Tucked under my arm was a pillow. It was the saddest thing I'll ever remember - leaving my room, walking towards the elevator with a little white lace pillow in my arms instead of a baby in a car seat. I had a breakdown as we turned the corner to the elevator after leaving the double doors of the Mom and Baby unit. My mother, stepmother and Daniel were with me. I know my mother was leading the way, and my stepmother was right in front of me. Daniel was beside me and I lost it. I saw the elevator and saw my belongings and I lost it. My stepmother turned around and embraced me and said, "awe, this isn't how you imagined leaving the hospital, was it?". I hate her a little for it. I looked over her shoulder at my mother whose eyes were full of pain. I wanted to be hugging her. I wanted so badly not to be in my stepmother's embrace - the woman who talked about traffic and boarder security control when she first sat at my bedside in the late night on February 27th - I wanted her gone actually, but was too fragile to speak for myself.
But I think at that time, another family came around the corner. An Asian set of parents with their new born baby. I for some reason collected myself at the sight of them. Maybe not to scar them? But maybe more not to give hints to my reality and embarrass myself. But I think I put the white lacy pillow in the paper bag at that point and we continued to the elevator and we all split off - and I somehow ended up riding home with my stepmother. My mother went to the drug store to get maxi pads and witch hazel, and Daniel went to the funeral home we had quickly decided on. How the FUCK that all happened the way it did is beyond me. I rode back with my stepmother and actually made conversation about my brother's latest deal in real estate because I didn't want to lose my mind hearing another "some things happen for reasons we cant explain or know..." line of bullshit from her. Again, how I ended up in the car ride home with her... I don't know. I just know I needed to be home and out of the hospital and I needed to just keep moving and not deal with any logistics of this aftermath in was in.
Anyway, back to the pillow. I didn't know what was inside. One of the nurses who was looking after us on the 28th told me what was included in this little take away package. But I didn't ever see it.
I opened it the night of the 28th. After everyone was gone, and it was just my mother and Daniel home with me. I wanted to get the foot print baked, and in going through that brown paper bag for one thing, I went through it all - the pillow included.
This little pillow has sat on the top shelf in our bedroom closet. It has been opened and cried over hundreds of times, for countless hours. But it has always been packed up and put away in that very same place. Alexander's ashes are in a green reusable bag given to us by the funeral home right next to the pillow. For nearly 3 years, that little top right corner of our closet has been for Alexander's pillow and ashes.
Inside, there are 2 blankets that Alexander was rested on while a nurse took pictures of him. I haven't opened those very many times. And when I've inspected them, I get the feeling he was only ever near them or rested on them while he was resting on a hospital cloth. I don't see any afterbirth or blood anywhere. There's also his birth information, hospital bracelets (never used), his little hat, hand and foot prints and a picture a nurse printed from the "office" printer (read: bad quality).
This is probably the biggest heart breaker I have physical access to. All these little things are all I physically have let of him.
|hospital bracelets, never used|
|The only thing Alexander ever wore. This hat, provided by the hospital. Probably my most sacred possession. I try not to admit to that, as I don't want it to one day disintegrate out of no where.|
|When opened, you can see the blood and afterbirth. Not seen, the millions of tears I cried over this little knit item|
|His birth information|
This is the only documentation I received for Alexander when we left the hospital. We left with him nameless. One of my biggest regrets is not settling on his name AS SOON as he was born. I felt it silly almost. As in what does it matter?? I could change it, erase it, can it, redo it a million times and no one will care! I was so short sighted and angry at this time. Oh, if I could do it all again, and make it right. As wrong as it all is, I wish I had the sense to do some things right.
|A pretty close second, if not tied for first in what I cherish most from what's left behind: his prints|
|How I wish those little fingers could have been wrapped around mine|
I wish his prints were done more formally, and not in the fashion of here is what's left of your dead baby. One of his footprints is cut off, and his hands weren't placed to capture their full print. I try to forgive the nurses who I know tried their best. I know this wasn't easy for them to put together for me. They were regular L&D nurses who (I'm pretty sure) volunteered to take me on as a patient when the news spread the floor that there would be a stillbirth soon. But if I had known how much I wanted/needed to study his little prints, I would have done them myself. Among numerous other things I wish I had done myself that day.
But this is what I have left. All things that ever touched the skin of my first born baby boy, that's it. All in Alexander's Pillow. </3