Friday, September 4, 2009

welcome little rainbow

After a long, LOOONG journey, we have welcomed our little rainbow baby. He fills my heart with joy, and provides me with hope. His arrival was bittersweet, as it was an arrival that followed a great loss. His presence in our lives doesn't diminish the sad that exists because Shannon only lives in our hearts. His smiles, which are so much like the smiles of his big brother, remind me of the four little butterflies that flew on before him.

Shannon looked like her big brother, this little guy looks like his big brother, ergo, it seems likely that this little one would have endured comparisons to Shannon, had the two been able to exist in the same reality. But that reality doesn't exist. For to have Shannon would mean that I wouldn't be holding this little one and singing him to sleep, or waking up with him endlessly in the night. And that realization makes me sad, yet happy at the same time. For my life is more complete, but for the gaping hole that Shannon left. And my life is more fulfilled, except for the missing piece that is my daughter in my arms.

Earlier this summer, my big boy commented that, had the baby lived, it would be one, but this new baby was only zero. I told him that was right, his sister would be one. He said, "sister?," and fell quiet. He forgot that Shannon was a girl, but he never forgot her. I thought it was wonderful that he not only remembered his sister, but that she was supposed to come in July. Kids' minds are such amazing things.

When my new one came crying into this world, hearing that cry brought on a lot of feelings. I felt incredible relief that I had this living child, unbelievable happiness and an adrenaline rush that sustained me for hours. At the same time, a feeling of sadness hit me, remembering what we had lost and what we had gone through to get to this point. Since December 2006, when I started my pregnancy journey, I had been pregnant for well over 70 weeks. More than a year. And it seemed that we were finally at the end of that road.

I purposely did not acknowledge my pregnancy because I was afraid that it would disappear. I didn't dare complain about the heartburn or the endless trips to the bathroom or anything else for fear that someone might hear my complaints and think that I didn't want this baby enough, or that I didn't appreciate every kick. I didn't want the cosmic wheel to sense anything that could cause it to take this away from me.

From talking to other moms who are and, who have been, on this road to a rainbow, I know that my paranoia and caution is common. It's so hard not to be hopeful when you and your kind know, better than anyone, that the same hope that can sustain you, is the same hope that stings so much when it is dashed. You want that successful pregnancy so badly, but you are afraid to show that want, or to really freely embrace hope, or to allow that hope to cradle you through the fear. I know that I needed to protect myself. I only allowed myself to kinda start to feel that hope towards the very end of my pregnancy, but only a little. I believed that, until I held that rainbow in my arms and, heard him cry, that I wasn't done. My pregnancy journey was still going. And I am so happy and grateful that it ended well.

Now, my little family, now one bigger, continues down this road of life missing Shannon. The sadness is still there. It will always be there. But I am happy too. And that is very good.


Anonymous said...

They say you will never forget your angel and I do believe that is true. Congrats on your very special rainbow. :) May he fill your life with much joy.

Never forgetting Gregory said...

Congratulations! I absolutely understand. One time this pregnancy I said "I can't wait until I can eat sushi again". I cried and beat myself up for days about this because how dare I say that. I didn't want people to think I actually couldn't wait. The paranoia is extreme. I'm so happy that things went well for you and that your family has a reason to smile!

Nicole (nbebaby2) said...

Liz, that was beautiful. I love your writing and can so empathize with much of your expression of joy and anxiety. I am so happy for you and your family that your rainbow made it here safely and know that Shannon will live forever in your heart and mind.

Lynne said...

Boy, that paranoia is so true. I don't think it ever goes away until you are sure you are done having kids. And then I think it turns into paranoia that something you impulsively think/say might result in harm coming to the living children you do have. It's irrational but ever present just the same.

Big brother is a very observant and sensitive little boy. He's a terrific kid.