These past few weeks we have been doing okay. We have our moments of sadness, but mostly we have been enjoying our time we have together and even better with the weather warming up. But, yesterday was a roller coaster of emotions.
There has ever only been one death that has really impacted me before. I still remember that day so vividly- and it was almost 6 years ago. I was in high school, and it was a family friend who passed in an accident involving a tractor. I wont drop too much detail because it is not my story to tell, but this has been the only death that has really impacted me. Until now.
Yesterday, we drove the long drive to our doctor. This was also the day we would go talk to the funeral homes and the hospital to get some arrangements made for when our time comes.
We pulled into the first of the two funeral homes we would look into- it felt weird 'shopping' around for a funeral home because its a place you hope to never have to go to. But I felt such a calmness when making the arrangements earlier in the week.
TJ was able to take the day off because it was such an eventful day and it involved making decisions we needed to make together. I was so happy to have him with me. Even though it was a sad/hard day, it was nice to see the humor in him- we both really needed it; to remember that we can be happy and laugh together. I wont lie, this has been super stressful and difficult for our marriage- he works all the time to provide for us and when I do get to see him I just cry, hormones from pregnancy do not help make this any less hard.
We went in to the first funeral home- we met Jim; a man whose stature was a bit intimidating, yet he was so welcoming and we could feel his sincere condolences with his firm and gentle handshake. We went back into a conference room passing a service room that was hosting a viewing. It was odd to be seeing a viewing take place while planning what we would be doing in the next few months.
I came prepared with so many questions; luckily TJ knows what a morbid creep I am and wasn't too alarmed. ;) Poor Jim on the other hand, he said he has never had to tell people as much as he did to us- what was planned to be a half hour appointment was approaching an hour. We learned so much about the process of what would take place of our sweet little baby. I felt like I was just doing an article for a paper or something- I was trying not to really think that this was for Eva, rather than just getting informed for someone else- not MY baby.
He asked if we had any other questions. There was one question I didn't want to ask, but I needed to know. How would they come take her? It still makes me cringe thinking about this. We are not leaving the hospital with Eva. She will not be coming home. Even though I have known this for some time, it is still hard to fully comprehend. Essentially this man, Jim, gets to take our baby girl to a place no parent wants to send their child.
While they do it in the utmost respect, it still felt cold. He gets to take Eva on her first and last car ride. Something that every parent remembers; the first car ride home. I remember ours with Marley. I was so nervous, I made TJ take all the back roads because I didn't dare go over 40 miles an hour, that was our precious baby we just had and I would rather go snail paced than to hurry and rush to our home. It was odd leaving the hospital, like what do we do now? With Corbett it was a bit different, we had to rush to get to Primary Children's and I didn't feel like we were driving fast enough! Funny how one kid to the next has changed. And now again with Eva.
But we don't get the luxury of driving her home. We don't get the luxury of walking in the door and telling her this is where we live, where she will grow up and learn. This will never get to be her home. Her home is in Heaven, while that place is ever so lovely....its not here.
We spoke a little more trying to lighten the conversation as much as a meeting like this could. And we left feeling no less comforted or prepared than when we came in.
As we drove to the next home, we tried to discuss what our thoughts were- we were given more options than what we originally thought could happen. I was grateful to know about these options but it didn't help our thought process or decision any less easier. We were still so confused on what we should do.
The next funeral home was nice as well; we met with John, who was so warm and welcoming. Why are these guys so nice and welcoming? I wasn't upset that they were so welcoming and kind to us- because this is their job. It just sucked that we are once again, stuck in making these decisions for Eva.
He was very sensitive to our needs and answered all the questions we- I- had. And I am pretty sure I weirded him out with my odd questions, but was ever so polite and didn't have a nervous look on his face like I was some creep. That was nice :) ---Can I just stop for a minute and tell you how wonderful TJ is? He sat there with me and listened to everything I was asking, not cringing on the things I am sure he didn't want to know, and for not being scared of me. Haha! He knows I am morbid and is okay with that. Normally if I get too creepy he just sends me to talk to Cyndi. But he told me that he was glad I came prepared with my questions. It was good information to learn.--
This death will not just affect TJ and I. Not only our parents and family. This will affect our children. Yes, those two who I sometimes don't think about in a sense of affecting. When I look to June, I see a part of TJ and I dying along with Eva. But then I remember that this will be hard on the kids too. Marley and Corbi. The innocence of their childhood will change.The things other kids wont have to worry or deal with. And honestly I am not prepared for the hurt that will happen to them. I want to protect ALL my children, and I feel selfish because I have been so focused on how TJ and I will make it after wards. So focused on how I am going to get myself back up off the floor to take care of my children. How do I feel so torn that I want to take care of Eva but I can't because I have two other kids depending on me? How do I put my grief aside to help my kids process all this?
The other day we went to a play group and there was a little baby in a walker. Corbi loved pushing her around and laughed while playing with her. This was without a doubt the cutest thing, but it also pained me; Corbi won't get to push his little sister around in a walker making her laugh. Instead he only gets to say goodbye and I hope and pray he will remember her. Remember that he does have another sister who was too perfect for this world.
