Today is a day to consider alternatives. In an alternative universe, my sweet Adam Gabriel may have turned three today (which was his due date). We would be celebrating this bouncing little man and all he would have become thus far. We may have been watching A.G. and Adrian interacting and growing their brotherly love right in front of us, making our joyful parenting hearts leap right out in front of us in that cartoon-thumping, sappy way.
Instead, today my husband had a surgery follow-up appointment (small surgery – he is fine) and we entered the same hospital complex where I gave birth to A.G.’s still body and left him 3.5 years ago. As we passed the labor and delivery unit, I commented on how there is still a photo of him at the hospital that the staff promised we could pick up if we ever felt we wanted it. (And I am coming around to recognizing a desire for it, but it has yet to outgrow my fear/sadness of making that phone call to ask for it. What do I say? “Ummmm, yes, my name is X and 3.5 years ago I had a baby…a miscarriage…a…and, well, I was told there might still be a picture of him….? Do you know who might know about that? Could you transfer me….? Thanks…”
So, getting back on point…today is a day of reflection. This year, I still know I am okay. I accept his journey was not supposed to be with us for longer than it was. I still feel sadness when I think of him and miss him deeply. I continue to be thankful for my time with him…and amazed that I truly feel like I knew him. It’s a day of reaffirming truths and disappointments. It’s a day to remember how much he changed me.
Tonight, I let Adrian snuggle with me for an extra moment before putting him in his crib for bed. I squeezed him close to me and kissed his chubby cheeks, knowing how special it is that I get to be with him today and every day. He is this truly happy, charming child who smiles with his eyes; loves to giggle and squeal; and lunges with his little arms, trying to pet our dog (who still wants little-to-nothing to do with this imposter).
Adrian doesn’t take away the pain of losing our other pregnancies. There is no replacement for losing A.G. and the others, and having dates all around the calendar that give me sorrowful twinges when they pass by. But, he does give me so much happiness and a reason to appreciate every day in a way I didn’t know I would ever get to experience. I have said this before, but I will not take this gift for granted. I know the struggle, the grief, and the confusion of infertility and loss, and I will savor every second of this alternative path – the one where I have a healthy biological son I get to watch grow, learn, and thrive. The grass is greener right here, right now…and although we didn’t eat a cake topped with three birthday candles today, this day is worth celebrating.