I've mentioned my due date club before. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it's a group of women who are all due the same month (generally) who get together to talk pregnancy and birth and (if it's a really good club) later on to share the trials and the milestones of motherhood. I was never really in one before getting pregnant with Doug, but I enjoyed the experience.
Our November 2012--Turkey Babies--group at one point had like 60 or 80 moms, and a core group of 40 or so who were very active. Though with two exceptions we were all due in November, we had our babies starting in (thankfully, late) September and going on through to December. As that first month should indicate, we had a few preemies, several of whom had NICU time. We had two sets of twins, one of which the babies both had birth weights under 5lbs. We even had one boy born with Down Syndrome, who has had two heart surgeries that I know of. Still, the bulk of the babies born were born perfectly healthy.
November 16th saw three births: Doug's, C~'s, and Kameron's. Doug was born a short time after three in the morning. Kameron was born two hours earlier. Both babies were fifth children. Both babies were perfectly healthy. Both babies were breast-fed from the start. Both Kameron's mom and I took the best care of our babies we could.
Fast forward 9.5 months.
Monday morning, I woke up, and Doug was sleeping peacefully beside me, his little chest rising and falling. In fact, we woke up together, as we usually do--his little eyes opened and he smiled at me and slapped my face, then rolled over and started slapping at Erik.
Monday morning, Kameron's mother woke up...and he didn't. While Doug and I were still asleep, and then later on while we were enjoying morning cuddles, Kameron's mother was calling 911 and performing CPR and rushing to the hospital with her son and finding out that her world as she knew it had ended.
Right now, Doug is stark naked, playing with a purple ball. (Well, I just wrestled him, protesting, into a diaper.)
Right now, Kameron's family is saying goodbye to him. The little life that began two hours before my son's has ended untold hours, days, years before his.
And I have been sitting here this whole week, holding my baby as much as he will let me, and when he won't allowing him all the cookies and bananas and apples his little baby heart desires. He doesn't understand why.
Truth is, I don't either.
I am having a crisis of faith with this. I know children and babies die. My brother lost his only daughter. Cancer sucks. Cancer does, however, allow you a clear path and understanding. Kameron's death does not. SIDS exists, yes, and at this early juncture is the most probable explanation. But we are outside the usual danger period for SIDS, and he not one single risk factor. A perfectly healthy baby, who didn't have so much as a sniffle, just didn't wake up.
I don't get it. I don't just not get it--I am baffled. I am angry at God. I cannot find explanation or comfort in Scripture as I usually can. I am intensely grateful for Doug's life; I laid awake in bed this morning with my hand on his stomach, feeling it rise and fall, and said prayer after prayer of thanksgiving, but my heart aches for Kameron's family. I see no rhyme or reason here. No Biblical explanation other than God is an asshole. (He is, sometimes. Read the book of Job.)
And, well, that's not adequate.
I know God never promised us an easy time. Jesus never promised us health and happiness here on Earth. I have always been in full agreement with the character in Stephen King's Desperation who said "God's cruelty is refining." But this? This is capricious. This is terrible. It breaks hearts. It changes lives, particularly those of the other children in the family.
Every death, every single death, is a tragedy to those who were close to the decedent. I know that. I do.
But this death was that of a baby. A small ball of potential, a little man-to-be who had all the world contained within him and is now returning to the universe from whence he came. And my faith has no answers or comfort, no way for me to even reconcile this in my own mind. (Please, no "Heaven must have needed another angel" or "it was God's will." Angels were never human and I frankly want no part of a God who wills babies to die and breaks the hearts of their siblings and parents.)
I am at a loss. A total loss.
Only somewhat connected to the rest of my post, I am going to share this. Baby Hedger Memorial Fund. If you feel moved to contribute, thank you. If you don't--and I don't expect you to--please at least click through and marvel with me at the goodness and generosity of people. The original goal was $4,000, and that has been exceeded. Many of the people who have given knew the Hedgers even less than I, and have yet reached out to them in their time of trial. It says something really wonderful.