Friday, August 28, 2009


We called you Kicker before you had a name. Its funny, because we had a girl's name picked out before we tried to make you. But not a name for a boy. Your daddy was named after his father and grandfather, so I had thought a son would be another Edward. But your daddy did not want you to be "the fourth." Your daddy has never gone by his "real" name in his life--he's always been Chip. Like your uncle, who is also a "third." But that's another story, I suppose. He wanted you to have your own name. And how we debated it! I wanted a classic name, but he wanted something unusual. We looked at baby-name websites, played alphabet games (Alex? Brandon? Charles?) but we couldn't agree.

The funniest thing was, at first, we both thought you would be a girl, so choosing a boy's name seemed kind of irrelevant. We debated all the way through the 19 weeks, when we went for the ultrasound to find out if it mattered.

The technician wasn't sure. She said she thought you were a boy, but that we "shouldn't paint the nursery yet." The doctor was a bit more certain, but wouldn't commit. And I remember that I felt disappointed; I'd never actually even imagined having a son. I wasn't thrilled at first. But it didn't take more than a couple of days before I came around. I realized how many truly wonderful men you would be raised around. I started thinking how wonderfully, perfectly a little boy would fit into our life. The biggest moment was when your daddy's mother and I went though baby pictures of him. You already looked like him on the ultrasound, and when I finally saw pictures of what he looked like as a baby, I could see you. I could see you as clearly as if you'd already been born. And I fell wholeheartedly, completely, irrevocably in love with you. My son, the boy I never realized I wanted, the son I suddenly couldn't imagine living without.

A few days later, your daddy suggested the name Cedar. We tried that out a bit and rather liked it, but it still didn't quite fit. Then one day, out of the blue, I said "What about Isaac?" It had been one of your daddy's first suggestions, but I'd rejected it at the time. And your father, contrary soul that he is, said he wasn't sure. But within an hour we had settled on Isaac Cedar as your name, and from that moment on, I never thought of you as anything else. But we agreed that we'd still call you Kicker until we knew for sure.

It wasn't until after you were gone I found out that Isaac means "laughter." Maybe that's why it was so well suited to you. Daddy and I laugh most of the time. Even in the darkest hours, we laughed at times. The doctors, the nurses, the counsellors--all of them remarked on how much we all laughed. It was so obviously your name!

But Kicker fit for a while too. My, but how you could kick! I think of it sometimes and laugh (sometimes it makes me cry). You kicked and squirmed so much, and all the while you were doing it with one little leg. When I held you, I couldn't help noticing how muscular that leg was--how perfectly shaped, how well developed. You would kick so hard it would make me gasp. Once, I started to stand up from a chair, and you kicked so hard it felt like you were going to fall right out through my belly!

I felt you move early, too. May 22, only 15 weeks. I was already pretty sure I was feeling something at 13 and a half weeks; a deep, tingling feeling, like my uterus was falling asleep. But I thought that couldn't be it, since supposedly you don't feel things that early in a first pregnancy. On May 22 I went for a massage, and while I was lying relaxed on the table, I felt you roll over pretty clearly.

After that first kick, you never stopped. Within days I could feel you regularly. On June 6 you were kicking hard enough that your daddy could feel you too. And on July 2 I looked at my belly and saw the bulge of your little foot pushing out. So active so early--did you know you wouldn't be staying? You made your presence known so quickly. Even the very first symptom of your existence was only a week after we made you. And you were instantly the center of our lives.

You still are.

I want to remember everything, every moment of your visit. It terrifies me that someday those precious weeks will fade; that things will blur together. I kept a little diary of your life--one of those "pregnancy organizers," which I've barely been able to look at until now. Today I'm able to page through it. Someday I'll read every word again. Someday I'll pull out the ultrasound pictures and put things in the empty scrapbook that's waiting for your life to spread out in it. Someday. But not today. Today remembering is enough.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Still Without Words

I haven't been able to write. I can't find words these last few days. I wanted to post happy memories of my pregnancy, inspired to do so by a post on a support board. I still want to write about your birth. I want to write so much but none of the words will come. No words today, no tears either; even going to my Make-Me-Cry playlist hasn't eased this. I hurt, but mostly I just feel tired and anxious.

