Last week, we went back to that beach to take photos with our little E.... My friend Amanda took them for us as a gift.
Being there felt surreal. I didn't remember anything about the drive or how to get there - I only remembered parking on the side of the road, explaining to Kelly (the NILMDTS photographer) why I I had the blanket and the little "hope" token with me, and what we can see in the photos we have. It was just a month after her diagnosis when we were there with Rachel, so my mind was literally just trying to keep my body going.
I don't think I realized how much so until we went back last week. Driving there and realizing I had no recollection of any of it reminded me of just how heart wrenching my news about my little girl was and how hard it was to walk through those days. I had different 'props' this time... this time it was my Rachel bear that is the weight and length Rachel was (and ironically the estimated length and weight this baby is now in my womb) and a picture of her to represent her in the photos. The emotions going there were a reminder of just how much of this burden is on my shoulders alone... but also the great gift of how much I have gained in knowing her. The pain, though, is so real and so... still here.
It's been 5 years. I'm pregnant again and have had two other babies since her. Everyone assumes I should feel better and just be able to think about the new baby. And new babies are 'happy' and 'exciting' and no reason to be scared.... Everyone wants to talk about it - and I'm "supposed to" want to talk about it too. But I don't because I can't answer like people want me to. And if I do, I'm faking it... and that gets so tiring.
It's not really that I don't want to talk about this baby. It's not that I'm not excited or happy about this baby. It's not that I'm *only* fearful about this baby. I'm just not what most people are when they are pregnant. I don't feel like I'm 'expecting a baby' as much as I'm 'waiting to see if I'll get one' because I have no false sense of security that just because my belly is big and baby is dancing around that I will have a baby come home with me in 3 months. And I can't answer a question, even as simple as "when are you due?", without feeling the conflicting emotions - and the questions that inevitably follow are even harder to hear and answer with grace, like a normal, undamaged person would.
Every once in a while though, someone asks me that I know is safe to share the burdens of my heart with - someone who has held their lifeless child and then waited for another - and it's such a relief and actually helps me to feel closer to this little one. Today was one of those days and I really needed it. But you know, I'm SO tired of being needy.
I'm so tired of being unable to be there for other people. Tired of not being able to follow through with the things on my heart. I'm tired of being so bad at so much in life. I'm tired of everything being so complicated in my mind and heart. It seriously makes me wish I wasn't me.
I've never enjoyed pregnancy - hormones have always been hard on me - but since Rachel, I can't even put words to how difficult it is for me to be pregnant... and this time, being due at the same time as her, has me in such a similar place as I was when I was carrying her - yet nobody thinks I should be, expects it, or gives any room for my feelings in regards to it. I'm tired of failing and tired of feeling hurt, tired of letting people down, and really tired of being bad at being Rachel's mama, so I'm just hiding out and trying to press into God.
Back in August when I was walking through another August 4th heartache - and waiting on this baby's 'routine' ultrasound, I came across a song called "All of me" and wished I would have heard it when I was carrying Rachel because that is how I felt about her.... but last night as I was editing the photos from last week, I went to pick a song to put on it and came across it again. It might seem like an odd song to put on a pregnancy photo shoot movie, but it's where I'm at as a mom....
I want to give this baby all of me too, like I did with Rachel. I don't want to sit back, knowing I could lose again, and not make use of this time with my child because I'm afraid of the pain. I don't want to miss it twice. And I know enough to know that no amount of attempted detachment will ever remove the pain if something did happen to this baby, but probably only add regret too.
And so I'm trying to take the next 12 weeks and celebrate this little life while it's here so that if it's gone tomorrow, I won't have regrets. I still probably won't enjoy answering questions. I'll still probably continue to hibernate until my head is in a better place and I can be a better friend. But I'm going to be more purposeful about bonding with my little E. I've been talking to him/her more and started looking around for a going home outfit and blanket. And just like with Asa & Ezra, who both came with similar difficult emotions - and Rachel, who didn't come with the ending I wanted - I know God will get me ready to meet this baby, regardless of the outcome.
"I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose, for every moment I'll share with you. You're gonna have all of me...."
Here is the video... Thank you SO much Amanda for taking these! I'm so thankful to have them ♥