Today is my son’s birthday.
It shouldn’t have been. He should have come last December, should have been a healthy 7 or 8 month old by now. That possibility seems so far in the past at this point that I struggle to remember what it felt like to just assume that your baby will live.
I think of Ezra so often as I carry his sister, kicking and squirming through my days, but I very rarely let myself think of the days leading up to and following his birth. I don’t let myself remember the horror of knowing what was going to happen and then waiting a week for a hospital bed, or the feeling of walking into that hospital knowing that we would leave him behind. As it starts to dawn on me that I’m going to give birth again, soon, I try not to remember what afterpains felt like, or what it was like to wake up engorged with milk that had nowhere to go. I don’t think about it much, I can’t, because I would never have made it 31 weeks into this pregnancy if I did. Wouldn’t survive the weeks to come.
But oh, I remember that baby. So, so tiny, and beautiful, and ours. We left flowers at the cemetery for him this weekend, and it does something important for me to see his name carved in metal, affixed to the earth, to think of him nestled there with Lauren’s mother for all time. He was born, a year ago today. He existed.
I remember spending much of last August hoping that when we got to this summer we’d be getting ready to welcome a second baby. That thought was a lifeline in so many ways, a bittersweet hope for the future. We’re here now, and we look forward, and I am filled with gratitude for this baby and my healthy pregnancy, but I don’t forget. Today is my son’s birthday.