‘Three little blankets tell the entire story of your life. I press them into me, anxiously searching for your leftover scent.’: Mom mourns 6-day-old baby who died of rare metabolic disorder

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Disclaimer: This story contains details about child loss which may be triggering to some. 

“Dear Sterling,

It is a hard day. I am overcome with grief. I can’t move. I can’t speak. I can barely breathe. I can only sit and wish you were here. So I gather your things and climb back into bed. Your sloth. Your little woobie. Your blankets.

Three little blankets tell the entire story of your life. One you were wrapped in right after you were born. The next you were swaddled in during our one day at home. Lastly, the one you were wearing when you died.

I hold your things tightly up against my chest, wishing it were you instead. Desperately trying to soothe the burning hole that aches for you, I press them into me.

You should be here.

I find myself anxiously searching for your leftover scent which might still be lingering in the fabric. If I’m lucky, I’ll find it.

I sniff the elephant blanket, the blanket the midwife gave us and wrapped you up in a couple of hours after your entrance into the world. This is the one that held onto your smell the longest, but I’m afraid that time is up.

Newborn baby is wrapped in elephant blanket.
Courtesy of Breinne Chavers

I sniff the one you died in, but it mostly just smells like the hospital. Not what I was looking for, but still enough visceral memory attached to the hospital room scent; I’m brought a little closer to you.

And finally, the one I swaddled you in the morning after your birth. After a night of snuggles and breastfeeding, after I dressed you in your one little outfit. The one I unswaddled from around you, (going against Daddy’s warnings of disturbing a sleeping baby) so I could snap photos to share with the world.

And thank God I did, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have my favorite picture of you. The photo serving as my phone screen wallpaper, and it’s also framed and hung on our wall. The same photo I used for your birth announcement and on the cover of your funeral programs.

I sniff and sniff until suddenly, I breathe in a familiar newborn fragrance, sweet and subtle, that warms me to my core. And just like that, I find you.

‘Oh, there you are, son. Hi baby. I love you.’”

Baby boy sleeps peacefully wrapped up in his blanket.
Courtesy of Breinne Chavers

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Breinne Chavers of Ontario, CA. You can follow her journey on Instagram and on her website. Submit your own story  hereand be sure to  subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and  YouTube for our best videos.

Read Breinne’s full story here:

‘I’d lie on the bathroom floor and tell God I was ready; he could take me. I’ll never be fully healed.’: Mom loses 6-day-old son to rare metabolic disorder, shares reality of grief

‘I’m seeing something.’ My heart sank. This is it. I’ve lived a good life. She pointed to the screen. ‘That’s a yolk sac.’: Mom’s ovarian mass ultrasound turned surprise baby discovery

‘I’d choose a brain-damaged baby over a dead baby any day. People who act like I should be relieved hurt me deeply.’: Bereaved mom exposes stigma toward persons with disability

‘The hospital days don’t seem as horrific now. If I could relive them, I’d do it in a heartbeat.’: Grieving mom urges ‘soak up every single second’ after losing newborn

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