Gifts from Luca

Last week was Luca’s 14th month birthday, Mother’s Day, and my birthday. It was our second Mother’s Day and my second birthday since Luca was born. It was our second mother’s day as mothers, without our son here. A milestone each month, each week, each day, each minute.

I started this post over a week ago. For the last week, I have stared at the computer screen contemplating what to write, or rather, trying to figure out how to put all these emotions from my mind onto a computer screen. How do I express the love and loss? How do I explain it? And how do I do it justice in a blog post? I don’t know if I can, but once again I try.

A few days ago, a friend posted a link for the most beautiful lullaby renditions of popular songs. I have been listening to them ever since. They are so gentle and sweet sounding and soothing. I immediately imagined how it would feel to have Luca in my arms, falling asleep to these sounds. His weight on me, the smell of his baby hair and baby skin, his perfect pink lips, his fluffy hair.

How do I convey to the world how much I miss him?

At the same time, how I can express how grateful I am that I knew him at all?

This past week, an amazing thing happened. A complete stranger found one of the rocks we skipped for Luca on his birthday. It was just one of those moments that I want to live in all the time, where I feel like there is so much purpose from our experience. It’s big enough to me, that I will need to write another post about how Luca showed up to a complete stranger, and how she reached out to tell me all about it.

One of Luca's rocks found their way.

One of Luca’s rocks found their way.

Breathe.

He lives in my heart. Bits of him are factually circulating in the blood that flows through my body. He surrounds me everyday with as much love as I am open to, and he watches over me. I believe my son has become my guide, the same reason that makes me want to call it quits most days (well actually, that’s more me than him), is the same reason I go on every day.

My heart breaks open when I listen to these songs and think I never got the chance to rock him to sleep while listening to a lullaby rendition of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved”, or The Pixies “Where is My Mind“.

But then my same broken heart, which like the Grinch’s has grown at least three sizes, gets filled with hope.

Hope for this baby now growing in my belly.

That later this year, I will sit in Luca’s gliding chair, with babe in my arms, listening to lullaby renditions of all of these songs and thinking, if it weren’t for Luca, I wouldn’t be carrying this little miracle.

It’s still far enough away, that it seems like a dream still. But I can dream. And while I do that, I’ll just continue to ask Luca to keep his mamas and his sibling safe and healthy, and keep sending us his gifts.

 

Flashback

I find myself having reoccurring flashbacks of specific moments surrounding Luca’s birth.

Most recently, it is the moment I woke up, out of the anesthesia, after my emergency cesarean. Gina was there by my side, and I think the first thing we talked about, was how bummed we were that we’d had to have a cesarean to birth Luca. The plan all along was to welcome him in to the world in the gentlest way possible, birthing him naturally, in an unmedicated and relaxed setting.

Then I said to Gina “looks like I’ll need to take a little longer off of work”.

We were still so innocent at that very moment. That those words came out of my mouth and I had no idea my child had been pulled from my womb without a heartbeat and already brain dead, cracks my heart, and takes away my breath.

My son. I carried him in my womb for 39 weeks and 1 day.

No one knew he was sick. They had no idea his placenta had given out.

I had done everything I could to give him the healthiest environment to grow in, and I had no idea he was, for the last few weeks, clinging to life inside of me.

It leaves me with feelings of shame, guilt, and blame.

I’ve learned these are normal feelings for mothers who have experienced this trauma, and while it reassures me that I’m not completely crazy, it doesn’t make any of it better.

I was a perfectly healthy pregnant woman, with a perfectly healthy baby inside. Or so we thought.

The only thing we had on our minds that Sunday morning, on March 10th, was that we would be welcoming in our son to this world and begin this journey of parenting.

Before we could even change his clothes, change a diaper, count his toes and fingers, he died.

I was wheeled out of the hospital with a bouquet of roses, symbolizing the sympathy for the death of our son. I left empty handed, with a gash in my physical body, and emotionally destroyed. I not only became a parent, I became a bereaved parent. A lost parent. A childless parent.

Through the hope, there is still at times, almost 14 months later, utter desperation.

Mind-blowing, blood curdling, high pitched screaming moments where I want to hit and punch and curse at whatever invisible reason it was that took our baby from us.

I realize these are moments when I’m not my best. I am aware that I need to be present, and have hope for the future. But I am coherent, and remembering everything I experienced, and that my son existed, if only for a day.

It was only a short time, but still, it was a lifetime. Luca’s lifetime.

I will mourn and miss and mother him for the rest of my own lifetime.

My arms and my heart ache for him.

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