A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Thursday, September 3, 2015

35 weeks + 4 days with baby #4

A note I left in our preemie-3 month old clothing box.
We are taking one of Simon's preemie outfits to the hospital just in case baby #4 is a peanut!

I breathe in and out and my eyes fill with tears as I reflect and compare this pregnancy to Simon’s.   I can’t help but compare.  Pregnancy after loss (PAL) or pregnancy after loss plus another loss, in our case, is a tough journey – but one I am thankful to be on.  I seem to slightly hold my breath as I hit each milestone.  I think to myself, we’ve made it past the 13-15 scary weeks of when we lost Thomas.  Then I think, this new baby’s life has already doubled the time we had with Thomas.  His life was short, but without it I truly believe the support group, You Made Me Mom, wouldn’t have come to fruition.  We hit the milestone of 24 weeks where our "new" baby had a fairly good chance of surviving outside of the womb.  And then 34 weeks where baby had an extremely high chance of making it should he or she be born early.  And now today, I hit a new milestone and it hurts just thinking about.

I gave birth to our Simon at 36 weeks + 4 days.  Today, I am 35 weeks + 4 days with new baby and I can’t imagine only having two more weeks with him or her.  One week inside my womb and one week outside unexpectedly breathing.  The thought makes my heart quicken and palms sweat.  Please Lord, let this child’s story be far different.  As far as we are aware, there is no reason for this baby’s life to be so short, but Lord, please grow this baby strong for a few more weeks in utero and decades breathing and healthy outside of my womb.

Sometimes I have to remind myself, that I am currently blessed with a normal pregnancy and hopefully normal labor and delivery (I should note, I seriously dislike the word "normal" but cannot find another word to describe our current experience).  

The last two pregnancies and deliveries were far from ordinary. 
Instead of preparing a bassinet, we prepared an urn. 
Instead of preparing for decades of birthday celebrations, we planned one.
Instead of worrying if baby would nurse well, we simply hoped for one breath from baby.
Instead of preparing a “going-home” outfit, we prepared a "home-going" outfit - one for cremation and one we could keep.

I pulled out Teddy’s and Simon’s birth plans to help me write baby #4’s plan.  I love how innocent we were with Teddy, and I am outright shocked we had to write a birth plan like Simon’s.  When I wonder, “How did we do that?  How did we write a birth plan with plans A (living) and B (not living) without losing our minds?”  I can humbly say it wasn’t our bravery, our planning, or anything we did that got us through planning and waiting on Simon to come – I know this because I look back and continue to be surprised by that walk.  I am reminded God made a beautiful way in the wilderness and provided streams in a terrible wasteland.  He made the unthinkable something we could forge through – but only with Him could we survive.

Words like "cremation" and "funeral home" and phrases like, "regardless if he’s breathing" just seem like words that shouldn’t ever be written in a birth plan.  I am thankful our birth plan looks much different for this new baby.  It’s simple – bring home a sweet little baby.  Ironically, this was my heart’s desire with Simon too and we were graciously gifted our one week.  One we where we were able to soak him in.

Our hope is FOR this new baby.  Not IN this baby.  Our hope is IN Christ and we rest comfortably knowing His promises.  So we prepare and wait for baby #4 with great anticipation and great trust in God’s plan…whatever it might be.  I continue to learn that life is easier when you fully surrender – you have more time to spend seeing what God wants you to see rather than focusing on what you want for yourself or your family.

As I pack a little bag for the hospital, I compare again. 
Teddy’s bag was so trivial but innocent. 
Simon’s bag was sacred.
Thomas’ bag was sad.
And new baby’s bag is simple but hopeful.

We are hopeful for a simple and healthy delivery and birth.  Hopeful for all the things that are normal.  The last two deliveries I had a card with a leaf with a raindrop on it outside of my door (pictured).  Hospitals and birthing centers often have some sort of ribbon, rose or card they place outside of a labor and delivery room signifying the expected child to be delivered has either died or they are anticipating losing the child.  This helps staff know the room is extra sacred and special.  With this explained, I am truly looking forward to all things just being standard and normal.  No special leaf outside the door.  No special photography or videography.  Just labor, delivery, and new baby, daddy and mommy time.

-----

My bag for the hospital is half way packed – and while I am trying to be mindful of my over-planning habits, I can’t help but find great joy in packing a few very special items.

A layette in yellow polka dots that is just like the outfit we bought for Simon.  I bought the yellow gown for Thomas to wear.  After Thomas died the week of Thanksgiving, I decided I would still put it in his stocking and have Adam open it.  I can’t wait to see new baby in it!






















Teddy's big brother shirts!

1 comment:

  1. I love your writings. Your honesty and patience with yourself, your family, and others is refreshing. Many prayers and thoughts for your lovely family. And, I also hate the word "normal." If it helps, I often use the word "typical," something I picked up in the teaching field.

    ReplyDelete