April 29, 2021
Thirty-two weeks pregnant is a milestone for me. Today, I had my regular doctor’s visit/check-up. I was so pleased. I’m measuring exactly at 32 weeks and the baby’s heartbeat sounds perfect. The little guy was certainly punching around!
Elyana, who made the trip with me today, found a lot more interest in the beautiful, kind nurses and the doctor who promised more stickers than she did in the fact that there’s a little brother VERY close to making an appearance! She talked a LOT about how she wanted a sucker and didn’t want a shot. She expressed her concern when I positioned myself on the table to be measured. Oh, the concern she had when the nurse came in to give ME a shot instead!
I reminisced about her birth with the doctor, commenting on all of the things that I remember (and of which I’ll share in an upcoming post prior to her May 25 birthday). It was a happy visit, full of laughter and positive comments and even a chuckle about the fact that our cat shares his name with our doctor (DEFINITELY not on purpose). It was a beautiful day, full of hope.
But last night, I cried.
The baby’s corner in our bedroom is complete. The bassinet is up (used for all of our kids and purchased the year I graduated from college in 2010 for a baby that never grew). The changing table is ready and the diapers are purchased. The bag is packed and the toys are sitting in a new basket Grandma and aunties provided. I’m already enjoying the new rocking chair my beautiful adopted Grandma Audrey gave me a few days ago. There are so many things READY and so much love and hope in seeing all the things.
There are two items that tug at my heart in a special way. I had decided to use Alexander’s blanket for this new baby, the one we wrapped his body in when I held him in the hospital after he had passed away. It is SO SOFT. It’s my favorite. We always get blankets as gifts, but I’ve always purchased one. I want to be able to say that I, too, provided for my baby. This time, I wanted to pass something along to this new son from his brother.
After all, it’s just a blanket. I want it to be used.
For months now, it’s been sitting with everything else. It washed it once. Alexander’s tender skin left some residue. It isn’t new anymore. But, it’s still soft and cozy. And it has a tremendous amount of purpose. It sits next to the teddy bear that Sanford Hospital gave to us when we let Alexander go. The bear wears the going home outfit I’d selected for Alexander, the one he never got to wear: dinosaur pajamas with claws for feet. CUTE. It’s now the closest thing I have to holding Alexander himself. The bear will be coming to the hospital with us, too! Something to remember our tears as we celebrate a brand new life!
But, that blanket.
I don’t know why, but the closer I get to this baby’s birth, the harder it’s been to look at it. There’s a mix of fear, sadness and regret that cloud the use of it. A part of me says, “Sarah, it’s a blanket. Use it! Honor Alexander by using his things!” And there’s another part of me that cries out, “But it’s HIS. And I didn’t get anything new for this little boy!”
Because it’s not just a blanket. Not really. Because of that, I am in awe of the fact that grief and joy together make one tumultuous emotion I don’t even know how to explain.
Last night, out of the blue, I was straightening a few things in the room. I absentmindedly touched Alexander’s blanket again. At that moment, I knew that I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to use it for this little boy. Why? Because, they are two different people. So, I cried some more. The grief is still so raw, so fresh, so real. In that moment, I needed to be who I really am: a mom that cries for her lost children. Even now. Especially today, with a healthy baby on the way.
So, I put the blanket away. It felt good to do so. It will always and forever be Alexander’s, maybe only until I pass away and my children choose to give it to somebody else. Yet, for now…it’s his. And today, with Elyana in tow and eager to see all of the baby things, I bought a new one for this little guy who still remains nameless. This boy, who happily kicked my doctor today, will be wrapped in his own gift while he sleeps next to his brother’s bear.
And my rocking arms won’t be empty anymore.