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Aston’s Story

Just FYI, this is Aston’s story as written by me, Sam. Some of this was written ‘live’ but most of it was written after the fact as I felt I had the strength to do so. 

It’s 6 AM on Friday January 10, 2020. I went into labour on this day a year ago and I will go into labour today. A year ago we delivered a healthy 41 week baby boy, Zaden, who will turn one tomorrow. Today, I will deliver our baby who went home to meet Jesus before we had a chance to meet him. 18.5 weeks along, 21.5 weeks too early, but Baby E likely has been home for sometime as the doctors tell us.

As I sit and write by candle light, snow is falling outside. Thank you Jesus. I have always found the sight of falling snow to be the most peaceful and God knows how much my soul needs peace. 

The story of Baby E, as we know it, began in Japan. A kid-free vacation to celebrate five wonderful years of marriage. We found out officially on September 27, 2019 when the pregnancy test came back immediately positive. We were all so excited. Excited to be completing our family, excited to see who baby would become, excited to tell baby’s brothers. 

Everything was normal, just as it has been for three other pregnancies besides being super nauseous. On January 8, 2020 we had our 18.5 week appointment with the midwife, and she couldn’t find a heartbeat. I tried not to panic as she searched and searched but the look on her face became more concerning. I prayed for life, I begged God for there to still be heartbeat. ‘Baby must have just been hiding’ I thought to myself. But then I remembered how I wasn’t growing as quickly as I have before, there was no kicks yet & in general things felt off. I told myself to hope until we had definitive news. I texted Kyle and told him to start praying, we needed to pray life into this baby.

Kyle and I tried to stay as positive as we could through the night which was filled with tears and moments of silence. I felt like I needed to be doing something to help this baby, that I could somehow force a sign of life. That the fact I was sitting and waiting for a call for an emergency ultrasound was ridiculous, but yet sitting, waiting and praying was all we had. 

The midwife clinic finally called, they wanted me to come in at 12:30 for another check and bedside scan since there were no appointments available at Jim Pattison. At the office, the midwife attempted to find the heartbeat with the doppler. At first try, it sounded like she got a heartbeat and there were tears of relief and I imagined texting Kyle ‘HEARTBEAT BABY!’ but the midwife wanted to be sure since she only heard it for a few seconds and then lost it. She couldn’t find it again and my mind began to worry. She used a bedside ultrasound scanner, and couldn’t find it, either. Another midwife came in as well and she had no luck. She said they could see the baby “wiggling” but there was no heartbeat so they sent me to the hospital. Once they said that I needed to go to the hospita,l it started to sink in how serious this was and that the reality of life or death would be found out in mere hours and I didn’t feel prepared for that. I made arrangements for the kids to be taken care of, and Kyle cancelled the rest of his day to come to the hospital with me.

We briefly saw the kids at home and they were excited and unphased by any of this since we hadn’t told them anything. Kyle and I scrambled around thinking of things we might need, but I had no idea how to prepare for this. A wallet, phone, and water bottle would be all we had.

The drive to the hospital was quiet for the most part. The odd conversation about how we did this drive a year ago and me rambling about party stuff – trying to distract myself about the news we could possibly be facing. When I wasn’t talking to Kyle I was praying, praying in tears, praying in faith knowing that God was ahead of us in this situation and was with us in every moment. I remember as we arrived there, declaring the truth – no matter what we found out, no matter what we felt in the moment or moments to come, God is good and God is love. No matter what. It was a proclamation that felt counterintuitive in the moment but the truth is truth no matter my feelings. 

We arrived at the hospital at 1:45pm, checked in at the Family Birthing Unit, and it felt like we sat there forever. More waiting. I hated waiting. We finally got called down for the ultrasound. Kyle couldn’t come in, which was terrifying but the tech quickly told me that he couldn’t give me any news good or bad and that they would give me the results once we were back upstairs. 

I laid down on the table like I have so many times before, begging for a miracle, begging for movement. It was a very quick ultrasound and then we were brought back upstairs where we waited in a tiny exam room that looked just like a doctors office. My first thoughts were that this could not be good. I wasn’t allowed to wait in triage, I was put into an isolated room that felt cold and sad. 