John explained that even in his 35 years of being in service he has only had a infant death once. We are case number two, and how they have been so fortunate for that, they gave us so many options to help our children grieve. There it was again- not about us, but our children. I have to add that all my questions that day had been about making this not scary for them, because I am aware that while we have talked about Eva dying, we have not gone over the process of saying goodbye to her. I will do everything to help my kids not be scared of this process. Because this 'process' is all we will have of Eva, and I don't want them to be scared.
We once again left feeling peace, but also more conflicted. We still didn't have a game plan of exactly what we wanted to do, and now we didn't know which funeral home to go to. We wanted the best option for Eva and we liked them both. (we liked them as much as any person who is put in this position could--haha, I feel weird to say that 'I like funeral homes' ;) )
Enough of the death talk, we were heading over to check on Eva!
Kerri was so happy to see us, we have formed a unique relationship and felt so comfortable with talking about everything Eva. It was really awesome because she grew a pound over the month!!!! We got to see her SUPER long legs and had them kicking away. She eventually settled down and we saw a new side to her- she was hangin' out and chillin' just like Corbi does. Legs out and hands behind her head. It made me laugh because I think it is so funny that Corbi does this and now Eva. It was precious to see that she is a perfect mixture of both of them- yet still so stubborn with her hand in front of her face. :)
Each ultrasound I am learning so much, and Kerri wears a proud badge stating that I could be a ultrasound tech when I am done because I can point out what we are looking at. It was nice to have a normal conversation. She did mention that I am slightly over the the amount of amniotic fluid I should have BUT Eva's kidneys were working and she had a full bladder- another good sign, she can swallow! This was such amazing news to hear, this means she is doing really well, that her organs are functioning. Small victories!
We met with the our doctor who just went over the small stuff and we headed over to the hospital to meet with the bereavement lady who was going to be our support when Eva comes. It was hard walking into the labor and delivery wing. It was very small from what we have been accustomed to and seeing the nursery first thing walking in was not the easiest.
They gave us a tour of the basic wing and we met with the head nurse who spoke with us a little before Jane arrived. -Jane is the 'bereavement worker' so she basically handles all the comfort care for us. She is such a wonderful woman!- The hardest part was when they told us we would be staying in the least occupied rooms. Which were right across from the nursery. It was so hard to look into that joyous room and only see heartache for us. Because our baby will never go into that nursery to get checked up on. To pass her hearing test, get poked for screenings. None of that will happen with us for Eva. We look into that room and see heartache and pain.
We spoke with Jane and she is such a wonderful lady. She hasn't been through loss directly but her daughter has, so she was very emotional when meeting with us. She gave us an in depth tour of what we will be doing. She showed us the cuddle cot that we will use, for those who do not know-and I hope you never have to use one- a cuddle cot is a 'cooling pad' placed in a Moses basket to lay babies who have passed in to help....preserve...them longer ( I hate using that word), it will allow us more time to be with her.
I still am struggling with wrapping my head around this part. I would be so happy to just be pregnant forever rather than have to have the best and worst day all in one. One part of me is so excited to finally meet Eva. But it is also so hard to think about, as this will be my only chance I will get to hold her in my arms physically. June was a month we were so anxious to have arrive, and now...as it lingers near I struggle. I am envious of those other expectant moms who are 'so excited' to have April, May, June, and so forth to come so they can no longer be pregnant and have their babies. It hurts so much to see all these moms who are so anxious- and they have every right to be! I am so happy for all the moms who I know who are expecting a new little bundle of joy. Because it is so wonderful that they are adding to their family, that they get to have a sweet baby to snuggle and love on. While these moms are so anxious for the time to come to an end, I am anxious that it doesn't. In the end *I* am the mom who doesn't get to take her baby home to love on. *I* am the mom who will come home to an empty bassinet. *I* am the mom who struggles to watch other babies even now make milestones, because I wont get that with Eva.
Now I say this and I don't want my expectant friends to stop posting and being happy that their babies are making these wonderful milestones- because it is very wonderful! YOU are a mother and deserve to be proud and show off all these wonderful milestones, to be so excited and anxious for your birth month to come around, count down the days until you get to hold and love the baby you created; the baby you have carried tired and endlessly, sick and emotional for nine months. You deserve to be so happy, and I hope that I am not taking away from any of that- it is not my intentions. I am so happy for all my friends who are having babies, I really am. Just know it is also hard for me, because I was so excited too- and while a part of me is still, it is hard to know at the end of this pregnancy...I still come home empty handed.
I really try not to make this so sad, because honestly I feel so blessed and loved at the same time. When we had to go to the funeral home to make arrangements, I was sad that this was our reality. But I also felt such peace and an overwhelming love surround me. I knew that Heavenly Father had surrounded me with loving angels to make this day less hard. Without these prayers I know I couldn't make it through the planning, and so for that I thank each of you again for the prayers in our behalf- I feel them daily. I know that as I cannot fully grieve for a loss that is still yet to come, I feel such peace at times because I know this is not the end. We will get to see Eva again, and while that is a long time from now...I still will always be her mom. Forever. Eternity.