Thank you to Angie for giving me a reason to write again. Sometimes I do feel a pull to this place, but I feel as if I have written myself in circles about the same feelings, the same grief, the same tiny girl who came and went so quickly.
I still have her ultrasound picture on the fridge. I keep the ones from the ultrasound on display in the open, because they are the only proof that, at one point, she was alive. I still stare at it sometimes, my heart twisting in on itself sometimes, agonizing over the "hi mom" inscription, but only sometimes.
The grief is different now. The load is so much lighter.
We talk a lot about how much it has changed us. I feel more withdrawn than ever. I don't relate to most people anymore. I still wonder what it would have been like to be one of the normal ones, to have been able to take my first baby home. I still feel a little winded when someone announces they are having a girl. I worry about everyone's ultrasounds, and then I have twinges of bitterness when they go well. I still get mad when people smoke/drink/don't take their vitamins and still get healthy babies.
I still think of Layla all the time. It is not usually with such crushing sadness though. It seems she floats into my mind most often while I am in the bathroom (maybe because this is one of the only times I am alone these days). I wonder wonder wonder if I did the right thing, and usually come to the same conclusion. I feel so deeply that she was not meant for this world, and yet I wish she would have been.
Sometimes I have intense flashbacks of her birth, of holding her tiny little body, and they shake me back down to that place. I don't ever want to forget, and yet I try to avoid going too far into those corners these days. I still have this big fragile wound on my heart--the injury is healing, but when I bump into it, the pain is searing again. This wound governs my life more than I realize I think.
We have sort of unintentionally turned one of the blankets from her birth into Orrin's go-to blanket. It was the one we passed around, each of us holding it, putting our energy into it. In the end, we didn't wrap her in it, but I remember it on the bed with me as I labored. It has always been in a large rotation of blankets, but lately it has been the one we pull out at bed time.
I sometimes struggle with being the only one who remembers these kinds of things. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who remembers that she existed at all. It's frustrating that people forget. Not many people in my immediate circle really understand the gravity of her life and death for us. It was a long time ago now, but it is still rippling into every aspect of our lives. I think we finally have two feet in the new normal, but the world looks different from here.
Lately I have been wishing I could have one more day in the fall of 2008, when I was just pregnant, before the ultrasounds and diagnosis, when everything felt so sure and right and exciting. All I can think is, I was so young. I never could have imagined how much I would change in two and a half years.
In general though, I have reached that point that I once thought was unattainable, where the loss is integrated into my life and I...maybe...almost...know myself again.