Birthdate: February 4, 2018
Parents: Megan & Matt
In May of 2017 I married my best friend and we knew we wanted children as soon as possible. We were so happy to find out I was pregnant just a few months after our wedding day. A healthy little boy would be joining our family and we could not have been more excited. As most families do, we waited until we were in the “safe” zone to announce our pregnancy, or so we thought. Absolutely nothing forecasted what we were about to endure in the coming months; you never imagine yourself being that unexplained 1%.
The night of February 3, 2018, without warning, I went into preterm labor with our first and only child, Bennett Edward. I was just shy of 24 weeks. Upon arrival at the hospital, I was immediately taken back for an emergency c-section. Our angel Bennett Edward was born February 4, 2018 at 3:30 AM weighing 1 lb 3 oz and just 12 inches long. What should have been the best day of our lives quickly turned into a night that will haunt us forever. He was immediately taken to the NICU and his dad followed. We were warned that he may be too small to take a breathing tube but our little warrior took it on the first attempt. We were so proud of him and a little glimmer of hope immediately sank in. We spent the next 24 hours standing over his incubator soaking up every moment we could, reading to him, and telling him over and over again how much we loved him. On the second day, things took a devastating turn. His lungs were simply too premature. We helplessly watched as his heart rate began to drop. We spent the next few hours holding our little boy for the first and last time. Bennett Edward passed away just one day after he was born. The heartbreak that came over us was something I can’t put into words. My soul physically hurt, it still does. My arms still ache for him. Very few people were able to meet him but I promise you he was something special. His perseverance was something I hope to carry with me. I know without a doubt Bennett felt our love that day.
Nothing could have prepared us for what the next few months would bring. In a matter of days we went from dreaming of the future to coordinating arrangements with the funeral home. I will never forget sitting at the social security office surrounded by new mothers as I was there to pick up my son’s birth and death certificate for insurance. When I stepped to the counter and tearfully made my request the entire room went silent. I have never felt so out of place. As a society we don’t talk about death, let alone the death of babies. Shortly after getting home from the hospital I received a letter in the mail from a woman I had never met. She was a dear friend’s sister in law and had recently endured a loss herself. In the letter she stated, “Although I don’t know you, we are bonded in a sisterhood that no one wants to be a part of, but, you’ll find, ends up being a lifeline in your grief.” She could not have been more right. I hope in sharing our story someone out there will feel a little less alone. It has only been 8 months and the pain is still very raw. It becomes part of your life. It has truly changed us forever; In many ways I do not know the woman I see in the mirror. I now look at life as a before and after. Life has taken on a new meaning and I strive to live every day in honor of my little boy who didn’t get the chance.
While in the hospital we were introduced to Rachel’s Gift and the resources they offered to grieving families. If it wasn’t for these amazing people we would have not only returned home with empty arms and an empty crib, but we would not have all the precious keepsakes they provided in his honor. In a moment we lost everything. Having items dedicated to him brought so much comfort as we navigated through our grief. Because of this organization, no one has to walk this journey alone.
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