Alison, the midwife, who had delivered Zaden nearly a year ago, came in and apologized that we were going through this, gave me a hug and said results would take a bit but she would come back when she had something.  

More waiting. This time it was a very nervous wait. I couldn’t sit still, I didn’t know where to look, what to do with my hands, what to say. It was only minutes until we were going to find out if our baby had a heartbeat. How was this real? How were we sitting here? This was the one time I didn’t want the midwife to come back. I didn’t want the door to open. But at the same time I knew we didn’t have a choice and the only way to end this limbo was for Alison to come back and give us news. 

At 3:40pm Alison came back in and with barely enough time for me to look up from the floor and the door to close behind her, the words fell like boulders on the floor, “there is no fetal heartbeat. I’m so sorry.” 

Both Kyle and I burst into tears, she came and gave us a hug and said she would come back in a bit to talk some more. 

A million thoughts ran through my head. How? How is there no heartbeat? How am I carrying a dead baby in my belly? How has my body failed me? How has it failed my family? When did this happen? Is it a boy or a girl? How am I so sad over someone I never met? How do I tell people? How do we tell our boys who were so excited to the baby in mummy’s tummy? Why this time? Why now? At a time that is messing everything up with Zaden’s birthday. A birthday that I wanted to be able to celebrate, to celebrate Zaden, not mourn the loss of my baby. I had party preparations to get done, not sit in a hospital room. 

I never pictured this as part of our story. I never wanted to be apart of this ‘infant loss/miscarriage’ club, why us? And yet I still knew that God is sovereign and was over this whole situation but it didn’t take my pain away. I had so many questions and yet nothing but loud sobs would come out. I had no way to digest the words of ‘no fetal heartbeat’. 

That fetal heartbeat was my baby, my baby that we wished for, that we prayed over, that we wanted and loved so badly. I couldn’t stop crying. Kyle held me, we held each other. I tried to form some thoughts, the first thought was that I was so thankful for Jesus, for heaven and for a God that is love because that gave me the assurance of where our baby was. How much more beautiful Jesus & heaven became at that moment. The tears stopped coming so aggressively and we just sat together, in shock, holding one another. I was trying to form all the questions I knew I would have because I felt like this was all happening so fast and I wanted to make sure I did it ‘right’, that I got all the information that I wanted and all the ways to keep memories of this precious life.

Kyle and I sat embraced, crying for what felt like forever, trying to let this reality sink in but also trying to process what is next. Alison came back and was as sweet as she could be considering the situation. She began laying out our two options: a D&C (surgery) or to be induced and deliver. Alison gave the pros and cons of each; Kyle was on board with whatever I could handle. The surgery is quicker and ‘easier’ since I would be under general anaesthesia but less humane for our baby. Delivering seemed to be the right choice but could I labour for a baby that I don’t get to take home? Could I go through all that immense physical pain on top of the emotional pain? 

I just wanted someone to tell me what to do. I didn’t feel qualified to make this choice, it wasn’t one I was prepared to make. No one should be making this choice. We should have been making choices about finding out the gender, coming home outfits, and names. I was angry. Angry at the whole situation, angry that I would have to labour for a dead baby. It all seemed terribly unfair. As we sat in silence both processing this bomb we had just been hit with, I knew this choice was ultimately mine and yet in the midst of my anger God spoke so clearly and I knew I would deliver this baby. I would do anything for this baby, I would endure it all, just as I had for the babies I had at home. Just because his life was cut short in my eyes, God has ordained the exact days of its life from the beginning and I will love him all the same. 

A while later, the OB and Alison came back in. The OB said that based on the measurements at the ultrasound baby was measuring about 13.5 weeks. But that was odd to me because I had been to the midwife at 14.5 weeks and we heard a heartbeat so we figure that baby was just measuring small and it likely happened shortly after that appointment. That meant that I had likely been carrying this lifeless baby for close to 3 weeks. 

I didn’t like that, I felt weird, but I also felt proud that my body still provided it comfort and a home. The OB then explained how the delivery would go and how I would have the full support of the midwife, staff, and access to all the pain medication – at that time I didn’t understand just how much pain medication but because the baby no longer had a heartbeat there was no concern about the amount of pain medication I took, a small silver lining. 

