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.


Sara said...

It can be hard to shake the jealousy. I know how lucky I am, yet I still mourn for what I don't have and the size of other families brings that out for me.

I hope you find your way in answering the awkward questions. I think I have for the most part, but I still stumble sometimes or face the awkwardness.

Holding hope for you in your pregnancy

Angela said...

Sweet, sweet friend. I am so glad you are happy and that Emily is growing bigger and stronger every day. This has been a long road for you, it is good to see you here. I know you miss your babies so much, but you've allowed yourself to hope for Emily and I think that's so wonderful. Sending love and hope.

Anonymous said...

You will figure it out as you go along.. we all have to find our own comfort in answering that very difficult question. I am so thrilled to see where you are at and am thinking of you all the time. xo

Hope's Mama said...

Life certainly is a balancing act, that's for sure. Your post was beautiful. Glad you took part.

Jen said...

I do the same thing when i see baby girls, I try to figure out what age (months) they would be and I tend to stare with curiousity and wonder what Angel would have been like. I guess that never goes away. It's so true, this life now is a balance of grief and joy.

Catherine W said...

I hated that question so much, 'is this your first?' and, no matter the answer I gave, I always ended up filled with regret. I love to talk about her but I hate how awkward and uncomfortable it makes other people, I want to protect her from that.

The million dollar family was a comment that really irked me as well. I know that people are just making small talk and are kindly intentioned, just passing the time. But it made me want to scream that I was meant to have two girls. And that having a child that lives is the million dollar family, that is all that is important.

I've been figuring it out as I go along too, just as you and Emily will. I love the name Emily by the way, that is my eldest niece's name. So pretty.

And yes, a balancing act, to keep all our children close.

still life angie said...

Balancing the joy and grief, yes. Thank you for sharing this, so many losses, Dana, I'm so sorry. And as you approach Jacob's birthday, know that you will be in my thoughts. And sending you love and grounding as you welcome your baby girl into the world. Pregnancy after loss is so hard. xo

Curls O Fred said...

Hoping August comes quickly and uneventfully. Remembering Jacob and sending love. Thank you for sharing.

Merry said...

The theme of balance is justo strong through all these blogs. Balance, being happy and sad, strong and afraid, during a subsequent pregnancy, is a near impossible essential I thought. Wishing you luck and happiness.

Arcadia said...

I do exactly the same thing, I look at babies who are as old as my son and I try to see if I can imagine him. I can't..

I hope August comes quickly and peacefully for you. I'm so sorry about your many, many losses, it's all so unfair. Thinking of you, Jacob, August, Cub, Madeline, Emma and your little blessing, Emily. They all have such beautiful names.

Jessica said...

that last line says it so well... I have my rainbow now and it's still hard to see pregnant women...if anything because I am jealous that most likely they are not terrified as I was for 9 months...always wondering and waiting...even now I am jealous of parents who probably don't overly worry at night when their child sleeps. Grief is hard, my rainbow Logan brings me such joy but also fills me with worry and makes me realize the moments I lost with my other 3 children. Hard but other than the obvious I wouldn't change a thing... thanks for sorry for your losses...praying for you <3

Amelia said...

Ahhh the grocery store, my old foe, full of kids the same age mine "should" be.
Sending light and love to you.

Fireflyforever said...

I made it through my rainbow pregnancy and got to bring my rainbow son home and yet I *still* sometimes find other pregnancies difficult. I suppose I always imagine that the pregnant stranger I see has had it easy - no infertility, no losses. Of course, I can't know if that's true but that's where my jealousy takes me.

I hope that Jacob's second birthday passed gentle for you (I notice I am commenting after the event) and I wish you a gentle journey towards Emily's safe arrival.

Thank you for sharing where you are.

Hannah Rose said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

I long for the day when I have a rainbow baby. It is interesting to see a bit of your journey with that and what it might be like. I realize it won't "fix" Lily not being here.

We are all left forever changed by our sweet babies.


erica said...

So much here - the balancing, the wondering about what you will tell Emily when she is older, the missing and the hoping all mixed up together. Thinking of you and your Jacob, and hoping hard for you, Ted and your Emily.

Helene said...

Yes, it's a balancing act for sure. So sorry about all your losses. Remembering Jacob with you and hoping your little Emily arrives safely in August.

Elaine said...

"The million dollar family ". I hate that statement hate it. Uck. You will find balance with your family once Emily comes. You'll find a way to recognize all of your babies while still raising her to be her own person.