(Gabriel's footprint on a pendant)
We named him Gabriel Aaron Smith, yes after the angel. Aaron picked the name out before we had lost him, but after we knew we were going to lose him. I have heard stories of women who lost their babies before they knew the sex, some parents gave unisex names like Jamie or Lee, some gave nicknames like Button or Bean, and some of them felt so strongly that their baby was a boy or a girl that they pick a masculine or feminine name. It's never too late to name your baby if you want to. For us it helped because we have something to call him, our family has something to call him and it instills that he was and always will be our little boy.
Car rides were the worst for me, long stretch of time where there was absolutely nothing to do so I immerse myself in thought. Especially that first week I thought of him constantly, every minute of every day was me thinking of him or occupying myself so that I didn't burst into tears. I was in a dark dark place. A few days after losing Gabriel, while we were still at the cottage, I stopped in at a Walmart and picked up a journal. I had started writing to him while I was in the hospital, but it was on the back of pregnancy loss pamphlets the nurses brought in. I wanted a book where Aaron and I can go and write to him and get our feelings and thoughts out on paper. Perhaps this helped me because I find such a joy in writing but it was helpful. At first I wrote every day but now I write when I feel the need or desire to. Sometimes I will go back and just read all the things we wrote.
We were able to have him cremated and the day we picked up his ashes were as close as bringing a baby home from the hospital that I would get with him. I felt such relief. Because of his gestational age, we were warned that we might not get any ashes so we prepared for that but thankfully we were able to get some. In our bedroom we have his spot set up. We got him a snow globe with a cherub inside holding a heart and it plays this beautifully sweat song and sometimes I will play the music when I miss him. At a trading post gift shop we saw another cherub carved in wood and painted white, the angel was sleeping and this reminded me of him so we picked that up too. I also bought a shadow box and put all of his ultrasound pictures inside and hung it on the wall over the shelf that houses all of his things and his urn. If you were unable to have your baby cremated you can still create a memory spot of things that remind you of your baby.
My husband has been incredibly supportive, after all he grieves too but in ways different than me. Sometimes we will be talking about something, maybe reminiscing about the boys as babies and then Aaron will get real quiet and look off to the side and let our a deep sigh. I know what hes thinking. Having him to lean on and share my dark times with has been extremely important for me. If you are not married or you don't have the father of your baby in your life, reach out to a friend or family member and if they don't understand there is a network of women on miscarriage and stillborn message boards that will understand. The last thing that really helped me was to help others, to share my story and to be there to listen and offer advice to others going through what I went through.
Today is infant and pregnancy loss awareness day and this post was to honour that.