It's been four months since my missed miscarriage. My body has healed. My heart still has not. While the sonogram image of my baby whose heart stopped beating no longer haunts my every thought; I am constantly reminded of what I have lost. Ironically, Norrin reminded me today.
During my pregnancy, I urged Norrin to be careful with my belly. "A baby is in there," I had said. But in a moment of excitement, he would pounce. I'd hold my stomach and give him a look. And he corrected himself, "Careful with Mommy's belly." Then he would kiss me. Once on my cheek, once on my stomach.
Having a baby after Norrin was not an easy decision. And even during the pregnancy we had our doubts, our fears. For us, for Norrin and for the baby. I purchased The New Baby by Mercer Mayer (one of Norrin's favorite authors/illustrators) and a few other books to introduce to the idea of new brother or sister. I incorporated the books into his bedtime reading routine.
After I lost the baby, I immediately removed the books from his bookshelf and never mentioned the baby again. For the first time since the diagnosis, I was grateful for autism. Pregnancy was such an abstract thought, Norrin could easily forget. No questions could be asked, no explanations needed. It was not a reality for him and in some way it made grieving easier.
This morning, after brushing our teeth. Norrin lifted up my shirt and stuck his index finger in my belly. "There's a baby inside," he said. He looked up at me and smiled as if he suddenly remembered.
"No, Norrin. There is no baby inside."
Of course he didn't ask "why" or "how come," the way a typical four and a half year old would. And again, I was grateful. How could I explain such a loss to him, when I didn't even understand?
But it occurred to him, four months later, that there had been a baby inside. Was he curious? Did he remember? And at the thought, become excited? In the last month, he's had more play dates. Does he want a sibling? Is he lonely? I may never know.
My husband, the eternal optimist, said, "Maybe he knows something we don't know."
Maybe? Though I doubt it.
Or maybe it's Norrin's atypical way of telling me, it's time to try again.