My husband, Patrick, and I started dating fresh out of high school the summer after we graduated at the ripe age of 18. We were young and in love, ready to conquer the world. Five years, two college degrees, and a big Catholic wedding later, there I was in our tiny two bedroom apartment with our two pseudo babies, our boxers Clowie and Boo Radley, who were sweetly adorned in homemade signs that read, "Guess what? Mommy is pregnant" anxiously awaiting my new husband’s arrival home from work. I will never forget the look on Patrick's face the first time I told him he was going to be a Dad. That day, our world turned upside down and we began the road of parenthood together, hand in hand; once again ready to conquer the world, only this time with our child, and God willing, future children by our side.
On February 24th, 2012 at 7:32 am we were blessed with our first son, Jack Patrick King. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches of pure innocence, a true gift from God. Immediately after being born he was placed on my chest and I knew. I knew the path my life would take had forever been changed. This is what I was born to do, what God had created me for, this was my calling: motherhood. Since that moment, almost four years ago, I have never doubted what God had planned for me and I wake up every morning feeling blessed that I get to spend my days nurturing and teaching my children.
Fast forward two and a half years and another positive pregnancy test later; there we were again, this time as a newly upgraded family of four, overjoyed to welcome our newest arrival into this world. Lucas Michael King was born after a lengthy and emotion filled labor on his Grandpa’s Birthday at 3:21 am on September 13, 2014 weighing 8lbs 9oz, measuring 19 inches long, and looking just like his Daddy who was joining us via Skype as he was in the middle of Tech School for the Air Force. Even though my pregnancy with Lucas was less than ideal, with Daddy being called to boot camp when I was 7 months pregnant, the second he entered this world and I laid eyes upon the precious miracle that was our second child, I was ready to start trying for the sibling that would take our fresh out the oven newborn from a youngest child, to a middle child.
My wish to keep growing our expanding family came true shortly after Patrick returned home from Tech School in March. Just a month after he had been home I stared in disbelief at two pink lines on our bathroom counter; we were bringing another miracle into this world. We were overjoyed and dare I say slightly overwhelmed at the thought of having three children under four, but those feelings of anxiety were quickly overshadowed at our first ultra sound at 12 weeks. As we stared in awe at the life growing inside of me I knew our family would never be the same. It was a beautifully indescribable moment to see our child’s tiny forming body for the first time on an ultrasound screen, to see our child squirming and bouncing around in my womb, and to hear our child’s tiny heartbeat pitter patter in sync with my own. I’d experienced these moments before, but to experience them with two older brothers tagging along, wiggling, squirming, and fighting for the best view of their sibling was nothing short of a miracle. As the sonogram tech explored my belly and sticky goo filled the surface of my stomach the newest member of our family earned his first nickname, “it just looks like a blob right now” she jokingly teased our oldest son Jack, to which he replied with the wonder of a child, “it’s Bob the Blob” and that was it; that sweet little blob growing inside my belly became his, became mine, became ours.
For the next eight weeks I lived in a world full of hopes and dreams for our little Bob the Blob, anxiously awaiting our 20 week gender reveal and anatomy scan, planning our gender reveal party for the following weekend, and day dreaming of a Christmas season filled with the sweet smells of a newborn. We imagined what our lives would be like come Christmas morning with two little ones madly opening presents and one freshly born babe cooing nearby. We even discussed what in the world you get a newborn for Christmas. I spent my days exhausted and nauseous, but gladly accepted those pregnancy symptoms as I knew it meant our third addition was growing happy and healthy inside my womb. As I began to feel the first kicks and wiggles of the growing life inside of me, big brother Jack smothered my belly with hugs and kisses, gladly accepting the responsibility of being big brother to not one, but two siblings rather nicely while his still wobbly baby brother Lucas soared through milestones of his own, blissfully unaware of the changes his life would soon encounter.
Patrick and Jack’s excitement mirrored my own when the day finally came to find out if we were adding another little boy or adding our first girl to our family; we had decided to leave Lucas at home for this visit as to not interrupt his newly established schedule, a decision I often question as if it would’ve made a difference in the outcome of that day. We joked and giggled in the waiting room teasing Jack that we may have to start calling our Bob the Blob Bobbie the Blobby if we found out that the life growing inside of my belly was indeed a she and not a he. Death and sadness were the farthest thing from our minds; we had survived two healthy pregnancies with not a care in the world, we were past the dreaded first trimester mark, what could possible go wrong now? Nothing and no one could take away the joy of that moment from our growing family; or so I naively thought, I was blissfully unaware that we were about to walk into the worst moment of our lives.
