The day your brother broke his leg I knew of you. When they wanted me to go back and get X-rays, I knew of you. Struggling with the idea of you, I hadn’t told your father and when they needed another x-ray, I stared into his eyes, hoping he could read my mind. I think he knew about you too but didn’t actually know you, yet.
That week I stood at the dining room table and the word “Zika” came out of someone’s mouth. Your sister had just come home from Belize. I felt my stomach dip. I wonder if that was my first sign you wouldn’t make it to today.
We left for the beach that weekend. I carried your brother, your cousin. I walked up and down the beach and back and forth, collecting shells and memories. I felt the gush. Running back to our vacation house to check, I found the red. I tried to hide it from your dad. He knew though, that something wasn’t right. And I told him and I said goodbye to you. Sandra tried to tell me that not all bleeding meant a loss, but I knew you were gone. The guilt of my sadness had taken you. Six kids are too many. We’re not in a good place. How will I do this? But you were gone. I laid in the bathtub, alone, bleeding the pieces of my heart that I didn’t know I wanted until they were all gone.
You were gone.
You’d have been due today but you’d have been born next week. I always have babies that are late. Had babies.
I had babies.
I’ll have no more. Parts of me are okay with that. Most of the parts. Then, as I wash and fold the tiniest of clothing to send to baby Ritter, I weep, mourning you. You were my baby. A piece of my heart and a face I will never see.
I’ve posted little secrets about today, passively and quietly on Facebook. Hoping someone would recognize my sadness and mourning. Afraid to tell people of your loss, I wanted someone to tell me it was okay. I have been fortunate to have had a few people who did. I wanted someone to hold me though and drink in my sadness so it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Because it felt crazy to be so sad when I have five little things to be so happy for.
I’d posted on my large families board, one said: “oh it’s your age”, another reminded me we didn’t have to be done. I knew we were though. He didn’t want. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even imagine the comments I’d of received had we announced another one. “You don’t have to be done,” but I am. I have to be now. So much has stolen that choice from me now. So many people and so many things. 40 is coming. I am finally getting to the days I can watch the game and hang out with the adult people. I have to be done now. There is too much at stake.
I’m lucky to have Ritter now. Lucky to be able to breathe in his new. Holding him is like holding my own. And he knows my heart because he’s kind and an old soul. I’m lucky to have him.
Today though, I am going to feel sad. I am going to cry for you and remember the last day I held you. Making wet footprints, collecting the shells as though they were memories. Kissing baby heads and being a happy family that week. All that happy, I remember….