that one small extra yopp put it over!
finally! at last! from that speck on that clover,
their voices were heard! they rang out clear and clean.
and the elephant smiled, "do you see what i mean?
they've proved they are persons, no matter how small.
and their whole world was saved by the smallest of all!"
horton hears a who
"Your baby's critical development will tail off in the next couple of days and weeks. His main task during the next six months will be to grow larger and stronger."
"Your baby has reached the maintenance phase. All the major organs in formed, now they need to get bigger to support a bigger body outside the womb."
"His liver is making bile and her kidneys are secreting urine into her bladder. He can close his fingers, curl his toes and clench his eye muscles when exposed to bright light."
"His ears are almost in their final positions on the side of his head. Tiny fingerprints are now at the tips of her fingers (get that ink ready!)."
"Your baby has sucking muscles in her cheeks, so when you poke your tummy gently she will feel it and start rooting, preparing for survival in just a few months."
"If you're having a girl, she now has approximately 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Half of your future grandchildren are inside you, too!"
"He may potentially be able to suck his thumb. Vocal cords created, preparing for the very first cry."
(The following images are other babies at Ryan's last week of life.)
One of my after-midnight-routine these days is to spend time googling development and progress at the age Ryan died. I feel like there was so much I didn't get to know about him, so studying and reading and re-reading what happens week by week, day by day if I can find it helps me. It makes me feel more like a mother to my child than a freak-science-expirament. The more I can (kind of) know about him, the better. I don't know how many drawings, ultrasounds, real photographs and diagrams I've scrolled through of other babies at Ryan's age. I didn't get to see him very well when he was born. He was wrapped up in lots of tissue, cord and placenta. When I held him I could feel the shape of his little self but I wasn't up for Body Scavenger Hunt in my tub of blood. The thought of trying to tear away tissue but accidentally tearing off my baby's arm was too unsettling, and, to be honest, too dishonoring.
(I've debated writing about heavy details, like these, because I know it's cringe-worthy and entirely un-cute and and distasteful. What is sacred and just for me and Caleb? What is a crucial part of our child's story, our story? But there it is. Here was our reality: as I sat in the Nile's Curse, unsure as to what else would come next [more clots? More tissue? Did the placenta still have to come out?] we had to decide: get a knife or scissors and cut through this, but risk a gruesome dismembering scene, or let the wraps be and never see our child's face. Ever. It was an impossible and forceful decision.)
I was crying and standing up with candy-cane legs so I could see if anything important was happening. And we decided to wrap our baby up in a blue towel, kept in his fleshy swaddling clothes. The next day we closed him over with rocks and dirt in the earth, rolled the stone over the tomb, so to speak. I await the day when that tiny hole is empty, when "he's not here!," when the scraps that embalmed his corpse lay in the dust, for he is risen... and alive.
It seems everywhere I go women are having their second babies. Even the Duchess. (We were pregnant with our first at the same time. And who doesn't like to have an emotional connection to English Royalty?) It seems that mom's in my Facebook groups are having Number Two by the droves. I don't just see pregnant women... I see pregnant women with a toddler. My second baby should look like this right now:
But he's wrinkled like a raisin in a wooden box 1300 miles away from me. That makes me cry. I feel my un-full-ness and am not a good person to talk to about how uncomfortable the third-trimester is (right now, at least). Sometimes easy, deep, capable-bladdered sleeping is uncomfortable too. Sometimes there is more than one way a heart can burn. Occasionally I've felt phantom elbow-punches and pelvic pain (which is apparently normal, especially for women who lose children in the second and third trimester).
"And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’" Job 38, MSG
“Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives so you can take them by the hand and lead them home?" Job 38, MSG
“Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept. And The Jews said, “Look how deeply He loved him.” John 11, MSG
"'Come!' say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, 'Come!'
Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of Life!"
"He who can testify to these things, say it again: 'I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!'" Rev 22, MSG
"He came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a cover over his face. Jesus told them, 'Unwrap him and let him loose.'" John 11, MSG