Saturday, May 26, 2012

Right where I am now - 1 year, 11 months, 3 weeks and 4 days

I am writing this as part of Angie at Still Life With Circles project, which is in it's second year now.

It has been almost 2 years since Jacob died and then was born. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed. I can't even put into words how hard it is to believe, how hard it was in the early days to believe that we would ever make it this far and would ever be this happy again. But we are happy, most of the time. That happiness always has a longing to it, of varying degrees.

The bigs days like Mother's Day, my birthday, Easter, etc don't have the same stabbing pain as they did last year, but I still have an ache. I am still aware that he is missing from the group and so are the babies I miscarried after him. Having lost 5 babies, it's hard to keep track of how old each one should be for each occasion, but I always know for him. Had he been born in October 2010 like he should have been, he would be 19 months old now. I saw a woman a few weeks ago pushing a stroller with about a 1.5 year old boy in it and she was pregnant, just about as big as me. The tears came to my eyes and I quickly walked passed. That should have been me. That could have been me.

I would have been back to work for 7 months. I might very well be pregnant right now too, in that alternate universe. Looking forward to seeing my two babies interact, knowing that once this baby was born, we likely wouldn't have anymore. I always wanted my kids to have siblings that they could grow up with, but that likely isn't going to happen. Emily is going to be raised as an only child I think, even though she has a sister who is 22 years older than she is, a brother who we got to hold but not keep, and 4 other siblings in heaven. An "only" child with so many siblings.

Most of our days are happy. We relish every kick and movement that we get from this baby, our little girl. There is not a second that goes by that I take for granted. I plan for the future, but I always wonder if I will still be pregnant in a day, a week, a month as I should be. I wonder if all the plans I'm making for my maternity leave will really work out the way they should, give or take a few days or weeks.

Jacob's second birthday is approaching fast. It isn't coming with the same dread and heaviness and sadness that it did last year, but all of those feelings are still there and are coming to the surface more as each day approaches. We will do almost the same things we did for his first birthday. Light a candle, have cupcakes, donate a box to the hospital for another babyloss family and blow bubbles in the garden where he is buried. This time we get to do it with his sister, hopefully, who has brought us happiness and joy we didn't think we would find again.

I asked Ted today how he thought we would be emotionally if I wasn't pregnant right now. I know that we wouldn't have anywhere near the happiness that we have at the moment, but would we be as down as we were last year. We both think we would be, but that would be complicated by the fact that we still weren't pregnant or had lost again. That we would be more hopeless, that we would have an even harder time seeing pregnant women and babies. For some reason, it still bothers me to see pregnant women a little, I still get that little lurch of jealousy and longing and then tell myself how ridiculous that is because I am pregnant too. I have a big belly, I have a baby I feel move a ton everyday. I don't know if I feel jealous out of habit or out of fear or what. I wonder if other women that I walk by everyday see me and feel bad because they have recently had a loss and have no idea of what I have been through.

I still sleep with Jacob's blanket under my pillow. I think of him every day, many times. I still love to talk about him, but have been faced with the awkward question of "is this your first" many times over the past few months. From store clerks, to waiters to people who just see me in a store and start talking to me because I'm pregnant. Most of the time I say yes, then in my head I say "the first to make it this far" or I apologize to Jacob, August, Cub, Madeline and Emma. A few times I've said no. One woman asked what my other child is and I said a boy and she said "the million dollar family". I didn't bother telling her that that isn't quite the case, that that boy died. Other times I've said that my first passed away and awkwardness ensues and I feel bad for making the other person feel bad. It's easier for them if I say yes, but it isn't necessarily easier for me. I do it anyway and then feel like I've betrayed my other children.

What will I say when Emily is old enough to understand. I don't want her overshadowed by her siblings that are no longer here, but I also want to acknowledge them. I guess I'll figure it out as I got along.

This life of balancing joy and grief continues and that is just the way it is going to be. I don't want the grief to go away anyway, as it is another tie to my lost babies. But it is so good to feel good again. I am a changed person, but changed for the better. I am a mix of happiness and sadness, of longing and hope.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

23 months

Just one more month and it will have be 2 whole years since we held Jacob in our arms. Today I read over some of my earliest blog posts, describing the day I found out he had died and the day he was born, and some I wrote in the 2 months after he was born. I am so glad I wrote in the blog. It helped me then and it still helps me now. I also spent some time today staring at his ultrasound picture, which has been on my desk since I got back to work after he was born. He was so beautiful, so perfect in that picture. Moving all over. I only got that picture because he was hiding his hand throughout the scan so I had to get up, walked around for awhile, then come back. Had he not been hiding his hand that day, I never would have had such a great picture of him.

I don't know what his second birthday will be like yet. I'm not approaching it with the same dread, the same heaviness, that I did his first. But it still hurts and there is still time for it to get worse and I know it will. I still think about him all the time. I still talk to him and I still write his name on the shower door every day when I have a shower.

A few weeks ago, my Mom told me that she bought a quilt from her friend Bev for Jacob when I was pregnant with him. After he died, she just kept it for the next baby, I guess. I told her that I would really like to have it now and she gave it to me a week ago.

It has a Noah's Ark theme.

I turned it over and the back of the blanket couldn't be more perfect.....rainbow.

This blanket will be in Jacob's little sister's room and eventually she will sleep under it. It seems surreal that that might happen one day, but there is a very good chance that it will. 

My Mom gave this to me when I met her, Laurie, Ben and Danny at the mall. We were at a restaurant and after eating, Laurie left the table for a minute. I asked Ben what he did with his friend Drake when they got together a week or so before. He told me the things they did, then said that he had a balloon but it went into the sky to Jacob. My Mom and I sat across from him with our mouths hanging open and looked at each other astonished. Ben said it like it was just the way it is. I don't even understand if and how he really understands who Jacob is. We've explained that Jacob is his cousin and Jacob would have played with him a lot if he hadn't gone to Heaven. From the beginning, Ben has never shown any confusion and he has never even seen Jacob, not even a picture of him. 

Anyway, Laurie got back to the table and I told her what Ben said, trying not to cry as I did. She said that when the balloon got away, Ben was upset so Laurie told him that it was ok, that the balloon was going into the sky to Jacob and Jacob would love playing with it. Ben calmed down right away and was fine with it. A few days later, he had another balloon, which also got away. This time, right away, Ben said that the balloon is going to Jacob to play with. 

About a week ago, my Mom asked if Jacob's cheeks were as chubby as Boh's cheeks look. I said they weren't, but thanked her for bringing Jacob up so easily. There is no awkwardness when his name is said and it doesn't seem like anyone in my family is afraid to bring him up for fear of upsetting me. I love that they do, I love that my Mom asked that question, I love that Laurie talks about Jacob to Ben and Danny. I love that he is always included. I miss him terribly, but I'm so grateful to have had him.