“So, God Killed Baby B.”

My 4-year-old son was first introduced to death a year ago, when our cat Tim became so old and ill that I had to put him to sleep.  Last fall, when we would talk before he went to bed every night, he would ask why Tim died, where he’d gone, all about Heaven, whether we’d see Tim again, and on and on.  Now, every night, he wants to talk about Baby B.

Each night as I lie next to him for a few minutes while we talk before his bedtime, he caresses my hair and says, “I’m sorry one of the babies died.”

And, I say, “I know.  So am I.”

Sometimes he asks to listen to my stomach, to see if he can hear anything.  He asks specifically where Baby A and Baby B are located.  I’ve told him that Baby B won’t be moving or making noises anymore, and he accepts that.

He makes statements like, “I wanted Baby B to be named Whiplash”—a character in the Ironman television series—that make it obvious he’s just 4.  (He wants Baby A to be named Ironman.)  But then he’ll follow up with adult-sounding statements, such as, “Maybe your body will absorb him,” which he overheard from Dr. H, who counseled me after we learned of Baby B’s loss.

Two nights ago, he asked me if God could walk on water.

I said, “God can do anything He wants to do.”

“God will do anything we want Him to do?”

“No,” I corrected.  “God can do anything He wants to do, but it is not necessarily what we want Him to do.”

Because we’d just been talking about Baby B, I continued, “For example, we didn’t want Baby B to die, and he did.”

My son was silent for a moment, then said, matter-of-factly, “So, God killed Baby B.”

I thought for a minute, recognizing the importance of my response.  Then, I replied, “No, God didn’t kill Baby B.  He just didn’t stop him from dying.”

Then I started with the rationales, the ones I need to believe in, even though the doctor said we’ll never know why Baby B’s heart stopped beating a week ago.  “I think that maybe there was something wrong with him, that he was sick and could never have lived.  So, God didn’t make him die, he just let him die because it was best for Baby B.”

My son was quiet for a few minutes, to the point where I thought maybe he had fallen asleep, but then he said, “I think maybe Baby B was a robot baby.”

“Oh…”

“And, maybe his system just shut down.”

Last night, after he started off with, “I’m sorry one of the babies died,” then continued with, “I wanted two babies,” he said, “We’ll have to bury him.”

I explained that Baby B won’t be born, that hopefully he will just get smaller and smaller inside of me, until he disappears. 

“Even the tiny speck?” he asked, remembering that Dr. H said Baby B may end up as a tiny calcification that will look like a white speck on the ultrasound screen.

“Even the tiny speck.”

“Oh.”

I’ve explained that Baby B is now a guardian angel, that he will watch over us and Baby A.  And, my son wants to know if Baby B can see through buildings, if he has wings, if he can fly.

My conversations with my son, who looks at the world with innocence, affect me.  Since we learned of Baby B’s death last Friday, I’ve thought day and night about this issue of God and His/Her role in our lives.  What I’ve determined is that, although I had originally felt that God was “fucking with me,” He/She doesn’t have that kind of time.  And, what I’ve been taught, as a Catholic girl, is that God permits free will—and its resulting fallout.

So, 42 years ago, when my mother was pregnant with me, God didn’t intervene when her beloved doctor, misled by pharmaceutical companies, prescribed her an anti-nausea medication that included diethylstilbestrol (DES), the completely useless synthetic estrogen that seeped through the placenta into me, deforming my reproductive organs.   

And, God has let “nature takes its course” ever since, although my “nature,” my body, is now unnatural, for my uterus was never fully formed, it was in the shape of the letter T, and it was one-third normal size before I carried my son to term, because of the profit-above-all-else pharmaceutical bastards. 

So, I’ve lost baby after baby because of implantation problems and miscarriage.  But, God isn’t participating.  God didn’t take Baby B from me.

I will never know if the reason Baby B died is because his gestational sac wasn’t fully attached to my uterine lining from the first ultrasound, if although the progesterone-oil injections made him able to reattach within one week, his developmental delay in those critical first days was too much to overcome. 

I will never know if he had some sort of other problem that made him, in the end, “incompatible with life,” a term used by our genetic counselor, who managed the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of our embryos.

I will never know if this loss, my seventh loss of a child, is due to DES or something else.

But, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that this loss has nothing to do with God.

And, for this realization, I have my 4-year-old son to thank.

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