We called you Kicker before you had a name. Its funny, because we had a girl’s name picked out before we tried to make you. But not a name for a boy. Your daddy was named after his father and grandfather, so I had thought a son would be another Edward. But your daddy did not want you to be “the fourth.” Your daddy has never gone by his “real” name in his life–he’s always been Chip. Like your uncle, who is also a “third.” But that’s another story, I suppose. He wanted you to have your own name. And how we debated it! I wanted a classic name, but he wanted something unusual. We looked at baby-name websites, played alphabet games (Alex? Brandon? Charles?) but we couldn’t agree.
The funniest thing was, at first, we both thought you would be a girl, so choosing a boy’s name seemed kind of irrelevant. We debated all the way through the 19 weeks, when we went for the ultrasound to find out if it mattered.
The technician wasn’t sure. She said she thought you were a boy, but that we “shouldn’t paint the nursery yet.” The doctor was a bit more certain, but wouldn’t commit. And I remember that I felt disappointed; I’d never actually even imagined having a son. I wasn’t thrilled at first. But it didn’t take more than a couple of days before I came around. I realized how many truly wonderful men you would be raised around. I started thinking how wonderfully, perfectly a little boy would fit into our life. The biggest moment was when your daddy’s mother and I went though baby pictures of him. You already looked like him on the ultrasound, and when I finally saw pictures of what he looked like as a baby, I could see you. I could see you as clearly as if you’d already been born. And I fell wholeheartedly, completely, irrevocably in love with you. My son, the boy I never realized I wanted, the son I suddenly couldn’t imagine living without.
A few days later, your daddy suggested the name Cedar. We tried that out a bit and rather liked it, but it still didn’t quite fit. Then one day, out of the blue, I said “What about Isaac?” It had been one of your daddy’s first suggestions, but I’d rejected it at the time. And your father, contrary soul that he is, said he wasn’t sure. But within an hour we had settled on Isaac Cedar as your name, and from that moment on, I never thought of you as anything else. But we agreed that we’d still call you Kicker until we knew for sure.
It wasn’t until after you were gone I found out that Isaac means “laughter.” Maybe that’s why it was so well suited to you. Daddy and I laugh most of the time. Even in the darkest hours, we laughed at times. The doctors, the nurses, the counsellors–all of them remarked on how much we all laughed. It was so obviously your name!
But Kicker fit for a while too. My, but how you could kick! I think of it sometimes and laugh (sometimes it makes me cry). You kicked and squirmed so much, and all the while you were doing it with one little leg. When I held you, I couldn’t help noticing how muscular that leg was–how perfectly shaped, how well developed. You would kick so hard it would make me gasp. Once, I started to stand up from a chair, and you kicked so hard it felt like you were going to fall right out through my belly!
I felt you move early, too. May 22, only 15 weeks. I was already pretty sure I was feeling something at 13 and a half weeks; a deep, tingling feeling, like my uterus was falling asleep. But I thought that couldn’t be it, since supposedly you don’t feel things that early in a first pregnancy. On May 22 I went for a massage, and while I was lying relaxed on the table, I felt you roll over pretty clearly.
After that first kick, you never stopped. Within days I could feel you regularly. On June 6 you were kicking hard enough that your daddy could feel you too. And on July 2 I looked at my belly and saw the bulge of your little foot pushing out. So active so early–did you know you wouldn’t be staying? You made your presence known so quickly. Even the very first symptom of your existence was only a week after we made you. And you were instantly the center of our lives.
You still are.
I want to remember everything, every moment of your visit. It terrifies me that someday those precious weeks will fade; that things will blur together. I kept a little diary of your life–one of those “pregnancy organizers,” which I’ve barely been able to look at until now. Today I’m able to page through it. Someday I’ll read every word again. Someday I’ll pull out the ultrasound pictures and put things in the empty scrapbook that’s waiting for your life to spread out in it. Someday. But not today. Today remembering is enough.