My daughter crawled into my lap the other day, grabbed my hand and wrapped it around her. And I realize in the years since the death of my son, what I miss most is this; this thing that hadn’t happened yet. This scent of life and normality. He deserved this too.
Alternate reality or what could have been
June is an intense month for me, because each June, I remember what it’s like to go in for a routine examination and be told my child has no heartbeat. My greatest wish for the world today is to understand the power of GENUINELY informed consent.
And for the longest time, I couldn’t cry. And for the longest time I couldn’t cry about you. And then today, and it feels almost out of nowhere. Like it’s a full body memory, and I realized I still miss you. I’ve never stopped missing you.
Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died.
I haven’t written, lately, because words have felt hard. I haven’t written, lately, because my attention hasn’t been focused on you. And I want to apologize, because I remember those early days when I thought I would never stop thinking about you.
12 months ago, I was in labor. 12 months ago, you were preparing to be born. And this moment will always live in my memories.
The first night I left the house after Alexis* left, I was in a daze. I had walked these streets playing Pokemon Go not even that long ago. It felt like another lifetime.
I got called a mom today. I was with someone else’s kids, and the waiter asked me if the youngest could have another soda. “Is it okay with mom?” Pieces of normality…
I finally looked up the plot line of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Ironic that the story seems applicable to me. Ironic that I judged something that now feels maybe powerful.
Without you, I live in a world of unwanted freedom. I live in a world where I can pack up and head to Tahoe on a random weekend, but none of this is enough. So much of this feels empty.
I think a lot about the day you were due. I think about how different our lives would be.
I think about “moving forward”. I think about “trying again”. These words are hurtful. These words feel like I’m trying to replace you. It isn’t possible to replace you.
I’ve told people that I feel more awake now, more present. I think I’m only now beginning to understand what this fork in our road means.
When I think of thankfulness, all I can think of is the time I had with you. The whispered conversations. The whoosh of your first movements. The tactile knowledge of your hands, and your face, and your very active feet.
You made me a mother, and my arms ache without you. So I carry your elephant, and I wish you were here, and I think about the crazy duality of this year.
It will never be okay that you’re gone.
I would give up everything to have you here.
We talk a lot about blame. Everyone says it’s not my fault. Does it really matter? Are you any less gone?
I had a fantasy of how it would go. I would wake up early in the morning, and it would start. I would walk to Alexis’s room and tell her, calmly, that it was time.
My son, Adrian James Hernandez, was stillborn exactly one year ago today. And his loss was the first time in my life where there was nothing I could fight and nothing I could do or say. These are my reflections on the past year since his death.
I don’t think too much about actual dates, and so I missed the anniversary of my 39th week. And this is important to me, because it’s the date my providers had pushed for induction. And I wonder — if I had chosen differently, would I have a living child?
I know what you want to talk about. I know how it pains you when others try to chase your words away. It isn’t a question of guilt. It’s fact — if you had chosen to listen, I would be alive.
I feel unusual in the way that I’ve been counting. I’ve never kept elaborate timelines. My cousin’s wife reminded me when 30 days had passed. I was visiting, and her words took the breath out of me. It always feels like yesterday.