A year

18th of January, 2015, Rhys and I had Brandon born by C-section. I still remember how he was lifted up, and he paused for a whole second before beginning to cry. It was a displeased cry, complaining, clearly communicating how unhappy he was that he’d been removed from his nice comfortable and warm womb, to this brightly lit strange place. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

He was tiny, so tiny. And unlike the warnings of the prenatal ward head doctor, he was a perfect, chubby little baby boy, and not thin and skeletal. He was cute, so adorable and cute, with a thick head of black hair.

He was clearly opinionated, and not afraid of letting people know what those opinions were. Those opinions were often negative; and in disagreement with the establishment. When he was brought up to special care, the doctor decided to give him a small amount of milk; not a full feed for his size. Brandon gulped down that little bit, then when no more milk was forthcoming, exercised his lungs and showed that this was not acceptable!

The doctor quickly changed his mind and had him given a full 35 ml feed.

Brandon definitely did not like being pulled from Mummy in the afternoons, to allow her to sleep for a couple of hours. He didn’t like being put up against his father’s prickly stubble, or bumping his head against Daddy’s collarbone. At first, when he felt this had become unbearable, he would suck in all the oxygen his little lungs could manage and then let out a long, enraged howl, which he would continue to do until he ran out of breath, gave a little cough, and then slump against his father’s shoulder, dizzy from lack of breath, followed with an expression that said ‘fuck it’.

I remember how I had to hurriedly put him down in the center of the bed one afternoon, because I desperately needed the loo. Brandon did NOT like that! He began to let the household know how he’d been so crassly and CRUELLY abandoned! 15 seconds later, Uncle Aff came into the room, to see what was up, and picked him up. Brandon immediately began to complain to him, telling on Mum’s being so unfeeling and not finding a way to take baby with her while she had to go pee!

I heard the unhappy baby talk ‘wa wa wa ma wa wa wa ma ma waaah’ and came out to see a very amazed Aff holding Brandon in his hands. “It’s like he’s trying to communicate!”

“He is,” I said. “He’s telling on me.”

 

We wanted to know what Brandon’d say, once he started to talk, but we never got the chance because he passed away in his sleep when he was 11 weeks old. We didn’t expect that the only photos and videos we had would be all we’d have to last us our lifetime. That what time we had with him was all we were going to have. All the memories.

Most of the photos we have show him scowling. Except in his sleep; he’d smile occasionally there; and Aff got a photo where Brandon’s sleepily smiling at the camera. The one time we saw him give a happy baby smile was while he was on skype video with Aff’s dad. Yep, the gummy happy smile with legs and arms wiggle.

Even so, all those photos we got showed that there was going to be a very fascinating personality in bloom. We got raised Spock-eyebrows, disapproving expressions, scowls, frowns, and ‘wtf are you doing?’ looks. On an infant. Yeah, it was going to be fun raising that little boy, we said. It’s going to be fun, interesting, hilarious, once he started talking. We bet that his first word would be ‘no.’

All we have are dreams of what if, and what might have been.

Even if that’s all we had, we wouldn’t have traded him, or the chance to know him. Brandon was a treasure. We enjoyed having him with us, loved having him with us, loved him. The thing we regret is that he’s gone, and we wouldn’t have the opportunity to keep experiencing what he’d show us of him as he grew. That we wouldn’t have fun with him any more.

Brandon died quietly, peacefully, and left a huge hole in our lives, in our hearts.

Yesterday, he would have been a year old.

Happy Birthday, grumpy thing. We miss you.

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