To have loved and lost
This blog was written in May of 2017. I was pregnant with my now son Jamison and was overcome with emotions. Bexley was downstairs with my husband eating breakfast and I felt the need to write this. I needed to tell my story, the story of my first son Jaiden…. how he changed my life for the better. How he made me the woman I am today, even though he is not here with me. If you or anyone you know have gone through a still-birth or the loss of a child, just know that it does get better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You are not alone.
This time of the year is supposed to be a special time for mothers and mothers to be. it’s a time that loved ones recognize all that you do, have done and will do. Mother’s Day is a reminder to celebrate your mom and tell her that you love her a little extra on this day. For a period of time I hated this holiday. Not because I hate my mother (well, that’s for a different post) but because it reminded me that I wasn’t a mother.
In January 2008 I was a mess. 21 years old living in York County, PA. Drank like it was no one’s business and was dating a not so good guy. That month I lost an Uncle, a good friend to drunk driving and found out I was pregnant. Abortion was not the option for me, I decided I was going to raise this child and turn my life around. And that is exactly what I started to do. I dumped my boyfriend, got a job as a claims clerical clerk and I began turning my studio apartment into a room fit for a prince. Yes, my prince. His name was Jaiden. And I felt like I knew him before I met him. I knew that he loved listening to my 80’s playlist first thing in the morning as we got ready for work. We loved eating cinnamon raisin bagels once we got to work. 3pm was always lunch time and he would not let me go late. Always kicking me at that exact moment. And whenever I was upset, he would almost caress me from the inside to remind me that he would never hurt me. That is how I got through the summer of 2008, just me and my baby boy (who I thought was a girl for the LONGEST time until I saw that boy part). Just when I got to a point where I have done a complete 180 on my life, my life changed.
It was September 15th. I woke up like I did every day, played my 80’s music, got my bagel and began work. It was a Monday and we were dealing with Hurricane Ike claims, so we were busy at work. Before I even noticed it was 3:30 pm and I had missed my lunch. I was thinking “that can’t be possible, Jaiden always kicks at 3 to remind me” but this day he didn’t. So, I push in on my stomach because I knew if I did that, he’ll get annoyed and push back. Nothing. I shake my belly and still no movement. I’m trying not to freak out at this point. I go and grab a Pepsi and a glass of cold-water cause that is what the OB tells you to do when the baby isn’t moving. Drank both and still nothing. Call my OB still panicked, and they tell me to go to straight to the ER. I call my friend Pam who worked at the local restaurant down the street and asked if she could pick me up and take me. I tell my supervisor what is happening and let her know I’m going to the ER. The entire car ride Pam is trying to talk to Jaiden and reassure me that everything is ok. I get to the ER and the rush me straight to labor and delivery and hook me up to a fetal heart monitor. I’m in there with just Pam and a Nurse. She uses a Doppler to look for a heartbeat and then she quickly calls in for reinforcements. At that moment my room gets filled with nurses and doctors and the OB on staff comes in and takes my hand. She starts crying and the rest gets silent. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was in complete disbelief. This can’t be possible. He was just there the other day, he was just kicking and caressing me last night. what do you mean there is no heartbeat? I began crying uncontrollably, my friend Pam is crying, there Is not a dry eye in the room. They have to admit me and induce me to deliver my son. My dead son. I call my sister and my mother who lived over an hour away to come up. They give me an epidural to help with contractions and all I keep thinking is that maybe he’ll come out and be alive and he’s just punking me. Or I’m thinking “what did I do wrong, was it something I ate, was I doing too much activity?” These are the thoughts going through my mind until the next day when I finally get to deliver my boy. (side note, my mom really wanted them to give me a C-Section. Like who really wants to be in labor for almost 24 hours with a child they will never take home??) but I delivered my boy at 36 weeks pregnant, he was 6 lbs. 15 oz and perfect. But he didn’t cry, he never opened his eyes. I held my dead son and I felt empty. They said the cord was around his neck and that is why he passed. Damn Jaiden. You were so active you got caught in your own cord. I buried him a week later and had to ‘move on’ as certain family members told me. But how can I move on? My older sister just had her baby and I don’t want to be around him because he makes me miss mine. I have friends that are pregnant and even though I’m happy for them I am jealous cause they got to hold their children after delivering them and I didn’t. I fell into a deep depression and no antidepressant could help me. I often asked God “why would you take my child from me? What did I do to deserve this?” I hated God for the longest time. I hated anyone that was pregnant and had a healthy child. I began drinking again cause that’s all I could do to numb the pain. I moved in with a friend and we would go out and drink and have fun and never talked about Jaiden. But in all this craziness I did have one friend that I could always talk to about him. Her name was Charli and the reason I could be so open with her was because she’s been where I was. Never as intense as me but she had also loved children and lost them. She understood my anger and she let me be angry, but she never left. Till this day she is still one of my best friends because she was and is still there.
