Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not a lot of processing

I realize that if I wait to write until I feel like I have plenty of time, I may never write again. And so here I go, pecking away with one hand as I hold Elliott with the other...

I'm not sure whether it's due to lack of time, lack of sleep, or lack of being able to fully go there right now, but I'm not doing a lot of processing these days (11 days!) since Elliott was born. I'm living much more in the moment, letting thoughts just come in and out of my head. It's similar really to the shock during the hours, days, and weeks after Miles' death. There is much more constant happiness now in this shock (as opposed to the disbelief, overwhelming haze of wanting the world to stop, and just having the memory of happiness of having Miles). And now there's a constant feeling of awe and gratitude. But it's all still there.

Joy does not replace pain. And pain does not replace joy.

And so I don't process too much beyond that. I just let it all be, holding onto each moment before it's gone.

And at times those moments are big.



In the middle of the night, I lay next to Elliott, staring at her precious, perfect face as she sleeps. And there he is. I see her and I see Miles. I do not have a "replacement" issue--I know full well and celebrate that she is our second child, her own little person, starting out on her own little path. But there is something. Something real about feeling like I've been here before--a deja vu of sorts--yet this is the first time I've had a child here with me at home. I look out the window at the hospital at night, the light on the helicopter pad constantly blinking. I think of those days when Miles was alive. And I look at my framed photo of Miles on the day he was born. I whisper to him with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face in case he can see me, "I miss you, Miles. I wish you were here with us, too."

I hold Elliott in my arms, whispering to her how much I love her, memorizing her every facial expression, sound, and sweet way. My moments are happily filled with learning the ways she likes to be held and swayed. Eating spoonfuls of peanut butter and big glasses of milk, trying to keep up my milk supply for her. Panicking when I'm worried she's not breathing well, relying on Mitch to tell me that she's fine. Singing to her and bringing the total number of people who like my singing voice to the grand total of two--Miles and Elliott. Jumping out of the shower midway through to make sure she's still asleep and not crying for me. Holding her all night on the couch since she cries in the crib ("Isn't a walk-in closet supposed to be every girl's dream?" Mitch asks), briefly wondering if I'm doing long term damage to her ability to sleep in her own bed.

Simply I'm busy doing all of the things that I hoped and prayed I would get to do with her--and that I had hoped and prayed to do with Miles. It doesn't take much processing to figure that one out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Elliott Rhea Mitchell is here!

And she's HOME!



Elliott Rhea arrived in the world on Sunday, July 10 at 3:22 pm. She kept us waiting for six days after her due date, but once she decided it was time she really got moving to make her debut. My mom and I made it to the hospital at 1:55 pm...where Mitch was waiting. He was already at work delivering babies (thus the scrubs in the photos)...and I was very happy to see him there, helping me for that last intense, INTENSE hour and a half. I was 9 cm dilated when they checked me at the hospital (same as for Miles). Everything went according to the birth plan...do anything to help the baby, no drugs, no mirrors, Mitch and my mom on the birth team, Dr. Page delivering the baby, breastfeeding right away. One major thing was a bit different than planned...no need to go into major details here, but I absolutely refused to sit down so we had to be more creative with laboring and delivering positions. To show how humorous he found my sudden all-natural-granola-ness with how I wanted to deliver Elliott, Mitch asked between contractions, "Do you want me to light some incense too, hippie?" He claims that all kinds of jokes are allowed so long as they are made between contractions. A few more contractions and...

I could HEAR her crying!  I could SEE her as they handed her to me.  I could HOLD her.



I just have so much joy in my heart.  Elliott is immediately a joy of my life just as Miles is.

She's here and she's ours.

Every moment is full of so much joy--both filling my heart with our girl and remembering our boy.  I miss Miles more than ever. As before, I think of him constantly. And now I think of Elliott as well. Elliott is in our arms and, quite simply, Miles is here with us too in everything.

Oh, how much our two children share on the days of their births. (Thank you, thank you to Hudson's mama for sharing the idea of having a baby picture of Miles ready at the hospital for Elliott's birth.) "Well, that is definitely Miles' little sister," a friend commented immediately. Yes. Yes, it is. Their tiny little chins, the shape of their faces, the color of their hair and eyes, the little noses--a connection right there plain as day. And she is totally herself. They have unique facial expressions, that's for sure. Elliott's mad face is quite different, I can see already. But their calm faces, the ones on their precious, perfect sleeping faces are strikingly similar. It takes my breath away.



Much, much more to say, but this was at least a start to say, "Welcome to the world, Elliott!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Always in the backseat

Before Miles was born, I went to the fire station for them to safely install the car seat. It was there for a month, empty and awaiting his arrival.  And then it was there for months, empty and waiting to take him home for the first time.

Miles never rode in his car seat. It's a sad thing but amid all of the truly sad things of losing Miles, it's just a drop in the bucket.

And now it's there again.  To have it ready for his little sister.
It doesn't make me sad to see it. At least, I should say, it doesn't make me any sadder than I already am.
But it does symbolize how we are waiting and ready and hopeful. So hopeful.
So really, in a way, it gives me some peace that we had it for Miles and now we have it for our baby girl.

~

A few weeks after we lost Miles, Mitch and I went on a weekend road trip, to get away, to be with Mitch's parents. On the drive, it was just the two of us, wishing it was just the three of us.

Our car's AC was out, so we took the truck only to discover that the truck's AC was out. So our windows were down, and it was loud on the highway, making it so only the important things were said.

"I wish Miles was in the backseat," I said.

Mitch said, "Me, too. But don't you think he'll kind of always be there--in the backseat with us?"

~

And so here we are. Farther down the road. With Miles always with us. Waiting any day for our sweet little Elliott Rhea.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taking the next big step

What an emotional week. I could say that I've been an emotional wreck during this emotional week, but the truth is that it's just not true. Not because I'm not a wreck but because all the emotions that I'm dealing with can't even qualify as wreck-able. I count it as of-course-I-feel-this-way. Sure it's a wreck, but really what else could I expect?

Every day there's the possibility that it could be THE DAY--it could be the day we've been hoping for and our baby girl arrives. All at the same time, I cry for Miles. It has been important for us to have these days of waiting, I think, to continue balancing all of our feelings. We've known it was coming--our transition to having a second baby...more specifically, our transition to having two children--one living and one in heaven. It has been coming, and throughout this pregnancy we've discussed the transition our lives will take, discussing the powerful emotions that go along with it. There's something about being right on the verge that makes it more real of course. And so I cry. I cry that this all feels so familiar...to be excited for this new life that has been with me for nine months and any day will really be with us. I smile for her and cry for Miles. I cry with how passionately I dream of taking her out of hospital. I cry that we didn't get to do that for Miles. I cry with the happiness over how soon I will hold her. I cry for longing to hold Miles. I cry for the life that he is missing--the scraped knees, the baseball teams, the learning to read, the fights with his sister, the growing up, the whole life he deserved. All while holding my breath and praying and hoping that she will get that chance.

Why cry so much now? I wonder. Most of all, the arrival of our baby girl is a sign that the world keeps going. There have been plenty of these signs of course. It's not a new concept really. But it is the first sign in our own household. Right here. Miles is coming with us of course on this next big step; in the ways that he can, he'll always be with us. Sure, I'll have less time to myself, I know, being busy with a newborn of course. Yet I just don't think I'll spend less time thinking about Miles. If anything, I'll be thinking of him more. Everything, I'm guessing, will continue to remind me of Miles. So the world isn't just still spinning, really it's spinning in a very familiar way to how it did when Miles was here with us. And that brings happiness and tears.