Monday, April 16, 2012

This BLM's Mind as Delivery Approaches

As I round the final corner of this pregnancy, I struggle to come to grasp with what is to come in the next few weeks. I find myself overwhelmed with excitement, and also very anxious. I'm excited because OMG she's coming (!!!), but anxious because we've been here and done this before, except last time we left the hospital with empty arms and broken hearts.

I watched the video clips we have of Jack today, because I really have nothing better to be doing with my time, and it's been a while since I've sat down to watch them. I watched from his delivery through until the night before he was admitted- all the video documentation of his little life. I smiled at some of the looks on his face, I laughed along with myself on video at my husband's antics, and sighed at the video clip in which my husband repeatedly says, "hello Jack" and I watch my boy roll his eyes, as if on cue.

I watched myself telling Jack "we've waited our whole lives to meet you" just after we had met. I heard Scott's voice crack and the high pitched "awwww" he managed when he first laid eyes on him.  He couldn't stop thanking the doctors and the nurses for his little boy, while in actual fact it was he and I who made this perfect little being. Together. Incredible.

Jack's cone-head from being stuck in my pelvis all day is red and raw in the film. The nurse assures us on tape that Jack tried his very best to squeeze down there, but he just couldn't do it. I watch his sweet little tongue dart in and out of his rose bud lips and smile to myself that his sister shares these same lips.

It's hard to look at this footage, even though at one point it was the only thing which got me through the day. It's hard to see us so optimistic and happy and not think of what was yet to come- that which we were so blissfully unaware. We had every reason to think he would live- he was here, he was checked out by the pediatrician and declared healthy... Why would we ever suspect it wouldn't last? It's heartbreaking, watching our prior life on tape and knowing we were just days from our whole worlds crashing down.

In approaching these final days, I've managed to get my nerves at bay by telling myself it can't happen again. That we have every reason to think Grace will have a different outcome than her brother. It makes me feel confident that we are doing everything we can to get her here safely (ie, the weekly BPPs) and to ensure she remains healthy. But I feel badly that we somehow let Jack down, that we didn't/couldn't offer him this same thing.

I know there isn't anything more we could have done. I feel confident in the decisions we made about his health and his care in the hospital. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts it was simply too late and the infection too strong to have ever changed the outcome.. But my heart hurts all the same.

Parts of my memories of him are fading. I was surprised by his kitten-like noises and snorting on the video today, I had forgotten how noisy little babies are. I've forgotten what it feels like to hold his weight in my arms. So many of previously strong memories have faded, and I find I am not as affected by triggers as I once was... Dates no longer seem to upset me in the way they would have just a few short months ago. The fact Grace is scheduled to arrive on the 16 month anniversary of his declaration forces me to approach the dates a little differently, it brings out the beauty of what was previously a day on the calendar which had haunted me.

Sometimes it doesn't even seem like it was real... It doesn't seem possible that we made it through the birth, and the subsequent death of our firstborn. That he was really here- born to us, and then he was taken away... That we could have anticipated his arrival with such excitement and hope for 9 months only to lose him days after he got here... It's just incredibly hard to accept that this has happened.  It just seems like such an incredible waste of a young life, and I hate with my entire being that this is the only shot Jack got at living a beautiful life. We wanted so much for him, I still do even though it's impossible.

Together, Scott and I have persevered through all of the ups and downs we have been forced to experience over the past 16 months... We have taken the challenges we have faced, and together we have overcome them. If not overcoming them, we have learned to live with this gaping hole in our hearts and life, for better or for worse.  It's entirely impossible to believe that we're coming out on the other side of this very dark tunnel, and are somehow (better? worse?) alternatives to the people we were on January 1st, 2011 when we first laid eyes on our son.

A part of me won't let me "go there" with all of this, it won't let me be swallowed whole by grief at this point- I suspect there are some survival instincts kicking in, keeping me afloat right now.

I can only hope that as we welcome Jack's baby sister into our lives, we are able to balance our great joy with the grief that is equally great. I hope we continue to be able to grieve the loss of our son as we are celebrating the life of our daughter. Because they will always be my kids, and together with their dad, will always be the great loves of my life.


Molly said...

That's about how i feel reading this. Such a mix of tears and smiles... But that's the reality now, huh?

Becky said...

I love that last paragraph. Because they will always be my kids......always be the great loves of my life:)

B. Wilson said...

I loved that last paragraph so much, too. And those photos. Oh man. You're a beautiful mama, my friend.

Melissa said...

Your husband is a hottie.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, onto your post... I love your writing. It always seems like I'm right there with you when you're remembering. Maybe it's because we have experienced similar feelings with our losses? I don't know. I remember being where you are right now. It's just so impossible to believe that this will turn out okay. And I agree with the other posters: I love that last paragraph. *hugs*

Renel said...

