The Heart: Afton’s Story, Part Two

This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.

Afton's Story

In the weeks leading up to Afton’s birth, I started reading some books on life with a newborn.

One of the things that I loved was this idea of giving your baby a comfort item – something that would help them fall asleep on their own. Sleep! Newborns! 👏🏼, right? Because three weeks ago, I was still a normal person who worried about things like how we would get our baby to sleep.

The idea is that you (mom/dad) sleep with the item, for example, a blanket, and after a day or two, it absorbs you – your scent, your breath, your skin – and that’s what makes it comforting to your baby.

“Isn’t that the sweetest idea, Bjork?” I said. “Let’s do that for our baby.”

In the chaotic hours after Afton was born, I found myself laying in a hospital bed holding a small fabric heart from the NICU. It was cut a little crooked, with a chintzy printed fabric, likely made with lots of love by a hospital volunteer. There was a note pinned to it instructing me to wear the heart against my skin for a day or two before placing it in Afton’s isolette, so that even in the days ahead when we could not hold him yet, he would be able to sense our presence. I immediately tucked it into my shirt. “It’s just like the book, Bjork!” I said. “Just like our plan.”

Except then things didn’t go as planned.

Yesterday morning, I tucked that fabric heart – the one I’ve been dutifully wearing every second of every day since the moment Afton was born – underneath my baby’s still hand. I wrapped the edges of the heart around his tiny body, and then I swaddled him nice and cozy for the last time on this earth before laying him to peacefully rest in his tiny casket.

We buried Afton with a few things: handwritten letters, pictures of us, pictures of Sage, a blanket from his grandma, a book that his daddy read to him.

But the thing that makes me feel most like a good mom to Afton was burying him with that crooked little fabric heart tucked up right against his chest.

My mind knows that Afton is gone, that he can’t feel or smell anymore. But my heart says so surely: good job, mama. 💙 He has his comfort item. Your baby knows that you’re with him forever.

Afton's Story
I’m sharing more about life with and after Afton on my personal Instagram account. I’d love to have you follow along here.

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74 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    sabrina

    I was checking in…still thinking of you. we have been “here” too. we lost our little Nicholas ast 22 weeks 4 days. You ARE a mama, and HIS mama and he will also be you forever. Praying for you guys. you may email me if you ever need an ear. there will be many sleepless nights ahead of a different sort.
    “when your hesrt is breaking, let me loan you mine. when you shouilders fedl weak, let ke me share your load”. i mean it…

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julie

    Oh those precious little feet. Bless the volunteers that take time to make comfort items that become so important. Sending love.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily

    What a good mama you are. Those precious beautiful little feet! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    There is so much bravery and beauty here. Thank you for sharing your story as a mother for all the world to see. You have given such a gorgeous voice to all women who have struggled through such tremendous loss. Cherish the memory of your sweet Afton. His presence certainly gave great purpose. All the blessings for peace in this process.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Linda

    How very precious. I know this has to be very difficult to write down and share with all of us the trauma’s that you and your family are going through. Somehow, for me anyway, I feel in some small way that I am helping you by feeling so deeply your written words. Of course I sit here with tears and hurt, but I’m falling in love with your son as well. And, yes, you will be together again one day. Thank you for letting me follow along your healing path.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Marilyn

    Hoping you will find comfort knowing that there are many people ALL over that are reading your words, seeing your wonderful photographs, and feeling your sorrow. More than you will ever know.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Megan

    I was coming here today to make a grocery list. I have followed you for some time and made many of your recipes but I haven’t read the blog in a while. My heart breaks for you and Bjork. My eyes are pouring with sadness and I have no words to express to you how sorry I am that this happened. I just want you to know that you have someone in Dallas, TX (and I’m certain more all over the world) praying for you and thinking of you and sending all of the positive vibes and warm hugs. There is no way for me to feel what you are feeling but I am touched by your strength. I’ll be thinking of you.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lisette

    Dear Lindsay,
    You are the best mum ever for your little Afton. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I will keep you, Björk and Afton in my prayers!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bonnie

