Today marks 11 months since losing Cora. I have also reached 37 weeks pregnant with her brother. I have passed my point of loss of 36 weeks 6 days. We have spent much of this past month preparing our hearts and minds for the delivery of her brother. But at the same time, she has been on my mind constantly. Not just Cora but our experience in the hospital and trying to prepare ourselves for what is to come on Friday.
Paul & I didn’t really kick it into preparation gear until about two weeks ago. Its very difficult to force yourself to pack the hospital bags, put the finishing touches on the nursery, and install car seats when the only experience you have is to leave the hospital without your baby. It’s difficult to pick out a “going home outfit” and pack the diaper bag. It almost feels like its too good to be true. I won’t believe we’re going home with him until we buckle him up in the car seat and head away from the hospital.
Another way we have been preparing is the mental preparation to be back in the Labor & Delivery area of the hospital. To prepare for all the of hospital smells, sounds, and sights that are going to trigger memories of our delivery of Cora. It cannot be helped. I do not like to toss around “PTSD” but we suffered a trauma through our loss. And now we are going back to deliver her brother and have to fight those responses. This is has been my main concern over the past few weeks. I’ve spoken at length with my doctors and also with Paul. What I am afraid of or things that I think will trigger a response. I wanted to communicate to those around me what I am scared of so that they will know and if I do have a freak out, they’ll know where it’s coming from.
I have been so terrified of my reaction if he has to be taken away. Or I don’t know where he is. We have to have a c section due to his breech position and my heart shaped uterus. The specialist deemed it too risky to try to turn him and nothing else has worked. My doctors have warned me that there is around a 3% chance he would need to go to the NICU. That it might take him a little bit longer to cry because they need to make sure the fluid is out of his lungs and clear out his airway. These are all normal things but as someone who gave birth to a baby who didn’t cry…those seconds will feel like eternity. When I delivered Cora…the silence was heartbreaking and that was the first moment I truly felt broken. I turned to my Aunt and ask “Is she out?” and she was but I didn’t fully know because she didn’t cry. There was no way to tell she was out like in a live birth. The most crushing moments of pain that I have relived over and over again was watching her go out of the door knowing I would never see her again. I watched them wheel her out in the bassinet and my whole world crashed around me. The panic, the sadness. There are no real words to describe those feelings. That is the single most pain I have ever felt in my life. And I will never forget it. The images are seared into my memory and I can still feel the panic rise in my chest if I let it.
I have communicated these fears to my doctor and Paul. My doctor has told me she will talk me through the entire procedure and once he’s out we will drop the curtain so I can see where he is. Paul has told me he will let me know what’s going on but I want him to be able to enjoy this moment! So many people are concerned about the mother after loss without acknowledging what the father as been through as well. Paul stood by my side helpless and watched me physically endure his greatest heartbreak. He has the images in his mind of Cora being delivered lifeless. Watching her be taken to get cleaned up and swaddled in the blanket. All the while checking on me and being so strong for us. He was not spared any visual pain. He leaned over before they handed Cora to me and asked me to be brave. He was so brave that day and has been every day since. He took those visual punches to the gut and tried to spare me anything that would cause my pain to be greater. He was so selfless that day and all the days that followed. I cannot wait for him to get to see our boy wiggling around in the warmer, getting measured, and screaming his lungs out. My doctor said I have earned that moment but so has Paul. He has made every day for me as easy as possible and I am so grateful to call him mine. And if you know Paul, you know his desire to be a father. He desires it possibly above anything else. And what a father he is going to be <3.
I have also spent time trying to prepare my heart for what I’m going to feel on Friday. When they put him in my arms, am I going to see Cora’s face too? Will he have brown hair like his sister? Will he have big boat feet like she did (it certainly feels like it 🙂 )? We have been through such excruciating pain in the past year and now we are going to feel the most intense joy! It is going to be so much to take in. I know I will be overwhelmed but I am just going to try to be in the moment(s). Try to soak in as much of the memories of meeting my child that I did not get with Cora. This will be my second born child but my first child born alive. We have suffered such an unimaginable loss that to be this close makes the minutes feel like they are passing so slowly. And we know all too well how quickly things can change. But this little boy has been incredible with his reassuring kicks. Its almost like he senses that I need him to move and he gives me a nice big jab right to the ribs.
Something truly magical happened this week. Cora’s rose garden has started to bloom again. While it has been a very warm “winter” here in Texas, I wasn’t expecting them to bloom so soon. And of all weeks to start blooming they bloomed the week of her brother’s birth! It was such an incredible sign to me from my little one in Heaven. I got so excited that I told Paul they were blooming. Then went outside to count the blooms and came back in to tell him again. Luckily, he indulges me in these simple pleasures of mine. It made my heart so light to see those blooms <3.
I would like to ask if you’re reading this to please pray and send good thoughts to our family on Friday. And not just our family but to our doctors, nurses, and sonogram techs who have so diligently protected and watched this little boy over the past 37 weeks. This is going to be a huge day not only for Paul & I but for our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and medical providers. We have all been on this heartbreaking journey together and now we will see the meet the most precious of rewards. Like I said last time, this really has been a team effort getting Paul & I to this point. We are so grateful for our community around us.
And we cannot wait to introduce our most precious little one to you all very soon :).
Cheers to the Bright Side <3.