I miss you so much. Sometimes I'm so shocked that you're never coming back, that I'm never going to hold you again. Other times it seems like you were never here at all. I miss your little kicks. I miss wishing I could have a drink or a cigarette. I miss fretting because you were having a quiet day. I miss how your daddy would sleep with his hand curled around the roundness that was you. I miss how you'd kick him in the back while I was trying to sleep. I even miss being so achingly tired at work that I thought I'd never survive the shift--it's easier to be there now, but so much lonelier.

Your daddy and I are already talking about "trying again." But sometimes I feel like that's disloyal to you. Especially on those days when I feel like you never really were here. Those are bad days. I'm afraid you'll think we didn't really love you; that you weren't the epicenter of our universe. That you didn't matter. That you don't matter. Because you do. Oh, you do--there isn't a moment I'm not thinking of you and missing you. You are and always will be my son, my first child. My beloved.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I got a letter today. A bland, unemotional letter from the hospital, that blandly, unemotionally told me that your ashes are ready to be picked up. I didn't see it coming; somebody told me that I'd get a phone call when I could bring you home. I made up a story about how it would be; it would probably come while I was at work and that would suck and would I need to go home etc. etc. etc. I never expected some cold printout.

I expected a bill. I opened it up and the words hit me with such force that I fell to the floor and sobbed. I can't remember the last time pain took the legs out from under me. The bruises on my knees are still fresh. I lay there on the floor and just wailed.

The strange thing is, I somehow knew it was happening this week. In the past few days I've had all sorts of intrusive, tormented thoughts about where your tiny body was. Stranger than that is that your daddy has been having the same thoughts all week. Somehow we knew.

I'm relieved and I'm sadder than ever. I'm glad you're coming home, that where you are is no longer a mystery. But now there's nothing but ashes, with a finality I did and didn't expect.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Hard Day

Today is hard. It isn't any special day. I don't know why. I'm so angry, and so sad, and so very lonely.

I never had something so bad happen that couldn't be fixed. It isn't like I lived some charmed, pain-free life. Far from it. Lots of terrible, painful things have happened in my life. I've mourned, I've grieved, I've cried, I've learned...but all of it was something I could "get better" from. But you being gone--it's un-fixable.

Sometimes its like I'm pregnant with your memory--I can no more put you down and walk away from you than when you were safe inside me. I can't feel your kicks in my belly anymore; now you kick in my heart. You're here but you're gone and you're never coming back.

I'm trying to clean the bedroom today--I need to put away the maternity clothes, but I can't bring myself to. The sight of them brings pain, but the thought of folding them up and putting them away doesn't feel right either. I hate almost all my clothes--I don't really fit in anything. I've gained more weight in my pain than when I was carrying you. I'm eating like a defiant child, not really caring what goes into my body. If I'm not nourishing you it's like I can't see a reason to nourish me. Don't have much more appetite than when you were here, but sometimes I find myself eating to fill the void. I feel ugly and fat in everything--and in mortal terror that someone will think I'm still pregnant.

I can't seem to move in any direction right now. I feel guilty for sitting in my pain, listening to music that makes me cry, brings the dull gnawing ache to a clarity, in hopes that this too shall pass. But sometimes I feel guilty when I'm not sad; I question my own happiness when it comes, doubt my own peace when I find it.

I am more aware of magic because of you. A bird landing in a tree, a deer seen unexpected in someone's yard, rainbows, snow in the springtime, beautiful clouds; when you were still here, I saw them and thought they were miracles just like you. Now that you're gone, you're in every beautiful thing I see. Often it's a comfort, but there are moments that I cry that you'll never see them. Never point out something mundane with your child's wonder, never squeal with joy at the sight of a soap bubble, never chase a butterfly. The list of things you won't do aches.

And I'm so angry. I want you back. I want the innocent faith that nothing truly bad could happen to us. I don't want to be grateful sometimes. I want to scream, to yell and swear. Why couldn't we be normal? Why did there have to be some genetic specter lying in wait? Why does it still have to be there, threatening any siblings you might someday have? Why does something so normal as having a baby have to rest on the edge of a coin toss?

Sometimes I feel like there's some greater plan at work.

Sometimes I want to kick the shit out of whoever planned it.