My Dearest Caleb,
When I discovered I was pregnant with you, I had a million emotions go through me at one time. I was so happy to be a mother, I could burst. My heart fluttered at the thought of holding you in my arms and rocking you to sleep. I looked forward to all the first we were going to have together. I know your Daddy wasn’t there for us, but we would have made a great team. We were going to be great!
Your firsts started while you were still in my belly. The first time you kicked me, you were real. That simple gesture made me realize it was time to be a grown up. I knew it was time to give up my old ways of being selfish and immature. There were people who believed that I would never grow up and that you were not going to be in good hands. I knew better. Because of you, I got a real job and was going to get our own place. I had so many plans for us and with each passing moment, my excitement continued to grow.
I’d thought of sled riding, summer swimming, your first taste of ice cream. Your first skinned knee would have broken my heart, but I knew how to fix it and make it better with a kiss. Your grandma and Aunt Kourie were waiting to make cookies with you or teach you ways to drive me crazy. Grandpap took some time to warm up, but he was looking forward to March Madness with his new little Pitt fan. You had cousins waiting to meet you. Your Aunt Amy is a little older than Mommy, so your older cousins were really excited about the new baby. Mommy’s friend Courtney was counting down the seconds and was planning on finding reasons to come steal you for a day. Mommy’s best friend Staci was excited to have a playmate for her baby Alexis. As you can tell, before you were even a thought, everyone was in love with you. You were poised to be the luckiest baby in the world.
Mommy had never heard of Trisomy 18 before that fateful day at the hospital. I thought I was going down there to hear you weren’t grown as fast as expected. I was told it was probably something that could be fixed with some growth hormones. When the doctor told me the truth, I was devastated. Actually, there aren’t words that can possibly describe my feelings. I can only tell you it felt like I was hit by a Mack truck because I was playing in traffic. I was angry with the doctor, angry with God. How does one deal with the heartbreaking news of a child’s death? The doctor basically gave you an expiration date. I had never known what pain felt like until that day. All of my dreams were thrown away like yesterday’s trash. Instead of dreams, I had to come to terms with planning a funeral for you. I didn’t think it was fair considering what we’d been through already.
After the diagnosis, it came time to break the hearts of people who looked forward to you. Your grandma and Aunt Kourie took it the hardest. Grandma was looking forward to babysitting you while I was at work. Aunt Kourie was just looking forward to coming home from school to see you and teaching you things to make me nuts. Grandpap tried to be strong for Mommy’s sake, but inside he was torn to pieces. Aunt Amy and your cousins were just crushed because they wanted the new baby and wanted to play with you in the worst way. Staci cried and asked why this had to happen to us. Courtney came by almost every day for an update to make sure we were alright. We had an outpouring of support from people I hadn’t talked to in years.
For nine weeks, I help onto hope. I ate like crazy, trying to get your weight up, trying in vain to make you stronger. I started a blog hoping that someone would find comfort in our story. I cried a lot, even though I tried to fight it. I didn’t want you to feel my stress or pain. I wanted you to be as comfortable as possible. I’d hoped that maybe you’d be born alive and that you’d be able to come home with me, at least for a little bit. Maybe it was silly of me, but I was a mother hanging on to what little time I had left with you. Every kick was a true miracle because I knew it was you trying to pull through. You fought so hard, my little one.
When I went into labor, reality set in. There was an excellent chance you weren’t going to make it, a point driven home by every doctor that I’d talked to. I still allowed myself to live in fantasy until I knew for sure what the outcome would be. I told the doctors that there was no need to tell me they were sorry because I thought I’d have you for a while. We had the best doctors and nurses that day. They took amazing care of your Mommy and were incredibly supportive!
Giving birth was the best thing I’ve ever been through. The pain was easy to ignore. All I thought about was making sure you were coming into this world safely. I’d never pushed myself as hard as I did that day. Grandma and Aunt Kourie told me several times they were proud of me. They were by my side the entire time. Staci and Courtney waited outside with their ears to the door, and Aunt Amy came down as soon as she could. Grandpap had to work, but he was there at the end of the day.
You also got your fifteen minutes of fame as well. We had Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep come in and take pictures of us together so I would never forget your precious face or the feelings I had about that day. In March, Mommy was asked by the Tribune Review to be interviewed for an article about your pictures. I swelled with pride talking about you. You’ve made me so proud just for existing! I’ve raised money for Trisomy 18 and I’m planning more incredible things in your name. Your death will not be in vain.
When I saw your face for the first time, it was like being given the best gift on the planet. Your features were so perfect and you looked exactly like me. Your eyes were a sapphire blue unlike any I’d ever seen. I was the luckiest mother in the world! I got to spend the entire day holding you. A gift I would never replace, and I would give up anything do have just one more minute of that.
Since you’ve gone to be with Jesus, my life hasn’t been the same at all. I’ve become more adult and everyone has seen it. You never spoke a word or shown a gesture, but you single-handedly made me grow up. It wasn’t your responsibility and it wasn’t fair for you that you shouldered that burden. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done for me. Even though you’re not here with me physically, I feel you in everything I do. I feel your influence when I make decisions for myself. I never do anything without thinking about you first. I miss you every day, with every breath I take and every beat of my heart.
My Sweet Baby, I will never know what you would have become and that’s something I have to deal with. I’m happy you’ll never know pain and you’ve never known sin. You’re safely in Heaven watching over me and our family. I take great comfort in knowing that. Mommy loves you with all her heart. I will see you again one day, and I will have that moment to hold you again. I promise that I’ll hold you for eternity. Until then, I will dream of you.
Love you forever, like you for always,