5 Weeks, 5 Days

I’ve been thinking about you a lot these past few weeks.

It’s not fair that you didn’t get a chance to live the life you deserved. I’m hoping that somewhere and somehow, you’ve been restored. Perhaps born into a magnificent and loving family, where you’ll grow up to be an amazing writer or a world-famous opera star.

I wanted you so badly. I didn’t even realize just how much, until you were no more.
You just left. Just like that. One day I’m dreaming of cribs and baby strollers, coming up with names for you with your Dad, and then the next—you were gone.

I’m trying to be okay with it. EVERYONE tells me that you weren’t ready. The time wasn’t right. There will be more chances. This is not the end…

I hear the words, but they don’t really stick.

I’m no idiot. I know we can try again and maybe in a few months or so, and we might. But, the pain of not having you stays with me. It may not be THE END, but it’s the end of your life, and that makes me incredibly sad.

I’m not sure if it makes even a small difference, but, I want you to know that I loved you. Even at the beginning stage that you were in, at 5 weeks and 5 days, you were loved. You are still loved. My heart is broken over losing you. 5 weeks and 5 days. That’s when my body decided that it was time to let you go. At 5 weeks and 5 days, every dream that I had for you was lost.

Losing you was no ‘small thing’. It was not insignificant. It was not a case of simply moving on. It was a tragic event, losing you, and your family is mourning you. Your Mom…is mourning you.

We are saddened that we never got a chance to see you, to hold you, to hug and kiss you. You didn’t get to appreciate how truly incredible your Dad is, or experience how loving he is. He’s a fun Dad, and you would have been the light in his life. I know this because I’ve seen how he is with your Sister. She thinks that your Dad hung the moon, and the two of them are peas in a pod, always joking and laughing and teasing each other. I know that had you lived, you would have made their duo a trio, and I would have been outnumbered.

I know that had you lived, you would have come to me with your aches and pains, fevers and knee-scrapes. I would have kissed all the boo-boos, and hugged away all the hurt.

The day after I initially discovered I was expecting you, I did what mothers do—I started to dream. Then I did what writers do, and wrote to you. When I composed this letter, I had envisioned presenting it to you on your 18th birthday, framed alongside our first family photo.

Looking back now, it seems strangely like foreshadowing. One of those divergent events that makes life feel as if every single one of us are pawns in a giant game of chess that is being played by a higher power.

Hi you.

It’s been 13 years since the last time I did this, so please allow me this moment for reflection.

When I got pregnant with your Sister, I was 25. My ankles didn’t swell like they do now, I wasn’t married (yet), and it all felt like a game of house. You’ll find out one day that game turned into something very different and real. But that is a chat for another day. Today, this is about you.

I had my suspicions. I rarely get motion sickness unless I’m on a cruise ship (which is a laugh in itself as your Daddy worked on one for something like a decade), and that one time that I discovered that I was going to have your Sister (It was on a road trip, back from Vegas. I got carsick and then ate an entire Arby’s value meal). So, when I got dizzy and nauseous on the train during my morning ride into work, I suspected something was up. Since your Dad and I had been trying to have you for well over two years however, I just figured that ‘you’ weren’t going to happen…and tried to push that train episode to the back of my mind, trying to believe that it was a touch of anemia or too much or too little coffee.

Then yesterday, I found myself driving to the pharmacy on the way home from work. I bought a 2-pack of EPT tests, and smuggled them home in my backpack. Quite randomly your Dad and Sister weren’t home, so I had the time and privacy to tuck away to the master bathroom and pee on this plastic stick that would reveal our fates. Almost immediately, that little plus sign showed up in the window, and I panicked. This. Was. Happening.

You are real.

Your Dad’s birthday is a few days away, and so, I took that plastic pregnancy positive stick, and put it in a Swarovski gift box (the same box that held the bracelet that I wore on my wedding day) and waited for your Dad to come home.
Ten minutes later, your Dad and Sister arrived home, having gone to the store grocery shopping. Your Dad was busy putting the groceries away and your Sister went to the kitchen table to do her homework. I was antsy. Your Dad was going on about the Internet being out or something like that. I didn’t hear him at all. I was bursting.

I grabbed the bags, and told him I needed to talk to him immediately upstairs. He asked if everything was all right, and I said it was, but that I wanted to give him a gift. As we were walking up the stairs, he said ‘Are you pregnant?’ He was joking, but I went silent for a moment then told him to be quiet.

Once we were in the bedroom, out of earshot of the kitchen, I presented him with the box. In my mind, I had prepared this speech, but only got about two words into it before I burst out crying.

He opened the box, and looked at the stick for a moment. Then he looked up at me. “Are you serious?” (Coincidentally, this was also my response when your Dad proposed to me. Apparently, we both expect the best things in life to be jokes, instead of believing right off the bat that good things can happen to good people.)

You have been a dream of your Dad’s for a very long time. He may have sailed around the world a few times over, may have had the best of everything in life, but he’s never had someone give him the gift of a life. It may be needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway; you are your Dad’s best birthday present, ever.

Your Sister is trying to act tough about the prospect of you, but she’ll come around. She loves me, and has already said that she’ll protect your Mama, so…that’s a good sign. She has also appointed herself as the official ‘belly guard’, vowing to smack away the hands of anyone who tries to touch my stomach without asking. I love that she has this insight and tenacity. Your Sister is one of the strongest people you will ever meet, and you are so incredibly lucky to have her in your corner.

When I was expecting your Sister, I wrote her a letter that included my wishes for her life. Many of those wishes were altered because of the fragility of living. So, I won’t do that for you now. Not because I don’t wish for things for your life, but because I know that life has its own way of spinning wishes. Here’s what I will say; I will do everything in my power to make sure you are healthy, and happy, and educated.

I’m so incredibly blessed to have you, and I will never take that for granted. Thanks for being mine, for being ours. You’re going to love being a DeMott.

While I do anticipate your arrival, I want you to take your time. Grow. Form those arms and legs, fingers and toes. Grow your heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs. Bake well. Once you’re ready to meet us, we will be waiting with open arms and tons of love to give.

I love you already.
Your Mom

A week after I wrote you that letter, you were gone. A loss I still feel months later.

Wherever you are, and I have to believe that you are somewhere out there in the celestial makeup; know that whoever gets to have you is incredibly lucky. No matter what happens, you will always be a part of me. I will always miss you, and I absolutely love you. Perhaps I’ll meet you in the next round of Chess.

Until then—xo, from your Mom.

One thought on “5 Weeks, 5 Days

  1. Oh my goodness, what a stunning piece, heart wrenching, so moving. I am so sorry for your loss (you are such a good writer, part of me wonders if it is fiction) but my sense is this is real. Thank you for this amazing piece. From Lisa Kotin Hope you have some time to comfort yourself.❤️

    Like

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