This past Wednesday I got to hold my dear friend's 3.5-week old baby for the first time. He is a perfect, precious, tiny little bundle. He felt so good in my arms. This little guy, as I've mentioned before, was conceived less than a week before Aliya and Bennett were, and, had my babies lived to be born when I wanted (January 18th, at 38 weeks) instead of way too early, would have been a week and a half younger than the twins. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very surprised how natural and peaceful it felt. I wasn't overwhelmed with sadness or should-have-beens. Rather, I was able to stay in the moment and love every second of it!
This feels like huge progress for me, especially given our nephew, Finn, might arrive as early as the day after tomorrow, weeks before his due date, because of his mama's complications. If you had talked to me just a month ago, you would have probably heard a lot of anguish and fear in my voice around the impending arrival of baby Finn. What I've noticed in the last couple of weeks, though, is now that all my trigger dates have safely passed (at least for now...more will come soon enough), my emotions have mellowed a bit. The edge is gone. What felt like someone digging a knife into my very soul now only stings a little bit.
The edge was even slightly dulled at his baby shower. I really wanted to be there, but was filled with hesitation and a bit of worry for myself...just what was that experience going to feel like? I have to admit, it was really, really hard, but not for the reasons I would have expected. What hit me was a physical longing and sadness. The newborn girl I was warned about ahead of time was there. Part of me had hoped to ask to hold her, to get that out of my system, but in the end I never really got a chance, and that was ok. I tell you what, though, sitting across from that baby girl, seeing her physical size, and then holding Finn's newborn onesies in my hands as we passed the gifts around, that's what really hurt me. I could see, between my two hands, the size Bennett should have been. He should have been wearing a onesie like that, in my arms, at that baby shower. And Aliya should have been the size of that newborn girl. I cried all the way home, but was still glad I'd gone, happy to have been able to celebrate my sister-in-law's pregnancy and the baby we were praying for.
Paul and I plan to be in the waiting room with the rest of the family when Finn comes. This is a big deal, as any babyloss mama can recognize. We've made the very conscious decision to welcome Finn into our lives, and we're truly really excited to meet him. Paul has one niece, nearly old enough (well, technically old enough!) to be a mom herself. Finn will make me an Auntie for the very first time. I'm thrilled!
I can't say that when Finn makes his debut and the tears of joy come, as I'm certain they will for both of us, some of those tears won't be out of grief for what we've lost, for the babies we so desperately miss and wish were here, right now, a month or two older than their baby cousin. I don't think anyone would hold those tears against us.
I'm so grateful, though, to have already test-driven what it feels like to hold another beloved newborn in my arms, so that I can be sure of the love and pride and awe I will feel upon holding my nephew in my arms for the first time next week.