That is the only word to describe how my heart felt leaving the hospital without my baby: empty.
My first experience with the emptiness was being wheeled out of my room and down the maternity ward. Mine had been the last one on the right and so I passed every single room on my way out. There must have been a dozen of them. I willed myself not to look inside.
Everyone else in these rooms is going home with a baby.
The nurse wheeled me to the elevator lobby. Straight ahead was a door labeled "Lactation Consultant". Oh how my heart ached to nurse my baby!
We went down to the first floor and into the main lobby to wait for Josh who had gone ahead to get the car. I wondered what people thought of me. A young woman with tear-stained cheeks clutching a small box filled with the outfit her sweet little girl had died in just hours before.
Josh wasn't there right away and the nurse thought maybe he went to the other entrance. We travelled down the corridors of the hospital once again. And people stared. I wanted desperately to scream at them and tell them what had just happened.
I lost my baby! Do you see my tears? It's because my baby is not coming home with me!
But instead I just stared ahead. I tried to plaster a semi-pleasant look on my face. I bet they wondered what what inside that box.
We waited at the other entrance for a little while and the nurse decided we needed to go back to the main lobby. And so she wheeled me down the hall. Again. Through all the people. Again. More tears. More stares. More reality.
When Josh pulled up I got into the car. I tried not to notice the pile of bags in the spot where a carseat would have been. It was a surprisingly warm and sunny day. I commented on the weather.
We didn't say much to each other. But at the first traffic light Josh looked at me and said somberly, "It feels weird going home with no baby, doesn't it?"
"That's one word for it." I replied softly.
Another word is wrong. It just felt wrong.
That night Josh and I talked for over two hours just crying together and trying to process all that had happened.
We wept because we didn't even consider the need to put a carseat in the car. We wept because there was no pack-and-play in our room. We wept because we didn't even get to know our daughter. We wept over the feelings of emptiness; the void in our hearts now that Evie's no longer beat on this earth.
We wept because everything changed and yet nothing changed. But it should have changed.
The next morning Josh woke up with Micah and let me linger in bed for a little while. I sat up in bed, opened my blinds, and just stared out the window.
Another sunny day.
I remember again feeling so ... empty. For nine months I had started my day rubbing my belly and telling the sweet life inside me how much I loved them. And I would pray. And I would try to enjoy every kick, every wiggle, every tiny movement. But now what? Such emptiness.
A few months before a stranger (now dear friend) had left a gift bag on my doorstep. It was filled with thoughtful gifts that had helped her through losing her first child. One of those gifts was a small bag filled with Scriptures. I picked up the small brown bag and began unfolding verses.
Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength a very present help in times of trouble.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 - May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting hope and comfort which we don't deserve comfort your hearts with all comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.
Psalm 31:9 - O Lord have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from spirit.
Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
What a blessing those verses were to me that morning! In them I found strength to face the day - the first day without Evie.
My heart is still sorely broken. My arms are empty. My eyes are red from the tears. But God is near me, as He promised. His voice seems small right now but I am trying desperately to listen.
God, please hear the cry of my hurting heart! Fill the emptiness. And please give Evie a kiss for me.