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.