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Saturday, March 29, 2014

To Come Back

I was recently asked by a friend what to think about a situation she was in. One of her good friends lost her baby last year. And she told me that she felt like she was distant. Maybe even avoiding her. My friend had a baby of her own very recently...and just wanted to understand. 

It's so hard. So so hard to explain. 

But the short answer...if you ever feel like a friend or family member is being distant after losing a baby...is yes. Yes they are being distant. 

I hid Facebook friends who had babies. The truth was that seeing their perfectly normal lives and babies made me incredibly jealous. Envious of their lives. Of how simply it came to be for them. When we'd lost so much. It broke my heart watching their babies' milestones when my Luke should have been right there alongside them. But he was gone. 

It wasn't their fault. I didn't blame them for what happened. And I would never wish what happened to us on anyone. But watching it come across my newsfeed triggered so many hard feelings. Tears. The unfairness is unfathomable unless you've been there. 

It's so hard to comprehend what it feels like to watch your entire life crumble before your own eyes unless you've been forced to live through it yourself. It's hard to even put into words, really. 

What's so hard for others to understand is that when you lose a baby, especially far into pregnancy or after birth, you will never be the same person you once were. Never. 

I think so many of my friends expected me to just...come back. Come back to work--you're OK again, right? I haven't seen you in a year...you're all good now, right?

The truth is, the pain of losing Luke will never go away. It's always there, lurking in the back of my mind and heart--no matter how amazing my life is going right now. I will always carry him and his memory with me. 

And I'm only a year and a half out. There's still so much life left to be lived. Without him. 

But the thing about life? It is always changing. It's always different. I can say now that I'm happy. I am not in the same place that I was last year at this time, when we'd started trying again. Or 18 months ago, when I found out just 2 months after losing Luke that both my siblings were having a baby.  My experiences have brought me here. I wish the road had been different. That things had been easier. But I'm still standing. Somehow. I was knocked down for awhile, but I'm here now. And I realize that my journey is different from any other mom who's lost a baby. We are all in different, lonely boats. Trying to find our way back. Sometimes we're lucky enough to be led back toward who we were by a rainbow baby. Sometimes it's really soon after, and for others, it's a long time after. And for some, there will never be a way back. 

So if you're a friend--of someone trying to find their way back--please know:

It's not your fault and we don't blame you.
But sometimes, it's easiest to hide in the fog that's covered our lives. 
And some of us may seemingly bounce back. 
But some of us can't. And won't. 
Some of us will want to stay lost on our lonely boat. 
It doesn't mean that we don't want you as a friend. 
It's just that it's hard. 
Unfathomably hard...to return to what and who you once were. 
We have to look toward the rest of our lives... without our own flesh and blood. Without ever knowing them. We've been robbed. 

And that's just incredibly hard to bounce back from. 

So be their friend. Try. Give it time. In the end, they may not be the same person. And things will be different. But try not to be hasty. Because that mama probably needs a good friend like you. 

I'm lucky. I have so many people that weren't hasty with me. I knew I had to do something to get through this. Therapy. Trying again. It all takes courage. When I'd already been through so much. But my friends and family held me up, and I could never repay them for that.  My courage came from them. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Down the rabbit hole

I couldn't fall asleep the other night.

And it wasn't because of Lena.  I'm not sure what triggered it.  It might've been that I realized yesterday that I'm going back to work on March 10--What should have been Luke's 18 month birthday.  It might have been because last week, I found out that Jeff lost all of the pictures from Lena's birth and delivery somehow on his phone.  The only ones we'll ever have of that event--gone.  And then it made me think about how I'd feel if we'd lost those of Luke.

Obviously, I would feel much, much, much, MUCH angrier.  And sad.  And hopeless.

I feel like thoughts of Luke have taken a back seat in the past 2.5 months.  They're not gone. But with a newborn, it's understandable that my brain is somewhere else.  It's completely focused on the growing, needing baby in front of me. 

Thoughts of him have come rushing back in the past couple days.  And I sort of went down the rabbit hole of emotions.  I thought about delivering him again, and I thought about how horrible his birth was...In retrospect, with perspective...How incredibly traumatizing it was to deliver a baby with shoulder dystocia. 

