This Thanksgiving is already incredibly different than last year's.
And while we're still here, missing you every day, Luke, this year we have so much to be thankful for. I'm so thankful that in just 2 weeks, our lives will change forever once again. That we'll finally meet your little sister.
I'm thankful for all our friends and family that have held us up this past year. For those that speak about you, and still remember you as part of our family. I hope that never changes.
And I'm so thankful that I've found some sort of healing this past 14 months. I'm thankful that I've been able to work through my grief to find joy in my life again. It hasn't been easy. And even though I can be happy again, I will always be missing you.
But I have hope right now. I'm not sure if you're pushing that down on me from wherever you are, but I'll take it. This pregnancy has been hard, but I'm surprised that I feel hope right now. That I feel that everything can and will be OK with Bowie. We have a plan. Our doctors' visits have gone amazingly well. And I truly believe that she will be OK.
I accept that the panic will probably set in soon. I have two weeks to go, but it makes me feel better knowing that we have a c-section scheduled already and everyone's as ready to go as can be.
But the one thing that I approach with...maybe not hesitation so much as just...trepidation...is seeing your sister's sweet face for the first time. I know I will be comparing it with yours. And I wish I could just accept her for being herself...but with you missing, I don't know how I won't.
And I fear that will make me miss you that much more.
But I will also be incredibly distracted. With everything I missed out on with you. And that worries me too. I never want to be so distracted that thoughts of you fall by the wayside.
So onto another chapter of figuring out how to live this new life. With your sister here with us, and you watching over us.
I feel like for the most part, I've kept my anxiety pretty in-check throughout this entire pregnancy. I'll admit--The month of September was probably the worst. Mostly because that month was all about Luke. I found myself completely distracted--Bowie was almost an afterthought. But she was there, and all was well, so it was OK.
Yesterday was the first day I really experienced those pangs of anxiety that hit--the uncontrollable fear that something's wrong.
I'm going to NSTs twice a week. And they've mostly been fine. But Bowie's an active baby, apparently. And sometimes, they take some time for us to get a good reading on her heartbeat, which does make me anxious, but not uncontrollably so.
Yesterday...there was a different girl working in the office. And she didn't know me or how active Bowie was (or my story, or really also...how to find the heartbeat really well? I'm not even sure.) So it didn't start off well. She really couldn't find her heartbeat. Then it was sort of there--but very faint. I could feel Bowie moving, but the fact that her heartbeat was so faint...scared the crap out of me. I know she was probably facing backward, and that she was probably fine, but to talk yourself into that--it's hard when you've been on the other side of this. Where everything is NOT fine. When you're getting told that your baby is already gone.
We sat...with the faint heartrate reading...for about a half hour. Finally, the girl working went to go get a doctor. She came in, and I was crying at that point. It was at that point that I was sort of forced to tell her what I've been through (she wasn't my normal OB). She completely understood my terrors, and somehow, found Bowie's heartbeat pretty quickly. At that point, I was angry at the girl working there. But I just wanted to get it done and over with.
And then Bowie moved, and it seemed that finding her heartbeat was impossible again.
The frustration...I know the girl working there was frustrated. And then she told me that when she takes the reading to my doctor, she wasn't going to like it. And that she'd probably send me over to the hospital for more monitoring...
And that's when I really stressed out. It was really the wrong thing for her to say to me.
But somehow, after moving and moving and moving, Bowie chilled out a bit. And then she got the hiccups. And after about an hour of trying and trying to get any stable reading out of her, she calmed down enough for us to get what we needed.
There are times I'm thankful that she's an active, moving baby. It keeps my anxiety in check--especially considering that the REASON I went to the hospital with Luke was because I noticed he'd stopped moving... But then there are times when it scares me. When things like this happen. Or when I think about the potential of her getting too wrapped up in her cord like Luke--maybe BECAUSE she's so active.
Yesterday's NST took almost 2 hours. I swear that must be some sort of record. I really hope that the rest of them go much more smoothly, but I just keep telling myself that we only have less than 4 weeks to go. We can get through this.
It's November now. And we're about a MONTH from meeting Luke's little sister...a baby who I'm not sure we'd be having had it not been for Luke's death.
One year ago, I was in the depths of despair. The freshness of losing Luke was so raw and new and I didn't understand it or know how to deal with it.
There are still some times when I feel like what happened to us wasn't real. Like it was something I watched happen in a movie or a terrible TV show or to someone else. In so many ways, it still feels unreal, to this day.
I wish it were true.
I wish what happened to us never had to happen to us. I would be happy to have my 14-month-old son right now. I'd be happy to not have had to travel this road of grief for the past year. I'd be happy to not have to continue traveling it for the rest of my life.
I told myself that we'd always do what made us happy--when Luke died--to honor him. I remember sitting in our bedroom with my sister a few days after his funeral, and making a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to sell and move out of our condo within the next year. BEING there made me unhappy. It almost always had, but after losing him, it was the final straw. And I'm proud to say that we did it--We sold that place. We're in a much happier place right now. A place where I have hope, AND where our neighbors aren't terrible people.
And we said the same thing about trying for another baby...that we'd like to get pregnant again as soon as we could, since there was no medical reason stopping us. And by some grace of God, we did that too.
There's so much to be happy about. And it gets in the way of grief. That's where grief is tricky. No matter what you have that makes you happy--that brings you joy--that you've wanted and yearned for for a long time--There's always something lurking in the background. The sadness. The grief. The heaviness of everything you lost.
I have four weeks to go until we meet Luke's little sister. I'm already scheduled for a c-section because, like her big brother, she's supposedly going to be be a big one. I'm happy that this date is set in stone. That I know the day that we get to meet her and start our lives together. But it all circles back to thinking about Luke a lot of times. About the day that we got to meet, but didn't get to live the rest of our lives together. It makes me nervous. And scared. Deep down I know that everything will be fine this time. And I know that there will be nothing else in the world that will feel the same as the second we hear this little girl cry for the first time. I can't wait to finally get to experience that happiness.
But I grieve that I had to miss that happiness with Luke.
These past 8 months have been a ride. I feel like I've been pregnant forever. I sort of have been. I hate how unfair it is that I'll have to have been pregnant 18 out of the past 24 months only to have one child here with me. I hate coming to grips with that. It will never be right and I'll never be OK with it.
I hate that I'm only going to experience that feeling of extreme joy with just ONE of my children. And I don't want the sorrow I feel for Luke to taint my experiences with Bowie. But I know that's impossible.
Everytime I see Bowie smile. Hear her laugh. See her roll over for the first time. Crawl. Walk. Go off to Kingergarten. High school. College. Get married. I'll be forced to think about missing all of those things with Luke. I'll be forced to wonder about him. About what never was or can ever be. And that will always hurt my heart. I know it will get easier with time (at least I hope it will), but the reality will always be there.
At the end of the day, I can't stay in the depths of my grief forever. I
choose not to. I don't want to. But that doesn't mean that I won't miss
Luke every single day for the rest of my life. Joy will have to learn to live with grief...and that's ok.