I don’t remember much else of when they came and went or what was said, but I do remember Kyle asking Alison if they had any pictures from the ultrasound today that we could have. She said she could get a couple photos with her phone and send them to us. We will treasure those last photos of our baby forever. 

We were then informed that we couldn’t deliver today. We had to go home and wait until tomorrow. We were now on the induction list just like any other pregnant woman and had to wait our turn. It was the saddest walk we have ever made out of that hospital to date and I’m sure once we deliver it will be even worse. Kyle held my hand the whole way out, confidently communicating to me that we are in this together and we will see it through. 

Once at the car, we both called our mums and it was excruciating painful to have to utter the words that we’ve lost our baby. Our parents cried with us and have been nothing but supportive asking what they can do to help & taking the kids. The drive home felt empty, sad but peaceful as we clung to our favourite worship songs. My first pick was Highlands by Hillsong United:

“So I will praise You on the mountain

And I will praise you when the mountain’s in my way

You’re the summit where my feet are

So I will praise You in the valleys all the same

No less God within the shadows

No less faithful when the night leads me astray

You’re the Heaven where my heart is

In the highlands and the heartache all the same

Whatever I walk through

Wherever I am

Your Name can move mountains

Wherever I stand

And if ever I walk through

The valley of death

I’ll sing through the shadows

My song of ascent

These are truths of who God is and will always be and I clung to that on the cold, dark drive home and have continued to cling to every day since. He is no less God in this shadow.

Upon getting home we were greeted with smiles and excitement from our three boys and it was a much welcomed break after all the sadness. Walking through this makes me extra grateful for their lives and how much of a miracle each one of them is. Only Nixon asked if I was sad and I said yes and his response was ‘but God is good mum’ and I replied ‘yes Nixon, yes, He always is’. I’m not sure who I was talking to more, Nixon or myself. 

I am so grateful for grandparents who took them for the next couple night and allowed them to enjoy being kids.

Kyle and I silently started to tidy up the house, not really knowing what to do with ourselves. We aren’t used to a quiet house, we aren’t used to this pain, we aren’t used to this being our reality. I was tidying up the kids room when I was stopped and overcome by emotion. I found the pajama set I had bought for my baby. When I was out to buy it, Nixon saw it and one of the pieces had llamas on it – every Sunday at church he eagerly looks for the llamas to say ‘hi’ and tell us what they’ve had for breakfast, hence his love for llamas – I told Nixon that ‘we weren’t going to buy it because we don’t need it, baby has enough pajamas’ (fourth baby problems). His insistent response was ‘no mum I’ll buy it because I love llamas and so does baby’. Well at that I couldn’t say no. But now this baby won’t wear those llama pajamas and I have to tell Nixon that. Now I have another reminder that this baby will never come home with us. There were going to be so many of those reminders over the coming days and weeks.

We finished cleaning up, still wondering what we’re going to do with all these reminders that we were supposed to have a baby with us in June. I don’t want them here anymore but I don’t want to just toss them away as if it all meant nothing. What if we have another? Is it okay for that baby to wear those things or use that baby book? Or will it all be too painful? So many questions that no one can answer but us, in time. Except I hated waiting, I wanted it all sorted out now but God wasn’t working that way, it was going to be a process that we walk through, that He walks us through. 

I left the kids’ room and I saw the letterboard that still read ‘& one more makes four; June 2020’ with our ultrasound picture on it. An ultrasound where our baby still had a heartbeat. I sobbed as I began to take off each letter, there would no longer be four come June; this sign was no longer needed. I didn’t have a plan for what to put up next, but my heart settled on HOPE. We would hold onto hope, the hope of Jesus that would see us through.  

We finally both sat down on the couch, found some crappy snacks to eat and shared a beer. I called Ashlee and told her the news. I knew she had been hoping for the best and so it was devastating to tell her the worst outcome. She came over with more snacks and drinks to help us through tomorrow. We stayed and chatted with her for a while which was nice because it gave us a mental break. I also called my mentor, and I couldn’t even speak, the emotions were so strong, I felt like I was going to be sick, all I could hear was her praying for us. Praying for things which I felt but couldn’t voice, praying for emotions that I hadn’t even named yet – such a gift from God. 

