I lay awake in the dark with my eyes open. The dog is awake too. She fills the room with small dog noises: licking lips, a foot itching an ear, a heavy sigh. I keep dreaming of different ceilings then the one I’m staring at. My hands are on my belly. By this time, crying feels more like airing a vent. If I wait too long I have to cry longer, harder. But if I let it out regularly, I can have a few tears while I hide my face. I think that’s how it will be for a long time.


I look over at Tom. He’s sleeping, but I can tell it’s a light sleep. He’s been sleeping like he does when I’m sick; he’s awake in an instant if I whisper his name. But I don’t want to wake him, I just want to watch him. I thought about the time we spent in the hospital.


He never wanted to go home to our apartment even though it was a five minute walk from the hospital. He wanted to stay with me and Tommy Jr. He insisted on sleeping with me every night, and only went home to shower when my mother insisted. Eventually, Tom took over the job of helping me to the bathroom. He helped me keep my head up and walk and sit on the toilet, and never looked embarrassed or grossed out.


Tom accepted each new level of intimacy with utter grace and enthusiasm. When they finally removed my bandages and said I could shower, he took me to the little chair in the bathroom. Tom tipped my head back and washed my hair in the shower while I cried. I cried for our little boy. I cried for our pain. But I cried from relief too, because I knew that I would always feel safe with this man. Tom is so much more than a best friend, a husband, a Dad. He is my heart. He is a part of me. When my heart hurts, his heart hurts. His love makes me a better person.


I roll over on my side and hold the little lamb blanket that was with Tommy Jr in his incubator. I cry a little more, and Tom rolls over to hold me in his half sleep. I’ll get through this because he loves me, and because he needs me as much as I need him. And when I miss my sweet baby so much that I feel like I’ll die, I run my finger along Tom’s ear, and his big toe. I close my eyes and know that our baby is still with us. He’ll always be with us.

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  1. Angie says:

    Dear Sweet Heather,

    As someone who loves you utterly and completely, I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you have Tom to watch over you, whatever, forever. We’re here for you too, Heather. Ask anything of us. Please.

    Love, xox, Angie

  2. Cara says:

    Just want to say that for what its worth I so admire you and Tom. I am sure that as much as he is your rock you are his too.

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