Up until a few days ago, I don't know if I could say that I really grieved or mourned.
Sure, I have been sad about various things in life and disappointed, but overall, I have never really had to face something that I truly grieved over.
This changed on September 6, 2019.
A few days before, Ariel went in for a routine, 15-week check-up on our baby. She had been to many appointments like this before, but this one was different. Ariel was shocked when the nurse could not find a heartbeat for the baby. They double-checked and it was confirmed that the little one inside of her had stopped growing and was no longer alive.
Because of the number of weeks that the baby was at, Ariel would have to deliver the baby at the hospital two days later.
It was a surreal experience, driving to the hospital in the dark of night knowing that we would not be experiencing the joy of bringing a new little one home.
We drove in silence.
When we arrived at the hospital we checked in and were escorted to the room that we would be in for the remainder of our time.
Our biggest request was that before anything happened we wanted one final ultrasound to confirm what was discovered at Ariel's 15-week appointment. Since I was not with Ariel at her appointment, I wanted to see and hear for myself that there was no heartbeat. And although we went into this moment fully aware of the reality we were facing, I also wanted to give a little bit of space for a miracle.
The ultrasound tech was incredibly kind and took a lot of time to do a thorough examination of the baby. He talked me through what we were seeing on the screen and it was confirmed through a variety of means that our little one was no longer living.
From there, we made the decision to begin the induction process.
Ariel was given medication at around 1am and all that was left to do was wait.
We slept as best we could and around 7:45am Ariel started to experience some bleeding. This was a sign that the medicine was starting to take effect.
The bleeding began to increase and at 8:00am, our little boy came into the world.
It was different than the other births we have experienced.
It was quiet. No crying. No nurses rushing about. Just silence and calm.
The nurses took our little guy and placed him gently on a cloth and we got to hold our (very) little son.
We decided to keep the baby in the room with us for the whole day. I was not ready to say goodbye and release him. I wanted to look at him and remember as much as I could.
Ariel ended up having to get a DNC to remove the remainder of the placenta so I was left alone with our little guy for a few hours.
When Ariel returned, we did not turn on the TV, we did not play on our phones. We just sat and talked and cried.
I cannot remember mourning, crying, and grieving as much as I did that day.
As odd as it might be to say, it was the most healing and refreshing thing we could have done. We held no emotion back and allowed ourselves the day to unplug and mourn.
When the end of the day came, Ariel was released to go home.
I think the hardest moment of the day was saying goodbye to our little guy.
The thought of him being alone was heartbreaking.
We held him one last time and told him we loved him and that we would see him again someday.
The nurse then gently took him and brought him to the hospital morgue.
We have been blessed to have four kids and have never experienced the pain of a miscarriage.
It is a different pain that really cannot be understood until you have gone through it.
Yet, as painful as it has been, Ariel and I are so grateful for what this has done in our hearts.
I personally am really grateful for what this experience has done for me.
I feel like a different person after going through this.
I feel like I am going to be more empathetic for others.
I feel a different level of gratitude for the kids we do have.
I feel like I will be a better husband and dad.
All of this because of the pain of losing a baby.
There is something sacred about pain and suffering. We live in a culture that tries to avoid pain and take the easy way out. But what I have seen over this past week is that pain and suffering are the very things that help us feel deeper and press into God even more.
Instead of asking for pain to go away, maybe asking God to work good out in us through the pain is better.
Over the past few days, there are two songs that we have had on repeat at our house. The first is written by my friend Justin Kintzel entitled, "In All This We Know." The message of the song is that even in the hardest circumstances we can rest in the understanding that God is good.
The second song is called "Though You Slay Me" by Shane and Shane. This song talks about how even in the hardest moments of life worship and praise of God is the best response. In the YouTube version of this song, there is also a message in the middle of the song by John Piper where he talks about the value of suffering.
These songs have lifted our spirits and helped us as we process.
Additionally, over the past few days we have received countless text messages, social media messages, and phone calls of support and encouragement. I suppose another by-product of painful situations is a realization of how many people there are around you that are there to love and support you.
Gideon Marcus Malito did not come in the way that we expected.
I always envisioned him being the youngest little dark-haired brother that ran around wild and had a fun laugh.
I envisioned him being Asher's little side-kick and the little brother that Rayah took care of.
I envisioned Judah and Levi teaching him how to be a little man by wrestling and "beating him up" in love.
And I think that I envisioned him possibly being the final addition to the Malito family biological children.
This did not happen how we expected.
But even still, Gideon has brought our family together in a profound way. His death has done something in our family that will forever mark us. He has unified us in a special way.
He will always be in our hearts.
And He will never be forgotten.
Gideon Marcus Malito
September 6, 2019