Its been nearly a year and a half since my last post. I'm not sure if anyone even follows any more, but quite a lot has happened since then.
Shortly after I shared my story at MOPs I found out I was pregnant again. This was pregnancy #7, baby #8. I was scared to death the moment the test came back postive. I had weekly u/s for the first trimester and we heard the heartbeat early on. Everything always looked good, and every week that passed I was able to let out a small breath, but at the same time I found it harder and harder to get attatched to this new little person.
Joel became very sick when I was around 9 weeks pregnant. He ended up being hospitalized for a few weeks with diverticulitis. It was a very difficult time for our family. I was in the nauseaus, tired phase of pregnancy with two energetic kids to take care of. Then dealing with the stress of Joel being in the hospital, and trying to be there for him, while still being there for my kids and the things needing to be done at home, I was mentally, phyiscally, and spiritually exhausted. I was once again dealing with the "why" questions. Why was this happening to our family? When were we ever going to catch a break? I dealt with a lot of anger at that time. Thankfully, Joel is doing well now with very little evidence of having been so very ill.
Things continued to progress smoothly with my pregnancy. I was never able to fully let my guard down. I dreamed about the new baby, and begged and pleaded God would bless us with another healthy, baby girl. At 20 weeks we found out the baby was perfectly healthy, but not a girl as I so desperatly wanted. I couldn't hold back my emotions. I sobbed through most of the ultrasound. And then I felt guilty. I should have been overjoyed that things were going so well with the pregnancy, but instead all I could think of was the baby's gender. Looking back now, I realize how badly I wanted to replace Harper, even though I said that was not the case. I think I was grieving that last little hope I had that somehow I would get her back, that somehow a new baby girl would make that hurt go away.
A few days later we celebrated Harper's first birthday. The actual day was not a difficult as the anticiaption leading up to it. We lit flying lanterns and it was really beautiful. I was coming to terms with the fact that my little girl was really gone, and embracing the new life I was carrying inside of me. In that week I started preparing his nursery, which was something I said I wouldn't do until after the baby was born alive. I started going through Alton's old clothes, and I sold all of my baby girl clothes, even the stuff that I had brand new for Harper. That was a big step for me. I was purging myself of all the "stuff" I held on to, admitting she would never really be here to use it.
Things continued to go smoothly with the pregnancy. I was still scared most days. I tried to give my trust to God, sometimes hourly. It was never easy, and most days I failed miserably. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I went in for an u/s. I was 36 weeks. I was going to start having weekly u/s to check the cord and such, mostly for my peace of mind. The baby's bladder was very full and he did not pee during the entire u/s. My doctor scheduled me to come back in on Friday to have it rechecked. That Friday no changes were noted and my doctor said it was time to get this pregnancy over with. He knew I was emotionally at my limit, and we had grounds enough to schedule an induction.
The induction process was not as easy as I had hoped, but after 18 hours Holden Everett came out crying. It was such a beautiful experience. We all cried as a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. He was here, healthy and alive. He did have some minor issues with breathing and jaundice, due to being slighltly premature. That first week was so overwhelming trying to get him healthy enough to stay home, but he is a happy, busy 9 month old today. I love him so much and can't imagine him not being a part of our family. I had some low points in the hospital after his birth..reliving Harper's birth, worrying over his health. I was overwhelmed with joy to have him, but at the same time grief was still heavy on my heart for my little girl. It was such a strange mix of emotions I was not prepared to deal with.
There are so many times I will look at Holden and wonder "what if." What if she had lived? He wouldn't be here. But she would. Its almost tormenting at times. I sometimes feel like I have to choose between them. Would I rather have her here, and have missed out on Holden? Or by loving Holden so much am I saying I'm glad things turned out the way they did? Its just so unfair. What I really want is for all of them to be here. I wouldn't trade Holden for the world....I just wish his big sister was here, living life with us.