I Googled it again...like I have so many times before.  And frankly, every time I read about it, I still don't understand how I lived through it.  Every article I read about it mentions potential "fetal or maternal demise." Many of them--from journals of medicine--talk about how it's literally an obstetrician's worst, unforeseen nightmare in the delivery room.  That it's frightening to even a seasoned OB.  That it's unpredictable, and can turn things south SO easily.  It's listed as an "obstetric emergency."  And?  THIS only happens in about 1% of deliveries.  It's like I won the shitty lottery of possible birth stories.  The odds of stillbirth at 39 weeks are less than 1%...And then we added ANOTHER 1% chance onto THAT.

I lived through all that.  And I still don't really understand how. 

Then I think about the what ifs of that scenario.  We didn't have a great idea how big Luke was in the womb.  We had no clue what was coming with his delivery.  What if he hadn't already died before delivery?  Would something have happened to him then?  At that point?  What if he'd been born alive...but then gotten injured because of the shoulder dystocia, that we were given a baby who could grow up with cystic fibrosisErb's Palsy?  Paralysis?

I could have been the mother of a baby who was paralyzed at childbirth.  He could have died DURING childbirth.  I could have had a post partum hemorrhage and...I don't even know.  Thinking about it blows my mind.

I think about all these things, and then I look at Lena.  Who's perfect.  And somehow, I'm fine too.  And I think about my OB, who, the more I think about it, I probably had more of an effect on than I initially believed.  She told me once that our delivery with Luke had given her PTSD, and I think now I've come to understand why.  Not only did she have to deliver the news to me that my baby had died inside of me at 39 weeks for no foreseeable reason, she then experienced what might've been one of the worst possible deliveries she's ever had to do.  I feel like we have a relationship that not many patients have with their OB.

I remember blacking out somewhat during labor, and that moment when what seemed like every nurse on the floor came rushing into our room to help her deliver Luke.  I had no idea what was going on, and it was my first delivery.  I had nothing else to compare it to.  One nurse pushed Jeff aside, and was literally on top of me at one point, pushing from my pelvis.  I knew it wasn't good, but the only thing I knew was that I had to get through it so that I cold meet Luke.  So that we could finally meet that boy that we'd waited 9 long months to meet.  Even if he was already gone.  And I held on for that. 

And now that I know more, I realize what we may have been subjected to after his birth, if he'd been alive.  Our lives could be so different.  I always picture Luke as a perfect, healthy baby.  Who doesn't picture that for their child when they're pregnant?  But what if he wasn't?  What if he was disabled from all of that?  It's entirely possible.

It's also entirely possible that none of that would have happened during delivery because had he been alive, he may have helped himself out.  He would have wanted to find his way out...And maybe he would have been just fine.

But I'll never know.  That was the moment my life was at a fork in the road.  One where Luke had died, and the other where he could have lived.  I suppose there were actually more forks in that road.  I could have died.  He could have developed paralysis later down the road.  But none of those sideforks ever came to be.  We hit a dead end.

In a way, I feel like I dodged a bullet.  I can never know for sure, but it's possible.  Not that I would love him any less had he been paralyzed.  But the thoughts about what could have been...I don't even know.

So now I sit here, with Lena.  Both my OB and my MFM foresaw the danger in another delivery for me, and insisted on a c-section this time.  And I can't thank them enough.  I trusted them in their decision for me from the beginning, but the more I read about what happened to me, the more thankful I am. 

Thankful that this is where I'm at right now.  Thankful that this birth was the exact opposite of Luke's.  It was calm and beautiful.  There was no panic.  There were happy tears.  There was relief. 

I hate that I'll never know what would have been for him, but because of him, I'm here, now. 

And I'm thankful to have had and held him the most.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Filling that hole (in my ♥)

Lena is 2 months old already.

The time has completely flown by. And all I've been doing for the past 2 months is watching her. Watching her eat. Sleep. Cry. Throw up. Grow. There are times when I feel like I can literally see her growing. Today she was so interactive with me and Jeff. She knows us and our faces and voices. We make her happy (sometimes?). 

It's already going so fast. 

I've felt a sensation of relief these past 2 months that I haven't felt since losing Luke, though. Relief that things are normal again. And I know that's weird. I feel like I should be more paranoid now that I have her here. But just watching her become who she is...it's settling. It makes me so happy to see. 

Maybe I'm relieved because I know she's getting a chance to be things. To know us as her parents. The chance that Luke never got. 

In a way, I feel like I'm betraying my grief--by being happy. But I know that it's at a turning point now. I still think of Luke. Every. Single. Day. I sometimes hear Lena coo and wonder to myself if that's what his coo would have sounded like. If he would have made the same squinty duckface smile that she makes. 

