The Gifts

After losing my baby girl, a friend sent me a gift. It was a shawl, knit by a member of her church. I tried to wrap myself in it several times, but I just couldn’t. It hurt too much.
The shawl sat in my closet, neatly folded, all these many, many months. Recently, I pulled it from its spot. I tucked it into the bag that I will be taking to the hospital. Though I could not wrap myself in it, I intend to wrap my baby in it. 

Only very recently, I remembered a blanket that we have. It was knit for Quentin by a relative, with thick alternating pastels, one stripe of each color. A rainbow. I never think of this baby as my rainbow baby. Iris was my rainbow baby. I chose her name, meaning “rainbow,” with such love. We announced the pregnancy, saying “After a storm, there is a rainbow. Our rainbow baby is due July 28, 2016.” Then we lost her too. So this baby is not my rainbow baby.

But I thought of that rainbow blanket, wondered where it was. Couldn’t stand the thought of digging through the baby supplies we still have in storage. However, I had one thought. I had some baby blankets stored under the day bed in our guest room. The guest room that will become the nursery. On the off chance, I pulled out the storage tote of blankets. There was the rainbow blanket, right on top.

I know that babies in hospitals don’t really need many blankets. The hospital will give us one. But I am taking both. A dear friend of mine has offered to come and take photos while we are in the hospital. I had wanted photos done at some point, but also wanted a photographer that would be sensitive to the situation. It meant the world to me that she offered.

I thought back to the photos that I declined of both Nelle and Iris. How I vigorously shook my head and shut my eyes when the doctors asked me if I wanted to see them after delivery. How could I look? They were tiny shells of the lives that should have been. I still don’t regret that decision. But I regret not knowing them.

I have avoided the camera as much as possible during this pregnancy, not wanting to capture any “baby bump” photos. Some I could not avoid. Sometimes I specifically requested “neck up” photos so that the moment was not lost.

Once we have our baby safely in our arms, a moment I still can’t quite picture, we have blankets to enfold in meaning and photos to capture the moment.