Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just for him

Back in July, up at the cottage, Brian and I decided to drive into town because we needed a new set of knives. We were getting sick of trying to 'saw' through our bread with a dull knife, leaving it squashed and misshapen. We went to the dollar store, because really, it's the cottage, and who needs an expensive set of knives when you are at the cottage?

I was browsing up and down the aisles looking at all the cheap crap that nobody needs...and I stumbled into the baby clothing racks. Of course. I decided to take a look, just because...what the hell...why not rub salt in that wound? So I started looking at all the cheesy baby stuff that I never really would have looked at before. My taste in baby clothes tends to run to the 'what would I wear if I were a baby?' I'm not a huge fan of the 'uber-cutesy' stuff with lots of bows or funny phrases or BRIGHT colours. My tastes tend to run more to the baby Gap sort of stuff. Clean, crisp...tasteful.

I'm flicking through the racks and I see it. It's really bright. It's got a cheesy cartoon turtle on the front. It's cheap crappy material. It's a summer outfit. It's $8.

It's the most goddamn adorable outfit I have ever seen.

And, just like that, I can see in my mind's eye Aidan, my beautiful, sweet, 7 lbs, healthy, baby boy sitting in his car seat dressed in that outfit.

So, I show it to my husband and he agrees it's cute and then I put it back on the rack and we buy our $4 knife set (cutting board included!) and drive back to the cottage.

Then we have our massive fight that lasts two days. Then we made up.

Then that weekend before we left, I say: "I have to go back and get that outfit". There is no reason for it. My Aidan died. He does not need an outfit. I told myself at the time that I was buying it for 'the next baby' to show myself that I had hope that there would actually be a next baby.

But really...I bought it for Aidan.

Two and a half months after he died.
I did it because I never bought him anything at all. And I really wanted to.

In the room that would have been his I have no furniture, except a single dresser that used to be mine as a child. It is otherwise empty. In the middle drawer I have all the 'papers' and 'things' that relate to him. The ultrasound reports, and photos, the CDs from NILMDTS, the 'dead baby folder' that they give to parents who have experienced a loss at the hospital where I gave birth, the blankets we held him in and the outfit he wore. I consider this middle drawer 'Aidan's drawer'.

In the bottom drawer I have the baby socks my husband put in my stocking last year at Christmas when I was almost 7 weeks pregnant. And we have the matching daddy sized and toddler sized Superman T-shirts. My husband is WAY into superheroes and we bought the toddler sized Superman shirt at the Gap about two years ago. It was bought for 'our future child', before we were even trying to conceive. My husband used to have a Superman T-shirt just like it as a kid, and he wanted his child to have one too. In this drawer I also have my Bella band that I used to hold up my pants over my expanding pregnancy belly. I also put my pregnancy/nursing bras in there too. I have hopes we'll get to use these things again...someday. I consider it my 'next baby' drawer.
The last picture is Brian, my husband, as a superhero.

Neither the socks, nor the T-shirt, nor the Bella band or the nursing bras were bought with 'Aidan' in mind. They were bought either for my pregnancy with him, or for 'our child'...nameless, faceless and genderless.

So, I'm having a hard time deciding what drawer to put the outfit I now consider "Aidan's". Should it go in drawer #1 or drawer #2?

I guess I will consider it a hand-me-down. From Aidan to his younger brother or sister. And the next child will wear it. Even if they are born in winter, where there is no way they could wear the outfit outside. Even if it's a girl and the outfit makes her look like a boy. I will stick him or her into it and take a picture.

And my mind's eye will flash back to a figment of my imagination, to the alternative universe where Aidan is alive and sleeping in his car seat, wearing the outfit. The only outfit...

I picked just for him.

What do you plan to do with the clothes you bought for your dead child? Will they be hand-me-downs? If you didn't buy anything at all, do you regret this? Or feel grateful you don't have (expensive) reminders gathering dust?


  1. I think having bought an outfit just for Aidan is a good thing!

    As for us, we have tons of baby stuff. We were 100% ready to take a baby home, Caleb just never got to leave the hospital. The only stuff we are keeping as JUST HIS are the couple outfits he got to wear at the hospital, and the blanket that hung over his isolette and was with him most of the time. (When it wasn't being brought home to be washed, or in the way of all of his medical needs).

