It’s a word so incredibly scary after you’ve walked a road like ours. It means that history could repeat itself- and that fact- is completely, utterly frightening.
Our heaven-born babes are such treasures. They are part of us, part of our lives and always will be. There is no erasing them, no taking them, no silencing them. They speak in us, to us, and through us. They are our children, just as much as the children we have been blessed to hold in our laps during story time.
But to know that this new one could be taken away- just as my Philip was- is horrifying.
The idea, or thought process that then consumed me was the “what if I have to live through it all again? The sad eyes staring at me with words so horrific they can hardly be repeated, the funeral planning, the burial, and then basic survival in the after.
A new life now means that could all happen again….”
Yes I’m a Christian, and yes I said it. Because this is all about real, and not sugar-coated writing, and sometimes, yes sometimes, the words “Holy Crap” are the only ones that truly describe how I feel.
A big part of me desired to be excited about this new life, this new opportunity, this miracle. Part of me truly was- deep, deep down. But the moment I felt that excitement over the possible good “what ifs”… Having a healthy baby, hearing his or her first cry, taking them home in a car seat, raising them in my home…
In those moments, The guilt would consume me. The guilt of losing my heaven-born babes. The reminder that this babe may also be heaven-born along with them. The ever-present reminder that reality is that I only have today with this child, and that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
And then, the terror in knowing I had potentially months and months of trying to live, and grieve, and find a way to love this one , and love the others too, and prepare for something… I knew not what…And a million other things ahead of me…complete and utter overwhelm.
See- I told you those were the words to describe it.
I was pregnant.
Day by day went on, then a week at a time. I held my breath. I lived in fear. I prayed for faith. But it didn’t feel much like faith, whatever I did have. I tried to ignore the fact that I was pregnant. Guilt. I tried to latch more on to visiting Philip, yet all I felt was guilt. I couldnt find a good way to tell him that this child wasn’t his replacement. When I tried, All I felt was guilt. I tried to “just breathe” through the moments and days and weeks. I still do that most days. I tried to delve into Gods word-seeking a deeper, a stronger level of faith. I felt like if my faith was deeper, my fear wouldn’t be so great.
But I don’t know, once you’ve lived through child-loss hell and somehow survived, that you can live without any fear. It’s that fact alone that reminded me that I needed faith if I was to get through this.
And so I waited. I signed on for every test you could do to find out if my baby was anything but healthy. If this baby wasn’t coming home with me, I wanted as much time to prepare as possible.
And test after test came back with those words that seem so foreign to us bereaved mothers -“normal”.
Most people celebrate “normal”. I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. I kept waiting for the “normal- except for…”
And it may still come- (part of me will probably always be waiting for it, to be honest) but thus far, it hasn’t.
“Normal” seems so far away that it’s hard to know how to process it.
We found out the gender of our baby next.
That was when it all changed for me.
This wasn’t a weird dream.
This wasn’t ignorable.
This was real.
He was real.
My little, baby boy was growing inside of me. Heart beating with mine, blood pumping along side my own.
And I- despite every internal objection and logical reason not to- was hooked.
I loved him. In that moment, I realized I loved him. A real, little, tiny person.
For as long as I had him in my life, he was my little boy. He would forever be my son.
I finally felt allowed to love him because I finally allowed myself to see him as he was- my tiny, human son. Not Philip. not Hope. Not Jeddediah. A new babe, in this moment, full of life.
And I decided to allow myself to LOVE him forever- whether here or in heaven.
I don’t know why it changed in that moment for me. I don’t have a scientific reason. I can only tell you this journey through my heart. And in that moment- The moment my ears heard the words over the phone “you’re having a boy”… I was sold-out, in love with him.
Fear still resided within me. But it no longer consumed me. It no longer overwhelmed any other emotion within me.
In that moment, Love overcame fear.
Fear still sneaks up quite regularly, and I have to remember that my faith, my love is bigger than any fear. I can’t change that fear, but I can use it for good. I can use it to remind me where my focus needs to be. I can use it to strengthen my faith and to remind me that for today, I can love him- even if it’s all over tomorrow.
I can use that fear and build my faith with it.
And I choose to, most of the time (after all, I am human).
And so I journey on, Pregnant and grieving, and forever loving all my babies, within me, above me, and beside me.