I couldn’t eulogize my son. I tried, I really did, but just the thought made me ugly-cry. Instead, I chose to read “i carry your heart with me” (which I also didn’t manage to read without ugly-crying). I don’t feel bad about not being able to pull myself together in time for the service, but I did have thoughts to share about Owen. This is what I would have said:
I never really thought I’d want a boy. Before I got pregnant, I wanted a girl. I knew I could just as easily have a boy, but I couldn’t imagine how I’d raise one*. In my first trimester, I worried that if we found out we were having a boy I’d be disappointed. I thought I’d spend the whole pregnancy coming to terms with not having a girl (ha! not even). At 13 weeks, Owen was very much not a girl, and I didn’t even care! Almost as soon as our sonographer told us we were having a boy, I was elated! I was also relieved. The worry that I’d be disappointed in my baby’s test results before he was even born were put to rest. I set about preparing for our baby boy with complete contentment. I truly never imagined there would be anything else to worry about–I was very healthy, my husband was very healthy, so surely our baby was going to be healthy.
When Owen’s arms and legs lagged behind the rest of him at 15 weeks, they told us he might have a form of dwarfism. Alright, that’s different, I thought. But I didn’t really care all that much. I just figured we’d adapt some things in our lives to fit a little person. I showed articles to Zach about little people doing everything average height people can do so he wouldn’t be worry. It never occurred to me skeletal dysplasia could be lethal. By the time we went into the ultrasound with our perinatologist, I was genuinely excited at the possibility that we might have a very unique little being on our hands. And…we did, but not in any way either of us ever imagined. For the first time in my pregnancy, I was disappointed that things were definitely not going as I had planned. We were scared, so we set about preparing as best we could for a potentially very sick baby who would perhaps die. All along the way though, we were looking forward to our son. Owen was maybe going to die, but first he was going to be born! We embraced him always.
That’s what I really want people to know about Owen. He was cherished and wanted. Even with all his uncertainties, we were never disappointed in him. His problems weren’t a surprise. We didn’t begrudgingly accept him. We knew he was different, and we wanted him just the same. We were excited to be his parents! We welcomed him into our family and into our hearts, and we are still so glad that he was here even though he had to leave too early.
*I’ve since done a total flip on this. Bring on the baby boys!