We’re 26 weeks along now, officially in Viable Baby territory, and it’s hitting me that dead or alive, we’re having another baby. As another baby loss mom recently put it, 27 weeks along herself, “We're completely at the mercy of the cards we are yet to be dealt. We will either walk away from this in victory with a beautiful baby girl in our arms, or in defeat with empty arms and broken hearts.” (I believe that was written by Brooke, at bythebrooke.) Why yes, that’s it exactly.
I’m finding that I feel this baby kick and it’s familiar, surreal, sometimes uncomfortable, and circles me right around to being struck silly that Anna’s not here. And never will be. And the huge, huge piece that was lost with her. The loop goes something like “Great, she’s still alive. Wheeeew! That’s so weird, and so cool (those movements I have no control over). I remember this. This just might happen... I’ve thought that before. I can’t believe she’s not here. Oh my god we’re going to do this again. Those last days before birth, the hospital... a baby. Hopefully a healthy pink little being. It won’t be Anna, I know it won’t be Anna.” And then the path diverges down one of two lanes:
One - ‘It’s okay. You’ll be fine, you’ll all be fine. You’ll be so happy she’s alive and so enthralled with every breath and flutter of body parts, so overwhelmed that she’s yours and you did it and you don’t have to worry about giving her up or anything [which is still a very surreal thought in all this]. So busy with all that comes in those first hours and days of adjusting to feeding and getting to know her and overwhelm (again) that you’re here, really here at last. You’ll fall in love and it won’t matter really that she’s not genetically of you. You’ll surely have your moments over the course of her lifetime when you mourn the biology, and they’ll sting - alot - but the riches of raising a child will far outweigh those moments, and you’ll probably be too busy with the daily ins and outs to think about it much anyway.’
And Two - ‘You won’t see yourself anywhere in her, because you’re not. This little being, important and vital and wonderful in her own right, is made of Brad and someone else. You knew this going in. Oh my god what if I freak out if she looks so very different from Anna that I utterly lose my mind? For even a few seconds, much less a few days? What if I can’t handle seeing and holding this baby that is not of me? Oh my GOD how could we have lost her? I see my nose, my mouth, my fingers, my hair (with Brad’s hairline) when I look at Anna. Brad’s chin, Brad’s eyes (I think). She is Us. She’s the only one that will ever be Us. Sweet god, this can’t be real. How could it all have happened? How is it I’m still walking upright? How can I still be here when she isn’t??? ” And I’m down the rabbit hole again. Crying like it happened not long ago. Feeling like this pain is so deep, so wide that I’ll never get out. Who am I and what kind of fake life am I leading that I appear to have gotten out in long stretches, looking like I’m moving on?
Route Two scares the crap out of me, because I’m afraid I won’t be Present and be able to take in the miracle and gift this baby is, not purely, not enough. I’ve joked that this poor child will come out of the womb needing therapy just because of all the anxiety and psycho-emotional mayhem of living in a mother who lost her first child, exacerbated by being her only genetic child. But what if it’s not a joke? What if she senses it? What if we don’t bond because of what I’m putting out there? What if I pull my act together but the damage is already done? That she senses I’ve struggled with being sad that she isn’t of my genetics? (Worse, what if I don’t pull my act together and it’s an active animal when she’s here????) It makes me panicky. Especially as we’re looking at 3 months from now, latest, before arrival. Hence why I have two counselors (one new and the other since Anna died). This week begins Focus on the whole loss-of-genetics and never-Anna pieces. I knew they needed to happen, just didn’t know when. Turns out, now.