As we are nearing the end of this pregnancy, I've been asked a few questions lately that have had me thinking.... recapturing.....evaluating and re-evaluating. The answers aren't easy; they aren't simple; they aren't even very clear....let alone easy to explain. And because I can hardly get the words out in my thoughts to do this, I'm using this space to help me sort it all out.
I had a friend ask me, "so how are you handling the emotional side of this?" Coming from a babyloss mom herself, who has held her own rainbow for only seven months, I know she fully understands the emotions that I am facing and about to face as the weeks fly by. But I don't know, to be honest. I anticipate a barrage of emotions when we finally get to meet Chase's little brother, this gift....I have thought about it a lot. The moment we lay eyes upon him, the moment we hold him, the feel of his soft hair, the smell, the sounds.... But this entire pregnancy I have felt lifted up. By a higher power or someone greater than me. Rather, I have felt swept off my feet--in a good way! In our 7 month journey of trying to get pregnant (we had to wait 6 months before we had the green light) after we had Chase, as bad as I wanted to get and be pregnant, I was sure that I would be
scared petrified throughout the entire pregnancy....that something would go wrong and we'd lose one again. In this babyloss world I have not only found comfort, but I have also gained an immense amount of knowledge of what all has and can and will go wrong with any given pregnancy at any given time. And this knowledge is frightening. I wish, just like I wish I didn't know the pain of losing a child, that I didn't know all these things that can go wrong with a pregnancy. However, it is with this knowledge that I have been able to love this pregnancy for what it is....not what it will be but for what I am blessed with right now. And that is a baby boy in my womb whom I am growing and loving every day. It's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world! I enjoy so much more in this pregnancy than I did with the other 4. I was a bit sad towards the end of my pregnancy with Chase because I thought it would be my last and I would miss feeling baby kicks and movements. But I did not appreciate it for exactly what it was at the time. I knew I was lucky--I had miscarriages. I was fortunate to even be pregnant and I knew that. But I still took it for granted to some extent. Not so with this pregnancy. And I credit Chase for that. I have received so much better medical care this time around....but it is Chase who has swept me up and laid this blanket of peace over me, allowing me to enjoy this pregnancy, get to know this little boy and love the life we have right now. Today. I have seen Chase in the clouds. I have felt his presence to some extent. But I know he is part of this experience....somehow.....every day. To not be consumed with horrible thoughts of this baby dying has been a blessing these past 7 1/2 months. That's not to say that I have not worried about things or been scared at points in the pregnancy--but when I do have those moments, I thank my lucky stars for how long I have had with this baby in my tummy. I give him an extra squeeze or rub my belly and talk to him and feel him move and kick in response. And for that I am extremely grateful. And happy.
So emotionally, I have been handling this pregnancy very well. Now, as the end nears, it has felt more surreal to me. To see new onesies or burp cloths or pacifiers come in (thanks to MIL at Christmas!), and think that they are not for Chase but for someone else, is a bit odd. I'm used to seeing baby things...because I have had them around since before Chase was born. But to actually look at them and then picture a new baby....not my sweet Chase's picture....is surreal. I am so excited to meet this baby, but in some ways, I am scared of what I will feel when I first see him and hold him. In what way will Chase impact this occasion? I am so used to finding sadness in any happy moment in our lives that I want to miss Chase and love the new baby all at once, yet I am not sure how to do that. Or how I will feel, or act, or respond. The pain of losing Chase is still new. It's been 20 months, but it seems like so much less. I'm not sure if this is clear, or even answers the question. Some days it makes sense. Some days it's clear as mud and very confusing to me.
I had a very close IRL friend call me up and tell me that there were some that wanted to throw a surprise baby shower for me but she wanted to talk to me about it because there was so much question trying to make it surprise. I was not expecting this at all -- so the first thing I told her was that I just didn't want any gifts. First of all, it's my 5th pregnancy so other than having very caring friends, I'm not really entitled to another baby shower under normal circumstances. I'm not outfitting a nursery by any means and I don't have an item list of baby gear I need. Besides (now enter the grief factor), the number of people that would come has dropped, and the ones that would come had bought me gifts for Chase already...which I still have and of course have not used them and there is a practicality factor in baby showers, right? She was very open to my thoughts and desires on this but didn't want to tell people not to buy gifts when the people who were wanting to do this clearly want to celebrate this occasion for me and my family and bringing a gift was something they would want to do to celebrate with us. I understand that people are happy for us and wanting this baby for us almost as badly as we do ourselves. But to explain to someone the feelings of guilt, failure, and pain of going through the loss of a child....and then to go through another whole pregnancy again in front of the same people is nearly impossible. I can't even sort it out in my own mind. There's just a feeling of guilt that someone bought you something that you never got a chance to use.....because you didn't bring him home. Then your pain and your life being so public as you attempt to continue life, taking your kids to their activities and picking them up from school...when all you really want to do is crawl in a hole and not emerge until you do have a babe in your arms. I don't know why I would feel guilty for this--it wasn't like it was our fault that Chase died and no one else thinks that either. It's just something grief has done for me. And then of course, there is the jinxing factor. Like I don't want to get any gifts for the baby for fear our luck will run out once again and we won't bring this one home either. Buying stuff for him, which I have not done yet, is like just a glutton for punishment, right? Well maybe for those of us in baby loss land but for "normal" people who haven't experienced this pain, probably seems completely absurd. Insane. Morbid. Definitely pessimistic, in the least. So I struggle to find the words that explain this messed up world we live in...but I certainly appreciate and feel blessed to have people who care this much about me in my life. It is certainly very humbling to be thought of and cared about in such a way. As I said, originally I would have preferred to be invisible throughout all of this but I guess through the grace of God, or Chase, or something, I have allowed myself to share this pregnancy with those who have participated in it with me...or who have just been there for me or a part of my life in some way. And I am grateful for those.....for letting me share...for not judging me for closing up or for sharing too much .... when there is no way to understand or imagine what it is we are going through. And it is under these circumstances that I would love to celebrate this baby with my friends...it should be celebrated....it needs to be celebrated. We will enjoy female conversations, some nonalcoholic cocktails and share the happiness that I feel and that they feel about this new life I am carrying and the hope it has given our family despite the sadness of losing Chase.
So again, not a real clear answer or explanation about a shower....but just some of the things I have been trying to sort out in my own mind. So much for sorting.... ;o)