Sunday, May 31, 2015

5 not 6

I went to a baby shower for a dear friend when I was just 13 weeks pregnant with Avery. She was 29/30ish weeks pregnant and expecting her second. At the shower there were 5 of us all pregnant. One who went into labor that day and the rest of us spread over the next 7 or so months. We took a photo of all 5 of us, varying bump sizes. Over the next few months each of us welcomed sweet babies into this world. 

I looked forward to Avery being just 2.5 months younger than one of my best friends kids. I saw family vacations, lots of fun playtime as we got together and watching our kiddos grow up together. We all know that didn't turn out the way I imagined. 

Most days, I've tucked Avery into her special place in my heart. Most days, I have no idea what it would be like to have an almost 3 year old. She's still that tiny baby in my head. And unfortunately, that's how she's always going to be to me. But this past weekend I got a glimpse into what it would be like to have a 3 year old. My friend and her family came to visit. My friend and her son, the one Avery should be playing with. There he was in all his 3 year old glory. Running, talking, playing, potty trained, independent yet still in need of good snuggles. 

Somehow it didn't really sink in how much Avery was missing until we tried (unsuccessfully) to get all 5 of them to sit, stand and face the camera. Little E, who should be Avery's playmate, refused to sit with the rest of the group, resulting in a big gap. A big gap where Avery should be. There should have been 6 of them in that picture. Avery should have been playing with the kids, should be in that picture and should be keeping me on my toes. 

1:4 will lose their baby. I had no idea when taking that picture at that baby shower that was the statistic. I was 13 weeks, we were in the safe zone. But we weren't. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Unfamiliar Territory

I've hit an odd place in my journey. 

Early on the tears flowed like waterfalls. Everything was dark, pitch black. There was no hope, there was no happiness, just a black hole of never ending pain.  And I truly couldn't imagine a life that was any different. I mean, how could I? 


It seemed like it would be a life sentence of misery. Even when on the outside, I put on my fake smile, I was dying on inside. 

As time moved me forward, the darkness slowly started to lighten and I was somehow being pulled out of the black hole. Smiles that were genuine began again. Laughter came but just as often as their were periods of happiness, there were equally periods of deep sadness. Some days I truly felt crazy. Who goes from having a great day to a heap of a person sobbing on the floor? I did. And sometimes multiple times a day. The grey period was interesting; learning to navigate my emotions, learning to live without a piece of my heart, learning how to move forward without moving on. 

And then it happened, the rainbow after the storm. And I have to admit, I am very hesitant to write this so let me be clear, a rainbow does NOT replace the child lost, does not mean the parents have moved on or that they will no longer be sad and long for their baby gone too soon. Having Harper brought so much hope and love back into my broken heart.  Her first year of life was trying to say the least. And I had about a million panic attacks thinking I would
lose her too. She keeps us busy, she makes us smile, she makes us cry, she makes our hearts fill with so much love. She makes me wonder a thousand times a day what Avery would have been like. And she never stops surprising us with her sweet love for her sister. 

She has brought light back into our dark lives. She has taught me that it's truly ok to be happy, to love, to smile, to laugh. She has been such a blessing and has helped me so much on my healing journey. I think she's part of the reason I feel like I am in such a odd place right now. Maybe odd isn't the right word, maybe it's just unfamiliar. 

I'm in a new place where I no longer feel the need to wear Avery on my sleeve. Early on, I needed to tell every person who would listen about Avery. I needed to scream her name from rooftops, I needed to do as much as possible to outwardly remember, recognize and honor her. But I'm not there anymore. For a while I felt guilty for feeling that way. Like I was ready to pack her up and move on. But I've come to realize that's not what I am doing. I've come to a place where I don't have to do the outward things to feel like her mom. I don't have to scream her name for a to hear to show the world my love for her. I don't have to prove to anyone she existed. I know she existed. I know how amazing she is and I know how much I love her, how much I think about her and how much I miss her every day. 

This place is unfamiliar. I don't know what it means. And that scares the hell out of me. I don't know how to manage this new place. But as I've been doing for almost 3 years now, I plan to just take it one day at a time and see where I end up.