Gratitude and slowing down

The last few months have been a huge race… running toward the new house, trying to get the old house sold, juggling new work schedules, school activities, family obligations, and a new baby. 

It seems in the last couple months I was so stressed and anxious that I kept seeing red, finding it hard to breathe, and using my most over used phrase of I need a break. 

Things have slowed down this week, schedules figured out, the baby is finally on a day schedule to go along with his already established night schedule. Old house is in motion to be sold, and the new house is ours. For the first time since W was born I feel like this is it. It’s working and we can do this. 

Today, this morning, snuggling him in silence. Thankful for my time with him I realized wow, he is actually mine.  Even though his pregnancy was typical and okay, despite all of my anxiety and everyone else’s,  I didn’t actually think he’d be here. And now he is… and we are a completed family. 

I’ve always hated the term “rainbow baby”. After losing Benjamin and reading and talking and watching others who had experienced the same thing I hated that term with every fiber of my being. Rainbow baby. Thought it was the stupidest shit. The rainbow after the storm. I still hate it when people send me photos of rainbows. Awe look! Benjamin sent us a rainbow! Shut up, no he didn’t. That shit happened because of rain and science. 

And I laugh about it. Not because it’s funny. But because it’s sad. Because that’s what I do. I’m so the person who laughs at funerals. Because I’m awkward. But hey, it’s who I am. 

So W is not my rainbow baby. He’s just my baby. My baby who put all of my fears to rest even though i thought for sure that I would not carry another baby to full term and have it be born breathing. And technically, I guess he wasn’t full term. One week shy of it because I had awesome doctors watching me closely, watching him, and making sure they beat my body to the punch. 

I feel like this is all over the place. I guess my point is this week I finally have the opportunity to feel grateful for how things are going. I have a sleeping baby in the living room, and though sometimes my overly anxious heart makes me go over to him to check if he’s breathing, I am so happy to have him here. I am so happy to be here. 


Benjamin’s things

William has been using Benjamin’s diapers, Benjamin’s clothes, and the Benjamin blanket since he was born. Sometimes, William even uses Benjamin’s name. 

I like to watch people as they’re talking to see if they catch it. A slip of the tongue, a moment without thought, and there it is; they are holding William, but they have called him Benjamin. Sometimes they catch it and put their hand over their open mouth, look at me with wide, sad eyes, and say repeatedly I’m sorry.  And I just smile. 

A conversation with a family member two months after William was born. He kept calling him buddy. He said I’m sorry, but I won’t ever call him by his name because I’m too scared of messing up and calling him by the wrong one. He stepped around the subject, not saying what he meant but saying it all the same. My response was the same response I give to any one who slips up and gives me those wide, sad eyes. 

Why should you be sorry? If anything it makes me happy because that means he’s in your brain. He’s there and he meant something because he existed. 

We have been using Benjamin’s things. Today I asked j to go get diapers out of Benjamin’s closet, even though he’s never lived here. Tonight I dressed William in Benjamin’s blue submarine pajamas, even though he never wore them, and when I lay him down to bed William will be wrapped up in Benjamin’s blanket, though it was sewed with love and given to me two months after we laid him to rest. 

I didn’t know how unearthing all of those tubs of baby things, that used to cause me so much pain and were hidden from my sight for three years would open up life again to our dear Benjamin.Every time I see something I remember. But it’s no longer the memory of failure and despair, now I remember my hopes I had for him. And though William could never replace him, it’s kind of been a bit therapeutic using his things and laying those hopes to rest. 

We have been using Benjamin’s things. 

I can do hard things.

I’m sitting on the operating table with my legs dangling over the edge, hugging both a pillow and a nurse I met an hour ago.

Stay super still now. Just a pinch. It’s going to sting. The anesthesiologist is messing with my spine. I’m in my head. Words of encouragement are coming at me from three different people at once. I can do hard things. I think. Suddenly, I am very nervous. Breathe. Remember to breathe.

Babies his gestational age don’t come out breathing. The nurse in the E.R. told me the week before. She didn’t know my medical history. She changed her tune when she found out. Better out than in. She said trying to save face.

Now they are laying me back and covering  my view with the paper cloth. Jason is there now. Oxygen and a can you feel that? I’m pinching you very hard. And we are holding hands, trying to focus on each other instead of everything else. He is breathing hard. Are you okay? I think he may pass out. We can do hard things. This is the last time we have to do this. The last time. 

They are talking on the other side of the paper. There is pressure but not pain. They are tugging and sucking and moving everything around. Are you okay? I can do hard things. 

