Late Tuesday, June 11th, my husband and I were parents for 34 minutes.

It is very hard to write, but I feel I must. If I don’t, I’ll burst.

A while back, I wrote a post about the fragility of life, about my experiences here on the ranch raising livestock. How sometimes, things simply don’t work out like you planned. Tuesday night was like that.

Throughout that afternoon and evening of labor, I had no doubts everything would be fine. Like all new parents-to-be, I was full of hope and a fierce determination that soon our little family would be larger, and that we would hold our healthy infant son and cry tears of joy and that the rest of our lives would be forever changed for the better by the tiny little soul I was working to present to the world. When the nurses expressed concern over his heartrate, inwardly I laughed them off. Not my son! He was strong and lively — I knew him well after the last nine months. My baby boy would prove them all wrong.

As I got close, it became evident things were not so cheery. I began to feel concern as the room filled up with medical professionals preparing for emergency work, but I ground my teeth together and kept on, because there was only one way out of the situation and that was to finish what my husband and I started.

Then, he was born. Time stopped. The two, weak little cries he gave were one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard. The medical team sprang into action, and we waited.

And waited.

There are no words for the numbness and shock of watching the future — the life you had planned for and prepared for — fall apart. No matter how many times I have seen it happen here on the farm, no matter how many times I have watched others go through loss… it is so, so different when it’s your own life. And it is so hard to accept. Grief is blinding. It sears a hole in your gut that can’t be filled. It sneaks into every crevice like a quiet mouse, it permeates the very air like polluted exhaust. As the minutes tick by into days, it remains in every shadow, waiting to spring out at you like a villain from a bad B-grade horror movie. You can’t escape it, can’t go around it — the only way is through. One step at a time.

That’s where I am now. Slowly taking one step, and then another. I am grateful for small mercies — loving family, good friends, sunny days, and the fact that I am small enough again that I can hold my dear guitar. A guitar is a poor substitute for the child I want to hold instead, but the comfort of music is never anything to be denied. I am a musician, and I can curl up in between those notes and let them say what I can’t. I can let them coat that seared hole like a balm. It makes it easier, though it will never, ever be truly easy.

34 minutes is too short of a time for anything, and yet, it was my entire world.

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32 thoughts on “34 minutes

      1. *hugs* You’re welcome. I hope that you will indeed find solace in your music. Music helped me so much when my dad passed away, I hope it’ll do the same for you.

  1. I’m so sorry, Heather… I know you’re going to hear a lot of that. I know our interactions have been seldom lately, but you ALWAYS have my support, and I’m here if you ever need a near-stranger to unload on. Stay strong.

  2. Heather, you don’t know me, but a mutual friend of ours, (Kenzie) made me aware of this blog entry. I am so sorry for you and your husband. I can not even begin to imagine the pain you both are going through. My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost 7 years now, and have not been successful. I’m just trying to imagine what it would be like to have my own child in my life for so short of time, especially after waiting so long, and trying so hard to get them here, and I just can’t. It just doesn’t seem plausible. I know their is nothing anyone can say to make that pain go away, but I wish I could take your pain from you, even though I don’t know you. I hope that you are able to move through this with grace, and my wife and I will keep you in our prayers.

    Sincerely, and with much condolences,
    Karl Lye

    1. Thank you Karl, for writing. Both of our situations are truly difficult things. I wish you and your wife the best, and thank you for keeping us in your prayers. We will keep you in ours as well.

    1. I truly, truly hope so, Carolyn. I would love that more than anything in the world, and while I definitely agree that we will see each other again, it’s just so hard to acknowledge right now. The emotional “black hole” is just a little too aggressive at the moment…

      Thank you for stopping by.

  3. There are no words. My heart aches for you and your husband. I am thankful for your community of friends and family, your music, and your precious memories. Prayers are yours and thank you for sharing your soul here…

  4. Heather, I don’t know if you remember us ( you taught Raechel sax in our home about 7 yrs ago) in Dayton & them Pomeroy once I think … My prayers are with you and your husband. I know words would never be enough. May God hold you in his arms.

  5. Heather, I stumbled on this tonight. My heart is aching for you. You and that precious baby are in my thoughts.

  6. Please know the community grieves with you both…..and with your extended family and your many friends! We love your gentleness and warmth that you share time and time again through your music. Now you are teaching us about the loss of a child……….I am so saddened and wish I could put my arms around you and help take the pain away even though I know that isn’t possible.

  7. I’m sure you know my face, Heather, though possibly not the name to go with it. Please know also that another pair of arms joins all those holding you in spirit, and I’m very, very sure it helps.

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