my heart feels will probably never go away. Anyone who knows myself or Devan knows how much we want a child, and anyone who reads this blog, they know it too. I don’t want to say I am not a mom, or that I still don’t have a child because that is the farthest thing from true. On December 28, 2013, Devan and I both became mothers to the most beautiful little boy a mommy could ask for. Rohen Cooper Davis was born sleeping at 6:53pm weighing only 4.2 oz and measuring 7.25 inches long. Every single part of that little boy was perfection.

Lets rewind to the beginning of our 18 week ultra sound. Rohen was measuring 9 days behind and the Perinatologist showed concern stating  our son may have a chromosomal issue or that there was something severely wrong with the placenta helping him grow. Everyone involved said “hope for a placental issue, with monitoring your little man will probably be just fine, but likely born at or close to 28 weeks” — so that is what we did. I find myself now wishing my little boy had down syndrome. So we took a plethora of blood work, testing me, the baby and the placenta — Devan and I refused to do an amniocentesis due to risks of losing the pregnancy. And then it was the waiting game. The level of worry and anxiety we felt was enough to make us puke on occasions, all we wanted was our son to be healthy. Finally the doctor called us about a week later with preliminary results – she stated that all signs pointed to it being a placental issue and that baby Rohen looked to be very healthy. Devan and I immediately felt so much relief, I could have celebrated. We got through the holidays and I decided that because of my pregnancy being high risk and the fact that little man could have came at anytime after 28 weeks it was best to get my FMLA paperwork completed ASAP. I set an appt with our OBGYN Friday, December 27th 2013 to get that paperwork filled out. Prior to our appointment I had kept telling Devan to charge the heart beat doppler because I needed to hear him…I don’t know why, but I needed to hear his heart beating, I felt something was off. I even said to her before we got to the doctor “what if they don’t find a heart beat?”  I have NO idea why I was thinking that way, and almost felt like a terrible person for feeling that way, but in retrospect maybe it was intuition. We get to the doctor and all I could do was stare at that doppler, I didn’t care about the FMLA paperwork, I just needed to hear that my son was okay. Finally, we get to that part of the appointment. She begins trying to find his heartbeat and with Rohen, it almost always took only 15-20 seconds it wasn’t a long process. After about 45 seconds I knew something was wrong. All I could do was stare ahead of me with panic in my heart. Devan finally asks “you can’t find it can you? what does this mean?”  The doctor replies that we need to go to get an ultra sound immediately and calls the Perinatologist. The drive to the ultrasound office was terrible. I felt like every single driver was driving as slow as possible and that time was dragging – all I wanted was to be in that ultra sound room seeing my beautiful son bouncing around with a perfectly steady heart beat. We finally arrive and get taken back and as soon as we saw him on the screen we knew. Our little boy was so lifeless. Normally he is bouncing around and being so adorable, but not this time – he didn’t move at all. Devan and I just held each other and cried. My life stopped at that moment, and to be honest with you it hasn’t started again yet. Every single moment that has happened after I saw my beautiful son lifeless on that TV screen has been so surreal. I will be sitting at home and see things we are working on for his memorial and realize oh my god, this just happened to us, what a fucked up world we live in for this to happen to ANYONE.

So now we get to our next step. I asked the paranatologist what we did next and she said its likely I’d have to deliver him because of his size – at the time this made me very angry, I didn’t want to go through that I just wanted it to be over, but after doing it now…I wouldn’t change a thing. So we were told to go home and wait to hear back from the doctor. How the hell do you just go home? But, that is what we did. The next part was calling and informing everyone that their grandson, nephew, cousin etc had just passed away, a phone call NO ONE should ever have to make or hear.

We were originally supposed to arrive at the hospital at 8pm to begin induction but we got called in early around 4pm. I don’t think Devan and I even turned the lights off in our house when we left, we just got in the car and went to the hospital. They had us in Labor and Delivery but we were in an isolation room for privacy. Walking in that room sucked. I saw the heat lamp and the blankets for what is supposed to be a healthy 40 week old new born baby, but I knew my son wasn’t going to come out that way. I got into bed and got acquainted with the nurses and we began the induction process starting with a pill that you took both orally and vaginally every 4 hours (alternating). We were told this was not going to be a fast process and to expect to be here at least 12 hours. I ended up being in labor for a total of 26 hours and every single second of it is a giant blur to me. I know we had many visitors, I know we even laughed, and of course cried together…I also know my mind was only focused on one thing the entire time. Rohen. I think the only person I remember clearly and every conversation with is Devan. A few people mentioned “don’t turn on each other” and I couldn’t imagine. She is the only person that can hug me and make me feel a little bit better. She is the only person I can cry with and know she knows EXACTLY what I am feeling. She is the only person I can talk to about the loss of our precious son and know her heart is feeling the loss just as heavily as mine is. Devan is my rock, and my soul mate. If she wasn’t by my side I wouldn’t have made it through those 26 hours. I love her even more after this experience. We grew together and love our son together and it created another bond between us.

