I sat down to write this on Father’s Day but obviously that didn’t happen. It felt like an appropriate time but I let myself become overwhelmed and afraid to put words down. Then July 2 came and went. That day is special to me as it marked 5 years since Shannon told me that we were having a baby.
I sometimes feel that it’s not ok for me to talk about certain things, such as emotions, because I am a guy. That’s just the environment I grew up in and have always accepted. My dad has tried to get me to open up before but it still felt awkward. However, I feel that it’s time to share some of the emotions that I go through in hopes that it can help others that may be dealing with the same things that I am.
Four years ago, on February 18, 2015 at 23:49 our little family of two became a family of three. We had our first child, a beautiful baby girl. Her name was Stella Rose. We had been so nervous and frightened worrying about how we were going to do the parenting thing that it never occurred to think about the aspect of not getting to do the parenting thing. At 23:49 on February 18 we had to learn an entirely new way of moving forward.
Our little girl was born in distress and taken to the NICU, neonatal intensive care unit. In an instant all of our joy and excitement was sucked out of the room. We would spend the next week on a roller coaster of emotions as we would get glimmers of hope, just to have sadness rush back in a few minutes later. Our little Stella fought for seven days, all under sedation to keep her calm. Before being sedated, I was able to feel her wrap her tiny fingers around mine and smile as she looked at me. She never made a sound or cried, which is a really hard thing because when I think of her there is only silence.
It has been four years now and I can still recall the majority of that week, even though most of it feels like a blur. It just takes a small trigger and I feel that I am right back there and every emotion and feeling that I was having comes rushing back over me like a wave. Even right now writing these words I am fighting back tears because I can hear all of the monitors beeping and see her laying there.
This is the point that I really wanted to make out of all of this. If you’re a dad and are going through a similar loss, then this is normal. It really sucks that this is the new normal for us but it is normal. You will have moments where it feels like you are being forced to move on and never talk about it, but I want to encourage you that it is ok to talk about it. In fact it’s necessary.
I have spent a lot of time holding in a lot of my emotions, but it only makes things worse. They will eventually bubble to the surface and explode out and you won’t be able to hold it in anymore. If you are ever in this situation and feel that you can’t talk to anyone, please feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to talk. I will not have all of the words, but just want to offer any support that I can.
This is going to be an ongoing struggle, just take it one day at a time. Share your story and don’t let your little one be forgotten. They are still part of your family and your story. If it was your only child and you haven’t had anymore, you are still a parent. Just a different kind of parent with a child in Heaven.
I want to share this verse, that was the verse of the day when Stella passed, as it brought me comfort and still brings me comfort.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.” Proverbs 18:10 CSB