And then I know I'm not betraying my grief or him. These questions will haunt me for the rest of my life. I might not ask them as often at some point. But they'll always be there.  There's a pain in knowing that.

But watching her grow will so often trigger these feelings. And all I saw for him was in my imagination. They were my dreams for him that will never be realized.  

So it's a relief. To know that Lena can take my dreams for her and make them her own. To know that she'll know me as her Mom. That's the part about losing Luke that hurts still--that I never knew him outside of my body. Our relationship was in my head and imagination--In the future that now never existed.

To never have had a give and take relationship with him...still gets me. So I'm going to take every day I get with his sister and try to make it count enough for both of them.

Stillbirth--leaves a hole in your heart.  That space will always be occupied by my hopes that never got realized for him.  But slowly, I feel like my heart is filling in with other love. 

Thank god for the evolution of grief.  For letting me realize that there's room in there for both of them.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From both sides now

The past month and a half have been the fastest days of my life.

Lena has been with us one month and 16 days now, and it seems like she's been with us forever.

Getting the hang of parenting a newborn though...is hard. I know now what it means to have a newborn to take care of. Who needs your attention nearly 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Who needs you in order to continue living.

It's so strange--watching the living, breathing thing that Jeff and I created--every day. Watching her grow and become more than she was yesterday.

There are times when I look at her and lose it. When I cry because of so many things. Sometimes it's because I'm so shocked at how perfect she is. Sometimes it's because I'm so tired of the screaming and crying that I just have to join her. And sometimes it's because I literally see her brother.

So many times in the past 16 months...I've thought about what Luke would look like. What he'd be doing. How he'd be progressing, developmentally. And it's so weird being on this side of things now. It's so weird being able to watch everything progress just how it should.

I've seen it all, from both sides now.

I'm surprised actually, how healing having Lena has been for me. I'm not consumed by my grief for Luke. But the moments that get me most are the times when she's quiet. When she's sleeping peacefully with her lips pursed together.

That's when my brain goes there and puts the two of them together.

I never got to see air breathe through Luke.  All I know of what he looked like was his quiet peacefulness.  His eyes closed.  His lips closed.  His body limp.  And there are times in the past month and a half where I've picked Lena up and seen him--perfectly.  It's both healing and heart-wrenching. 

I'm so happy she's here.  Taking care of a newborn is incredibly hard, obviously.  There have already been days where I've been so frustrated I just cried.  But for the most part, it's been amazing.  In some ways, I'm relieved that she looks so much like him.  At least they would have looked like siblings.  But Lena will grow up to be whoever she wants to be.  She'll reach her milestones at her own pace and grow and learn and just be.  

And until the end of time, I will never know any of that about Luke.  He's a forever-open book.  That will never be written.  I spent so much time looking forward to take part in his story, to teach him and learn from him--and still--to this day--I don't want to put that story to rest.  But I don't have a choice. 

There's no going backward to see him have life.  He is frozen in time with us for just that one day.  It's so hard accepting that that's all we got with him, when we'll have so much more time with his sister. 

It's so not fair.  That we can never be together or make it right or even know who he would have become.  My entire life--This wonder will always be there.  Without answers.  Just comparisons to his sister. 

Parenting from both sides, now.  They're both incredibly taxing.  Both emotional.  Both filled with love and exhaustion.  I guess they're not so different after all.  It's just too bad that the physical representation is completely different.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Joy

On December 12, true joy came back into our lives.

The joy that was supposed to come with you, Luke, came with your sister instead.

We went to the hospital and got there by 5:30am. I went to bed confident, feeling Bowie's kicks as I drifted in and out of sleep. I was nervous. Excited. Scared. What if everything somehow changed when we got there in the morning?

But it didn't. We got there, and got moved into a pre-op room immediately. We were greeted by awesome nurses--who knew us. They knew our story. Total relief. They hooked us up to a contraction and heartrate monitor, and everything looked good. They drew blood. Then we waited for the doctors to arrive. It was just daddy and I, and we couldn't wait till we could meet her. Soon. So so so so soon.

Before we knew it, it was 7:30, and I was getting moved into the operating room for the c-section. Daddy stayed behind in the pre-op room while they prepped me. When we got inside, it was SO COLD. It was a cold morning as it was, and that room was beyond freezing. Soon, our anesthesiologist came in, and it was the same doc that was there that night with you, Luke, when I got my epidural. She remembered us too. We waited for the spinal to kick in, and just like with the epidural, my blood pressure crashed pretty fast. I felt like throwing up, but the anesthesiologist was on it and got me some epinephrine to stop it. And before we knew it, the surgery began.