    That stuff is his. It belonged to him, it was with him. Everything else is just stuff. Handmedowns from a cousin (I have tons of little boy clothes, clean, folded, and sorted into bins that go all the way up to 2T) and some stuff I bought on sale. Just stuff.

  2. Such a sweet outfit. I love the superman T-shirts too.

    I have some outfits which were 'doubles', some given from the twins next door, others that I had bought matching sets. I put the one half away in a box which sits in our wardrobe. I don't know what to do with them really. I thought about giving the clothing away but I can't quite bring myself to. Although it now seems foolish that I bought it all so early, I'm kind of glad I did.

    But she never wore any of it. As Melissa says, it's just stuff. But it's all I have.

  3. it's such an adorable outfit, and i'm so sorry that aidan will never get to wear it. i love the idea that it will be a hand-me-down from him to his little sister or brother.

    i hate that we never really bought much of anything for kenny. we had tons of hand-me-downs (which are now shoved into the attic and into the corner of the guest room which was to have become his nursery). the first thing i bought when i first became pregnant was a steelers onesie and some steelers booties, but we never bought anything else - no clothes, not even a teddy bear.

    we referred to kenny as "superbaby," and i had picked out a superman onesie online but never got around to ordering it.

  4. I think that for you, buying this outfit seems theraputic. In time, you'll be able to decide whether you want his things as hand-me-downs or if you want to save them somehow as something that was just for him.

  5. That outfit is so adorable! And the surperman T-shirt story is really sweet.

    I was very similar to you in terms of what I bought (or didn't buy) for Jacob. When we found out I was pregnant, I told my sister and she went out and bought 2 little pairs of socks. Those are the only things that were bought just for Jacob and I feel so bad about that. I knew I was going to New York at the end of June and I had planned to buy a bunch of baby clothes then because I would know if we were having a boy or girl by that point and there are alot of places there that you can get really good deals. But he died before we went, so I didn't buy him any clothes.

    I have been buying and knitting baby clothes for years though. I have a box full of clothes that I have bought over the years for my future baby.....not knowing if I would be having a boy or girl, or even who I would be having that baby with. I have knitted items for boys and girls, but mostly girls....even most of the knitted pants I've made have a little pink in them. I feel guilty about that too.

    My Mom crocheted a blanket before Jacob died, so there are really only 2 things that were just for him, the socks and the blanket.

  6. Brian and I bought Wyatt two outfits. Although he was born an angel, he worn one in the hospital. The other was on the alter during Wyatt's mass. Currently, both outfits are hanging in Wyatt's shadow box in our kitchen/dining arean. I don't know whether I will be able to ever put another child in those outfits, since I know those were the only outfits Wyatt wore.

    It's funny I am reading this today. I was just thinking last night about what to do with the comforter/nursery set that we bought only 3 days before learning about Wyatt's condition. It took us forever to buy something for our baby. But we finally did. Then we got the horrible news. I couldn't take it back, so it sits in our spare bedroom. I don't know if I will use it or not. But I couldn't return it.

  7. i never bought anything before we lost the baby. a friend of ours bought us some booties and a blanket. and that was all.

    the things the friend bought us are for the 'new baby', if it ever exists, but now you say it i think i will actually consider them to be hand-me-downs. i think that will actually help.

    me? maybe about a month after we lost the baby, i bought some baby mitts. a set of three. one of those went into the memory box. i wanted to have bought something just for that baby.

  8. That is an absolutely adorable outfit. I wish Aidan could be the one to wear it first.

    I like the hand-me-downs idea. Just after Teddy died, I wrote his name in all of the books he'd received as presents. I wanted to be able to see and remember which ones were his even if another child ended up reading them.

    When we were going through Teddy's clothes this last winter, getting ready for the arrival of his sister, I put a few things away that I didn't want her to have and didn't want to give away - an outfit or two, the blanket my mom knitted for him. I don't know why, but I wanted him to have some things he didn't have to share.