So often (more often than I wish) I close my eyes and take myself back to May 13th. I replay the events of that day - the girls and I making signs saying "It's a boy!" And "It's a girl!" to hold up for the photo we took after our ultrasound. We went through the entire ultrasound having no idea there was something wrong. We took our photo with the girl sign and went back to the room to wait for our doctor. For twenty minutes, the four of us sat in that room taking pictures with the sign and Sean and I talked about how lucky we were to be having another healthy girl. We literally said that... "another healthy girl." We were so happy and we felt so blessed and we did not take our good fortune for granted.
What happened next was our doctor, Dr. Zomer, coming in, sitting down and saying "We see something with the heart. We're not sure. We can only see two of the four chambers." And with those three little phrases, my world crumbled. People live their whole lives and never have to hear news like that. And some people live their whole lives and hear a lot of news like that. Life isn't fair in how it chooses to disperse crap.
I replay that same scene except the ending is different. Dr. Zomer comes into the room... sits down and says "Everything looks wonderful!" And then she gives Kennedy and Mara each a sucker and says "I'll see you in four weeks!" I replay that scene over and over again in my head. That scene comes to me in my dreams. I think about it so hard and wish on it so hard that sometimes, for a second, I can almost convince myself that that is what happened.
But that is absolutely not what happened. And life is so absolutely absolute.
I am going back to teaching part-time for a few months this fall. I am happy and extremely sad about it. I hate it and I love it. It's so confusing. I am covering a maternity leave. I am covering a maternity leave during the time when I was supposed to be home with my own newborn baby. The irony kills me. And yet, maybe this maternity leave will give me some renewed focus. I feel lost. I feel absolutely lost. Kennedy is off to kindergarten next week. I was supposed to be home with my three year old and my newborn baby. I was supposed to get up in the mornings - sleep deprived from getting up with the baby and get Kennedy ready for school each morning. I was supposed to load my three girls into the car, take Kennedy to school and then come home with the two little ones. We would have worked through our days... me and Mara and Lexie. Then at 3 pm we would have gone back to school to pick Kennedy up. It would have been chaotic for those few hours before Sean came home in the evenings... and probably chaotic after he came home while we managed dinner and dishes and baths and bedtime, all with a newborn. It's what should have happened and it just didn't. But God I wish it had. I am not supposed to be back teaching this year. Not yet. But I am. I am, I am, I am, I am...
I have had to face so many "should haves." I should have moved Mara into her big girl bed leaving the crib available for Lexie. Instead I moved Mara into her big girl bed and now the crib sits empty in a very empty feeling room. I should be buying an infant car seat because mine expired. I should be washing little sleepers and onesies and putting them neatly away in drawers. I should be picking up some newborn diapers and formula because I should only have six weeks of my pregnancy left. I should be excited to see all of the fall décor everywhere because that means we are getting close. I should be excited to see the Halloween costumes at Costco because I should be buying a silly little costume for the teeny tiny newborn I should have by then. I should be sending a gift to my cousin Heidi for her wedding on September 12th because I can't make the wedding in Utah because I am 36 weeks pregnant and you shouldn't fly at 36 weeks. But I won't be 36 weeks pregnant then. I will be zero weeks. I will be at the wedding so I will just take her the gift. Every little thing makes me think of what should have been.
I spent almost five months thinking this was what was going to happen for us ... that a new baby would be joining our family. I am having a hard time turning my mental train around to the direction I am actually headed instead of the direction I thought I would be headed. I am having such a hard time letting go of the "should haves."
Some days the thought of another baby brings me a huge amount of comfort. And some days the thought of another pregnancy, of loving another baby seems like a mountain I don't even have the energy to think about climbing. Today is that day. There is still so much to get through and today I am overwhelmed by my thoughts. Having another baby and loving another baby makes me feel like losing Lexie was supposed to happen and that it had to happen to get to our next baby. But it wasn't supposed to happen, it didn't have to happen. And yet I guess it did. It did happen and it was supposed to happen. It is all so confusing. If we are fortunate enough to have another baby, will I always look at that baby and think of Lexie? Will I always feel bad knowing that that baby is probably only here because we lost Lexie? Because we were probably going to be done at three kids, their lives will be tied together forever, dependent on each other... my third baby and my fourth baby... the storm followed by the rainbow... both beautiful in their own way.
So many thoughts to wrestle with. But as quickly as those thoughts wander in like a mean little army, I know they will wander back out for awhile, defeated. It's the ebb and flow of grief. Waves that rise and waves that diminish. The waters are heavy today though so I wait. I wait for the calm again.
In the meantime, I remind myself of these words. And I do. I do walk by faith because if I were to walk by sight right now, I probably wouldn't be walking.