I understand that this is what it is to try again. One of those moments. This is my “Rainbow” baby, who comes after losing Brennon before. As I sort through old boxes of my daughter’s baby things to find the “boy” stuff, because those gendered clothes fit her frame better, I spend my time managing old anxieties.
I can’t help but feel all those old soft feelings I had when anticipating Aubby.
Soft… But yearning. Worrying, worried. Melancholy.
She “wasn’t supposed to” be here. Not alive. Not mine. Not filled with breaths and heartbeat and good food. But Aubby’s grown tall, and she’s 3 now. And then when I thought I was ready to have a second, I lost him in the second trimester.
There’s a feeling like I’m worried about “replacing” the hardships, time, and journey my daughter and I and my husband have traveled. As if I’m replacing Aubby or forgetting Brennon if I enjoy this sorting too very much.
There’s a feeling that I’m glad there’s several newborn outfits available. We won’t have to get many more new things. Which’s just as well, because again I don’t have the opportunity for a baby shower… How often do people have them anymore? I would’ve loved to see friends and share cake with them and celebrate how far things’ve come.
Memory overlays each outfit that comes out of the boxes. I think it’s that almost-indiscernible old melancholy accompanying each of them that bothers me most. There’s a heaviness in my chest, my heart remembering.
I remember how small my little daughter was in these outfits that very well may fit my coming son with no issue.
I remember that I wished my eyes could emblazon each memory of her into my mind like etching into stone. Something better than my memory of Brennon that’s only perfect for recalling his face and feet because those were best formed.
I remember smelling my baby girl in each outfit because scent is supposed to be recalled most vividly. But these days, the feel of moments are what’s most memorable. And to remember those exact moments must be kept to love, some memories are kept safe by force of will.
My eyes burn and my chest feels swollen by old hurt. Old bruises. But even this deep bruising has less tears than when I came across Brennon’s box of things in storage.
I feel my heart is scarred. Emotions wafting out of the boxes are phantom pains of the shapes that they formed. Not in my everyday, as this journey of pregnancy has required I lay hurt aside so that I may embody hope…
Because without allowing my coming son space to exist in my life, I don’t see that he could.
I was stubborn and demanded a healthy son, a complete pregnancy, and hoped for a rainbow baby outcome to override the past.
I worry I overreached, that this life in me will cease if there’s too much joy, or if I remember what little spirits I met before him, or if I dwell too long on what was gained by NICU… life.
But every day, every week closer to his due date, I’m glad. His kicks are so hard sometimes. Like when I bend to get another outfit out of the box.
He kicks every time I bend forward too far, so I quickly sit back again, now holding a blue-and-green striped, zippered onesie. Or Aubby’s old fleece reindeer zippered onesie, which I lay aside. It won’t be winter at all when he comes.
There’s something about unpacking a box. Stored memories. The past, behind. But it’s the past, renewed as I relive my thoughts. But it’s hope, too, since we’re getting so close now.
I count my blessings. I pray he’s well, and will be born safe. I wish myself best of luck, too, since there’s no telling what his delivery will be like. Will he be separated from me out the gate? Will he take his first breath without trouble? Will I get to hold him after he’s here, or will I be made to wait?
But it’s a different time, a different place. I have to live now, and look forward.