Last Friday night, though as I drifted off to sleep I had a dream, that jolted me awake. I laid there in tears not sure if I was glad I had the dream or not. I saw a baby girl, not quite a year. She had those really fat baby feet that they have, round with no arch, with squishy toes pressed into a dark wood floor. She was just starting to walk, with those bouncing wavering steps. Swaying around from the shoulders up with short, whispy, auburn red hair flying around, straight as a stick and not a bit of it laying down. I don't know about other people but I don't dream in sound. I just see very vivid pictures, and strong emotions. There are times I know there is sound, but I don't actually hear anything. This was one of those times. I know she was babbling, and I "heard" mama in a string of other incoherent words. She was walking to someone, kinda like she was crossing a room from one side of the room to the other, and I was sitting in the corner watching just after she had passed by me.
It was the most vivid dream I've had in a long, long time. And only the second time, that I woke up feeling like I had dreamed of her. I was just struck all over again of everything that as her mother I've been robbed of. Her first birthday is coming up and I don't know what to do. Gary has already asked off of work, at my insistence. I'm on several baby loss groups, and I've seen lots of ideas. They typically visit their grave, do a balloon release, and have cake. Several light a candle in memory. Others do something else in particular every year, year after year to celebrate their child's "still birthday" after all they still were here. A woman in one group just the other day posted a picture at her daughter's stone, with a cupcake sitting on top, celebrating her 19th birthday. The reality that this is only the first of a lifetime of non-birthdays, is immensely depressing. Each year that passes will find me older, and her unchanged. The joy of celebrating our other children's birthdays for them of course is the cake and gifts, but for me it is the amazement of stopping to look through their photos and realizing just how much they have changed in the little moments that at the time had seemed to pass without change. Abigail will only have birthdays that are and aren't birthdays.
The memories we have will forever be limited to me yelling "I knew it!" while looking at a digital pregnancy test, while Gary was in the shower. Taking a photo the day after my twin brothers' birthday, while the kids hold signs that I kept insisting they quit trying to sound out the words. Sitting down at Red Lobster with mine and Gary's parents and watching them open a bag of candy and read the photos to the kids. A favorite new, green maternity shirt that I wore as often as possible. A single surprise ultrasound done alone, the first day of June. A single appointment where we heard her heartbeat, with Britt and Ruth working the doppler while the midwife held Rebecca up on the table by me. Buying a larger vehicle just for this new baby. And a last set of naive photos the morning of a truly awful ultrasound. A day long, strange form of labor that ended with having you to hold for less than 2 hours - two hours that will have to last a lifetime. A blur of a funeral. Ten snapshot memories in place of what should have been a lifetime. I'm not sure that I'll ever come to terms with it.
I hate child loss.