Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sixteen weeks.

Four months ago on this day, I went into labor. It was a Wednesday. It was about one in the afternoon, and I was chatting with C. and A. on the phone, whining about how big I was, how uncomfortable and impatient I was. At the end of the conversation, A. jokingly told me “Don’t worry: in six hours you’ll be in labor!” We both laughed, and I got off the phone and took our dog Miles for yet another walk around the neighborhood, hoping the exercise and movement would get something started.

I got home and Brian called, telling me he was heading home early. Great! I thought. Someone to distract me from all this waiting! About an hour after he got home, my water broke. Yes!!! Our child would be born on the forth or fifth of April! A birthday! It was a true Birth Day!! We giggled excitedly, and I tried to lie down and rest and Brian began gathering our stuff together, rounding up the newborn outfit we had picked out, the cloth diapers, and all the other incidentals needed to care for ourselves and the new one. Would it be a boy or a girl? How big? Oh, in a day at the very most, we thought, we’d be back home, nestled all together in our new king-size bed, bought with the knowledge that three of us would have no chance of sleeping well together in our old full-size bed. Visions of watching the new one sleep while we fitfully napped . seemed so close.

My good friend C. came over and brought us some cornbread and other stuff; I can’t remember anymore. I just remember not being able to eat much of anything without getting nauseous. We laughed and worked through contractions together, while Brian fumbled nervously with installing the carseat in the Subaru. D. and the girls stopped by to visit before our doula came over. I remember hugging little C. and little T. tightly before they left, remembering with vivid clarity when each of them was born.

I wished I had gotten my sling made, with the fabric I had picked out at St. Theresa’s that week, but figured I’d have a few hours on one of the first days home from the hospital to get it constructed while my mother-in-law watched over the baby. I knew as soon as we called they’d be down; it would be Easter on Sunday, and her school would be on break. And they were so excited to meet the Grandbaby. It felt perfect. I felt him wiggle and shift with each contraction, getting ready to come into this world.

Yes, he would have a gentle beginning. I felt so sure of it. I visioned laboring in the tub in the birthing suite, Brian holding me up and supporting me. I saw him crown, saw him slip into my waiting arms and Brian and I would cry with relief, so happy to meet this little person we had already spent so much time caring for. It would be quiet, intimate, and peaceful.

Yet here we are, four agonizingly long months later, with our empty arms. Empty bed. Empty crib. Unread books and unused clothes, and sheets over all the furniture in Burke’s room.

It's hard. Every anniversary will be fraught with the "what ifs" and "if onlys" of a life lost. It's just difficult to remember to keep on living, breathing, to stay positive in the face of so much grief. Somehow we have to find hope again.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." -Kahlil Gibran


Jean said...

I can't imagine your loss - so sorry.

houstonmom said...

I found your blog because I was searching for Samsung washers on Google ... then I saw your beautiful family picture and read more on your page and saw what you wrote about Burke. I was found myself reading back through the months laughing and crying with you. Your house is looking amazing!

I can not begin to understand what you are going through ... I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you and Brian. I will be thinking of your family and April and praying for Him to pick you up and carry you through your grief.