Babies have such a distinct smell. I love that smell. I was so excited to have my own baby for about a million reasons. One of the million reasons I was excited seems so silly now. I would have a son, and he would smell – well – like a baby. There are countless things that seem like cruel jokes when you leave the hospital without a baby to take home. My heart knew that Isaac was gone, but my body had no idea. Here’s the thing. It would seem that the smell I so loved comes from the milk that feeds babies, not the babies themselves.
This meant that for two weeks following Isaac’s birth the smell I so loved followed me around. From the moment I woke up in the hospital, I kept noticing that distinct smell. At first, I convinced myself that it was coming from the washcloths in the labor and delivery rooms of the hospital. The magnesium IV drip made me feel like my face was on fire, so my husband made sure I had a steady stream of wet washcloths to put on my head. I thought it might be the laundry detergent. Maybe I was imagining it?
Then the smell followed us home. Every so often I would catch that baby smell. I realized it was coming from me. At first, I found this incredibly upsetting. It just seemed like a cruel reminder of what we had lost. While my body initially had no idea that Isaac was gone, I knew it would figure things out eventually. It occurred to me that this smell was temporary.
I was right. The smell was temporary. During the two weeks I had the smell trailing around with me, I cherished it. The smell is gone now and it breaks my heart. I wish I could make it come back, but I know that will only happen if we manage to welcome a sibling for sweet little Isaac. Every so often, I get the faintest whiff of the smell. When I try to catch it with a deep breath, though, it’s not there.