I can't imagine losing my first child to stillbirth. I can't imagine coming home from the hospital with empty arms to such a quiet house. I walked in from the hospital and the first thing I heard was "Mama!" and I've never been so grateful for that word.
Benjamin is our best distraction right now. He is our best chance to feel any semblance of joy.
Still, with that joy comes the sorrow. I never realized how intertwined those feelings could be. Every new milestone Ben reaches is a reminder that Lydie never will. Every happy moment I share with Ben, I am thinking how his sister should be part of these moments.
Benjamin is a constant reminder of all that we've lost.
When I was pregnant with Lydia, I asked Justin, "Do you think we'll appreciate all the little moments with Lydie, stay a little more patient through the hard moments, because we know how quickly they will go by?" When Ben was a colicky newborn who had to be held at all times, my mom told me colic usually passes by 3 months. "Three months?!" I responded as if it was inconceivable that I could hold out that long. And now? Those three months are an eternity ago. I wondered if the second time around, I'd understand how quickly my child would grow up.... how soon all the tough moments would feel like distant memories. Now we've had 21 months of moments with Ben, and so I know exactly what we should be experiencing with Lydie right now.
I remember the moment Ben was placed in my arms. The overwhelming love I felt for him. Like no love I'd ever felt before.
And I felt that way with Lydie too. The overwhelming love. Except it was mixed with horror and disbelief and pain, pain, pain.
Last week at work, I ran into a colleague for the first time since Lydie died. He told me he'd been thinking about me, that he was so sorry, all the usual things I hear when I see someone for the first time. Then he asked about Ben. His son is a month younger than Ben. I think he thought that this would be a pleasant subject to talk about. You know, how much does he talk? Isn't it crazy how much they understand? Isn't it hard to believe how grown up they are? But instead, it just made me so damn sad. It made me wonder what Lydie's first word would have been. What she'd be like at 21 months old. Who she would have become. I'll never have these conversations about her, because she'll always remain a baby. Would she have have the same giggle as him? Would she always push the limits, like him, or would she be more laidback, more lowkey? Would she like to joke around the way he does? Would she be a cuddler too?
Because I'm not a first time mother, I truly understand how much I lost when I lost Lydie.