But there is another part of me that wishes that our January had turned out differently. We should have been doing the final touches on the nursery. Raspberry wall color for Hazel’s side, sky blue for Owen’s. Hazel would have been running around the house pretending to be Curious George and Ernie—all the while showing Oscar the Penguin (who lives in a mailbox) all the new things in their room. There should be a crib in the corner, across from Hazel’s big girl bed. But there isn’t.
That dream was shattered on April 27, 2017—when I woke up bleeding. The nausea, weight gain and three positive pregnancy tests were replaced with heart wrenching sobs. I struggled through the remainder of the week and sobbed my way through the weekend.
I dealt with the pain of our loss, by not dealing with it. I planned Hazel’s birthday party. And we tried. We went on vacation. And we tried. We moved. We tried. I repainted the house. We tried. We settled into our new space. We tried. We waited. And we tried. We traveled. We tried. And the months got harder. Finally, out of desperation, I scheduled an appointment with my midwife. Something had to be wrong. And of course, she pointed out the obvious—honey, have you allowed yourself to grieve?
Of course I've grieved! What a silly question! I cried for a month! But I knew, deep down inside, that she was right. I hadn't really grieved. And I honestly didn't know how to start. It was such a quiet loss. So I scheduled an appointment with Sandra. She is the best counselor and as usual, her homework assignment was one that I didn't want to do. I resisted it, like a cat being stuffed into a cat carrier. Name the baby. Pick the gender. Pick the due date/birthday. Write a letter. I broke down and cried on the way home. I didn't want to name the baby. I didn't want to choose a due date. Because then it would be real. The loss would be real and it hurt too much. But of course, I did it.
I named him Owen Carlton Sanford Bowen and his due date is January 28, 2018. And this is the letter. I share it, because it helps heal the broken pieces of my heart.
October 19, 2017
I love you—I never got to hear your heartbeat. You died before my first doctor's appointment. But I still loved you. I loved you with every wave of nausea and as I thought about you while playing with your big sister. Hazel would have adored you. I bought her a pink shirt with "Big Sister" written on it—we only had you for 4.5 weeks—it wasn't enough time. I wanted more time. I wanted to hear your heartbeat and watch you kick and dance during the ultrasounds. I wanted to feel the flutter of your kicks and watch your elbow move across my stomach. I wanted to pick out the theme for your nursery (translation: your corner of Hazel's room)—I wanted to make you your first snuggly blanket and spend the night wrapped up in it while feeling you move. Hazel was always super active at around 10pm.
My dear sweet little Owen, I'm sorry that my body failed you. I'm sorry that I won't be able to hold you. Or be there for you while you wait for Jesus to return. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to be your mommy—but I will. One day, I'll be given you. I'll be able to look at you, count your toes and hold your hand. And we will have eternity together. And I'll be able to hold you—forever.
I miss you. Everyday I miss you. I've kept myself busy (too busy) these last 5.5 months. I've held the grief of your loss tight in my heart. Not daring to let go—because I've been afraid to let you go. I don't want to forget you. My dear little Owen, I have to let you go. I'll remember you and will cherish my memories of you—you would have looked just like your Papa. Strong and brave—and likely into everything. But I will remember you every year.
You would have been born in January. You would have shared your birthday month with your Auntie Felicia. Your Birthday would have been January 28—the day before Auntie's. And I'll remember, every year I'll remember. I lost you, my sweet boy, on April 26, 2017.
I'll always love you—And I'll miss what would have been. We will see you in heaven, our sweet little love. In mommy's heart, you'll always be.
I miss him. I'll always miss him. But especially right now.