Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lap Baby

We just booked a flight for Labor Day weekend, and I had to maneuver the mouse to the little pull down menu that says, "and infant." That gave me pause.

We tried this whole "and infant" thing last year, as we planned to bring what would have been a 3 month old Baker with us on family vacation to the islands. That infant didn't make the trip with us, so it feels impossibly optimistic that this next one will either.

But I don't really feel that way. I mean, I know it's possible that something will go wrong, but I don't go there very much. It is a very funny place that we inhabit. Not naive first time parents, optimistic and oblivious to the shittiness of the world, but not completely and utterly pessimistic either.

We have no damn right to be optimistic, yet we are compelled by a squirming, growing, hiccuping little brother to Baker to believe that this time, we might actually take home a live baby. We might actually need a plane ticket to bring him to Pittsburgh and show him off. We might actually get to BRING HIM HOME and not have to share only pictures, damp with tears.

We just might.

And what will that be like? Meeting our second-born first-breathing son? I hope he screams his ever-loving head off. I hope that he has just a sneaky hint of Baker's angel face in him, just enough to remind us whose brother this is. Maybe he'll have that little freckle that Baker had over his right eye, or maybe they'll have the same chin. Honestly, he could come out with a clown wig and a squeaky nose and I would be perfectly pleased. Back to the important stuff - big breaths, screaming, nice and pink, eyes wide open, "howdy, Mom and Dad." That's all we ask.

All in all, with 7 weeks to go until he's scheduled to be here, I am proud of us. I am proud of the way that we have integrated Baker into our family, and I am proud of how supportive our family and friends have been, not always knowing exactly what to do, but letting us know how much they miss him with us. I am proud that we haven't worn tracks in the floor pacing, and we haven't bitten our nails down to nubs. We've been there for each other, and we've found a way, a little bit at a time, to be excited, and even hopeful, about our to-be-born boy number 2.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dear Diary: May 6, 2008

Please join me as I revisit my thoughts and feelings from the early days after Baker's death. From my journal nearly one year ago:

My midwife called yesterday with the final pathology report. It's upsetting to think of Baker's little body shutting down inside of me and blood going into his lungs. I hope he didn't hurt or feel anything. I hope he felt love from his mama. I hope that all he know was how much we love him.

Chris has a surprise for me this weekend for Mother's Day. I don't feel like I deserve something nice or special. I wish my body had worked and kept Baker alive. I've let him down.

We drove to Vermont that weekend, and the surprise that Chris had been planning was to design a ring with an artisan jeweler. He sat me down on a bench, next to the store where I bought my wedding veil, and confessed his plan before we entered. The jeweler gave me a hug and explained several ideas about how to design a meaningful ring. I remember being in a complete fog, still wracked to the core with grief. In the end, we chose a small birthstone diamond, bezel-set into a ring molded from a poplar twig. She patiently explained that the balm of Gilead comes from the poplar tree and is known for its healing properties. The ring arrived a few months later, inscribed with Baker's initials and birthday, and assumed its place of honor opposite my wedding rings.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dear Diary: April 30, 2008

From my journal nearly one year ago:

Chris and I sent Baker's pictures to some people. It makes me so sad to realize that those are the only pictures we'll ever get to send our family and friends. No Christmas cards, no school pictures. He'll always be a baby.

Thank goodness for the pictures that the hospital staff urged us to take. I wish we had a thousand more. A friend who is a professional photographer contacted me shortly after Baker died and shared that she is a volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. She offered to retouch the pictures and did an amazing job sharpening up the close-up of his foot that was originally so very blurry. Chris thinks that Baker would have been a barefoot water skier given the size of his tootsies.

Some random thoughts to finish out the month of April:

I spotted this obituary for a baby named Lizzie Marie Horner and loved the words: She was also loved by many aunts, uncles and cousins. Lizzie enjoyed talking to her family and friends through mama’s belly, and loved to kick daddy in the mornings. She will be forever loved and missed.

We didn't put a printed obituary in the newspaper. At the time, it was too much to bear along with the other details of Baker's burial and memorial service. If we had, I would have liked to say something similar.

The most emailed Boston Globe article on Wednesday (until swine flu took the top spot) was
Bereaved fathers find healing in friendship.

The forsythia wreath we placed on the door of Lazy Cat Farm on Baker's first birthday, April 3rd:

Hyacinths from Baker's funeral arrangements blooming in our garden: