Our Empty Cradle
My second pregnancy took my husband, Randy, and me by surprise. Because my 40th birthday had already come and gone the year before, we'd assumed that we weren't meant to have any children besides our son, Bradley. But after the initial shock had worn off, the three of us couldn't wait to welcome a baby into our family.
I was a bit worried about being pregnant at 41, but my doctor, who's about my age and had recently given birth to her fourth child, eased my fears. When my amniocentesis results came back normal, I pushed my worries back further. I made sure to eat right and exercise, and I cut back on my hours as a merchandiser for Anne Klein watches to get plenty of rest.
Bradley approached the pregnancy with all the gusto of a 5-year-old. He'd kiss and hug my tummy and laugh when the baby hiccuped or moved in my womb. Randy and I had decided not to find out the baby's gender until delivery, but Bradley was convinced his little sibling was a boy. I tried to gently remind him that he could have a sister, but he just "knew" this was a brother. "How about if we name him Brian?" he asked. We agreed it was a fine name for a boy. From then on, whenever Bradley talked to my stomach, he always called the baby Brian.
On September 5, 1998, I did indeed give birth to a son, Brian Edward. But we had never imagined that instead of welcoming our newborn home, we'd have to explain to Bradley that his little brother had died.