Welcome, October! You have been waited for with anticipation. Leaves changing, crisper (though not in my state, sadly, not yet!) temperatures… Apple picking, cider, horror flicks (if that’s your thing…), gearing up for Halloween and passing out candy for the littles.
October, with you, you also bring a state of remembrance. One in four women have experienced the loss of a baby – whether it’s through a miscarriage or a too-soon-death of a baby who’s born. October, you are a double-edged sword for me. I have two babies who were born this month, one dancing in Heaven.
But, I don’t want to talk about their deaths. I want to talk about them, and their lives. No matter how short they were, their lives mattered to me. And they still matter to me. I write this article for my youngest baby - she really isn't a baby anymore, she's almost 20, but I had reached out to her the other night and asked her for something to write about. Without hesitation, she asked me to write about her older siblings. This article is for her in hopes of giving her a chance to get to know her siblings she never got to meet. I know that my entire time with her, and all throughout her life, her siblings were watching out for her. I'm absolutely certain of this. I'm certain they still are looking out for her even now.
|Wolfie at around a week old|
Wolfgang, we always called him Wolfie, was born on a rainy Friday morning. 27th October 1995. He was 4#10oz, about 20 inches long. He didn’t have a lot of hair, but he had some, and it was a gorgeous reddish-blond (like mine).
He was what they call an ‘old soul.’ When you look into his eyes, it wasn’t that of an infant staring back at you. It was like a man in a baby’s body. I never understood that and always thought in the first few weeks of his little life that as he got older, that feeling of intensity would eventually diminish. It didn’t. And that’s okay. When he looked around, it was like he was memorizing everything around him. Trying to not just figure out what each thing or person was about, but just … it’s difficult to describe. If you, yourself have never seen it, it’s hard to describe so you would understand.
He was such a happy little dude. Grinned constantly. I remember he had this red and blue sweatshirt that when I’d hold it up to him, he’d crack up laughing. His giggle was so contagious. We played with this sweatshirt for easily twenty minutes. I’d hold it up to him, say his name, and he’d fall out laughing. Over a sweatshirt. Definitely my kid. Easily entertained, that one.
One of my favourite things to do with him that he really seemed to enjoy was library trips. There was a lady who would come in once a week to read to the kids, so I’d take him to the reading times and hold him in my lap so he could enjoy the stories being read and he could look around at all the bright colours of the books and the different decorations in the children’s section.
When the storytime was done, we’d load up on books (his stroller had a massive basket underneath the seat, so I’d fill it up with books and we’d go home and read whatever treasures we’d find. Even before he was born, I’d read to him. I read Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire to him not too long after I found out I was pregnant. Now that I have a copy again, I want to make that a yearly thing. For his birthday, I’m going to be watching Twister, because he loved Van Halen. Especially ‘Humans Being,’ which is on the Twister soundtrack, which is how I found out he liked Van Halen in the first place.
So, check it out: I had the car that day because I had stuff to do. So, I took his Dad to work and Wolfie and I did the stuff I needed to take care of for the day. Being it was Central Texas and summertime… it was, as you can imagine, pretty hot. My poor baby was having none of that mess. He wanted to go home (as did I, son, as did I) and he made his feelings on this matter abundantly clear to anyone within earshot. At one point, I decided alright, I’m going to see if I can calm him down by turning on some music. I mean, it works for me, if I’m having a bad day, so why not see if the apple fell too far from the tree, right?
We listened to a hard rock station that broadcast from Austin. One of the best stations I’ve ever heard. Period. The one here comes within about a fifth of how good the one down there was. There were a few songs come on, but nothing seemed to calm that child of mine down at all. Then… it happened. Van Halen’s then-super-popular ‘Humans Being’ came on, and my son was immediately quieted. The entire song, not a peep came from the back seat of my car. I thought, ‘Sweet. He cried himself to sleep, he can get a nap in on the drive home and if I’m lucky, I can get some stuff done while he naps in his room.’
|Wolfie just a few weeks before he passed away|
I had pulled over to take a look to make sure if he was okay, and he was wide awake, looking around with huge eyes like, ‘What is this gorgeous thing I am hearing!’ My baby was a Van Halen fan. Alrighty then. Soon as the song was over, oh, you’d have thought I committed all sorts of nasty crimes the way he sounded off at me! Like it was somehow my fault the song ended and I couldn’t get it back (no CD of it, or I so would have, gladly!). I tried consoling him as best I could, changing the station (only made it worse, so back to that station the radio went), nothing worked. I told him on the way home that I knew I was a horrible Mommy person, and I was tremendously sorry that I couldn’t bring those guys back onto the radio. That only made him madder. We got home, I changed him and put him down for a proper nap. It’s funny… He was a fairly quiet kinda baby. Didn’t fuss much. Boy, though, did he ever make up for that when his song went off the radio and he was already having a crap-tastic day having to run errands with Mommy in the Texas summer heat! My poor guy.
Generally, nowadays, when Van Halen comes on, I’ll change it, but if it’s ‘Humans Being,’ I’ll leave it on. That’s my son’s song, and always will be. I have a copy of Twister in my DVD collection now, so that’s going to be a yearly thing. Watch that and reflect on my little boy’s life.
Brittanney was born a couple years after Wolfie went Home. She was born on a rather nice Sunday evening. Due on 20 February 1999, she was born 19 weeks early on 11 October 1998.
She was a surprise, honestly. So, when I found out, I wasn’t sure how to respond to the news. After it sank in, I started to get excited. It’s rare if you see me excited about anything.
My time with her was too short. Her name came to her Dad and me in a dream (and we were in separate states at the time, how strange…). I do not put stock in dreams. At all. I know better. Joseph (the one who was sold into slavery by his brothers), as well as all the other people in the Bible who had messages from God in dreams… their situations were vastly and wildly different than mine, so I do not adhere to anything in dreams. However, when you have a dream that another person messages you and they have had the same identical dream, well, that’ll make you sit up and say, ‘hm..’ Not saying it was of God – I know better than to try putting words in His mouth – but it certainly wasn’t a coincidence (there’s no such thing).
I won’t go into the details of the dream, those are personal, and like I said, I don’t put stock in dreams. Sirach 34 is pretty clear about being cautious about doing that.
So, as any grieving parent can tell you, when you find out that there’s a baby, you have all these big hopes for that little person. Let them grow up to be xyz kind of person, do xyz thing with their lives, that sort of thing.
With me, I don’t really think I quite was able to do that with Britt. She was born at 21 weeks, but I tended to take things day-to-day with her. There was a lot going on in my life at that time, and because of all the things I’d gone through with my son during my time with him, it was kind of a big concern that they’d crop up again with her (thankfully they didn’t). Her father and I were on the outs (that was a whole thing I’ll not disclose here), but her Dad and I were happy to just take things as they came. He was busy with school, I was a full-time nanny, so we had pretty busy lives at the time, all the while getting ready for a new little person to join our lives.
Britt was a pretty active little baby. I remember she kept me up a lot when I started really feeling her move around. Her Dad went with me to all the appointments I had with my gyno, and he got really blown away when he saw her on the screen when they did an ultrasound to see her. He’d never seen one before, so his initial reaction was pretty cute. That ultrasound, however, changed everything for our little family.
We talked here and there about future plans with her, but they were all clouded over about what was going to happen next and when. We knew she wasn’t well. She had a birth defect that she didn’t survive.
Brittanney was born two days after my 23rd birthday, arriving at 6.59p EST. When she was born, one of the nurses baptised her for us. I, at first, had thought she was a nun, but no, she explained she was simply a nurse but was a Catholic and had seen on my admission paperwork that I had registered as such. She had done what’s called a conditional baptism, which can be done without a priest present.
One thing I want to note here, is a rather beautiful experience that happened when Brittanney was born. Within seconds after she came out, I heard in my right ear, giggling. Children giggling. I remember mentioning something about it, asking if anyone else heard it, too. The poor doctor who’d delivered her, he’d never delivered an anencephalic baby before, and he was a little startled by my statement. Poor guy thought I was delusional from ‘bleeding out’ and started barking orders about checking my vitals and whatnot. I told him I’m fine, but I know what I heard and wanted to know if anyone else had heard it, too. No one had.
So, I’m thinking that it was my little baby being reunited with my other little baby; I’m convinced he had come with Jesus to get her. I have been very comforted by that experience, in the midst of the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. To this day, and it’s been 21 years at the time of this writing, since she went Home, I still find comfort in that little few seconds in that room.
I miss both of my little babies. I miss them a lot. Every single day of my life. This time of year is especially difficult for me, but this year’s been full of surprises and beautiful experiences, spiritually speaking. Something that I’ve found is I’m drawing closer to Mama, and who better to talk to about the loss of a child than her, am I right? Someone who gets it and will legitimately love me enough to listen to me. She’s been there through each broken heartbeat since my little boy went Home, and then when my little girl went Home a little over sixteen months later.
It's been 23 years since Wolfie went Home and 21 years next Friday since Brittanney woke up in Jesus' arms. Sometimes I’ll have little experiences, a song or a random smell of roses or something of the sort that gives me a little nudge of, ‘Hey, I’m right here. You are loved.’
|The 'superglue' that keeps me held together, knowing that one day there won't be any more death!|
Truth to tell, if it weren't for these two precious People in my life, my Jesus and my Mama, I don't think things would've turned out the direction they have. I am and will be forever grateful to Them for having my back! Mama knows how to be a proper example to women how to take care of the children, how to love unconditionally and without resentment or reservation. I am so grateful to her for her example. My Jesus has been there for me when I thought no one was. And especially when no one else was.
St Margaret Mary Alacoque said, 'The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer than when you are full of joy.' She isn't wrong. :)