Last night we couldn’t sleep. Hubby and I stayed up most of the night watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. We needed something restful and something to pass the time. Sleep was just not finding us. We both felt that we couldn’t sleep because we were “laboring.” Our due date was tomorrow. The due date our entire family was looking forward to. A due date, that would come and go with no reward. There would be no crying baby.
I had been cranky most of the day. The week leading up to today was filled with an emotional roller coaster. I learned of many friends who had become pregnant which furthered my grief. Learning about some pregnancies, felt like a stab into my heart. Then there were the ill wishes for some of these announcements. It was such an icky feeling and I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I did.
Teaching students over the last few months has also been hard. So many of them were due on the same day and I had to stand there, seeing them with their glorious bellies filled with living babies they would birth. They were carrying life and all I could carry was death. My womb being silent since May. I was relieved that with my last classes they were all due in January or February. I no longer had to be reminded of what I had lost.
When we finally decided to lay in bed, I cried. I was on the verge of a breakdown when hubby finally nestled in bed next to me. I was wearing an old shirt. A shirt that he gave me and I have worn for the past 18 years. A shirt that is nearly falling apart but I love it because wore that shirt during all four of my pregnancies. I remember hubby took a picture of me in that shirt just a few days before I gave birth to my first child. The shirt is so large, it could accommodate my full-term belly.
I asked hubby to rub my back to help me fall asleep. As he did, he said, “I need to buy you a new shirt.” Then I wept. Through my tears I said, “But I love this shirt.” He was unprepared for my cries. He rubbed my back harder and said, “It’s okay. Why are you crying?”
I couldn’t form the words.
I knew that if I had continued, he would most likely figure it out. So I was silent, except for my cries. All I could think about was how I would not be bringing home a baby tomorrow. I imagined the co-sleeping being attached to my bed and lovingly watching my sleeping baby. It was too painful knowing I would likely never experience that again.
It took hours for me to finally find sleep only to be awakened early. We were going to visit Gus’s grave for the first time today. The entire family managed to make it in the car in time to get Joey to school. After dropping Joey off, I asked to stop by the store. I wanted to pick up a few things we could leave at Gus’s grave. My stomach was also very upset. It was gurgling and I was having intestinal cramps. I assumed it was my body, being in “labor.”
At the store, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was hoping to find a few blue carnations and a small plastic truck. I settled on a small balloon that said, “It’s a Boy!” and found a metal police tow truck. I knew Timmy would want it but I also knew that when I explained that this was Gus’s truck, he would be fine with leaving it.
When we arrived at Mt. Olivet, we found the grave site easily. I had been there many times before but never to visit my own child. I was comforted to see that there were other names on the grave marker.
Timmy played with Gus’s truck and balloon. I snapped a few pictures. We even grabbed tissue paper and a crayon to capture his marker.
Hubby cried. I was surprised I didn’t. Maybe it was because I had been there so many times? Maybe it was because I cried so hard last night? Or maybe, I was just apathetic to the situation? I just held him. It was all I could do.
Timmy was a good distraction. He ran around the graves checking out the toys and balloons around all the other graves. The other graves looked so beautiful as well. We looked at some of the other names on the markers and noticed a few that we remembered at the candlelight vigil this year. I took comfort in that as well.
It’s hard to believe his due date is here. It’s even harder to believe that he is not here with us. This would be his first Christmas. I would wear him. I promised him that I would wear him more than I wore Timmy. I promised him that he would be within arm’s reach every night, that I wouldn’t let him cry-it-out, that I would respond to him quickly, nourish him with my breasts, and adore having him as my final child.
Now I am left with an empty womb. A womb that will likely never carry another child; breasts that will likely never nourish another child, and a home that will likely never be filled with the happy squeals from my tiny infant. Silence returns. Of course, the house is not silent. It is filled with the laughter of a toddler and conversation with his older brother but in a sense, it is devoid of the presence we were expecting.
We love you Augustus. We gave you a strong name. We know we will see you again. I pray for it. I pray to see you in my dreams. I beg you to show me your face in my dreams.