11:45p.m. August 25, 2015
In twenty minutes, four years ago, you came into this world. About this time I would have been strapped down in an ambulance, breathing through contractions, and wondering if we were going to make it to the hospital.
I remember the moment you were born, in a wave of panic and fear, I pushed you out even though I was trying so hard not to. I remember taking big gulps of air, sobbing, praying you were alive. The paramedics and accompanying doctor were to the side, I couldn’t see you. One of them glanced at me and said, “We aren’t ignoring you, we are just taking care of the baby right now, hold tight.”
I remember asking if you were alive, and the startled, concerned look the paramedic gave me with a quick affirmative reply. From the look on his face, he felt bad he hadn’t announced that fact. You were here, alive. Soon your cries confirmed it. They marveled that you had the strength and lung capacity to cry out loud. It was the first sign of your tenacity.
Four years ago, you were the answer to prayers. You were my miracle baby. We waited so long for you. It’s hard to look back at pictures. To flip through and see the joy and pride shining in my face as I held you… and then to see my face slowly change as you got sick… and sicker and sicker. My face turned grim. Hopeful and hopeless all at the same time. Fear and uncertainty clouded the brightness of newfound love.
It was my turn to be tenacious. So hold on to hope, to wait, to pray, to fight for you. To fight alongside you, really, as even at your sickest you still surprised the care-givers with your strength. You tried to stay. Ultimately, it was the unexplainable brain bleed that took you away. I think if it had just been your bowels, your drive to stay would have made you survive the surgery you needed. But even the most tenacious baby can’t stay when the brain begins shutting down. I remember the day your eyes went glossy, when your little mouth started drooping. Your body was here, but your mind was gone, with your soul soon to follow.
It is still my turn to be tenacious. I didn’t want to be. I wanted to follow you. I wanted the world to end, for it all to be over. But in just three months, you had a sibling on the way, and I had to make the decision to find a new “okay.” I had to find the willpower to find as much healing as I could here on earth, so I could be the best mom to this new little one who would be reliant on me.
I don’t know if your birthday will ever get easier for me. With each passing year it feels utterly surreal that so much time has passed. Saying happy birthday seems such a strange thing to say. You aren’t here, which is the most unhappiest thing in the world to me. But you were here, and I remember the happiness you brought. I got to spend 18 days with you, and I would never take them back for anything. I am so happy and honoured that I get to be your mommy.
Our story isn’t an easy one, but I will keep telling it. You are missed, Rory Rose. You fill our hearts and minds with an aching to know you, to know who you would be and what you would look like. I ache to know the sound of your voice, of your giggle, of your laugh. I wish I was buying you dresses and fighting with you over what to wear every day. I wish I knew if you would have dirty blonde hair like Kadon, or if you’d be a light blonde like Eli. I wish I knew if your dark, dark eyes had faded to brown or brightened to blue. 18 days wasn’t long enough. No amount of time would have been long enough. But we are the only ones bereft. I know you are fine. More than fine. And I know I’ll see you again. So until then, I’ll keep thinking of you. I’ll keep wondering and wishing. I’ll keep grieving and telling your story. And I’ll keep wishing you a happy birthday.