In just a few short days we would have been celebrating 11 months with Olive. I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that a full year has almost come and gone. In the past I've written a couple of posts trying to explain my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. So often, my posts reflect a specific feeling or emotion that comes up and pulls at my heart strings to dig into a little deeper, but lately it's just the everyday occurrences.
You see, even though 11 months has come and gone, I am reminded daily of our loss, especially now that I'm pregnant with a baby that we most likely would not have been trying to conceive if Olive were still here. If you thought this was an emotional rollercoaster before, throw that guilt in there!
After therapy on Monday I had some realizations, and since my main purpose for writing is to help myself process these feelings I thought there no better place than here to drop them off. I apologize in advance my thoughts are all over the place - that tends to be how I survive these days. I'm just going to leave some thoughts I've been having so you better understand that while the tears don't come everyday like they used to - the reminders still do.
I'm sad that simple things like taking a bath brings me back to those long hours of laboring in the tub, and I'm immediately transported back to a day that was both beautiful and heartbreaking - leaving me feeling empty and lonely.
I'm sad that when this baby is born our first family picture will be missing a grinning 17 month old, proudly wearing her new "Big Sister" shirt.
I'm sad that I'm not in the midst of planning a first birthday party.
I'm sad at how empty and quiet our home is.
Bringing up the tub of maternity clothes, just worn a short summer ago, makes me sad and happy that I need them this soon. Unfolding every piece brings with it a memory - whether it was the dress I wore to my baby shower or the nursing bras that never got their full use, it's amazing how clothing can evoke such emotion.
Yes, I know I say that I don't want to be angry, but there are some things that still make me mad. I'm mad that I can't enjoy this pregnancy the way I enjoyed the first.
I'm mad that I've had to search out more doctors and specialists and make new decisions regarding my care that I didn't want to have to make.
I'm mad that I feel awkward around people now that I'm pregnant again. It's as if I can't genuinely be happy when someone comes up and congratulates us or wants to touch my belly because I'm too busy feel awkward that they are being overly excited for us because of our loss.
I'm mad that I can't yet connect with this baby the way I want to, the way it deserves.
I'm mad that the innocence that comes along with being pregnant is gone. I know too well how quickly this journey can turn at any moment.
I'm mad that I'm having to research things like breastfeeding, baby wearing, etc. when I should already know how to do these things - after all, I am having my third baby.
I'm confused as to how my relationship with God falters day by day. I still feel very close to him, but I'm back to questioning things that I know are a slippery slope to question, but I pray it helps to continue to draw me closer to Him (and I ask that you pray that for me too!)
I'm confused at the hormonal and emotional feelings of guilt, fear and frustration that I'm feeling this time around, feelings I never had with Olive.
I'm still confused as to what to do with all of the baby stuff we have. If Olive were alive we would naturally use it for this baby, but it still feels like her stuff - her stuff that was never used by her - and that brings about new levels of confusion and guilt I wasn't prepared for.
I'm frustrated at how I will learn to parent a child who will have to share me with a sibling they will never fully know.
I'm fearful I will not be able to connect with this child for a short time after it's born (which is very normal and natural for mothers who have so recently lost)
I'm frustrated for the times my emotions catch me off guard and leave me a sobbing mess when I least expect it- simple things like driving to a client that requires me to pass by Children's Hospital, a song that takes me back to a specific moment in time, walking down an aisle of a store and catching a whiff of the packaged diapers that I haven't been buying for the last 11 months.
I'm hopeful that the support groups and resources I have will help me along this journey.
I'm hopeful that I'll have a healthy baby just in time for Christmas.
I'm hopeful when I hear about how one of you was able to have a discussion with a friend or stranger about loss because our story has helped you to see that, even though you can't relate, you can offer so much to someone who is hurting.
I'm hopeful that I feel as though I'm beginning to see more purpose for my life through all of this (even if the details are still not entirely evident).
I'm hopeful that I'll be able to feel stronger kicks and movement from the baby in no time (already feeling little flutters!)
I'm thankful that I'm healthy and that this baby is healthy at this moment in time.
I'm thankful for a husband who "gets it" and helps me through some of the guilt and frustration I feel.
I'm thankful that I get to see posts and pictures of children so close in age to Olive as it helps me to humanize her and keep her memory alive by allowing me to identify with milestones she would be experiencing.
I'm thankful for the love and support of so many of you that continue to shower us with your prayers and well-wishes.
I'm thankful that it's butterfly season and for the reminders from God they bring that Olive is safe and happy.