Before I got pregnant with Bailey, I had already decided that I would not find out whether it was a boy or a girl this time around. My entire family was frustrated by this, but it just seemed like fun to me. Once I got pregnant, and we found out the date that the ultrasound would be in which we could find out what we were having (Feb 17), it became a challenge to me as well. I planned to take a videotape, like I did with Ray, but to not watch it until after Bailey was born. I could hardly wait for the moment, during childbirth, when the doctor would say either "Its a boy" or "Its a girl."
One of the many incredibly heartbreaking moments during the induced premature birth and death of Bailey was when the lifeless little body was delivered out of the birth canal, and the doctor quietly said, "Its a boy." The moment I had so looked forward to turned into the most tragic event of my life.
The induced labor took all day on Monday, January 23. It was sometime during the long wait that Preston and I decided that we would cremate Bailey's remains and keep them with us at our home. I couldn't bear the thought of the hospital "disposing of him" as they phrased it. On the following day, we met in the hospital with the funeral home director and Preston picked out an urn for Bailey.
This past Monday evening, Preston waited until after dinner and then turned to me and said, "I'm bringing Bailey home tomorrow." My heart stopped. For the briefest second, I imagined it was 10 years in the future and that Preston was talking about picking Bailey up from Little League or school or whatever. Instead, of course, Preston was talking about bringing Bailey's remains home to us. Bailey is, after all, gone. All we have left are ashes.
Preston called on Tuesday afternoon to let me know he was on his way home from work. I asked him if he would be picking up Bailey's urn on the way, but he said no, that he had picked the urn up earlier that morning. "He's been riding around with me all day," Preston said. Once more, I felt my heart crack.
The urn is marble, and so very small. Bailey's full name is inscribed on it, along with only one date,that of January 23, 2006. Since he was stillborn, there is no birth certificate and therefore no death certificate. According to the funeral home director, Bailey's death was considered a fetal demise, and so there will be no public record. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me because, after all, I held his little body. To me and Preston, Bailey did exist, if even for the briefest time. It saddens me greatly that so many people will never even consider his life. Will my parents count Bailey when people ask them how many grandchildren they have? Will Ray count him when classmates ask how many siblings he has?
We have put the urn on the mantle in the kitchen for now, next to one of our favorite candid wedding pictures, a black and white print that my was taken by my best friend from childhood. It is oddly comforting to have his remains with us, home with our family. I had to make myself leave the house the next morning. I felt I should stay home with Bailey, or even take him with us if we left the house, and I knew I was on the verge of being very irrational about the whole thing. This urn is not a baby, but the earthly remains of a life that has already left us. While I got the diaper bag together, Ray followed close on my heels with his arms up like he always does. And, like I always do, I kept saying, over and over, to reassure him, "I'm not going to forget my baby. Mama's never gonna forget her baby." This time though, there was a whole new meaning to the reassurance.