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2 days oldMark is 2 1/2 days old in this picture. Less tubes and wires. Unfortunately, we had just learned that his brain waves had gone flat after improved activity the day before. It was a very sad day as our hopes were totally destroyed. We decided to spend the rest of Mark's time cherishing being his parents.

He looks huge in his isolette. Check out that pretty red hair . . . same color as his Uncle Mark's. We were able to snip off a beautiful lock for his keepsake album.

First HoldThis is the first time I got to hold him. It seemed like it took forever to get him out of the isolette and situated in my lap with all the machinery. But we got everything settled and when they put him in my arms, he just seemed like any perfect sleeping baby . . . except for a respirator coming out of his mouth and tape across the hose. As a mom, it's easy to overlook that kind of stuff. It didn't matter to me at this point that he'd never open his eyes again and look at me. He was still alive and that's more than I got with his older brother Andrew who was stillborn.

Check out those fingersAs I held Mark, I felt like any other new mom . . . checking each of his features and body parts looking for family resemblance and yet his uniqueness . . . remembering my pregnancy and all of those dreams of the future. I suppose I was in some denial while I held him but it was important to soak him all in and BE his mother because I would hold him in my arms for a fraction of a lifetime. I had the rest of my life to grieve so I was going to rejoice, celebrate and cherish the time I had with Mark's physical presence.

I swore there were times I could feel him squeezing my fingers but the doctors assured me I was imagining things.

Feeling the Heartbeat

When I placed my hand on his chest, I could feel Mark's heart beating. It felt so good that I did it often even though it was hard to stand up for long. My cesarean was cut from belly button to pubic bone (OUCH!). Mark felt so warm and alive. It was hard to believe that he was only going to be with us for a short time.

All of Mark's roommates were tiny preemies, and he looked like a moose compared to them. The nurses had to get him his own box of diapers because the preemie and newborn sizes didn't fit.

With Daddy

Daddy is holding Mark and we're checking out those perfect toes. Don't all new parents do this? In our little bubble, we felt like normal parents to a normal child.

It seemed like everything about Mark looked like his daddy right down to his barrel-shaped chest. I wondered if I'd had anything to do with his creation! It would soon become obvious that I did . . .

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Mark's mom