Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pregnancy After Loss: Reflections From the Other Side

It's been nineteen weeks since my baby boy safely arrived into this world. Considering how slow the weeks went past during pregnancy, I was amazed to realise that he has now spent one third of his life on the outside with us! 38 weeks in, 19 weeks out. Wow. Not bad for a baby that I honestly didn't believe would spend any time with us...

Notice my 'Ariella Jade' necklace? I just had to wear it!

The past nineteen weeks have been such a blessing. My little boy loves to give smiles and giggles, and just last week he laughed and laughed when I tickled under his chin. Melted my heart I tell you! Every smile from him is a stitch that is slowly mending my broken heart. I know an Ariella-shaped scar will always be there, but I cannot deny the healing my son has brought.

My Superman - mending my heart with only a smile.

And it is only as I heal that I realise just how broken I was. Last year, I thought I was doing ok. Friends would ask me how I was going, and my answer would be "I'm ok". I truly thought I was, certainly not "great" or even "good" - but I thought I was ok. Now I realise that I wasn't. I look back at photos and can't help but notice the glazed look on my face and bags under my eyes. I guess that's what happens when you wake up every hour (maybe more) overnight from anxiety. I was so on edge, all the time.

But not anymore.

Now that I'm on the other side, with a baby in my arms instead of my belly. And I thought I'd share some reflections with you.

I cannot describe how wonderful it is to have him in my arms.

Firstly, I wish I could have found more joy in being pregnant. I did my best - taking monthly bump photos just like I did with Ariella and trying to enjoy the kicks. But it was hard. And unless you've been through it, I really don't think you can understand. If there was a harder kick than normal, I immediately wondered if that was a good-bye kick. Because Ariella's last movement was harder than the rest. I would buy an outfit in a burst of confidence that he would live, and then have to put it away because I didn't want to see it.

Little darling. Love him.

I want to say that I wish I had worried less, but I know that's ridiculous. I couldn't not worry! And it was so constant...there was no break from the worry because I could not know that Levi was safe all the time. I still worry about him at times, but at least now I can always check on him. And I do. All.the.time! He's going to roll his eyes at me when he's older, I just know it! But I don't care. He's my son and I'll worry all I want :P

Baby toes. So precious.

My final thought is less of a reflection and more of an encouragement to those pregnant after loss: it's ok. However you feel, it's ok. It's ok to be frustrated at little feet that just will not get out of your rib cage. It's ok to be both hopeful and fearful. It's ok not to put the car seat in the car until the day your baby is born (just make sure you have one ready). But most of all, it's ok to fall in madly in love with your sweet baby growing inside of you. Let yourself dream. Let yourself hope. It's ok.

My babies. Together. Well, as close as it gets!

All photos from the incredibly lovely and oh so talented Karen Pfeiffer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There's a Box on the Shelf

There’s a box on the shelf.
It’s a pink box.
A pretty box.

It sits in the cupboard next to some flowers, under a handmade quilt and on top of some papers. Beside it sits a photo of a pretty little girl.

There’s a box on the shelf.
A box that rarely comes down.
A box that contains the memories of her.

I never imagined that all the belongings of my child could fit into a box. And yet they do. Some days it’s hard to comprehend that; other days it seems normal.

There’s a box on the shelf.
I know it is there.
One day I’ll open it again.

It used to be opened frequently but life seems too busy now. There’s no time to peacefully sit; there’s no time to reflect. I miss opening that box, I'm forgetting what is inside.

There’s a box on the shelf.
Last night it came down.
Last night it revealed memories otherwise forgotten.

The baby was asleep and the husband was busy. As I opened the box and gently picked up each item, emotions overwhelm me. I can smell her scent on the clothes and I discover a photograph I had forgotten about. A photograph that shows her baby brother’s hands are identical to hers. One more similarity between my babies. My heart is full.

There’s a box on the shelf.
A precious box. 
My treasure box.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

If I Could Go Back

If I could go back...

Would I say one more 'I love you'?
Would I give her one more kiss?
Would I give her an extra cuddle or maybe sing an extra song?

I couldn't sing an extra song, she is the song I sing. 
I couldn't give an extra cuddle, she's held within my heart.
There wouldn't be an extra kiss, I kissed her all I could. 
There would not be one more 'I love you' because I live that every day. 

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