I went to church yesterday to do the nursery. I wasn't so much worried about being with the kids, I was afraid that pregnant women would be dropping the kids off. I was right to be afraid. At least 3 pregnant women came in and there was one I wasn't sure about.
I felt the tears coming the second I saw the first one. While she was signing her daughter in, I was crying behind her. Just a little, just enough that I could stop as soon as she turned around and I plastered a smile on my face. My Mom asked her when she was due and she said in late January, early February so she is about the same number of weeks pregnant that I was. I could barely stop myself from staring at her belly. The jealousy and the sadness was terrible. The other woman I was doing the nursery with, Zelda, didn't know that I lost Jacob so I was trying to act normal for her too. Then another pregnant Mom came in. She already has 3 living kids and another one on the way. I don't want anything to happen to her baby, but I just want mine back. I can't even produce one living child. She has produced 3 so far and likely will produce 4. The pregnant women were telling me a little about the girls they were leaving, so I had to talk to them. I've seen so many pregnant women over the last 3 months, but the only one I've had to talk to is my sister, and she isn't showing yet. It was hard to carry on a normal conversation with them.
Once they left, I was sad but immersed myself in the kids. One little girl, Lizzy, was sad so I carried her around most of the time.
Zelda knows my sister from working in the nursery together before and their kids get along well. So Zelda started asking the usual get-to-know you questions. Where do I work, where do I live, how long have I been going to the church, do I have any kids. This is the first time anyone came straight out and asked if I have any kids since Jacob died. I said that I have a son but he passed away. She looked a little shocked and said that she was sorry and how sad it was. So I continued and said that he died a few months before he was due, that I found out at a regular prenatal appointment when my OB couldn't find his heartbeat and that I gave birth to him. She seemed shocked that I gave birth to him. I wish I'd told her I was in labour for 18 hours. I said that he is buried in the garden at the church and she was very sympathetic and said how much has happened since I got married less than a year ago. I said that it has been a pretty bad summer. The kids kept interrupting us, but she kept bringing Jacob up and I love her for it. She asked if I was alone when I found out and she asked if we had already picked out a name. I told her his name is Jacob. It felt good.
On Thursday night, I didn't mention Jacob to someone who made a reference to me having kids. I went with my Dad to pick up his new, used van at a car dealership. When my Dad was out of earshot, the car salesman asked me if he has any grandkids. I said that he has a grandson (meaning Ben, mentioning Jacob was on the tip of my tongue). He asked if Ben was ours (Ted was there) and I said that he is my sister's. The salesman then said that Ted and I must be thinking of starting soon and I said that we were. I didn't mention Jacob. I felt terrible after, but it just didn't seem like there would be enough time to tell Jacob's story the way I want it told and I didn't think the guy cared anyway. After, I went over and over the conversation with the guy in my head, thinking of how I could have told him but I didn't. I kept apologizing to Jacob that night. I lay in bed, looked at Jacob's ultrasound picture, and told him how sorry I am. I feel like I have redeemed myself a little by telling Zelda so much.
Then the parents came back to pick up their kids. When Lizzy's Dad came to get her, I put her down to walk to him and she walked halfway, then turned and looked at me and then turned around and walked to him. It was cute. But then the pregnant women came. They stood around talking for awhile. I felt like I couldn't breathe. A new one came in. She is about 3-3.5 months pregnant. There was no reason for her to be there, she didn't have a kid in the nursery. But Zelda, Lizzy's Dad and this woman stood around talking with each other. I had just given Lizzy to her Dad, so I felt rude to walk away. The talk turned to pregnancy of course and this mystery woman pointed to her small bump and they all laughed. I wanted to throw up. They all looked so happy, so sure that this baby, and Lizzy's sibling who is expected in a few months, will make it. That their lives will be all sunshine and happiness. I smiled, but my eyes had a vacant stare. I think Zelda may have noticed, I saw her glance my way once.
