Well, this is the last month of the first year. It’s so hard for me to comprehend. It’s still hard to believe we gave birth to and lost a baby girl, and even more so that it’s been nearly a year.
If she were here, we’d probably be planning a big birthday bash for her. I’d be deciding who to invite, where to have the celebration, and I’d be looking forward to taking pictures of her with cake all over her face. But I can’t even picture that little girl in my head. I can picture the event, but when I think of her all I can see is the newly born baby girl I held in my arms. I can still see those eyes fluttering open for the briefest of moments, and so easily remember the weight of her in my arms. I remember being on a bit of a high after giving birth – I don’t think I truly realized the finality of losing her until we went home without her.
For the longest time I couldn’t imagine a day when the pain wouldn’t be physically unbearable, piercing through my body at all times. And at first, I never wanted that pain to stop. Now I can look at her pictures and talk about her without tears forming in my eyes. Sometimes they still come, but most of the time they don’t. I still miss her so very terribly, but it’s different now. I guess I’ve found my new normal – the one everyone promised would come. But my normal really isn’t normal at all. Even in the happiest of moments, the little voice in my head is there to remind me that I am mother to a baby who lives only in heaven. And it’s exhausting.
Today I had my first annual skin cancer check at the dermatologist’s office (I don’t have it, by the way), and the nurse practitioner who checked me noticed I am pregnant and wanted to know if this was my first. As usual, I said no, and I hoped we could leave it at that. I didn’t feel like getting into the discussion of how I had a baby last year that didn’t make it. Well she wanted to know how far apart they would be, so I said just a bit over a year, still hoping I wouldn’t need to elaborate. Her response was “Wow – oops!”, and then she proceeded to tell me about her friend who had a baby and found out she was pregnant again a few months later because she thought nursing was sufficient birth control. I wish that was our story. That Madelyn and Liam would grow up together, making my life a little crazy for being so close in age, but in such a beautiful way. I could have been completely straightforward with her, but I just didn’t feel like having the conversation, especially not while dressed in nothing but a paper gown as she was examining every inch of my skin, and I mean that very literally. It was awkward enough without introducing death to the conversation.
But that is my normal: having to explain to people that Liam isn’t our first, but that we also have a daughter who is no longer with us. Madelyn will always be our baby, worthy of inclusion in our growing family. I just wish the “but she’s no longer with us” part didn’t exist.
On another, much lighter, note, Stephanie from Beyond Words Designs is offering a special promotion for everyone who is expecting after loss. She hand paints beautiful canvases that are perfect for any nursery! Her promotion ends August 7, so be sure to stop by and check out her work!