Daddy was right by my side, and he watched the whole thing. I was relieved I couldn't really see them cutting me open, as the smell from the cauterizing kinda made me sick. Mostly I felt drunk. But it happened so fast--And then, we heard your cries.

Finally. Finally. Finally. She was here, and she was alive.

A delivery that we've been waiting for for almost 2 years.

They took her aside to do all her vitals and to get her cleaned up, and before I knew it, Jeff was leaving the room to go be with her. The docs took their time to get me put back together, and then I was also getting wheeled down the hall--into our room--where we could finally be a family together. I couldn't believe it was finally real.

I got into the recovery room, and there was daddy holding her. She was perfect. 9 pounds 8 ounces and 22 inches long. Almost as big as you, Luke, but not quite. She had a head of hair as well...and honestly, she looked just like you. I cried. Tears of joy and happiness, all mixed together. They left us alone after a few minutes, and I still felt like it wasn't real. But slowly, reality set in. Our baby girl was here and we were all OK. The relief was indescribable.

Lena Bowie was here.

After the baby-moon, the nurse came in to run a blood sugar test to make sure she was eating ok. All was well. So we were to be wheeled up to the postnatal care 5th floor. When we got there, we got to do the thing we also didn't get to do with you, Luke. We got to ring the bell that rings Brahm's Lullaby at the hospital everytime a baby is born and moved up to recovery. Doing that...made everything feel like it was coming full circle. I hate the fact that we didn't get to do that with you, Luke. But we never left the L&D floor. We just went home.

We got settled in our room, and things started sinking in that everything was really OK. That first day in the hospital, Lena met her Nana and Opa, her cousin Ethan, and Auntie Lauren and Uncle Pooter. The general feeling was relief. Everyone was so relieved that everything went right this time.

That first night in the hospital, they checked her blood sugar again, and it was really dangerously low. Down to 13, when it was supposed to be about 40. They took her to get her formula-fed ASAP, and that was single-handedly the scariest part of our hospital stay. Apparently it's common for bigger babies to have issues regulating their blood sugar after birth, but her's was scary-low. They spent the next day checking her sugar pretty often. Sometimes by actual blood test, but mostly by pricking her heels. I felt so bad--her poor little heels were pricked apart.

By Saturday, it looked like her blood sugar was getting more normal, and we were cleared to really try breastfeeding without supplementing. That day was rough. I didn't have much, and even the lactation specialist kinda just told me to wait till my milk came in. She did give a LOT of valuable info, though, and that was awesome. By that night, my milk had come in, and all was well in feeding land.

Sunday, we got checked out by everyone, and were cleared for discharge around noon. The happiness...when we were told we could all three go home--together...welled up in my throat. I still couldn't believe it was happening. We got everything loaded into the car, and finally it came time to be wheeled out of the hospital. This time WITH our baby.

With a full car seat.

And a full heart.

I cried on the way home, driving down the same streets we drove down after we drove home without you, Luke, just 15 months ago. This was was the way things were supposed to be. Last time, so many thoughts ran through my head as we drove that agonizing trip home...How was I going to get through planning a funeral? How was I going to get through losing you? How would my life continue? Every question seemed so heavy. I had no idea what the answers were.

This time, the questions were so different. They were the same questions that every new parent asks themselves as they leave the hospital. How am I going to take care of this baby? Can we afford it? Will we ever sleep again? Questions that will all be answered...in time. But they were certainly not as heavy as the time before.

I've come to the realization that Lena wouldn't be here without losing you, Luke. In some ways, I hate that, but in some ways, it makes me love and appreciate you, and in turn, her, that much more. It makes me feel like there's a part of you living in her. You were the only two who ever lived in the same place. Maybe not together. But that will always tie you together.

Lena is 2 weeks and 2 days old right now, and she is absolutely perfect. When I look at her, my heart feels full, which I honestly never thought that I'd feel again after losing you.

I know our lives will never be perfect, because of all we've been through. But this is a start to feeling like things can be happy again.

Missing you always, though.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

She's here

And she is perfect. Thank god. 

Lena Bowie Watanabe
Born December 12, 2013 | 8:00am
9 pounds, 8 ounces | 22 inches

Relief...at least for now...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

At this time tomorrow...

