Blue Dress

I could not bear the idea of seeing baby clothes.

abstract watercolor illustration of a toddler girl's dress with a blue Hawaiian print
Image created via Midjourney

We announced the gender of our baby on a family vacation in Hawaii. My mother squealed over the idea of buying baby girl clothes. I asked her to please not do that yet — to wait until I was further along. Even at only 11 weeks pregnant with Nelle, I was inexplicably uneasy.

My uncle bought Nelle a dress on that trip, unaware of my unease. He wanted to get her first dress. He knew I was not a fan of pink, so it was blue and white, and had an unmistakable Hawaiian look. He even thought ahead that with my due date in January, that the dress should be a 6-month size so that she could wear it that summer.

In August, my uncle emailed that he had seen some cute baby clothes and couldn't resist. He mailed them to our house. They were lost in the mail and never arrived. In the middle of trying to track them down, we had the ultrasound that told us something was really wrong with my pregnancy. I emailed my uncle to let him know.  

In the thread, he mentioned that he would buy more clothes and send them to us, to replace those that were lost. I replied and asked him to please not do that; we knew that the potential causes for Nelle's growth restriction were serious. I could not bear the idea of seeing baby clothes.

I also was using StitchFix at the time for maternity clothes. I emailed customer service and frantically asked that they prevent my next Fix from shipping. The rep went out of her way to retrieve it from outgoing mail. I just knew.

A few days later, all test results were in, normal, making us think that the pregnancy was going to be fine after all. A few days after that, she was gone.

While in the hospital, I asked my mom to put away all of the baby clothes that were already folder and organized in her dresser. Clothes that had been given to me. A few that I had purchased. Clothes from when Theo and Quentin were babies that I was going to use again. And the blue dress.

Along with many of Nelle's things, I wondered if I should give them to Iris. Did they belong to Nelle?  Or did they just belong to "our baby"?

I never got that far.  I never unpacked any of the clothes for Iris. I never allowed myself to be that hopeful, and then she was gone.

In order to write this post, I had to take a photo of the blue dress. It is still packed away, with the rest of the baby clothes and books.  Tonight was the first time I had seen it in nearly eight months.

Then I closed the lid of the box and it remains packed away.