I thought it would get easier bringing Owen home. I thought my anxieties would lessen once we loaded our baby into our car, buckled him in the car seat and welcomed him into our home. I did not know instead, it would get harder. I hoped Owen would remind us of Chase, make our memories more vivid and help our imaginations picture Chase in phases that we have missed out on. I never worried about Owen erasing any memories of Chase or fading them. And he hasn't. He has made our memories of Chase stronger. We are constantly comparing Owen to him and the rest of the kids as newborns. His birth obviously brought back many memories, making constant comparisons during the procedure. Our anxieties heightened, or so we thought, at the moment we heard his first cries....waiting to hear that all was okay. Holding him in the Recovery Room, in complete awe of the miracle we had in our arms. I accompanied Owen to the nursery one evening for his nightly assessment. Only a couple other babies were in the nursery at the time but one of them was a very large baby. Large enough that the nurses were commenting that this one could crawl out of here practically, as he was so big. I attentively watched the weight come up....he was 8 pounds 12 oz., I think. I was curious because this baby reminded me of Chase, in just his size. I remember Chase seeming so big but I had no frame of reference as to how big he actually was. Even Owen seemed little, just 6 ounces less than his brother, but the difference was noticeable. During his assessment, Owen started crying as he did not like having his clothes removed for the scale, nor did he like the scale either. As soon as the nurse got his weight, I was able to comfort him, though, and that made me feel sooooo good. Just whispering into Owen's ear calmed him down. And I was taken back to Chase's hospital room where I whispered into his ear, knowing in my heart that he would hear my voice and get better. That if he felt my breath on his temple, he would miraculously heal and open his eyes. I was just sure of this. But it never happened. I couldn't fix my baby boy. I couldn't make it all better for him, like a mom is supposed to do. Being able to do this for Owen, helped me. It gave me that feeling that every mother needs to have....that gives their kids complete unconditional love and confidence that mom knows best.
I can't say it has been that easy coasting since we got home, though. I have been pretty uptight I must say. I am not the same person who brought my other kids home. I am scared. I know the fragility of life. I know the reality of pain. I know the depth of loss. And, unfortunately, it scars much more than I ever knew that it could. I used to love the infant stage--each day was a pleasure with a new baby. It was fun and it was probably one of my favorite ages. I still love babies, but it is not as fun anymore. I worry too much to enjoy it the way I used to. I hate that part.
So many times I look at Owen and I think Chase. Some times I even call him Chase by accident. I call him Reese, too, for that matter, but more often it's Chase that I confuse him with, since I am always comparing the two. Looking at these pictures, I can't look at one without thinking of the other. I wonder what Chase's eyes would have looked like if I could have seen them open like Owen's. I see Owen sleeping and I remember Chase lying there, lifeless almost, and I fear for Owen. Not obsessively, but I just worry. I don't know that I ever won't. I think this is how it will always be. Loving him with my soul, yet always fearing what might happen. I have so many people tell me how happy they are for us and have complete joy on their faces for us. I wonder if they know that I live in constant fear, though, of not having Owen some day. Of what could happen. I don't think they would have only joy on their faces but maybe sadness, too. For there is never anything that change the fact that we must live each day without one of our family members. And how we are to do this, only we can know.