What a busy and exhausting few months it has been! At 14 weeks, I experienced some bleeding and was diagnosed with an SCH. I was told that SCH’s don’t “usually” lead to second trimester losses, which didn’t really ease my mind at all, because babies don’t “usually” die of SIDS. It was a very scary few weeks, but eventually the bleeding stopped, and the SCH seems to have cleared up. I did get a few extra ultrasounds out of it, which was awesome!
At 17 weeks, I found out that we are being blessed with another daughter. I’m not going to lie, that was a tough pill to swallow. It was difficult to imagine bringing another baby girl in to this house…but I was also ecstatic at the thought of having a daughter to raise. With the other babies, I was buying things as soon as I found out the gender, but not this time…this time it took me a while to settle in to the idea. I am almost 25 weeks, and have the new nursery in progress. I couldn’t see leaving it pink and yellow…that was Reese’s room. It is amazing what a new coat of paint can do to change a room! AJ, who hasn’t gone in Reese’s room more than a handful of times since she died, is now able to come in the room and work with me. I saved some of Reese’s items to store in a chest, and spent time going through her old baby clothes. It was emotional to go through all the things she wore and outgrew, expecting to just give them away to friends later on down the line. I chose a handful of my favorite outfits of hers, or outfits I remember her wearing a lot, and I sent them to a friend’s mom, who is making a quilt out of them. I can’t wait to see how amazingly beautiful it turns out.
We didn’t have a name chosen for either sex when I found out she was a girl, so Josh started calling her Baby Gaga and Seussical the Musical. I decided it was time to nail down a name…and then it would feel more “real”, too. I gave Josh a short list of names I had been mulling over, and he chose Isla (pronounced ‘eye-luh’). Luckily, that had been MY first choice as well. We cleared it with AJ, who thought it was beautiful, so that is her name. Isla Felicity. Felicity seemed appropriate as the middle name since it means “happiness”. We have been looking for our happy for a while now!
Since we’ve found out that Isla is a girl, though, Josh seems to have started going through a new phase. Shortly after Reese passed away, he quit drawing her when he would draw our family pictures. A few weeks ago, he started coming home from school with pictures of himself, AJ, and I…and two babies. Reese always has wings, and she is at the top of the page…and Isla is down near us. He usually adds Peanut in as well. He often draws us surrounded by crosses, depicting the cemetery. It completely broke my heart the first time he showed me the picture…but it also made me smile. We are all smiling in the picture, we are happy. This is just how he is working though it.
He also asks a lot about this baby dying. We’ve had a wall collage of photos in our stairwell for about a year now…about 30-40 pictures from when we were a family of 4. Last week he paused going up the stairs, and had the saddest look on his face. I asked him which photo he was looking at, and he pointed to a picture of him holding two-week-old Reese. He said, “We didn’t see her for a long time, and now we never get to see her again. And I miss her so much.” I picked him up and held him, telling him I missed her too. He then said “I’m glad we are getting a new baby, but I sure hope she doesn’t die too.”
And just this morning, I was blow-drying my hair. When I turned the blow-dryer off, I heard Josh bawling hysterically. I looked back and saw him laying on my bed. I assumed he was hurt and rushed to him and asked what was wrong. He just sobbed, “I miss Reese. I want her to come back down right now. And I don’t want Isla to die.” I just sat there and held him…and cried with him, until I was able to speak. After we were both done crying, we talked about how Reese is watching over us, and we will pray to her and to Jesus and God to protect Isla, and keep her safe here with us.
It is just like a dagger through your heart to hear those words coming out of the mouth of your 5 year old son. How unfair that THAT is what my little guy has to worry about.
I spoke to the pediatrician about the risk of recurring SIDS deaths in families, and he said that they are leaning towards it being something genetic, and that our risk DOES increase slightly because we lost Reese. That information is definitely difficult to process. We weren’t at as high of a risk and we lost Reese…and now, we have a higher chance of losing Isla? I can not imagine living through this again. I can’t imagine JOSH living through this again.
I wonder how I’ll ever sleep or put Isla down. I wonder how I will leave her to go to work. I don’t imagine I will be a very sane person that first year of her life.
Josh is ecstatic about having another sister though…and boy does this kid like to shop. Every time we go in a store that has baby clothes, he INSISTS on picking out things for Isla. Every. Single. Time. The saleswomen are all smitten with him, and totally impressed that he seems to enjoy shopping so much! And how can I say no to him wanting to buy things for his new sister? :)