Ancient History

Follow Me?


The back seat

If “Lifenut:The Movie” ever comes out on DVD, this post will be in the Bonus Features’ Deleted Scenes. I wrote it shortly before Beatrix’s birth, but never posted.

When I began this pregnancy, I had no maternity clothes. Every last stitch had been given away in an effort to hurl a hurtful past to the other side of the moon. I wrote about that process here.

Despite being pregnant for the eighth time, I didn’t show for awhile. In fact nobody we knew in our day-to-day lives suspected anything. I was able to dodge the need for more generously cut clothes for several months. Inevitably, my tummy and other parts of me began to grow. I was no longer able to pretend I didn’t need maternity clothes. It was time to shop. But I didn’t want to.

Visits to the Target maternity department were brief and businesslike—almost like UN fact-finding missions, minus Angelina Jolie. I noted how none of the pants had the big panels, the shirts seemed fitted, the gauchos hung suspiciously. I couldn’t buy anything. A part of me thought if I put a pair of pants into my red cart, the baby’s heart would stop beating. My rational side knew how crazy that fear was. It was a struggle to drown out the fears, worries, and doubts.

My belly started to demand coverage, so I gave in and bought clothes.

I’ve approached baby clothes and gear the same way. They are hard to buy, not simply because we don’t know the gender but because I don’t want to pack them away unworn. Thanks to Nini, I have 2 sleepers, a onesie, a pair of pants, and a t-shirt featuring a happy turtle. All are yellow. During a recent trip to Goodwill, I found a few pink baby bargains—a color gamble, but at those prices I feel no guilt. My mom bought an awesome diaper bag, too—it doesn’t look like a diaper bag, which is the best kind. I’ve refused to sling duckies and Pooh Bears on my shoulder since baby #2.

Recently we took a giant leap and bought a new car. It’s a Suburban. It was a revolutionary act of optimism for me. Our old car, a Grand Caravan, will not hold a family of eight. The Suburban will hold exactly eight. Hitchhiker snubbing rages on. The first Sunday we had the Suburban we drove to church. I turned around to talk to the kids. A blank span of leather in the center of the center bench seat kept catching my eye—the baby’s spot. Reserved.

I thought about buckling the baby in tight. I thought about being at a stop light sometime this autumn and hearing a squeaky demand to keep moving, mom. I’d turn around and see a nearly bald little head with a hurricane swirl of light brown hairs on the crown. I’d stroke it and say “we’re nearly there, baby…”

We’re nearly there.


Nearly eight months later: The hurricane swirl is gone, filled in by soft brown hair. My arm twists back to retrieve a purposely-thrown teething ring or her dolly. She squeals and is generally happy in the car, a good little passenger as we travel around town. She faces backward, of course, and is constantly entertained by the back row occupants: Ryley, Joel, and Aidan. She shares a bench seat with Sam and Tommy. They sing to her, talk to her, and wave toys in her face.

I can’t remember the blank space in the car.

14 comments to The back seat

  • I remember experience the worry with you through you entries. Reading this is wonderful. That spot is filled

  • As the spot next to Lucy is filled, too, by a red-haired little boy, I rejoice with you. How I prayed for you through those months. God is so good.

  • That’s beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

  • You got me. I didn’t see it coming. But the tears came.


  • I was so expecting a picture! I’ve gotten a little spoiled w/the new camera.

    I liked the “reserved” bit. Perfect.

  • So sweet, mopsy, what a joy!

  • Filled spots are wonderful, indeed.

  • *SNIFFLE!!*

    I have two more seats left in my 15-passenger. I like to think they’re reserved, too.

  • A lovely post that pays tribute to the child you have lost and shows other mothers how valuable babies are to our hearts. I mentioned my grandson Alex in your post about Ryley and George Lucas. He is the son of my youngest daughter and the only surviving child of eight pregnancies. She experienced five miscarriages and gave birth to one handicapped baby boy who died at birth and another handicapped little girl, who lived to be nine and a half. As far as the medical community can determine, this is all due to a drug I took called diethylstilbesterol to prevent miscarriage back in the 1950’s. They call the girls DES Daughters and they can depend on losing at least half of their pregnancies. Young women who have this problem are real heros in their attempt to have a family. Every loss is a terrible heartache…you are to be commended for trying again. Your daughter is lovely.

  • Such a heartfelt, beautiful post.

    We’ve friends who miscarried a year ago. She became pregnant again. This week they will bury this baby, born too soon. He lived a brief 3 hours.

    She was due at the same time as my daughter. Mid-August.

    Some pain is just so deep.

  • mopsy

    Oh, Judy. That is terrible. My heart goes out to your friends. It’s heartbreaking enough for one pregnancy loss to occur. I can attest the second loss is just as crushing, maybe even a little more. Another dream is dead, and with it a larger piece of any hope you had left.

    I pray for your friends’ healing and peace.

  • Wow, that is exactly what I did when I was pregnant with my daughter after years of not conceiving followed by a miscarriage. I clearly remember crying in the dressing room, feeling like I didn’t belong there, afraid I had just tempted fate by beginning to hope. I think I cried in Babies R Us, too. Just terrified.

    I put off getting baby stuff so long that my husband spent the day after our daughter’s birth buying and installing a car seat. (In my defense, she did decide to make an appearance 5 weeks early.)

    I’m so glad your reserved space was filled so beautifully. In your heart as well as your car.

  • You are speaking to my heart right now. After months of trying to conceive, followed by a terrible scare in early pregnancy, I am indeed (still) pregnant yet terrified that something bad is going to happen. Forced reluctantly to buy maternity clothes since I show early, I am now 13 weeks and thinking I “should” feel safe, yet someone I know who shares my due date found out yesterday that her baby’s heart has stopped.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>