Dear Ander, three days before your due date,
I want to tell you about all the amazing things you got to do before you were born. You were at the engagement dinner for Aunt M and Uncle E at Mercat de la Planxa, where we ate butternut squash ravioli (among other amazing things). You went to a Cubs game (or two?) with K and J and their baby-in-the-belly, Abigail. You went camping, and when you were just a little tadpole, you learned how to whitewater canoe with your mommies. You did a lot of traveling, though I don’t think you liked flying much, and you really didn’t like the trains. You ate chicken parmesan at Italian Fest heard S. Archbold, a 12-year-old male opera singer, who was fantastic. You walked with us on the beach at Kohler-Andre State Park on a beautiful, hot day and boogied (gently) at the Dancing Festival in Millennium Park (mostly, you liked watching M and E dance). We had a bad day on the night we saw the dancing at Pritzker Pavilion though; your mama was grouchy and really tired and not looking forward to the bike ride home; she was also nauseated and bummed that she missed seeing a great Washington Ballet dancer do his jumps. So that’s not the best memory, maybe.
Your mommy believes that the night before you died, you gave us a gift. On Thursday, we held you, and your sats went from the 60s to the 80s. We hoped that, like the night before you first coded, you would stay there for a while, maybe for good this time. With you so stable, we got some solid sleep for the first time in several nights. Thank you for that gift, for hitting the 80s for you mamas so that we could rest physically and emotionally in preparation for Friday, which we now know was your last day with us. Thank you, baby, for that gift of sleep.
We never got to hear you cry, but I cherished the little “squeaks” that were caused by air leaks around your ventilator tube. I hope it wasn’t you crying; you didn’t otherwise seem upset. In fact, they were often evident when we were holding you, when you would push your little feet against my belly to nuzzle up closer to my heart and my chin. I would drop my head to nuzzle my chin against your downy head; the best feeling in the world.
It’s still hard to feel like your mama, since we never really got to mother you. But we did, a bit. We changed your diapers, took your temperature, wiped your nose and eyes and mouth, fed you colostrum swabs, and cuddled and loved you for days. We sang to you and told you how proud we were of you, and we felt the most powerful love that I still don’t believe could ever be replicated. We so, so wish we could have kept you longer.