Everything will be different.  Again.

At this time tomorrow, your sister will be here with us, Luke.  I can't describe the relief I can already anticipate feeling once we're there.  I've been waiting for that for 9 months now.  I can't believe it's finally time.

This morning I went back through our pictures--of meeting you.  I'm not sure I should have done that, but I wanted to feel connected to you before we jump on this next rollercoaster.  I wanted to see your face again...to refresh my memory so we can see if your sister looks like you.

But looking back at the pictures of you and me and your Daddy...the hurt and sadness and fear and anguish are so visible.  It still hurts to see us like that. 

I never want to feel that way again.  I see those pictures, and I feel those feelings so hard.  But I know that in no way are the feelings as raw right now as they were that very day.  Thank god. 

I still can't believe what happened to you.  To us.  I still can't believe we have pictures of our son in a tiny coffin.

Today it doesn't really feel real.  Today I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that everything will change tomorrow.  That I will finally understand what it means to make it through pregnancy and have your baby alive in your arms.  Something that seems to be a given for everybody else...I'll finally get to understand it. 

Today I wish I ever got to see your smile.  Or your eyes. 

I'm scared, but I know that at this point, there's nothing else to be scared of, because the worst has happened. 

I still miss you, today, and forever.  That will never change.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

To be someone else

There's been so many times over the past 15 months when I wished I could just be someone else.

Someone who's never lost a baby.  Who's never had to go through another 9 months just to have one baby.  Someone who didn't know what it was like to tell people they've lost a child.  Someone who doesn't know what it feels like to literally have a part of you die inside.  To live every day of the rest of life missing that piece of you.

I'm different.  I'm now someone that has survived something that can genuinely fuck. you. up.  for the rest of your life.

I can never have the perspective of a happy first-time Mom.  I won't ever know what it's like to complain about a terribly long labor and have that be the WORST thing that happened to me in childbirth.   This time will be bittersweet.

I've survived the worst, somehow.  I've survived another 9 months of pregnancy while carrying the burden of knowing that everything can come crashing down on you in an instant.

And I'm proud of myself for not hiding Luke.  For being straight with complete strangers who are nosey and well-intentioned, but also oblivious.  I would be lying to them if I'd told them that this was my first pregnancy--the most asked question of any woman who's visibly pregnant.  Why would I lie?  This was not my first pregnancy, nor my first child.  Luke was a full-grown baby when we met him.  I went through an entire 39 weeks carrying him and experiencing all that goes along with that.  He was real.  I have proof.  How could I lie?

A woman last week--an older woman--zoned in on me in a waiting room.  She was clearly obsessed with pregnancy and babies. I thought I would get away from the questioning after she asked if this one was my first and I said no.  But she continued.  And when I told her that we lost our first--Luke--last year, her first question after was "Full term?!" 

When I say yes to questions like that, that's when I want to cry in front of complete strangers.  Yes. That still happens.  It happened to me. 

And there was no reason.  God didn't need another angel.  He's not in a better place.  It doesn't matter how many prayers are said in the world for you.  It just happens. 

She really didn't say much to me after that...And I could tell that she was horrified.  And I bet that she hasn't had to endure such personal, gut-wrenching pain before.  Because if she had, she would probably have learned by now not to ask questions like that to strangers...

That's the thing.  I feel like those who have experienced trauma like this before get it.  They understand that pregnancy is hard.  It's not a given.  Women giving birth is amazing, but there's so much more to it than that.

Life isn't cut and dry.  There are millions of families that can't answer the question "So, how many children do you have?" with a simple number that can be proven with a photograph.

To be someone that is free--To not know this kind of loss?  Sometimes I wish I was them.  I do.  But then other times, I'm thankful to have been given this perspective.  I wish I could have gained it without having to lose Luke, though.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

7 days

If I don't fall apart
Will my memory stay clear?
So you had to go
And I had to remain here
But the strangest thing to date
So far away and yet you feel so close
I'm not going to question it any other way
It must be an open door for you
To come back...


Here we are.  38 weeks.  I don't really know how it all came around so quickly, but I feel like the days are just hurtling me toward next Thursday.  Toward the day we meet your sister, Luke.

I will say that the first part of this pregnancy was long...and hard.  And confusing.  The middle was muddled by a lot of back pain and physical problems that I didn't have with you.  Sometimes I was thankful for that--for something being SO different about these two pregnancies.  It gave me hope that the ending would be different at the time.