    Dear Lindsay and Bjork~ With a Faith in God, in Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah, you have the Hope of seeing your precious Afton again. Still, my heart breaks for you. It’s wonderful of you to share your story with all of us. You write so eloquently. In the Psalms..139:6-7 TLB it reads *** ‘This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I/we (Afton) can never be lost to Your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! The Lord is with Afton. The Lord is with you and Bjork. The Apostle Paul wrote…To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. Yeshua/Jesus Christ, said, if we believe in Him, do His will, He abides in us and we in Him. He is in the Father, the Father in Him and He in us. So, although, in the physical realm of this world, we cannot see our loved ones, who have passed on before us, somehow we are still united. Our hearts forever entwined xo Mother Teresa said *** ” Prayer is the mortar that holds our house together.” So many prayers have been spoken for you and Bjork. Prayer is powerful. May they become the ‘wind beneath your wings’. May you, almost tangibly, feel the prayers enveloping you two, like a shelter against the strongest of winds. Peter Marshall said *** ” Those we Love are with the Lord, and the Lord has promised to be with us. If they are with Him and He is with us, they cannot be far away. James Barrie said *** ” Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” You and Bjork bring Sunshine to each of us who So Enjoy *** Pinch of Yum***. Your kind hearts and loving spirits, so generous, are like Sunshine to us. May each and every wonderful, precious, memory of Afton, which you hold in your mind and hearts, be a comfort to you , now and always. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and God Bless. Shalom.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Georgiann Jensen Bohn

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful son with us. Your precious family is in our thoughts and prayers. I can’t read your blog without tears, but I smile when I think how loved he is and how happy his entire life is, going from the loving arms of his parents to those of his Heavenly Father.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kimberlee De Biase

    Lindsay,

    You are a brave and caring soul. You are a gifted writer and an amazing mother. Thank you for taking us on your journey with you. By reading Afton’s story, that your artful words describe with such strong emotion, I can barely begin to imagine what you are truly feeling in these moments. Your love and light is what this world needs more of.

    Kim <3

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mallory

    Good job mama is right! What a sweet thing you were able to do for your baby boy 💙

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    janna

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to thank you for sharing all the delicious recipes and being so vulnerable about baby Afton. Your family is paving the way for such a beautiful legacy, and I’ll continue to pray that your family will be covered with Christ’s love, grace, peace, strength and joy. Thank you again for being you.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you, Lindsay and Bjork, for sharing more of your story about and surrounding your sweet baby, Afton. Writing is certainly one of the most cathartic, generous, and expansive things a person can do, especially during a time such as this. Even while healing ourselves as we express it, possibly, it heals others who read your story.

    I’ve been writing my own memoirs into short essay form the last few years, and hope it is a joy to my family along the way. So thank you for sharing this sweet, painful, important part of yourself…it gives me opportunity to say once again “You’re in our best thoughts and prayers.” Lyle and Jane Braund

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What a touching blog post. I am so happy that Afton has this comfort item and also that you are writing. It is incredibly therapeutic to do in such difficult times. I hope you and Bjork and Sage too – will feel peace in your hearts and souls. You are, and always will be Afton’s family. Sending luv to you all.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Tesei

    I’m sure your Baby is very grateful of those hours of love and comfort you gave him. God only knows why he couldn’t stay in this world but wherever he is now, he’s very proud of his mummy and daddy. And you can be proud of yourselves too, you are amazing people and the best parents posible!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mary-Anne

    I just wanted to say that you have been in my prayers, and I think that it is wonderful that you are writing about Afton.

    If you haven’t heard of Graham’s Foundation, they are an amazing group and the founders have been where you are.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Tamara

    You surely are a good momma. I guarantee your sharing of sweet Afton’s story is healing so many hearts out there. My mom lost two babies both just after 20 weeks and in those days she wasn’t allowed time to grieve, to feel the loss. I know there are more women out there just like her and reading stories like Afton’s validates those feelings and helps to heal old wounds. Much love to you.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ruth

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your husband at this time! God bless you both!

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Deb

    My heart just aches for you and Bjork as you go through this difficult time. Your strength and bravery touches and amazes me. You are and will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Debbi

    You are an amazing Mama & Daddy. Your heart knows it and your sweet Afton knows it. Bless your hearts. 🙏🏼❤️