For the first time in a long time, I ironically find myself at a loss for words. I’ve typed out my thoughts only to delete them because I’m not sure what to say. I’m an open book to those who care to listen, but no one wants to hear about the longing and loss I feel when I think of my son, Braxton, I gave back to God during month four of pregnancy on February 24, 2017.
I will never forget the gut-wrenching emptiness felt when I saw a black hole where my sweet baby had a beating heartbeat a few weeks before. I can’t get the sound of my own hysterical cries and repetitive shouts of “NO, NO, NO!” out of my memory. That moment was when a nightmare became reality as my husband desperately held me. We cried together and I could barely breathe. I didn’t know eyes could shed so much water at once.
No matter the heartache and unbelievable hurt, there is strength from within.
I told Tim I wanted to pray. I had no idea what I would say, but I knew I needed to cry out to God. I prayed out loud as my husband held me and we continued to cry. I remember asking for strength I knew I didn’t have within me. I remember pleading with God to get us through these next few days I was dreading. I remember asking him to guard the heart of my oldest son who will absolutely know what’s going on and will be heartbroken to lose a sibling before he could even meet him. But the words that stood out to me most were the words I never expected to say, but have brought me the most healing and comfort since those first moments.
I told God “thank you”
for allowing me to carry His Child for four months. I told God I understood to be a mom is a blessing and gift He gave me. I thanked Him for blessing me when I was undeserving and didn’t expect to be a mother to one, yet He blessed me with three (at that time). I also told God I finally understood His struggle to be separated from His Children. I told Him I accept the fact that He simply wants His Children to be united with Him in Heaven and that our baby was simply making his way earlier than we would like – but how selfish it is of me to want to keep my child from Our Father. I asked God to grant me peace and comfort as my human heart ached beyond words I could ever describe because I so badly wanted to love, raise, hug, and kiss my baby and feel that baby breath and smell that baby smell.
I had no idea how I would get up and walk out of the doctor’s office and into the hospital to deliver our angel baby. I had no idea how I would look into the eyes of my oldest son to tell him the news. I didn’t want to face my parents who were shocked, but excited about another grandbaby. And I certainly didn’t have a clue how I would face the many family and friends who will ask questions because of their concern and love once they find out.
The prayer and my faith worked. Strength truly comes from within. I could’ve never survived those agonizing months without loving family, true friendships, many prayers covering us, and the knowledge of knowing I will reunite with Braxton one day.
I will forever be a mom of four boys. I am happy to have seen Braxton and to have held him in my palm. If there was a surreal moment, it was his delivery. The contractions were terrible leading up to delivery, the reality and experience of delivering a dead baby was even worse, but when I was able to stare at God’s Creation in my womb at four months – I was in awe. I didn’t know I could have so much love, so much pain, and so much faith, all in one moment. It’s the moment we found out our baby was another Bailey boy. It’s when we spoke his name. It’s when we stared and smiled and cried. He was whole. He had ears, eyes, nose, fingernails, toenails, fingers, toes, ribs, and a skull forming. He weighed 5 ounces and was 5 inches long. My baby boy, Braxton. It pained me to not hug him, to not kiss him, and I had to be careful and not touch him skin-to-skin because his skin was very delicate and fragile in its four months of development. I know how special those first moments are with your baby after delivery, but those wouldn’t happen for us. The hardest part of this parenting journey is wondering if Braxton will know how much he is loved by us all and that I so badly wanted to carry him to term and have him to be a part of our earthly lives.
When people ask me how many children I have, without a blink of an eye, I tell them I have four boys, but one is in Heaven. Then, I receive the expected reply coupled with a saddened face, “Ohhhh, I’m so sorry.” If you find this to be you, please don’t feel sorry. I’m not.
You see, I am blessed to be a mom considering I was told I’d have trouble getting pregnant because of my infertility issues. I am blessed to have the miracle of Garrett’s arrival nine years after our first born when we didn’t think we’d have anymore children. I call that God’s humor! Then we were blessed to become pregnant with Braxton and continue to work through our yearning to have him with us, but if it weren’t for his baby wings, we wouldn’t have Kase as our final Bailey boy now. He is a fourth blessing born February 26, 2018. God makes no mistakes and His Timing is perfect. I knew when I found out I was pregnant with Kase that my due date was around when God called Braxton Home – and I found peace in pregnancy. Every appointment brought anxiety; I dreaded laying down on the ultrasound table; and I bawled every time I heard a heartbeat or saw life on the ultrasound screen. But oh the joy in his delivery and the blessings that came after. We now focus on life and celebrate Braxton’s life in August when he would’ve been born. It’s what God wants.
Do not mourn the loss of a loved one, but celebrate the life lived and the impact it made on yours.
This is my belated post for October 15th – National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I couldn’t bring myself to type the words yesterday. The weight of it came crashing down, but I can only hope and pray my story touches one life to know this:
Loss is hard. It’s indescribable. No matter when or how, a loss is a loss and the heartache is very real. You’re not alone. Reach out to those you feel comfortable speaking to and know there are strength in numbers.
Much love and many prayers,
*Pictured below is our oldest son, Cameron, and our pastor, DJ Horton, spreading Braxton’s ashes into our family pond.