But this last trimester has absolutely flown by.  It's been a blur of happenings and emotions.  In a way, I'm thankful for that. 

Over the weekend before Thanksgiving, Daddy and I went to two Pearl Jam concerts.  When we bought these tickets back in July, I was hesitant how I would feel about being 36 weeks pregnant and going to a rock concert.  But going to shows is what we do...so we went.

In some ways, I feel like you were there with us.  First, there was the show Thursday night, that I didn't go to because it was a work night, and all the way down in San Diego.  But your crazy Daddy went to that one too.  And he called me during the show.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make out what was happening or playing, but when he got home, he told me that they played your song.  Light Years.  The song we had printed in your funeral service card...Because it meant everything that we felt about what happened to you.  And you have to understand...they never play this song.  They've played it one time this tour--the show your Daddy was at.  It's not pulled out very often...and then there it was that night he was there. 

And then there was Saturday night at the first show I went to.  There are really three songs in their gigantic catalog of music that I think of whenever I think of you.  Light Years is one.  The other is a b-side called Other Side.  And the last is a song called Come Back.  I've written about it here on this blog before--How it kills me to listen to now because it only makes me think of losing you. 

And they played it that night too.  A song that's hardly ever pulled out as well.  Oddly, this is the same exact song that was playing the night your Daddy proposed to me at that PJ concert in San Diego in 2006.

Everything's connected.  It was like you were there, telling us you were there.

This week is already filled with anxiety, but relief.  Relief that this stage of grief will be ending somehow.  But it's filled with anxiety about everything. 

The 39th week. 

Ironically, I will be exactly 39 weeks--to the day, when we deliver your sister via c-section Thursday morning.  The same exact day of my pregnancy that we met you after it was too late.  I will give birth to each of you on the same exact day of my pregnancy, and yet I will have exact opposite experiences.  The same, yet different.

Every day this week, we'll get closer to the day we meet your sister...and closer to the same exact day in your pregnancy that we said goodbye to you. 

To say I'll be relieved next Friday is an understatement.

I won't miss having to compare the two of your pregnancies.  I won't miss having to tell complete strangers that no, this is not my first child.  I won't miss telling them that you're no longer with us when they ask me how old you are.  Now people will just see your sister and assume.  Which I'm OK with, because it doesn't require me to drag down their day with a horrifying reminder that full-term stillbirth still happens in modern-day first-world societies.  And I'm living proof.

But what I will miss is you being the only child.  From here on out, there are two of you.  And I know grief will probably get more complicated when we get to experience the joy that she will bring into our lives.  As we get farther away from that day with you.  

Just know that you'll always be number one.  Wherever you are. 

And the days they linger on, yeah
Every night I'm waiting for
The real possibility that I may meet you in my dreams
Sometimes you're there and you're talking back to me
Come the morning I could swear you're next to me
And it's OK

It's OK.  It's OK
.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Creeping fear

At 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant now, things are getting real again.

I've been here before, and the feelings are the same. 

That's what sucks. 

Every first time mom has the same fears. There's the fears about actually delivering the baby. Drugs or no drugs?  Will I be able to breast feed? Will we get everything we want done before baby gets here? Will I have any clue what I'm doing when baby gets here?

Will I be a good mom?

I think most would say that that question is more easily answered the second time around. But for me...I'm still asking that question. And I feel like I've been asking it for the past 2 years. Because I have been. 

This time, I feel like the fear is heightened. I've already been through the delivery part. Labor. Seeing my child for the first time. But I don't know what comes next. I've dreamed about it for the 39 weeks I was pregnant with Luke, and now another 9 months with Bowie. I've had over 76 weeks to plan and dream about what my child would become.  Who they would turn into.
And I still don't have the answers about what comes next.  Because I'm still not parenting either one of them.

Right now, I almost still don't feel like this is real. Like there is no end to being pregnant--or at least an end with a crying baby. That's the part of full-term stillbirth that screws with you the most. You have everything...and then nothing, just like before you were pregnant. 

One part of me feels like there's no more to come after this. But the other part of me yearns for all that I don't know. 

We're so close. I wish I didn't have to carry around the burden of these feelings--Of knowing what it's like to leave the hospital with an empty car seat.  I wish I was just a normal mom who gave birth and went home and became a Mom.

I feel like there's so much more riding on this, this time.

Because I can't possibly fathom going through all of that all over again. 

December 12, 2013 has to be different than September 10, 2012.  It just has to be.