I sit here- lay here really, with a tiny human being on my chest, inches from the belly, all pillowy soft and puffy now, where he has been all these months. His downy soft head is within kissing range. He takes a funny skittery breath every once in a while that almost sounds like a sigh. He is warm and, except for a diaper, still naked, snuggled against my skin under his blanket.
Jonah is here.
And just typing those words makes me cry again, for the millionth time in the past few days.
He’s here, and with his coming so much has changed. Gone are the fears for his safe arrival, gone the panic of not knowing if he would make it (though it seemed obvious to all that he would, still, the fear for me was there). Gone is my enormous belly that I both loved and feared, worshiped and sometimes hated. Gone are the kicks that every time affirmed that he was OK, replaced with rosy skin that tells me all is well. No more poking my belly if it had grown too quiet, waiting for a response (though if he is still too long my hand goes to his chest to feel the rise and fall of his breath). He’s here.
And before I can even tell you about how he came, I must tell what his coming has meant in just these few days.
Jonah is a blessing. His coming ends a long season for us. A season of loss, a season of waiting, a season of bringing life. I know some would be tempted to remind us that he is here, a panacea, mending all that was broken before. But for us he carries the sweet reminder of the children we will not raise in this life, that were ours for a little while. When we look at his face, we see features that remind us of the children; ears like Adam’s, eyes like Ellie’s, Tessa’s forehead… but whose mouth? Perhaps it is like Drew’s would have been. Perhaps this little Jonah is the spitting image of one of the little ones that didn’t complete his or her journey here.
I don’t know, or pretend to understand the eternal nature of a spirit. I don’t know when a child’s spirit leaves it’s heavenly home to enter the body that will house it in mortality. Some believe that a spirit just keeps trying, over and over, until it gets here. All I know is that each time we grew a baby, even for a few months, it was a new vessel, made of the complex blend of two generations of people; a unique blueprint that can never be duplicated. How could a spirit try on a mortal cloth like a coat, leaving one for the next? No, to me, each spirit that may have come through me, whether to stay or not, was here for its own season and reason.
I believe, of course, that this child, this spirit, is the one that was meant to grow up here in our home as a member of our family. Ultimately- though we did not know him- Jonah is the soul we have waited for. But waiting for this special person to come to us, we've had the privilege to have come through our lives, the potentials of other children who we did not really get to meet. This is nothing to be fixed. Nothing about Jonah’s presence erases those other beings; not the joyful memory of the hope we had for them, not the pain of their losses, and not the existence of their spirits. Everything about Jonah's being here reaffirms our role as parents in the eternal journeys of all of our children.
A sacred space has taken over our home. It is clouded at times by my hormonal plunges into dark corners, but when allowed to be, in it’s purest sense, there is a light here in this house that pushes the darkness out. Jonah brings a calm into the rooms of this place. He brings blessed relief from constant worry, doubt and uncertainty. He brings renewal as we start at the beginning with firsts. He closes a chapter as we say goodbye to the welcoming of new family members. He brings with him a future we had almost given up waiting for.
As I sort out my thoughts over the coming days and weeks, between feedings and changings, and tears- happy and some not so- I’ll put down in words what I can. For now I have pictures that share my favorite parts of these first few days.