Just when I think there is nothing left that could possibly surprise me, Life throws us you.
When we saw those two little pink lines, your Papa and I sat around in a sort of stunned stupor for 2 full days. We just couldn’t believe it
“Just don’t get too attached,” I said to your Papa. I did not see how you could possibly exist and I wanted to brace myself against any heartbreak. But, several weeks later, I walked into a doctor’s office and saw your heart beating, strong and perfect. You were determined.
It took forever to get things worked out and find a doctor and by the time I saw you on that screen again, you were viable. I just stared at the miracle of you. There had been no time to rub my belly and daydream the way I did with your brothers. The most thought I had given you a day was the 5 seconds it took to wash down a prenatal vitamin in the morning and to scold you a bit when you jabbed me in the ribs with your tiny, dangerous feet. But you had been there, all along, growing into a perfect little person in spite of my thoughtlessness. You were determined.
And then…one day all too soon…they told me they were taking you. They rushed us to the hospital by ambulance and within 15 minutes had things ready to snatch you from me.
I am not going to lie, sweet pea: I totally lost it. No one would listen to me. Everything was noise and chaos and pain. I have never felt panic the way I felt it in that moment and I hope I will never feel it again. It was consuming. And ugly. And even now, I cannot name anything I want to remember about the day of your birth… except this:
Through it all, I could hear your heart beating on the monitor, strong and steady. I kept my eyes closed and just listened to your heart. As I sat on the operating table, the nurse said I should open my eyes and try to take everything in and I told her there was nothing at all I wanted to see. It was true, too. I am glad I don’t know what the ceiling looked like as it rolled by, or how the needle looked going into my arm, or the expressions on everyone’s faces when I begged them to please, please, please stop. I am glad I kept my eyes shut tight. And I hope that one day the beautiful sound of your beautiful heart followed by your beautiful cry is the only thing left in my mind at all about that horrible day.
They did not let me go see you. It took 5 days for me to be released and 10 days for you to join us. Those days seemed endless.
But every day, they told us how strong you were and how well you were doing. We never once got a bad report. Your heart stayed steady. You learned to breathe. You learned to eat. You figured it all out and you grew and grew. You, Rory Emerson, are determined.
Now, you are home with us and life is a total mess. I did not get to plan a nursery or fold your tiny clothes and place them carefully in your drawers. It is not at all what I wanted for you- for any of you. We are all just sort of existing and we move you from place to place while you sleep and eat and continue to grow.
As much as I hate it, I think you will probably be just fine.
If there is one positive thing I can take away from this experience (aside from you, of course)… it is how amazing people really are.
I have never felt more taken care of than I have since your birth. Nana took off work and stayed with us through everything, cooking and cleaning and shopping, playing with your brothers and keeping me company. Papa’s brand new company let him stay with us even though he had only been working for a week and they sent us beautiful flowers. Ms. Rachael picked your brothers up from the hospital, no questions asked, invited them over play, fed them and helped with responsibilities. Grams and Gramps let us use their car. Friends brought us delicious food, special treats; they sent tiny, adorable clothes for you to wear and beautiful cards. Our family even helped us pull together a birthday party for your brother in the middle of it all and now they are letting us stay with them while we figure out the rest. And people called and told us they were there if we needed them and told us how beautiful you were and every single thing meant so very much to us.
I never, ever dreamed we would be so lucky to have such an amazing village to support us when things got tangled. Every minute of every day since you were born I have felt grateful and blessed and completely humbled. And that is worth something. It is worth a whole lot.
I stare at you a lot, still in a stunned stupor. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why did you choose us? I can’t figure it out. I don’t even have a guess. You are a complete mystery to me.
What I do know though is that, for whatever reason, you are meant to be here, little boy… and…
…you are very, very loved.