As I come upon my son’s third birthday, I promised him I would write this article in honor of him and in honor of all of the woman in the world who have lost their unborn baby. It is a story that never gets easier, and it is a story that will never have a happy ending. All I hope to do is to acknowledge my son, acknowledge my story, and acknowledge the fact that miscarriages and stillbirths are still very real for many woman today.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I was through the roof. I wanted to shout to the world about this wonderful blessing and share this miracle with my family, friends, and pretty much everyone I met. I was so taken back when my partner had asked if we should wait until we hit the 12 week mark to make our official announcement. It had never occurred to my naive mind that this little being inside of me may be gone one day. So I said that was silly and decided to share the happy news with my loved ones anyways.
Twelve weeks came and went. I was happy, “glowing”, healthy, and ready for my son’s arrival. I made all of my regular check ups, kept up with eating healthy, gentle Yoga, and mild exercise, and was constantly told how healthy this baby was going to be. I followed week by week as my little lentil grew into an avocado, a papaya, and a pineapple. I even kept these symbolic foods on my kitchen table each week to remind me of this growing being inside of me. I was in a constant state of nausea and exhaustion, but I was happier than I had ever been in my life.
The third trimester suddenly was here and I was so excited to start getting the room ready for my new son. Although we were not fully prepared, we managed to get all of the basic necessities together, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of my family and friends. I was counting down the weeks and could hardly believe the big day was almost here. My check ups appeared normal, I was in a supportive pregnancy group, and despite having a bowling ball in my stomach, I really felt great.
On March 7th of 2017, I went into to my 38 week prenatal check up. As always I was super nervous, very excited, and ready for my baby to be out of my belly and into my arms. My pregnancy weight was measuring a bit low, but the baby’s heart rate was strong and healthy. All of my vitals checked out and my baby was kicking and seemingly ready to come into this world. I was so happy to hear that he had “dropped” which was the first indication of him preparing for birth.
The very next day I went about business as usual. I worked a bit, took my step-kids to and from school, and made dinner for my family. I had a busy day, but it was at the back of my mind that I had not felt a kick yet that day. As the due date approached, I had been overly worried about a thousand things otherwise, so this felt like just another thing I was overreacting about. I took a bath and although I still did not feel a kick, I was assured by my family that the baby is likely in a new position and will be back at it by the morning.
As I woke up on March 9th, I was hyperaware of my baby, and yet there was no movement. I walked my step-kids to school and then went straight home to call the doctor. They got me in right away, although at this point I was still being reassured that this happens quite often and the baby is usually just tucked away or resting. I was so convinced I was overreacting, I did not even ask my partner to come in with me for the ultrasound. If you thought I was clueless about the commonness of miscarriage, I was beyond clueless of the fact that stillbirth is a very strong possibility and unfortunate reality for many.
Needless to say, I went in for this reassuring ultrasound, but found myself in a bad dream when I heard the news. To hear the tragic words from the doctor as I watched the screen of my lifeless baby, I felt like I was in another world, out of my own body. This couldn’t be happening.
I called my partner and waited for him to come and help me home. We were instructed to pack up and check in at the birthing hospital at our own pace. I could care less what I brought and felt more like a zombie moving though the motions of life. After 36 hours of painful, life-draining labor, I gave birth my baby boy and held his “sleeping” body in my arms. My partner and I took turns holding him, crying for him, and taking in the loss we had never dreamt of. My loving mom and dad flew in to hold their first grandchild before we had to say goodbye. My mother-in-law also came to give her love and support, and to hold the grandbaby she will never know. We gave him a name – Paxton James Taylor; bathed him and swaddled him, as he laid lifeless in our arms. And then it was time. We gave him to the nurse and said our final goodbye to his physical body that was taken away from him, from us. Walking out of that hospital without my baby was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Once I got home, the reality hit even harder. My stomach that was once so cute and ballon like, was deflated and empty. I was still in physical pain from the labor with no baby to comfort me and make me say, “it was all worth it”. I went through the physical and emotional pain of my breastmilk coming in with no baby to feed. I was in a complete and utter state of grief – body, mind, and soul. I tried my best to robotically get through day by day, but the tears came uncontrollably day in and day out. I received an abundance of support from my family and friends that I am eternally grateful for. I held my baby in my heart, sang songs to his soul, and prayed to God that he look after him since I was no longer able to.
After many months of reflection, self-care, and healing support, I was able to feel somewhat human again, although still a shell of my former self. I was determined to get my body, mind, and emotions in balance in order to prepare for a healthy pregnancy to come. As fearful as I was to have to live through another miscarriage or stillbirth, my need for a living child and all of the love I held for him/her was much, much greater.
On June 15th, 2018, I gave birth to my second son Maverick Grayson Taylor – alive, healthy, and full of life. He continues to bring me joy each and every everyday and I am beyond grateful for every moment I have with him. I will never forget my first son, his big brother. I will never stop praying for him, and awaiting the day we meet again. I know he is with me as I write this and I know he is a part of everything I do. The grief I feel for his loss has not become any less and I cannot say it has become easier, no matter how much meditation or pranayama I do. The grief and loss I feel for my son is a very real part of my being. As strong as the pain is however, I have learned to live my life again, enjoy my life again, and appreciate my loved ones and every moment I have with them. I love you Paxton James Taylor. Thank you for being here with me.
PS… Here are some songs my dad shared with me after my loss. They helped me, I hope they can help you too.