At first the doctors thought you were just too small to see, and then they thought that I was losing you. Later they realized that I wasn't losing you, and they thought again, maybe you were too small to see! Maybe we just needed to wait. My heart soared with hope. On Friday we saw you for the first time, on the sonogram. I saw you. You were perfect, I heard your heart beat. I knew without needing to be told that you were in the wrong place, knew from the way the technician cocked her head, caught her lip between her teeth. From the way she wouldn't quite look at me. We looked at you together, not speaking, as she got all the pictures she needed, to be sure. You were so tiny, just beginning to form. And yet that heartbeat.
Things moved quickly after that, it was my Good Friday. I felt alone, I sat while doctors poked at me and took blood and I waited. They wheeled me away, into the operating room, and then I fell apart. I shivered and tears poured out of my eyes as I lay on my back under the lights. One of the doctors took my hand and I took some breaths and thought of sending you into pure beauty.
Since I woke up I have had peace. The first person I saw was your father, and I told him about where you had gone. My heart is glad, knowing that you are still alive, that you are in the Everlasting Arms. It was so hard to know that you were there and you were perfect, but that you couldn't live. But life is all around and you are alive and we are alive and the big thing, the big loss, which is the potential in you, the potential of who you would become, is not really lost. You are all that you are meant to be now, I believe, I think you are more beautiful that I would ever have been able to see here. I can't wait to meet you, to recognize you, to become all that I was meant to be when I shed this old self.
I know, without our loss being any less valid, that there would have been harder ways to lose you. I know many people who have lost children farther along, and in unfathomable ways, and my heart hurts for them. I pray for strength for all mothers and fathers who have empty arms. The doctors were afraid that I would be sad, being in the labor and delivery wing of the hospital, but they didn't realize that life was what I needed. I needed to remember that you are alive, and to remember that I have three very alive children who were born in the same way as all those crying babies in there. I have been blessed.
I joked with the nurses, afterwards, about how I avoided cesarean birth three times but still ended up with a cesarean wound. This scar is all yours, little one, I remember you with this burning pain in my gut, I will always remember that you were here, you have not passed without making a mark. I will always think of you, my fourth child, when I think of heaven. Heaven means meeting you.
All my love,
Chinua and I are so absolutely thankful and awed by all the love and support we have received through your letters and comments. Thank you for being such a great community to us. We will move through this into the Spring, and we are thankful for our friends being with us.