Hard to Shift

… the past is so hard to shift. It comes with us like a chaperone, standing between us and the newness of the present – the new chance. -Jeanette Winterson

Ger asked me the other night if we could just pretend that everything will be fine.  I swallowed and said sure. Certain planning items are getting hard to ignore. He said “Ok, then let’s pick out a crib.”  We do not have a crib.  When we moved to this house nearly four years ago, we had to disassemble the crib for the movers.  Ger then lost the entire bag of screws to put it back together.  At the time, we had no idea if we were going to have a third baby or not. Quentin was 17 months old, so instead we just moved him into a toddler bed.  Now writing this I realized that my c-section date is scheduled for exactly four years since we closed on this house: August 8th. 08/08.  I like signs and I feel like that is a good one, though I still hope it will be sooner.

A crib is on the list of things to buy for this baby.  I told Ger that we can look, and in fact I’ve been making a list of the things I know we will need. But we cannot buy.  We can only plan.  I cannot bear the thought of needing to return anything.

He then asked: What are we going to bring the baby home in, what outfit?  All of the baby clothes are packed away.  When I was pregnant with Nelle, I bought a baby dresser, having found one on sale. It was already filled with onesies and outfits from Theo and Quentin, plus clothes we had received as gifts when people found out we were having a girl.  Her dresser was in the room we were going to use as a nursery, with a lamp in place and some stuffed animals on top. When I was in the hospital giving birth to her, I asked that my mom make sure that dresser was cleaned out before we got home. All of the clothes were packed into a storage box and shoved into a closet in the basement. I gave the dresser to Quentin because his had a broken drawer at the time.  I know that I will have to pull those clothes out eventually… but not yet.  I told Ger that we need very little at the hospital: one outfit, and a car seat to bring the baby home in. We can wait.

All of these items that I refuse to look at and are now staring me in the face. Diapers. Where is the baby monitor?  I fear being afraid. I was already worried and then a woman brought it up in my SHARE group: that when bringing home a baby after loss, she is terrified that something will happen and constantly checking on the baby. I can see that happening to myself; that the anxiety will not melt away.  How to remain calm?  Ger and I have looked at different breathing monitor options, to give us some reassurances.

Earlier this week we found ourselves in downtown Geneva, which was having Swedish Days. After lunch we wandered into a local store I love, filled with home décor and interesting gifts.  They have a room dedicated to baby and kid items.  Ger said we should buy something for the baby. A stuffed animal maybe.  I told him that I had already gotten a stuffed animal, from this store, very early in pregnancy. He teased that I had been holding out on him. No. When I was pregnant with Iris, I refused to buy anything.  Except one teddy bear. That was all I allowed myself. After we lost her, I started sleeping with the teddy bear and it still lies near my pillow each night. I needed something for this baby too, that even if there was a loss, I had something to hold.

Ger and I each picked out a board book instead.  Interestingly, both books had garden/growing themes.  As we carried the books to the register, the thought came to my mind: “What will I do with these books if something happens?  Who can I give them to?”  The boys found the books at home later, and were eager to read them. No. Those are gifts. Ger told them that they can bring the books to the hospital, that the books would be gifts from them for the baby.

We are closing the gap between the known and unknown. There is little unknown left, though it still hovers above us.