I can still embrace this memory as if it were yesterday. I was 6 months pregnant with Jake. It was a cold night in late February. I pulled into my driveway after returning from a yoga class. It was dark outside so the light beaming from the soon to be nursery was obvious. I could see my husband in the room, painting. I sat in my driveway and released tears of belief, tears of gratitude, tears of joy. This was it. We were actually going to have a baby this time. I took a picture to place in his baby book. Something about that night stuck with me and I cherished that room. We spent the next month preparing it for our son. Each detail so passionately considered. It would be decorated with all the works for our future fisherman. I custom ordered netting from an old retired fishing ship off the bays of where my husband was raised. His book shelf was built into the shape of a boat by the hands of my husband. I was lost in nautical projects. It was going to be beautiful. I would go in there constantly, dreaming and enjoying the excitement that this room gave me.
Then we learned that Jake would never see his room from our view. And so the room no longer brought me joy. Instead it paralyzed me.
We had to gather some items for the delivery of our son. Clothes, baby blankets and his teddy bear. The night before I was hospitalized, my husband and I entered the nursery together. I remember looking at the books lined up book shelf. I traced each one with trembling hands and the most intense pain my heart had ever felt. Then I opened the closet door. His clothes were hanging. His diapers stacked. His bottles and toys in packaging on the shelves. I fell to the ground and remember nothing else from that point. My husband said it took hours before the screaming stopped. He carried me out and put me to bed.
I lost a piece of myself in that room that night and I have no recollection of it. It took several months before I could walk back in there and never without several tears and wailing cries. His entire childhood that never happened all existed in that room. I hurt so bad to face that reality over and over again. Unworn onsies, a never slept in crib, a changing table that never saw one diaper change. Everywhere I turned were images of what never came to be.
The day after I returned home from the hospital, the curtains I had ordered for the nursery arrived. I didn’t open them. Then 18 months later we were preparing our hearts for adoption and I needed that space to feel welcoming and hopeful again. So I finally opened the box and hung the curtains that were hanging over my broken heart. There were many tears again but it was a necessary step to moving forward. 3 days later I learned that I was pregnant with this sweet little girl. I still think it was Jake nudging me to hang those curtains for his sister.
The nursery still sits just as it did. I am struggling with preparing it for our little girl. When I feel brave, I purchase what she needs and set it in there. So boxes are stacked all around and the crib is filling up with clothes and gifts from those who love her already. But this time, there is no decor on its way. There is no organizing. There is no nesting. I am playing it safe, whatever that means. I can’t seem to take his clothes out of the closet. So they still hang there and from time to time I look through them. I am afraid to put hers in there. Afraid that if I were to lose her too, that closet would engulf my entire soul.
We opted out of a baby shower. Not because we don’t love her, not because we don’t recognize her life in the now but because baby showers cut me deeply. They have since my first miscarriage. This baby will have everything she could ever need within the arms of her parents. So a baby shower did not feel necessary to us this time around. I just can’t imagine sitting around and engaging in baby talk and playing baby games and ooh’ing and aah’ing over little pink dresses in front of people while feeling terrified on the inside that those dresses may not get worn.
Preparing for her is different from preparing for him. Jake’s death has taught me that we spend a lot of time stuck in this world of baby must-haves and top of the line strollers and swings when in reality, we should be preparing the only thing that matters, our hearts. Preparing for our little girl is taking us on an incredibly complex journey of various emotions. We balance fear, faith, anxiety, hope, trust, love, anger, sadness, grief, envy and joy on a daily basis. Each day leaves us feeling exhausted, some much more than others. In the end, I am okay with my lack of desire to prepare the “stuff” because truthfully, the stuff can wait. I’d rather prepare our hearts for the possibility of her entering this world breathing. That alone is enough to keep us busy.
This last stretch before she arrives is more taxing than I could have ever imagined. My prayers are much shorter with a much fiercer need in my tone. “Lord, please keep her protected. Please help me Lord for I am so weak and tired. I need you. Please prepare us.” For our prayer warriors, we ask this of you too. We ask for prayers of peace and emotional preparation over the next 8 weeks.
We are weak, but He is strong. We are tired, but He has not grown faint. We are afraid, but He provides peace. Oh how we need that peace. A friend and I were recently talking about our dreams and she asked me if I ever have “that dream” where I am flying. Sadly my answer was no. I haven’t had a peaceful dream like that in years. But I would like to try somehow, to prepare for that feeling. The feeling of soaring above all of this fear and pain. The release of it all, the moment she is placed in my arms with open eyes.
Open eyes. I wouldn’t have imaged 10 years ago that preparing for my child would involve such a detail.
After the naivety is stripped from this journey of becoming parents, preparing looks different. Sometimes I wish I could close my eyes and go back to the days of never knowing the depths of this but in reality, I really wouldn’t change this part. Because I feel like I know her more than anything else in this world right now. When there is nothing else to focus on, it truly becomes all about her and our relationship with her.
So Lord, continue to prepare our hearts. For nothing else will make us feel for ready for this baby. Only He can do this.