I am vomiting. It’s from them moving everything the anesthesiologist says. Are you ready? He is pulling at the clamps. He is pulling the paper down. Are you ready?  And I hear it. He is screaming! You have to breathe to scream! Hello! Hello! I say I love you! 

This is the last time we have to do this. We can do hard things. And now I can breathe again.


William Jay- born Friday, May 6th at 8:01 a.m. – screaming

Present:Not being able to breathe and hope. 

Laying in bed last night.

“So here’s how I’m feeling.” I kind of say to the air and to him, not knowing if he’s already asleep in the pitch black room.

“Yeah?” He mumbles

“I’m feeling like I’ll believe it when I see it. I know how terrible that sounds but I feel like I wont believe it until they allow me to bring a healthy, breathing baby home in two weeks.”

“Yeah. Me too.” He says.

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with a new little boy who doesn’t have a name. We can’t decide, we say, or maybe we don’t want to. They are supposed to be taking him out the Friday after next. Easy peasy. The doctor says. The doctor calls him one happy ass baby for most of my appointments. I feel like I’m always at the doctor. I’m always monitoring a perfectly healthy little boy in order to help myself not go crazy with a .1% chance of something tragic happening.

Reassurance has been the word of the past 8 months. Reassurance that he will be fine and my body won’t fail me again. Specialist appointments and words like high risk being thrown around. More blood tests and ultrasounds for everyone to tell me that there is still no reasoning on why my body did what it did.

So now we wait. Stuck in that waiting place, carrying the past and hoping for the future. But not too much hope because that would mean that we’d end up where we were last time when Ben was born sleeping.

I try to remain optimistic. I’ve done everything an expecting mother is supposed to do. All the clothes are washed, the rooms set up, this week the car seat will be installed… In a week maybe I’ll be able to breathe again. But not until I see him breathing.

levels of grief.

The house has been quiet but busy the last two days. People coming to see me to give me sad looks. It happened again. Why did it happen again? yesterday I had to tell my 6 year old son for the second time that the baby he was going to be big brother to, was dead. Aw, that’s sad Mom. Why did it happen again. Everyone is looking at me like I might break. Our last loss was with baby B. That was different. We were full term and he was stillborn. Born sleeping. There are different levels of grief in this life and people who have never experienced this loss do not understand what I am feeling. Keep trying. Don’t stop trying. Here’s the deal. I might and I might not. But yesterday I lost my baby in the toilet when I was alone at my house because it was little and the doctor’s office doesn’t open until Monday. Talking to my husband late Sunday night, trying to decide what we’re both comfortable with for the future. Next time we need to be more careful. He’s not posting blame, or saying there was anything we could do, he’s saying “Hey, next time we shouldn’t tell anyone about the baby until we know it’s going to live, K?” He’s not saying that, but he is. And my response is this… Now we’ve lost one at the end and now we’ve lost one at the beginning… so when is a good time to tell anyone about our baby? Is it not proper to celebrate the life of a child that a mother is carrying that is known for not succeeding with live babies. Is it proper to pretend like they don’t exist… Because I feel like that’s what I fought so hard for with baby B, for the acknowledgement that he was here and he did exist. But you’re telling me now, that if I were to get pregnant one more time… I should not tell anyone as to not inconvenience them if something were to happen to that baby. Yeah, I’ll let you know how that goes.

Tiny things, budgets, and realistic expenses.

Our third child will be here by/ near the middle of February next year. So if you do the math that means I am freshly pregnant. And by freshly I mean leaving my second month of pregnancy at the beginning of next week. This baby and pregnancy is so very different from the last two for tons of reasons. One of which is that with this one we are finally in a home with a room that we can make “the nursery”. With our first child my husband was in the military and we were only going to be living where we were for the first three months of our baby’s life so it didn’t make sense to waste time or money decorating a nursery. With our second child we lived in a drafty old rental where the heat didn’t reach the third bedroom as well as we would have liked so we had decided that baby would bunk with us. With this child we have a room! A perfect little room! I decided months before we even started trying again that when we got pregnant I wanted the baby’s room to be a woodland themed room. So after much searching online and in store for ideas and pricing things I have decided that most of the things I have found are just not in the budget. Honestly, 40 dollars for a print is a bit much for my taste. Have you seen or heard of the land of nod? They have AMAZING woodland themed items for the babies room…. But they are WAY out of our budget. So I have decided that along with my adventurous, outdoorsy husband and our little man that we are going to D.I.Y. woodland until we’re blue in the face. I’ll let you know how it turns out.