"Hello?" the receptionist said on the other end. It was so ironic--her chipper tone didn't belong there. "Who would you like to see?"
I remained quiet and just swallowed.
I was about to pass out. Who did I want to see? Well, first I wanted to stop seeing dots. Then I wanted my son back.
"Excuse me? Do you have a baby in here . . . in the NICU?"
I looked at her through the glass door that separated us. Her eyes devoured my every action. It seemed like judgement day. I wanted to go in so badly, but it wasn't my choice. A man walked past the door; he wore a bright white outfit, gleaming white shoes and a face mask. Thank God they don't really wear face masks in Heaven--that would be creepy. I shook myself from my thoughts.
"Ma'am, I can't let you in unless you tell me, do you have a baby in here? Who do you want to see?"
My muscles tensed. I put my hand up to the glass door and clasped the phone so hard against my face, it hurt.
I wanted to say so much. How the smell of iodine was killing me. How I remembered two doors down that hallway--the place we'd pulled the plug and let our baby go. I remembered his sweet face. How he'd opened his eyes and practically begged me to put him back on the vent! How that place seemed like Heaven--filled with hope--before it stole my dreams.
And that stupid woman . . . wouldn't stop questioning me!
"I used to have a baby in there," I said weakly. "But he's not here now."
She looked hopeful as if he'd lived. "And you've come to show us pictures? Where is he?"
"He's in Heaven with Jesus." My heart fell.
Her eyes flooded as she spoke slowly. "Oh, I am so . . . sorry."
It seemed like everyone was.
The lady just paled looking at me and then my huge, pregnant stomach. We stayed on those damn phones, not even saying a word. A silent understanding hung between us.
"You're having another baby?"
"Yes . . . another boy . . . my only other boy."
She nodded and tears continued trailing from her eyes. "Is he healthy?"
I sobbed then, remembering why I'd gone to the hospital. One of my best friends had beautiful twin boys. She'd asked me to go--really wanted me to see her babies. I was excited for her, but knew she had no idea how hard it was for me. After all, it was the same hospital where I'd had my son. The same place he'd lived for two and a half months. Yet, I had to go there for her and face it all again.
I wanted to see her sons, even if it killed me and I went to see Zeke in Heaven.
Before I got there, I drove, tears marring my vision as I looked through the cloudy sky. "God," I prayed, "does my new baby have birth defects? I know the ultrasound looked good, but I'm so worried."
I thought of people in the Bible. Job, Noah, Moses, Esther--all the good ones. Crap happened to them and then God always sent signs to say it would be okay, or it wouldn't happen again. He'd send a dove, or a fire, a rainbow or an angel. Why couldn't I have a dove--like in a Disney movie. The damn thing could land on my shoulder call me Aurora and say everything was good with my baby!
The nurse pulled me from my thoughts. "Sweetheart . . . is he healthy?"
"Yes. They say he is." I sobbed. "Does Susan . . . Is the nurse Susan still working here?"
The woman wiped her nose and smiled. "Yes. Let me get her."
"Susan" (that's what I changed her name to in my book "The Golden Sky") came through the doors after that. I finally hung up the phone, and shook inside when I saw her. Would she even remember me? I'd visited my friend and her twins, then gone to the NICU just to see Zeke's nurse because sometimes in life, angels walk among us. There are people who get you through, just by being around.
"Susan?" I asked.
"Elisa?! How are you?" She remembered me, and that woman, the same one who'd seemed so tough, like a general in the military--that woman hugged me like I was family. "It's so nice to see you! And you're having another baby."
We talked for a long time. The smell of iodine didn't seem so bad. Instead of living through all the terrible things about Zeke's death, I started remembering his life and the good things. The first time I held him, all the nurses thought he'd freak out, but he hadn't. He'd snuggled right into my arms, that boy had loved me--he'd always love me--we'd always love each other.
I left after that, and when I drove home, facing the mountains, my free hand rested on my pregnant belly. "God," I said. "I'm sorry for focusing on the bad things. I'm just thankful I got to have Zeke at all."
I looked up, ending my prayer, and as I looked over the mountains, I saw a double rainbow. One was like a huge protective mother, and the other, the top one, was like a little baby.
I pulled over and frantically flipped to Genesis in my Bible.
15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures.
It was my sign . . . Although I'd felt like God had forgotten me for years, He'd still had enough time to put a rainbow in the sky--for everyone--for me.
Later that day I got a call. "I'm so excited for when you have your son," the woman said. "I've heard people say, that after you lose one child, the other healthy ones who come after are called rainbow babies."
I smiled so big as I patted my tummy. My voice came out quietly, like peace. "You have no idea."
So, God didn't send a bird, but I think Susan was always like an angel. Plus, maybe God did send me a sign in that rainbow because a few months later, I had a healthy little boy. I call him the Zombie Elf, and although he'll never replace Zeke, or the wonderful memories I have from his life, my little Zombie holds a special place in my heart--he always reminds me to focus on the good things.
I'm so thankful to have a rainbow baby. I'm so thankful for everything God's allowed me to have, even if it was just for a moment--beautiful like those rainbows.
I thought of this story today, because last week I sent "Susan" an advance copy of my book--my journal about Zeke. I hope she'll like what I wrote about her when I was nineteen.
For more information about my book, and upcoming blogfest/book launch, please click here:
In closing, I'd like to tell you that you can find me in a few different place today.
For a fun Thanksgiving story, (guestpost) please visit Dee at:
To read an excerpt of my book, please visit: