There we were, at the OB/GYN holding hands, waiting to be called back for an ultrasound. On the outside, we looked like any other working couple, albeit a little more tired. The reality is we are far from any typical couple: we are bereaved parents whose world was shattered by the sudden loss of our son Drew in the spring of 2014.
“Is this your first?”
While trying to sit there, my husband kept telling me to stop fidgeting. I was moving around like a three year old hopped up on Pixie Stix. In the midst of all that, we were asked “The Question.” An expectant mother sitting next to us who’d been alerted to our presence by the fidget debate asked, ”Is this your first?” A harmless question asked in countless parental discussions that can stop a grieving parent in their tracks, altering the course of their day. We froze and looked at each other. We were hanging by a thread already, and out of self-preservation, I answered simply “we have a son.” There was nothing wrong with her question, but answering it completely hurt too much. Then I awkwardly shoved my face into a book, as if it were giving me oxygen, before she could ask any of the usual questions that follow … How old? Where do they go to school?
Had I given the answer racing through my brain, it would have gone something like this:
“Yes, we have a son, but he passed away 7 months ago. We have no answers, and cannot believe the world keeps spinning without Drew in it. Now, I am pregnant with his sibling. A baby we want so desperately, but we are terrified. We know all too well how fragile life can be and this ultrasound represents hope. The chance to fill our empty arms.”
Then my name was called, Boswell … Georgia.
Our doctor came in and after what seemed like an eternity, began the ultrasound. Within seconds, there it was … duh-duhn, duh-duhn! A heartbeat! This was not any just any heartbeat though; it was fast and healthy!! This 9 week baby had 170 bpm of the most beautiful, melodious, rhythm a parent with a broken heart can ever hear. We were ELATED! ECSTATIC! CRYING! OVERJOYED!
After my initial elation, my brain kicked into overdrive, and I became my own worst enemy. I started grilling my doctor about all the things that could go wrong. She patiently answered questions then said, “The best thing you can do for this baby is relax and create the least stressful environment possible.” Relax? Relaxation seemed particularly challenging and foriegn in a life without Drew. Getting out of bed was a daunting task, but I knew my beloved doctor was right. As we left the office, I tried to connect with my inner zen that had been hiding from me for some time.
Later that night, we came up with the name for our bun in the oven, “Baby Beat,” a homage to the beautiful heartbeat we heard earlier that day. We decided that we were not going to find out the sex of the baby, so Baby Beat became the moniker used by our friends and family for the rest of the pregnancy.
That beautiful heartbeat ended up preserving our sanity in those early months. A sainted friend had an “at home” Doppler ultrasound machine, and she mailed it to me hoping it would help bring us peace. We did not use the machine a lot, but when we did, it brought us so much comfort to hear that beat. When I was no longer nauseous and worried something was wrong … Baby Beat came to the rescue. On those lonely Sundays, which used to be family days and were so painfully quiet … Baby Beat came to the rescue. When Drew’s second birthday came along without him, and brought with it a pain no parent should ever have to feel, that beautiful Baby Beat helped us see the light at the end of the tunnel. Beat “speaking to us” coupled with endless debate about the sex of the baby based on my ever expanding belly proved to be a much needed respite from the abundant grief that I grappled with daily.
As weeks past, Baby Beat began moving like there was a “So You Think You Can Dance” audition in my womb. The inner dance routine calmed my nerves considerably; I did not take my hand off my stomach for the rest of the pregnancy. Even when Baby Beat was kicking away at 3 am rendering sleep impossible, I was grateful for every move. Those moves gave me strength to do things I never thought I would be able to do, like registering for Baby Beat’s shower. On the outside, it was a simple act, but for me, it was like climbing the grief version of Mt. Everest. The stores were filled with memories of trips with Drew and the trail of puffs always left in our wake. As I walked the aisles, I marveled at how innocent I once was, knowing my view of life would never be the same.
The pregnancy progressed without a hitch, and by April it was time for Baby Beat’s arrival. My husband and I packed our hospital bag with all the normal things and included numerous pictures of Drew and his favorite stuffed animal, a tiger. Unlike other families, Drew would not come in wearing his finest “Big Brother” shirt, but bringing these things brought us comfort.
On April 27, we went to the hospital. Baby Beat’s arrival was imminent! I had convinced myself I was having another boy, but in my heart of hearts, I wanted a girl. Either way, we knew we would be thrilled. We firmly believe Drew hand-picked this baby for us. It is difficult to put into words, but I felt Drew’s presence in the room, and it gave me peace. After what can only be described as the world’s most seamless and quick labor, Baby Beat was here! I turned to my husband, and with tear filled eyes he told me, “It’s a girl.” Holding sweet baby Emmaline brought me so much joy, along with a profound longing for Drew. A nurse came in after the shift change and asked “The Question.” “Is this your first?” With a renewed feeling of peace and courage, I pointed to Drew’s picture and answered, “We have two children, Miss Emmaline, and her brother Drew who is celebrating with us in heaven.”
And the beat goes on…
About Georgia Boswell
Georgia Boswell hails from Minden, Louisiana, but she has been proud to call New Orleans home for 11 years. Georgia received an undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech and acquired a Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management from UNO. She enjoys reading, traveling and sampling the many treasures New Orleans has to offer. She met Devron during Mardi Gras 2007 and they officially became Team Boswell on May 23, 2009. They were blessed to welcome Drew Joseph Boswell into the world on November 27, 2012. Tragically Drew died in his sleep on March 12, 2014. His death was attributable to SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood). Georgia and Devron, with the tireless support of many friends, started Drew’s Tunes for the two-fold purpose of providing musical instruments to young children and also to support research on the cause and possible prevention of SUDC. In one year, Drew’s Tunes has donated $64,000 in support of it’s mission. As of April 28, 2015, Emmaline Elizabeth Boswell became the newest member of Team Boswell. Devron and Georgia look forward to telling Emmaline all about her big brother and making the world more beautiful together in his name.