March 2, 2023 will be a day that my heart, body and soul will never forget. At just 17 weeks, my beautiful son Arlo James Branton passed away in my womb.
The place where he was supposed to remain safe and grow was what failed him. I cannot describe the heartbreaking feeling of knowing that where my baby was given life was also where he experienced death. We had tried for our second child for six years and then this happens. We felt robbed and completely devastated.
Having to deliver my son was something I never imagined I would have to do after learning I was having a miscarriage. What I knew of miscarriage was what I saw on TV. During the afternoon of my second day at the hospital, the doctor had given me the medication that would cause my body to push Arlo out. I have never experienced such horrible physical and emotional pain during that labor.
A few hours later, at 3:23 pm my sweet Arlo was born. He weighed 5.6oz and was 7 and 3/4 inches long. Not hearing his cry when he came into the world, and seeing the sad and heartbroken looks on everyone in the room and the complete, deafening silence was soul-shattering.
After everything was over, I looked over at my son. What I imagined I would see was nothing like what I actually saw. He was so incredibly small. I saw his face first.
He was wrapped in a beautifully crocheted cradle that had a small bow and a cross charm at the bottom of it. It looked like he was sleeping. I kept telling myself he was just sleeping.
My husband, Marvin, noticed me looking at him and asked me if I wanted to finally hold him. For a moment I wanted to say no, but then I knew I only had a short amount of time with him. I nodded my head yes. He walked over and gently picked up our son and gave him to me. He was so small he fit into my hands.
The cradle he was in was truly perfect. You could tell that it was made with such love and care. I finally got a close look at his face and immediately started crying, but they were happy tears.
He had his daddy’s nose and his big brother’s lips. He looked so much like them at even just 17 weeks. As I looked closer at my son’s beautiful face I noticed that he looked so peaceful and he was giving us a little smile. With my finger, I lifted his small fragile hand up. His hand was as small as my nail. We held hands the rest of the time I had him.
I looked up at Marvin and couldn’t say anything, but neither could he. We had both imagined this special moment as being filled with so much joy and love. But now it’s nothing but soul-crushing heartbreak. This felt so unfair. Our sweet boy deserved to live a full life.
Marvin held him for a little while and then let me hold him again. We said our goodbyes, I gave him a final kiss and prayed that he felt it.
My husband and I could not be more grateful for Bridget’s Cradles. It may have been a small gift, but it left such a big impact on our hearts.
If they would have given him to us in hospital blankets, I feel as though it would have been much harder to hold him.
Having Arlo in a handmade cradle truly made the experience of holding our baby so peaceful and comforting.
Written by Sara Branton, mother of Arlo, born into Heaven on 3/2/2023 at 17 weeks.
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