Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The boy who made it

This past Sunday, I became a godparent.

Daniel's nephew (well, my nephew too) was baptised. And we were asked to be his godparents.

There is a lot of history that I latch on to the back of this little child. He was born 3 and a half months after Alexander died.

Daniel's sister became pregnant with him literally days after we announced we were expecting our first child. She was 9 months postpartum with her second baby girl, and had talked about far into the future dreams of maybe having a thrid one day.  And 4 weeks later, she announced she was pregnant again.  She caught our baby bug.  He was the baby because of our baby, if you will.

This baby grew as my baby grew.

They would be 3 months apart.  At this time, Daniel had 4 neices, and only 1 nephew.  The last 4 babies in his family were girls.  I found out I was having a boy.  "If they're both boys, they'll be the best of friends... and cousins to boot."

His sister and I went through Christmas last year, pregnant. My first. Her third. But isn't it just awesome to have a pregnant buddy!?!

A bit of sarcasm above. Anyway...

I felt crowded.  A bit of my thunder was stolen. Someone is ALWAYS pregnant in this big Italian family... couldn't I just catch a break and be the only one in his direct family that was expecting a baby soon??

When Alexander was stillborn, my world froze.  I assumed his sister would remain pregnant forever with this 3rd baby of hers.  Or maybe, this baby would die too. I didn't want this to happen. It's almost as though my brain assumed it. "babies now die...". I couldn't wrap my head around her having a baby when mine was so simply gone. So perminemntly dead.

This baby was only ever around because Alexander was on his way.  This baby simply didn't fit anywhere in my future now that Alexander was gone.

We purposely took a trip at the end of May to Vancouver to get away for her due date. We got back on June 6th (her due date), and she was still pregnant. Blast!

She was now overdue.  And, she was GBS positive.  But that was nothing new to her.  She's had 2 healthy children while GBS positive.  But this time, she was anxious.  When we visited on the weekend (June 9) after our trip, gifts in tow, I could see her nerves were shot. 

The baby was born, a boy, on June 11th. Healthy, pink and alive.

My world crashed down all over again.  Not like it did when Alexander died... but it was gut wrenching to see his family embrace this boy... "finally another boy"... this little man... this son of theirs... this first son if theirs.  I was all alone with these feelings of tremendous sadness over his arrival.  Daniel's mother approached me the day we came to visit a week after his birth, and said, "I know this hurts, but see him once, and then it will all be okay...".  I was being ripped apart inside, seeing someone else live through all I lost. 

How did he make it, and mine not? How did the impossible happen, twice? (Impossible that mine died, and impossible that hers made it)  I didn't ever want him to die, I just couldn't ever imagine him to exist.

For months, I couldn't hold him. I didn't want to hold him. I didn't understand his existence.  I told Daniel I only saw an enigma.  Not a child.  I would look at him, and feel he somehow cheated death. But why him, and not mine?

Slowly the hurt associated with his birth faded.  He so evidently was someone elses child. He wasn't what I was missing.  But there was a hurt/let down feeling that followed me around when I thought of him... or knew I'd have to be around him.

He was the first baby born after Alexander. He will always be that first baby.

I don't know how or why...but my feeling towards this innocent baby changed. He somehow became Daniel's newest nephew, and not the heart breaking reminder that my son died. I no longer resented him, or his aliveness. He was just a boy... a different boy... he didn't have to be primarily that boy.

I've always loved babies... but over the past 5 years, I can honestly say I love his nieces and nephew. They've become my family. They've become my nieces and nephew.

Somehow, I found myself loving this one too.  This newest nephew.

We were approached in Auguest and asked to be his godparents. Our initial answer was no. We were 6 months out from losing our son... we simply couldn't bear the thought of being a "parent" of any kind to anyone other than our son.

We are extremely close with this sister (Daniel has 3). Her two daughters worship the ground I walk on, and I love them both to pieces. She was going to approach us after her second daughter was born, but she felt as if it would be pushing something on to our relationship - and she just didn't know if were we "ready" yet as a couple (Daniel and I). So she assured us this request to be her newest child's godparents wasn't out of pity.  It wasn't because we lost our son.  She truly wanted us as a part of her children's life, more so than an aunt and an uncle.

We sat with the decision for over a month.  And we ended up accepting.  It still didn't make complete sense to me why we were doing this.  I wanted to equally be an aunt all three of her children.  But eventually I let it all go, and let it all be love.

Here I am, 8 and a half months after losing my son.... 3 and half months pregnant with my second child... still sad... still missing my son ... but I am holding that baby, that boy, now 5 months old... ... and I feel nothing but love in my heart for him.

I didn't know if I'd ever get here...


  1. Beautiful. Simply beautiful!

    My sister had a child born 6 weeks before I lost Ava, and I was named the godparent to my other sisters daughter 3 months after our loss. This post resonated in me. It is a choice to love in the face of loss and you did it. You are a testament of strength.

  2. What a lucky little Godson you have.

    Well done mom. God mom. All of the above.

    Somehow love is what we are left with. Even when we are sad and hurting, love will still win. Thank goodness for that.

  3. This is wonderful of you. I would think this would be very, very hard. You're a wonderful godparent!

  4. Proud of the resilience and determination you have shown here. And also sorry for my slack commenting of late. Always here, always reading, always abiding.

  5. I am so impressed by your love and grace and strength. I still have a hard time relating to the other babies in the family and try to just be where I am with this. I am glad you are able to feel such pure love for this lucky little boy.
    Yes Caroline, love will still win.

  6. Veronica this is so very impressive. I continue to struggle with envy, anger and resentment toward other babies. I would not have been as graceful or level headed as you. Kudos!

  7. Oh man I get this. My good long time friend who had been at my sons birth had a baby 5 weeks after Camille died. She was my pregnant buddy. I didn't understand why my child died and hers didn't. I wished her child had died and not mine. I love her but anyone would choose it to happen to someone else. I couldn't be happy for her but I went and visited her and held him because in my world babies die. I was so worried he would die and how I would feel if I had never met or held him. They are our children's shadow baby. A forever reminder of what we lost. I love her son. Her son Is not my daughter but there is that constant visual reminder of what we have lost. They are living the life we were supposed to have. How we ended up having the tragedy befall us and not them is a weird crap shoot. I'm glad you can love him and be a part of his life. He is a boy. Not your boy. And you are a great aunt.

  8. It's so hard for those feelings not to overwhelm us. I struggled, so many good friends babies born after Amelia and it was meant to be me too! But then the babes with there innocence just get you, and they are not who we missing. Oh the complexities of this life after loss.

  9. This is a very sweet post <3 I am still not friends with my pregnant buddy. Her daughter was born a month after Nathaniel. I haven't seen her since, I haven't seen her daughter. My best friend told me she was pregnant only weeks after Nathaniel died. That baby was born and I haven't met her yet. I think she's eight months old now.

    Family is so different. It's great that your mother in law understands the pain to some degree, and maybe she has a point. Maybe to just look at the baby for a while, then the pain will go away. I keep waiting for the pain to go away, and then I can look at the babies who were born when Nathaniel was born. It just still hurts so much.

  10. Popped in to check on you an noticed you haven't posted in a while- everything ok? xox