I remember little from the rest of our stay at the hospital. I was on so much medication and my body was so drained, I slept more than anything else. A few people came to visit us, and I was so tired, I would wake up just barely enough to see who it was, and then fall back to sleep, mouth open and all, without even caring. There were times I tried to stay awake and visit, but I simply could not keep my eyes open.
I remember talking with our grief nurse, Debbie. She was amazing. I don’t think I would have made it through those few days without her. I think we stayed there two more days before they told us I was well enough to go home. They offered for us to stay longer if we wanted, but left the final decision to us. We thought it would be best to leave that room behind. I got out of bed and took a shower. For the first time since our arrival I looked at myself in the mirror. My color was starting to return, but I looked way too skinny. Never had I imagined I would think that about myself, but there it was, hanging in the air. I was too skinny. I had only gained about 10 lbs during my pregnancy, but I lost around 35 pounds in fluid during the delivery. I hadn’t weighed so little since the very beginning of high school. It ached to see the empty spot where my full belly had once been. I would have gotten pregnant again that day if I could have.
We stayed with my parents over the next few weeks. I still needed to be watched closely-I wasn’t out of the woods quite yet. I was placed on strict bedrest. Because my blood pressure was still so high, I was told I had to keep the lighting in the rooms I was in really low. I could watch t.v., but nothing stressful or too intense. I certainly wasn’t allowed to drive, or do any lifting, or cleaning, or even a lot of mothering, for that matter. That was the part that hurt the most. I wasn’t able to take care of the sweet baby I did have.
Shortly after leaving the hospital, we made arrangements for a memorial service and burial. Debbie had somehow managed to get us a spot in a nearby cemetery that was specifically for babies and small children. There technically weren’t any spots left, so I’m not sure how she swung getting that spot for us. We chose a tombstone. It had lambs on it, with the words, “Little Ones to Him Belong.” In case you don’t remember. We still thought our baby was a little girl. We had named her Ruth Abigail. Her name was going to be engraved on the tombstone as well.
In the midst of planning everything, Blake received a phone call. “We have the final lab results from the amnio and CVS in” the voice on the other end informed him. She confirmed that our baby had Triploidy (three full sets of chromosomes), which we already suspected. “There is one other thing I have to tell you” she admitted. She apologized profusely before finally letting Blake know that the little girl I had given birth to was actually a little boy. As soon as Debbie had heard the results, she insisted they tell us the truth, which we so appreciated.
I had been outside when Blake got the phone call. I knew the news wasn’t good when he called me in. There is a lot he doesn’t remember about this season in our life, but he remembers this specific instance with great clarity. Having to deliver the news to me and the rest of my family just about killed him. For me, I had spent my entire pregnancy bonding with a little boy. It wasn’t a huge shock to me. I was sad, yes, and I was a little bit shaken. But my biggest fear was that it was going to be my only chance at having a little boy. For everybody else, however, they had spent time bonding with and grieving over a little girl. It was a pretty hard hit. I never blamed the ultrasound tech. We should have known it was too early to really be able to tell. We never asked for confirmation when he was born. In fact, going back and looking at pictures, we saw the boy parts. We were simply too grief stricken to even think about it. We were so close to the memorial and burial, and now we had to change everything from girl things to boy things. Thankfully, Debbie helped with the bulk of that. We returned pink flowers and got blue ones. I decided on a blue dress instead of a pink one. Those types of things. It was certainly not what we needed at that time. But we pulled through. We made it.
The memorial service was beautiful. Our worship leader sang, and our pastor spoke. Blake and I each shared a little bit. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to love on and support us. There were so many people packed into that room-we didn’t even have enough seats set out. And so many of them had traveled to be there, some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I felt so loved and cared for. The burial the next day was much more intimate, but still so lovely. Our friend, Jimmy, who had spent countless hours at the hospital with us, spoke for it. Some of our dearest friends took time off of work to be there with us. We felt so blessed. It was a beautiful day, and while I felt so sad, I started to feel a little bit of hope. We had named our baby boy Judah Joseph. Judah means “Praise” and Joseph, “He will add.” There were so many promises packed into those two little names. My heart held tight to that. My heart still holds tight to that. And my heart needed all the hope it could get to hold me together for the months to follow.