6 months ago today I welcomed our newest child, Turner Ashby Crocker, into the world. 6 months ago today I finally saw the beautiful little person who I carried inside of me for 9 months. 6 months ago today I endured a 10 hour labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. 6 months ago I said hello to a perfect 6lbs 2oz son, but just 12 hours later had to say goodbye, never to hold him in my arms again.
6 months ago today my world stopped turning. The birth of our 5th child, our 3rd son was suppose to be a joyous occasion, but just 20 hours prior to his birth we learned he had passed away at 37 weeks and 4 days. In a split second we learned that my perfect and wonderful pregnancy would not end with the joyous birth we were preparing for. Our baby, who was suppose to complete our family would never get a chance to be an active part of our family here on earth. He will always be a son and brother, but not in the way we planned and prepared for for 9 months.
Turner’s birth was nothing like our 4 other children’s births. His birth has forever been embedded into my memory and nothing about it was celebrated. There were no happy tears, there was no happy or joyful meeting of friends and family who finally got to see these sweet little baby. There were no congratulations of any kind, even though I still gave birth, even though there had been congratulations for 9 months. All of it was gone in an instant with no warning.
6 months of dealing with people wanting to ever forget I was pregnant or that I gave birth to a fullterm baby. I disnt give birth to an idea of a baby or an “almost child”. Turner wasn’t some blob of cells or a “stillborn” as some people refer to him as, but he was a baby. Turner was a baby before he was born and he was certainly a baby, just like any other baby who has ever been born. Just because he died before his birth doesn’t mean he wasn’t a person, a human being, a child…MY child, my baby. He was very real. And he lived for 9 beautiful months inside of me. He might have passed away before his birth, but if he passed away that means he lived.
6 months of whenever I talk about my pregnancy or Turner the conversation is often immediately changed because it makes other people uncomfortable. Almost like they want me to somehow forget or erase 9 months of my life. 9 months of excitement and anticipation for this little person who is a member of my family.
Congratulations we’re now turned into, “Im sorry for you loss”. Happy moments now turned into quiet and awkward meetings and conversations with friends and family. Friends who I thought would be there have vanished. And new friends or friends who were more quiet in my life beforehand are now at the front and center and help carry me from day to day.
What was suppose to be a joyous occasion now turned into pure devastation. What was suppose to be the happiest moment for our family is now the most devestsing trail and life changing event we have ever been through. Our family will never to be the same again. Our entire world has just been turned upside down and we are now left trying to figure out how to navigate it. We have no maps to help us figure out this new terrain. Our life is forever divided into a “before” and “after”.
6 months of trying to figure out my life. 6 months of trying to figure out how to breathe, live, function, think, feel, talk, and just be. 6 months of trying to repress the overwhelming mothering instincts I have after giving birth to a baby because the is no baby for me to take care of. 6 months of sleepless nights and not due to a screaming baby. 6 months of learning how to deal with nightmares, fears, anxiety and panic attacks. 6 months of learning how to help my children with their grief over the loss of their brother. 6 months of trying to figure out who I am now. 6 months of feeling like my insides are shattered fragments of the person I was before. Knowing they’ll never be pieced back together the same way as they were before. Knowing I have to fight thoughts and feelings I’ve never experience every single day. Knowing I’m now living a life I never saw coming and one I didn’t ask to be a part of. Knowing I am a completely different person and I’ll never be the happy go lucky woman and mother I was before.
When you have a child pass away your innocence and dreams have been thrown out the window and they’ll never return. If they do return it won’t ever be how it was before. Beforehand, you had worries and fear, but now those worries and fears aren’t just a thought in your head, they are very real possibilities. After you lose a child you realize how very little control you have over anything in this life. There are no guarantees from one day to the next and even from one minute to the next. When you lose a child the fear of something happening to one of your children is now very real and has hit you like a brick to the face everyday.
These past 6 months I’ve literally felt like I am hanging on the egde of a cliff eagerly waiting for someone to pull me back up, but I know no earthly help is coming. No earthly person will come rescue me from the cliff I am hanging from. There is no fix for my brokenness. The only fix is learning how to manage the pain and heartache I feel. It’s a hopeless and helpless feeling I can’t quite describe.
I’m constantly left wondering how I have survived 6 months without one of my children. How does a parent go on living after one of their children passes away unexpectedly? I’m not sure how I ever survived giving birth to a perfect baby knowing I wasn’t ever going to be able to take him home. Some days I hope and pray I’ll wake up and it will all be a horrible nightmare and I’ll still have my huge pregnant belly with Turner just kicking away letting me know he is ok.
These past 6 months has been torture knowing he should be here, but he passed away from an accident. An accident no one saw coming and an accident no one could have changed. At least not with the current way pregnancy is treated and care for currently. No, I’m not blaming my midwives for my son’s passing. Not for a second. They have been wonderful and are heartbroken as well. However, if maternity care was done differently and an full in depth ultrasound was performed in the 3rd trimester, like they do in the U.K., then my son might be here in my arms and not in a casket in the ground 3 miles from my house.
I’m not sure when I won’t feel like I’m hanging on the edge of a cliff anymore. I’m not sure it will ever get better. The more I talk to other moms, who have unfortunately walked this same exact path, the more I realize it doesn’t get better, it just becomes different.
Here is to hoping for “different”