Tonight I followed a beam of light in the hall to the baby’s room, where I found Phil just looking around, one hand on Benjamin’s reassembled crib. I choked back tears. Those who know Phil, and I mean really know him, know that he is driven by a strong sense of reason and fairness. What has happened to our family over these last 16 months has defied both. It’s easy to overlook how difficult this has been for him. Easier still when you couple his private nature with my almost exhibitionist style of grieving.
That encounter, while brief, reaffirmed for me that we’ve hit a significant milestone. (My husband would probably be surprised to know how much I trust his cues.) Our baby boy is now just weeks away from delivery. An ultrasound on Monday revealed that he’s big and strong. His movements have become smooth and purposeful. We can watch my belly lift in waves as he readjusts. The very same body that’s been a tomb to three babies is now brimming with life.
And it’s significant for me that we cross this milestone on the week of Thanksgiving. Counting my blessings has become somewhat of a mantra and a way of uncovering grace in the midst of grief. These last sixteen months have allowed me to redefine my relationships and forced me see myself through the eyes of the countless people who care for me. I’ve been rebuilt a few times since I delivered my stillborn baby girl sixteen months ago. She, along with the son and the twin I lost, have changed me in a most permanent way. They’ve changed Phil too. But I’ve learned that while the weight of memory is a constant in our lives, it also fluctuates. Some days it’s so heavy and dense we can hardly walk through it. Other days it lifts itself to reveal an impressive map of how far we’ve come.