Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday with the family

Today my family got together to celebrate my birthday. My Dad had suggested doing something extra nice and thought of the zoo, the museum, Toronto Island or Niagara Falls. I thought it was really nice that he was trying to think of something different and extra nice for my birthday, but all of those places would be a little baby/kid/pregnant women heavy. I explained this to him and he said that he totally understood and we decided to go to Lindsay's house for a BBQ. Because Laurie had a baby on May 3rd, she asked if we could just do it at her house as it would be alot easier for her and I agreed.

I was worried about being at her house for so long. I haven't seen the baby, Danny, for more than 10 minutes since I left the hospital the day he was born. the day he was born. And I usually left her house crying when I did see him. It wasn't always him that made me could be hearing about her hospital stay, seeing her breastfeed....things I didn't get to do with Jacob. But I don't want my grief to run my life, even though it does, so I agreed to going to her house. I was worried and a little stressed and even sad about it all day Saturday, but felt calmer on Sunday morning.

I went over about an hour early because I needed to use her computer for something. There was a cute sign on the door, which made me smile.

I played with Ben for a few minutes, started a load of laundry, and then went into their spare room to use the computer. Laurie had been nursing Danny and laid him down. While she was in the bathroom, I heard him starting to cry in her room so I went in. I hadn't planned on holding him, but I didn't want to just stand there watching him cry, so I picked him up and had about 2 minutes alone with him. He felt so cute in my arms. His face was near mine and we studied each other and I started to cry. I imagined what Jacob would have looked like, what he would have felt like, what he would have smelled like. I will never know.

I have never kissed Danny, so I did. His sweet little baby cheeks. He starting getting fussier. Laurie walked in the room, I handed him to her and left. I had to get away. I went into the spare room, closed the door and cried. Jacob's absence was especially present. Laurie stuck her head in a few minutes later and asked if I was OK. She may have assumed that I shut the door because I needed to concentrate. I don't know if she knows the truth.

I finished my work and went to the living room. Laurie was outside with Ben and Danny and Andy was at the store. No one else had arrived yet. I sat in the living room and looked at the baby items around me.

Soon everyone started arriving. My Mom came in, washed her hands, and took Danny from Laurie. She couldn't wait to hold him. I imagined her holding the Jacob that should have been. Over the afternoon, all of my sisters held him and I watched the way they looked at him. I know they feel Jacob's absence, I know they would have looked at him the same way. I know they would have cuddled him on the couch, with his hand curled around their finger. I tried to look away whenever they looked towards me. I didn't want them to feel self-conscious or anything. They should be able to enjoy their time with Danny. I would have, once upon a time.

Jessie gave me a gift a few days ago and wrote about Jacob in the card. I posted about that here. Lindsay and Laurie gave me gifts today. Laurie didn't mention Jacob in her card, and that is alright. She did say "this year will be great", so a hopefully, encouraging message. That always helps.  She also said I'm a fabulous sister, aunt and friend. That made me feel a little better about not doing as much as I could have to help her in the past several months.

Lindsay did mention him. Her card said:

This year was so different from what we were all expecting, and it would probably be in vain to wish you a Happy Birthday. However, I do hope you are feeling more at peace as time passes. I know how difficult things have been since we lost Jacob, and I mourn for him as well as for you, as I know we can't even start to understand what you've been going through. But even in such a difficult time, you've always been such a kind, loving sister and I am so grateful to have you in my life. 

Tears came to my eyes as I read it.  I love that she wrote "since we lost Jacob" and that she mourns for Jacob and for me. We were in the kitchen later and I said how much I love the card, how much I love it when Jacob is mentioned. She said that Brian said not to mention Jacob in the card and Lindsay told him he was wrong. I'm so glad she did.

As we were watching Ben run around, making us all laugh, Ted leaned over and said "Just imagine what it will be like when Jacob is here!" I knew right away he meant when our next baby is here, but I said "jacob?" and he realized what he said. Seeing Danny for so long was bothering Ted too. He misses our boy. He left about an hour before I did, as his back is bothering him again.

I was going to get a ride home with my parents, so I was sort of at their mercy as to when we left. I didn't want to suggest leaving because everyone had gone out of their way to do something special for my birthday. But the last hour was hard. Different people were holding Danny, Laurie breastfed and seeing that really started to get to me. I have no idea what that feels like. I still have milk, but no baby to give it too. I saw her gazing at Danny and talking to him and burping him and I started to feel like I was drowning. So I got up and went to the bathroom, alternately hoping that no one would know why I was there and that someone would know. I only stayed for a few minutes, wishing that I would walk out and someone would say that we should go. I dried up my tears and came out.

My Dad came to me within a minute and asked if we should head out. I was so relieved. Jessie then came up and asked if I was hiding in the bathroom and I said I was and I figured if anyone noticed, it would be her. She tried to say something more, but we got interrupted.

We left within a few minutes. I wonder when I will have the strength to stay there longer. When will I have the strength to just enjoy Danny, instead of thinking of everything that I've missed, that I am missing, with Jacob, August and Cub?

Ted and I should either have had Jacob or August there today. There should have been 2 babies being passed around.

I got home and Ted said that when he got home, he went through the pictures of Jacob. He said that he was especially sad. He doesn't look at Jacob's pictures often because it is too hard, but he needed to today. He said that the expression on my face in the pictures was heartbreaking and painful to see.

I started to look at them soon after, but had to stop. I've never had to stop before, but tonight I just can't do it.


Angela said...

I think you are brave for going over there. I've hid from my niece since she was born, it's just so difficult to be around her but not have Charlotte.

I'm glad your sister mentioned Jacob in the card she gave you. I think it's hard for loved ones to know what to say so they don't say anything at all.

Birthdays, holidays, life just isn't the same without our babies. Love to you and Ted, I know there are hard days coming up.

Sherri said...

I'm so sorry that your birthday was such a hard day. I'm praying that your next year sees some of your dreams come true!
Sending huge hugs, and lots of love on your special day!

LauraJane said...

Happy (?) birthday.

Good for you for going over there and seeing your nephew, so f'ing hard to do. Knowing people are looking at you, and looking at people while they look at him, just as they would have looked Jacob.

I'm sure it was hard hearing your hubby say your son's name in error. Sometimes I have to catch my words as I'm saying them, when I speak of meeting our next baby.. While being very aware it's not Jack, it's hard not to get to "meet" him again next.. KWIM?

Sarita Boyette said...

Dana, this is heartbreaking. It sounds like your family loves you and wants to do special things for you but the presence of the baby naturally makes you sad. I'm so sorry you didn't have Jacob or your other babies with you on your birthday. This must have been really tough. I'm thinking about you. xoxo

Elaine said...

Sounds like a rough day but you were so brave and I am so glad you're trying to maintain a "normal" life. I think we'd really regret it if we let special moments with our nieces and nephews pass us by. Your family is so lovely. I love how they keep Jacob alive in their thoughts and actions. You are so blessed to have them.

Rhiannon said...

I am proud of you for going to Laurie's and spending so much time there. I know it had to be so difficult for you and Jacob's birthday looming makes it that much harder. I love that your sister wrote "we lost Jacob", that is so special and so nice to know that they are missing his presence, too.

These days leading up to our babies birthdays are going to be hard ones. Please know that you are in my heart and I am sending you lots of love. <3

Becky said...

I am a little behind on your blog and catching up now.
That was really sweet of Lindsey to write that note in your card, she sounds like a great sister.