“Come on Melissa, you can do it! Push! Push!”
The doctor was trying to treat this like every other birth he’d had the pleasure of doing, but we all knew it was just a very good act. Mother was in danger of following baby down the tunnel, and the nurse was working feverishly to save her.
Baby had stopped kicking and moving a few days earlier, and mother had gotten more and more worried. Finally, to the hospital she went to get a check-up.
We’re very sorry, they said to her, your baby is no longer alive. We need to force a stillbirth or you could die as well.
It had all the airs of a normal day of joy, the screaming, the sweating, the medical people rushing around. It even had the time, 9 hours we stood there while she was in labor for our son.
In the end, he came out, as all babies are wont to do, and the doctor went through his usual motions of cleaning the baby up. Mercifully he did not ask me to cut the cord, he just went ahead and did it, and then handed him to me.
I held my first born son, and looked down with no less pride than I’d have for a baby that had survived. He was still my baby, and I still held him tight and kissed him the only kisses from his daddy he’d ever receive.
He would never laugh, he would never cry, there would be no toys or games for him. He would never grow up and date, or get to go to school. He’d never hold a job, he’d never get married.
It was a Monday morning that I held my stillborn son in my arms and cried for the loss the world felt that day. I cried for the loss I felt that day.
No breath had ever been given, it had all been taken.
More was lost this day than just the original daddy’s heart in my chest.
Also lost was a relationship as the mother and I drifted further and further apart. Also lost was my belief in any kind of God, for if there was one, why would he need to take my little boy from me without even seeing the color of his eyes or hearing his special little voice?
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him at least once, even though nobody knows that.
Daddy loves you no less because you lost the struggle to live, Richard Arthur Griswold, born, and died, December 5, 1995.
Art Griswold live in Gaines, Michigan. He has only been writing for a little more than a year, and has only one publishing credit. His poem "Scallop" won a contest and was put in the book Stars in Our Hearts: Signs. He has been married for 8 years and has a 4 year old daughter, 5 cats, and 2 dogs.