Dad's full of nicknames, eh, Sloan?
i want to tell you your story too.
i was sure a different girl when i found out you were coming than i had been when i found out Cai was coming. i had experienced so many new things - being a wife & a mama, the isolation of moving far away from all our friends & my family, staying home & keeping house - rather than working or going to school for the first time in my life.
But by far the thing that had left me most changed was losing Caleb.
You were conceived the month after his loss.
Gone were any cocky notions that i was 'made to have babies'. i saw myself as a broken vessel - & prayed that God would spare you despite the fact that i had been unable to protect your brother. Your pregnancy milestones were touched with a yearning for my other baby... when we announced our pregnancy, we should have been announcing a baby's birth - & i wanted all 3 of my babies... & i always felt a gnawing pain knowing that in this life, that would never be so.
As a result, i was ready for you to be born from the moment i knew you were coming. i didn't want to wait what felt like a torturous 9 months for you to grow - i wanted you safe in my arms now.
We went for an extra ultrasound with you - to make sure all was well... i'm not sure if it was to accomplish anything more than peace of mind as we had had an ultrasound with Caleb at 12 weeks & all had been well in baby land... but suddenly, for no reason at week 16, his little life ended...
When we went for a second ultrasound, (your placenta had been a little low, so the doctors had wanted to double check on that) - i told daddy i wanted to know if you were a boy or girl. Dad was a big fan of the 'surprise' - but he knew that in my fragile state, i wanted something i could hold onto - so he let me find out.
The doctor performing the ultrasound had propped the monitor so i could see too & as he scanned your perfect little body, i saw what i was looking for without anyone telling me.
"It's a girl..." i breathed.
My imagination went wild.
We picked your name - & taught Cairo to call you by it. & as the months slowly dragged by - i learned that some things were just out of my control - & i was going to have to wait for you - like it or not. People told me that i shouldn't grieve so hard - as it would be hard on the baby inside. i sat at my piano & cried & sang - cairo nestling her white head against me & you - my comfort - you grew, despite their warnings.
At last, the days dwindled into the single digits. i felt sure that you would soon be here - & almost nightly, i would sit up, timing contractions, praying that you would come.
Finally - *finally* - the day came. My doctor - likely knowing my heart - had sent me for a non stress test 4 days past your "due date". i drove to the hospital where they informed me that i was in labour. As i wasn't in any pain, i decided to just walk around, let daddy finish his shift & come when he was able. Since Cai's birth had been so quick, i thought yours would be too - but turned as you were in the birth canal, it would end up being a long, testing day.
Hours later, daddy arrived - with his cheerful, happy face adding to my strength - & together we laboured several more hours.
The intensity of the contractions brought back memories of both my first birthing, and that of your brother, though he had been only 16 weeks.
When i didn't think i could do it anymore, the doctor told me it would only be a couple more hours... i lost hope till i saw the nurse mouthing the words, "NO WAY" behind his back. As he left the room, she held my hand & said, "You're almost done, honey, you can do this..."
She was right.
Within 20 minutes, you were born.
Is she alive? Did God grant life?
Sloanie - you were tiny. You had a soft little mound of dark hair & your wee face had been squished & marked with stork bites. Your nose was crooked from your long, difficult journey & though you cried before you were fully born, almost instantly, you stopped & gazed around the room with wise dark eyes.
My whole body shook with the exertion & effort it had taken to birth you & the emotion that grew when the sound of your voice filled a gaping hole in my heart.
Finally - kind hands wrapped us both in warm blankets and i crooned, sobbing, touching noses with this fresh life with whom i already felt fully connected.
i wanted to nurse you right away - and you were hungry too.
By the time we were settled - it was late. i was tired - but you weren't. Your dark eyes didn't want to close... almost like you had been as anxious to come out as i had been to have you out. We spent that first night, in exhausted wonder - each staring at the other - memorizing each others features, captivated with the change of scenery & the scent of *hope*.
Cairo loved you.
"Hold her! Hold her!" She cried cupping her tiny baby hands in front of her.
From the moment she laid eyes on you, the 2 of you have been inseparable. Each fiercely loyal to the other - companions. Faithful, steadfast, unwavering. An inspiration to your daddy and me as we try to instill a heart of love in our family.
So, bones, maybe your story isn't as eloquent, or as innocent as Cai's story.
Your story is one of desire & hope.
Your story includes scenes of heartbreak & sorrow.
Your story found me at a weak place...
i wouldn't trade your story for any other story in the world, 'cause your story -
brought us you.
"I never saw you so small before, not even when you were nursing the primrose."
"Must you see me every size that can be measured before you know me, Diamond?"
- At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (Sloanie's favourite book at the time of this writing... )