Prayer is something I struggle with but I have seen the power of it and this was God reminding me of how important and how powerful it is. It was all we had and it truly is enough to handle this, not take away the pain and sadness but to bring true comfort. 

I felt bad that I was so tired, I wanted to be able to do something to prevent this or prepare for it. However, I fell asleep shortly and had an on and off sleep until 4:30 AM. And now we wait; we wait for the hospital to call to tell us to come in and be induced. Neither of us are sure what to say to each other, there were no words for this period of waiting in such sadness.

Since no call was coming in and waiting was nauseating, I got up, got myself put together and began to work on party prep. Kyle joined me when he was ready; I don’t think he was overly surprised to see me keeping so busy and forging on with the party, I think we both welcomed the distraction. 

The house was quiet, too quiet. I missed the constant chatter of our boys, their asking for snacks, or asking what we were doing. I missed the laughter. I missed them. But it also made me realize that God had designed me for motherhood, even when it feels like I can’t face it or do it right. That being parents to these three amazing, healthy boys, is God’s design and plan for my life and that is a moment I will treasure forever. 

We ran a couple errands and as we were leaving Staples, at 1:30pm my phone rang. ‘Can you come for your induction at 2:30pm?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Bring your stuff, you’ll likely be here overnight’ the nurse from the hospital says. The nurse that called seemed so nonchalant about asking me to come in for my induction, I’m guessing she had no idea why I was on the list, after all, I was likely just a name. And yet this was the call that would be the beginning to the end and it was anything but nonchalant, it was everything. It was a punch in the gut and a blow to the knees.

We checked into the Family Birthing Unit triage at 2:30pm and were told to sit and wait, waiting was the worst at this point. I didn’t want to explain why I was there, why I was there with barely a belly, 5.5 months before I was supposed to be there. We waited some more and finally at 3pm the charge nurse came and got us to take us to our room. Room 222. She quickly became my least favourite person in the hospital. As she led us to our room she was explaining the medication process and said ‘you’ll be given two pills every 4 hours until you pass the product’…this is a BABY. My baby. Not some product. Thankfully we never saw her again. 

We got settled into our room and shortly after our nurse for the next 4.5 hours came in. Grace. How fitting a name and what an answer to prayer she was. I will never forget her, her kindness and gentleness. 

The OB came in to explain the procedure in further detail and asked if we were ready to start. I wanted to scream “NO!”. No one should ever be ready for this, no one is ever ready for this. I wanted to ask ‘are you ever ready to deliver a baby that you don’t get to keep? Are you ever ready for this? How am I supposed to be ready?!’ But I knew deep down the only way to the other side of this was through so we had to start at some point. So, instead of screaming at her I simply nodded my head yes, took a quick look at Kyle to make sure he was on the same page, he was.

Next in our room was a lab tech to draw a large panel of blood, he asked if I was pregnant…I legitimately didn’t know how to answer him. I fumbled over my words, confused, annoyed that he had even asked. I ended up mumbling that I had miscarried and that’s why I was here. He responded by saying that he didn’t know how to enter that on his machine. I was so annoyed. I’m sorry my situation doesn’t fit into your machine, it doesn’t fit into my life either but that didn’t change the fact that I am here. Finally Kyle spoke up and said “yes, she’s pregnant.” I was thankful that he had a clear mind and spoke for me. 

Grace came in often to check to see if we needed anything, seriously anything at all, we always said no because really what could she bring us? She couldn’t make it go away and that’s all I wanted. On her own, she did bring us cookies, lip balm, body wash, popsicles and heaps of warm blankets. Like I said, she was an absolute gem. 

When her shift came to an end I was genuinely sad. She said she didn’t want to go home, she wanted to stay with us and that the love that Kyle and I have for eachother is a love she aspires to have one day. What an encouragement at such a time as this.