As the sonogram tech once again rubbed that sticky goo across the surface of my growing stomach my nerves skyrocketed. The anticipation of finding out if we were growing a little boy or girl kept me from realizing what my maternal instinct should have been screaming at me for only God knows how long and I once again stared in awe at our beautiful child on the computer screen. I didn’t realize, didn’t notice that our precious Bob the Blob wasn’t kicking and squirming around on the screen like he had been just 8 weeks earlier, his little heart beat wasn’t sounding through the speakers in time with mine, and our sonogram technician was no longer talking and laughing along with us in anticipation of good news. I often thank God for giving me those last moments of pure happiness where I was blissfully unaware of the tragedy that often accompanies pregnancy, before the innocence of child birth was taken from me, before our world came crashing around us and the words that still echo through my mind were quietly spoken, “I’m sorry, but I’m not finding a heartbeat.”
In that moment, time stood still and everyone else became a blur through the tears and cries of anguish no mother should ever have to shed. I was shocked back into reality as Bob the Blob’s adorning big brother Jack rushed to his Mommy’s side to figure out what had happened to “his baby” unable to find the words to describe the pain he was witnessing. I painfully realized, in five short minutes, he had forever been changed, I had forever been changed, our life had forever been changed. Our family was now broken; I could pick up the pieces and sew them back together, but while we walk this Earth we will forever live tattered around the edges in search of our missing piece. The next minutes, hours, and days, leading up to the birth of our third child are the hardest memories to relive and I have consciously chosen to push those memories deep down into my subconscious and let them live there. I want to remember the time and the joy we got to experience as a family here on Earth and not the pain and anguish we felt after learning we had lost a part of our family.
On July 30th, 2015 at 1:06 am our precious Bob the Blob was born still into this world. Our third son, whom we chose to name Everett Charles King, after his Grandfathers who hold him in Heaven, weighed 0.74 oz. and was 4 ¼ inches long. He fit perfectly in the palm of our hands wrapped gently in a cradle hand sewn by the volunteers at Bridget’s Cradles, volunteers who gave our family a gift we can never repay. He had ten precious fingers, ten wrinkly toes, two big beautiful eyes, an adorable nub of a nose, the sweetest lips I’ve ever laid eyes on, and two big ol’ ears just like his Daddy. He is our miracle; a gift from God that I got to hold in my womb for 20 precious weeks and will forever hold in my heart. A miracle whose heart inexplicably stopped beating before he could take his first breath; a miracle who was called home and whose soul remains as pure as the Father who called him there. He is our child. Our third son. Our boys’ younger brother. He is a part of our family and will forever be known and loved as such. Our sons will grow up knowing and loving their younger brother, their guardian angel.
On the day Everett was born, as I reluctantly watched his Grandpa, Grandma, Nana, and Daddy hold him for the first and last time, I dreaded the moment it was my turn to say goodbye. My heart ached for him to miraculously come back to us and for the first time in a long time, I prayed. I prayed for a miracle that I knew deep down in my heart would never come; a prayer I will forever pray, a prayer that will never be granted. I may never get to hear him cry, nurse him, watch him soar through milestones, or celebrate his birthdays, but his life will live on through mine and I will create a legacy he can be proud of. Losing Everett has cost me so much, but loving him has taught me even more.
You taught me to live, truly live, and appreciate every day here on this Earth because I never know when it will be my last. You taught me to cherish every moment I get to spend with your brothers, good or bad, because it is another moment spent in their presence. You taught me the true fragility of life. You taught me to live and love as if I will never get the chance again because one day, I won’t. You taught me the true depth of a mothers love; a love that surpasses time and space, continues from now until eternity, and travels from this life into the next. But most importantly baby boy, you’ve taught me the true meaning of faith and renewed my love for our Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the forgiveness of sins and in doing, allowed me the chance to be reunited with you again one day.
My sweet baby boy, I will miss you every day, for the rest of my life here on this Earth; my life will never truly be complete without you. A piece of my heart will always be with you, longing for the day when I get to hold you again. Our lives are forever touched by you, changed by your brief existence. You live on in our hearts and minds and will never be forgotten.
May your heart forever beat in mine.
Always and forever, from now until eternity,
Written by Danielle King, Everett's Mommy
Founder of Forever Beat in Mine Remembrance Wall