I have decided to leave this portion of the website just the way it is. It reflects more than two years of thoughts about pregnancy, life and loss. Does it mean I'm healed and all is right with the world? Nope. Today's the 21st. The 21st is always hard. Even after God blessed me with Zoe, who also arrived on the 21st. Man, does that help! So, I am making a choice to focus on my family, and the children I have on this earth.
To my Gabriel - may you continue to rest in peace. I know your days and nights are now filled with praising and worshiping our Heavenly Father. I still have moments of jealousy that you are there and I am here. But, I know that we will be together again soon. I love you with all my heart. I still weep when I think about the day you were born and the moment Momma and Daddy got to see your precious face for the first time. You will not be forgotten, little one. There are so many things on this earth that remind me of you. So many songs, so many little boys who are the same age you would be, your brother and your sister, and every single rainbow - especially a double rainbow. So many people still remember you too. I will continue teaching your siblings all about you and the precious life lessons you taught us with your short life. You were not replaced, you can never be replaced. I can only dream of the day I get to hold you again. Love, Momma
This rainy dark weather reflects how Kyle and I have been feeling this past week. Kyle's been frustrated with school/work stuff, and we've both felt more sad than usual - unable to really pinpoint why...
When we were pregnant with Gabe, we made a cd of songs after we received his fatal diagnosis. Some of these songs come on The Word FM very often, and I've been happy to notice that hearing them has put a smile on my face recently, a physical reminder of how far I've come on this grief journey. But, this week, I would hear one of these songs and it would bring me right back to the sadness I felt when I'd listen to the cd. Remind me of how, even on good days, it would make me bawl my eyes out, pulling off the side of the road, or waiting a few minutes before going into the house or store or wherever.
Finally the other night, Kyle and I were discussing our feelings and he mentioned that it felt like he was sad due to an anniversary that was coming up, but the 21st of this month had come and gone. Then it hit me - April marks two years since we got Gabriel's diagnosis. Well, there it is! Now it all makes sense. It's still a little surprising that being pregnant with Zoe can bring us so much happiness, yet it doesn't completely heal our loss of Gabriel. We still miss him, long for him, ache for him, think of him, wonder what our daily lives would be like with him in it, etc.
A few friends have asked me how emotional I think it will be to physically birth Zoe, and whether or not that will bring up the pain of the day I had Gabriel. Well, we have a brand new hospital, and as my amazing MIL pointed out, it will be nice not to have to walk those same halls, be in a similiar room, etc. Having a new hospital is just one more way that we feel like we're starting over with this pregnancy. But, I can imagine that having Zoe will be very emotional for both Kyle and I. I'm sure we will still have thoughts about the last night we were welcoming a baby into this world. I'm sure that seeing her face will make us wonder whether she looks like me, Kyle, Joel or Gabe. I'm sure it'll be surreal that we will be able to bring her home with us. It all seems too good to be true...
First of all, I know I've already blogged about this. But, obviously it is still a sore spot for me so I'm blogging about it again in hopes that I will have some clarity on the subject. It's the question moms and dads have to answer often and I haven't come up with the best answer for it yet. But, I will.
"How many kids do you have?"
I know what I don't want to say. If I can get mad at someone close to me for saying - "I can't believe you're about to have your second child!" when infact this is my THIRD child, because this means THEY are denying my son, then I can NEVER deny my son. Not to the MaryKay lady, not to the bagger at the grocery store, not at a playdate or a mom's group.
So yesterday I am at a group and, because we have new people coming so often now, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say how many kids we have. In the past I have had a few moments to prepare, but yesterday it was my turn right after the facilitator had her turn.
I said, outloud, "I hate this question! I never know what to say!"
I continued, "Three! I have Joel - a toddler, I'm pregnant, and I have one in Heaven."
The girl next to me said, so compassionately, "Did you have a miscarriage?"
I wanted to scream or cry or hit something. "No, he was fullterm."
She continues, "Oh, that's stillborn, then!"
"Um, he was born alive," I mumbled...
"That's even worse!" she continued... but I didnt' hear much else...
As upset as I was over this little interaction, I still knew that I couldn't share it with just anybody. Only people who have been in my shoes, or have a great heart of compassion, will understand why this was upsetting to me. So, if you don't get it, just know that you're not alone.
A dear friend of mine said it well - If my loss is a big enough deal to me that I am going to mention it to you, it is not necessary for you to catagorize my loss.
In the past when this question arose and I only mentioned Joel, I felt terrible afterwards. As much as I don't want a total stranger to feel sorry for me, or to make the focus of a group all about me during a simply introduction, I CANNOT deny Gabriel as my son. He was not a miscarriage. I have had a miscarraige and NEVER feel the need to tell people about it. I have not named that child. I don't think of that loss like I think about Gabe. And I even feel guilt about that when I hear other women talk about their miscarried baby by name. But, I guess for me, the loss of Gabriel was so significant that the miscarriage was so different, so insignificant, in comparison. For others, a miscarriage may be the toughest thing they have to go through.
In the past, I have tried to chose my words carefully by saying Joel's not my only one, without coming out and saying that I lost my other son. Things like, "I have one child with me" or "I have one child at home." Not only does it make me feel like I'm confessing my other child was taken from me by the state, it just isn't cutting it.
Another friend of mine, who is very pregnant with her rainbow baby and is often asked if this is her first, will respond by simply saying "no" and if she is asked how old her first is, she resonds that "he would have been 15 months old." At this point I think this is my best bet. I am acknowledging Gabriel. I am acknowledging the fact that he is gone.
So, how many kids do I have? Three. Joel is two and a half, Gabriel would have been one and a half, and Zoe is due in July! That was easier than I thought...