I've spent more than a year grieving him, and in some ways it truly has gotten easier. Easier, never better.
I find myself getting caught-up in the excitement of meeting Jack's little sister in a few months time. I have no reason to believe it won't happen, and I have no reason to believe that she won't outlive us. Of course I worry, though I try to tame my wild thoughts with the knowledge there's nothing I can do, yet. Once she gets here, absolutely, but I got him here too.. It was only once he arrived things turned out so horribly wrong...
A year ago, when I was still covered in the first few waves of foggy grief, all I wanted was to be here, in this place where I am expecting again. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it wasn't. It took a few months of trying, some medication, and a whole lotta sex with my adorable husband, and here we are. So grateful for a second chance. So terrified of history repeating itself.
My husband is such a trooper- have I mentioned that? The eternal optimist, he refuses to discuss any outcome which does not result in his baby girl arriving safely and soundly. He has already told me of his plans to cuddle with her skin-to-skin, and how he really can.not.wait. He makes my heart swoon, and I really am not sure what I'd do without him. I send him weekly notes from the baby. It's simple stuff, pieced together from various websites like babycentre.ca, my "What to Expect" app on my iPhone, and even the Pamper's app which shows a diagram of baby's development. My emails outline her size and the new skillz she is developing (fyi- she's the size of a corn, a little over a pound of sweet baby girl, and is listening very carefully to my words...). I know he likes it, and it makes me feel like I'm helping him bond with his daughter because while I get to experience her jabs and kicks from the inside, it is only just now beginning where he can feel her thumps on the outside. I send him updates throughout the day, "today, she's loving the blueberry muffin I fed her for breakfast", or "she seems angry, please stop and get us a California Chicken sandwich for dinner". The best part? He plays along, and he brings home those sandwiches... nom, nom, nom.
I've been buying baby things here and there, I'm trying to embrace it all. It's hard. I picked up the following shirt, skirt and pants from a Loblaws (grocery store chain, for my non-canuck readers). They were on clearance and they were sweet and I figured why not, right? Here are the three items in the two ensembles I plan for her:
I "outed" us on Facebook last week. I thought it was about time to do so. I thought long and hard about how to announce it as I cringe when I see announcements and I didn't want to be one of them.. Possibly I am and have been, but I also felt like I have been posting a lot of sad things, such as Jack's birthday and anniversaries, so if I'm going to share that part of my innards, perhaps I should share the happy pieces too? I am pleased to say we had 70+ "likes" and 45-ish comments, and not a single "YAY, you're pregnant and it's going to be so amazing, barfing rainbows and shit". I am happy it's out there. I finally decided that as much as I am terrified of something going wrong in this pregnancy, I want people "out there" to pray for her, to love her, and to anticipate her the very same way they might have when we were expecting Jack. Does that make sense? I made sure to involve Jack in the process by announcing he would soon be a big brother to the baby girl he had sent us. I'm glad I did it that way, because it very much involves Jack as much as it involved us. I wanted people to know that, I want them to know he hasn't been forgotten and he will be a part of our lives forever... I hope I accomplished this.
SickKids sends out bereavement newsletters with some thoughts/poetry/etc. every few months or so... Today I received what appears to be the final newsletter. It addresses anniversaries and birthdays, and even conception after a loss. Sometimes I find it hard to receive this stuff as the reality of it all is so damn final. But sometimes it helps, and today was one such day. There was an excerpt included in the newsletter which rang so true to me, that I feel I need to repeat it here.
"Deciding to try for a subsequent pregnancy after a loss requires both deep courage and strength. Having been to the bottom, bereaved parents pick up their broken hearts and make his huge leap that is so difficult in so many ways and for so many reasons. Though different for each individual, many common emotions are guilt, a feeling of injustice to the baby that has died and the constant worry that the worst could happen again...".
Damn right, these are exactly the emotions I have battled. Worrying that Jack would be forgotten because our single ray of sunshine, which exists in the form of his sister, would "brighten" out lives and blind people to the fact she isn't our first born. Worrying that she will live her life in her big brother's shadow... Worrying about whether I can do this again- what if it happened again? I could not do it again... Would I/ could I love her unconditionally, can I open my heart to her and allow myself to fall madly in love with her as I did her brother?
It's even the little things... Like how much it's going to burn to have to pack up Jack's tiny clothing from his dressers- still waiting to be worn for the very first time, but instead going into storage for a while, until another little man (please?) comes screaming into our lives? I think about that sometimes- I spent a lot of time during my pregnancy with him preparing to bring him home, so certain that I would. I dutifully picked up unscented detergent for his baby skin, I washed and folded his teeny tiny pants and shirts, delighting in the belief I would soon be pulling those necklines over a little head... I remember the days Scott assembled Jack's dresser- he spent a whole day doing so, surprising me in the process with both it's purchase and completion. He was so excited as we began tucking away Jack's clothing, diapers, and all things nursery-necessary... It's hard to remember the good times, knowing the bad ones were just around the corner.
Anyway, all I intended to say was that this stuff is hard, and even a year later I still worry, and miss him like crazy and wish with all my might he could be here to welcome his sister into the world in t-minus 14 weeks. In a way he will be, but not as I had hoped. I hate that part of reality.