I have a new niece! I say with an exclamation point! Why the exclamation point you may ask? And I will tell you, it's because I am soo happy about her!
I have been so afraid of this moment, of how I would feel when this baby, the baby that was due a day after my Caleb, the baby that was going to be his "twin cousin", the baby whose impending arrival was announced at the same moment and in the same sentence as my baby Caleb, by the expectant cousins and siblings to the rest of our family. Afraid I would resent her, or that I wouldn't be able to love her the same or that she would only make me miss my Caleb more, that she would be like picking the scab off of a barely healing wound. So afraid that I asked to not even be told when the labor started. When her big sister was born, I was in the room, videoing and cheering my s.i.l. on as she pushed that baby out. But not this time. I was too afraid. I said, "Just call me when it's over.".
So as the due date came and went, each time the phone rang, I wondered, is this it? How am I going to handle this. I still am walking around on the verge of tears most days and never know whats gonna trigger them. Could be a thought, a song, seeing a pregnant woman, reading a blog, writing a blog....never know when it's gonna hit or why or how hard. Since my family is all in pretty close proximity, if I didn't hear from one of them for even a day, I figured she's in labor and they aren't calling. Sometimes that would make me cry. Sometimes knowing I wasn't going to be there would make me cry. Sometimes wanting to be there would make me cry. But then thinking about being there would make me cry. See, everything makes me cry.
Yesterday, my mom called three times, I missed two of them so when I saw the call log and then the phone rang and it was her again, I knew. "I have some news.", she said. So then I really knew and I asked,"What is it?" I think she thought I was asking what the news was but I was asking what the baby was, (we never find out ahead of time...old fashioned I guess) so she said, "You have a new niece!". And I didn't cry, not a bit. I was just happy. A new baby! A healthy, ALIVE baby! And I get to love her too! And I want to love her, that's the best part. That part does make me cry because loving a baby is the best thing in the world, which is why mourning a baby is the worst thing in the world, you do both unconditionally, with your whole heart, from places inside you that you can't get to on purpose, it comes from somewhere, with such force and commitment that you can't stop it, or minimize it or quantify it or control it.
I thought I would never be able to feel that kind of love while I was living with the loss of it, the loss of a child. Having all of those feelings, all of that love for Caleb and having him ripped from my body, my arms, my life, I thought for certain that the ability to feel a love like that in a positive way would be gone from me forever.
I was wrong.
I know I will still cry, a lot. I know going to see this new baby girl will still tear at my heart. I know I will probably, always look at her and think, Caleb should be here with her, he should be doing these things too. We should be loving him here too. But I also know, she isn't going to make missing him harder. Nothing will. Losing him, missing him, it's the hardest thing I have ever had to do and God, I hope, it is the hardest thing that I ever have to do. But I am doing it. Not well on some days and better on others, but I am doing it. And not doing it alone, thank you to my dead baby mafia moms, has made doing it at all, easier. ( I suddenly feel my favorite English teacher spinning in her grave, sorry Zoe! I know, my grammar SUCKS, at least I am consistent)
I know Caleb's' absence will continue to haunt us. I saw that yesterday when my daughter was drawing a picture for her new cousin and while she was drawing she kept talking about how much Caleb will like her picture. She wasn't talking to anyone in particular, just musing aloud. I was sitting next to her wondering if I should say something when she stopped and looked at me and said, "I keep saying Caleb, I can't stop." And I said, "I know, but he's not here, this is for the new baby (no name yet) right?" "Yes, but I keep saying Caleb." Then she asks me, "How will Caleb know we are talking to him, if he's a baby he can't talk yet, how will he talk to us ever? Will he get bigger and bigger and then we can talk to him?" And I told her no, he will always be a baby, but he can hear you in his head, you just have to think what you want to tell him, then he'll know. And she says to me, "There has to be a phone or something to call Heaven, there has to!". I wish, cuz I have some things I'd like to say, but not while my 6 year old daughter is sitting next to me.
Maybe the new baby will bring Caleb forward in a way I hadn't considered. Maybe because she is here, it will make it that much harder, or easier, depending on the day, to remember him and to not forget that for a few short months, he held as much promise and brought as much happiness to our lives as she does now. Maybe she will help us to miss him better. I hope so.
For now, for today, I am just going to sit with the fact that I shocked the hell out of myself.
P.S. To my bro and s.i.l. who don't know about this blog, JESUS!, After 9 months, don't cha think you could have picked at least one name for a girl???????????? Holy Christ! They have it narrowed down to about 7....for the love of God. (Sorry, didn't mean to get all religious on ya).