I haven't been excited. Part of me won't let me and a part of me just . . . can't.
There are pink and purple and frilly, girlie items I need to put away and replace with little boy stuff.
I just haven't. I can't.
I still envision the worse. I still think something tragic is going to happen. That is what I have prepared myself for.
But with each kick I start letting myself think . . . believe . . . that everything will be fine. Tragedy doesn't strike twice.
But I know that is false. And it's dangerous to believe that it doesn't.
My innocence has been stolen. That last thread gone forever.
This little guy makes his presence known. He moves so much more than his three sisters ever did. Alexandria rarely moved. I could always feel her curling herself up in a little ball and resting right under my right rib cage. I believed that she would be a snuggle bug. It wasn't so. She was born and she hasn't stopped moving since. Even in her sleep, she doesn't stop.
I think her sisters would have been the same way . . . constantly busy.
This little guy doesn't stop moving now. He's busy and I have no idea where he thinks he's going. He doesn't curl up, he stretches out.
I feel him move and I think of all that I missed with Emmerson and Vivienne. I feel him move and I am reassured, for the moment, that he is alive. Maybe that is why he moves so much, to reassure me that for the moment . . . he's alive.
I feel him move and I think I need to start preparing for this little guy. I need to go in that room and take care of some things. I need to acknowledge that he is coming and that Emmerson and Vivienne are not.
It's not that I haven't taken care of myself. I have. I have tried to eat as well and healthy as I can (as much as all the nausea and sickness will allow) and follow the restrictions that accompany pregnancy. I have changed my wardrobe from snaps and buttons to material that stretches and is forgiving. But that is where it ends.
I haven't planned, I haven't dreamed. Because what if? What if we don't get to bring this baby home either? I know that lightening can and does strike twice. I know that following all the rules doesn't always equal a happy ending.
And guilt overwhelms. What if the lack of planning and lack of dreaming not only protects but means a lack of love?
It's been hard. It's been different.
I was told, after I lost my twins, that if I ever got pregnant again, it would not be the same. It would be different. How can it be the same when all innocence has been lost? How can it be the same when what you once thought only happened to others has happened to you? You know that tragedy strikes even when you do play by the rules.
It has been hard because this pregnancy has taken place almost exactly a year later as the one with my twins. All those milestones have been hit at the same time, just a year later. The mind automatically goes to the milestones hit a year ago.
The mind automatically goes to my sweet look-a-like babies. My heart automatically feels that it is them.
I was told, after I lost my twins, not to drive for several weeks or do anything else requiring serious attention because I would hallucinate. I would see things . . . hear things . . . believe things that were not there. It happened while I was pushing with each contraction to deliver Vivienne. Emmerson was swaddled in a blanket and placed in a crib. From across the room, I saw her kick those blankets. I saw her move and I believed that she was alive. For weeks after, I awoke in the night when those cries startled me from sleep. See? It was all a nightmare. They were here . . . alive, crying in the next room.
That level of crazy has returned. Especially this past month when their first birthday was approaching. I feel this baby move and my first thought is that it is the twins moving. Because some days, a year ago doesn't feel like it was a year ago, it feels like it is still the same year . . . like it is still the same moment. And because some days, I still feel like I am living a nightmare. And I still desperately seek an end to it.
I'm not out of touch with reality. I know what happened. I have a forever hole in my heart that weeps every single day. I own a piece of land in a cemetery. I know what happened.
I also know that life goes on. I have a husband that not only loves me but he adores me. I have a three year old daughter who needs me. Her eyes still light up when I walk in the room. For this brief moment, she wants to sit next to me, she will hold my hand in public. I have a little girl I need to raise. I have a little girl that I want to watch grow from that little body of hers into a teenager and then into a young woman.
Life goes on . . .
I know that life goes on. My stomach is swelling tight . . . for a third time . . . with the promise of a fourth life. A precious gift. With each pound gained . . . with each kick from within . . . I know that life goes on.
Life goes on and it is scary yet it is so beautiful.
I feel like God has gently, quietly, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered "you're not done yet. There is still so much more. Embrace it!"
Life goes on.
Though it may be beautiful, though it may be scary, though it may hurt, I will embrace it.