Monday, September 19, 2011

C & B: Love & Seasons


My mom is here for a few days, which means I get lots of sleep and don't have to do a thing around the house.  She took Bennett after his 11:00 feeding when he wouldn't go back to sleep right away. He started to stir at 1:45 so I got up to feed him, but he has decided to sleep a bit longer.  So, why not cuddle and blog on the couch until he fully wakes up?

When we were in the hospital Charlotte came up constantly.  Every shift change, every NICU nurse, every neonatologist wanted to know, or asked what happened, and sometimes I threw the dead baby card down simply because I wanted a nurse to be nicer to me, to understand why we were in a hospital an hour from where we live.  I said over and over, his sister died, we're here because his sister died, his sister's cause of death is unknown, she lived less than two hours, we're being overly cautious because his sister died ... and it was wearing.  His birth involved her death in a way I wasn't prepared for.

We had to have parenting classes before we could leave the NICU.  We watched these super cheesy videos about baby care, SIDS and CPR.  After the CPR video our favorite nurse came in and went through the steps with us on a dummy baby.  Part way through she stopped and said, "I know you saw some of this with Charlotte.  I know this is hard, I just want you to know I am thinking of her."  Then I cried because I had been thinking of her, fingers clenched, just trying to get through so we could check the classes off our to do list.

One afternoon we went down to the cafeteria for lunch.  We had been eating lunch just outside the NICU ward because it meant we were closer to Bennett, but J convinced me to sit downstairs, look out the large picture windows, see the world.  As I hunched over my food, so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, I noticed a leaf spiraling to the ground.  I stared at it in disbelief, amazed that the seasons were changing, that summer was turning to fall while I hovered over my baby and begged him to eat.  I've never been so aware of time moving forward, of life going on, of the world continuing even though I felt at rest, suspended, waiting for something intangible to change so we could go home.

And now that we are home, another seasonal shift has occurred.  For so long it was the season of grief, of missing Charlotte, of remembering her fiercely. Then it was the season of balance, of trying to learn how to love two babies, to hope for Bennett and mourn for Charlotte in one breath left me feeling as if I was constantly drowning.  With Bennett's birth the season switched again, to one of joy, hope, amazement and thankfulness.  Except, honestly, the change didn't happen at birth.  I expected it to, I wanted an incredible birthing experience, but in this instance the amazing came after birth, after hospital discharge, after nights of sobbing in the NICU.

I thought I would be a mess when we brought Bennett home, but instead I am happy, calm, full of love and hope for this little life sleeping next to me.  I believe the Lord filled my heart with peace so I could enjoy every moment with him.  I put him down to sleep without worrying about his breathing, I don't stand over his crib, I don't place my hand on his chest.  I believe he's ours to keep.  For some reason I'll never know Charlotte wasn't ours to keep, but the season of missing her so acutely I can't breathe has passed into a season of gentleness where I can appreciate everything her short life gave me.  My heart aches for her, but I can look to my right and see her spirit shining from her brother's eyes.  I didn't know a heart could seize and fill with joy at the exact same moment, but when I see her in him somehow it does.



My midwife sent me a picture of my placenta this evening.  I would share it, but somehow that seems too odd even for me - though it is on facebook!  It's heart shaped, which I think is so absolutely perfect and beautiful, because love for a little girl brought me the boy cooing in his sleep next to me.


Okay, I have to share it, it's just too fabulous not to.  If you would rather not see it stop reading now:





13 comments:

  1. Oh Angela, this is one of the most beautiful things I've read. Your description of the seasons, as well know them, and your personal journey seasons changing is just incredible. I could feel the love and gentleness coming out of every word.

    Enjoy all these amazing early moments. Time moves on so quickly (as you well know, in the joyful sense and the mourning sense), and he'll only be 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 3 months etc once, so soak in in.

    "The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    for children grow up, as i've learned to my sorrow.
    So quite down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep".

    Oh, and I do love a good placenta shot! xo

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  2. This is beautiful and I'm far too hormonal for posts like this! Should have come with a warning, and not because you put a pic up of your placenta, which I was more than happy to look at. I have a fascination with them and how totally awesome it was heart shaped.
    So much love in this.
    Now off to get tissues...
    xo

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  3. I love the nurse who stopped the CPR demonstration and told you she was thinking of Charlotte. It brought tears to me eyes. As I read that you had to do that, I thought of the flashbacks you might have been having and how hard it would have been.

    I love that your placenta was haped like a heart. I don't even know what to say about that, but wow.

    Love the pictures of you and Charlotte and you and Bennett, and I love knowing that you are happy. Missing her, I know, but happy.

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  4. I am crying right now at your post. I'm crying at your newfound hope and joy and crying for your grief and loss as well. I loved the placenta picture. It was beautiful!

    xoxox

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  5. Beautiful post. Your description of grief, to pregnancy after loss to finally meeting the little one is so prefect. It is a change in seasons. I'm so happy for you and that you finally have Bennett in your arms. BTW awesome photo of your placenta. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Such a beautiful post. I'm glad you're feeling calm, that some gentleness has found you. And hurray for mom's who help us get some sleep!

    This is the first photo I've seen of a placenta - it's surprisingly (to me, anyway) beautiful.

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  7. Angela this is such a beautiful post. What a blessing that you can see Charlotte in Bennett, of course you can.

    Love the heart shaped placenta- that is amazing. I saw mine at all 3 of my kids' births and they were blob-shaped LOL. The heart is perfect :)

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  8. Beautiful post by a beautiful person! What a truly wonderful mother you are to BOTH your lovely children <3

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  9. What beautiful words to describe your two beautiful babes! Glad your change of seasons encompasses joy and hope. Those babes are blessed to have a mama so full of love as much as you are blessed to be their mama. I love placentas as much as your midwife does, thanks for sharing. It is truly amazing just like its creator!

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  10. He is gorgeous. I'm so happy for you. That your little man arrived safely and that you've found joy. Congratulations!

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  11. I believe this is my favourite. I've read it many times. I also love your beautiful placenta photo. You are so strong mama. <3<3<3

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thank you!

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