George Mason would have been 2 months old today. 2 months. It’s been 2 whole months without my precious baby boy and I still can’t believe it wasn’t just yesterday that I was holding him in that hospital room. I’m so very sad. I spent most of yesterday afternoon in a funk and woke up this morning groggy from a night full of everything but sleep. I want so badly for my baby to be in my arms. I wish that my lack of sleep was from feeding a newborn. I wish that my physical and mental exhaustion was from the chaos of 2 tiny humans in my household. I wish that every day I didn’t wake up to a broken heart.
Most days I can “hide” it a bit. I can move through my day by keeping busy and engaging myself and Audrey in fun activities. I can walk around the park. I can watch her conquer the slide. I can even watch TV with Adam over a glass of wine. I can mask the pain by just doing life. I can put a smile on my face at the appropriate times and laugh when the moment calls for it. I can do all the things that normal humans do and most times I’m not just “doing” but enjoying them. Yet, when I go to take a deep breath, I can’t. I can’t breathe. My heart hurts and I can’t breathe. And if it weren’t for a whole lotta grace from Jesus, I don’t think I could get out of bed.
I keep thinking about those minutes in the NICU before the worst news was given to us. I remember how excited (and nervous) I was when they finally told us we could meet him. I remember feeling myself just beaming the whole ride from my hospital room to his bed in the NICU. I was such a proud mama and I couldn’t wait to meet my son. That NICU room was cold. Not temperature wise, but it was full of lights, monitors, tubes… basically little tiny hospitals within a hospital. There were about 6 beds in the room that George Mason was in. I remember the double doors opening for us to enter. There was a team of people off to the right working on a teeny little baby girl and at the far end of the room on the left was George Mason’s station. When we got there the first time there were several people attending to him. They had been working all morning to get all of his tubes in place and I don’t remember exactly but I think they still had a few more they needed to insert or whatever. He was lying in that bed, naked, and prepped for some kind of procedure but they knew that his parents needed to meet him.
They pushed the wheel chair up as close as they could to his bed and then helped me stand up so I could hold his hand. His nurse was really sweet and offered to explain anything that we wanted to know about. She also offered to take a picture of the 3 of us. I was so excited to finally be in that NICU with my son but I was so overwhelmed by all of the things in that room and attached to my son. It was all I could do not to just sob. I leaned over George’s bed, kissed him on the head and told him I loved him. I rubbed his hand a million times and just prayed that maybe he would squeeze my finger. The nurse must’ve seen that desire in my eyes because she gently explained that he was really sedated; that he could hear us but wasn’t going to do much moving.
I think we got to spend about 15 minutes with him. They had paused mid-procedure to let us meet him, so they needed to get back to work. Those 15 minutes were so incredibly hard. All I wanted to do was snuggle my son and all I was allowed to do was rub his hand and whisper to him. I don’t think I could have ever even imagined that situation. That’s definitely not how its supposed to be when you meet your child for the first time. As they wheeled me out of the NICU and back to my hospital bed for more medicine and checks, I remember thinking how big our son looked next to the other babies in that room. Surely his size was going to work in his favor?! I don’t remember much about the next 2 hours or so. I was exhausted from being awake for over 30 hours and the drugs from the c-section spinal were wearing off. I think I told Adam to go take a nap but I knew that neither of us was going to sleep. Instead, we would both just worry about the precious life we had just welcomed into the world. Instead, we would both grieve the differences in his first hours of life from his sister’s.
Nothing about his day is particularly celebratory but his life, all 16 hours of it, are totally worth celebrating. Maybe that’s why milestones like the 10th of each month are so hard? Because if he were alive I would be celebrating another month. If he were alive I would be writing down all of the things he had accomplished in the last month. I would be documenting how much he had changed from one month to the next. On the 10th of every month, I’m reminded of the celebration that I’m missing out on but still very much have the desire for. I know today is hard, I’m crying as I type, but I’m so thankful for his day. I’m so thankful that on the 10th of every month I’m reminded to celebrate him and his perfect, God given, life. I’m so thankful that I have his day to remember, even if it makes me cry. I’m so thankful that he has a day because I know that many mother’s don’t even have that. I’m not in a good mood today and the swollen, red, tear filled eyes are more proof of the brokenness I’m feeling, but I’m still so very thankful.
My God is good. I know that sounds so contradictory in this moment of sadness, but He really is good. He really does love me so very much. He really does provide the strength I need to get through each day as I live life after this loss. My heart is broken and I wish my son were here. God knows that and has felt this same pain. If He promises that things are going to be ok in the end, I trust that. In fact, I cling to that. Because this pain today, and each day is big and deep but God reaches into the depths of that pain and provides comfort.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.