Swaddle

We took a childbirth class before we had Evan, and I’m positive they showed us how to swaddle a baby tightly in a blanket. But guess what? I am the worst at swaddling. Ever.

Really, Jarom has always been the one to swaddle our babies. By the time we got around to June, I had to buy one of those velcro swaddle-sack things, because I just couldn’t figure out how to [properly] swaddle her.

So in the hospital with Christian, they gave him to me with this nice ready-to-swaddle blanket . . . and Jarom and I laughed through our tears as I handed swaddling duty over yet again.

Some things never change.

Christian was born at 25 weeks and weighed 1 lb 13.5 oz. He was 12.5 inches long. Tiny!

Christian was born at 25 weeks and weighed 1 lb 13.5 oz. He was 12.5 inches long. Tiny!


Down

This sucks. The end.


Anniversary

We were gone Friday to Monday – kid-free, courtesy of Jarom’s parents! – for our anniversary. We stayed at a resort near Ogden and I looked up a lot of things we could do: dinosaur park, nature preserve, huge movie theater, historic downtown to stroll through. Guess what I ended up doing instead? Crying and watching hours-long marathons of Pawn Stars and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding*.

On Saturday we went to lunch at a mostly-decent Mexican restaurant and I really, truly meant for us to go to the dinosaur park and then see Iron Man 3 after that. But by the time we were done eating, all I wanted to do was go home and sob. I felt bad using up our vacation to cry; Jarom told me to go ahead anyway, so I did. And I had a long nap afterwards. When I woke up, the first Back to the Future movie was just starting, and we watched all three. Cable, I love you.

I also ate a lot of donuts . . . and tortilla chips . . . we’d gone to dinner at a steakhouse Friday night, courtesy of a giftcard from my brother (matched by the owner – we have been getting a lot of free stuff lately). Even the leftovers were amazing. Medium rare steak with bacon and a fried egg on top? Yes, I will eat that for many meals in a row.

After Saturday, I mostly did okay emotionally. Monday was fine too – and today, until I got tired of my attempts to only eat desserts/sweets on our date night (don’t worry, I haven’t caved yet!), and the kids got wild(er), and I needed dinner but didn’t feel like eating. Then I snuck off to the bathroom and cried.

When I feel like this, I have a million things to say. I want to scream them and shout them. But the idea of actually letting them out – I can’t do that. I’m not brave enough to tell anyone how broken I feel.

That being said, I’m glad that when I do get around to talking, Jarom listens to whatever’s on my mind. Even if it’s just that I wish today was Thursday (date night) so I could have a donut. Or two.

*I swear to you that is a real show and it’s impossible to stop watching once you start. It was horrifically mesmerizing.


Best

I met Jarom when we were 14. We had Mr. Facque’s honors biology class together (for the record, the teacher wisely chose to pronounce his last name “fake-way”). That first year of high school, we didn’t interact a lot, but over the summer between 9th and 10th grade we spent a little more time together because of mutual friends. We were seated alphabetically in our sophomore world civ class – Hillery was followed by Lee and then Lewis, so poor Jessica was doomed to be the middleman for the notes Jarom and I passed back and forth. Junior year we had no classes together, but had become best friends; we exchanged notes during passing period, ate lunch together, hung out after school and on the weekends.

There is absolutely no way I could have pictured then the way our lives would turn out. I’m sure whatever teenage ideas I had about romance and marriage and love involved a lot of swooning and candlelight dinners and serenades. It’s been so perfect to discover that I hate romantic crap like that, and what I really love is my best friend.

We have beautiful kids. I adore them – and I love how much Jarom adores them. I hate to be grieving the loss of one of them, but it’s so much better to be going through it with Jarom. He hurts with me. He brings me donuts. He laughs with me. Everyone suffers uniquely, but his feelings are the closest to mine of anyone in the world, which makes it so much easier to talk and complain and cry and remember together.

At 16 years old, I felt like Jarom was steady and constant and he understood me. Our friendship just seemed to fit. I’m glad I can say the same things after 6 years of marriage, but also add that he’s patient, hilarious, generous, selfless, quirky, and just what I need. He’s still my best friend.


Unhelpful

I know you mean well. And I don’t want to demean your intentions or offend you – but, at the same time, I don’t want to spend effort making sure you don’t feel bad. So please politely note these things that aren’t helpful for me to hear.

At least you have two healthy kids. It’s precisely because I already have two kids I adore that I wanted to have another one. I know what I’m missing out on by not getting to see Christian grow up. Plus, although Evan understands that I’m sad, it doesn’t stop him (or June) from needing me to be involved in everyday life. Most days I feel like shouting, “If you ask me to get out of bed to make you ANOTHER peanut butter sandwich I am going to SCREAM!” (And peanut butter sandwiches are pretty easy, guys.) Having two kids means I have to put my grief on hold a lot of the time.

Isn’t it a miracle that any babies are born healthy? Imagine that someone lost their husband in a car accident. Would you tell them, “When you think about how dangerous cars are, it’s amazing that most people aren’t killed in car accidents!” Of course not, because hopefully you’d recognize how NOT COMFORTING that statement is. It feels like rubbing it in my face to tell me I should just be grateful for the miracle of life. It didn’t work out this time – and that sucks.

Do you think you’ll have another? When? Again with the husband-died-in-a-car-accident comparison – can you imagine asking that person if they’d considered getting remarried? And how soon? I think the mentality is that one baby could replace another. Not even a little bit.

He was just too perfect to stay here. I don’t care. I want him back.

God must have needed him more. I don’t care. I want him back.

Now you have an angel watching over you. I don’t care. I want him back.

You’ll get over it eventually. Not a chance. I doubt I’ll always experience the loss the same way, but it will always be a part of my life.

I suppose now I should tell you some helpful things to say . . . how about:

I’m so sorry. Me too.

I wish I could make it better. Me too.

I’m so glad you got to hold him. Me too.

I’m trying to get used to the emotional ups and downs. Tuesday was horrible and I cried almost all day; Wednesday was great; today has been both good and bad. I’m tired and grouchy and lonely and so sad. I don’t want to deal with Evan and June – which makes me feel guilty for being a bad mom, which makes me (irrationally) think maybe that’s why I lost my baby. Then I’m so drained that I can’t deal with Evan and June, leading to more guilt and sadness until I shut down.

This is exhausting. And so much harder than I could have ever prepared for.

P.S. I should point out, before you go overboard and start buying anything you find with a dragonfly on it, that I started yesterday’s post by saying I’m picky.