Last Sunday (Sept 5), no one in my family went to church, but my Mom's friend Carole did. Thank goodness she did because Jacob's name was in the bulletin. Shortly after Jacob died and we decided to bury his ashes in the Memorial Garden beside the church, my Mom called and asked how much it cost. They said most people pay $100. My Mom gave $150. Because of that extra $50, they are treating it as a donation to the upkeep of the garden and, as a result, the donation was mentioned in the program. Carole got 2 extra bulletin's to give to me. When she was in church, she was sitting with a friend who said to Carole how sad it is. I love the fact that alot of people saw the bulletin and thought about him, even if just for a second.
I emailed the church secretary, Shirley, during the week and asked if I could get some more copies of the bulletin. She was so nice. She emailed back and said this:
It really warmed my heart to see you and Ted (and your sister) blowing bubbles with Jacob in the Garden after Katherine's wedding. I say "Hi" to him when I pass through the Garden too.
I started crying when I read that she says Hi to Jacob when she passes through the garden. I was at work when I read it and burst out crying at my desk.
So yesterday I went to the church office after all the kids left the nursery and saw Shirley and Rev. Mike there (the same minister who came to the hospital 3 times in 2 days when I was there). I got the envelope with the programs and told them how nice it was to see his name there and then I started crying! I was still feeling very fragile from all the pregnant women. It is so weird for me to cry in front of other people. I never did it before Jacob died. Now I did it and I wasn't embarrassed or anything. Shirley grabbed me and hugged me and I started crying more. She kept saying that it is so hard and so sad. When she stopped hugging me, Mike grabbed my hand and squeezed it. Shirley said they always think of Jacob everytime they're in the garden. I did apologize for crying and said that I was in the nursery that morning and there were so many pregnant women. I started crying again and she hugged me again. I really needed those hugs. I collected myself after a minute or 2 and left. I went to the coffee room, where there were still people walking around. I was standing by the door, thinking that I should leave because I could feel the tears coming again. Mike's wife Yvonne happened to look my way and caught my eye. She mouthed "Are you OK?" from across the room and I shrugged my shoulders and turned to the wall to start crying again. She came over and hugged me. Both Shirley and Yvonne's hugs were really tight bear hugs, not limp ones. They helped so much. Then we stopped hugging and she kept holding my hand. I said how I had been in the nursery and saw so many pregnant women and that Jacob's due date is getting closer and I think that's why I'm having such a hard day. After awhile, I went into the Narthex for the service. I sat alone since Mom is in the choir and I actually sat in the pew crying (not obviously, but anyone who knows me would have known at a glance - I think anyway. Maybe it was totally obvious). I started to think I should leave, but then the service started. We sang the first hymn, but I was crying so hard by this point that I couldn't see the words and I had to stop. I looked up and I'm pretty sure Mike was looking at me from the front. I kept taking deep breaths and started to plan my escape (I hate getting up and walking out in the middle of church). Mike welcomed everyone back and said that he hoped that everyone had a nice summer. Then he said that he knows that there are people sitting in the congregation who had some bad things happen to them over the summer and that those people are in everyone's thoughts etc. I know I'm not the only one at church who had a bad thing happen to them over the summer, but he looked at me when he said it.
After church, I was in the coffee room again and Amanda's Mom asked how I was (Amanda is the first babyloss Mom that I talked to 6 days after finding out that Jacob died. Mike put us in contact with each other - she was great for the few times I talked to her, but I haven't heard from her in 2 months). I'm tired of always saying fine. If it is someone who knows about what happened or who knows about babyloss or who I think might actually really care, I answer truthfully. Since her daughter lost a baby, I said that it has been a bad day, and she said "well, there is a reason and it will be worth it". Excuse me? How can my son dying be worth it? I don't care how you look at it. Nothing will make my son dying "worth it". If I ever do get a rainbow baby, and even if that baby actually lives, nothing will be "worth" Jacob dying. Nothing will be "worth" the pain I've been in since the day I found out he was dead . I just smiled and walked away. I went to the garden three times yesterday while I was at church. Sobbing twice. The third time, after the second service, Mom and Carole came out and we all stood there talking for awhile. It's nice not to be the only one who visited him yesterday. It's nice to know that others think of him when they pass through the garden. It's nice to know that others haven't forgotten about him. But I will always feel like a huge part of me is missing.
I know this is long. Thanks for reading the whole thing.