Your name comes from the Greek and means "victorious people" we were anything but...

Looking back to when I first found out I was pregnant I never realized how much a baby could change a person's life.

I came to the conclusion I was pregnant when I was about five weeks late and started suffering from some rather regular nausea. I guess back then I wasn't as meticulous about tracking those things. Things started out pretty well, you grew normally and at about 23 weeks I was able to feel you moving around. I remember talking to you a lot, telling you all about everything around you and how much I was looking forward to you being born.

At my next doctor's appointment I began to realize there was trouble. I was 26 weeks along and had begun to dilate, which was very early. My doctor ordered an ultrasound, and that is when I found out you were a boy. I was ordered to rest and restricted in my activities. I decided to begin my sabbatical early, so I went that day and said goodbye to the class of preschoolers I taught. I told them I had to rest, and that I would miss them, having no idea at that time what missing really meant.

About two weeks later I started feeling cramps and quickly noticed I was bleeding. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and spent most of the next two weeks hoping and praying you wouldn't be born too soon. I remember pleading with God to take care of you. I would have given up anything, done anything, I just wanted you to be born healthy.

Unfortunately, my prayers weren't enough . On the afternoon of August 17th I went into labor again,. Despite the best attempts of my Obstetrician, there was no stopping your birth. You were born at 31 weeks, and your doctor quickly surmised that your lungs weren't developed enough for you to likely survive. After you were born I got to hold you for what seemed like only an instant. I looked at you and tried very hard to memorize every aspect of you. You looked perfect to me ten fingers, ten toes, and beautiful blue eyes. You looked so small, but so complete, not like you were going to die. I told you that I loved you at least a thousand times.

And then that instant was over. The neonatal nurse took you from me. I became hysterical. I remember losing control and screaming. I cried hysterically, and i prayed some more. I just wanted them to tell me they were wrong, that you were going to be all right. After a few moments that seemed like forever I was sedated and told to rest. She said they would do everything they could for you and that my mom (your Grandmother) was with you. I fell asleep quickly, and when I awoke you were gone. You died less than four hours after you were born. Your Grandmother stayed with you until you were gone. A priest also visited you in that short time and saw to it that you were baptized.

I had to stay in the hospital for the next week, I couldn't cope with you being gone. Most of that time is a bit blurred now. I remember your Grandmother had a funeral for you, which I was unable to attend. I was told it was nice, if a funeral can be nice. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to you, I'm still not to this day. Perhaps I never will be.

When I did get home the funeral was over and our home was filled with baby gifts and sympathy cards. Everyone was so sorry. No one was sorrier than me. I was sorry you died, sorry I missed your funeral, sorry for myself. I spent the next few weeks alternately crying and sitting in your room. I didn't want to think and I really didn't want sympathy. I didn't want it to be real, I didn't want you to be gone. I would sit in your room and try to convince myself that it hadn't happened. I tried to fool myself into believing you were still alive. It is amazing the things you can convince yourself of out of grief. I looked at all of the toys you would never play with, but mostly at your empty crib. I couldn't quite believe you would never sleep there.

I didn't want to talk to anyone, especially your father. He didn't seem to feel the loss. He told me we could have another baby. He didn't understand why they had a funeral for you, or why I was so upset. You died and he acted as though it were just some failed attempt, as though he lost something completely replaceable. His son died and he didn't seem to care. He didn't grieve and I hated him for it.

Everyone else just walked on eggshells, no one knew what to say or how to react. People avoided me out of awkwardness. I have never felt so alone. I knew my family and friends meant well, but sometimes there just isn't anything to say. Nothing could have made it hurt less, or take it away. I was very angry with myself, your father, my doctor, your doctor, even God. No one was spared blame. I wanted you to be alive and that was all there was to it. I couldn't see past that loss. For the first time in my life I really knew what loss was, I knew despair, I really knew what it meant to "miss" someone.

Since then my life has changed a lot. You have a sister now (Elizabeth). She was born July 18, 2001, almost a month to the date after you would have turned one. She sleeps in the room decorated with Pooh Bear that was originally meant to be your room. Someday I will tell her about you and show her the photograph I have of you. I want her to know know how important you still are to me, and that you always will be. And, as for your father, he and I are no longer together. He never knew how precious you were. He never knew how to love you. He acted like losing you was something I should just get over and forget about. When he couldn't love you, I could no longer love him. You were a unique soul and irreplaceable, he never understood that, he never understood anything. I am in love with someone new now, and he brings a great deal of joy to my life. He loves me and loves your sister. I really think you would have liked him.

I know you died two years ago but you are still with me. Not a day goes by that I don't wish you were here. I wish I could hug and kiss you, and watch you grow up, but some things just can't be. You would be two years old now and every time I see a child that age I wonder what you would have looked like by now and what your personality would have been like. No amount of time or number of other children will ever make me forget you.

Lillavalencia captured the feeling quite perfectly in saying:

Years have gone by, and now the pain is nowhere near as sharp as it was during those first few months; people tell me that I should be all better now, like I had the flu, or a broken leg... but does that mean that I should stop missing you?
(from I miss you)

I love you Nicholas and I miss you,