Title without the Role

When Sarah became pregnant with Rayna, I became a father. During the pregnancy I was doing fatherly things for Mom—getting her pizza when she asked, rubbing her shoulders, helping wherever I could, whenever needed. Those were some roles that came with the territory.

Since we lost Rayna, I have been working to comprehend what my role as a father of a stillborn is.

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The Longest Ride

Sure, it’s the title of a Nicholas Sparks book (that I haven’t read) and subsequent movie (that I haven’t seen), but it is also how it felt making the empty drive from my parents’ place back to our home. People often speak of empty arms following infant loss, though they overlook the empty bellies. This drive was originally supposed to take place after a baby shower and a babymoon trip to Colorado. I was supposed to be 34 weeks pregnant on this drive with a belly full of kicking baby, but instead I was holding a box. My belly was empty, and my arms reminded me why.

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Refuge

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
– Psalm 61:1-4 –

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Rayna’s Box

While we were in the hospital, we had a few visits from Sarah’s uncle to work through details of what would happen with Rayna after she left the hospital. During one of those visits he mentioned we should think about a box for Rayna’s remains. He looked at me and said, “Nick, you’re a handy man, you should think about making a box for Rayna.”

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