As shift change was happening, I noticed the cramps were starting to pick up and I had to go to the bathroom and then I had to push… I had so many thoughts. I was not going to deliver my baby into the toilet, we needed a nurse – Kyle hit the call button, I needed something to catch this in ASAP. Kyle finally brought me the water jug. Nurses came running in and helped me to the bed. One of those nurses was replacing Grace. The rest is a blur of tears, questions and so many emotions. All of a sudden I felt more pain and a gush of water. My membranes. My water had broken. This is really going to happen, all of it, just like the other three except there would be no newborn cry. 

They kept asking me to push. I had zero urge to push but I tried because how amazing it would be to have this over with so quickly and with minimal pain. The OB then asked to check me, lets just say she wasn’t ‘gentle’, it was very uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure if the tears I had were from her or from the situation, probably both. This all felt very invasive and chaotic since shift change had just happened and I hadn’t met a single one of these people. I missed my old familiar nurses and OB. I missed the calm, I missed peace. The new OB was kind but lacked compassion. 

I tried to just focus on the music and ignore everyone else. Finally, I heard her say we needed to wait longer. Back to waiting. Everyone cleaned up and left; finally a little bit of peace after the chaos. 

Shortly after, our new nurse introduced herself and let us know what the plan was now that things had settled down. Courtney was her name and as it turns out she went to school with my sister and they were good friends. Courtney had never had to deliver a miscarriage before and apologized for saying or doing the wrong thing. I said not to worry, I don’t think there was much she could say wrong and that it was my first time too. 

The plan now was to simply wait and give me another dose of medication at 9pm. Time passed, 9pm came, and I got another dose. Kyle and I were desperately praying that our baby would be born before midnight. The last thing either of us wanted was for Zaden and the baby to share a birthday. It was bad enough the dates were going to be so close for such opposite emotions but if nothing else, please God, don’t let it be on the same day. 

By 9:30 I had started bleeding. This was so difficult, it wasn’t overly painful but I was realising that soon our baby would be born and wouldn’t be with me anymore, heartbeat or no heartbeat I wanted to keep my baby with me, safe in the home it was supposed to be in. 

I finally had the urge to push, the OB checked again and I was focused on all the bleeding but trying to drown it out with the music that Kyle had put on – Highlands by Hillsong on repeat again, and loud. Then out of nowhere, I heard a nurse I had never met or seen, say to Kyle “sorry” and Kyle’s response was “It’s okay, I want to see”.I knew at that moment our baby had been born. This precious tiny baby that was supposed to be safe in my womb for months more was now outside of my body, outside of my care and that hurt. It sent me into tears, uncontrollable tears that shook my whole body. 

I didn’t care what the nurses or OB were asking me to do. I didn’t care what they were doing to me. My baby was laying on the bed instead of with me. There was no newborn cry, there were no tears of joy, there was no telling of the gender. It was a deathly silence that cut to my core. 

My whole body hurt as I sobbed. This was wrong. I was angry and sad and even those words seem so small and don’t begin to describe the level of devastation I was feeling. I buried my face into Kyle’s hand, away from all the nurses. I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want the lights, I just wanted to lay in the darkness that my soul felt at that moment. I was mad to see Kyle comforting me but not upset. How was it he was already at peace with our baby being in heaven? How do you not cry when all I can do is sob uncontrollably? 

I decided to ignore his feelings and just pull his body closer to mine so I could hide in it and cry. Cry with no end in sight. Cry because it was the only way to let the pain out of my body. I remember laying there, wanting so badly to curl up and rock myself as I cried out ‘that’s my baby, I want my baby back’ and yet there was no answer. No nurse telling me it would be okay, no nurse giving me instructions on how to care for this baby, just silence and some muttering between the OB and nurses. 

All I wanted was to curl up in Kyle’s arms, somewhere that felt safe because I felt so exposed, so raw; the tears continued to flow. Kyle all of sudden sat down in his chair and began sobbing, the reality hit, I couldn’t reach him and was too busy sobbing on my own but I remember seeing some random nurse rubbing his back. I was glad because I know physical touch was what he needed. 

