You were a little miracle, born of love, yet totally unexpected. At first, your dad questioned your existence. Could you just be late, well, because you’re late, he asked me repeatedly. I knew better. I knew you were there before the first little pink plus sign appeared. And the second and the third, just to be sure. I felt your presence, the little flutters of life growing inside of me. And I loved you. I loved you deeply and could not wait to grow with you…to feel your kicks and see your little nose, hands, and feet on a blurry black and white picture. I would hang it on the refrigerator. Proud to be your mama.
You stayed with us for twelve weeks. Twelve incredible weeks, little one! During that time, you filled us with so much hope and happiness. You gave us a reason to push on through the chaos and struggles of life. You were sunshine on the darkest of days.
Then that horrible morning came, a morning I will never forget. When I saw red, I knew that you had passed on. As I had felt your tiny little presence, I also felt a huge sense of loss. Regardless, we rushed to the ER still holding on to hope. Just maybe you were still there. The entire way I cried and begged that you would be okay.
As we looked at the ultrasound, there was total confirmation that you had come into our lives, yet left much too soon. I longed to see and hear your heartbeat. I was not ready to give up on you, so I had them check over and over again. I wanted so badly to save you…somehow. But you were gone.
The devastation hit immediately. We were heartbroken. For weeks, we cried and asked ourselves, “Why?” Why were we given such a gift, only to have it taken away? What could we have done differently? Did you struggle? Were you now at peace? We had no answers.
My biggest regret is that we did not give you a name. Somewhere inside I knew you were a boy; a little boy who deserved to have a name. I’m sorry that we never took that step. If I could turn back time, I would have named you Tristan. I’m not sure if your dad would have liked it, but it’s a name that fills me with peace. In my secret place, I will remember and honor you with that name. It’s not something I can share with your dad. It hurts too deeply.
To this day, we struggle with your loss. We still cry and remember how happy we were when we saw the positive result. I will always remember your life inside of me. You now have a beautiful sister and brother. I imagine they look just like you would have looked…the same nose and eyes full of life. You would have been every bit as beautiful and as loved.
We loved you long before you left us and will love you always, our little sunshine.
My story of loss was difficult to write. It’s hard to reflect on the time our baby was with us and the moments when we found out he was gone. I’m so incredibly thankful for his siblings, but will always wonder, “What if?” If you’re struggling with a recent or past loss or know someone who is, I encourage you to have them read Sunshine After the Storm – a beautifully written collection of stories about loss that tugged at my heartstrings and made me cry in ways I don’t think I ever have. It also allowed me to feel connected and not so alone. I’m thankful to know several of the authors in the book, including the lead editor and project manager, Alexa. They are women who give me daily inspiration and make me feel like there is sunshine after the storm.