Sixteen Weeks. This isn’t supposed to happen.
I remember how absolutely ecstatic we were to be your parents. All of the progress boards, craving memories, and pregnancy notes are still so fresh, even two and a half years later. We held it as close to the vest as we could for as long as we could, waiting for Christmas to come before sharing with family and taking my most favorite Christmas picture, heartbreaking as it is now.
We spent so much time figuring out how we wanted to tell your grandparents, from the old Bun-in-the-oven for Nana to a jar of Prego for Grandpa and Grammy Brown. complete with due date. We took that picture in front of the fireplace – our favorite place in the house – just to show everyone how incredibly happy we were to get to join the fraternity of parents. I chewed on whether or not to tell Dee about you since we hadn’t told anyone else yet, but she passed before I had made the decision… she would have been so happy to hear about you, even if she wouldn’t have been here to see you.
So many things were coming towards us now – replacing the window in and painting the nursery, finding enough of the correct type of chocolate for your momma (who never eats chocolate), making the inevitable cloth vs plastic diaper decision. But before we could get there, you left us. I remember the room so clearly, hearing from doctors we hadn’t seen before and feeling so absolutely angry that this could happen to us.
Sixteen weeks. This isn’t supposed to happen.
All we wanted was for you to stay with us, to grow and play and learn and do all of the things little boys are supposed to do, and every day it feels like you were stolen from us. Everyone says things like you were too precious to stay or it’s all part of the plan, but the only thing that mattered was that you weren’t here with us any more; we weren’t going to get to do the things we had been dreaming of. Our first baby, now only a dream we once had and are forever chasing after. We found out that we had lost you on February 6th, which is the coming of baby Jesus in the book of Luke (2:6)… I had to name you. I had to give you a reality that wasn’t just losing you. Because you belong to me, still.
There are times I feel guilty for talking about your brother so much more than I do about you. It’s so different knowing his diagnosis ahead of time, hearing about the likelihood that we would meet him, fighting for care let alone for a life with him. We met him, got to see his face and feel his hands and feet. We knew that he had my hair, and that he had his momma’s heart by how much he loved when she would lay down to cuddle with him. It’s hard to come back to these days, when my most cherished of dreams was extinguished before it become reality.
If I’m being fully honest – as this space is being dedicated to being – losing you taught us more about parenting than anything else could have short of having you here with us. Those sixteen weeks were the greatest of my life, and they taught us to be absolutely present with Jonah. We recorded everything we could, wrote everything down to preserve the experience, and kept every moment as precious as it deserved to be because we knew that it could be taken from us at any moment. Your legacy, sweet Luke, carried on in teaching us about how truly significant and fragile this life is. You keep my feet on the ground when I get caught up in changing winds, and you keep my heart soft. As these last few years have come through, you were the only thing that could have kept it from hardening under the pressure.
On this July 24th – the second anniversary of your due date – I want to tell you that you are the source of my greatest sense of self. You are my greatest achievement, my first dream come true, and my very first angel. My sweet baby Luke, I’m sorry we couldn’t do more to bring you home. You were our first love, and you will always be my baby.
Sixteen Weeks. This wasn’t supposed to happen… but thank God we had them with you. We love you