The OB was still busy, trying to get the placenta to come out, but it wouldn’t so she said we would wait at least 2 more hours and see what happens. Waiting, more waiting.

Courtney started oxytocin through my IV in hopes of helping the placenta, that’s when the pain got real. I was proud to have birthed our baby without medication but this was ridiculous so I finally asked for morphine. The silver lining of this whole thing was there was no limit on the amount of painkillers I could have so I took advantage of that when asking for morphine. They got that started, followed by gravol to help with the onset of horrible nausea. If you read Kyle’s story apparently I said some pretty comical things, I’m glad to know that further down the road I will have provided us comical relief in such a tragic time. 

Eventually, just past midnight the placenta came and it was all over. I remember crying again. More from a sense of relief. I knew that from a grieving standpoint this was not over, it had only just begun but the labour and delivery were over and that was a weight lifted off both of our shoulders. 

The OB, who I had barely spoken a couple of words to me, let alone talked face to face, came up to my bedside and simply stated ‘the miscarriage is complete’ and walked out of my room. That was the last time I saw her and frankly I was okay with that. Her words stung. That word – miscarriage, I still seemed foreign to me, my story and my baby. The tears came back as I replayed her words over and over. It’s done, my baby is no longer a part of me, my body no longer supports life like it was supposed to. How was it over? And what were we supposed to do now?

The nurses did a great job cleaning up and being super respectful and quiet, allowing both Kyle and I to talk if we wanted or to sit in silence and we did both. Once they were finished, Courtney asked if I wanted to see my baby. I was ready. I wanted to hold my baby, I wanted to see him, my heart needed to see. Our baby was respectfully laid on a pad inside a small white tub. I won’t go into detail about what he looked like but it was love at first sight. It was familiar as if my eyes knew what my heart already knew, he was mine and I will forever love him. 

The sobbing started as I began to grieve his life, his body, and realizing this was as close as I would ever get to having him with me ever again. We smiled and tears of joy rolled down our faces as we just sat with Aston. This moment in time is one we will have forever. Just us and our little baby boy. We knew right away, his name would be Aston Gabriel Enns. Gabriel meaning ‘God is my strength’ and that was exactly what we had at that moment. Kyle took Aston for a little bit longer, I was feeling sick again just from all the medication and needed to lay down. The tears came back, and they would continue to come and go throughout the night as my heart continued to grieve the loss of my little baby boy.

Once all the medication had stopped, and we were done holding Aston for now, Courtney had wanted to get me up to go to the bathroom/walk. I knew this was coming, it happened after each delivery before and I just wanted to get it done so I could go back to bed and try and get some sleep. I knew I should have said I didn’t feel well enough to do it but I was stubborn and tried anyway. About halfway to the door I got really dizzy and hot. 

The next thing I remember was a nurse I had never met, staring me in the face calling my full name. I quickly realized I was laying on the floor, and there were way more nurses in the room than when I tried to get to the bathroom. They asked me if I knew my name and where I was…I felt annoyed with the questions, of course I knew where I was and what my name was but I also realized that I had probably fainted and they were just doing their job. They lifted me back into bed and I felt so dizzy, lightheaded, tired and hot. Kyle leaned over looked me right in the eyes and said in a very serious tone ‘don’t you ever do that to me again’.

Whatever ‘that’ was, he wasn’t too happy about it. It wasn’t until much later that I was informed of how scary it had been for him – sorry babe. It was taking all I had to try and stay coherent while everyone talked to me, I needed a rest and I needed it badly. I finally slept for about 4 hours before I remember Courtney coming back in to check my vitals and ask if I could try the bathroom again. I felt like a new person so I was up for trying the bathroom again. I did however wake Kyle incase anything went wrong again, I wanted him to be there to help Courtney. The bathroom was a success which meant I could shower – if you’ve delivered a baby you know what a treat this is. 

The rest of the morning went by uneventfully. I was sad to see shift change happen, I really liked having Courtney there, she had been there through it all and had been so kind and gentle with us. I felt bad that she had to go through all that but I pray that we were gentle with her. 

