This the 7th year that I knew a night such as this existed. You know, before you’re thrust into the world where babies die, you don’t even know this as a possible reality. One day you’re living your life naive, free, expecting a baby and the next you’re headfirst into a devastating nightmare living without your child.
The first October without Ruthie Lou we escaped reality. We left in our trailer and drove down the California coastline, far enough away that we could be anonymous to search for who we were now that our baby had died without the pressure of those who knew us watching.
On October 15th I learned of the International Wave of Light. On this night for one hour in every time zone across the world, a candle is lit in remembrance of a much loved and missed baby. In 2011, my husband and I sat at a picnic table in a campground outside our trailer with our very best friends and lit our candle for Ruthie Lou. We watched it in the moonlight and honored the life that she lived, too short but so full of love. It was terrible and beautiful and so lonely.
Tonight, 7 years later I await impatiently for the 7pm hour to share my candle with the world, to share her light and my love for our daughter that beats as strongly as the day she was born.
It is still terrible and beautiful without Ruthie Lou, but it is no longer lonely. In the last 7 years there has been a shift in awareness regarding Pregnancy, Infant and Child Loss that didn’t exist before. There are numerous resources, books, support groups, articles and friends that continually support one another.
As I sit here scrolling through social media I see so many names of babies I never met but love so deeply. I see camaraderie and support amongst bereaved moms and dads that may have only met online but are united in their loss and love for their babies. The real-life relationships and bonds that have held us through moments of sadness and moments of celebration of our babies is beautiful. It is amazing. It is what I was searching for 7 years ago. I wanted to feel normal in a world that was unrecognizable to me and here are, we are making tremendous strides supporting one another.
So tonight, I honor all the families missing their baby(ies) and I send immeasurable amounts of love. We are doing beautifully to honor our children and I know they are as much proud of us as we are of them. Their light continues to shine so bright as we remember them tonight and every single night.
In updating my blog, I came across a page in which one week I listed all the things I loved about Ruthie Lou, and in the next post I listed all the things I love about Reid.
So here it is Adam, I love you this much too! I never want you to think that because you are the youngest that you aren't as loved, adored and appreciated as your siblings. You are amazing!
I love the way you "coast" when you wake in the morning.
I love your smile when the morning light turns on.
I love how you snuggle your body close to mine.
I love the smell of your baby head of hair.
I love how you "talk" when you wake.
I love how you grab my hand, my shirt, my hair.
I love how you hang on tight when I am holding you.
I love your laugh every time your brother does anything silly.
I love the bond that you and Reid share.
I love your little cough to get our attention.
I love that you listen to "Little Light", your sister's song, to fall asleep.
I love your chunky body, the rolls on your legs and your "rubberband" wrists.
I love your excitement (and a little fear) when you roll from back to belly.
I love your grunts when you shove your toys in your mouth.
I love your forced laugh when I oil your body after bath time and I hit a ticklish spot.
I love how you watch me cook dinner from your seat.
I love that you let me eat ;)
I love nursing you.
I love when you rub my chest as you breastfeed.
I love your focus when you play.
I love your determination when you try to do something new.
I love the way you smile at everyone, making them feel so special.
I love that you love Xavi, you let him kiss you all the time!
I love watching you splash in the bathtub.
I love the piece of the puzzle you have brought to our family.
I love the joy that you bring into our life.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
He's here, he's here, he's here! Adam Waid Lands is here!
This sweet little boy that I felt grow inside me arrived July 27th at 9:58am. Weighing 8lbs 14oz & 20 1/2 inches, he's the perfect mix of brother and sister- the spitting image of his brothers size and his sisters sweet profile.
I still can't believe he's here, that 40 weeks have passed and we did it! He did it! He made it to us, safely, healthy, whole and alive. I can breathe freely now.
His pregnancy (falling four years after his sister died) has allowed much of our life to return to normalcy, not the normal it was before Ruthie Lou, but the normal that we have grown to know and be grateful for. But that said, my fears felt so much greater this pregnancy. The combination of Ruthie Lou dying and Reids delivery being traumatic, left so much fear of the unknown as we waited to see if Adam would survive pregnancy, then survive birth, and be born to us healthy with all his chromosomes. It was a huge and heavy burden to bear, all while creating a space of peace and faith for him to flourish inside me.
Chris and I process our grief so differently. We were both just waiting for our boy to arrive to exhale. It's hard to feel your own feelings, all while allowing space for your partner to do the same, and doing so with patience. Both of us were unable to really tend to the other, except for supporting each other from afar. Even saying we were scared that Adam might die felt like tempting fate.
This pregnancy was private. We never announced that we were expecting. Although my belly was a walking billboard, unless you saw me, it was not something I wanted to talk about other than a select few who probably heard my worries more times than not. I can't explain why, other than I was holding my breath and it took all my strength to maintain my emotional sanity in this pregnancy, that I couldn't dare speak about it publicly.
I am happy that I held Adam quietly inside me, it felt safe. He felt safe. We have lived in the public eye so much with Ruthie Lou and in our love obsession of Reid, it felt good to hold this baby close before he met the world.
Adam felt different than his siblings. Like them, he is so sweet, but he also holds such a gentle presence. He seems like one of those strong silent types that goes with the flow but when they speak up, you listen because they're only expressing them self when it's truly important.
His story is completely different than his siblings. I was so certain he would come early as his brother and sister did. I never considered the alternative of going full term. I expected his labor to mirror theirs too, and imagined what that would feel like for the third time, but that never happened. I worried that his delivery would be as scary as theirs, was but it was the most beautiful of all deliveries, even in a surgical operating room. I thought I would feel crazy for lack of sleep but instead, other than sore from a poor latch, he spends all days nursing and most of the night sleeping.
He is nothing as I expected, and everything I could have ever wanted.
I love Adam.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.