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Friday, June 3, 2011

12 Years Ago

Around this time, twelve years ago I had a very active toddler and was pregnant with number two.  Things did not go as planned. 

Some days I forget.  Some days I don't.  In some ways it feels like he died just a little while ago.....and in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago.

It was a shock.  I had felt him move.  I had seen two ultrasounds with him flipping and moving around.  In one of them it looked like his little legs were pumping like a runner.  The ultrasound technician told me I was about to have my hands full with 2 busy little ones.  I had no worries. 

But then, I had a few days where I couldn't  remember if I had felt him move....

I went to my next appointment with D-man in tow.  I had encouraged Rainman to go golfing with my dad and not come with me as he usually did when he wasn't working.  I shouldn't have done that.

She couldn't find a heartbeat.  She took me to the ultrasound room and all the while reassured me that I shouldn't worry, that there were all sorts of reasons that she could have had trouble finding a heartbeat.  She was very sweet.  The ultrasound technician started her job.... 

It was, sort of, an out of body experience for me.  I remember seeing D-man rifling through my purse on the floor and his look of triumph as he got my Chapstick out.  I also remember hearing a really loud kind of primal cry and thinking, "What was that?"  "Where did that come from?", and then realizing it was me.

I remember little D-man, still clutching the Chapstick, climbing up to me on the table and giving me a hug....looking deep into my eyes....and climbing back down again.  I remember the staff trying to shuffle me off to a room without having me see all the happy pregnant ladies in the waiting room.  I remember them trying to find my husband.  They ended up getting in touch with my mom first and she dropped everything to come be with me.  I don't remember much of anything else.  Just shock.  And tears.  Lots of tears.

We prayed and prayed for a miracle on the way to the hospital.  I made them give me one more ultrasound before they induced me.  I thought for sure there was going to be a miracle.  But, it was true.  He was dead. 

I went into labor.  It really hurts even if the baby is tiny.  He came out with one push.  I delivered a beautiful baby boy.  He weighed less than a pound and was 7.5 inches long.  He was tiny, but perfect.  He had little curlicue ears that just need the cartilage to be filled in.  He had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.  He had perfect little bendable knees and a cute round little belly.

His funeral is a bit of a blur to me too.  I remember bits and pieces.  I remember going to the City to make arrangements for the gravesite.  I still looked pregnant and one of the secretaries asked me when my baby was due.  I remember we played Sarah McLaughlin's Arms of the Angels.  I remember D-man, wearing his little suit, trying to help carry his brother's little coffin.  I remember being surprised at some of the people that came....friends of my parents....some of my friends....nurses from the hospital.  I remember getting the autopsy results back saying that he was a seemingly healthy, baby boy with nothing wrong with him.  I remember not being able to eat.  I have always been a stress eater....but food was tasteless and made me gag. 

Like I said, many days I don't even think about him.  Other days I think about him and wonder what it would be like if he was running around with the other kids....not with sadness, but just curiosity.  I know he would be blond, but, would he look more like me or Rainman?  Would he be a good reader?  Athletic? If it came up in conversation, I could tell people about  him without crying.

But, this year, around his birthday, I was feeling melancholy and couldn't quite figure out why.  It was so apparent, that Rainman even noticed and asked me what was going on.  I didn't really know. 

Then I got the e-mail from my sister that included this picture she took on Memorial Day...

...and burst out sobbing.  My kids didn't really know what to do with me.  I didn't either.

She worried about sending it to me because she didn't want to make me cry.  But, I guess that is what I needed to do.  I am glad she took it.  I am glad she sent it.

When we lived in Minnesota, we would visit Stevie's grave a few times a year, but, always on his birthday and Memorial Day.  On Memorial Day, the little, country cemetary he is buried in, has a service where the Veteran's come and perform a little service honoring the fallen soldiers.  My sister, Kandi, posted about this year's service here.   It is a beautiful cemetary and a really beautiful service.

The kids would always bring him little gifts for his birthday and a few of them have survived the hard Minnesota winters.  The little greenish van on the left is the gift we left for him when we moved.  Remember a few years ago when Hot Wheels came out with the collector cars and had one for each state, license plate included?  It is the Georgia State car.

When we left Minnesota, I cried the hardest as we left the cemetary.  I felt like we were abandoning him....or something.

I don't know why it hit me so hard this year. 

It has been 12 years. 

I have 6 living, beautiful, healthy children.

I have had 2 miscarriages.  One we call Peanut Baby and don't know if the baby was a boy or a girl.  One we call "The Twins" (one baby died very early on, the other, a little boy, died around 12 weeks)

It has been 12 years.

I think maybe it is because the reality of living in Georgia, for the long term, is really starting to sink in.  I love Georgia. 

I guess maybe I feel like a traitor to Minnesota. 

I guess maybe I feel like a traitor to all my family who is still in Minnesota. 

I guess I am feeling like we are abandoning him all over again. 

I don't know.