It’s late and you are very tired. After feeding you, I lay you in your crib after kissing you so softly on the forehead. I am doing what “good” parents are supposed to do by putting you in your crib awake. This is supposed to give you skills to fall asleep on your own. You are only 15 weeks old but you fall asleep on your own most nights.
Tonight, however; you must have had a gas bubble because you just wiggled and grunted in your crib for 20 minutes. No real crying but I could tell you were struggling to fall asleep. I returned to your room in an effort to help you find your slumber.
I picked you up and your eyes popped open. I tried so hard not to look into your beautiful eyes. After all, this “stimulates” a baby and may keep you awake. So I look up and away so you can’t see into my eyes either. I desperately wanted to stare at you though. You are such a beautiful baby.
I carry you to the rocking chair. The same chair that I rocked Joey in as a baby. You are wearing the same sleep sack that Joey wore as a baby yet you look nothing like him tonight. We sit in the chair together. Your head wedged in the crook of my left arm and your legs pulled up into my still flabby belly.
I can no longer take it. I HAVE to look at you. As I do, we make eye contact. A small smile appears and I knew I had just broken “parental law.” It doesn’t matter now. What’s done is done. I am lost in your smell, in your beauty, and in that smile. You don’t wiggle much but soon a large belch emerges and you once again fall still.
We rock together in the chair as I think about humming a song to you, but I don’t. We just rock together…back and forth, back and forth. The chair creaks. It’s old. Back and forth, back and forth.
I lean forward to kiss your forehead. I place soft little kisses there and then brush my lips over the top of your head and through your baby fine hair. I smell you, wondering who else has smelled you today. I am again lost. My mind returns to thoughts of losing you and as your eyes gently begin to close, I speak to you.
“Please stay.” “Don’t go.”
I try not to think these thoughts but being surrounded by so much baby loss this last week has my mind struggling to find peace with baby loss. It will never find it but my mind still searches.
I talked with Jason about these thoughts this morning. I was so relieved to hear that he didn’t think I was crazy. He said that with a previous loss it’s only natural to feel this way. Yes. It is natural. My mind isn’t full of thoughts that you are leaving. I am not having some premonition that you are going to die.
I only pray and hope that I never have to go through that kind of grief again but I am no longer afraid to bond with you and love you to the fullest. Most days we spend laughing at each other. At the very least, I am sticking out my tongue at you to make you laugh or giggle. The interaction is so much fun and I dream about what you will look like when you are older. I dream about you walking and talking. I dream everything about you.
I return for a moment to the rocking chair. Back and forth, back and forth. I love you so much it really does hurt. I give you one last kiss as you settle into that slumber you had desperately been searching for just moments earlier. Your eyes are now fully closed and you are breathing heavier. We get up and I place you once again in your crib.
You are still. I imagine for a brief moment that you took your last breath. I don’t know why but I did. I don’t want to say goodbye, so instead, I say goodnight. I tell you how much I love you and I step out of your room.
I wonder, once again, why I have these thoughts but I know, it’s just my insecurity and lack of control. I can’t keep you here. You are not mine to keep but whatever amount of time I am blessed with you, I will treasure for I know the pain of losing a child. Anyone who knows that pain, understands where I am coming from.
Sure, my child died at 8 weeks gestation but she was MY CHILD! I had the same dreams and imagined the same things. The only difference? I will never know her smell, I will never know the softness of her baby fine hair against my lips, and I will never know her smile. She came to me in a dream once. I can still see her.
Goodnight my sleepy prince.