Even though Tyler would have been 16 months old on the 26th of this month, it's still hard to talk to strangers about him. When first meeting someone, especially if they are pregnant, the first question people ask is how many kids they have/if this is the first/etc. That's just how we are as humans. Not faulting anyone for it, that's just the way it is. Even though I know it's coming and I have an answer for it, I still get this queasy feeling in my stomach. It's almost like butterflies, but not in a good way. Especially cashiers, waitresses, and generally people you kind of HAVE to talk to, but the conversation is small talk. People don't realize that babies aren't always small-talk topics! Those are the times I feel like I want to lie and just say, "Yep, this is our first," and let it go. Is it really worth it to tell them such heavy news in such light conversation? Of course TYLER is worth it, but you know what I'm getting at. And the longer it's been, the more I'm realizing that people unconsciously categorize your loss. Many people don't think that a baby can be born alive and die shortly thereafter for a non-treatable, fatal condition. I certainly didn't. So when people used to ask if I had children, I'd say, "Well, I had my first on Thanksgiving but he didn't make it." I thought that was subtle enough that they would get it. NOPE. Most people assumed (and sometimes asked) if it was a miscarriage or if he was just born too early (incompetent cervix or something like that). Why feel the need to categorize my loss? Yes, I absolutely want people to understand that he was diagnosed with a fatal condition, I carried him another 3 months, he was born alive and died in my arms at 36 weeks gestation...nearly full term. It's my story, the story of Tyler's life...OF COURSE I want them to know all of that. It's obvious to see why that's important to ME, but why is it important to anyone else? I have a BLM (babyloss momma) friend who had an absolutely awful experience yesterday. She was at a mom's group and when new members join, everyone is asked to introduce themselves and tell how many kids they have. She flat-out said, "I hate this question." Do you blame her? But she explained that she has a toddler, she is pregnant and has one in Heaven. The woman next to her compassionately asked if she had a miscarriage. For some of you, you may not understand why it hurt her feelings so much. Well, I'll tell you. Does it really freaking matter if she had a chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, preterm labor that couldn't be stopped, full term still birth or full term live birth? If it was significant enough to HER that she acknowledged it, why does it freaking matter to anyone else? I'm sure the other woman meant no harm, people generally don't. But if you lose a pregnancy, a fetus, a newborn, an infant, a toddler, a teenager...WHATEVER...it's still a loss and it still hurts. I'm not going to get into loss comparison like which is "worse" because it drives me crazy when people debate this, especially in my position. My baby was born alive at 36 weeks and died shortly after. That's the only loss I know and it hurts. Period. If you've had different kinds of loss at different stages, your entitled to have your opinions on the matter because you've experienced it...I'm not, so I stay far from this topic! I have another friend who had a miscarriage, then carried to term her daughter who was born still, then another miscarriage before her first take-home baby. When a woman asked her if it was her first, my friend told her it was her fourth pregnancy but hopefully the first one to bring home. The woman asked if she "just" had miscarriages. But why must people diminish the pain of miscarriage? Yes, it's "common", but so is losing a parent...that doesn't mean it hurts less! For some, it's sad and heartbreaking for awhile, but they move past it and it's just a distant memory that they'd rather forget and rarely think about. For some, it consumes them and is utterly devastating. There is no right or wrong way to handle it, but if that person feels so strongly as to acknowledge that miscarriage as their child, their loss, then it IS significant no matter how YOU feel about it. Does that make sense? Just because this momma only got 2 hours with her son, doesn't mean that he was less important or more important that any of her other children. Anyone can see that her little one in heaven is just as significant as her living toddler and her baby in her belly. It's completely fine to ask about our babies, we love to talk about them since we can't physically watch them grow and show them off. They live on through our memories, so we are quick to share that. But there is a time and a place to get to know a person and their story. There is also a BAD way to handle it...but you just have to stay away from that. I've told Tyler's story to people who acted like they could care less...but I told it anyway. If that other woman would have said to my friend, "I'm so sorry, will you share what happened?" I'm sure it would have been received much better. But after she asked if it was a miscarriage, and my friend said, no, he was full term, the woman said, "Oh, that's stillborn then!" If you're looking for a quick throat punch from a BLM, that's a sure-fire way to get one! To be interested in someone's story is one thing, but to label them one way or another is not okay. I can't stress that enough. Okay, rant over.
So, it's getting down to the wire. I have 12 days left until Keira arrives, unless she decides to come on her own before then. I JUST packed my toiletry bag yesterday. I don't even have her blanket and outfit to bring her home in washed and ready. I know I'm "depriving" myself of all the exciting things that most expectant moms dream about, but I've become quite the minimalist about some things. What does Keira absolutely need me to bring to the hospital? They will provide diapers, wipes, blanket and clothing. I will provide the food, snuggles and love. What more does she NEED? Yeah, I could bring some little cutesy headbands and cutesy outfits, but is that really necessary? Her "nursery" on the other hand (which I've started calling "Keira's room" because I don't like the word nursery) is decked out. I've sewn 2 crib sheets, a bed skirt and a ruffle, tiered window valance for each window. Is all of THAT necessary? Absolutely not. But I've also realized that the reason I have no problem doing those things is because if something happens to her and she doesn't come home, I can take those all down and sell them or give them to someone else because they're super cute. I have managed to keep myself detached from just about everything in that room. But if I wash anything, that means 2 things: 1) those things are specifically for HER and 2) I expect her to live and bring her home. I didn't need to wash Tyler's things. It's not like he was going to have an allergic reaction to them. I also have trouble with people saying that I'm "expecting" or that I'm an "expectant mother". It just bothers me. See where "expecting" to bring a baby home got me last time? I guess I'm just taking the word literally. If you're an "expectant mother", by definition, you would be a mother who is expecting to bring her child home...you're expecting to become a mother in the general sense. I have a real problem with expecting anything. The other word I'm having trouble with is "deserve". People say that I "deserve" to be happy or to have a healthy baby. Why? Just because I had something really sucky happen to me? Innocent people go to jail. Drug addicts have healthy babies. Children get shot in drive-by's. Children get cancer. And my baby died. So if I "deserve" to have a healthy child, did I "deserve" to have one die? I don't deserve shit! It doesn't only work one way. Yes, I'd LIKE to have a happy, healthy baby after losing my first...but we don't always get what we want. I would have liked for the whole world to understand that my heart was broken into a million pieces and I needed to be comforted after we lost Tyler, but that didn't happen either. I'm not being bitter or angry and I really hope I'm not coming off that way. I'm just kind of letting my hands type what my mind has been thinking lately. Just as some girls dwell on having the perfect outfit and matching hair bow to bring their babies home in, I dwell on the significant events in my life. If the biggest concern in your life is what hair bow to put in your kid's hair, I'm jealous. I WISH that was a worry for me but it's just not. I always heard people say that carrying to term and losing your child changes your whole perspective on life and I could see that. But to be honest, I never thought that 16 months later, I'd still be feeling VERY much that way. I do get overly concerned about stupid things at times, but it's usually because I'm trying to distract myself from something that is actually important. Something truly worth the worry, but I just can't deal with it at the moment. Perfect example, I love my Thursday night ritual of watching Jersey Shore. What an awful excuse for a TV show. It's terrible, I know! But it cracks me up to watch people make drunken fools of themselves knowing that their every idiotic move will be blasted all over TV! It's like a little getaway from reality.
So I wasn't going to, but I really want to show off my window valances because they are just too cute for words!!!! This was my first one and I made the second one with the outside loops a little further apart. That one is better because it doesn't pull as much on the ends, so I moved this one to the corner window (to hide my failure! haha) and the good one to the more visible window.