For those of you who don't know me in real life or stalk me on Facebook (stalking is what Facebook is for, right?) we found out in May that we are expecting our rainbow, Avery's little brother or sister, in January.
Since going public with this news, I have received lots of support and encouragement. But I also get the impression from many outside of the baby loss community, that now that I have some "good news," I should be able to get over the loss of Avery. I'd like to set the record straight on this and say that the news of our rainbow does not mean the clouds and storm are over, or that they never happened, it just means we have a little more hope and light coming our way.
What some may not understand is that nothing will ever fill the hole Avery left. No matter how many rainbows we have, the chamber marked Avery in my heart will never be full. It will always beat for her and always be incomplete. To say this baby will make it all better and the bad days go away is nonsense. It would be like a second time parent forgetting their first born just because a second baby arrives. Your heart doesn't replace the space your other children take up, it expands and allows more love in.
Also, while we are overjoyed at the thought of having another baby to hold in our arms, I am now very much aware of how much can and DOES go wrong during pregnancy and infancy. Just because I'm pregnant and I have made it into the fictional "safe zone," does not guarantee me a baby come January. Nor does it guarantee that this time next year, I'll have a happy 7 month old at home. Truth is, nobody knows what is going to happen. That's a lesson I've learned all too well. The ignorant bliss I experienced with Avery is long gone. I find myself making a lot of "if" statements. "If I make it full term," "if we bring the baby home," "if we have a baby this time next year." And I honestly, feel like an awful mom for feeling that way. Slowly, I am starting to allow myself to connect with the baby, plan for the baby, etc but doubt still clouds my thoughts. My innocence was lost that awful morning.
Please don't get me wrong, we are very excited to get a chance to be parents again. To hopefully bring home a child that we get to have and hold for many years to come. To watch take their first steps, cross that graduation stage and one day get married. We are thrilled to one day share Avery with her sibling and know that they will keep her memory alive long after we are gone. We look forward to being able to be parents to more than a grave and a memory of a child. We look forward to sleepless nights yet as we get further along with this pregnancy, Avery's absence is felt stronger than it has been felt in a long time.
We are entering into a whole new phase of grief. It is hard to handle excitement and hope when your heart is still so very broken. I am constantly reminded of everything I didn't get with Avery and I find my heart aching in new ways. I am reminded that I should have a 13 month old at home. I am constantly reminded that while I am already a mom yet I still feel clueless to the whole parenting thing. We only had 6 days with Avery and only 4 of those days were at home. I don't know how to soothe gas pains or teething pains. I don't know the best diapers. There is so much I don't know about being a mom and yet I'm becoming a mom for the second time.
I'm afraid of how I will mother both of my children when one is here and another one is in heaven. I'm afraid Avery's memory will fade. I'm afraid this baby will live in Avery's shadow. I'm so afraid of heartbreak again.
So while yes, this baby does bring hope to our lives, it does not negate Avery's existence. It does not replace Avery or the missing puzzle piece in our lives. This baby, like any second child, simply adds to and expands our lives an our hearts. And we are very thankful to have another miracle coming our way.