So here we are. At the end. I have anywhere from zero to 18 days or so….that’s rather terrifying, if I can be honest. It’s also stinking exciting. Anticipation is mounting at rapid levels around here.
Also – I know you’re excited to discover who won those two free journals last week? The winners are now listed! Thanks for joining in on the fun! We may just need to do another giveaway to celebrate this baby’s arrival?
The girls have already designed “The Royal Welcome Home Celebration” party – complete with recipes, decorations, supply lists and cake designs. They’ve already planned a wedding for him and a birthday party.
We started week 4 of school this week – we’re planning a month (at least!) long break after baby gets here.
The house is getting in tip top shape for all the guests coming in. And really, I have way more energy than I did a month ago. This nesting stuff is really setting in. My kitchen floor cleaning routine last night consisted of sweeping, swiffering, steam mopping, swiffering again, then one last steam mopping. I’ll probably do it again tonight. The baby’s room (which is really just a corner of our room for now – his room will be the guest room for a couple months) is pretty much ready to go with all it needs.
“His corner of our room” being a something-borrowed Moses basket bassinet that had a lovely pink liner. Which my girls said would absolutely-positively-in-no-way-from-here-to-Madagascar do. So I made a new liner. Notice Henry – the bunny the girls made for this baby at Build A Bear – they say “he’s keeping the bed warm for him so he won’t be scared at our house when he gets home.”
My four favorite food groups are now Greek Yogurt Smoothies, Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Popsicles. With frozen blueberries for snacks. Sometimes I get adventurous in the kitchen and make a salad.
I haven’t packed a hospital bag yet. But I bought a bag to pack. Progress, right?
Underneath all the flurry of preparations, though, is a sense of nervousness amongst all of us. My youngest asks almost daily, “I’m glad he’s not going to die, right Mommy?” My oldest just shows an exorbitant amount of affection to my belly. This sort of outward display of affection isn’t normal for her. She’s holding on to every last moment. At the young age of eight,
She gets it.
None of us are guaranteed anything. No matter what anyone says. We aren’t fear mongers or dreading the worst anymore. But we are aware of the brevity of life. We can only trust that His plans are better than our plans. That’s all we have to go on. And that’s not always as scary or as bad as it seems.
So there are many things I’m fearing as potential triggers for flashbacks: even packing the hospital bag is something I may pass on to my husband to do for me. Rehashing memories of the quick hospital packing I had to do when we lost Kyle weeks sooner than we expected is not something I want to experience. Seeing an empty baby warming bed in the hospital room is something I’ve dreaded since almost day one. (My doctors have graciously offered to keep those out of the room for me until I’m ready for it. Which, I may never be. And they’re ok with that.)
One of my more poignant memories was when they hooked me up to contraction monitors for Kyle for intermittent monitoring at times. And they only used one of those velcro belt things – because they only needed to measure my contractions, not a heart rate as well. The dear nurses didn’t say a word or act as if anything was different from normal – but it being my third hospital delivery, I definitely knew what was up.
This time, I think the sight of those monitors could bring on a flurry of emotions no one is prepared for. I’ve learned enough about my own pregnancy induced PTSD to know that those crazy flashbacks and emotional downward spirals are completely unpredictable.
I usually have crazy dreams. Especially during pregnancy. I’ve only had one vivid pregnancy dream, and in it our baby died shortly after birth.
Of my three hospital births, only one has ended in a crying healthy baby. And honestly, my memory doesn’t hold up to the time and trauma of the events between that birth and now. And I have absolutely no imagination strong enough to envision what it could be like to have a baby and hear it cry?
I only remember the quiet, still, sereneness that sounded as Kyle came into my arms. I remember an occasional camera click from my sister’s labor of love. But that’s about the only sound that was there.
There is a sense of relief that I won’t be delivering in the same room as I did with Kyle. (Although I’d give almost anything to have those nurses and doctors with me!) I was advised to check out the maternity floor before going into labor. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet. Perhaps this weekend will afford an opportunity to face those fears. I have a feeling this birth will be the beginning of the end of the greatest grief journey we’ve faced as a family to date.
I do have one memory of Kyle’s birth though. Or after his birth. One that always brings a smile to my face. It’s such a stored up in my heart memory I don’t think I’ve shared it with too many people.
There was this 60 year old nurse that discharged me 18 hours after Kyle’s birth. Five hours after they took him from my arms. And about 15 hours before I had a meeting to attend at the funeral home. She helped Chris pack up our things. But grabbed the Kyle bear out of the moses basket that had held little Kyle just hours before and pressed it into my arms.
“You aren’t leaving this hospital empty handed.” she said.
So I got in that wheelchair, grabbed onto that silly little blue fuzzy bear and squeezed my eyes closed with all my might to avoid the waterfall of tears that were bursting at the back of my eyelids. She leaned in close and whispered – “I’m taking you out the VIP way, sweetheart. Deep breaths.” As we left, I noticed one last time the butterfly image on our hospital door that signaled to all hospital personnel that entered that there was *not* a live baby in the room. And the simple sign we had made with our baby’s name. His carefully selected name. And then closed my eyes again to avoid seeing the blue and pink wreaths and balloons on all the other doors.
The “VIP way” ended up just being a back door of sorts to the hospital – there was another discharge happening on our floor at the same time, and she didn’t want my seeing that happy family of three leaving. We got on the elevator, just the two of us. All I could do was think about breathing.
She looked at me and spoke only these words. Not because of the awkward-to-her silence, she wasn’t afraid of that. But because she was led to speak these words.
“Honey?” she said. “This is the part of my job that I hate. I’m so glad I don’t have to do it often. You might not like to hear what I have to say, but I will say it anyway. I’ve taken a whole lotta mamas out just like you. And a few years later they come back and I take them out the front doors. And they aren’t holding bears then. So you just sit tight. And I have no doubts I’m gonna see you right back here.”
I don’t remember her name. And only faintly what she looked like. But for some reason, those words coming from this lady who reminded me of the sweetest little plump grandma, put a little tiny flicker of hope in my dark cold heart that day. I wish I could go back and see her again. And have her discharge me and this baby together.
Because deep down, while I’m scared and nervous and even have more ideas and plans of what to do if the worst should happen than I do if the expected normal delivery happens – I still have that flicker of hope that’s getting stronger and brighter with each passing day.