Do you have a word where sometimes you hear it and it can make your blood run cold and your body stop in it's tracks?
October can do that to me. We went into October three years ago with such happiness and halfway into it the world as we knew it completely stopped.
Three years ago yesterday, Matthew was discharged from the PICU after a 3 day stay for an undetermined virus. Considering that he was only 8 weeks old, premature and only a couple days past when he was supposed to be born when we took him into the ER, any fever was taken incredibly seriously and needed to be treated. The PICU was so different from the NICU. If there wasn't a parent there, the baby or kid was basically by themselves, the nursing staff was so much smaller than we were used to. I literally stayed by Matthew's side around the clock. I would leave for 45 minutes a day to take a shower and get changed when Dusty came and I would only go use the restroom if someone else was there. We spent a lot of time cuddling, nursing and resting.
When he was discharged, it was such a great day. In all of his labs, nothing new was found. He still had high bilirubin levels, but that was ok. We were just advised to nurse as much as he wanted and to take him out in the sunlight as much as possible. Our baby was ok.
The next 15 days were wonderful. We were able to take him to the pumpkin patch with amazing friends and have the first, and only, picture taken of the 4 of us together. We were able to take him on the haunted train ride with our families 14 days after he came home from the PICU. He went to Sunday dinner, he was visited by friends and family, he took his sister to school, he had books read to him, songs sang to him and had the opportunity to share our lives with us. 15 days is such a short amount of time. If we had known that was all that we had left together, I don't know what we would have or could have done differently. He was surrounded by love, covered in kisses and held nearly all of his waking hours.
The start of October starts the 15 day countdown to the day we lost him. The wee hours of the morning where we found him not breathing, where we tried to save him, where we screamed for them to try to save him, where we rocked Kaitlyn and promised her everything would be ok. How could it not? We had already jumped through the hurdles to have him, to keep him, to raise him, how could we go through all of what we did to have him taken away? How could the universe do that to a family? A family that loved their baby, cared for their child and desperately wanted him regardless of what they had to do to have him?
15 days until it will be 3 years since we held him, kissed him, felt his warm, soft skin, changed his diapers, nursed him, pumped for him, prepared a bottle for him, changed his clothes, read him a story, sang him a song, tried to coax a smile from his sweet face, stared into his eyes, smelled his sweet scent, gave him a bath and listened to his coos. How could 3 years of already passed? How have 3 years already passed? There are times when it feels like just yesterday we were physically living through the nightmare and there are other times that it feels like it was just yesterday.
October starts the 22 day countdown to the day where we had to watch him be put in his final resting place. Where we had to pick out his clothes, his casket, the programs for the services and then we had to go. We had to go and say good-bye. We had to explain to our then nearly 3 year old Kaitlyn that Matthew wasn't sleeping, he just looked that way and he couldn't wake up. He wouldn't wake up again.
He would be 3 years old now. He would be running, playing, jumping, riding a tricycle, talking, singing songs, playing with Kaitlyn, starting preschool, potty trained, having his favorite movies, food and television shoes. He wouldn't be a baby anymore, he would be a little boy. And we are missing all of it. How in the world is that fair?
He is also just a few weeks away from becoming a big brother. And while I do deeply believe that he had a lot to do with finding just the right spirit to fill this baby's body, I would much rather he actually be here to have fun with her.
October also marks a few national observances as well. October itself is National SIDS Awareness Month, and it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and while October 15 is Matthew's angel day, it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day.
Of course there are positive things that happened in October that can not be forgotten, and there are happy times ahead to be had in October. But that doesn't mean a part of me doesn't want to just skip it on the calendar every year and pretend it isn't there.