Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Right Where I Am - 18 months

There's a little girl I see at church every week. She's probably about 18 months. I won't ask. Part of me is burning to know, but I can't know. I just can't know. Will I be like this for the rest of my life? Will I fear asking people how old their children are in fear that they might be the age Andrew should be?

He should be 18 months. Walking, talking, eating, laughing. I can't even get into the things I know I've missed out on and the seasoned mother I would be right now in my life. He should be here and running to the park everyday. But he's not. He'll never be again. It still hurts, but not like it did in the early days of my grief. Those days were very hazy. They seemed to blend and it makes me crazy thinking about that. While I'll always miss my Andrew, I hope to never feel the way I did in those beginning days again.

This grief is different. Surely it's no different in that my son is still gone, but I think it's because I am just plain used to being a baby loss mom. I know how to do it. I'm an expert now. I'm no longer wallowing in my grief, wondering what to do and where to go from there.

B has been a part of this healing, most certainly. I can honestly say that I would feel even more sadness and defeat if I did not have B here, was not pregnant, or had just gone through another subsequent loss. The truth is, B has brought such joy to our lives and given us what we expected to feel and experience with Andrew. He is not Andrew. Let's make no mistake about that. He is no replacement and will never be allowed to be spoken as such. He's most assuredly his own little soul. But he is one thing that I desperately needed 18 months ago-- hope. He's hope in our lives and reassurance that though the sun appeared to fall out of our worlds on that very cold December day, that it does rise again. That there are more blessings to come in life that we need to appreciate in their entirety. One major beauty in having B here is that I have the opportunity to share about Andrew more often. I am constantly being asked if B is my only child-- my first. I always mention Andrew in conversation, and that allows me to keep him with me always.

We are crazy people now. We wake up in cold sweats and yell to one another bizarre phrases at 4 in the morning about whether our son is breathing or not. Whether we saw him move or felt warm air coming from his nostrils.We burst into tears at the sight of him slumped over in his carseat as we're driving somewhere and rush to the backseat to make sure he's still alive. We are the people who now own three baby monitors for one living child.

I still miss Andrew. I still honor him in my life and tell the lady at the sandwich shop who asked if B was my first that he most definitely is not-- that I lost my first son very tragically and he is my second. Still loved 100% the same, but a different child. I knew she meant to discuss if this was my first experience being woken up at all hours of the night and the answer to that is obviously yes. But I wasn't willing to deny my first son the placement and importance he has in my life. He changed everything.

This blog will remain a place to honor Andrew and carry out his legacy, because he could not. B will be a part of this and all things in between and beyond. It's the story of our lives and it all started with our beautiful Andrew. As for last year, I was in a very different place. I had miscarried our first sign of hope just days earlier. And exactly one month after I wrote that post, I found out I was pregnant again, with B. Our hope. He is still providing incredible hope in our lives.

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Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Such a thoughtful post. So beautifully written. I loved one part in particular, where you spoke of how you get to talk about Andrew more now because of B. In having B you now being able to be with Andrew more. That is beautiful and I think it is what every BL Mama hopes for.

I also got a big chuckle out of the neurosis of being a Mama after loss, 3 baby monitors for one living child. My rainbow baby isn't in my arms yet but I have ordered 2 monitors already. Oi. It is good to know we will not be alone in our fear after baby arrives.

Thank you for sharing. I loved it.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

Another 5th of the month, but this is a big one...18 months. A year and a half without our baby A's. Everything you wrote rings so true with me. We should totally be "seasoned" parents at this point. The little brothers here now do represent hope, but we are THOSE parents too with extra monitors etc. the fear of losing them is real because we know what's its like, but the love we give to them is endless. A year and a half...wishing today was so very different.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

It just continues to be so crushing. 18 months later and it still burns all the same.

Thinking of you momma. :)

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I love the way B lets you talk about Andrew, and keep him with you. One of the unexpected gifts of baby #2 is that it makes it easier to talk about baby #1. Hugs to you, E, and B.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

I've been a lurker on your blog for some months now and I always appreciate your honesty about right where you are. I saw this article today in our local newspaper and thought of you.


It was on the front page of the section and it was one of the first times that I have seen baby loss so featured in an article.

B. Wilson said... [Reply to comment]


That's beautiful. I love that baby loss mother's are being acknowledged (in a CA paper, no less!). The article mentions us being a part of a club no one wants to join-- but once there, we're where we belong and welcome. So true. Thanks for sharing.

SG said... [Reply to comment]

Much of this rings very true - and the rest may be in the future for us, too. You are such a wonderful mother to your two boys <3

As an aside, any advice about which monitors to buy?

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful post, B. I relate to so much in it. I hope to be able to put some thoughts together for a "Where I Am 2012" post of my own soon. So much to say, not sure how to say it all eloquently.

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

beautifully written.

Melissa @ A Dozen Years Later said... [Reply to comment]

So beautifully written. I am glad B has give you hope.

Catherine W said... [Reply to comment]

Such a beautiful description of how B has brought hope back into your life but how, of course, he is not a replacement for your dear Andrew. I know I found that, after I'd had another child, people seemed to expect me to be conclusively fixed.

The three baby monitor craziness made me smile in a sad kind of a way. I'm sorry that the innocence that would have perhaps let you be more care free was stolen from you.

Remembering your son, Andrew x

Merry said... [Reply to comment]

Am so with you on the getting to talk about them because of a subsequent baby. N the crazy. Oh my, I do the crazy.

Hope's Mama said... [Reply to comment]

I was deeply moved by your words today. You have two beautiful sons and I'm so glad you took part. Sorry I was so late to comment, I've fallen behind.

erica said... [Reply to comment]

What you write about being crazy people - that really struck home with me. I have made a lot of parenting choices based on things I never would have considered before my first child died (the need to constantly reassure myself that my child is breathing, being a big one).

I am so glad that B has brought not only happiness but chances to share and remember your Andrew, too.

Fireflyforever said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for taking time to share where you are.

I can manage to deal with the children who are close to Emma's age now - I can ask and I can chat about them but I most certainly couldn't at 18 months.

And yes - crazy. Here in the UK, there was a brief portion of time (when I was expecting my rainbow) where expectant mothers received a "health in pregnancy" grant - a small sum of money to buy things that would increase their health during pregnancy (I guess extra fruit and veg??). I used mine to buy a sleep sensor and baby monitor. I figured my mental health was as valid as my physical wellbeing. So, I relate to being "that"parent.

I am glad that B. gives you opportunity to share A.