Toy bunny sitting in baby safety seat (Pixelshot)
Toy bunny sitting in baby safety seat (Pixelshot)

Friends of Adrian: Take Home Baby

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on tumblr
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on email

Guest Post by Brad Levin; originally published here.

For us, it happened on a Monday.

I got the text from Michal at work. I fumbled some words to my manager; she stopped me at baby. “Go. Run!” she said. Week 39: exactly seven days before the due date.

I picked her up and we rushed to the delivery wing, emotions high. First thing they did was an ultrasound, to confirm everything was okay. The intense contractions began a few hours later.

We had prepared for this part of labor: attended a class with a seasoned Coach. I remember well what she told us: “If you leave with nothing else, remember two things. It won’t go as planned, and it’ll be okay in the end—you’ll take home a baby!”

The contractions continued, intensified. There’s a certain reverence in being so close to life’s two great milestones, Birth and Death. Despite all the understanding of science, all the progress of mankind: still they mystify us, defy our control.

Suddenly Birth decided it was time. The delivery doctor took station at the foot of the bed. “Push push pause. Push push pause,” a cadence, and eventually, the head of our long anticipated Daughter, emerging. Michal cried; I squeezed her hand.

They placed her on mommy’s chest right away. I marveled at her size and proportions, her curly black hair like her mother’s, matted against her head, her skin flushed red with the heat of delivery. After a time it was my turn, and she felt right in my arms, like they had been waiting for her all along, like it was there she belonged.

We spent several hours with her, holding her, caressing her cheek and stroking her tiny fingers. I cradled her head delicately, supporting her, and felt pride in her heft, her fully developed form, this tiny human we had created together. “Is this what being a father feels like?” Then I placed her tenderly in the hospital cart, and watched as the nurse dutifully rolled her away.

Later came the perfunctory filling-out of forms, and eventually they released us to go home. I carried the car seat up the steps to our second-story apartment. I had envisioned this moment so many times over the last couple months: that first trip up the stairs to start our new life as a family! Halfway to our door, I was struck with a powerful feeling that something was terribly wrong. I paused, and looked down in the seat.

But the seat was empty.

For a few moments I just stared: then I closed my eyes and crumbled, sobbing. The knowledge from my head breached the last defenses and gushed into my heart, filling every crevice, and in that moment my whole soul finally knew: we would never take home our baby.

For us, it happened on a Monday.

I got the text from Michal at work. “I didn’t feel the baby move as usual this morning, let’s go to the hospital now.” I fumbled some words to my manager; she stopped me at baby. “Go. Run!” she said. Week 39: exactly seven days before the due date.

I picked her up and we rushed to the delivery wing, emotions high. First thing they did was an ultrasound, to confirm everything was okay. I’ll never forget holding my breath, motionless, as the screen panned to the four-chambered heart. In the next moment the four chambered-heart filled the screen—and joined my motionless vigil. As the silent seconds ticked on, my mind reached an unexpected yet inescapable conclusion: our baby would never have a breath to hold.

The intense contractions began a few hours later. We had prepared for this part of labor: attended a class with a seasoned Coach. I remember well what she told us: “If you leave with nothing else, remember two things. It won’t go as planned, and it’ll be okay in the end—you’ll take home a baby!”

The contractions continued, intensified. There’s a certain reverence in being so close to life’s two great milestones, Birth and Death. Despite all the understanding of science, all the progress of mankind: still they mystify us, defy our control.

Suddenly Birth decided it was time. The delivery doctor took station at the foot of the bed. “Push push pause. Push push pause,” a cadence, and eventually, the head of our long anticipated Daughter, emerging. Michal cried; I squeezed her hand.

They placed her on mommy’s chest right away. I marveled at her size and proportions, her curly black hair like her mother’s, matted against her head, her skin flushed red with the heat of delivery. After a time it was my turn, and she felt right in my arms, like they had been waiting for her all along, like it was there she belonged.

We spent several hours with her, holding her, caressing her cheek and stroking her tiny fingers. I cradled her head delicately, supporting her, and felt pride in her heft, her fully developed form, this tiny human we had created together. “Is this what being a father feels like?” Then I placed her tenderly in the hospital cart, and watched as the nurse dutifully rolled her away.

Later came the perfunctory filling-out of forms, and eventually they released us to go home. I carried the car seat up the steps to our second-story apartment. I had envisioned this moment so many times over the last couple months: that first trip up the stairs to start our new life as a family! Halfway to our door, I was struck with a powerful feeling that something was terribly wrong. I paused, and looked down in the seat.

But the seat was empty.

Guest posts from fellow bereaved parents.
Return to the Friends of Adrian Homepage

Share this post via:

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on tumblr
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on email

Explore more of Adrian's Elephant

Scroll to Top