Today is 10 months. 10 months since he's been gone. I don't usually mark these days, even though it is hard not to notice them, it being the "first' of every month. He's been gone longer than we knew him and now this little one inside me has been here almost as long as we had him.
I remember lying in bed with my husband in those first weeks after we lost Caleb trying to convince my husband to try again. I wanted so desperately to be pregnant again. Some nights I could almost imagine that I could still feel Caleb moving inside me. I told myself if I could just get pregnant again right away it would almost be like it didn't happen. A new baby would come only months behind when Caleb should have been here. A new baby would have come right around now.
I never pictured myself as a denial type person. I always thought of myself as pretty in touch with all the emotions spinning around in my little head. But I know now, that I was heaping denial into my pile by the bucket load. Trying to cram a new baby into our lives before we had even had a real moment to grieve for our lost son. Spending the immediate weeks after begging my husband to try again, then finally convincing him to and immediately focusing on calendars and weeks and "o" days and then the tww. Oh sure, the sadness was there, the tears were there, a day never passed that I didn't miss the baby I had already lost but I refused to acknowledge the hugeness of his loss, the permanence of his dying, the constant of the emptiness. It is here now.
And the guilt too. When I was pregnant with Caleb, we didn't find out his sex. I have never wanted to know ahead of time with any of my kids. But I knew. With all of them. And it was true with him as well. And when I knew, I was sad. I wanted a girl. I never told anyone that but I did. I don't even know why I wanted another girl. Truth be told my son was an easier baby and gave us a lot less drama growing up than my daughter does. Of course she is only 6 so the drama is just getting started but WOW is it here. Maybe I wanted her to have a sister cuz I love mine so much. Maybe it was all the bins of girl clothes staring me in the face in my garage, I don't know. But a girl was what I wanted. And when the feeling came, the I know it's a boy feeling, I was disappointed. I spent many days convincing myself that I would love this baby just as much, reminding myself how much I loved my son when he was born, how much I had wanted a boy, I had wanted all boys in fact, having been terrified of the love hate relationship of moms and daughters that I had known with my own mom in my teen years. And so my daily reassurance was that when I finally saw this baby I would love him with all of my heart and I wouldn't miss the girl at all. I was right. And I was devastated. When he was born I asked for confirmation of what I already knew, was he a boy? Yes. And my heart broke. What if? What if I hadn't loved him enough already. What if he knew I had wanted him to be a girl? What if my disappointment had made it's way into his tiny world within me. I only had a few short weeks with him and I didn't spend them loving him unconditionally. I spent them talking myself out of wanting a girl. Shame on me. Greedy, greedy girl, now look what you've done.
And now it has gotten worse.
Why? Because I am fairly certain this new baby, is a girl. I didn't look at the ultrasound, my husband did, who knows what he saw, but he thinks he knows. He's made some 'her' references but always follows with 'or him', but that's not why I feel the way I do. I just have the same feeling I have had with all of my babies. And this time I feel like it's a girl. And I feel so guilty, I can't even put it all into words. I know, logically that my thinking the way I did, did not cause Caleb to die. My wishing he was a girl did not make his cord narrow at one point thereby allowing him to get it twisted to a point where, like a garden hose, he kinked it and cut off his own oxygen supply. I know this. I think. But it's hard not to let the thoughts of the charmic Gods having yet another laugh at me flow, "You want a girl, okay, we'll take this one then, and here you go. Take that greed monger.".
Whether or not I am right on the whole sex thing, my eyes have been opened wide. My little boy is gone from me, forever. No baby will ever take his place. His place was not a void to be filled. His place is a permanent part of us, we can not erase it or cover it up with something else. His absence will always fill a room and no matter how many people we stuff into that room, his place will still be there. It is that force field between opposite ends of magnets, that no matter how hard you try to push them together, to make them touch, to make them whole, to make them one, you can not. Because it is always there, even though you can't see it or feel it or touch it. That force is always there. And in the same way, Caleb will always be there. We will not be whole, we will not be one complete unit, ever again. For us, our family photo will always have an empty place where Caleb should have been.
No matter who this new baby turns out to be, I get it now. It has taken me 10 months to get here. 10 long and short months of grieving and hoping. I get it now. It has taken me 10 months to understand it, to really feel it. What is it that you lose when your baby dies? It's a short answer really, what you lose when your baby dies is, a lifetime.