First, let me open this letter with asking for forgiveness of my curtness last evening. In our communication, I had to keep my responses short to protect myself. As I saw your post about baby number three, my head started to swirl. With two boys already in your house, my grieving heart began to race. Will this be a third boy? The short video clip attached to your baby bump pictures (my goodness, you are so cute!) revealed the gender. I clicked on it. As the trail of firecrackers trickled down the line to the bucket, I prayed for myself and chanted in my head. Pink pink pink, please be pink.
It wasn’t. Blue. Blue smoke. Another little boy will join your family. Three little boys. My heart fell to my feet. I remembered my own gender reveal party for my third baby. His blue smoke, my shining baby bump, the crowd of friends chanting as I did just now, pink pink pink!
Except my chanting was not in celebration but in self-preservation. I had three boys, two excited big brothers, a whooping husband, and a baby on the way. I remember it all.
I never got to live the rest of the story the way I had planned. My sons never got to hold their baby brother or invade his personal space on a daily basis. They never complained about his drooling or hair pulling or his non-stop crying. They tell me they miss him and they want him alive. Little Grant keeps telling me to go to the hospital to give Reece some medicine so I can bring him home from Heaven. He even dares to talk about a new baby, but that just isn’t a direction our family will go. Dane talks about adopting a baby into our family and won’t take “no, sweetie,” as an answer.
I am so sorry you are my first friend with three little boys. You are a good friend and have been nothing but loving. Firsts of any kind are hard for the grieving. In these last 20 months, there had yet to be a family with three little boys. I’m sorry it had to be you. It isn’t really you; the struggle is the contrast between us. This surely is a fate neither of us could have ever imagined. And you are due in November. There is always this sense of foreboding when someone’s baby is due near my baby’s birthday. I can’t really explain why. Territorial? A sense of salt in the grieving wound as someone’s happily welcomes a new healthy baby during the days surrounding your baby’s death and subsequent birth? Perhaps it is both. And a sense of being forgotten, as I want the rest of the world to be a bit quieter and dimmer on those days. Discovering he was dead inside my body will always be the hardest day of my life. That day will always come back around on the calendar, year after year. His death day. And then his birthday. With no dash in between.
I feel like I’m sitting on the other side of the glass at the zoo, watching you celebrate another boy. And soon enough, I will get to see your life unfold just as it should, with a healthy new baby, adoring big brothers, and a proud husband. Little snips of what our life would have been like to have a baby boy right before the holidays. A November/December baby is a very special thing.
And while I would never, ever wish for another person’s baby to die, I just want to undo the death of mine. The joy you celebrate reminds me of my pain. It reminds me of what I did not get. It reminds me that my son died and that my big boys never got to hold their brother. I want to slide of out this experience like a snake skin. But this knowledge IS my skin. And this IS the story we have about Reece. It isn’t the love I have for him that hurts. The pain comes from wrestling the unfairness in life, of coping with the death of someone we were only just getting to know. The pain is boldly facing the truth in life: that it is fragile, often taken for granted.
Thank you for loving me well, even when my grief twists into jealousy. Life after baby loss is full of confusing turns and unwelcome surprises. As your friend and fellow mother, I will say this.
A house full of boys is an adventure. The noise, the dirt, the wrestling, and the Legos, I wouldn’t trade the BoyMom life for anything. I pray that your baby boy arrives healthy and loud, filling his lungs with cold Earthside air the minute he is here. You deserve the best that parenting has to offer. And while it is hard, thankless work, it is the best work there is to do.
Congratulations, my friend.