Monday, November 24, 2014
I had dreams of a deliciously fat baby boy, with ponderous drooping cheeks and legs like the Michelin man. Maggie had the chunkiest cheeks even in her skinny-old-man preemie days; they were gloriously paunchy and sagged beneath her gigantic luminous eyes that are so like her dad's. I dreamed that Wendell would have those same cheeks, but that he'd be chunkier at birth than his big sister.
Instead his body was small and floppy, already broken by the time he exited the womb. He was so unsubstantial, so fallen apart, and the brokenness of his body didn't make me love him any less but it did break me. Because that wasn't my dream, to hold the broken, still, silent body of my firstborn son. I hated that his tiny body never had a chance to even take one single breath out in this big beautiful terrifying wonderful world.
Last night I unearthed a treasure trove of photos and videos from Maggie's infancy. As I scrolled through them, I couldn't help hollering out to Josh to come look at just one more, because my baby girl was so sweet and lovely and crinkly and bug-eyed and perfect. And as she grew up, six months then nine months then a year, the short video clips showed her emerging personality, this beam of sunshine and joy even at that tiny age.
And I had such joy remembering that little Maggie baby, but also such devastation -- because I wanted all that with Wendell, too. I wanted his first episode of crazy baby sleep with eyes rolled back in his head and a fluttery half-smile, his first attempts at crawling, his first time recoiling at the touch of grass on his tender hands. I wanted all that with him, just like I had had it with Maggie. I wanted him to be my baby through all the stages of babyhood, to get to bear witness to the miracle of his discovery of life and love and sunshine and grass and sky.
But he only got to be my baby in utero. He won't ever be older than 28 weeks 6 days gestation. He won't ever see the sky or sun or his mama's face. And as much as I do have peace, and I still have joy, and I am not broken or despairing, and I still have hope, and I am glad I got those seven months with him growing inside me -- even with all that being true, it will never be an okay thing that I don't get to have Wendell as my baby for the rest of my life.