I love all the pictures, that you have videos and photos of you smiling with Jack...I am SO jealous of not having that with Camille. Is it weird to be jealous when your baby died too? anyway, I am not close to delievering a new baby and the crazy must be astronomical. No matter how much we convince ourselves that things usually turn out well, we have been the bad statistic and trying to unremember that is challenging. I am so glad you are a better person since Jack died....I don't think I am there yet. But you give me hope. It must be hard, the forgetting what he felt like in your arms, the sounds he made. You do this with your living babies too but somehow when it is all you have of jack, it seems cruel that the memory would fade. Sending love to you and your whole family.

kidsakeeper said...

"A part of me won't let me "go there" with all of this, it won't let me be swallowed whole by grief at this point- I suspect there are some survival instincts kicking in, keeping me afloat right now."

This is how I have felt since the day I found out I was pregnant, like I just had to set it all aside then, because I just couldn't cope with it while I was trying to focus on being pregnant again with a new life.

I knew it then and I know it's a coping mechanism that will most likely come back to bite me in the ass in the near future.

I can't wait to see your new baby girl.


Brooke said...

This is so perfectly said. I am not really able to even contemplate actually going to the hospital and having a baby at this point. At the same time, I'm not drowning in grief even though it wells up without warning now and again. I think it is a survival thing, like you said.

I hate that we're not the people we should have been. I know that there's no better or worse in real life--that this is just the only way things can be and there is no alternative version of my life, no matter how much I wish there were. But still. I miss the way things were supposed to be.

And I know we have much to look forward to, including your baby girl.

SG said...

I love hearing about your memories of Jack, even though they were too few and are bittersweet now. Wishing all good things for little Grace's arrival <3

Amy L. said...

Sigh. There's nothing more to be said...but sending you loves and hugs and kisses, LauraJane.

DandelionBreeze... aka NYMum said...

Such a beautiful post... it must have been heartbreaking to watch his video. Every memory is so precious and you will always have him with you in your heart while holding Grace in your arms. Thinking of you as her special arrival approaches xoxo

My New Normal said...

I'm amazed at what we can perservere through when we're left with no other choice. Beautifully written, I can certainly relate to it.

Tiffany said...

i believe you will be able to balance it. and not because she has replaced anything, but because you may end up feeling closer to Jack through Grace. at least that is how i have felt through this process. it has no doubt been hard, but just looking at our girl's little face makes my heart swell for both of them. it sounds weird, but i just have a feeling that you will experience it too since it seems like we think similarly on a lot of things. and i can't wait until you can look that little girl in the face and kiss on her, and thank her big brother for such a precious gift.

i understand how you felt watching the video. that has been the hardest thing for me to do. and i can't do it often at all. just too hard.

sending you love as you approach Miss G's arrival. and praying for both of your safety. i know she is going to be beyond gorgeous.

Shell said...

Love your post and writing and as another said it makes you feel like you are right there with you. I know you are apprehensive but like you said and our doctors tell us, the chance of anything happening this time, I keep thinking of that statistic. Love the last line as well and thinking of you in coming weeks and can't wait for you to post Miss G's arrival.

Caroline said...

You'll be able to balance it. I don't know how. But you will. You already are. The love for both of your kids will help you navigate the ups and downs of parenting children who are alive and dead.

I know what you mean about wanting more for him even though it's impossible.

Very excited for Grace's arrival and the joy she will bring you.

Nicole said...

This is such a beautiful post.

I agree, you'll balance it. And as someone else has said, having Jack's sister here may just make you feel closer to him. I know that I've felt closer to my Caroline through all of this.

Can't wait to "meet" Jack's beautiful little sister! Lots of love and prayers!

Rhiannon said...

So beautiful, I especially loved the last sentence <3. Somehow you will be able to balance it, you make not know how at times but you will. I am so excited to see Miss Grace and all the joy she will bring to your lives.

Tesha said...

Hi I am so very sorry you had to say goodbye to your sweet baby boy I am saying a prayer for you now. That you would find that perfect balance your love for Chance shines!

Natasha said...

I definitely think you will be able to balance the two. It's hard but you will be able to because of your incredible love for both of your children. I look at Mason some days and see little pieces of Aiden. And that is amazing. I know this time is an emotional roller coaster. Praying for you guys and little Grace ♥

Darcey said...

The balance will happen without any work on your just does. My grief is just as great as before Layton, but he has brought so much love to my family that I really can't imagine life without him here. I can't wait to read and see pictures of your beautiful daughter and the joy she brings your family. THinking of you as you get close to meeting her.

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