shaundi
If you are new here or have stumbled across this page, welcome. You may be unfamiliar with our story. At the end of June 2013, our beautiful baby girl Shaundi was born and she was perfect and such a joy! In early September, my husband found her unresponsive and not breathing. Life with one of our babies gone has been hard. I’ve shared our journey here.
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Oh, it hurts.

I’m not sure that Labor Day weekend will ever be a mark of joy again. I’ve said that I don’t want to even recognize this time, that only the would-be birthdays of my little Shaudi should be marked, celebrated, mourned. But I can’t let go. It’s just always there when September rolls around.

The pain hasn’t faded, it hasn’t dulled, it hasn’t dissipated. We have more joy on top of all of the pain, but it’s like a sandwich, every bite you take still has that layer of onions or mustard or pickles or whatever you don’t really care for on your sandwich. You can cram it full of the good stuff but it’s still there, your teeth sink right into it every time.

When everything happened, I thought the worst feeling I could ever have was when I begged for it all to stop and heard exactly what would happen once life saving measures were ended. I thought the worst feeling was that breath of relief from all of the medical personnel that filled the dark room when I declared that enough was enough and it was time.

But it got worse.

I thought the worst feeling was when we brought our other two children in and they didn’t even recognize the baby hooked up to all of the tubes and wires. I thought the worst feeling was explaining to them that this was going to be the last time they would see her because she was going to leave us.

But it got worse.

I thought the worst feeling was when I held my baby, unplugged from all of the machines and sang to her, knowing that there weren’t enough songs in the world to let her know how much I loved her. I thought the worst feeling was when my teeny little girl slowly hiccuped her way to death — so slowly, yet so quickly. I thought the worst feeling was time of death, 12:34pm.

But it got worse.

I thought the worst feeling was leaving my little girl in the hospital bed and walking away. Forever. I thought the worst feeling was driving away from the hospital with two babies instead of three.

But it got worse.

I thought the worst feeling was the physical and emotional pain of letting my milk dry up because there was no little one to feed. I thought the worst feeling was laying down where she last laid, knowing that she was alone when she died. I thought the worst feeling was finding her spit-up rags, teeny diapers and bottles all over the house.

But it got worse.

There’s one thing that is so terrible, so awful, so heartbreaking that I’ve never talked about it. It’s an image that plays over and over in my head on repeat and today I just can’t get rid of it.

A few days after Shaundi died, we dropped the girls off at childcare and went to the funeral home with some of our family and very close friends. Our baby was wrapped up in a handmade blanket from my friend Janet and she was tucked into this small little box with her bunny toy. The lid was placed on top of the box and her little baby body was sent towards the hottest fire so she could be cremated. I felt nothing as it happened. All of my feels were gone, used up. But the past few months I can’t stop thinking about it. I feel a lot right now.

It doesn’t get better friends. It gets worse, you just learn to work around it, to exist despite it all. It’s always there and always painful, but you just do it. You get up out of bed and you put your feet on the ground. You hug your babies, you move forward and you do what you have to do. You enjoy life, you love those around you, you keep your loved ones in your heart, even when they leave you, and you leave behind those who hurt you.