2 Feb, 2016.
Dee & I will remember this date for a long time, perhaps even, for the rest of our lives here in this world.
It was on this day that our first child, Nathaniel, was found to have lost his heartbeat. He was subsequently delivered later on the same day at 4.35pm. Nathaniel weigh 2.535 kg and was pronounced a stillborn child. He was 39 weeks old at the time of delivery.
Nathan lived his entire life within the womb of Dee. It was as safe a place as he could have been in. Doctors didn’t know what happened. He looks as perfectly fine as how babies looked when they are first delivered. Despite having his eyes closed, I could see immediately he had my eyes. His lips were similar to Dee. Having kissed her so often, I immediately recognised it.
There Are Things In Life That Are Beyond What We Can Understand
It’s normal to ask what happened, especially when such a tragic incident occurs. As human, we want to have answers. We want to know why. We want science to explain it to us. When science fails to, we sometimes turn to God.
I have run through many scenarios in my mind. Had we taken Nathaniel out earlier, would he still be around today? Had we rushed to the hospital earlier when the kicks stopped, would it have make a difference? These are questions with answers we will never find out.
Or even, what really happened?
According to what the Doctors observed, there was nothing wrong. Nothing wrong with Dee’s womb, or any other related health issues following the tests she took during her post pregnancy check (we are thankful for that). No umbilical cord twisted. No signs of infection for Nathaniel. No passing of stool either, which could sometimes signal baby distress.
For some, not knowing “why” might make things harder. For us, it’s fine. Perhaps nothing really went wrong. And that God simply wanted to take Nathaniel up with him without letting him pass through our world. We doubt Nathan had a say on this either.
The Days After…
The next afternoon, upon the encouragement of our pastor, we held a simple funeral for Nathaniel. On behalf of Dee & Nathan, I shared a simple eulogy, which consisted of some of the loose thoughts that we had after spending the night talking to one another. Dee was on a wheelchair. We had to sign an indemnity form so that she could check out of the hospital to attend her own baby’s funeral. It was hard.
The next day, we were discharged. As with all moms who went through pregnancy, recovery of the health and womb was slow. What makes it even more difficult was seeing the scar, the blood, the rashes (she developed them during full-term) and the vulnerability that comes with being physically weak, and knowing that we went through all these and yet, our baby boy wasn’t around anymore.
Even surfing the Internet for simple post-pregnancy tips was not easy. There are many great websites out there that helps mom through the post-pregnancy journey. Unfortunately, most of these websites are not sensitive to moms who lost their baby. For example, innocent tips such as encouraging moms to rest as much as possible so that they have more energy to care for their baby didn’t really help us.
I am thankful for all the people who have been with us over the past 1.5 months. Our parents, our brothers, our relatives, our church’s pastors and close friends, our colleagues, my DNS guys, my office buddies, and so many others who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers, you guys know who you are.
The pain of losing our baby is simply indescribable and I won’t try explaining it today. However, it also caused us to see things from different perspectives. Personally for me, I am thankful that Dee is fine. Maternal death is not something we think is possible in Singapore, but it does happen, and when things like this happens, you can’t help but wonder if there was a reason why God intervene in his own hidden ways. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I am overthinking it. We will never know.
I am grateful that Dee is still here with me today, and that we can continue to create memories together, or go through bad experiences together.
To Dee, I want you to know that you were an awesome mom to Nathaniel. You never complained about anything during the pregnancy, even when it wasn’t easy. I am glad you got to spend time with our boy like baking cookies, playing music for him, eating durians (which by the way she absolutely hate before that) and getting him all excited while watching movies. It was an amazing journey which ended too early. But it’s okay. Even as we grieve, let’s appreciate what we have.
Why I am Writing This
In the coming future, Dee & I will continue to pen down our thoughts. But I would like to share on why we decided to start this website, and why we are sharing our thoughts to the rest of the world.
One of the things we realised was just how common such things are in life. And just how little we talk about these things. Parents all over the world lose their young ones all the time. It could be a early-term miscarriage, a mid-term loss, or a still-birth during full-term. It could even be a loss days or months of a newborn baby. We have met couples who have shared their stories with us.
And my heartbreaks whenever I hear about this.
If you are reading this and have went through something similar. All I want to say is that I am truly sorry for your loss. Losing a child could be the most painful thing ever that someone can experience.
Just know that you are not alone in going through this.
In Loving Memory Of Our Little Boy,
Nathaniel Ho Kai En, 2 February 2016 – Dad & Mom