May 3rd was Alexander's due date. I fully expected him around Easter, honestly, but I just knew I'd be holding him yesterday. I didn't expect him to be a November baby...
I spent most of the weekend on the couch. Inside, I felt sad and rainy, just like the weather. I actually prefered the weather because it felt like Mother Nature was crying with me. I wrote in his journal and reflected on his life on the inside, his labor, his birth, and those precious few moments we had. For some reason, I kept coming back to his labor. My little breech boy who had to be different. When I woke up to a contraction and just knew it was "time", Peter assumed the position and started looking for him. That first push and I heard, "Stop, don't push. I see his foot." I remember laughing. Both at the idea that he was backwards and at the idea of telling a pregnant woman in labor not to push. But I didn't. And Peter reached in and helped his second leg, which was caught make it's entrance into the world. The next push and he told me that he was holding our son. The third push and he was completely out. I could see his little shoulders moving and his legs kicking as Peter held him and kept him warm. With my last ounce of strength, I pressed the call button for our nurse. For whatever reason, this scene played itself over and over again.
As I looked at his pictures, I remembered him putting his little hand up to his mouth, looking to suck the thumb that he had found comforting in the womb. Of all his pictures, that one is my favorite... The one where he found his thumb and went to sleep for the last time. It's the picture that crushes me and the one that brings me the most joy. They all make me smile, but that one, the most.
I know that a due date is an estimation of a child's birthday and that, once that child is born, typically, a due date is forgotten. But for those of us who gave birth prematurely and whose child or children died as a result of that (or who possibly died before we gave birth), those due dates were "the" date. They were the mark in the sand we were shooting for.... and we fell short. And it hurts. That day rolls around as a reminder of the days on the calendar that we missed. The anguish is palpable.
We sang "You Are Mine" in church... Fitting. That was the song we've sang to each of our children immediately after their births. "Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me; I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine."