Sam would be 1 year old today

sam stillbirth stillborn born silent first year anniversary one birthday grieving loss baby

Today was a shitty day. As I had figured it would be. Although I wasn’t quite sure what to expect … It ended up being a strange mix of sadness, not really knowing what to do with myself, and flashbacks from my nightmarish hospital stay when I gave birth to Sam. When I got up, I decided to spend my morning in the nursery. It’s still intact. Some people may find it weird, but to me, it’s been a very therapeutic room to spend time in. I actually still add new stuff in there every once in a while. I keep perfecting the decoration. And although all the things that are specific to Sam have been neatly stored into a box, it still stands there on top of the wardrobe and I do open it every once in a while.

Sam's box ikea nursery

I grabbed it this morning and went through absolutely everything. Then I saw the two onesies I had purchased for his birth … I hadn’t even thought of them in months. One of them was meant to be used for his birth announcement. As he was due around the end of September, there was no way to know if he would end up being a September baby or an October baby. I loved those calendar shirts from the moment I saw them, so I purchased both months and packed them in my hospital bag, together with red thread and a needle; ready to be used. I remember quickly putting them away when I came back home from the hospital last year. It was so heartbreaking. I realized this morning that there’s no way I could ever re-use any of them. Not only are they too sentimental, but they are specifically from the 2014 calendar. So even if we ever end up having another September or October baby, the days wouldn’t match anyway. So … I decided to circle his birthday after all. What more appropriate day than today, right?

birth announcement onesie sleeper baby outfit tshirt cotton month september october calendar cross stitch circled date red circle

calendar baby onesie september month announcement birth white cotton shirt

He may never wear it, but it’s still his birthday outfit and it’s finally complete; as it was meant to be when I bought it.

The nursery looks as sunny and happy as ever. I swear there is such a good vibe in there. I sit there quite often, just looking around, thinking about everything, and always trying to come up with new ideas to make it prettier and more practical. I guess it’s my way of looking forward, no matter what.

yellow green gender neutral nursery wood forrest theme boy girl baby room bedroom crib wooden furniture white

I still need to find a big white mirror to hang above the crib. And the big plastic box between the crib and the changing table needs to be replaced by some piece of furniture. Regardless, the room was ready to be used. We were so ready for Sam.

yellow green pastel white nursery gender neutral baby room bedroom boy girl wooden furniture ikea cute soft pale

I had initially planned to pack up all the linens so they wouldn’t catch any dust. But a whole year has passed now, and I still haven’t managed to do it. At this point, I think I’ll just leave it like this. And if we ever have another baby, then I’ll just throw it all in the washing machine. The only thing I protected with a plastic cover are the newborn diapers that had been unpacked on the shelf last year. They were ready to be grabbed and used. That’s how confident we were about Sam’s safe arrival. :-(

I will say though: I’m glad we made the nursery completely gender neutral. It was already with the idea in mind that we’d probably have more than one baby, so it had to suit “all” our children (oh the optimism). But at least it made it less painful after we lost Sam. I had never looked at it as “Sam’s room”. To me, it was our family nursery. Meant to be used in a perfect equal way for different babies. We already had our strategy in place: as soon as our first would either outgrow the nursery, or that another baby would be on the way (whichever happened first), the elder child would then move up to a bigger room upstairs. Basically freeing up the nursery for the next baby to come. Maybe that’s why I find it such a happy, comforting room. And although Sam never used it, I feel like there’s a little piece of him that will forever be present. But not in a sad way.

yellow green blue white wood nursery gender neutral baby boy girl sunny pale pastel soft colors ikea

The clothes I left in the wardrobe are those I’d feel okay reusing. Those that were specifically Sam’s were put in his box this past Winter. There’s still some boyish stuff in there. I guess only the future will tell whether they’ll someday be replaced by pink or actually be used as is.

baby closet wardrobe clothes onesies socks shoes sleepers stuff shelf hanger

You wouldn’t believe how much of it is old and second hand. I always loved the fact that we hardly bought anything new, and yet it all blended so nicely into one consistent style. Half of it is from my own bedroom, and some of the toys are toys I played with myself several decades ago.

yellow green gender neutral white pastel pale nursery sunny baby boy girl ikea wooden furniture decoration interior room

The other half is from Ikea. Parenting on a budget at its finest …

ikea crib baby blue cloud pillow owl stuffed toy animal blanket yellow green gender neutral nursery baby room mobile bears butterflies

baby mobile crib stuffed teddy bear animal butterfly wings blue nursery bed

It dawned on me today that the mobile above the crib is a perfect symbol of Sam, as it represents three teddy bears dressed up as butterflies. We always associated brown teddy bears with Sam, because as soon as he was born, the nurse laid one next to him. And it’s actually on his portrait picture we took, and which now stands on his headstone. And the announcement cards we made after he was born featured a crying teddy bear, as well as a poem about a teddy bear keeping a stillborn baby company. Then, when we went to the memorial organized by our clinic, they gave us a glass butterfly with Sam’s last and first name on it. I loved it immediately and it still hangs at the nursery’s window:

glass butterfly colorful red purple memorial baby stillbirth stillborn in memory of Sam

It always reminds me of an incident that happened the day after we received it. We had gone to Gert’s parents’ house to show them Sam’s butterfly. And as we were standing there in the living room, their butterfly shaped Tiffany lamp suddenly switched itself on. Just like that. We all stood there speechless, not really knowing how to react. Gert’s dad walked up to it and inspected it from top to bottom, then shrugged and turned it off. I feel like that was the one moment Sam was saying hello. Teddy bears and butterflies will forever be associated with him.

I also kept the glass “bluebird of hope” that I received from a lovely neighbor after losing Sam. It remains in the nursery for now. But obviously, if there’s ever a baby in this room, then those items will be moved elsewhere.

glass bluebird of hope blue bird statue carving finland

One of my best friends sent us a card to tell us she was thinking of Sam today. And I was surprised to find new flowers on his grave this afternoon. I’m still not sure who put them there. One of them was most likely from Gert’s brother and his family, as I seemed to recognize a handcrafted heart in the same style as Sam’s initial that was made by his daughter several months ago. I’ll have to ask them and thank them. It felt so good to know that people hadn’t forgotten about Sam this year. It made this crappy day a little less crappy.