The labor…it last 26 hours but I received an epidural before I even felt any contractions, because really, why the fuck not? Our friends and family being by our side throughout that time helped make time go by quicker…they didn’t take our minds off Rohen but both Devan and I are not the type of people who like to be open with our private emotions, so when people are around we cope by laughing, making jokes and acting like were doing a whole lot better than we are. Every single person in the hospital knew us, and knew that is what we were doing so because they’re the closest people in our lives, they went along with it. When the dust settled and every one went home it was just me, Devan and Rosemary — and it was time to try and get some sleep. Rosemary offered Devan the couch but she refused it stating she wanted to sleep next to me. So my beautiful wife pulls up the most uncomfortable chair that was ever designed (probably specifically for hospitals, since they know people will use it for hours at a time) and sleeps holding my hand. She alternated between that chair and crawling into bed we me and my dead ass legs that she actually had to move for me. We didn’t get much sleep that night because I was reacting to the epidural and my o2 stats were dropping, blood pressure was dropping and heart rate was rising so every machine in that room was constantly beeping. I think we both received about 4 solid hours of sleep. I can tell you all right now, my biggest struggle to date has been waking up. I wake up every morning and immediately think of Rohen. I think of his beautiful face, his perfect lips, hands and feet and I just cry. It doesn’t matter if I’m waking up at 2am to go to the bathroom or 9am to wake up for the day, it happens every time. When we were in the hospital I woke up and started thinking about the overalls I bought for him on Black Friday, and how he is never going to get to wear them. The following day labor wasn’t really progressing, I think that morning I was only dilated to 1 cm and 50% effaced, I thought I would be there for days. Finally around 3pm they switched me over to pitocin and that’s when labor really kicked in. Because of his size I only needed to be dilated to 5cm. Once I got to 3cms the doctor broke my water (this is around 6:30pm) and told us it wasn’t going to be long before he got here. They told us that because of his size he might just “fall out”, it was unlikely I would even have to push. about 15 minutes later we called the nurse in to ask her a question and it wasn’t long before I felt something come down  — I told the nurse I feel like his head is right there so she looked and said she also saw something and went to get the doctor. The doctor came in and I didn’t even feel it when he came out, she just said there he is. Devan got to see our son be born and see him come out, she even got to cut his cord. We are going to post two pictures below, that are very personal to us. This is the first time both of us saw our son, and we weren’t sure we were going to share them. We decided that because we have been so open and honest about everything on this blog we would share them here, and only here.

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Our son was born at 6:53 pm – Devan and I spent about an hour with him alone and just looked at every single cm of his beautiful little body. From his tiny toe nails and finger nails to his little dimple on his chin, we memorized him. We then allowed any friends and family, who were up for it, it come and meet him as well. The group was a small one, and that was okay with me and Devan. We know holding him wasn’t easy for anyone and that really some people couldn’t handle it. Both our moms, my sister Traci, Mikey, Brielle, Tracy S, and Ashley K all came to meet our son. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, I wish Rohen could see how much he is loved. Devan and I spent the next 8 hours just holding our son and taking in every single second we could with him. My brother in law Shane is a funeral director and said that he would come and pick him up personally when we got discharged so our son never had to enter a morgue. We were discharged around 3am – both of us were as exhausted as we’ve ever been in our entire lives but until Shane came and took Rohen we couldn’t shut our eyes. I didn’t want to waste a moment with him by sleeping. Saying goodbye was the hardest part…we knew we weren’t going to get to kiss his tiny head again, or look into his beautiful eyes. Together we held him, and each other and said our goodbyes to our son who didn’t even get to see the world. We drove home, got in bed and held each other until we fell asleep.

And now we take it a day at a time. As of right now its been 4 days and the ache in my heart is still as strong, like I sad earlier, I don’t think that will ever go away. I will always think about him every day, I will always love him, and I will always ache for him. I know that time will make it easier to cope, but the imprint that little boy made on my heart is forever.

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I can only close with this poem, that seems to really sum up my precious little boys life perfectly:

This was a life that had hardly begun
No time to find your place in the Sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime

No time to enjoy the world and it’s wealth
No time to take life down off the shelf
No time to sing the songs of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime

Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love – Only love – In your lifetime.

– Mary Yarnell