Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Second Firsts

Our dear friends from around the country, like they did last year, last time, are showering us with gifts in preparation for the arrival of our baby. Of course we have nearly everything we need already. We have had it for a year and need to dust some of it off.

What’s troubling me is that all that lies before us is all going to be new. It feels like we are first time parents, albeit grizzled by the experiences we have had. I have no earthly idea what it will be like to be up every couple of hours at first when he’s first born. I have only a vague concept of just how many times I am going to be peed on. I haven’t changed a diaper since my nieces and nephews were small all those years ago. All of this is going to be new to us.

Yet these experiences – our first time experiences – should belong to Baker. He should have been the one that we got to learn with, and make mistakes with, and laugh and cry with as we figured out parenting. So now we have these same experiences – still as unseasoned with a newborn as we were last year, only having these firsts with our second son.

It is a strange feeling, almost verging on disloyalty to Baker, though I know that is nonsense. It feels good to be a little bit excited again, and to let go enough to embrace that anticipation of being at the top of a roller coaster ready to take that gut-busting plunge over the edge.

I feel like I am contemplating the Universe – it is beyond comprehension – but I think about this baby on the way, and he’s our second son, but he’ll be raised as though he’s the first child. He’ll be our “oldest living” child. This baby won’t have his big brother Baker talking to him and playing with him and pushing him down in the dirt – you know, forming his little brother personality. He is going to be a different boy than he would be had Baker lived.

But even though this baby won’t have his big brother’s in person influence, he is forever linked through circumstance to Baker. If Baker had lived, we would certainly not have gotten pregnant so soon, and this baby, but for Baker, would not exist.

And that’s when my brain goes “pop.”

This is one of Baker’s gifts to us – a completely special baby brother, formed in the cauldron of our grief, a joy for our broken hearts and a balm for our wounds.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Waiting and Hoping

This past week I have experienced delayed nesting. Since we were ready for Baker, we had little to do to get ready for this little one other than waiting and hoping. Waiting and hoping, it turns out, have kept us pretty busy. Waiting and hoping and distracting ourselves with an ancient barn of a house in a spot on a hill that is rapidly growing on me.

Last week the logjam broke - for whatever reason - and I found myself painting the inside of a cabinet at 10:30 at night (in Massachusetts). Earlier that night I had stripped wallpaper from the 1980's, the 1960's, and perhaps, from the 1940's, from the back of the cabinet, and replaced it with clean white paint.

Baker had interrupted our kitchen remodel last year - we got close enough - even painting a wall while Dalene was on the couch in labor. Since babies don't usually concern themselves with cabinet interiors, I let a few of them go unpainted.

We have washed 30 some odd diapers, and have rewashed clothes that were last laundered before our fateful day on April 3, 2008. They were, if anything, dusty and sad that they had never been worn by their intended occupant, but they seemed ready to be brand new hand-me-downs.

I made one last run up to the Farm on Friday night (with the car seat in the back...), one last check and lawn cutting before we are joined by the hoped-for baby on July 6. After scaring a few chipmunks out of the house and making sure everything was buttoned up, I went for a quick walk, constantly moving to keep the mosquitoes from carrying me off to their insect lair.

Walking through the field along the edge of the woods, I nearly stepped on a tiny spotted fawn, bedded down in the grass. As it darted off into the dark forest, I was struck by a feeling of life and renewal and I hope that it was a good sign that the boy in the womb will join us soon, eyes wide, chest rising and falling, living and growing so that he and I can explore those woods together, in a place that we are building in Baker's memory, for years to come.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

34 Week Update

It finally feels like we are close to welcoming Baker's little brother into the world. The big day is July 13, which can't come soon enough. I'm not freaking out, but I am very impatient. Perhaps I'm in quiet denial? I am very aware of Mr. Tiny's movements and poke him if he's quiet. I'm being watched carefully with 2x/week non-stress tests. I had both tests last week at the hospital and was on the Labor & Delivery floor for the first time since Baker died. I asked my midwife to show me the recovery room, which is the only place where I ever held Baker in my arms-the place where I woke up and found Chris holding our firstborn, where we said hello and goodbye-and where I will be again after my repeat C/S. I was coming out of general anesthesia then and have no idea where I was. This time, there was a woman in the recovery room in the exact same place where my bed was. A dad was pacing outside, but I didn't hear or see the presumed baby. After Baker died, my midwives gave me the choice of recovering on the maternity ward or elsewhere. We chose elsewhere, and to this day, I have no clue where I was located-other than it was a giant room at the end of a hall on some floor with much older people recovering from various surgeries. It was tough being back (as evidenced by my elevated blood pressure), but I was glad to see it again before being there in July.

It turns out that Mr. Tiny is likely not so tiny. I've been consistently measuring a little bit ahead. An ultrasound 3 weeks ago estimated that he was almost 5 pounds, which was 92nd percentile for his gestation at the time. I have another ultrasound tomorrow with the peri to do a last check of fluid levels.

Chris spent the weekend at Lazy Cat Farm with his dad, closing up the eaves from the roof project and mowing the field in preparation for not being able to make the trip again for some time. I poked around the boys' room refreshing my memory about what we have in the nursery. The stroller and car seat made their way out of my ILs attic and back to our house. We were ready last April, and we're ready now.

Mr. Tiny, please come home with us.