I have been lurking around a Due in January message board and right now everyone is all up in arms about genetic testing. We are having all of the tests that we can and then some. This is because of my nephew Gus. Not that we could change anything but we are expecting the unexpected.
The photos above show a toddler Ivy and her cousin Gus, the son of my honorary sister, J. He looks just a bit different, huh? But don't let his appearance fool you. Inside of that tiny stuffed bear is a heart shaped porcelain box filled with the ashes of a 22 week old fetus. He is wrapped in the tiny doll's robe that he wore for the 24 hours we got to spend with him after he lived for 7 minutes. He is every bit as special as all of my other nieces and nephews. After his cremation and service, he went with us everywhere. Grocery shopping, baseball games. I had him in my office with me when his mom went to run errands. He even has his own carseat.
Gus has an older brother and sister. He is the third pregnancy after his sister to not be viable. Scans were done, testing was done and still, we had no idea that something was wrong. Until the u/s at 21 weeks. As soon as the wand ran across Js belly, it was obvious that Gus wouldn't make it 40 weeks, there were so many things that were cause for concern. No syndrome, no genetic reason. He was just Gus in all of his uniqueness. And absolutely no reason why.
His delivery was fast and traumatic with his Daddy delivering him in his Mama's hospital bed. They spent a hurried 7 minutes with him before he died. They washed him and dressed him, not taking him from the room. I had Gus' siblings with me and we went to the gift shop before going to see their parents and their brother. We bought out the store. We got to say hello and goodbye all at once. So many tears.
Taking him from his mom was horrible, but there are time limits. And funeral arrangements and getting on with the grief. This is where I earned my title of Funeral Planner, kind of like wedding planner, but not. We lead him mom through decisions and choices that no parent should have to deal with. People were kind. People were confused.
Gus shows up sometimes still. His siblings will sleep with him when they miss him. His mom brings him back out in the weeks of holidays and his birthday if she can't be away from him. He mostly sits on his parent's mantle, still part of the family.
Chris will not tell his family about this pregnancy until we know that there are functioning organs in place. Nothing missing. I won't say "baby" until I feel a "baby" moving around in there. We won't tell any of our kids until we are somewhat in the clear, but that never really happens does it? We are cautious. We are terrified. But we take it day by day.
We talk about Gus a lot. And things that we would do the same and things that we would do differently. And how much we love that little guy that we never got to know. And how my dad holds Gus on his lap now and cuddles him and smiles.
My sister had a dream after my dad died where he kept trying to pull her through the screen between worlds. She was scared, but he kept saying, you will be ok. You will like this. And once she went through, she saw our friend J sitting and crying with joy over a perfect 2 year old boy, Gus. After that dream, we all were comforted.
I don't know if you will be able to read his obit, but I scanned it for you. It is the only obit I have ever written. It is my tribute to Gus Gus. Love, Auntie.