That perfect little outfit. A soft, blue sleeper with tiny elephants dancing across. When I was pregnant, I thought about that “going home” outfit for my child, an adorable piece of clothing that would help introduce him to the world. But, as a parent of child loss, I never had that picture-perfect moment.

That tiny blue sleeper is the only outfit I ever picked out for my son. It’s what he wore the day he passed away.

I stood outside the children’s store, my hands shaking as my heart started racing. I took a deep breath, wiped away my tears, and put on a brave face as I walked inside. The tragic reality of child loss sank in as I found myself searching for that perfect outfit. While parents around me were choosing adorable clothes for their newborns, I was faced with something no parent ever wants to experience.

I needed that final outfit, the one my child would take his last breath in.

Eventually a printed sleeper caught my eye. Dark blue, soft and fuzzy, with little elephants scattered about. I found the smallest size possible for my 22-weeker son and I held it up in front of me, inspecting each nook and cranny.

The tears began to pour down my face as the walls of the store felt like they were closing in on me. People went about their shopping, oblivious to me, the mother who would never get to watch her son grow up. I would never buy the adorable swim trucks, or the next size in pajamas. I would never pick out little shoes and I would never see my son walk for the first time. My gravely ill son would never reach those milestones.

I handed the outfit to my mother and told her I had to leave, the anxiety and heartache proved to be too much. I raced out of the store and started sobbing on the sidewalk, not caring about the concerned looks from strangers as they passed by.

Four days later, I held my son for that final time. I rocked him as I read to him, staying strong so he wouldn’t see the heartache that I felt. And as I watched my beautiful son, I glanced at his outfit. He looked at peace, snuggled warmly in his little blue sleeper.

It’s been 5 ½ years since my son went to Heaven and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of him. On those days when I miss him the most, I think fondly of my son, cozy in his little blue outfit . . . picture perfect in every way.

This article originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”