I would like to share Anne’s story with you. I am so touched not only by her story, but her words because they echo so much of what I felt as we left the hospital that day almost 2 years ago. After you read about Wren and Noah, please leave a comment for Anne and send her some love . . . I know she will appreciate it. If you would like to know more about my Call for Stories request, please visit here.
I have always known children would be part of my life. Early last year, my husband and I decided to expand our family. On August 2, we found out we were pregnant after going through a cycle of IVF. We were so excited! Two weeks later, I had an ultrasound and for the first time, we saw our babies. Yes, there were two! I was instantly in love. I loved being pregnant and was amazed at the changes in me and in the babies. I remember every milestone of my pregnancy – hearing the heartbeats for the first time, finding out we were having boys and feeling the first of many, many kicks. As my belly grew bigger, my love for my boys grew deeper. I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly love them more than I already did and I was counting down the days until I could hold them in my arms. That day came much sooner than expected.
On December 10, exactly four months before my due date, our beautiful sons were born. Wren was born still, unable to survive his birth. Noah was born two hours later, alive and cradled in my arms for ten minutes until he passed. I was overwhelmed with the love I felt for these two tiny boys. My husband and I held our sons and told them how much Mommy and Daddy loved them.
Leaving the hospital that day was devastating. I kept hoping there would be a medical reason for me to stay, so I could keep holding my babies. How could we leave our sons? We were given the hats the boys wore, the blankets they were wrapped in, a photo album, memory boxes and some pamphlets on grief. We walked out of the hospital in a daze, carrying a white bag with memories instead of our twins. My empty arms ached, longing for my babies. I could barely understand what had happened. I was no longer pregnant but I didn’t have my babies. Our lives were forever changed.
I found Stephanie and Beyond Words Designs six weeks after our loss. I had returned to work and felt the weight of the world crushing me. The world had become scary and lonely; I felt lost. After searching on-line for support following infant loss, I discovered a community of women on a similar journey. I read their stories, tears streaming down my face. I felt a kinship with these women, complete strangers who understood my pain. The weight of the world started to ease.
When I read about Stephanie’s call for stories from women who had experienced the loss of a baby, I knew I had to respond. The art cards she creates are beautiful and truly touch and inspire me. She had managed to capture exactly what I was feeling and I felt like I was being handed a gift from a friend. I wish the memory boxes we were given had included her cards. Stephanie’s painting and words honoring pregnancy and the babies loved from afar offer hope, comfort and friendship. What a gift for a woman as she begins her journey, to know she is not alone.
If you would like to share your story of leaving the hospital with empty arms or share how the Donate Art project may make a difference in your hospital, please click on the link below.