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  • The Vail Project

You changed me...forever.

It is a proven scientific fact that a mother and her baby exchange DNA during pregnancy. The baby’s DNA can be found in the mother’s blood, bones and brain for decades. This is the change we can’t see, but we all know is there. My child changed me.

I carried my baby inside me for 288 days. Vail was late. She was happy in there and not in any big hurry to come out and meet the world. When she finally did arrive, she left behind more than her DNA. She left several small stretch marks on my belly, a year long battle with an excruciating anal fissure, 15 extra lbs that refuse to go away, feet that are a full size bigger than before and a heart that grew to encompass a love that was totally unexpected.

All of these permanent physical changes are a constant visual reminder of her existence. And, now that she is gone, I no longer feel the burden of the changes, I cherish them. Some days, I touch the scars and remind myself that she was real. That the giant hole in my heart was left by a beautiful child that was real.

In the immediate days and weeks that followed Vail’s death, I physically felt her absence more than the emotional void. A 16 month old demands constant attention and has needs that need filling by the minute. Pick me up, hold me, dry my tears, feed me, change me...the list goes on. Vail loved to be held. And I obliged her whenever possible. So she got held a lot. My arms have felt so empty, physically missing the weight of her body against them. So much so that I felt like I had phantom limb pain...but it was phantom child pain. I can still hear her calling for me, mostly at night when it’s quiet, or first thing in the morning before the house wakes. Instead of being traumatic it too serves as a reminder that she was really mine.

And While the physical pain of her absence has mostly subsided over the past 3 months, there are days when I almost forget that she is gone and expect her to peak around the corner with her mischievous smile across her sweet face. That’s when the gaping hole in my chest snaps me back to reality. My baby is dead. She is in fact gone and never coming back.

Between the scars and the 16 months of memories, and the vast black hole that now resides in my heart and changed me...forever. Not a day will go by that I don’t miss you, that I don’t cry for you, that my heart doesn’t break and my soul isn’t crushed that you are gone. You are in my blood, in my bones and in my brain. You are a part of me. And even though no one else can see it, you will be forever. Mommy loves you baby Vail.

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