Sunday, July 30, 2017

feathery wisps

Dear Nahum,

It surprised me. I was at a follow-up appointment and the doctor said she would do an ultrasound. I lay down for the inspection without really thinking twice about what was happening — after all, I had so many ultrasounds in the last eight months. But I kind of forgot what this scan would show, and the surprise was a sad one: on the screen we saw my womb, but there was no Nahum in it.

Every other time I remember seeing my womb, you were there. First as something so small and "gummi bear”-like, and later as a full-grown baby boy. But this time my womb was just an empty sack...
there was no woosh-woosh of your heart beat,
no lanky limbs rolling and punching,
no giggles when the doctor felt you head-butt her…
no Nahum.

Just a feathery wisp of fluid which the doctor pleasantly told me would

Nahum, sometimes I fear that the memories we made with you are like that feathery wisp in my womb — short-lived, on their way out. Even just a few weeks after meeting you, I worry that I will forget the precious details of our short time with you. Forget the other-earthly thrill of seeing and touching you for the first time. Forget how soft your skin was. Forget how much you weighed in my arms. Forget watching Grandma give you your first bath and dress you. Forget how Dad and Grandpa's tears bathed you again. Forget how the doctor went out of his way to tell us how beautiful your hands were.... Forget, because we have no fresh, new memories of you to keep replacing the older, fading ones.

Giving birth to a baby that most people didn't get to meet or hold feels like what the Bible calls "giving birth to the wind". I guess that is why I write, Nahum. Why I will make scrapbooks of your cards and albums of your pictures. Why we will talk about you regularly, especially with any little brothers or sisters God gives to you.

You were the first to inhabit my womb,
and we will never forget you.
Your place in my womb may have been temporary,
but you have a permanent place in our hearts.