The next nurse came in, she was kind but I quickly became annoyed when she said that we may not be out of here until dinner time. I had already missed putting Zaden to bed for the last time before he turned one. I wasn’t there to wake him up and wish him a happy birthday or do birthday breakfast. I knew all of these things didn’t really matter and Zaden didn’t know the difference but it bothered me a lot and brought on more tears. It was just another ache that I was facing that I couldn’t do anything about. 

I was getting annoyed with all the blood tests, I just wanted people to stop poking me and let me go home. Finally, at noon we got the all clear. I felt empty leaving. I had never left this hospital without a carseat with a cute bundled baby. This time all I was left with were two buckets, one with ice and another placed on top that held my baby boy. 

Both Kyle and I were shocked, and annoyed that Surrey Hospital was not better prepared for situations like this. Regardless, we were thankful that we were able to leave and take our baby with us. We stopped by a store and picked up a tiny box to bury Aston in, yet another thing I had never done and truthfully wasn’t prepared to do. 

The drive was silent for the most part, a lot of music, both of us just in our own thoughts. It was sunny, windy and very cold but sunny. We pulled up beside the river and waited. This spot on the river was special to us; Kyle brought me here on our first dates to take pictures of sunsets, he later proposed there and our wedding photos were taken there. There was no other place that we could think of that we would want to bury our son. 

Neither of us were sure how to do this. I filled in the birth card with all the information we had. We didn’t have a height or a weight, we had his name and his birthdate. I found it crippling to try and write his name down knowing that this card wasn’t coming home to go in his baby book, it would stay here with him, another loss. 

I had packed one of the onesies that Nixon had picked out, to put in the tiny box to hold his tiny body. I took as many pictures as I could of the onesie, the birth card, all of it. Desperately wanting to document that moment, wanting to document Aston because these will be the only photos we have of him. 

Kyle held him, sobbed, and said his hellos and goodbyes, declared his love and promised to never forget him. I took him next. My baby. There are no words that will ever describe a mother’s love. My love for that little baby boy. I rubbed his head, his tiny toes, and fingers. He was perfect to me. 

I cuddled him for what felt like forever but yet there was never a moment I felt ready to let him go. I prayed over him, prayed that God would care for us both and that he would know that I never wanted it to be this way. I never want to be without him. I must have said ‘I love you” a million times, desperately praying that he would somehow know that, that even in this tragedy, he would know how deep my love for him is. I laid him in the onesie, his whole body wasn’t big enough to even fill out the neck hole but it was his and I wanted him to be wrapped in something. 

I took more photos. We closed the box and prayed and thanked God for his love and protection. We headed outside, the wind was insanely strong, and bitterly cold but I didn’t care. Kyle laid the box in the ground, I sat on the log and sobbed. How was it okay to leave my baby here? How am I supposed to leave without my baby? I already wanted to take him out of the box and cuddle him and tell him it’s okay. But I knew that God was already telling me those exact things. Aston was with God, in a perfect place, far better than I was. He was loved beyond my ability. My mind knew all these things, it was just going to take time before my heart caught up. Kyle covered up the box, and we just sat, holding each other the way we had two days ago. The wind was whipping the river up against our jackets but we couldn’t leave. I wasn’t ready to leave. As I sat drenched in tears, there was a peace that surpasses understanding that came upon me. 

My body and heart hurt in ways I had never felt before, but I knew we would be okay and there was peace in letting go. Back at the car the tears came again, full body sobs from both of us. We held each other and let the tears and the hurt just come. It was over. This part was over and that was hard for me. I wasn’t ready to let go but I had no reason to hold on, Aston was already home. I needed to let go of this and cling to God, and that’s what the next days, weeks, months will look like. 

Thank you to everyone who has done anything and everything to help us as we walk this journey. I may not reach out to say thank you personally but I couldn’t have done this without you. I’ve never been more thankful for our village.

Kyle, thank you for being my partner in all of this. We will see it through, God will make sure of it. 

Aston, I don’t know how to say goodbye. I am so sorry our story has gone this way, I never wanted it to end like this and I eagerly await the day I get to see you in perfect peace and whole; the way God intended life to be for all of us. You will always be my baby and not a day will go by where you are not in my heart. A mumma’s love is forever. I love you.