The first Mothers day after Jaiden passed and everyone who has kids are getting their “happy mother’s day” shout out on Myspace (cause that was huge back then) and I forget who told me this but they said “just because your son isn’t here, doesn’t make you any less of a mother” and they were right. I did everything that any normal mother did while pregnant. I went to my OB appointments, I took my vitamins, I ate all the right food, I stopped drinking. I did everything right. The only difference Is, my child isn’t here and theirs is. I wish I could say “in that very moment I changed my life around and beat depression and lived happily ever after” but that would be a lie. It took me some more time, but I started to look as Jaiden coming into my life as a good thing. He turned me into a mother, which made me have to grow up which was hard for me to do at that time. I didn’t want to let him down. I enrolled in school to start the Winter of 2010, I moved back home for 90 days before school started (I couldn’t handle more than 90 days, trust me if you know my family then you know why) to save up to get my own place once school started. I got a car, paid cash all by myself and later that year I met my now husband. I honestly can say that none of that would’ve happened if I never got pregnant with Jaiden. He was the first domino and all this good began to happen because of him. I still think about him every day and every Mother’s Day I still feel like he’s with me watching me, thinking “omg my mom is a hot mess. I’m so embarrassed” and I laugh cause if I don’t, I’ll cry.
I thought after Jaiden that I’d never want to have kids again or won’t be able to. I thought my body was cursed. Once my husband and I got married we got pregnant right away but essentially had a miscarriage. I thought to myself “Oh God, not again. Am I not meant to be a mother, just say so now.” And I went through the whole “if your pregnant, I hate you. Or the “everyone that has babies I’m throwing mad shade at you cause twice now I should’ve had kids and God took them from me.” Again, Charli was there as a great support system with her whole “been there, done that and now I have kids and you will too” mentality which sometimes is super annoying if you’re depressed but looking back now is 100% effective!!!! Right around December of 2014 I had a dream that I was at a picnic with my in-laws and there was my niece (who now I know as Annabelle) and another small child who looked roughly a year younger. She had the curliest hair and best smile. Olive complexion and she was playing in the water with her cousin. She runs up to me and calls me Mommy. I woke up from that dream with such love in my heart not knowing what it meant. Who is this little girl in the water with curly hair? Why is she calling me mommy? Did I adopt her? Is this Gods way of foreshadowing cause I really hate surprises. Come to find out on New year eve 2015 that we were pregnant. I was ecstatic and also terrified. If I have one more miscarriage or stillbirth, I’m getting everything taken out. I can’t go through it again. But I think Jaiden talked to the big guy upstairs and was like “Look, my mom is a hot mess. Is there any way you can give her constant reminders that she’s pregnant, so she doesn’t freak out?” And God was probably like “say no more”. It was the WORST PREGNANCY EVER!!!! Vomit, spitting in a bottle, round ligament pains, swollen ankles. You name it I had it. But I can honestly say that I got that little girl from my dreams. Born at 38 weeks, Bexley Celine Sanger. She now looks EXACLTY like the little girl I dreamt about and makes me feel complete again. She has her guardian angel looking after her and I can feel it every day.
The question often gets asked “is it better to have loved, then lost. Then to never have loved at all?” The answer is yes. If I never had Jaiden, I would have never met Charli, never met my husband and never have had my daughter. I would’ve never graduated college (finally) and who knows where I would be, but I know I wouldn’t be here. Someone always asks, “do you have any advice to moms who are going through or have gone through what you have?” There is nothing I can say to make a grieving mother feel better. We don’t want to hear “everything happens for a reason” or “you will be a mom someday, when it’s your time”. Fuck that. No one in their right mind takes comfort in that. You know what I say ”This shit sucks. A lot. You do what you need to do to grieve and I’ll be here. You want to go get drunk and cry on the bathroom floor at the bar? I’ll drive. You want to not talk about it ever? Let’s talk about how messy these chicks look at the mall.” Everyone grieves differently and in their own time. But when you are ready to talk about it, I’m here because I’ve been there. And what I can say is don’t lose hope. Because if I gave up, I wouldn’t have the girl I have today. And I would also say “just because you don’t have your baby doesn’t make you ANY less of a mother. You are the best mom and you will have your prince or princess. And because you have lost, you will love them so unconditionally.“