Today I am 36 weeks pregnant with baby Emily Caroline. In just 2 short weeks, we will bring her into the world, to the excitement of her older brother Benjamin (5.5) and the chagrin of her older sister Molly (2). As I try to wrap my mind around the complexity of that simple statement, my heart fills with joy.
We will be a family with three children here on Earth. 2 girls…sisters! The prospect of two little girls in the house is so foreign from what I had imagined for our family. Not bad, just different. When we had Benjamin and Alex, my mind understood that we would be a family of boys. A family of stinky socks, urinals, dirty fingernails and fart jokes. When Alex died, I was so worried that we would be a lonely, quiet only child family that I prayed fervently that God had more in store for us.
I understood that maybe having an identical Alex baby would have been too hard… and I wasn’t surprised to find out that baby Molly was going to be a girl. When we tried to have one last baby and had a miscarriage instead, I again tried to rationalize that maybe our family was complete. That God had given us all that we needed… then came another baby bump. In my heart and soul, I believed that this baby would be a boy. A gray-eyed wonder just like the sweet Alex that we lost. To learn that we were having another girl was a shock. Not bad, just different.
Benjamin will be the only child using going into the men’s restroom. He’ll be the only one suffering through the boy phases of adolescence… he’s my only boy here on Earth. Knowledge of that makes me… unsure.
Not that I expect life to turn out exactly as I had planned, but I didn’t expect such a big change in events. I never expected to lose Alex and I never expected two girls.
Sisters. What an interesting concept. As an only child, I never really understood the bonds that siblings have, and I still look in amazement at my two kiddos as they spontaneously hug, hold hands or share. Even though they are 3.5 years apart, and different genders, they have found their own special relationship.
Molly will now have a little sister, just 2 years younger. Wow. She will have someone to play dress up with, someone to braid her hair, someone to do funny little girl things with. A built in best friend. The vision of these two little girls finding their own relationship just like Benjamin and Molly have fills me with a sense of wonderment. It’s something on the horizon that I can’t quite see, but I can sense the warmth of how special they will be to each other.
The delightful thing about having three kids is that it is an excuse to just surrender to the chaos. No matter the state of your house, attire, etc. you can shrug sheepishly and shake your head, “those crazy kids…” No explanation necessary. The kids outnumber the adults and that’s reason to just let things run wild. I dig that. I could use a little more wild in my life.
I had a fetal heart scan at Children’s hospital today. To check to ensure that Emily doesn’t have the same congenital heart defect that Alex had. This won’t be the only test that we have, but it is the first to reassure us that our little girl will be fine.
Children’s hospital is such a bright, sunny place. It doesn’t quite fit the dark memories we have of being there. Alex died there. Benjamin and Molly have both had heart scans there. Each visit serves as a reminder of what we have lost, or represents the fear of something new we might lose. It’s not my favorite place in the world, but today’s visit just serves as a reminder that things are okay.
When we lost Alex, I didn’t know if I would be able to do anything ever again… go to work, laugh, hold a baby, have a baby, nurse a baby. Three years later… things are okay. We haven’t forgotten what we have lost, but we are so showered in blessings and all that we have gained. It’s all okay.
So, I am taking myself on a babymoon these last two weeks. I am relishing and savoring the very last time we will experience the wonders of birth. The feeling of a baby with hiccups inside. The feeling of sheer enormousness as I try to squeeze into the car. The weepy feeling of pride and excitement as I think about this little lady growing inside me.
I know that it’s all the baby hormones coursing through my body that leave me sentimental, nostalgic and giddy. And I also know it’s my last time through this parade.
Alex has taught me several simple lessons:
Give fully because you can’t plan what’s next. Your plan and God’s plan don’t have to match. Time passes and everything will be okay.