A Dream for Eleanor by Megan J. Scott

I dreamt of you before you were born.

Of your tiny hands and perfect toes. And of your face, so beautiful and yet so still.

It was a lingering dream. One that I could not shake for days. One that your father encouraged me to forget. “It’s just a dream,” he said.

But it wasn’t.

In my dream, I went for my standard four-month check up with my midwife. The check up went well—everything was progressing as it should. My midwife then told me that she wanted to examine you more closely. Instead of an ultrasound, which I was expecting, she gave me a pelvic exam and then removed you from my uterus. Just like that. No warning. “It was a standard part of the check-up,” she said.

I was stunned and upset. How could this be safe? How could you survive?  But then I saw you. You were so tiny and so beautiful. And perfect. Your face was so delicate and peaceful, as if you were napping.

And then, just as quickly as she removed you from my womb, she put you back. It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t even odd. It just was. And then I went home.

But the thing was, you didn’t want to stay in my womb. You started to slip back out. I was terrified. I called my midwife. She had gone home for the day and couldn’t help me. I called my pediatrician. She didn’t specialize in this procedure and couldn’t help me. I called the emergency room. They couldn’t help either. And I was alone. With my baby who wasn’t ready to be born, but demanded to be all the same.

I was petrified and desperate for help. But no help came. So I held you and sobbed, knowing that you wouldn’t survive. My perfect baby. Born too-soon.

And then I woke up.

Shortly after the dream started to fade, when I was sixteen weeks pregnant with you, I started bleeding. I was told I was losing you. But you held on. My water broke, and I was told I was losing you. But you held on. We visited specialists, went on bed rest, prayed, and sought help where we could.  You held on for eight weeks, slowly fading away from us.

At twenty-three weeks and seven days, three days before I was to be hospitalized and seventeen weeks before your due date, you were born. And you were perfect, just as you were in my dream. With your tiny hands and perfect toes. And your face so beautiful, yet so still.

My dream changed from premonition to reality.

As in my dream, I sought help from everyone who could offer it, but none came. There was nothing anyone could do. Once the complications began, all we could do was wait for the inevitable—we could not stop you from being born too soon.

Yet where I was alone to endure my heartache while asleep, I was surrounded with people who loved me while awake.  Your father and doula were with me, as were empathetic nurses and my midwife. Our friends came to grieve with us and keep us company. Our family came to provide support and love. Your three-year-old sister offered her love and tried to understand the situation as best as she could.

And although more than a year has passed since we lost you, the dream stays with me. When I held you in my arms at your delivery, I knew I had met you before. That fact amazes me. The doctors told me that my time with you was miraculous. That most pregnancies like ours don’t last a week. You stayed with me for two months. Miraculous. That you came to me in a dream, warned me of your premature passing was miraculous, too.

I dreamt of you before you were born. I dream of you still. Your life and mine entwined forever between dusk and dawn, when I am free to hold you and caress you and love you as only a mother can.

 

Author Bio:

Megan Scott lives in Galesburg, Illinois, with her husband, daughter, and two cats and works in communications at Knox College. She is learning to live life again after the stillbirth of her second child.

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