Dreams

I dreamed I gave birth to a baby girl. We were in Baltimore, visiting family. I do have family in Baltimore, but in the manner of dreams, it wasn’t the family that actually lives there. I went into labor early, unexpectedly, and they took me to the hospital.

The next scene in the dream, our baby girl was in the NICU, tubes taped to her nose and chest. We took two pictures of her. Then my family drove me home.

All the way home, to North Carolina. We got there late at night. I went to show the photos of our baby girl to my parents.

And then I realized, We left our baby girl in Baltimore.

And, We didn’t hold her!

It’s okay, my sister said. They’ll send her down here to the hospital.

But you can’t mail a baby! I said.

How could we have left our baby girl in Baltimore? How could we have come home without her? How could we have left her in the NICU without ever holding her? All we had were these two pictures on my phone. I swiped back and forth between them, over and over. We’d just have to drive back to Baltimore. Tonight. Right now.

 

I didn’t dream about Joseph being born. Not that I remembered once I awoke, at least. I dreamed once that my belly was transparent, and we could see through into my womb. But wait! I said. We don’t want to know if it’s a boy or a girl! So I didn’t look. I walked around carefully not looking. In the images I remember of the dream, we are all chest-up, like a photograph. So I wouldn’t have seen anyway, even if I looked down.

I also dreamed about houses. These were the most vivid dreams of my pregnancy. Most of them featured a second home we’d forgotten we owned. Empty. Sometimes ramshackle. One, missing a roof. Oh, no, I thought, we’ll have to pay for a new roof. Ugh. Another, we’d forgotten to mow the grass of this second home and I was worried the city would fine us. What would we do with these second houses? I wondered in my dreams. Which one would we live in?

 

I don’t believe my dreams are prophetic. I don’t believe that because I never saw Joseph in my dreams, it meant he was going to die. I don’t believe that because I dreamed this baby was a girl, she will be a girl, or that she will be born preemie.

What are dreams? This, like so many of the things I used to believe, is in limbo. My dreams are sometimes fantastic adventure, sometimes surreal stories where one person melts into another. They are projections of my hopes, and manifestations of my fears.

A whole new set of fears for this pregnancy. A whole new world of worry, and nights, whether dreaming or lying awake, full of unease.

© Burning Eye

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Goodnight, candle.

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Every night we light a candle for you.

 

This is what we have of you:

a ceramic urn, your ashes,

a framed black and white of my belly a few days before you died,

your ink and watercolor butterfly,

a box of cards—sympathy cards, baby shower cards, receipts for donations made in your name,

the yellow blanket they wrapped you in,

a knit cap with a stain of blood (yours or mine?),

a CD of pictures after your birth,

a few ultrasound photos,

your stuffed lamb,

 

and this flame

we hesitate to blow out each night.

 

Goodnight, candle,

we say,

instead of good night to you,

because you burn still in my heart,

a constant light,

warm and small and bright.

 

© Burning Eye

Hi. I haven’t been writing much. I haven’t done any art since I found out I was pregnant. I haven’t done much other than work and sleep.

But I did want to share, in case you are not a regular Glow reader, that I recently took over as editor of that amazing babyloss community. The regular contributors recently started a conversation at the kitchen table, and I want to invite you to join in. We are also having a call for open submissions. I hope you will share some of your story there.