Week 22 - January 20, 2005
All of a sudden I have been feeling overwhelmed with feelings of love. Maybe it is the increased Hallmark commercials promoting Valentine's Day but I expect it has more to do with some odd, yet-to-be diagnosed pregnancy hormone coursing through my body. I'll be doing something simple, say folding Makenna's never-ending piles of laundry (how does one child go through so many pajamas in a week?) and I'll feel such a strong surge of love for her. It isn't a feeling that I can explain, but I imagine other mothers can easily understand. I realize just how grateful I am to have her in my life and how awed I am to be in the presence of a miracle: a person my genetics helped create and I'm helping to parent. See what I mean? Definitely sappy.
As my belly grows and the pokes and prods from within increase, I'm more and more convinced that we are adding to our family. And, just like when I was pregnant with Livia, I feel a mixture of emotions. We are happy all together, the three of us. For five years our lives have revolved in a small circle of each other. Makenna and I have formed quite a special bond; in large because of the amount of time we spend one-on-one. I'm not distracted by another child's diaper to change or urgent need for a sippy cup. I have had a luxury that not a lot of mothers have: the luxury of really focusing my energy and devotion just on one child.
And even though we've wanted more children and are so looking forward to holding this child I'm carrying, I feel sad that this special time just with Makenna is coming to an end. I know that we will continue to have special times and it will be such a joy to watch Makenna bond with her sibling, but I know it won't be quite the same. At the end of my pregnancy with Livia I pulled in, avoided friends, play dates, and outside influences just to spend time with Makenna, knowing that would change as soon as I gave birth. I feel like that now, just wanting to cherish the time I have with Makenna.
Along with the surge of love for Makenna, I feel a strong surge of love and longing for Livia as well. I've also been really missing Livia lately. I'm sure that is hard for someone who hasn't experienced a stillbirth to understand. Because I didn't really have Livia in the typical sense, I just had her in my dreams and hopes. Next week will be Livia's 18-month anniversary. She should be a walking, talking, goldfish-eating toddler. I should not have the luxury of lying on the couch resting my pregnant belly. Rather, I should be taking her to parent-tot swim classes and keeping her away from her big sister's favorite toys. Over the past 18 months my grief has changed. At the beginning, I struggled with believing that I had been pregnant, gone into labor, and delivered a beautiful daughter. Since I didn't have a baby, it seemed hard to comprehend. Then, as the reality set in, grieving was a daily process, sometimes each minute a chore to move through.
At this point, however, hard grieving isn't a daily event. Livia is never far from my mind and I doubt I make it more than a few hours without the thought of her crossing my mind. Because we speak of Livia as we do any other member of our family, we have woven her into our lives. The hard times come, but they aren't as frequent any more. We are able to mention Livia in a casual conversation as if our hearts haven't broken over our loss. Lately, however, I miss her more and find myself tearing up more often again. I think the truth is that I want this baby I'm carrying very, very much and I want Livia. I wish I could have both.