I lay on our sofa, bundled in a blanket. My mom sat on the opposite end, holding my week old baby, reading a book to him.
Every day, everywhere, babies are born
Every day, everywhere, babies are kissed
Every day, everywhere, babies are loved
And then the tears flowed, and then gushed. A deluge of hot, salty streams ran down my face. My brother asked why I was crying, and my mom told him that I was just so emotional and glad that my baby was finally here. While that was so very true, the twisting ache in my chest made me realize that wasn’t the whole truth.
Just a few days earlier I had gone through the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life. But the labor pains brought on by the birth of my son were not the first I had ever experienced. My body knew the story. It had been there before.
In the middle of our first winter as a married couple, I sat on the bathroom floor, leaning against the hot radiator hoping to find some relief for my aching back. The pain came in waves, peaked, and eased back. They grew stronger and closer together, and after a few hours I managed to crawl back into bed. I shook, and moaned, and cried. And then the pain stopped. My husband walked me back to the bathroom, and I soon held the remnants of our first child in my hands. It was the first time I held our baby outside of my body. The last time would be when I handed the tiny casket over to my husband right before he knelt down to place our baby into the ground.
Now here I was, just two years later, snuggling a tiny new baby. I had spent so many months worried that he wouldn't make it, but he did, and he was real, and he was in my arms. He wasn't a replacement, and he couldn't take away the memory of a baby I never got to know, but he was, and continues to be, balm for my soul. His presence has eased the ache in my heart.
There was a baby who was never born
There was a baby who was never kissed
There is a baby that will forever, and ever be loved
(This blanket was knit by my aunt who made it for our first baby)