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We Buried Our Son Tonight

We buried our son tonight.
I hope I never have to say those words again. He wasn’t just tissue that I passed. He was a real baby and when I saw him, no bigger than a quarter, I couldn’t flush him down the toilet.
I wrapped his tiny body in toilet paper and put him in a little cardboard earring box. The box sat on my nightstand for 3 days. I guess it took us that long to come to terms with it.
I put a sterling silver cross necklace in the box so he could be buried with it. Jose found a heart shaped rock and picked a beautiful flower to put on top of the “grave.” We decided to go for a walk to find the perfect place for him to rest forever. We held hands walking down sidewalk. Jose said he wanted to name our son after my father and I silently nodded in agreement. Without giving them direction, our feet took us to a nearby park. Under the moonlight, we spotted an oak tree by the playground. It was perfect. Jose used a small garden shovel and dug a deep hole. We both kissed the box our baby was in and placed it in the grave. Jose filled the hole and put the flower on top. The heart shaped rock now leans against the base of the oak – my son’s marker. We said a prayer and felt a breeze. The weather was just right. I wouldn’t say this gave us the proverbial closure people seek in tragic times, but it gave us something.
We buried our son tonight under the moonlight next to the playground at the park by an oak tree.
Rest in peace, Wilbur Clyde Castelan. I never even met you, but I loved you so much.

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Big Sister Olive

Of course we didn’t plan for it to happen. We weren’t trying, but we weren’t exactly careful about it, either. After having Olive at 40, we were well aware of the risks, but when I didn’t get my period as expected on May 2nd, I knew I was pregnant. Hell, I knew I was pregnant the morning after conception. They say you don’t know, that you can’t tell, but I could. I knew. I even took a home test the day my period was due, but it came back negative. I waited 5 days and finally said something to Jose. I asked him to go buy another test. He left right away to go to the same Walgreen’s we purchased the test from that confirmed my pregnancy with Olive. It was only a few blocks down the street. On his way there, a woman racing down the street barreled into him head-on, totaling the car. He ended up with a swollen elbow and back injuries resulting in daily visits to the chiropractor ever since the accident.

He never made it to Walgreen’s.

My daughter Dallas picked us up and we made the stop on the way to the house. I could feel the box burning through my purse; I couldn’t wait to get home. I burst through the door and ran to my bathroom in anticipation of the results. The first window was negative and the second window, the test window was blank. It was invalid. Luckily, Jose had purchased a two-pack. The second test, as expected, came back positive. I was pregnant!
I told my sister. I told my mom. I told my kids. I told my boss and colleagues. I told a few close friends. I was over the moon! I started making baby name lists, planning the nursery for two babies, and imagining the enormous family photo at Easter. I made a tutu and “Big Sis” onesie for Olive. It was going to be the next Yellow Chair photo in the album. I bought her a book called, “I’m a Big Sister.” I called my insurance company and made my 10 week appointment with my doctor for June 14th. I already knew my due date was January 9th,  but hoped for a News Years Eve birth so there would always be a party for my baby to go to on his birthday when he grew up. I downloaded a pregnancy app and read daily about his growing progress. I walked with my head in the clouds for almost 3 weeks as visions of babies danced in my head.

We had a nice weekend. We rode bikes to Landa Park, pushed Olive in the swings, had friends over for dinner, went to The Flea Market, and went swimming at The Comal River. Everything went fine, I felt fine, nothing out of the ordinary happened. But everything wasn’t fine.
Jose dropped us off at the house and he left to go to the store. I got Olive settled in her crib and went to change out of my new bathing suit. That’s when I looked down and saw it. The blood. So much blood.

At 6 weeks and 6 days, I was losing my baby.

As soon as my brain registered what was happening, my body started to feel what was happening. I doubled over in pain from the cramps. My uterus was contracting trying to expel my baby from my body. The baby I didn’t plan to have, but couldn’t wait to meet. The baby I talked to everyday. The baby I imagined raising with his Big Sister Olive.
Sobbing, my world crumbling around me, and my husband at the store without a phone to reach him with, I called my kids. After much consoling and sympathizing from all of them, Mikayla told me everything happens for a reason. Maybe so. But what reason? This baby was going to be so loved, so well taken care of. He would have 8 amazing brothers and sisters looking after him his whole life. Doesn’t God already have enough babies in Heaven? Why take this one? Why take my baby?
I woke up this morning and went to work. We had an important meeting that I knew I couldn’t miss. The cramping wasn’t bad, but I was an emotional disaster. Halfway through the 2 hour meeting, the pain set in. I could barely sit straight in my chair and I could feel my baby passing through my body. I should have never gone to work. If anything, I should’ve gone to the hospital. I wanted to go home, put on my nightgown, and snuggle with Olive in bed while watching a Criminal Minds marathon on the ION Network. My eyes burned from tears, my back ached, and my gut was twisted. I went home as soon as the meeting let out.
So here I am, laying in bed, marveling at how lucky I am to have a perfect living baby while simultaneously mourning the loss of her baby brother. (In my mind, this baby is a boy.)
I don’t know why these things happen. Is it science or God? I guess I will never have the answers. I don’t know if I will ever get pregnant again and I don’t know if I will be able to carry that baby full term. But I do know this:
I know I’m blessed to have what I already have and I’m thankful for the joy Olive has brought to our lives.
She would have been a wonderful big sister.

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