So this is what it feels like to conquer a year with a living child. To live through the sleepless nights due to a baby crying, rather than myself. To see a piece of my heart, forming its own individuality right before my eyes. So this is what it feels like to celebrate a life that has only just began. To finally envision and plan for the future, and truly believe there is one for my child. To see more smiles in the mirror than tears. To see my husband become the father he dreamed he would be, not just a grieving one. So this is what it feels like to be a "normal" parent...eh, kinda.
This was a huge milestone for me, not just Keira. The year after we had Tyler was filled with heartbreak, anxiety, anger, bitterness, hurt and lots of tears. Lots and LOTS of tears. Keira's first year of life was much the same, but in very different ways. I was heartbroken each time she did something amazing, realizing that that was yet another thing I "missed out" on with Tyler. I had self-inflicted anxiety about being a good mom. I was SO HARD on myself. Each time I did something that didn't work, I added another check to my failure column. If you're a mom, you know that's A LOT of checks. With Tyler, everything had to be perfect because I wouldn't get a second chance. There was so much planning and preparation put into his short life...no room for error...we didn't have the luxury of time. Add to that, a husband who doesn't know how to be supportive to a lunatic wife and it was a recipe for disaster. I was angry at every happily ignorant first-time mom. I wanted to slap the shit out of each and every one of those naive women who acted like having a newborn was rainbows and F*#%ing sunshine. It's NOT rainbows and sunshine when you truly believe that your child will die at any moment, when you've experienced that devastating truth. I was bitter toward those women. I could list a hundred reasons why their babies should have died over mine. (Bitterness is completely irrational, I realize this because I would NEVER wish the loss of a baby/child on my worst enemy. NOBODY'S baby should die. Ever.) Yet there I was, trying to clear some kind of muddy excuse for a path through PPD, grief, anxiety and our hectic life for awhile. It down right pissed me off that I had to deal with all of these residual emotions attached to my grief when I was trying to get to know my sweet little rainbow baby girl. Why the hell were they so special that they got to live in la-la land and pretend that babies don't die...and theirs probably won't. It hurt to have so many people acknowledge Keira and not Tyler. Nobody wants to talk about a dead baby. I get it. But I guess the reality that only a few people got to meet Tyler and experience his presence, hurt more than anything. There were lots of tears this last year. There were tears of joy, sadness, longing, frustration, confusion, gratitude...
Then I miscarried this year. In January. We found out we were pregnant just a few days before Christmas and were so excited and hopeful that we were almost done with this season of our lives! With two living children, we could be "done", as they say. Not nearly as much anxiety as I had with Keira's pregnancy, which I took as a good sign. I was giddy at the thought of being "big" pregnant over the summer. I dreamed of sundresses and flip flops. During our anniversary dinner, we even talked about nursery themes. We knew we were getting ahead of ourselves, and all of our discussion was very guarded, but we allowed ourselves to dream a little. We even talked about names. Miscarriage is very common, and with every pregnancy, my chances were getting better and better that I'd have one. I know it doesn't "work" that way, but in my opinion, yes it does. So I wasn't surprised when they measured a 6-week fetus during my 8-week ultrasound. The baby had died and, consequently, stopped growing 2 weeks prior. The tech "assured me" that my dates were off and scheduled me for a recheck the following week. I know how this pregnancy stuff works, I know my body and I knew I was about to experience a miscarriage. Jim, the eternal optimist, tried to convince me otherwise but when I started bleeding the following night, he believed me. It was probably the least dramatic first-miscarriage in the history of pregnancy loss. I have plenty of friends who have had multiple m/c's and I knew what to expect and how to handle it. It's more annoying than anything and really grinds in my feelings of not being good enough. Some days I feel like I was just never meant to have kids. Like Keira was the mistake and Tyler and the miscarriage are what I'm destined for. And so the cycle of anger and bitterness continues but now it's followed by apathy. When I'm done being angry and bitter, I just don't give a damn.
Well this post kind of spiraled out of control, didn't it! The main purpose of this post (originally) was the highlight the fact that I finally got to do a "normal" parent thing and that was plan, execute and survive a first birthday party. I wish Tyler could have been here and I know that, in some way, he was. Oh, if I could have both my children together for just one day. It would surely be the best day of my life.