A few weeks ago I received one of the best surprises. When we left the hospital after losing Colton, we knew that our nurses were going to put together a memory box of Colton and give it to us at a later date. After almost three months of slow healing this box arrived at the perfect time.
Alex had gone to the movies late one night and got a text that the box was ready. He swung by the hospital to pick it up and bring it home without me knowing. He wanted to give me this box at a special time.
It was a Sunday afternoon and we had spent a wonderful morning at Church. When we got home Alex had me sit in the living room and told me I had to close my eyes. I had no idea what he was going to reveal or show me. When he had me open my eyes I felt a wave of emotions. The tears hit me like a freight train all over again. Having some time to heal was really needed for me to see everything in the box in a new light. It also helped me grieve again for him in a different way. Our box was finally home and I would be able to treasure each item forever.
When the nurses found out Colton had a woodland theme nursery, they decided to get a big round box to make it look like a tree stump. I sat and just looked at the detail of the paint for a long time. They painted little mushrooms growing around the box and on one side a little owl. Little did they know that Owls are so special. My mom made a beauty owl quilt for Colton before we knew we lost him and my grandma bought me a soft/neutral owl crib bedding for my baby shower. Having that Owl painted on it was a perfect representation of him.
I slowly began going through each item they had carefully placed and made for him. I couldn’t help but cry at each thing. One of the first things I opened was an envelope and inside was an honorary Birth Certificate that the hospital includes. For anyone who has gone through a stillbirth this is incredibly special and important. To have your child recognized has having lived whether that was only in the womb means the world as a mother. Even though he had passed before we ever got to know him, he still was my son.
The next thing I immediately saw was the white knitted “body blanket” he wore and knitted hats. The white knit had a little hood and kept his arms and feet together and close. I held it up and remembered the memories I have of him and holding him in my arms. After we had the professional photos taken with our family the day after I delivered, my mom, sister and I sit on the window seat and quietly studied his every features. We unbuttoned the knitted body blanket to look at his little fingers and toes. I remember touching his chest above his heart and secretly wishing it would just beat again. I kissed his little body. We didn’t say much we just stared at his little face and body. The world seemed to stop for a moment as we soaked in every minute. It’s a moment in my life I will never forget and was so special to share with my mom and sister. I also thought of the person who knitted it so carefully and precise. They knitted it perfectly just for him, just like God knitted him in my womb.
Underneath I could see the light blue blanket that he was also wrapped in. Touching it again made me feel so close to him. It was the perfect size to wrap him up. The fleece is so soft just like his skin was. Having his blanket in our home feels complete now. Every now and then I’ll take out the blanket and just hold it close to me as if I had him close to my chest.
Wrapped in a pink and blue striped hospital blanket was a plaque of Alex’s, Colton’s and my hand. We had to do this before we left the hospital. They got Alex’s first, then my hand in his and Colton’s hand in mine. It’s so special to feel the size difference of all of our hands in each other. I looked closely and could even see the indentation of both our wedding rings. I love that I can see every wrinkle in his hand and feel each finger.
Next I saw the little white bible they packed inside. It was so thoughtful of them to include a bible just for him. I immediately saw they had also put his footprints in the front page. I flipped through the bible and when I saw the red words (for when Jesus was talking) I thought of how he actually is in the presence of Christ right now and how he already knows the truth written in the bible. The words written about heaven is where my baby is. Reading through some of the verses gives me such a better perspective on how beautiful and real it is. God created heaven as a place where those who love and choose to follow him can be with him for eternity. He died on the cross of all our sins to make this happen. I look forward to seeing Colton again in heaven.
After that, I unfolded another hospital blanket. This time it was a raised plaque of just his feet. It was amazing to hold the molds of his feet in my hand and feel every single toe. Seeing his feet made me think of my favorite ultrasound photo where you can see a perfect picture of his foot. I had looked forward to kissing those little toes after he was born but this is the second best thing. Not only can I see how big his feet where but feeling it raised up makes it feel like I’m holding his feet in my hand.
I love that they also kept his hospital bands for me. Knowing they were what identified him as mine means everything to me. He was my baby and my name was written on his band. I love the fact that they also were in direct contact of his skin. It’s honestly the little details that really matter and make his memory box so uniquely special.
I saved the best for last and my absolute favorite thing in his memory box, a lock of his hair. I cried the most when I saw it. Because of how I had to deliver there was some damage to his head and I never truly got to see his whole head without his hat on. I pulled up the side of his beanie right after he was born because I wanted to see if he had lots of hair and what color it was. What I saw was only a tiny bit and it looked like a lighter brown. Seeing his hair again I realized how long it actually was and how dark brown it was; just like his daddy. I took it out of the little plastic bag and felt how soft and smooth it was. He had perfectly straight hair like me. It made every picture in my head of him complete. A few days after opening the box, all I could think about was that little lock of hair and how I wanted to keep touching it. Of course I realized I want to keep it in the best condition as possible for the rest of my life so I kept it in the ziplock bag and just looked at it. When I see the lock of hair it sparks an emotion inside me because this was something that was physically his. I guess that’s why it’s so special to me because it wasn’t something that just touched him, it was him.
Thank you Al and all the nurses at Memorial Hermann in Katy who made this box for my family and I. It will be a box I can show my future kids and will always be in our household. Aside from working crazy hours, you dedicate and pour yourself into making each box special for each family. You are truly amazing individuals who touch people in ways you may never realize.
The nurses and doctors at Memorial Hermann in Katy are the absolute best. I have never felt so loved for by complete strangers in my life. Of course, now I consider them family and have the utmost respect for them.