Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Named Our Baby James Collins Fitts, Jr.

I was soon wheeled back to my hospital room.  James' parents were there, but I don't remember anyone else.  Where was James? Had he called my parents? I was told he had gone home.  What had really happened was that he had escaped.  You see, when our son was wheeled out in his bassinet for the family to view, James just went into a great despair.  When he saw our beautifully made son, dead, it finally hit him that his son wouldn't be here for him to be a dad to.  The family immediately started telling him that it was for the best, God had a reason, our son probably wouldn't have been "normal."  James just couldn't take it and left.  He went home so he could scream out his mourning and weep.  He didn't feel like he could do that at the hospital.  All he wanted was his son back to hold and love.  Empty arms ache and his heart was racing with horrible hurt.  His brother came by to check on him, but didn't know what to say and left.
Back in my room, I was given shots for pain.  Not even drugs can stop a broken heart that was so heavy in my chest.  Tears just kept coming down my face.  I had not been back in my room long, when my sister-in-law poked her head in my room.  Here was my favorite SIL!  She was a welcomed sight to my eyes.  Then she did something unimaginable.  She just looked at me and said that she was pregnant.  She had just found out.  Her exact words were that her baby would take the place of my baby!  Was she nuts or just plain stupid?  I had just given birth to my dead son less that an hour ago!  How hurtful was she trying to be?  Or in her  mind did she believe it to be true that another baby could take the place of mine?  No baby would ever be James Colllins Fitts, Jr. but himself!  No baby I would have in the future would or could ever take the place of my firstborn!  How cruel!  I didn't say a word to her and she left.  We have never talked of what was said that day.  Think people, think!
James was back with me now.  I told him what his sister did and he was beside himself.  But he had other things to deal with more pressing.  We had to name our son.  James Collins Fitts, Jr. was decided on.  The reason was that it was the only thing we could give our son, his father's name.  So we did.  James' mom tried to talk us out of it when we told her, but we stood firm.  Next, I had to tell James what I wanted our son to be buried in and where in the nursery to find it.  I wanted James, Jr to be buried in a little baby blue Feltman's Bros. outfit with white trim and a little white kite  on it.  It was hanging in the nursery closet.  I gave instructions about wanting a small yellow wind-up musical pillow to put in the little white casket with our son.  It was a gift from a college friend that I also taught school with.  It played "Rock-a-bye-Baby" when wound up.  I wanted little white booties and a cloth diaper that was soft put on him. I also wanted a white receiving blanket.  Everything had to be soft and cozy.  James left to go pick up these things to take to Branch Funeral Home, pick out our baby's casket ( they were out of baby caskets so one had to be brought in from Rocky Mount) and to pick out a burial plot. We were only 24 and 25..... so young to be picking out a burial plot for your child!  I was left  to deal with "afterbirth pains"  Never giving birth before, I had no idea what these things were.  Like labor pains!  Pain was hitting me from every angle and in anyway it could! I did get comfort from the phone calls my family made to me.  They were scattered all over NC. (I come from a family of 6 kids) A long time friend from my home town of Washington came into my room while I was sleeping, not really sleeping just laying in torement.  Her mother had called her to tell her about my baby. My mother was getting the word out. She tried to get me to wake up.  She kept calling out my name and shaking me!  I didn't move a muscle.  I didn't want to face her.  I couldn't talk to anyone about this yet.  It was nice to know she had thought enough of me to come by, but she  should have called first. She stayed for a long time and I never moved.  She left.  We talked about it years later.  It was decided from James' mother that the funeral would be the next day, May 3, 1975.  The very next day!  Where was my say?  That was too soon!  I was told the reasoning was that the 4th was James' birthday and he wouldn't always want to associate his own birthday with the funeral of his son. Monday, the 5th , well that was just too long to wait.  My MIL wanted to get this whole thing over with so she get on with her life.
Without my knowledge all of this took place and James, so numbed by our son's death, just did what his mother said.  Now my MIL had always been very kind and caring to us.  She was a kind and caring person and well respected in our town.  She thought she was doing us a favor, but she was so very wrong this time.  Little did I know that her absolutely worse mistake towards me was soon to take place.

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