Dear Sweet Baby Boy -
Two years ago today, you were born. We don’t know how to commemorate the occasion, though, because you’re not here now. You came too soon, you were too little, and you died a moment after being born. We have your ashes on our bookshelf. You’ve been there for the past one year, eleven months, and two weeks. We still don’t have a baby, not that we could ever replace you anyway.
Jonathan and I got married six years ago on October 22. It was a warm day in Eylsian Park, a mile or so from Dodger Stadium. I wore blue flip flops under my dress. They were my Something Blue. Jonathan wore brand new Converse All Stars black high tops with his suit. When we danced our first dance (to “When you Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss) Jonathan was pouting because there wasn’t any Gatorade, which was what he was living off of at the time. His own wedding, he joked, and he didn’t have any Gatorade. We stopped at the CVS on the way home, me still in my dress, to get him several bottles. It’s become a running joke that he doesn’t remember our first dance because he was too busy stomping and pouting.
We found out I was pregnant with you in May, three years later. Then summer tripped and skipped by with days swimming in the lake. They are all a blur now; I can’t even really remember all my pregnancy symptoms. I kept a food journal so I could make sure I was eating healthy for you. I still have it, in a bag with your things - my positive pregnancy test (looking aged and uncertain, but still showing dyed ink in a plus sign), your sonogram pictures, your death certificate.
When three months passed, and I was in the safe zone, I started thinking about the things I would buy you. I started getting you lots of clothes on ebay. I still have them, folded up in a back corner of my closet. I can’t bear to part with them, though I did recently give one of the blankets to a feral cat. I loved my maternity jeans, with their forgiving waist, and I couldn’t wait until I filled them out fully. I blogged letters to you. I happily watched fall arrive with cooler weather, and we waited for February, when you would come.
Then you came too soon. I remember the doctor telling us that my water was broken, that we had to deliver you, that you were too young, you wouldn’t make it. I didn’t understand. “Why can’t you just put more water back in?” I asked. I mean, they can put a man on the moon, right? Why can’t they put more water back in? I still don't get it. There was so much blood. Jonathan had to help the nurses peel my clothes off of me when we first got to the hospital because they were sticking to me from all the bleeding. He held my hand as I screamed and delivered you after eight hours of labor. His middle finger still has an imprint from his wedding ring because I squeezed his hand so hard.
The next day we sat in the hospital room and watched The History Channel. They were showing IRT: World’s Deadliest Roads, and Swamp People. We asked ourselves when the History Channel turned into the Redneck Channel, and we realized we had made a joke, and we smiled. It was the first smile we would have after you.
Smiles aren’t the same now. Laughter isn’t the same now. We’re not the same now. How can we be? How can we ever feel pure blissed-out unabashed joy again?
We’ve been consoling ourselves with a lot of travel. We went to Iceland this summer, and spent 8 weeks in England this year. I lived there for two years after college, and it makes my heart happy to go back. It is always bittersweet now, though, because I was supposed to be on a plane to London the very next day after we lost you for a final pre-baby trip where I was going to get you a European-style pram. The morning of October 12 I called Priceline to see if it was possible to get a refund, because I felt awful. I had researched the refund policy and saw that one way to get a full refund was to say you had a miscarriage. There was no way I was going to tempt fate by saying that, and my honesty got me a refund minus a $200 booking fee. That night I lost you. Every day I’m grateful that I was honest with them. I have enough guilt issues without having to worry that I caused it by lying to Priceline to save a lousy $200.
The travel has been a highlight. Otherwise, things are hard. We’re going through fertility treatments, and the hormones I’m taking really affect me. I am dealing with the idea that I might never give birth to a live baby. We’re on our third artificial insemination (IUI). I'm doing acupuncture, meditation, anything to try to spur it along. I don’t want to do IVF. So if these IUI’s don’t work, we are going down the adoption route. There is a baby waiting for us, one way or another. But it’s going to be hard. Right now it’s still an idea. “If” we have to go down that route vs the fact of actually going down it. With every failed IUI, I get a little closer to that road, and it scares the shit out of me. The idea that my only experience in the labor and delivery unit was with you just doesn’t sit well with me. I want to scream and squeeze Jonathan’s hand and wind up with a live baby at the end of it. I want a do-over.
Sometimes you don’t get a do-over, though. Like the girl who tripped in the Olympics, and lost her racing event. That’s it. She’ll go the rest of her life unfulfilled because of that fall. And no matter how many babies we adopt, and how much I love them, they won’t be you, and there will always be that ache in our heart.
So here’s how we marked your day. I made pumpkin muffins. Then we had a hormone-induced fight. Then we cried about you. While making up, I said that I thought you would enjoy hearing us laugh today, so we should do something fun. We’re going to watch National Lampoon’s European Vacation, eat our pumpkin muffins, and laugh.
Before we started the movie or popped the popcorn, though, we stood in our bedroom and recreated our wedding dance. We held each other in the dark, and circled around, not sure which way we were going, or where we were headed. Our eyes were watering, and we were leaning on each other, which is really the only way to get through a day like today. At the end of it, we realized that again, there’s no Gatorade in the house. But suddenly, it didn’t seem like something worth pouting over.
We love you, Baby T.
Mommy and Daddy