For Dads

I’ll never blame my wife for any of this because it wasn’t her fault. She did everything right. Period. However, in my core I feel cheated. I feel lost. I question ‘why us’ all the time. When you’ve lost a parent, you’ve lost some of your past; when you’ve lost a child, you’ve lost part of your future. That’s exactly how I feel. The night at the hospital was very emotional. We didn’t sleep, we didn’t eat, we just sat in the hospital bed holding each other and crying. We had some family with us for a while but no one knew what to do or say. We talked about everything except the questions running through my head. I wasn’t sure what I wanted or what would be required of me. At that point, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to hold my daughter. I didn’t know how much time I would really want to spend at the hospital. My wife and I wanted it to be over quickly. Waiting to deliver a child that would be born without life was excruciating.

I kept wondering, where am I going to find the physical strength to support my wife, AND move us forward? How am I going to plan funeral services? We were given a prayer card from the hospital chaplain. I read each prayer to my wife and they gave us some strength, but not for what was to come.

As my wife was ready to deliver, we started to cry even more as we knew our baby would never cry. Within a few short minutes, we were holding Katelyn. I kept saying, ‘please wake up’. I said this over and over again, hoping Katelyn would hear me and then start crying herself.

It was mostly a blur as the morning turned into afternoon. I held onto Katelyn for as long as I could. Then from nowhere I started making funny faces at her. I would tap her little nose and stroke her checks, and form a smile on her cute little face with my fingertips. It was at that moment that I felt like a dad. I didn’t want that feeling to end. It didn’t matter to me that I could be happy for those few moments because I was having father-daughter time. It felt right. I was prepared to eliminate all of the pain Katelyn would face as she grew up. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do for her, and that still hurts. I spoke to her and told her this wasn’t her fault. I kissed her and told her how much I love her. I told her how important she is to us. I explained to her that she will always be an important part of our family. Then the rush of emotion took over and I broke down again. Those few happy moments were now over.

It’s just not right to take my daughter from me for no reason. I still angrily deny losing Katelyn. After all of the many tests performed at the hospital we still do not know why this happened. Medically there is no reason. We refused the autopsy because we didn’t want Katelyn to be someone’s experiment.

Mostly, I feel cheated because what I had was now lost. I dreamt of all the father daughter time we would have all during the pregnancy. I now think about all the ‘firsts’ we’ll never have as a family. Nothing or no one will ever replace Katelyn. I don’t want to replace her. I get sick when I hear someone say, “you’re young and you’ll have more children”. That is the worst thing anyone can say to us. Katelyn is an irreplaceable child. I know these people mean well in their statement, but it is so inappropriate. We’re attending grief counseling groups in an effort to cope with the pain and learn how to move forward. We are firm believers only God can heal our pain. Grief groups only provide us with others who have been in our place and understand this pain. I am often told it will get better, but I have to be honest here, there is no pain like losing a child.

Katelyn has been cremated and she is home with us. We want to keep part of her with us. When it’s our time to go, she will be laid to rest with one of us. We also kept her room intact. Everything of hers is still in her room and it will remain as is until God blesses us with another child.