Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oliver's jammies

My only experience on dealing with a funeral home has been for Oliver. We asked the hospital to do a full autopsy, so it was several days between leaving the hospital and having his little body sent to the funeral home. They told us to give them something to dress him in.

We had so many things. So many outfits for a baby so anticipated and so loved. But they were all too big. All for the chubby full term baby I was expecting, not the 4 pound 18 inch 31 week baby.

My mom went to the store to pick something. I couldn't do it. I call David "Ours" which is French for bear, so we referred to the baby as the bear cub. My mom found a preemie sleeper at babies r us with little green stars and a bear on it. It was perfect.

I put it on the stuffed monkey we had bought ( one of all too many toys) and I snuggled that outfit, knowing it would be the only thing my baby would ever wear. I didn't want it to smell like the store, or like clean laundry. I wanted it to smell like the mommy who will always always love him.

When we went to the funeral home to say goodbye, they had dressed him in the sleeper. It was still big, but it was just for him. Not a hand me down like the rest would be. The jammies he would wear to be cremated. My baby. With the sweet bear and little stars.

Elliot came very soon after we lost Oliver. Surprisingly soon. So soon in fact, that there was still a sleeper, sized 6 months from that same collection left in toys r us. I almost didn't buy it. I almost let the green stars belong only to Oliver, but I wanted to do the thing I had wished for for the other sleeper: put it on my baby. My living, breathing, eating, smiling baby.

Tonight I did that. I put the larger star sleeper on to Elliot and I watched the stars fold as he twisted. Rubbed the soft fabric while I nursed him. Made him laugh.

Elliot tonight- 4 months old

It makes me cry to see those stars, and think of the cremated ashes of that sleeper sitting in the urn on the piano, with the ashes of my baby.

I don't believe in heaven, or that Oliver still exists somewhere, but I do believe I can keep putting the love I have for him out into the universe. I can give some to Elliot, who won't understand why I hold him just a bit tighter tonight. I can honor his memory, and carry that with me. And someday teach this baby about his brother. And looking at the matching sleeper makes me feel like they are connected through me, and through all the love I feel for both of my sons. Both of my little bear cubs.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

rainbow baby

I put my hands on your tummy
Softly above the swaddle
I feel you breathe
I feel you live

I watch you learn and grow
I watch you stretch and laugh
And I watch you cry

I feel you nurse
I feel you squirm
So vibrant
So alive
So dynamic even in sleep

And when you are still
I place my hands on the swaddle
To make sure
To make sure you are not too still

Your life is a gift to us
Your body is whole
Not yet dissipated into the universe like your brother
But a force within you

And in that force you carry him
Just like I carry him
Along our journey

My one year old.

If everything had gone right I would have a one year old today.

I try not to think about the hypothetical, because if i had that one year old baby I wouldn't have the beautiful 3 month old who woke up all smiles this morning. And today might not have been Oliver's birthday anyway. But I woke up this morning with thoughts of what if. what if I had carried him to term. What would my life be like? Would we be thinking about a second baby? Would we be going crazy from exhaustion as our mobile baby zoomed everywhere? Would he be a good sleeper like his brother?

The only thing I know for sure is that if Oliver had lived he would have been showered with love, just like Elliot is.

Happy would-be one year birthday Oliver.

Love mama